Review: Discasaurus app for iPhone

By Kevin Morrow — Special to RattlingChains.com

Let me start by saying I hate phones.

Especially cell phones.

As soon as I answer a call, I’m looking for a chance to end it.I never carried a cell phone and I waited for about two years before I bought an iPhone. But I use it as a handheld portable data device, which just so happens to take calls. Almost immediately, I began looking for disc golf scoring apps.

Discasaurus

I have used several scoring apps. The earliest ones were just scorecards that had a few extra features. iDiscGolf, Scorecards, Disc Golf Tracker and the PDGA app (which I use for tournament rounds) are some that I have tried.

And, of course, Discasaurus.

The apps creator — Dave — has said the app is disc golf score keeping done right.

After more than 150 rounds with the app, I tend to agree with him.

Discasaurus is a free app for the iPhone. It’s an easy-to-use scorecard that also has a course locator. The app, which was released June 21, 2011, is integrated with a website where players can upload scores and keep track of scoring trends.  The next update is slated to happen within the next few weeks

I downloaded this app about two weeks after it was released. Since then, it’s become my primary disc scoring app. The app features about 2,700 courses, including ones in the United States and 15 other countries. There are also about 5,300 registered players and there is about 50 new players daily registering accounts. Between 75-100 scores are posted daily.

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‘Non-Stop’ opportunities, growth on professional tour

It's a non-stop tour for four PDGA pros this summer.

Tens of thousands of miles. Four professional disc golfers. One van.

No, this isn’t the premise to the newest goofy Adam Sandler film. Actually, it’s the framework for the Non-Stop Disc Golf Tour, and it is serious business.

OK, so it isn’t all serious business, but there is plenty of work involved, nonetheless.

The brainchild of 2008 world champion David Feldberg and 2010 United States Disc Golf Championship winner Will Schusterick, the foundation of the tour is simple: The two pros – along with fellow hotshots Nikko Locastro and Cale Leiviska – cross the country in an RV, holding school clinics during the week and closing out their visits with weekend tournaments. From pounding the pavement for sponsorships to cleaning up the remnants of their events, these four and their crew arrange these outings with the common purpose of growing the game of disc golf.

Passing the Torch

The genesis of the tour, according to Feldberg, came from the close relationships the players already had with one another.

“The idea of a tour this year…I think that was a combination of all of us thinking together, because we’ve been traveling together a lot,” Feldberg said. “I’ve been thinking about it for years. I’ve been building my career around the idea of being able to go to schools and teach clinics, so it works out well.”

Dave Feldberg works with another player at a NSDG clinic. (photo courtesy NSDG via Facebook)

Besides teaching new players about the game, Feldberg is also using the tour as a chance to educate the younger professionals and usher in the next era of the game.

“I just figured that it’s almost a passing of the torch,” he said. “I figured I’d take out some young guys and make sure they’re the next best.”

That torch isn’t being passed just from Feldberg to the youngsters, though.

“I think we all have something to learn from each other, even though I haven’t been around as long as everybody else has,” Schusterick said. “I’m definitely picking up a couple of their tricks and a couple of things to add and always build my game.”

Feldberg agreed that even he, as the seasoned veteran of the group, can pick up some tips from the young guys. He also sees this as a necessity to keep up with the rapid acceleration in the quality of professional disc golf currently being played.

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Poll 10: Are you a PDGA member?

It’s been a little while since our last poll, so it’s time for a new one.

Before we hit it up, let’s check out our last one which asked if you followed the National Tour.

Though things started out a bit different early, it ended up showing that the majority of those who voted do, indeed, follow the tour.

Of the 69 who voted, 40 (58 percent) said yes. Next was 15 people (22 percent) who didn’t know there was a tour and then 14 (20 percent said they didn’t follow it).

Let’s see what some of the readers had to say.

Ryan Clements noted:

I’m aware that there is a tour. It’s just not something I follow.

I’ve been told that, personally, by many people. It’s good that people are aware of it, but for the tour to have impact, casual players will eventually have to have an interest in watching etc.

Jorey C. McComas said:

Love watching the Pros. I enjoy watching a tourney and then trying to play the course as close to their lines as possible. Doesn’t work out on the holes where you need a 400+ throw to clear their line, but fun trying the shorter stuff.Love watching the Pros. I enjoy watching a tourney and then trying to play the course as close to their lines as possible. Doesn’t work out on the holes where you need a 400+ throw to clear their line, but fun trying the shorter stuff.

That’s one big reason I like to watch the Tour — especially in person — is their ability to throw these discs. It really is amazing watching what they can do with one.

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Opinion: One giant step — and statement — by women disc golfers

For something to be successful, it often takes small steps.

This past weekend, the women of disc golf didn’t appear to want to make a small statement. Instead, as a collective unit, more than 600 women made note that they were there to play the game.

Bravo.

Several months ago, when I first heard about the Women’s Global Event, the gears in my brain started to turn. How could we as a disc golf blog help to not only promote this wonderful event, but also work to help get women’s voices out there?

A women’s week came to mind.

