Poll 35: Visiting Rattling Chains

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

This week’s poll will help us, somewhat, shape the direction we plan on going with Rattling Chains.

Though we have a great group of writers, the reality is none of us get paid to do the work on this site. Therefore, when real life gets in the way, sometimes the content takes a hit.

When that happens, sometimes the load comes down on one or more of us and it becomes a burden.

But that’s neither here nor there.

All of us who write for this site enjoy the aspects we bring to readers — a journalistic way to look at the sport we love. I still believe we offer content not available in most other places, such as our in-depth pieces. Our interviews are not in a Q&A format, rather crafted in the form of an article in the format many traditional publications would use.

To do so is a time-consuming situation. We research. We interview. We write. We edit. We format.

Over the past few months, I’ve watched our site statistics. I’ve seen the type of stories that seem to get the hits and I’ve seen the ones that don’t work as well. I know what days the bigger hits will come and I know where hits come from on certain days etc.

Still, as we shape the site and we push forward, we need to know how to shape the site. For the next two weeks — today and next Monday — I’ll be doing polls that are based on the site and the reading tendencies of our visitors. In the end, we hope to continually make the site better moving forward.

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Noodle-Armed Review: Innova Starlite Roadrunner

(The Noodle-Armed Review is intended for those players, like myself, who aren’t power arms and don’t quite hit 300 feet. Sure, it would be nice if you could throw longer, but let’s just hope you have a solid mid-range game to make up for it.)

By Steve Hill — Rattling Chains staff

Arguably one of the most successful disc golf ventures of the last year is Innova’s Blizzard Champion plastic, in which air is injected into discs during the molding process to make them lighter. Used to bring down the weights of warp speed drivers like the Boss and Katana —  as well as a host of others — it was only a matter of time before Innova extended the Blizzard trend to Star, their top-of-the-line, opaque plastic.

But when Innova announced that its first foray into this field would be used on the Starlite Roadrunner, I was counted as one of the skeptics.

Already a massively understable disc, the Roadrunner is one of my favorites. You can go full bore on it for easy distance and big turnovers, or use it for precise hyzer-flip flights through wooded courses. It is a pretty underrated disc, in my opinion.

However, given its penchant to be a bit flippy in regular weights, the thought of it moving down into 140-gram territory seemed unnecessary. Innova’s previous lightweight discs were all in the stable-to-overstable category, and making them weigh less served to lower the cruising speed they needed to reach their optimal flight. But since the Roadrunner already did not require much power to fly correctly, making it in this new Starlite plastic seemed like a runaway train to roller city.

But when I went out to play with some friends one day, another guy had picked one up and let me give it a toss.

I immediately went from a skeptic to a devout convert.

The ease with which the disc flew, and the lack of effort needed to make it do so, was quite enticing. As a result, I picked up a couple of my own to see if they could make the bag and help me reach that ever-elusive noodle-arm barrier — a 300-foot drive.

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Product Review: inFlight Guide

By P.J. Harmer and Jack Trageser — Rattling Chains staff

I never understood flight charts for discs. A lot of people have told me I should check the charts when getting discs and such. But I didn’t get ’em. I saw graphs with numbers and lines and wondered what it meant.

Too, there seemed to be many different charts. Ones by manufacturers and ones by independent people.

Who is right?

My thoughts on disc flight is simple — I throw the disc and the way it goes is its flight. Pretty simple, eh?

The inFlight Guide by inbounds Disc Golf.

That’s why I was intrigued when contacted by inbounds Disc Golf. The company has a paperback book out, as well as an online spot, where you can check the flight path of more than 300 discs.

For people who like having flight guides, this book is small and compact and can easily fit in most people’s bags. That gives you the chance to use the book out on the course.

There is also a website for the inFlight guide which is continually updated with more flight charts.

There’s a small part in the beginning of the book describing how to use the book. However, as Jack Trageser will talk about below as well, these charts assume several things — including the player being a right-handed back-handed player, having perfect playing conditions and throwing a maximum-weight disc, among others.

I’ve never played in perfect conditions and I usually don’t throw maximum-weight discs.

Though I understand the need to have certain specifications to use the book, it seems like it’s pretty direct in the things that are needed for the chart to be useful. I’m sure all charts are like that, but it still ostracizes some players in the disc golf community.

