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.
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.
Small Axe Puck “stash” mini set – Comprised of two interlocking mini discs, the Small Axe Puck is big genius at a small price.
Made of high quality plastic and approved for mini disc golf play, the Ratchet driver and Fat Bwai putter come together to make a water-tight storage case that will easily fit in the pockets of a disc golf bag. It’s the perfect gift for the golfer who wants to keep candy, loose change, or anything else from rattling around in his or her bag.
Andrew Belet of Fort Carson, Colorado, has been impressed with his Puck so far.
“It’s heavy, it flies far, and the best part is that it’s watertight when locked together, so I keep all my LEDs in there,” Belet said. “Cool, cheap gift that I highly recommend.” Small Axe Puck, $5.99 from discnation.com
Custom dye – Last year, when my dad and I first really got into disc golf, I wanted to get him a Christmas gift that wasn’t just a disc.
I knew he was a huge fan of the Discraft Buzzz – it was his go-to, do-it-all midrange, and he had one that was beat up and ratty. He’s also a lifelong San Francisco Giants fan, so the next part came easy. I purchased a white ESP Buzzz, sent it off to D Visions Disc Dyes, and had it customized with a San Francisco Giants logo. It was a nice way to customize a disc I knew he would use often.
If you’re not sure of your golfer’s workhorse disc, you can do one of two things for this gift idea:
- Dig through his or her bag and look for the most disgusting disc in there. That’s probably the one.
- Give this gift as a “future gift,” if you will, telling the golfer to pick a disc and that you’ll take care of the dye.
Disc Golf Drive (book) – This one is for the junior golfers in the house.
Sure, you want your son or daughter to love being outdoors and active, and disc golf is a great outlet for that. But education is also important, so why not bring the two together and have the little one read about our great sport?
Part of the Jake Maddox series of books for elementary-age students, Disc Golf Drive, according to the book’s description, finds the main character trying to convince his town’s football coach that they also need a disc golf team. Get your young golfer in the spirit early.
Julie Michaels, a reading intervention teacher at Arroyo Verde Elementary School in Highland, California, said the Maddox books appeal to a broad range of children.
“If you have elementary kids at home or perhaps are an elementary teacher and are not familiar with Jake Maddox, I highly recommend his series of books,” she said. “Not only does he have a wide variety of sports themes in his series, but his books include both male and female main characters. These beginning chapter books are great for the developing reader and/or reluctant reader alike. Each book contains a problem that the main character must face and must resolve the issue while making good and fair choices.”
I wish I would have had stuff to read like this when I was a kid. Disc Golf Drive, $18.71 from amazon.com
iLuv portable speakers – Your golfer likes having tunes out on the course, but doesn’t want to carry around a John Cusack-style boombox? Snag some of these portable speakers – a bargain at less than $10 – and jam on.
Sturdy and lightweight, the speakers actually zip up around a smartphone or mp3 player, protecting it from scratches and scuffs. While the price may not be big, the sound quality is certainly enough for a day of disc golf. iLuv portable speakers, starting at $9.07, from amazon.com
Hydro Flask – Brought up by fellow disc golfer Mike Trozzi of Encinitas, California, the Hydro Flask isn’t just any ordinary water bottle. Boasting double-wall vacuum insulation, the Hydro Flask keeps whatever is in it – cold or hot – at its temperature for longer.
“I’ve got a couple of these things and they kick such unbelievable ass that I don’t know how I wouldn’t own one going forward,” Trozzi said. “Completely insulated, you can keep hot and cold in them and they don’t weep or get hot or cold to the touch. They make an awesome canteen for hot days — I’ll just fill them up with ice water and have ice cold water all day long. They work just as effectively for hot liquids too. I’ll put tea in one, go up to the mountains to ride for the day and when I get back to the car, still have hot tea.”
Ranging in size from 12 ounces all the way up to a 64-ounce behemoth, Hydro Flask can fit your needs in any season. Hydro Flask, $19.99 to $49.99, from hydroflask.com
Wham-O Mini Frisbee Golf set – Whether you are stuck indoors because of the weather, or just really need a disc golf fix at all times, this mini disc golf set is a cheap, fun way to bring the sport home.
Perfectly sized for toddlers up to even the oldest of adults, the plastic basket and metal chains are durable enough to withstand family use and abuse. It comes with six mini discs, but you know that Small Axe Ratchet will pull off a hallway hyzer into the laundry room a lot more effectively. Wham-O Mini Frisbee Golf set, $17.39 from amazon.com.
Disc golf road trip – This one might cost a little more – taking into account gas money, snacks, and possibly lodging – but will score the gift giver some major bonus points.
Are you located close enough to an amazing disc golf course, but know your golfer hasn’t made it there yet? Maybe you live on the Eastern Seaboard, a mere three hours from the famed Maple Hill Disc Golf Course, but just haven’t had a free weekend to make the trek. Or, perhaps you live in California, close to disc golf’s Mecca — Oak Grove Park in Pasadena, where it all began – but it’s just been too tough to make a day trip for a disc golf course.
Well, now is the time to make these dream trips a reality. Tell your golfer to pick a point on the map, and you’ll make it happen. And, the gift giver can cash in on this one in later – make it a gift now, but wait until after the new year to book the trip, when schedules will be a bit more open. Not only do you give your golfer something to look forward to, but you save a little holiday cash to help you make it until the next payday. It’s a win-win.
Day of disc golf gift certificate – OK, I know I said gift certificates were impersonal, but this is the exception to that rule. With all of the family, work, and other commitments the holidays bring, weekends seem scarce through this season. For many disc golfers, this probably means less playing time than they like and, for their family members, a little more crankiness and sulking as they look at their disc bags sitting in the garage, collecting dust. (I promise, this is not an autobiographical account.)
Here’s the fix: A day of disc golf gift certificate, granting the user free reign to get out of the house for a day and not worry about anything other than birdies or (double) bogeys. The best part? This gift is entirely free, minus the stress the giver might feel due to taking all of the kids/pets/chores/etc. for the day while the golfer gets to play.
Really, though, that’s a small price to pay to give an awesome holiday gift. Because really, when all is said and done, we disc golfers just want to play. That’s the best gift of all.
Have any other good ideas? Leave them in the comments section for everyone else to enjoy, and Happy Holidays from all of us here at Rattling Chains!
Steve Hill is the associate editor for Rattling Chains. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @OneMileMore.