I have to be honest, too. I never even connected it with Mother’s Day. In fact, it was Val Jenkins who noted that to me in an e-mail. Though she promised she wouldn’t tell “mom” about my gaffe of not realizing that WGE and Mother’s Day were the same weekend, I’m coming clean.

That just made this week at Rattling Chains more special.

As this idea grew, I spoke with the person who created our logo — Ben Coury — and asked him about switching some colors. He did it quickly. I looked at our blog theme and realized I could change the color to match.

Women’s Week at Rattling Chains was born.

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Women’s Global Event attracts more than 600 players

Angelie Hill gets a high-five from her father and tournament director Ray Hill at the JTown Disc Golf WGE on Saturday. (photo by Jenny Cook)

All signs point to the first PDGA Women’s Global Event being a resounding success.

Paige Pierce, who won the 2011 World Championship, earned the overall Open title, according to unofficial results on the PDGA website, as of late Sunday afternoon.

Pierce, who played in the Central Texas Hyzer Honey’s WGE, had rated rounds of 983 and 991 for a 1974 total. Her average was 987.

The Daisy Chains Tournament in Watsonville, Calif., which had 52 players, put on its WGE event with a serious woman’s touch. Everything from men acting as scorers, hand sanitizers, candy, daisies all over the course, poker tables, player bags with interesting items and, basically, a fun atmosphere.

Tournament director Christine Hernlund said the tournament had 18 scorekeepers, four men manning the grill, many volunteers and the group used 48 pounds of meat at lunch.

Women from this event placed in the top two in three classes — Open, Advanced Masters and Intermediate.

On the other side of the country, Jennifer DeVries served as a tournament director for the first time at the Disc Chicks Throw Down at New Quarter (Williamsburg, Va.)

“Wow was it an experience that I really enjoyed,” DeVries said.”It was such a great time for everyone involved.”

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Suzette Simons keeps giving back to the game

Suzette Simons at the 2011 United States Women's Disc Golf Championship in Round Rock, Texas.

Family first.

This simple edict may be a gentle reminder about one’s priorities in life, but when reflecting on bringing more women to disc golf, Suzette Simons said she thinks it might be a means to continuing the sport’s growth.

Simons is a key member of the Southern California disc golf family. Through her work as the Membership Director of the Southern California Disc Golf Association (SCDGA), as well as her employment as Customer Service and Promotions Specialist for Innova Champion Discs, she said she understands what brings all players – women included – to the course.

“It seems most women come into the sport, just like most men, through friends and family,” Simons said. “Family play brings not only more women to the sport, but junior players as well. As more families play, more women will play.”

Since first trying disc golf in 1996, Simons has dedicated herself to her local scene, be it in Iowa where she first played, or in Minnesota, where she served for two years as president of the Minnesota Frisbee Association. At each depot in her disc golf life, she has always made time to give back to the community.

“I was hooked immediately, especially to the competitive side, including league and tournament play,” Simons said of her origins with the game. “I also became active right away volunteering with local clubs and running events.

Suzette Simons at the table of the 2009 United States Masters.

“It is just my nature to volunteer.”

Her work in giving back to the game has centered mostly on attracting women and children to the sport through hosting clinics, tournaments, and league events. Simons’ desire to contribute also finds her on the PDGA Competition Committee and as a major supporter of EDGE, the Educational Disc Golf Experience that helps put the game in kids’ hands.

And while Simons is a competitive player by nature, she doesn’t necessarily see competition as a need for attracting women to the game.

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The time has come: Women’s Global Event to run Saturday

With all the planning and plotting out of the way, the PDGA’s Women’s Global Event is set.

On Saturday, 41 events around the world will take place in conjunction with the Women’s Global Event. Nearly 600 ladies have pre-registered for the event and walk-ups will likely push the number to well beyond 600.

This event could be a crowning achievement for women’s disc golf and the PDGA.

“All of the PDGA events are important,” said Sara Nicholson, the PDGA’s membership manager. “This one will make the biggest ‘field’ of women competing against each other during one event, so this is definitely one for the history books.”

The concept of the event, though it may seem extremely complicated, is actually pretty straightforward.

Women from all over the globe will play two rounds of disc golf at a local event. The scores are submitted to the PDGA and rated. Those ratings equal the “global score.” Two rounds must be played on the same course and layout and include at least five players (male or female) in the field with a rating of 800 or higher. That works to keep the ratings in the event consistent.

Scores and ratings will be updated throughout the day Saturday and eventually will crown an overall champion.

That equals a ton of work, but in the end this could be a massive step for women’s disc golf. As of Thursday night, 597 women were pre-registered for the event.

“It’s about participation,” touring professional Sarah Hokom said. “Get as many women as possible out there competing as one force. This is a huge thing and I think it will be epic.”

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In their words: Nine secrets of the women of disc golf

The ladies who played in the advanced division at the Masters Cup this past weekend. Pictured are: Front -- Anna Caudle. Second row, from left, Victoria McCoy, Michelle Chambless, Lacey Kimbell, Cyndi Baker; and third row, from left, Christine Hernlund, Jenny Umstead, and Crissy White. (Photo by Alex Hegyi).