For people looking for flight patterns and such, the book is useful. It covers hundreds of discs and it allows people to look up discs and get an idea of what the disc is supposed to do.

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Trick-shot battle: The making of Avery Jenkins vs. Brodie Smith

(Note: At the end of this post is a giveaway for an autographed disc. See the details on how you can win!)

By Avery Jenkins — For Rattling Chains

I hope many of you have already watched “The Gods of Disc — Epic Trick Shot Battle 3” on YouTube. It features ultimate superstar Brodie Smith and myself performing outrageous throws into basketball hoops and disc golf baskets. If you haven’t, you need to watch this video before reading how it all came about.

This started last fall after I read a Twitter post from a good friend of mine, Jarrod Job, comparing Brodie Smith and myself in regard to our relevance in our respective sports. I responded, showing my appreciation for Smith’s Frisbee skills, but I questioned what he had for throwing distance shots — in hopes of eliciting a response from Smith.

For those who don’t know Smith, he’s a world-class ultimate player from Gainsville, Florida. He played for the two-time National Champion Florida Gators and is well-known for his outrageously entertaining Frisbee trick-shot videos on YouTube.

I’ve watched many of his trick-shot videos and I was thoroughly impressed by his never-ending energy and his amazing Frisbee skills. He also does a great job making these videos entertaining by calling out shots before making them and making funny comments to add to the entertainment value.

I remember the first time I watched one of Smith’s videos last year where he attempted — and completed — about 25 different throws into a plastic trash can from various heights and distances. He took multiple lines and made it all look very easy!

Being we are both extremely active on social networks, we communicated for several months and talked about the possibility of doing a trick-shot video together as I’m pretty good with a Frisbee, considering I have been throwing one since I was a kid. I also played ultimate at the University of Oregon for two years. Being we are both at the pinnacle of our respective sports, we knew we needed to make this happen, but he was in Florida and I was training in Santa Cruz for the winter. That made it difficult to make the connection. We decided to wait for a more convenient time so we could possibly meet up during the summer tour.

A few weeks later, he sent me his most recent video — a speed-boat trick shot he performed in Sydney, Australia. Smith threw a distance forehand shot off a bridge as a speedboat raced down the river. On the boat was an ultimate player, who did a full-extension dive, making the catch before landing in the water. I saw it on the first day it was released and it had about 250 views, so I made sure to post it all over Facebook in the hopes of getting him more views.

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Discraft’s Ace Race delivers with a lot of fun

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.

The Ace Race disc. (photo by P.J. Harmer)

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.

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Poll 34: Favorite course

(EDIT — Nov. 13 — Please read the poll question at the bottom. This is not asking you what your dream course if money were no object. It’s asking what your favorite course is of ones you’ve already played. Thanks).

This week’s poll is a bit different.

There are no choices with this one — it’s going to be based fully on your comments on this post.

Hopefully the answers for this poll will give other players places to research and check out. Maybe there’s a hidden gem. Or one that is already well-known.

Let me not get too far ahead of myself, however.

Before we get into this week’s poll, however, let’s go back and check out last week’s results.

We asked you if you could only play one brand for the rest of time, what would it be? The results didn’t shock me as I figured the big two would be at the top and they were.

With 179 people letting us know what they would do, Innova was the runaway winner with 79 votes — 44 percent. Discraft was second with 47 votes (26 percent). It dropped off even more after that as Latitude 64 (25 votes/14 percent), Discmania (10 votes/6 percent) and Vibram (7 votes/4 percent) followed.

Other (4 votes/2 percent), MVP (3 votes/2 percent), Millennium (2 votes/1 percent), Lightning (1 vote/1 percent), DGA (1 vote/1 percent) and Gateway (0 votes) filled out the rest of the choices.

Let’s check in to see what some others said:

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DGCR 102: Social networking, searching, and the site’s greatest hits

This is the second of a two-part series about DGCourseReview.com. The first part ran last Friday.

By Steve Hill — Rattling Chains staff

Relative to other sports, disc golf is still in its infancy. It does not have a long history, nor does it boast a mainstream following. For every person who plays the sport, there are likely five more who have never heard of it.

For players who become quickly addicted to the game, then, there is a void. While they would like to spend all day and night talking about all things disc-related, there are likely few other friends or family members who have any shared interest.

It is this lack of local conversation that leads many players to the discussion forums at DGCourseReview.com (DGCR). With nearly 35,000 registered users, they are bound to find someone with whom they can click.

