Do you miss… or rattle the chains?

Being a plastic addict (or why I buy too many discs)…

The collection grows and grows...

Hi. My name is Steve, and I am addicted to plastic.

Innova. Discraft. Latitude 64. Discmania. I’ve tried them all.

ESP. Champion. Super Stupid Soft. It doesn’t matter what trendy blend it is, they’re all good to me. I’ll even slum it with some DX or Pro-D when I am really jonesin’, just for the taste.

Westside. DKG. DGA. MVP…Oh, sweet luscious MVP, with that inner core of candy-colored goodness wrapped in an outer, more grippy shell. You are like the M&Ms of flying discs.

But I digress.

Origins of the Obsession

I wasn’t always this bad, you know. No, it started innocently enough. Last March, my dad came into town to see our newborn daughter, but newborns nap.

A lot.

Naturally, we wanted to get out of the house for an afternoon, and I knew there was a disc golf course nearby. I had an early 2000s Innova DX Viper from when I experimented with disc golf in my college days (Who didn’t do a little experimenting in college, right?) collecting dust in the garage, and we went down to the local sporting goods store and picked up a blue 177 gram Innova DX Roc. Armed with one disc each, we were ready to go enjoy a leisurely day in the park throwing around a Frisbee.

We were just bored. That’s how it always starts, right?

One round, and I was hooked.

For reasons I can’t quite explain, the lure of playing disc golf just kept calling to me. I went and grabbed the Innova starter set (Leopard, Shark, Aviar), plus a DX Valkyrie, and was on my merry way.

Beware the Internet

I had been playing for a couple weeks, whenever I could snag some free time (or when my wonderful wife would give me a break from the new duties of fatherhood), when I stumbled upon something magical:

The Internet.

Forums. Advice. Technique. Retail outlets!

It was the end of my sanity as I knew it.

The discs pile up!

I pored over everything I could find, learning about “stability” and “flight charts” (both of which were a bit confusing at first, being that I am a lefty and everything is written for righties). I found courses in my area I could easily try out, and I even found a local disc golf club to play with every now and then.

But something more disturbing was developing. It all started creeping in, and a little voice in the back of my head would not relent:

“You can get more distance if you buy another disc.”

“Buy that one! It says it goes straight right on the stamp!”

“You know what? You probably need some back-up discs in case you hit a tree or something.”

“Little voice,” I said to myself, “you’re right! I do need more discs! And I need them now!”

Before I knew it, I was the owner of 10 discs. Of those 10, I would estimate that I could throw three accurately. And not very far.

But I had to have more. That little voice just kept calling to me.

I found myself spending countless hours simply browsing disc golf vendors online. It started with Disc Nation, where I could pick color and weight, which fooled me into feeling like I was in control. The cost of shipping also helped to keep things in check, and I figured I would be content with the set-up I had going for me.

Then along came Disc Golf Center, with these two gorgeous words:

FREE SHIPPING.

Free shipping?

It was like a heavenly oasis of disc golf happiness had been thrust onto the gleaming screen of my laptop in Vegas-sized neon lights! I couldn’t believe these guys would just pack up and send me discs FOR FREE. I had to patronize them. It was my duty as an American.

Or something like that.

Endorphin Rush

Ordering those discs soon became an addiction. I had to click “Add to Cart” and “Checkout” like my life depended on it. And I think I know why.

Every time I knew a disc (or two or three) was coming in the mail, it was like being a kid all over again. I would check the mail box religiously each day leading up to any deliveries, just hoping that a box or padded envelope of joyfully molded polymers would arrive. When it did, I tore it open like I was a five-year-old on Christmas morning who had eaten an entire box of Trix covered in chocolate milk and Skittles.

When it didn’t, I had a borderline pout-fest, as it felt like Santa had punched me in the crotch and laughed as he skipped past my chimney, prepared to give my toys to other kids.

Opening new discs gave me a wonderful, warm, fuzzy feeling. Not having them was just plain awful.

Guilt, Starbucks, and the like…

From here, things got a little out of hand. I’d buy a disc, hate it, shelve it, and buy another. Or, buy a disc, love it, and buy another just in case. Either way, I just couldn’t stop. I needed the rush. One month went as follows:

  • $19.79 to Disc Golf Center
  • $67.97 to Marshall Street Disc Golf
  • $36.44 to Disc Golf Center

I was beginning to feel guilty every time I clicked the “Checkout” button on an order. I knew I didn’t need to spend this kind of money, but it was fun! And if I didn’t try a disc, how would I know if I didn’t like it? It isn’t like disc golf has a try-before-you-buy program.

Still, the guilt ate at me.

Luckily, I had an out.

My aforementioned wonderful wife (who, to her credit, has been an absolute gem about my disc golf hobby/habit) has her own addiction: Starbucks. And I am not talking about a $1.95 cup-o’-joe-each-morning habit. We’re at full-blown, $4.25 daily (and sometimes twice daily) white chocolate mocha madness. It is her very lifeblood, and for so long I did not understand it. I fought it. I tried to make her quit.

