Poll 40: Looking to 2013

Happy New Year’s, everybody!

Before we begin here, I hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas (or whatever holiday you may celebrate!) and I hope you all prosper in the New Year. Be safe out there tonight!

weekly_pollWe’re back from our break starting today. And, if you’ll remember from the one post, we’re going to be a little more laid-back for the new year. That means though we’ll strive to keep our Monday to Friday schedule, we might miss a day here and there because we want to make sure Rattling Chains continues and is sustainable.

Hopefully, in the long run, it will make us better. My goal for 2013 is to make this blog even better than our first year.

How about you guys?

What will 2013 bring? We’ll get to that more in a second. First, let’s see what some readers said about 2013. Our last poll asked what you best disc golf memory of 2012 was. We only got 113 votes for this poll, but of those, the winning selection was “other” with 27 votes (24 percent).

Second place went to playing in your first tournament with 20 votes (18 percent), followed by improving certain aspects of your game (17 votes/15 percent), reaching a big goal (16 votes/14 percent), a new course or two you played (15 votes/13 percent), winning a tournament (10 votes/9 percent) and learning how to do something new (8 votes/7 percent).

It seems like it was quite varied when it came to people’s thoughts about 2012, so let’s see what some readers had to say.

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Celebrate the holidays with a Rattling Chains giveaway

I hope everyone had a great day yesterday and that the holidays are treating everybody well.

And despite the Rattling Chains staff being on vacation this week and giving the site a break, something needed to be done…

giveaway… such as a major giveaway!

Since before we officially launched this blog, we’ve had many people donate stuff to be used for giveaways. Therefore, the pile is growing. With that in mind, I thought it would be good to make some packages up and have a giveaway where we’d give more than one thing away.

There are three groups of items we are going to be giving away. For each, there are specific things you need to do. If you don’t do exactly what is required, your entry will not count without notification. Any entries that require you to post comments below need to be separate. In other words, if you are entering two of the contests and they each require a comment, you need to comment twice and do it as required.

So make sure you read this fully before just entering or your entry might not count!

Also, though you can (and I would encourage you to do so) enter each contest, you can win only one. It would be smart to enter each, though, giving yourself better odds to win something!

Read on to see what you have to do to enter each contest.

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Wishing everybody a merry Christmas and a great holiday season

christmas

As many of you already know, the staff of Rattling Chains is taking this week off to enjoy the season with family and friends.

And maybe even hucking a disc or two.

Therefore, there will be no true new content this week.

We’d also like to take the time to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to visit the site as often as you do. As much as we love the game, we truly do enjoy bring original and quality content to you each and every day.

With that being said, we’d like to wish everybody who celebrates a Merry Christmas and to everyone, a wonderful holiday season.

Please check back sometime Wednesday, however, as we’ll be having a massive giveaway in celebration of the holiday season. There are several prizes to win — and a few different ways to win them.

Thanks again and we’ll be back next week!

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!

A long road to create the PDGA course directory

By Allen Risley – for Rattling Chains

As a big fan of Disc Golf Course Review, I had to read the profile of its history that ran on Rattling Chains.

The article — and its follow up –was great. Steve Hill did a fine job of highlighting the the various tools available on DGCR – tools I have made a great deal of use of over the past several years. Whether it’s searching for new courses to play, tracking the courses I’ve played, building a road trip itinerary or searching for plastic through the marketplace, DGCR is a great resource. And I’d like to feel I played a little part in making DGCR happen.

You see, I compiled the first PDGA Course Directory.

The original PDGA Course Directory. (photo by Allen Risley)

The original PDGA Course Directory. (photo by Allen Risley)

I had to chuckle a little when reading about the frustrations of DGCR founder Tim Gostovic in regard to planning disc golf road trips using the “check the entire Internet” method. Imagine how frustrated he would have been back in 1984, when there was no Internet to check! Hell, at that point there wasn’t even a complete list of courses in printed form to check, much less one with a search function.

Early disc golfers – those with 4-digit or lower PDGA numbers – typically used word of mouth, a dog-eared copy of the PDGA Pro Tour tournament calendar, or an old copy of Frisbee World or Flying Disc Illustrated magazine to find new places to play.

And paper maps — lots of paper maps.

There weren’t a whole lot of places to find. Back in the early 80’s there were only a few hundred disc golf courses in the ground. In Florida for example, where I played, many of our tournaments were played on temporary courses set up just for the weekend using objects, homemade targets or portable DGA baskets. So even the tournament listings weren’t a sure bet to use to find a new course – it may have been packed up in someone’s trunk right after the trophies were handed out.

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Rattling Chains fun and games: Dec. 20

If you’ll recall, when we posted about the future of the site, we said we were also going to try and do a few fun things, such as games.