The New Social Network

Site founder Tim Gostovic has created multiple forums for discussion within DGCR. A byproduct of his efforts, though, has been multiple strong relationships founded and maintained through the site.

“DGCR has built a lot of friendships and there are member meets happening all over the country,” Gostovic said. “It’s really great to see the photos of people that might not have otherwise gotten together hanging out and enjoying the sport. I actually regularly play disc golf with a friend I met through the site.”

Jerry Honis (in blue) teaches kids about disc golf as a favor to fellow DGCR member William Safford (photo courtesy William Safford)

Members can unite by posting threads in the site’s dedicated DGCR Meets subforum, or through simply finding someone in their neck of the woods and sending them a private message.

Ryan Glasshagel of New Glarus, Wisconsin, has taken the latter approach and played with about ten fellow DGCR members.

“I consider DGCR my Facebook,” Glasshagel said. “I spend more time on there than any other site on the Internet. I have met some great people on the site that I would consider friends.”

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Roller shots, part 2 — How to throw them

By Jack Trageser — Rattling Chains staff

The first thing to know about throwing roller shots is if you can throw backhand and sidearm, you already know much of what you need to know.

Roller shots don’t require learning an entirely new technique — just a twist on your most basic throws. With most air shots, the aim is to keep the disc aloft most of the way to the target, whereas roller shots need to hit the ground early.

And, as opposed to air shots where you usually want the disc to land mostly flat so the disc won’t roll away, roller shots are calculated to not only land on the edge, but on an edge at a specific angle so it goes the direction and distance you intended.

By the way, if you didn’t catch the first post regarding this technique, which covers the who, what, when, where and why, of rollers, check it out here.

Proper roller technique requires a high release point, exaggerated nose angle, and a torso with a tilted axis. (photo by Jack Trageser)

Now on to the how.

Much of what I know about throwing rollers comes from my personal roller mentor, Alan “Flash” Friedman. I tapped into his knowledge base for this post, and filmed a quick video, which I uploaded to YouTube. The video can be seen at the end of this post, but don’t be lazy and just watch the video as it doesn’t do a great job by itself of explaining how to properly throw the shot.

According to Friedman, there are two types of roller shots — the finesse version (thrown using understable or “beat” discs), and “high-tech” rollers that require an overstable disc.

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Product Review: NutSac disc golf bag

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

I love my disc golf bag.

I have a Revolution bag. It’s loaded for so many things and I even have it personalized with a few patches. There are two plus-sized water bottle holders and room for many, many discs.

The reason I accepted the bag when it was given to me by a friend was because it could hold so much — my camera included. But here’s what I quickly found out — when I was playing, most of the time I didn’t carry my camera.

The craftsmanship of the NutSac is quite impressive. (photo by P.J. Harmer)

Instead, I had a lot of dead air in my bag — where the 8-10 discs I carried rattled around.

Comfort wasn’t an issue. Quality wasn’t an issue. Practicality was.

Several months ago, I was at a sporting goods store in New York’s Capital Region. This store accepts trade-ins and such. Hanging on the rack was a NutSac, priced at about 20 bucks. I had a gift card and I thought about it. In fact, the person with me pointed out that I should grab it because I had been thinking about it.

I looked at it. I stared. I thought about the NutSac.

After debating, I realized if I was going to get a NutSac, I didn’t want one that has been used. I don’t know what they did with that NutSac, did I? Exactly. I likened it to buying a new baseball glove and having the chance to break it in and make it your own.

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Photo focus: Nov. 6

(Photo focus will run every two weeks or so on Rattling Chains. The idea is to focus on disc golf photographs submitted by staff members and readers. To see the guidelines for submitting a photograph for this feature, click here.)

Stacked baskets (photo by Jenny Cook)

The Story: Taken in Oswego, Illinois, this photo is of stacked disc golf baskets.

During the Discraft Ace Race, tournament director Scott Pitner decided to stack six baskets together for the finishing hole. There was a point system in place for each row.

With each player starting and finishing on that hole, I decided to stand behind and capture the action. It also gave me a better view of the hole so I could figure out what I was going to do when it was my turn to play the hole!

Techie info:

  • Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T1i
  • Exposure: N/A
  • Aperture: N/A
  • Focal length: N/A
  • ISO: N/A

— Jenny Cook

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