Third National Tour event starts Friday

Paul McBeth, shown here competing in the 2011 Vibram Open, has won the National Tour's first two events. He'll look to win the third NT event at the Kansas City Wide Open.

By P.J. Harmer — RattlingChains.com Staff

Paul McBeth is seeking his third straight PDGA National Tour Elite Series title this weekend in Kansas City, Mo.

The Tour will hold its third event of the six-tournament season, at the 30th Kansas City Wide Open from Friday-Saturday.

During this year’s Drive for the Championship presented by Vibram Disc Golf, a player’s top three NT event points, plus those earned at the tour-ending Vibram Open from August 16-19, will decide the champion in the men’s and women’s tour.

McBeth, who placed third in last year’s tour, has won the first two men’s events and has a perfect 200 points this season. The first two wins came at the Memorial and the Masters Cup.

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Creative Corner: Making a disc golf cart

By Darren Dolezel — RattlingChains.com Staff

I’ve seen a few disc golf carts on the market, but spending upward of $300 on something like that is hard to justify. Especially considering I won’t use the cart all the time.

So, I set out to build an inexpensive alternative and came up with what I think is a winner.

The finished cart.

In the past, I’ve seen some local professionals using hand trucks modified as a cart, or an old fashioned red wagon as another cart. My thoughts were that they weren’t as functional as I wanted them to be.

I searched and searched for something I could convert and found a feed cart at Tractor Supply for about $60. It took me a good two months before I settled for this cart, but it turned out to be the cheapest cart with the most capacity.

The first thing I wanted on the cart was a seat, so I went to a local construction supply store and purchased a shop stool for $15. I modified that to fit the cart. After a trial run, it was nice, but I wanted a seat with a back for a little support.

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Poll 12: What will send the sport to the mainstream?

Before we get to this week’s poll, allow me to apologize for the tardy post. With the long weekend here in the States, it’s been one of those things. Lots to do and not enough time, right?

I hope all of you who had the long weekend had the chance to get out and enjoy the weather (maybe?), flip some discs or do whatever else.

Anyway, with that out of the way, allow me to try and get things back on track. The poll is a day late this week, so let’s make up some time.

Before we get to this week’s poll, let’s go back to last week’s poll as we have some things to give away.

The idea of last week’s poll was to have some fun and be humorous. A lot of people posted their “reaction” in a serious tone, which is fine. But a few things about the said situation I made up —

  • I’m quite sure no pro would ever act that way (I hope).
  • If all of you could react calmly given the situation, you are better than I would be.

A total of 48 people votes on this one and the big winner was “Humorously,” which garnered 21 votes (44 percent). Calmly (12 votes/25 percent) finished second, followed by angry (7 votes/15 percent) and other (7 votes/15 percent). Crazy only got one vote (one percent).

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Breaking up is hard to do

We've had some good times together, haven't we?

By P.J. Harmer — RattlingChains.com Staff

I know separations can be messy.

And I hope this one won’t be. After all, we’ve been so good to each other over the past few years. I’ve coddled you, at times. When you went storming off into the woods or slammed yourself up against a tree, I ran after you and wanted to make sure you were safe and sound.

You were one of my first, too.

Oh that special moment. The first time I felt your wonderful underside and gripped you as I stared down a beautiful fairway.

It was love at first touch.

I remember the feeling of knowing I had you all to myself, too. You had this Buzzz to you. You were oh so pretty and when I really needed help, you were always there for me.

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Company Closeup: Explore Disc Golf turns the ‘course into a classroom’

By Steve Hill — RattlingChains.com Staff

Like many disc golfers, Brian Giggey’s beginnings in the sport evolved quickly from recreation to obsession. Giggey, however, took his love of the game one step further:

Profession.

Explore Disc Golf's booth at an event.

Giggey is the founder of Explore Disc Golf, a Massachusetts-based company specializing in course design, equipment rentals, and “Mobile Disc Golf Experiences,” which bring the courses to the people. Through the business, Giggey’s aim is to use the sport of disc golf as a way to have more people interact with nature, while also teaching customers about their surroundings and the game.