This is the first of those games.

We’re going to test the water a little here and see what kind of response we get. Hopefully, it’s something people enjoy as I think it’s a neat little way to do things a little more fun and laid back. Not everything can be serious!

So what we have here this week is our first crossword puzzle. Though it looks small, you should be able to click on it to get a larger version and hopefully be able to print it out with no issues.

Feel free, too, to let us know what you think about the games feature in the comments below. We’ll have other crosswords, as well as some word searches and other things in the future.

Enjoy!

crossword1

Stumped?

Need to check to see how you did?

Check out the answers here.

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!

Giving back can inspire others to do the same

By Jenny Cook — Rattling Chains Staff

There are many inspirations for this article. Perhaps my recent trip out west is most fresh in my mind. After spending time with locals and the tournament directors for the Beaver State Fling, I  quickly discovered the eminent presence of community between everyone.

They were open-minded and embraced the evolution of the sport we all love to play. And the tournament layout for the tournament proved it. If I could build a house next to any disc golf course in the world — and taking into consideration I’ve only played a handful of courses outside the United States and fewer than 200 in the U.S. — I’d build it within biking distance of Milo McIver State Park in Estacada, Oregon.

The scenery at Milo McIver State Park in Estacada, Oregon is amazing. (photo by Jenny Cook)

The scenery at Milo McIver State Park in Estacada, Oregon is amazing. (photo by Jenny Cook)

The scenery was amazing and the people were great, which created an unforgettable atmosphere.

I have seen something like this in my home state. In fact, I am reminded of it every year as a local club spends months preparing for its annual Ice Bowl in January. I love that bringing two canned goods to the tournament is mandatory. The money raised is given to a local shelter for women and children. There’s also always a hot lunch prepared for players and a nice warm fire where players can get close and thaw out.

Every year, we crawl out of our warm beds in the early morning to reunite with friends who we don’t see as often on the course in the winter as we do in warmer weather. It’s a sanctioned tournament and we’re all there to have good rounds, but if you don’t, you still drive home with a smile knowing that playing in this annual tournament benefited the less fortunate.

The added bonus is spending the day catching up with friends and playing some disc golf — even if it’s really could outside.

Disc golf serves as an outlet to get away from it all in a carefree way. I had the opportunity this past summer to help with a disc golf clinic for a local homeless shelter. The afternoon I spent with the children and adults was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

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Part 2 of the ground-up approach to saving strokes

By Jack Trageser — Rattling Chains staff

The disc golf courses where I live have plenty of variety, but one thing they don’t have, for the most part, is the kind of thick, lush grass found in manicured city or county parks.

I’m used to fairways and greens that present many complexities when the disc comes into contact with them, because of the surface itself, as much as the mountainous slopes.

The hard, and sometimes, barren ground results in all sorts of action after the disc makes first contact. The uneven nature of the terrain — rocks, ruts, and exposed roots (an especially notorious villain in Santa Cruz) — add a second layer of complexity to the already technical nature of these seemingly unpredictable shots.

Courses in manicured, grassy parks -- such as this one in Hillsboro, Oregon -- can be played more aggressively because the disc is less likely to skip or roll far from where it lands. (photo by Jack Trageser)

Courses in manicured, grassy parks — such as this one in Hillsboro, Oregon — can be played more aggressively because the disc is less likely to skip or roll far from where it lands. (photo by Jack Trageser)

So when I find myself on a course in well-manicured park setting, with lush green fairways that are beefed up by Scott’s TurfBuilder and mowed to a shag carpet-like regularity, it takes some time for me to adjust.

Certain things are just hard-coded into your game if you play a particular type of course nearly all the time. Dealing with tricky fairways and greens is part of my DNA. After watching the locals time and again attack the greens with reckless abandon, and then constantly coming up 30 feet shorter than I intended myself because my discs are plunging into the soft, thick grass like M & M’s in chocolate pudding, I’ll begin to realize some adaptation is necessary. And even then, the old cautious habit is hard to break.

I’m glad the adjustment I have to make when in those situations is from more to less difficult, but it’s an adjustment nonetheless.

It reminds me of the pool table my Grandpa built from scratch long before I was born. He wanted his sons to be good at billiards, so he built the table regulation size but with snooker-size pockets, which are smaller than the pockets on a normal pool table. It made those who used it more precise with their aim, but it also required an adjustment to the increased shot-making possibilities when playing on normal tables. In both cases, the key is to be aware of the changes in the environment — and then know how to adjust one’s game accordingly.

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Poll 39: Looking back at 2012

In a few weeks, we’ll turn the page on 2012.

