Rattling Chains named top disc golf blog

Thank you.

There’s not much more else I can say.

Late Monday night, we were informed that Rattling Chains was named the top disc golf blog by DiscGolfStation.com. In the growing age of digital media and blogging, this is quite an honor.

harmer_sigWe were contacted by Disc Golf Station a week ago, letting us know we were being considered. I answered the two questions I was asked and sent things back.

Then we got the news.

I’m obviously stoked — for the site, for those who contribute, but most of all for those who have supported us for the past 10 months. The fan base this site has built might not be as large as some other disc golf sites, but we have a loyal and vocal group who will tell it like it is.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

These fans will tell us when we’ve done well, tell us when we’ve messed up, when we’ve misspelled something or when we got something right. And I like that. They send us ideas and thoughts and it helps us grow as a site.

Clint Henderson, of Disc Golf Station, said they sent e-mails to about 20 disc golf blogs, and considered many others in the initial process. It’s nice to know how we stacked up against so many other blogs.

When I started Rattling Chains in 2012, the goal was simple: create a disc golf blog that covers the sport like no other place — with journalistic integrity, entertaining and original content, and consistency. Add all that together, and our hope was to help grow the sport through the written word as we dive into stories others aren’t telling.

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Photo Focus: Jan. 15

(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.)

Hole No. 22 at DeLaveaga. (photo by Jack Trageser)

Hole No. 22 at DeLaveaga. (photo by Jack Trageser)

The trees at DeLaveaga Disc Golf Course — especially the oaks — provide all kinds of unique framing opportunities for disc golf photography.

The original shot of the hole. (photo by Jack Trageser)

The original shot of the hole. (photo by Jack Trageser)

This particular photo of hole No. 22 was taken on a cold — for Santa Cruz — morning at about 10 a.m. It’s of the gap through which I had just attempted a birdie putt.

I used my Samsung Galaxy S3 Android phone using a simple auto focus setting.

This image is cropped in. The original provides a better idea of the true shape of the tree. By cropping the shot as I did, I thought it created an image that invokes the possibility of an entire mystical disc golf course, accessed through the knothole of an old, gnarled oak tree.

Techie info:

  • Camera: Samsung Galaxy S3
  • Exposure: 1/180
  • Aperture: F/2.6
  • Focal length: 3.7 mm
  • ISO: 80

– Jack Trageser

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!

Poll 42: Dress codes

Oh disc golfers — with our interesting choice of clothing and such.

I am sure most of us have seen some outlandish and interesting choices of clothes people wear playing this fine sport. Whether loud and crazy tee shirts to basketball shorts or whatever else, it can be quite the mix.

weekly_pollYou’ll even see these sort of things at tournaments.

Is this an acceptable sort of thing as the sport continues to grow and moves forward?

We’ll get to the question and thoughts down below. But let’s first look at last week’s poll and comments.

We wanted to know last week if it mattered to you if so many professionals jumped to Prodigy.

The overwhelming response was no, which garnered 114 of 176 votes for a whopping 65 percent. Of the voters, 62 (35 percent) said yes.

That seems to speak volumes. Let’s see what some people said in the comments.

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Break it down — being simple with disc golf can make the game more enjoyable

It’s amazing what happens when you can break things down in a simple way.

Over the years, I’ve had my bouts with being too competitive in sports, despite knowing I was usually over-matched.

Years ago, I was a semi-competitive ball golfer. It’s not that I was great by any means. But within the divisions in which I competed, I could do decently well. On my home course, I never shot anything better than eight-over-par, and that only happened a few times. Often enough, I was more in the range of plus-12 to plus-20, on average. Sometimes better, sometimes much worse.

harmer_sigDespite knowing I had a ton of limitations, didn’t hit the range as much as I should and didn’t understand the game as well as I thought I did, I still got irritated and would get into my own head.

That’s not a rarity.

Up until the past few years, I took sports way too seriously. I over-thought things. And, to be fair, I’m not the greatest athlete. That doesn’t take away the feeling that I should do better than I do.

And, I won’t lie, it’s irritating to watch others do well when I think I should be doing much better.

A few years back, I hit a wall, realizing I took things too seriously. I needed to do something to calm it down a bit. You know, the approach of taking a deep breath and looking at the big picture.

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Creative Corner: Floating baskets

By Darren Dolezel — Rattling Chains staff

It’s been a while since I got creative with disc golf. Finally, I found time to make something I had been wanting to do for a while.

With a lot of discussion about urban disc golf and where we could shoot, I started thinking about all the features in New York’s Central Park. I wanted to figure out where we might be able to put a basket.