But now, her habit was my ally. If she spent that much a day on Starbucks, it certainly was fair for me to spend as much as I was on discs, right? Right? Right…I think…

Fallout

At my last count, I am up to 45 discs (which doesn’t include at least five I have lost) since March 2011. One year. For those of you who don’t like math, that is an average of almost four discs per month.

Maybe that isn’t a lot for some people, but it sure is a lot for me. Especially since I throw, in any given round, about six of them.

Which means I have a surplus of more than 30 discs in my garage.

This would all be fine if I was a great disc golfer, but I’m not. I am still struggling to make that elusive par round, and I think having too many discs is a hindrance to my game.

Anyone know the nutritional value on this disc?

Plus, all the money I spend on discs is having an impact on my family. We don’t even have enough food for my daughter, so she has taken to eating my discs.

OK, OK, so that is a total exaggeration. But I need to get some things under control. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right? Well, I have a problem. I don’t throw anything well because I don’t stick with it, and I really would rather improve my game than feel neglectful of that depressed, innocent, lonely plastic every time I go in my garage.

Something had to change.

Self-Discipline

With this in mind, I have imposed a three-month disc-buying moratorium on myself.

You read that correctly. Once my new Discmania FD arrives in my wind-chapped hands this week, I will not buy any more discs. For three whole months.

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit thinking about it.

Overall, I think it will be a positive for my game. I will focus on the discs I have, not the discs I think I need. I will work on improving my form, instead of looking for the next lightning in a bottle disc that will solve my problems like some magic elixir.

In short, I will stop drinking the Kool-Aid until June and focus on just playing my game.

This won’t be easy.

I still sit and stare at disc golf websites every night, thinking about which discs I want to gently fondle before lovingly guiding them down the fairway. And I know that during this next quarter of a year there will be a cornucopia of new molds released that I will want to try. But I have to hold out. My wallet needs it. My game needs it.

My poor, disc-devouring daughter needs it.

Wish me luck, fellow golfers. It is going to be a long few months.

What’s that you say? You have some discs you want to trade me?

Well, that’s a whole different story.

Steve Hill desperately wants to tell speed 7 fairway drivers how he feels about them, but fears he will jeopardize their relationship as “just good friends.” Email him at steve [at] rattlingchains.com.

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  • Aupps says:

    I feel your pain. I too have recently kicked the impulsive disc buying habit, and it is so hard to sit by and watch new discs come out and not buy them. But what I have found to replace my urge is that I started placing in tournaments and they give me money to put towards new discs! Up your game and they just give you plastic.

    March 23, 2012 at 9:14 am
    • Darren Dolezel says:

      The problem with that is I’ll buy discs in between rounds instead of waiting to cash winnings

      March 23, 2012 at 9:37 am
    • Steve says:

      Good call! I’m hoping that by purchasing fewer discs and focusing on the ones I have, it will lead to improving my game. But man, some of the new ones that come out are just too sweet!

      March 23, 2012 at 11:19 am
  • Darren Dolezel says:

    I can totally identify with this except for the fact that I have taken it to the next level. Why just buy when you can buy modify and resell. By modify I mean dye,nweather it is spin or graphics I had to give it a shot. All in all I purchased about 500 plus discs given away probably 150 and sold maybe 50. I’ve found my favorites and keep them in my bag and have 3 or 4 back ups. I just found Innova ‘s factory second site 6 dollars a disc? I’ll take 50 The saga continues. Ps the proprietre of this site has benifit from my addiction and I haven’t heard a complaint yet !!

    March 23, 2012 at 9:35 am
    • P.J. says:

      It’s true. Many of my discs come from Darren, who had equipped me with items I use often. But I can relate with Steve in that it came to a point where I didn’t know anything I had and had to learn what I had before getting more discs, free or pay. I’ve had to say no to free discs because I need to re-learn some things before I keep adding to the collection!
      P.J. recently posted..Notes from my noodle: March 21 editionMy Profile

      March 23, 2012 at 10:24 am
      • Steve says:

        It sounds like Darren is quite the pusher! I kid, I kid. But maybe we should have had him write this article.

        At least I know who to turn to when my three months are up!

        March 23, 2012 at 11:20 am
        • Steve Hill says:

          I must say that Steve has purchased more discs than he says because he has purchased several for me also! I try and use the same discs and hopefully get used to them. This seems to be working for me.

          March 23, 2012 at 1:53 pm
  • @inourdr says:

    Fantastic post Steve! I’ll admit I’ve also been bitten by the bug. However, instead of buying and trying new discs molds, I’m buying a ton backups of the molds I have fallen in love with. You can never have to many right? hahaha.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:06 am
    • Steve says:

      Thank you for the warm welcome! This bug bites hard, to be sure. I think backups are where I will head once it is time to buy some more. That takes the edge off throwing over the water when you know you have a back up at home, too!