OK, maybe the title is a little misleading. Calling them “secrets” is overdoing it a bit, and this is about much more than that.

I spent some time last weekend talking to female competitors at the Amateur Masters Cup presented by DGA in Santa Cruz, Calif., and some of their answers might be new and useful information to the guys who play disc golf.

But are they secrets?

What’s definitely not a secret is the fact that disc golf is, and always has been, a sport played predominately by males. The breakdown of competitors in this A-Tier PDGA sanctioned event illustrates this point perfectly, as only 11 of the 158 registered participants were in female divisions. That’s less than 10 percent.

The eyeball test anytime you’re playing a recreational round on your local course will tell you that that ratio holds true in non-tournament settings as well.

So what’s the deal?

After watching the sport grow and develop over the past 25 years, I’ve got my own theories. For instance, in the early days of DeLaveaga — back in the late 1980s and early 1990s — seeing a woman on the course was rare enough to stop a guy mid-throw to ask a playing partner if he saw her, too. They had to make sure she wasn’t a mirage (or an hallucination, depending on the player). I later learned from the first female DeLa pioneers that a main deterrent was the lack of a restroom on site at the time — not even a porta-potty. Not a big deal for the average guy, but enough to keep many women away.

While not all courses are as remote and facility-less as DeLa, back then plenty of them were similarly in open spaces. And besides the lack of basic facilities, there was also an non-policed “Wild West” feel to many courses. I have a notion that many women felt these courses were just unsafe enough — or at least could be — to discourage them from giving disc golf a try.

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The younger generation is key to growing the women’s game

Three-time world champion Val Jenkins is the chairperson of the PDGA's Women's Committee and is working to expand the women's game.

If one took a peek at last year’s PDGA National Elite Tour women’s standings, they’d see a list of ladies who participated in the nine-event series throughout the season.

However, looking at it closer, just one player — Sarah Hokom — played in all nine events. Three others — Val Jenkins, Paige Pierce and Catrina Allen played in eight apiece.

Liz Lopez played in seven and after that, it dwindles to five points and below. Of the 57 players who competed in an NT event, 40 played in just one event.

In comparison, the men’s National Elite Tour had 200 players, with 12 players competing in seven or more events. More than a handful played in five or six events, which made the fields larger.

So what gives?

As with many sports, the purse for the winners is usually smaller when it comes to women. And though the ladies may not be the main draw, there is star power when talking about players such as three-time world champion Jenkins, 2011 world champion Pierce and Hokom, who placed second in last year’s NT standings to Jenkins.

Still, it seems whenever Open players on the women’s circuit travel, they play the same people on the top cards. In men’s action, you can find different standouts regionally who can sometimes get in with the top touring pros.

Sarah Hokom, who left her job as a teacher to tour full time, is trying to help expand the women's game.

The top female amateur divisions sometimes lack players, too. Hokom said while she was still an am, she sometimes had to play in a men’s division.

“I’ve been trying to figure this out for a while,” Hokom said. “That’s why I played Open. There were no women in the Midwest to play against as an amateur. Places I went, sometimes you played against yourself. That’s no fun.”

Hokom, a former high school biology teacher, opted to become a full-time touring pro a couple of years ago. Sponsored by Discraft, she said has to watch where she tours because she needs to make sure there’s a decent Women’s Open division. If there’s only one or two others in the tournament, it’s not financially worth traveling to the events.

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From snowmen to pro: One woman’s journey in disc golf

Jenny Cook’s course directory and map to help her become a better golfer.

(Note: The following is a personal account by Jenny Cook on her climb in disc golf as a female player. Enjoy!)

It all started with a snowman.

Not the kind made from snow, but the kind that can creep up on a scorecard as an 8.

Hole No. 2 punished me with a 7.

Hole No. 3 — another snowman.

From hole No. 4 on, I probably didn’t see a score on a hole better than a 6. It was frustrating how every shot I threw only went 150 feet and raced straight to the ground. Hard.

After that hot summer day of playing disc golf in Rockford, Illinois, I only played a handful of other times, most often in the streets of my college town for a round of object golf. Other than that, I wasn’t sold.

Jenny has used dedication to improve over the years.

One year passed.

The summer of 2005 brought many changes to my life including a new commute to and from my new job. Along that route I discovered a much less intimidating disc golf course — a little “9 hole-r.” I stopped to admire the oak trees with metal baskets peppered throughout the property. It was beautiful, convenient, and reminded me of why people called me the outdoorsy type.

“I should be out there,” I thought. “No, I belong out there.”

Soon after my mini revelation, I decided to buy a few discs from the local mart, swallow my pride, and hit the course.

Even if it was going to hurt, I was going to give this disc golf thing another try.

I picked it up again on that same 9-hole course. Hole No. 1, started with a 4. Not bad, I thought. But as I looked around at all of the other people playing, I concluded that my 4 was a disgrace on this 235-foot hole.

I’m not going to lie, I was intimidated at first. Not just because I was terrible, but because I didn’t see another female disc golfer. I weighed my options — miss out on something that could change my life, or sit in the corner worrying about what all these guys thought of the “only girl out there playing.”

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