Discmasters TV — looking at a disc golf’s first variety show

By Jack Trageser — Rattling Chains staff

Most of you who read Rattling Chains or the School of Disc Golf blog know I run School of Disc Golf as a side-gig, mainly because I thoroughly enjoy getting new players hooked on the game and helping those already addicted get better.

You’ve likely read, at some point, that I used to play in as many tournaments I could, topped out at a 999 player rating (so close!) and, for a time, was an officer of the DeLaveaga Disc Golf Club.

discmasters_logorevWhat I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned in this space before is another off-and-on project of mine — Discmasters TV. Since the first new episode in quite a while just hit YouTube, it made sense to take a little time to tell you about the show and its origins.

It started when I came across a YouTube video that covered a Santa Cruz tournament called the Faultline Classic. I thought the video was well-produced, given the obviously limited technical resources. I decided to approach the person who posted the video with an idea I had been tossing around for some time. The concept was for a lighter side of disc golf-type variety show, incorporating instruction, interviews and cheesy — and badly acted — comedy. It should be no surprise the last part came naturally.

This first clip shows how natural the bad comedy actually was.

My original model for the show, and the name itself, came from a cheaply produced fishing show from the 1980’s called Fishmasters, which, in turn, was a spoof of another show called Bassmasters. I liked the way Fishmasters turned their minimal technical capabilities, which I think were still greater than ours, into a positive by having it add to the comedic element of the show.

We knew anything we could muster would have the same limitations.

So, I contacted the person who posted the original Faultline Classic video and learned he worked for Community TV in Santa Cruz. The video had actually been broadcast there first, on local television. At this point, let me introduce that guy — Ben Baker.

A year or two before I saw that Faultline video, Baker had graduated from San Francisco State University with a film degree. His job at the TV station was his  first film-related position.

He liked the idea as much as I did. He was even more excited when I told him I had talked to top disc golfers Nate Doss, Valarie Jenkins and Avery Jenkins, getting them to agree to participate as well. As luck would have it, the disc golf touring season had just ended and the three would be in Santa Cruz for the next couple of months, enabling us to spend time in both the studio and on courses shooting footage.

A side-note about Baker — when we started the project he was enthusiastic about disc golf, but pretty much a novice player. His sidearm shot had power, yet score-wise he was all over the place. I even hustled a lunch out of him by giving him a stroke per-hole at DeLaveaga and that’s 28 strokes! Ben was not pleased with that introduction to disc golf gambling. That was a couple of years ago. This past season, he captured the overall championship for the venerable NorCal Series tour in the AM2 division. Congratulations! I’d like to think my instruction and the excellence of Val Jenkins, Avery Jenkins and Doss rubbed off on him.

Below is the third episode of Discmasters.

As we envisioned, the show has covered a lot of disc golf-related territory. There have been instructional posts by me (I’m known as Jack Tupp on the show), Doss, Avery Jenkins and Val Jenkins, and even one about putting by Nikko Locastro. There has also been a lot of tournament coverage, including the 2011 Pro World Championships and the Otter Open, in Monterey.

The video below is the episode with coverage of the Otter Open.

We’ve also had a lot of disc golf celebrity appearances, in addition to our regulars. The appearances include Gregg Barsby, Eric McCabe, Locastro and others. Check out the shows to see who else has appeared. Viewers also were introduced to players better known in Santa Cruz, including Shasta Criss, Don Smith, Tony Tran, and Jon Baldwin, who won a world championship in the masters division after appearing on Discmasters.

Our logo was created by the talented Audrey Karleskind, the step-sister of Doss. We even had a cool theme song, which I wrote the lyrics to, and, of course, there are numerous bits of cheesy comedy.

Some of my favorites include ones where I played the bongo drums as Avery Jenkins attempts to putt, followed by him nailing me with a disc with Kung-fu like accuracy. And there are magic minis, which adversely affect my wardrobe.

Then there’s the hipster-doofus names Jimmy Shank. Gotta love that guy. The best is possibly yet to come as we’ve shot some great footage in which Val Jenkins stars.

Below is a clip where Nate Doss, Avery Jenkins and Val Jenkins discuss the basics of disc golf.

The just-released clip mentioned earlier is a 48-minute studio interview with disc golf Hall of Famer Tom Schot and Monterey disc golf pioneer Merle Wityoet

The just-released clip I mentioned earlier is a 48-minute studio interview of disc golf hall-of-famer Tom Schot and Monterey disc golf pioneer Merle Witvoet. The video was shot just before the 2011 pro worlds, so part of the talk is about the event, but I think the most interesting discussion centers on the history of disc golf in Santa Cruz, which Schot is largely responsible. Disc golf historians should find it interesting.

The best way to see all the episodes and other miscellaneous short clips is to visit the Discmasters TV YouTube channel. If you’re interested in Baker picking up the pace to turn the rest of our yet-to-be-seen footage into new episodes, visit our Facebook page and let us know. I hope you enjoy watching them as much as we did shooting them.

Jack Trageser is the founder of School of Disc Golf and the instructional writer at RattlingChains.com. You can reach him at jack@rattlingchains.com.

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