Bearded Brothers brings all-natural energy to disc golf

By Steve Hill – Rattling Chains staff

With all of the concentration required in order to execute proper disc golf shots (“Am I reaching back far enough? What line am I trying to hit? How’s the footing on this hillside?”), a rumble in the stomach is the last thing anyone needs to worry about.

Have no fear. Bearded Brothers is here.

Started as a simple idea in October 2010 by non-brothers (more on that later) Chris Herbert and Caleb Simpson, Bearded Brothers produces energy bars that are 100 percent organic, vegan, and gluten-free. From its origins in kitchen experimentation to full production that now finds the bars available in 23 states, Herbert said the motivation for building the company was necessity.

BeardedBrothersLogo“Bearded Brothers was born from two guys wanting to make energy bars that tasted great and had solid nutrition,” he said. “Initially, Caleb and I made our own bars for personal use, as healthy eating was a top priority to both of us. Caleb being an amazing climber, runner and cyclist, and myself being an avid disc golfer, traveler and outdoorsman, we realized how hard it was to find an energy bar that, one, tasted good and, two, wasn’t full of crap.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t find one that met both criteria,” Herbert continued. “So we made our own.”

The Austin, Texas-based duo began by creating eight different flavors of their product, which was then pared down to today’s four offerings via a public taste testing party. They also put a great deal of effort into researching the packaging – which features a resealable, newly-compostable wrapper – and, of course, the name of the company.

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Leagues can have highs and lows, but are well worth playing in

It’s league season again!

That is, it’s league season for those of us whose local leagues took a winter break. Now it’s time to catch up with league friends and to find out what they’ve been doing during this cold, bleak winter.

jenny_cookWhen bag tags are involved, it’s a perfect time  to remind each other what numbers are floating around and on whose bag.

I feel like a pretty lucky girl in that I have three or more leagues I attend in any given week. I’ve gotten to know the crowds that go to them fairly well and, for the most part, I find myself surrounded by good groups of people.

Plenty of leagues are run by local clubs, which push for good causes, hold member-only events and are, generally, a good support system for players. I am personally not a member of any club in Illinois or any other state. The only tag I have hooked to my bag is one from Rattling Chains. It’s nothing personal. It’s just, way too often, politics can get involved.

I’ve only seen two examples of this locally to me. Often times when there’s a club involved with running the league, there’s a sense of “course ownership,” which can trigger unwanted attitudes.

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Photo Focus: March 26

(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.)

Looks like this guy was checking to see if it was his disc. (photo by Mark Doucette)

Looks like this guy was checking to see if it was his disc. (photo by Mark Doucette)

This is a curious deer we often see during the winter at our course in Longeuil, Quebec.

He seems to always want to chase our discs and follow us around. The course sits just outside Montreal, next to the St. Lawrence River and also next to a Virginia deer reserve.

The course went in just last summer and it’s a good 18-hole course for introducing the sport. Mostly open, with some woods, elevation and water.

This photo was taken Jan. 16. We see the deer every day in the winter (you have to go early in the morning to see them in the summer). There’s lots of action in the evening hours and they will show up as a herd of 3-6.

This one was really curious and it loved the bright discs. I laid down and my buddies slipped a couple of discs over, about a 12 feet in front of me.

— Mark Doucette

Techie info:

  • Camera: Nikon CoolPix S230
  • Aperture: ƒ/7.2
  • Exposure: 1/100
  • Focal Length: 14.3 mm
  • ISO: 800

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 51: Disc golf clothing

After a few serious poll questions the past few weeks, we’ve decided to slow it down a little and get into something a little more fun.

And, honestly, one that I think may be interesting.

weekly_pollIt’s about all that disc golf clothing (hats included) that you own. See, one thing many may have noticed is how often disc golfers wear the clothing even when not playing.

That’s a good thing.

At the same time, there are people who don’t own anything. And that’s fine, too. Choosing what people wear is not part of the game, especially at the casual level!

Think of all the hats and shirts and sweatshirts and more you see out there. This could turn into quite the interesting poll.

But before that, let’s head back to last week when we asked you about booze on the course. In the two polls preceding this one, we had close results and some really fun conversations about dogs on the course and smoking on the course.

This one wasn’t close.

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Toppling a Guinness World Record doesn’t come easy

Editor’s note: On Feb. 10-11, University of California, Santa Barbara freshman Mike Sale played disc golf for 24 hours, breaking the Guinness World Record for most holes played in a day. His total was 1,310, which still needs to be verified by Guinness. Sale shares his experience here.

