For the past several years, a group of SoCal TDs have banded together to kick off the new disc golf year with events aimed at providing a combination of fun, philanthropy and good-natured competition. The Golden Sombrero Winter Series is a collection of SoCal Ice Bowls that helps players ease into the new competitive season while raising funds for local charities that feed the hungry. Ice Bowls were established about 25 years ago in the nation’s heartland, where ice, snow and cold weather are commonplace. The idea behind the events was to have disc golfers get together and play in crappy weather, when they normally wouldn’t. The slogan of “No Wimps, No Whiners” was coined early on, as was the idea that these events should be used as fundraisers to help support local charities that feed the hungry.
The Golden Sombrero Series is now in its 6th season. What started in 2008 with three events (Redlands, San Marcos, Palm Desert) has continued to grow, with seven events, 293 players and over $8,000 raised for charity in 2012. 2013 has the potential for being even bigger with another new venue added to the schedule (Murrieta). An important part of the Golden Sombrero Series has continued to be the race for the overall points series championship. At each of the Golden Sombrero events, players are awarded points for each player that they beat. Similar to the SoCal Series, each player’s top 3 point totals are then combined for their Golden Sombrero points total. The player with the highest point total at the end of the series wins he annual trophy – a gold-painted and decorated sombrero, suitable for wearing or display. Past winners have also received a portable basket from Innova. Four-time series champion A.J. Risley will be back to defend his title in 2013.
Each of these Ice Bowls is an independent event, with some being PDGA-sanctioned and some not. Some events sell mulligans to raise funds for charity, so the winning player is not always the best thrower, but may be the one who has the best mulligan strategy (or budget). Because of their charity function, Ice Bowls generally don’t have big prize payouts for top finishers, but the raffles are usually quite generous. But without question these are fun events and one important way for disc golfers to give back to their local communities. The cities whose parks host Ice Bowls are very happy to have their disc golf courses be used for charity events.
The Golden Sombrero Schedule for 2013 is as follows (links provided to online registration or fliers):
Saturday, Jan. 5 – 6th Annual Redlands Ice Bowl, Ford Park, Redlands
Sunday, Jan. 6 – 6th Annual San Marcos Ice Bowl, Montiel Park, San Marcos
Saturday, Jan. 19 – Ice Bowl in Paradise, Chavez Ridge, Los Angeles
Sunday, Jan. 20 – Yucaipa Ice Bowl, Yucaipa Regional Park, Yucaipa
Saturday, Feb. 2 – Sycuan Ice Bowl, Olive Glen DGC @ Sycuan Resort, El Cajon
Saturday, Feb. 16 – Murrieta Ice Bowl, Mountain Pride Park, Murrieta
Saturday, Feb. 23 – Wrightwood Ice Bowl, Sky High Resort, Wrightwood
Sunday, Feb. 24 – San Diego Ice Bowl, Mission Bay Golf Course, San Diego