By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff
With Discraft’s Ace Race in the books, let’s take a quick peek at this year’s tournaments.
I don’t know how many of you participated in one of these events this year. For me, it was the second straight year I played in the tournament and it was equally as fun.
This year’s Ace Race ran from August to October and had 347 events held throughout the world. A few weeks ago, Rattling Chains writer Steve Hill wrote about the event on a more broad level.
For those who didn’t read that and don’t know about the Ace Race, it’s a small and fun tournament where players have more chances at aces. For your entry fee ($25), you get two discs and some other swag.The player pack this year was well worth the money as each person got the two discs, a mini, a pair of 80s-style sunglasses and a stainless steel water bottle.
The discs are the only ones you can use during the tournament.Each player throws them at each hole, counting nothing but aces and metals, which is how many times you hit metal somewhere on the basket, but without slamming an ace.
In the end, the person with the most aces wins an excellent prize package of Discraft discs.
This year’s prototype disc is classified as a long-range driver, but Discraft calls it a hybrid driver. Being I don’t have a big arm, I was interested in the disc and I wasn’t disappointed. It flew nice and seemed to be pretty pure. I liked the feel of it and had some true lines throughout the day.
That’s something I’m not used to having.
The Ace Race doesn’t really seem to be about winning or losing. It’s about the experience and the fun. There’s a laid-back feeling to the Ace Race, which is much different than most disc golf tournaments.
I knew most of the people in my group and the others I didn’t meshed in very well. It was an enjoyable 25 holes.
Unfortunately, there were no aces in our group.
In this sport, there are things that make people coming back. Maybe it’s the sound of the chains. The competition. Being outside. Or anything else.
Like many other sports, there’s also the moment.
When I say moment, I’m speaking about those times that you do something really wild that makes you want to come back and experience the feeling again.
That happened to me on the normal 13th hole of this course. It’s a course I know quite well and this hole has always been one I’ve enjoyed. It starts in an opening and goes into the woods. Trees are abundant, but if you hit one of several lines, you can have some wonderful results.
As I stepped to the tee (shortened from it’s normal spot), I peeked and figured this was my best shot. I looked things over, got ready and let it rip.
Did I tell you how true this disc flies?
From the moment I released the disc, I knew it had a chance. The disc took flight, went on the right line and looked like it was heading right for the chains.
But as beautiful as it looked, reality soon smacked me in the face.
The disc dived a little quicker than I hoped at the end and hit the basket and dropped to the ground.
So close, but so far. It truly didn’t matter though. The goal was to get out, throw some plastic and have some fun.
The best part of the Ace Race is that fun factor — it brings disc golfers of many levels together for a fun round in a tournament setting. Often, tournaments aren’t like this. Do people have fun? Sure. But the competitive factor is much stronger, which can, at time, suck some of the fun out of the situation.
For my local ace race, they also had a cleanup contest. The idea was simple — as you played, pick up as much trash as you can. The group with the heaviest amount of garbage would win a really nice prize package, which included discs and minis among other things.
People pulled a lot of things out this year — including an old toilet! In all, nearly 1,300 pounds (seriously, 1,300 pounds!) was dragged off the course and out of the park. No matter how many aces anyone got — that goes way beyond the sport. That goes to giving back and showing disc golfers aren’t just about the game — they give back, too.
If you didn’t play in an Ace Race this year, make plans for next year. It’s a worthwhile event to play in. No pressure, just fun. Just the way it should be.
P.J. Harmer is the founder and executive editor for Rattling Chains. E-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.