Poll 20: How strong is your arm?

I know, I know… drive for show, putt for dough.

Here’s my issue — I can’t drive and my putting is a love/hate relationship with the chains. What’s a rec player to do?

So, this week, we’re talking arm strength. But we’ll get to that in a moment. First, let’s revisit last week’s poll when we asked how close you all lived to a course.

Turns out a lot of you are way luckier than me.

As noted last week, it takes a while for me to get to a semi-decent course. More than 70 miles one way.

Of the 123 people who voted in this poll, 93 of you (76 percent) live within 0-10 miles of a course!

Talk about lucky! Sheesh!

The next one was 11-20 miles, which received 14 votes (11 percent). That means, 87 percent of the voters live within 20 miles of a course. I am so jealous!

From there, 21-40 miles took third (7 votes.6 percent), followed by 41-75 miles (6 votes/5 percent); 101 or more miles (2 votes/2 percent) and 76-100 miles (0 percent/1 vote).

For the record, I was the one vote for 76-100 miles.

Hopefully, I’ll eventually get to join the legions who are so close to a course. That would be a nice thing.

Let’s see what some of you had to say from last week, too.

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Disc golf terminology has my head spinning

By P.J. Harmer — RattlingChains.com Staff

Hyzer. Anhyzer. Understable. Overstable. Pancake. Worm burner.

The one thing about disc golf is the amount of terms that are used in the game. From terms describing discs to throws to players. It can be overwhelming to newer players, especially when they are playing with more experienced players who are throwing these terms around like it’s nothing else.

It can be like a foreign language.

Better yet, think of yourself as a parent learning to text. You get one from a teenage son or daughter with something along the lines of…

“OMG like i thought u were goin 2 play frisbee 4 fun. u r way 2 serius. lol”

Um…

Exactly.

The reality is the game of disc golf can be very technical. So when an experienced player — or someone who just knows the terminology — starts talking about how your throw is well if you used an overstable disc and let the hyzer naturally take its course.

Huh?

I’m simple when it comes to terminology – in all aspects of life. I don’t like to use jargon or anything like that in pretty much all I do.

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The engineer’s approach to learning disc golf

by Jack Trageser — RattlingChains.com staff

My company, School of Disc Golf, recently hosted a team-building event for a group of engineers and other techies from a Silicon Valley company.

There were a few naturals in the group, especially one guy in particular who was launching some impressive drives and hitting long putts within 90 minutes or so of starting. I don’t think the group as a whole would mind me describing them as people whose finely honed instruments are their minds rather than their bodies.

This is not to say they were in bad shape — just not a group that, when looking at them, you’d think were jocks. They were average folks, like most golfers.

I noticed several instances of participants being able to observe their discs flying a certain way and quickly assess why. They then went about experimenting (with the help of our instruction) and making modifications to their techniques.

The really cool thing that made me want to write about that outing is the one trait this group of very regular people with very modest athletic skills had in common — an analytical, engineering-type mind. For people who are curious about how things work and enjoy solving puzzles, there aren’t many more interesting sports than disc golf.

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Poll 19: How far are you from a course?

As I’ve noted here before, the nearest decent course from me is upward of 75 miles (or more) away.

That hampers me to be able to get out and play as much as I would. Even worse, it makes me lose some interest because I get doing other things. Add together the price of gas and such and I haven’t played a whole heap of disc golf this year.

With all that in mind, we’ll get to this week’s poll in a moment. Before then, let’s check back on last week’s poll to see what you all thought about playing in the heat.

A total of 83 voters took part in this poll and 48 percent (40 votes) said it’s never too hot to play. In second place, 22 voters (27 percent) said playing in 100-plus heat is too much. That was followed by high 90s (19 percent/16 votes); high 80s (4 percent/3 votes) and low 90s (2 percent/2 votes).

Luke notes:

I much prefer hot weather over cold, but the past few weeks it was in the upper 90?s, low 100?s. You couldn’t step outside without breaking a sweat. That was too much for me to stay outside long enough to get a round in.

That’s the one thing that’s tough — if one can’t move 10 feet without breaking a sweat and being uncomfortable, it’s definitely too hot!