By Mike Sale — For Rattling Chains

It’s not often somebody has to be carried to the car after some rounds of disc golf.

But I was in that position. Carried to the car. Carried to the couch from the car. Throughout the day, I didn’t move unless I had to go to the bathroom. And even then, I had to be carried there. At about 11 p.m., we went to Jack-In-The-Box. I used a baseball bat as a cane and that was the first time I had stood up in 14 hours.

Before that, I slept the majority of the day. It took me more than an hour and a half to initially fall asleep because my body was so physically exhausted that I was shaking for about an hour and a half before my body finally calmed down.

Nearly two days earlier, I spent the entire day in Isla Vista, California, at the home of Mike Schnell, my college teammate. All I did was hydrate, rest, eat pasta and watch movies. At about 11 p.m., I headed back to my dorm to try and fall asleep to get some rest, but I couldn’t fall asleep until about 2 a.m.

Morning arrived quickly. Anticipation was high. I was going for a Guinness World Record and the time was upon us.

Mike Sale tees off on the record-breaking hole. (contributed photo)

Mike Sale tees off on the record-breaking hole. (contributed photo)

The event was slated to start at 9 a.m. As my teammates set up and got everything we needed to gather for evidence to submit to Guinness, I sat in the car eating a final bowl of pasta as my breakfast. I also started mentally preparing myself. I listened to some music to get me pumped up and focused on the goal — 1,306.

I also wrote four things on my arm to carry with me for the day. They said: “The only limit is the one you set for yourself;” “The will to win comes from within;” “#76” (which comes from the movie Wedding Crashers — Rule No. 76, no excuses, play like a champion); and, lastly, a cross on my wrist. Those were with me all day and, mentally, helped me immensely.

As the start time approached, I simply stretched and stepped up to my first hole ready to go. There was nothing to be nervous about at this point — it was a marathon, not a sprint.

The first five holes ended up not counting because my teammates messed up the camera work. Five birdies were wiped out quickly. But it was a good warmup and got rid of any jitters I had.

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Gap Analysis: the art and science of navigating trees

By Jack Trageser — Rattling Chains staff

Many playing companions over the years have heard me mutter “I see holes” at some point during my pre-shot routine while playing a round of disc golf. It’s a go-to phrase of mine, and has been for probably 15 years. Some ask why I say those words when getting ready for certain shots, and they get the answers as you’ll see below.

The funny thing about this particular mantra is I use it for two distinctly different reasons, yet the two reasons often blend together. The place where the two meet — the axis of risk or reward assessment (a scientific approach) and more nebulous subjects like positive thinking and confidence (closer to an art than a science) — is really the essence of the mental side of golf.

school of disc golfAs always, this is best explained through the use of specific examples, which we’ll get into, but first a brief explanation of the two reasons for “I see holes!”

The history of this mantra, for me, was the light bulb-over-the-head realization that even on shots where the trees and other obstacles seem so numerous and throwing a disc cleanly through and past them is impossible, it’s rarely as bleak as thought. In fact, when you consider the overall area covering a particular flight path you’re hoping to take, the gaps between the trees usually represent a much larger portion of the total space than the obstructions.

After this became apparent to me, I would chant “I see holes” as a way to remind myself to think about and visualize a clean flight rather than dreading the relatively few disc-whacking trees it had to pass. In this context it’s really just positive thinking and positive imagery, and the mantra is a way to keep my thoughts focused on the good things that I plan to happen rather than the bad things that might occur.

And it really works!

That’s how the phrase first popped into my head. But it was only a matter of time before my analytical side dissected the magical effectiveness of “I see holes.”

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Wysocki dominates en route to Texas State Championships victory

By Steve Hill – Rattling Chains staff

After an up-and-down performance that still found him on the lead card for the final round of the Memorial Championship, it was anyone’s guess how Ricky Wysocki would perform at the Texas State Championships.

Wysocki, though, left no doubt.

Ricky Wysocki putts during the second round of the Texas State Championships. Wysocki won the event. (photo courtesy PDGA Media)

On a course littered with trees, brush, and cacti, Wysocki shot the hot rounds Friday and Saturday en route to a 10-stroke victory in this weekend’s Texas State Championships in Manor, Texas. Even as Paul McBeth tried to play catch-up on Sunday, Wysocki didn’t let up, using a deft mix of backhand drives and forehand escape shots to capture the $1,660 purse.

Wysocki finished the three-day tournament with a 33-under-par 186.

McBeth placed second with a 23-under 196, taking home $1,270 in the process. Nikko Locastro’s 16-under 203 earned him $975 for his third-place finish. David Hemmeline and Ron Convers tied for fourth by shooting a 15-under 204. They each earned $730.