“Our slogan is ‘turning the course into a classroom,’” Giggey said. “We believe that disc golf seamlessly lends itself to a variety of environmental education opportunities, in addition to education about the sport of disc golf.”

Education is what first brought Giggey to the sport, he said. While spending long hours in the design studio during his graduate studies in landscape architecture at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Giggey would use disc golf as his reward for getting his work finished.

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Trash has no place spread around a course

By Darren Dolezel — RattlingChains.com Staff

Why do people feel the need to throw their waste on the ground?

I’m seriously sick and tired of seeing all sorts of garbage spread throughout disc golf courses and everywhere else. When I have worked all day and want to unwind, I usually head outside, take a walk and try to enjoy nature and my surroundings.

Ugh... finding stuff on the course is ugly! After this photo, crushed and in the golf bag to get rid of later.

It stinks to look at a beautiful countryside and see garbage on the ground. I’m an environmentally minded person and I don’t throw my trash anywhere other than where it belongs — in a garbage can (or, on the floor of my truck).

As usual, the weekend comes and I can’t wait to grab my bag of discs, a couple of granola bars, something to drink and head to the local course. I get there, warm up and head out.

It doesn’t take long before the excitement wears off.

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Disc review: Vibram Obex can’t be beat

(Editor’s note: Three people associated with Rattling Chains tested out Vibram’s new mid-range disc, the Obex. Below you’ll find the reviews. All three are different level players, which we hope will allow you to see the differences in the disc via their thoughts. The first part is by Jack Trageser, a pro based in California).

The new Vibram Obex can’t be beat. Believe me, I tried!

Over a couple months’ time I threw it into strong headwinds, threw it with as much power as I could muster, AND threw it with full power and a sharp anhyzer angle. It didn’t buckle and irrevocably turn over one single time. (As a reference point, I don’t have a huge arm, but can still exceed 400 feet with accuracy.)

Vibram’s new mid-range disc is the overstable compliment to the Ibex, which is pretty stable as well, but noticeably less so than the Obex. Steve Dodge of Vibram in fact describes it as a modified Ibex. According to Dodge, Vibram
“took the Ibex and added a Ridge bead to it for stability.”

I like having both because they feel the same in my hand, yet I can tell that the one is a step up from the other in a similar way that a five iron is similar, yet different, from a six iron in ball golf. I guess you could say they compliment each other, which I think is Vibram’s master plan for its eventual complete lineup.

I’m not one to talk in technical terms about a disc — diameter, bead, flight plate, and such. I’m all about feel and performance, and as with all the Vibram discs I’ve tested before, it scores very high in both categories.

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Poll 11: How do you react?

OK, I’m going to be honest — this week’s poll is a hypothetical one that is supposed to give readers the chance to have fun with their responses in the comments section. You don’t have to take it seriously.

In fact, we’re going to have a little fun with it as well.

Answer the question in the poll as normal and then comment. We’re going to do the normal where we’ll give away something from the prize vault for a random commenter.

BUT…

We’re also going to give away some plastic via “Staff Choice.” Basically, it comes down to this — if you create the funniest or most entertaining answer and our staff votes you the winner — you’ll have the disc sent to you. I’m not sure what kind of disc I’ll give away, but you’ll get some plastic if you win!

Anyway, before we get into that, let’s look at last week’s poll about whether or not you are PDGA members.

Of 72, voters, 75 percent said they were current PDGA members. That’s 54 votes. Further, three more votes (4 percent) said they were members, but not current. That means 21 percent (15 votes) of those voting are not PDGA members.

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Rattling Chains Photo of the Week: May 19

Nathan Rabideaux and his dog, Bear, with a great disc golf bag!

Couldn’t resist with this one.

Several weeks ago, a few of us went to a local course in the Albany, N.Y. area. After playing, I was doing some other photos of the 18th basket and getting ready to take some video for an upcoming disc review.