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Review: ScoreBand makes scoring a bit easier — once you get the routine down

The ScoreBand is a worth addition to any disc golfers bag.

(Editor’s note: Two people associated with Rattling Chains tested out ScoreBand, a scoring watch that also works for tennis and other things. The first part is by P.J. Harmer).

I’m a stat junkie.

No matter what I do, statistics fascinate me. Whether it’s softball or finds in geocaching or comparing scores on the disc golf course, I really get into it.

One thing with disc golf and me has always been keeping the score. Though there are many phone apps or pencil-and-paper ways of keeping score, I’ve been in search of a quick and easy way of keeping score as I play a round without fumbling with my phone or a pencil.

Insert ScoreBand.

ScoreBand is a rubber wristband/watch. The company calls it a “revolutionary quick-touch, 4-in-1 scorekeeping wristband engineered for sport.” It stood up to the challenge, too.

First, the construction is a one-piece rubber wristband. There are several sizes and colors to choose from, so you’ll be able to find one (or more) that fits your style. It’s comfortable to wear, though I’m not sure I could wear it all the time as I did notice it was there and with the rubber band, it could get a little tough to deal with at times.

Still, this band is easily worn for a round or two of disc golf. I wore it on the opposite wrist of my throwing hand, so I never knew it was there. Also, it made it easy for me to click the score.

I can’t comment on how this would be for ball golf as I always avoided wearing anything on my wrists when playing. I’m sure if people were used to wearing anything when swinging a club, this wouldn’t bother them. The same could be said for tennis.

The ScoreBand has four modes:

  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • All sport
  • Time

Those are four excellent items as it allows you to get multiple uses from one wristband. For golf, it keeps your hole score as well as your cumulative score. For tennis, keep game and set scores.

Though this is something that will be a permanent addition to my disc golf regiment, the all-score mode might be the most intriguing part of this band.

As the company notes on its site, there are many uses for this mode — including some other disc and ball golf functions, such as keeping putts, fairways hit or greens in regulation.

  • Other items that the watch can be used for:
  • Pitch counter for baseball or softball
  • As a head counter where attendance is needed
  • To count inventory
  • Keeping track of how many times you take medication
  • Lap counter

Truthfully, the options are endless with that mode.

Using the band is easy. There’s three buttons — two on the display and one on the side. Once you get the hang of how the watch works, it’s simple to use while playing. The key is remembering to use it.

Though I don’t often do it, perusing the instructions is a smart move and messing with it for a while before taking it out will help you get used to the controls so you can work it while on the course.

ScoreBand is a comfortable band that is easily used throughout a round.

The best part in my eyes?

It keeps your score as you go along. So if you click it after each throw or shot, you can see what you’ve done on each hole. At the end of the hole, add it to your overall score and you’ll have a clean slate for the next hole.

My only issue is it can get a little confusing on how to take your round score and add it to your cumulative score. You have to hold one of the buttons down to have it do this, but in the end, once you get used to it, it shouldn’t be an issue.

Though I love using my phone as a score card, the reality is it can sometimes get cumbersome to take the phone in and out of your pocket, get the screen up and type in scores. In the amount of time that takes, I’m at the next tee or shot with the score already in my watch.

If you are looking for more in-depth stats, the phone apps are probably the best. But if you are out playing and just want a quick and effective way to keep your score, this really is the way to go.

ScoreBand is $29.99, but it’s durable and something all disc golfers should consider having if they want a nice and easy way to keep score during rounds.

Jack Trageser

One thing in particular piqued my interest when asked to review the ScoreBand as a method for tracking disc golf scores and statistics — I wondered if it would work for someone (namely, me) that has made a persistent effort over the past several years to remain ignorant of his cumulative score during a round.

As I’ve discussed before, a primary disc golf philosophy that I espouse centers on playing disc golf in a vacuum. In a nutshell, that refers to being completly immersed with the current shot rather than letting your mind wander about things like past shots and holes, future shots and holes, other games, what’s for lunch, and especially the distraction that pertains to this review . . . total score.

Keeping that in mind, I’ve yet to come across a method for recording my score among the traditional pencil-and-card and smartphone apps. I’ve trained myself to lock each shot on each hole into my memory banks without tallying the total until the round is over.

