MAGALIA — Shooting shots 400-500 feet against competitors 40 years and older is something Professional Disc Golf Association master’s division competitor Dale Bouttote does on the regular.
Bouttote, 53, is a telecommunications engineer who helped design several of the disc golf courses around Butte and Glenn Counties. Bouttote was one of the original designers of the Black Butte Lake Disc Golf Course in Orland and he designed the former Lava Creek course that burned down in the 2018 Camp Fire, and later ran Lava Creek for 12 years.
In October, 2020, course designer Jake Bates opened the South Pines Disc Golf Course on what was formerly The Pines Golf Course in Magalia. It acted as what many saw as a replacement for Lava Creek and those seeking activities near Paradise and Magalia. Since its opening, Bates has put in 2-5 basket locations for each hole, all-weather artificial turf tee pads and tee pad signs with basket locations for each hole. The tee pad signs are made from milled wood from fallen trees on the course. There are weekly events several days a week, including Monday singles, Wednesday random draw doubles, a ladies only league on Fridays and the most popular event is a Saturday singles round.
On Saturday, the Magalia course hosted its first ever Master’s Division tournament, with 76 competitors across eight divisions — both male and female. The tournament was called the NorCal Masters 3 — Terry Sutton Memorial.
Sutton, a Yuba City resident, was scheduled to run the tournament. He died just days prior to the event due to complications with COVID-19. Instead, a PDGA representative from Wisconsin who was a friend of Sutton’s ended up contacting the PDGA and everyone who had paid. He flew out and took care of everything in place of Sutton.
Sutton’s family, including his two kids and his dog, were in Magalia on Saturday and were present for the raffle that took place to raise money for the family.
Bouttote, a friend and longtime competitor with Sutton, was one of the winners of the top two divisions along with Nick Babare.
“It was definitely special being the first memorial for Terry and knowing him, and to win it was definitely special,” Bouttote said.
Babare won the men’s pro masters 40+ division, Bouttote won the men’s pro masters 50+ division and Jennifer Morgan took first place in the women’s pro masters 40+ division. Through two 18 hole rounds, Babare shot a 11-under par 97, Bouttote shot a 8-under par 100 and Morgan shot a 10-over par 118.
Both Babare and Bouttote are Butte County residents who sponsored holes to help pay for the start of the South Pines course.
“It made me so proud,” Bates said. “I was like a proud dad when they won. I was so happy for them, I was thrilled. They are both amazing players and they know exactly what disc they need to use for what shot on what hole with what wind is happening. They’re marksmen in their field.”
Bouttote noted the wind was not near as strong as the storm that blew through California on Sunday, but rain was present. Wind blew at roughly five miles per hour. Bouttote said as the winter season progresses golfers get used to throwing with wet discs and bringing rain gear such as rain coats, towels and umbrellas out to the course, but this was the first rainy tournament of the winter. However the rain seemed to have little effect on Bouttote’s performance, as he opened the tournament with a 7-under par in the opening round.
“In a tournament, I don’t know what it is but the juices get flowing and if you get into that rhythm you just feel like every shot is going to be perfect,” Bouttote said. “Putting, drives I was putting them where I wanted. You always kind of draw it up like ‘I need to release here’ and I was definitely hitting my marks very well.”
Up next Bates plans to install “the last dozen or so” basket locations so all holes have at least three possible basket locations. This enables the course to be modified frequently for recreation or for different tournament play. After that, Bates said he will start working on the aesthetics of the course, using rock and wood from around the course to build things like custom walls and a three tiered pyramid basket location he is planning on hole No. 4.
“It’ll make it way more pleasing to the eye. There’s all kinds of rock and other material for when I need to use it,” Bates said.
The South Pines Disc Golf Course is located 13917 South Park Drive in Magalia. It is open to the public and is $5 for the greens fee. Cash can be dropped off at the pro shop or the drop box on the door.
Discs can be purchased at the on-site pro shop at South Pines, as well as stores in Chico such as Big 5 Sporting Goods, Play It Again Sports and Chico Sports LTD.