That’s when this photo unfolded.

Three guys were heading to the first tee to play and one had this pooch — and the dog was carrying discs. Too cool. So we asked if he wouldn’t mind being on the blog.

I’ve seen a lot of people bring their dog when they play disc golf, but this is the first time I witnessed a dog also being used as a disc golf bag.

So, this is Nathan Rabideaux with his dog Bear, a black lab/German shepherd/husky/dalmatian mix (wow)! Rabideaux, originally from Minneapolis, Minn., lives in the Capital Region in N.Y., and that’s also where Bear came from.

Rabideaux has only been playing the game for about a year and it tries to get out once a week or so to play.

Bear’s pack is a dog backpack from REI. There are a few companies that make packs for dogs and they aren’t really made for discs, but it works out wonderfully, Rabideaux said. He bought the bag, originally, so Bear could haul his own gear for hiking and camping, but now it’s used for other things, including disc golf.

Techie info:

  • Camera: Canon 7D
  • Shutter speed: 1/1600th
  • F-stop: F/4
  • ISO: 100

Why we chose to use this photo:

Just because it’s a different take on disc golf and shows a way that people can also involve their dogs when out playing!

Have some great images you want to share with the Rattling Chains readers? Please e-mail pj [at] rattlingchains.com with the subject “Photo of the Week.” Please note that we can’t guarantee all images will be used. Send as many as you would like as if the photos are top notch, we’ll use more than one from you!

When sending in images, please remember to send the story about the photo, the location and any technical information possible! The story can be as long or as short as you like, but please make sure you give some details!

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Instruction: Building blocks of basic backhand technique

By Jack Trageser — RattlingChains.com Staff

Disc golf is still enough of a niche sport that by the time most of us are ensnared (like a putter caught in the inner chains of a Mach III) by an obsession to get better, we’ve already been heavily exposed to other more mainstream sports.

That reality has definite advantages for me, as an instructor, because it helps when I’m teaching a disc golf concept related to technique (or even mental stuff) to be able to draw analogies between disc golf techniques and those of other more familiar games. If someone has already learned a similar motion, it’s easier to recall that motion and apply it to disc golf than to learn it completely from scratch.

Case in point, my first session with Rattling Chains’ lead blogger P.J. Harmer.

P.J. spoke of the frustration of not being able to throw as far as he wanted or thought he should be able to throw — nor as accurately. Without actually watching him throw live and in person, I had to rely mostly on the spoken and written words we exchanged on the subject in choosing my advice for him. However, I knew a couple other things that would likely prove useful.

First, players in the earlier stages of the disc golf learning curve usually make many of the same common mistakes and therefore see many of the same negative results from those mistakes. Second, P.J. has talked on many occasions of being an avid softball player, so I knew right away that he would be able to easily understand the comparisons I like to use between throwing a disc golf disc using the backhand technique and proper batting technique in baseball.

Weight transfer and balance

Probably the most common mistake I see players of all levels make with the backhand shot has to do with transferring weight from the back foot to the front foot.

Figure 1: The stick in this photo illustrates the line on which players pull back the disc and throw that results in shots that pop in the air and don't go very far.

A good backhand throw derives most of its power from the back, torso, and legs rather than just the arm. In this way (and some others, which we’ll cover soon) throwing a disc backhand is just like swinging a baseball bat with the goal of hitting the ball with any kind of power.

In both cases you’re standing at a 90-degree angle to the direction you want to throw/hit. And in both cases you want your weight to shift from your back foot to your front foot at a precise critical time. With baseball, that time is a fraction of a second before the bat hits the ball. With disc golf, it’s right as the disc is passing your body mid-throw. Any sooner in either case and you’ll rob yourself of all that power you had coiled up from your legs and torso.

Using the baseball analogy, think of what a hitter looks like when he’s way out front on a change-up or curve ball. And in the case of a backhand throw in disc golf, you’ll also likely mess up your balance and lose accuracy as well as distance.

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