When I heard how ScoreBand works, however, I thought it might be the first scoring method to allow me to record my score using a device more reliable than my own grey matter — without letting the insidious organ get in its own way.

The design sets it apart from other scoring tools by being something that is worn, rather than carried, taken out and put back away repeatedly. Plus, it has a watch function, too, so you can wear it instead of your normal watch.

ScoreBand’s method of keeping track of the score lends itself to my personal idiosyncrasy as much as its ergonomic design. The user hits one button for each stroke to keep score on the current hole in the upper display, then presses and holds another button to add that hole’s score to the total score in the lower display.

Scoreband is a very cool concept and could help many people with disc golf scoring and many other items.

In theory, this lets a player hit the buttons the required amount of time for strokes and hold it the right duration of time to advance from one hole to another without having to even look at the screens and remain as oblivious as he or she wishes to be where total score is concerned.

In practice, however, I found using the ScoreBand to not be quite so simple (remember, these issues are magnified by my desire to not know my cumulative score during the round).

For starters, there is the issue of when to hit the button to record each stroke. Do you do it right after each throw, or wait until the completion of the hole and hit the button multiple times? In my case, during the five test rounds I played, settling on a system was not easy. In fact, it never happened. I tried to do it throw-by-throw, then would realize on the next tee that I had slacked, requiring me to enter all the strokes on that hole at one time. And it got worse, as a few times I realized I had forgotten for two entire holes.

I guess that can happen with other scoring methods as well, but having to hit a button for each stroke makes it more of an ordeal.

The upper display shows the stroke count for the current hole. When the hole is complete, you press and hold a button and the hole total is added to the round total on the lower display, while the upper one resets to zero. If you forget to record a stroke, or a hole or two, there is no way to tell which hole you last recorded successfully. It’s also an issue for those who want to know how they did hole-to-hole as at the end of the round all you have is total score.

The bottom line is that ScoreBand delivered in the main way I hoped it would. As a stretchy band worn on my non-throwing wrist, it was accessible and out of the way. Once I learned how to use it, I could hit the buttons without looking at the screens, enabling me to avoid knowing my score.

But it either takes time to get the process down to a routine, or I’m just inept at it. Of the five test rounds I played, my total came out wrong twice. I rely on my memory-based compilation after the round is over. Since I can recall each shot in my mind’s eye, it proved my use of the ScoreBand wasn’t perfect. I don’t think the device was faulty — it was a combination of my attention span and the user interface.

In January, ScoreBand was recognized as the Best Product Concept at the Professional Golf Association merchandise show. The people who awarded ScoreBand put more thought into things like that, so if you you’re like me and want a method for scoring that is handy and unobtrusive, ScoreBand may be for you.

If you have any comments, questions, thoughts, ideas or anything else, feel free to e-mail me and the crew at: pj [at] rattlingchains.com. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!

Disc golf makes for good art

“Drive” by Andre Fredrick.

by Andre Fredrick — RattlingChains.com staff

I have a lot of passions in my life, chief among them are disc golf and art.

Much like my disc golf game, my art has evolved over the years. As a child I had been envious of the artistic abilities of others, so I devoted a lot of time to trying to become better.

“Lady Putt” by Andre Fredrick.

I have learned the most in my time as an artist from fellow artists, studying their approach to their own art forms, taking away from them what I could, and applying what I learned to my own style.

My high school friend Tonchi taught me a lot about graffiti style, with its fluid and swooping lines. While working on pipedream comic books with another friend from high school, Greg, I began to learn about the human figure and dynamic poses.

Tonchi and Greg proved to be my greatest artistic influences in those high school years.

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Poll 18: How hot is too hot?

Will the heatwave stop?

Or do you even care?

I realize we did a weather poll not too long ago, but I’ve seen many “excessive” heat warnings for the upcoming week and one of the other writers here offered that kind of poll. So I’m going to go with it.

But first, let’s check in on the poll from two weeks ago and get things wrapped up there.

We wanted to know if you had ever called somebody out for a rule or courtesy violation and the results were extremely close.