Without question, though, the tournament belonged to Wysocki. Even if he wouldn’t admit it himself.

After starting off by shooting an eight-under-par 65 on Friday, Wysocki said he felt like he could have played better.

“I knew after the first round I was ahead, and I didn’t feel like I played that well,” he said. “It was windy, so when it’s windy you can shoot pretty well and not know it. That’s how I felt the first day, I didn’t play super solid, but I played all right.”

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Poll 50: Booze during tournaments

To continue our series of polls of items on the course and about the rules, we’re going to touch on a pretty interesting one here.

Booze.

weekly_pollIt seems like this discussion has likely come up many times before. And in the end, the result is often the same — no alcohol during tournament play.

Let’s clarify this, though.

These questions are more about PDGA-sanctioned tournaments. After all, it’s tough to police the non-sanctioned tournaments, especially if it’s an extremely lax setup.

So having your cordials during an event is illegal by PDGA standards. Never mind that many courses are in public parks and might have already made it illegal for you to have alcohol on park premises.

But for here, we’ll stick with tournaments. In the player Code of Conduct, a part of the PDGA rulebook, Section 3.3.10 says:

“Possession of alcohol from the start of play until the player’s scorecard is submitted is not allowed. Such possession shall result in immediate disqualification at PDGA events sanctioned at B-Tier or higher. The Tournament Director may, at his sole discretion, elect to issue a warning to the offending player in lieu of disqualification solely at PDGA events sanctioned at C-tier and below. If a player has been previously issued a warning for alcohol possession at the same event, all subsequent violations shall result in immediate disqualification.”

That’s pretty implicit, no?

So let that stew for a bit. Before we get to the question and its merits, let’s go back and check last week’s question, which asked: Should people be allowed to smoke while playing in leagues and tournaments?

It was a lot closer than expected, that’s for sure.

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Texas State Championships puts a premium on accuracy over distance

By Steve Hill – Rattling Chains staff

After the far-under-par shootout known as the Memorial Championships, the PDGA National Tour heads east this weekend to Austin, Texas, for the Texas State Championships.

And as the tour lands in the Lone Star State, professional disc golfers will be welcomed with open arms by something they did not see much of two weeks ago in Arizona:

Trees.

TEXAS-STATE-2013Indeed, with pros playing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at East Metro Park in Manor, Texas, the game will change from the open, water hazard-rich layout of the Memorial to a tight, technical event that will highlight mid-range accuracy over giant hyzer shots.

While it may not make for as much of a “wow” factor, as the big guns will likely stay holstered, the course layout will place a premium on laser-like precision.

Throw in temperatures in the 80s and the customary Texas wind, and it’s a recipe for an intriguing weekend of disc golf.

On the heels of a fifth-place tie at the Memorial, Ricky Wysocki has spent the last few days prepping at the course in Austin, honing his mid-range game in anticipation of making a run at this tournament’s crown.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” Wysocki said on Wednesday. “I’ve practiced two days here, two to three days now in Austin. I’ve practiced every day and I actually just picked up my new mid-ranges from Prodigy. It’s good to try those out and start testing them out tomorrow, and I’ll probably throw them in the tournament.”

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Product Review: Vibram FiveFingers

By Steve Hill – Rattling Chains staff

Depending on when, where, and what type of courses you play, finding the right footwear for disc golf can make or break your round.

Sure, if you play in a manicured park setting that boasts raked concrete tee pads, you can probably get away with wearing those clunky old skate shoes collecting dust in your closet. But if you play on any sort of uneven terrain, or tee off from rubber mats, gravel pits, or – gasp! – dirt, you’re going to need some heavy tread to keep you on your feet.

product_reviewBut, with many of the shoes with this level of grip being accompanied by some serious heft, it can be difficult to find something that will fit the needs of your game without weighing you down.

Enter Vibram FiveFingers.

With a combination of a mesh upper, durable tread, and impressive flexibility, I dare say the FiveFingers make the ideal disc golf shoe.

That is, if you are willing to open your mind.

You see, these shoes are less like shoes and more like gloves for your feet. They look a little odd and definitely feel strange at first. But, like Garth from “Wayne’s World” liked to say, “After a while, they become a part of you.”

Vibram, a long-time purveyor of footwear who a few years back hopped into the disc golf manufacturing game, was kind enough to provide Rattling Chains with a pair of TrekSport FiveFingers back in December. After wearing them for a few months, they continue to hold up tremendously in most conditions and, most importantly, have grown increasingly comfortable with each use.

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