Anyone up for a round of floating disc golf? (photo by Darren Dolezel)

Anyone up for a round of floating disc golf? (photo by Darren Dolezel)

One of the things that draws me to that magnificent park is all ponds and water. That made me wonder — how could I place a basket and get a full view of the famous boat house. Then it dawned on me — a floating basket.

After thinking about it for a week or two, I broke out some tools and went to work.

As frivolous as I can be at times, I like to create stuff out of junk as kind of a way to recycle. I took an old piece of plywood from the scrap pile and cut it to a measurement of 4 feet by 3 feet. I then drilled 16 holes around the outside edges, giving me a spot to push string through. That would give me the base and the ability to attach an inner tube.

However, I still had to find an inner tube big enough to pull this off. That turned out to be easier said than done.

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Gauging the true cost of disc golf

By Tim Engstrom — Special to Rattling Chains

All players of disc golf are somewhat ambassadors for the sport, me included.

We are quick to say how inexpensive the sport is when we list the reasons it is a wonderful game. And it’s true — it is an inexpensive sport. But let’s face it, costs can add up.

It starts off at a cheap price. You buy a $9 low-grade disc and go throw it at a park with no pay-to-play fee. Soon, you realize you want more discs. So, you buy a putter, a driver and a mid-range.

Fourth-graders at St. Theodore Catholic School (Minn.) hold up putters in March 2012 when local disc golfers taught disc golf to a physical education class. When starting out, people likely only need one disc, which helps with the inexpensiveness of the game. (photo by Dave Sime)

Fourth-graders at St. Theodore Catholic School (Minn.) hold up putters in March 2012 when local disc golfers taught disc golf to a physical education class. When starting out, people likely only need one disc, which helps with the inexpensiveness of the game. (photo by Dave Sime)

Then, as you get better, you realize you need more discs for various shots. You buy an understable disc to throw anhyzers, and an overstable mid-range to bend around corners. Perhaps you try a different putter or maybe you want to get that more expensive plastic like your buddy now has.

Oh, and you just have to replace that disc you lost. Soon, you’ll need a shoulder bag to tote all these discs.

Despite the investment, it’s still a cheap sport. The course is free. The collective investment in plastic saucers cost less than equipment for most sports, short of soccer and basketball.

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Poll 41: Prodigy Disc Golf

As many of you know, we don’t do a lot of coverage when it comes to the professional tour.

There’s a reason for that, too. By looking at the numbers over the course of the year, the page views are noticeably higher when we’re not talking about the professional tour. This year, however, we are planning to do a bit more — such as previews and wraps of major tournaments. After all, if we’re going to continue to grow, we need to cover all angles.

weekly_pollStill, the reality is professional disc golfers — especially touring professionals — do not make up the majority of the disc golf population. In feedback we’ve received, people enjoy the in-depth stories, first-person accounts and instructional stuff. We like to be goofy at times and serious when we need to.

Alas, this whole Prodigy Disc Golf things is being talked about in the world of disc golf. So we’re curious what you all thing.

Before you vote, make sure you read what we mean by the way this question is being phrased. More on that below.

First, let’s check back on last week’s poll, when we asked you about your goals for the upcoming year.

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Four disc golf goals for ’13

As I approach two years of playing this lovely sport we call disc golf, I have come to a harsh conclusion — I am just not that good.

steveI miss easy putts. My drives are still all over the place. I have more plastic sitting in a crate in my garage than I do in my actual bag, and instead of my discs bearing the names of their manufacturers, they might as well be covered with expletives, because that’s how I refer to them.

In short, I’m kind of a hot mess.

But, the promise of a new year at least gives me a little hope that 2013 may be the time for improvement. I have to hold myself to some kind of standard if I actually want to get better, though, so I am setting some goals for myself for the coming year.

Why goals, and not resolutions? Well, according to my friend dictionary.com, resolutions have more to do with determination and will than actual results. Goals, on the other hand, have a defined aim, and that is where I am going with these. Concrete improvement that I can (kind of) measure.

Plus, everyone makes resolutions. See all those people at your local gym? They won’t be there in a couple weeks. Sign up for a marathon and set a goal of finishing it, though, and you’re doing it. It’s about commitment.

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Rattling Chains fun and games: January 3

It’s time for another back of fun and games with Rattling Chains.

It seems last time, people did quite well with the crossword puzzle, so we’re going to change it up this time to a word search, which has 30 terms for you to find.

Think you can do it? Have at it.

It’s smaller on the post, but if you click on the puzzle, it should enlarge enough for you to be able to print it out so you can do it when you have the chance.

Have fun!


If you need to see the (messy) answer sheet, click 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!

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.

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