Of the 79 voters, 52 percent of you (41 votes) said you hadn’t. The other 38 (48 percent) said you had.

That’s quite close. So, let’s check a few of the responses to try and get a better picture of things.

Justin Allen says:

I think the area I play in, is the only little piece of the world where the rules to disc golf are not enforced or even recognized. Our weekly tournaments are a big jumble of people just randomly throwing plastic at chains regardless of who is furthest out, people throwing from adjusted lies, or just not paying attention to other players. I find it very annoying and try to keep whoever is in my group in line. This has earned me the title of disc golf hall monitor among my peers. I am awaiting my striped referee jersey and whistle.

That would blow my mind.

I am, by no means, a rules-crazed person, but that would drive me up a wall. If people are so blatant in destroying the rules, I’m not sure I could play in that league. There, eventually, becomes a safety factor, too. If people are just firing off discs whenever and wherever they want, somebody could get railed with a disc.

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Using a falling putt can help lower scores

By Jack Trageser — RattlingChains.com Staff

Disc golfers familiar with the rules of the sport recognize the term “falling putt” as an infraction that occurs when the disc is within 10 meters of the target.

The rules (see 803.04 C) clearly state that a player – when inside this putting circle, must demonstrate full balance after releasing the disc before advancing to retrieve his or her disc. This is to ensure players cannot gain an advantage by shortening the distance their disc has to travel.

If this rule were not in place, putting would turn into a Frisbee-long jump hybrid, with players taking 10 paces backward to get a running start before leaping toward the target. I can easily imagine some nasty accidents as well, with “slam dunk” attempts going horribly awry.

Luckily the 10-meter rule prevents gruesome player/basket collisions, while at the same time preserving the purity of the flying disc aspect of disc golf putting.

Of course, when this rule is broken, it is usually much more subtle than that. The player inadvertently leans into the shot and is unable to avoid stepping or stumbling forward. Hence the term “falling” putt. But outside 10 meters no such rule applies, and using your entire body to gain added momentum can be a great strategy. If — and only if — it is done correctly. Plus, even outside of the 10 meter putting circle, it must be done legally.

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State of the Chains Address

I feel that with how slow things have been here recently, I owe our readers a bit of an explanation — hence the State of the Chains Address.

First, my apologies for no poll this week. I am skipping it this week and it will return this upcoming Monday. I’m low on ideas for polls and have received a few ideas, so I need to get them all ready to go.

As for how things have been…

One thing about this site — and the writers — is we came out of the gates without any pace. By that I mean we had many ideas and stories and we just kept putting them out day after day. We tried a few things and when they didn’t work too well, we scaled it back or replaced it. Things were good.

For those of you who write, you might see where this is going.

It’s one thing to blog, it’s another when it’s a niche topic. I have a personal blog on top of Rattling Chains. At times, it’s much easier for me to whip out stories there because it covers a variety of topics. Here, it’s disc golf.

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Knowing your game can help you win the battle with trees

Trees, trees, everywhere trees. (photo by Andre Fredrick)

by Andre Fredrick — RattlingChains.com staff

Let’s talk about trees, folks.

My life as a disc golfer began its incubation in the Midwest, in the lovely state of Minnesota. While trees certainly came into play there, it wasn’t until I started throwing in Oregon that I realized just how much a threat they pose to my scorecard.

Trees are everywhere out here, from narrow saplings to massive pines. Big or small, a well-placed tree can quickly devastate your score, knocking your drive down to a measly 50-feet, or sending an approach shot into the rough.

Granted, there are times that I thank the heavens for trees, be it because of a helpful kick or stopping an errant shot from going as wide as it may have.

Do you have a problem? (photo by Andre Fredrick)

Ultimately, however, this is just pure luck and luck is never something one should count on to save par and keep their score low.

It could be argued that hitting trees to the detriment of one’s score is just as much a matter of chance as getting that lucky deflection, but I disagree.

There are a number of ways in which you can handle throwing on a wooded course, and you have a great deal more control over the outcome than you might imagine. While I haven’t mastered throwing in their midst entirely, over my years of hucking plastic in Oregon, there are a number of lessons I have learned that have made them less of a factor to my game. Here are a few:

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