So why not now to look back at the year in regard to disc golf. This week’s poll will be covering your best disc golf memory from the year.

weekly_pollMaybe it’s that tournament win. Or figuring something out about a new technique.

It could be something such as hitting a 50-foot putt.

With a year full of disc golf memories, will you be able to pick out that one moment — that perfect event — to be your best disc golf memory of 2012?

We’ll get to that in a moment. First, let’s go back to last week’s poll and check in to see what some of you had to say about the oldest disc in your bag.

We had 149 people respond to this poll. The overwhelming majority selected a disc that is 2-5 years old (63 votes/42 percent). The second choice was 6-10 years (37 votes/25 percent), with a year or less coming in third (20 votes/13 percent). Then the older discs started popping up as 11-15 years old placed fourth (17 votes/11 percent), followed by 16-25 years old (9 votes/6 percent) and more than 25 years old (3 votes/3 percent).

That’s quite the range. I know I’d like to see those 25-year-old discs and what kind of shape they are in!

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

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Shop for the disc golfer in your life with the Rattling Chains Holiday Gift Guide

By Steve Hill – Rattling Chains staff

Let’s face it – disc golfers are a picky lot. Whether it is a certain weight range (160-164 grams only), color (bright pink, so I can see it in fall foliage), or plastic blend (give me Champion Edition, or give me death!), those who take part in this sport are particular about what they use.

Come the holidays, this level of exactitude can result in stress for those non-disc golfers who are charged with shopping for the disc golfers in their life. Sure, they can risk it by picking up a disc at their local brick-and-mortar shop, but it might be something the golfer won’t use. There are always gift certificates to online retailers, but some might find those to be impersonal. (Note: This writer does not feel that gift certificates to online retailers are impersonal. Hint hint, family.)

What’s a gift giver to do?

How about following this handy Rattling Chains Holiday Gift Guide? Free of (full-sized) discs and full of useful gadgets and other funky ideas, there is bound to be something here to satisfy even the most finicky of disc golfers.

This article, then, isn’t intended so much for the disc golfers reading as it is for those related to the disc golfers. As a result, feel free to print it out and pass it on to “Santa.” There’s still time to shop.

Night golf setup (LED Flight lights, UV flashlight, packaging tape) – Now that winter has set in, have you noticed your disc golfer has become irritable or jittery? With daylight fading while everyone is locked up in their cubicles, it makes it tougher and tougher to get in the multiple rounds per week that hardcore discers love.

LED flat lights are the perfect gift for the golfer who wants to play at all hours.

LED flat lights are the perfect gift for the golfer who wants to play at all hours.

The solution? A simple night golf setup.

While you can head to the local Radio Shack or doodad shop and snag those round watch batteries and loose LEDs, why not make life easy and spring for LED Flight Lights? With three settings (strobe, flash, and solid), an on/off switch, and flat housing, these bad boys are easily taped onto the underside of translucent discs for awesome nighttime play. Nothing else is quite like watching your disc fly through the starry sky like it is a UFO gliding toward the basket. Throw in a UV flashlight for charging any glow discs (or for spotting the basket) and a roll of heavy-duty packing tape, and call it a day. LED flat lights, $0.84 from extremeglow.com; UV flashlight 2-pack, $9.99 from newegg.com; packing tape, cheap, any store.

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Product Review: MVP Amp

By Steve Hill, P.J. Harmer and Dave Coury — For Rattling Chains

I’ll be the first to admit that I am a fan of MVP Disc Sports. In the company’s short existence, I have tried all five of its molds, and have bagged three for a nice driver-midrange-putter set-up – the Volt, Axis, and Anode.

At the same time, I love understable plastic. The Innova Roadrunner and Latitude 64 Fuse – a couple of the flippiest discs on the market – are staples in my bag for their control and ease of use.

product_reviewSo, when MVP announced it was releasing the Amp, an understable fairway driver, I was excited. One of my favorite brands releasing my favorite kind of disc, obviously, had some appeal, and I knew I wanted to throw it.

One thing I knew coming into the review is that MVP discs – whether it is due to the overmold, or some other phenomenon – tend to require more snap and spin to fly as advertised. To wit, it took me a month to really dial in the Axis and learn how to throw it correctly, which seemed odd for a mid-range.

This is almost a blessing and a curse for new users of MVP discs. Stick with them, and your snap will likely improve. But it can be extremely frustrating to click with the disc at first, which can make it easy to give up on and move to an old standby.

And even though I knew this would be the case with the Amp, I still found myself frustrated with my first few throws with it. Since it was advertised as understable, I expected a nice gentle turn out of the box, with maybe a little fade.

I know it is user error, but If I wasn’t really concentrating the first couple times I threw this disc, it would hyzer out on me real quick, leaving me a little demoralized and ready to throw in the towel.

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