      March 23, 2012 at 11:21 am
  • NylesJ says:

    I can relate. Great story thanks. Good luck in holding out. Enjoy playing the game!

    March 23, 2012 at 12:56 pm
  • JeffN says:

    I can relate, AND STILL suffer from this “Addiction”. I did come to a realization one day when my Wife said the garage looks like a GIANT X-mas Tree cause of all the colors hanging on the wall….
    I don’t use 95% of the discs I own. A lot of them, I forget I have. SO, when I want ANOTHER new disc, I go out to the garage and grab a stack I don’t use and sell them on eBay. Then i get money to buy “New” discs without feeling quite as guilty….

    March 23, 2012 at 7:13 pm
    • Steve says:

      I feel you, Jeff. The guilt can eat at you. Can I suggest a Starbucks habit for your wife, too? At least there is always EBay.

      March 23, 2012 at 10:00 pm
  • Avery Jenkins says:

    Great Article!! Very well written and good insight into your condition!!

    But I have no idea what you’re talking about and I don’t believe that I will ever understand. Lol I see you point on being addicted, well if that’s being addicted then I couldn’t even begin to describe the level or condition that I’m currently in at the moment!!

    It’s great to hear that there are others out there in the world that are so overtaken with the need to purchase discs, but it sounds like you are purchasing a lot of current production runs of discs. I just wanted to let you know that this so-called addiction can become much worst when you start to dive deeper into the Older Disc Collection Market as well, then the possibilities will seem to become unlimited at that point.

    I wish you the best in your “Plastic Detox” as you know that I will continue to buy Discs throughout this time, even though I currently have more than several lifetimes worth of Discs.

    For me personally, it’s more than plastic addiction, and something that I guess that I’ll have to live with…and I accept that.

    March 24, 2012 at 3:57 am
  • Bryan Buller says:

    Believe me when I say I can relate to you Steve, after reading this article yesterday morning I went online on my phone AT WORK and bought some new plastic.

    March 24, 2012 at 2:55 pm
  • StanTheMan says:

    I think it’s a natural tendency for all of us golfers to think the ‘grass is greener’ with a new disc. I have to admit to the same addiction over the past few “beginning months”, but I finally reached a point that I’ll call my “addiction plateau”. I have narrowed the spectrum of observing the discs I do better with, and, as my throwing style has become more routine, I know what to expect from each disc I own and what I know to be comfortable to throw. I could draw laughs from those who throw over 300 feet , but I believe it’s more desirable to be accurate than have distance. With the discs I use now, I can pretty well predict their flight path and landing zones. I have to agree, I haven’t met a disc I haven’t liked at one time or another, it’s just that some perform better than others and that’s the draw that costs us until we find that “plateau”. I also think an addict also fears, as with so many good products, that a favorite disc may be discontinued next week.
    On the bright side, I used to be into RC model flying, but now I’m grateful to be into ‘flying saucers’ that don’t break on impact, and are just as fun to fly. In the long run, I believe disc golf will be the better option as it offers more exercise and should prove less expensive — IF I can keep my discs from reproducing.

    March 25, 2012 at 1:33 am
  • Dave says:

    Wow, really good article and one that captures what I have been going through these past 8 months perfectly.

    I too just started, and I think/hope that “it’s not me, it’s the disc” perspective is pretty common. After all, that’s why there are lots of ball golf web sites and magazines and HUGE retail sections in every sporting goods store. There is always new technology, which has to improve your game…right?

    Around January, after buying something like 30 discs in 6 months I thought I had kicked the obsessive buying habit. I remembered a friend who was a high school golf coach. He used to carry a 7 iron and a putter, and completely smoke all of his players. His secret was that he knew exactly what each club would do in each situation.

    That made me stop buying, and focus on 6 total discs, three for short range (stable, over and under stable), two drivers (over and under) and a putter. I thought I was set!

    Then, of course, I started throwing farther, and suddenly I needed to “back-up” my beloved discs in case disaster struck while throwing into the woods, the ponds or the snow.

    Then, last month I picked up a blizzard destroyer on EBay….and it’s flying farther than my star destroyer…..oh no! I’m sure that my wraith would go farther if it was a blizzard too….right? Of course, these blizzard discs are pretty light, I am sure they will note perform well in the wind…. Then I went and played in a tournament, and the roc that they gave away seems to fly straighter than my buzz, but it’s on the heavy side so maybe I need another, lighter roc,,,,

    I need an intervention!!!!!!!

    March 25, 2012 at 7:51 am
  • Sean SteezeOG says:

    I feel like this. I’m getting the urge now. I’ll be at DD later just watch.

    August 8, 2013 at 12:27 pm

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