Photo Focus: March 12

(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.)

(photo by Mark Kelly)

The 12th hole at Cliff Stevens DGC in Clearwater, Fla. (photo by Mark Kelly)

Usually, we request a story when we run a Photo Focus, but there are times when a story is not needed.

The whole a photo is worth 1,000 words sort of thing.

This image, sent in by Mark Kelly is one such image. Taken this past November during the professional weekend at the 2012 Moccasin Lake Open at Cliff Stevens DGC in Clearwater, Fla., the photo of the 12th hole is quite stunning.

What you see is more than a photo — you see photography at some of its best. Kelly took three exposures at different speeds — 1/125th, 1/250th and 1/500th. He took them in RAW format — basically a digital negative.

After importing each image into Adobe Lightroom, he exported the images into jpg files and merged them into High Dynamic Range images. HDR images is a digital photography technique that helps allow a greater range between the lightest and darkest areas of the image. Basically, it allows the photographer to represent the range of light a bit more and makes things pop.

This image really is something special in regard to disc golf and, for most disc golfers, will likely stand on its own and doesn’t need much of a back story.

Techie info:

  • Camera: N/A
  • Aperture: ƒ/10
  • Exposure: 1/125; 1/250; 1/500
  • Focal Length: 55 mm
  • ISO: 160

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!

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Poll 49: Smoking on the course

With such a good discussion with our last poll, it seemed like a good time to tackle this subject.

And it is quite a hot topic.

Now, at some point down the line, we’ll cover the wacky tabacky. For this poll, we’re sticking with the legal stuff, such as cigarettes, pipes and cigars.

weekly_pollThis is quite the topic in many places and it can get emotional. So it’s understandable that there could be different sides and thoughts to this poll question.

But, we’ll hit that up in a moment. First, let’s revisit our last poll, when we asked you about bringing dogs on the course.

Though we didn’t get as many voters as we hoped, this really had a great discussion. So, before we get to the discussion, let’s see the poll results.

We asked if people should bring their dogs with them when playing a round of disc golf. This was extremely close with 76 voters (52 percent) saying yes and 69 (48 percent) saying no.

So it seems like people are slightly in favor of it.

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I’m in last place and feel fine — why an 825-rated player enters a tourney

By Kevin Morrow — For Rattling Chains

Standing on the first tee, I turn to face my group.

“Hi, my name is Kevin Morrow and I’m an 825-rated player.”

I then get that true support-group reaction, in unison.

“Hi, Kevin!”

Kevin Morrow tees off on the 12th hole at Loriella Disc Golf earlier this year. A birdie on this hole helped Morrow to his lowest round ever in a tournament.

Kevin Morrow tees off on the 12th hole at Loriella Disc Golf earlier this year. A birdie on this hole helped Morrow to his lowest round ever in a tournament.

Sometimes, I feel like my playing in disc golf tournaments equates to being an addict. It’s a lot of self-abuse and nothing good comes from it.

Let me back up a little bit.

I began playing disc golf in 1986. By the early 1990s, I was playing tournaments and finishing in the middle of the pack in Am2. I stopped playing tournaments in 1996 and by 2002, I had stopped playing entirely.

In all of those tournaments, I never cashed or won prizes. A few years ago, I picked up my discs again. Last year, I began playing in tournaments again. A big part of that decision was because of the local club — the Spotsy Disc Golf Club. I joined this year and it’s a great group of golfers. Being around them got my competitive blood flowing again.

Being at the back end of the masters division and being an 825-rated player has unique situations. As a player who isn’t new, do I enter the rec division or intermediate? Or do I man up and play advanced masters?

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March O’ St. Pat’s Madness tourney combines solid organization, old-school feel

stpats_2013

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains Staff

For those of you who live in the New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania area, chances might be good you’ve dealt with Bob Graham or Mike Solt.

Graham is a PDGA professional and a member of Team Vibram. He’s run top-notch events for years and they are often among some of the most fun a player will have. Graham works hard to make his events extremely enjoyable for players of all skill levels.

disc_devilsSolt, otherwise known as Mr. DiscGolf, is one who promotes the sport and runs events throughout the year in the Northeast. He has a large following because he’s known to run quality and efficient events.

To say I respect these two not only in the disc golf world, but as people, would be a massive understatement.

So, if you put the two of them together at an event, it’s sure to be a solid and well-run tournament.

Graham, a member of the New Jersey Disc Devils, will again run his annual March O’ St. Pat’s Madness event, a PDGA C-tier tournament to be held March 17 at Rutgers Disc Golf Course in New Brunswick, N.J.

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Product Review: MVP Tangent

By Steve Hill and P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

At this point, the output from the MVP Disc Sports factory has to be nearing the level of its automotive counterparts in nearby Detroit.

The Tangent, scheduled to hit stores this Friday, is billed as a slightly understable mid-range driver. With this release, MVP has knocked out four molds since October. And while most MVP fans were probably hoping for the brand’s next offering to be a distance driver, I feel confident in saying the Tangent will be more than enough to hold the devotees over.

product_reviewMore importantly, I think it will bring a lot of new MVP throwers aboard the bandwagon.

See, while MVP’s prior offerings have been enjoyable, none have been quite so effortless to work and manipulate as the Tangent. Case in point — my first throw in the field with the 170-gram, lime-green tester I was given produced an audible “holy crap.” With an easy, smooth toss, this disc got up and ran straight out to about 250 feet, gliding with ease to a soft landing almost straight in line with its release. For me, that’s a good pull with a mid.

But anything can happen in the field, so I knew I had to temper my expectations for this disc until I gave it a true workout on the course. Content to continue working with the 170-gram disc from the field, I decided to use it exclusively for a round of 18 at Brengle Terrace Park in Vista, Calif., to try and unleash all of its potential.

And, I knew I needed to have some additional perspective on how it flew. So, I took it out to the course with the Mikes, two guys I play with who are, without question, huge fans of the MVP Axis, the company’s stable mid-range. I knew that, with their bigger arms and MVP experience, they would be a good measure for how the Tangent would perform.

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Rattling Chains celebrates one year

One year.

One year ago today, Rattling Chains launched to the disc golf world with wonderment of what we might be able to accomplish. At that time, it was all me and I had so much energy.

Oh, how a year does you in.

I honestly didn’t know if we’d make it this far. Disc golf is an interesting niche in which to blog. We try to bring a journalistic feel to many stories, but also don’t want it always to be that way. So we do first-person accounts, instructional posts, reviews, games and whatever else comes across our minds.

harmer_sigAnd it seems to work.

That being said, we’ve also not been afraid to say how we feel. Our stories aren’t always cake and candy. We’re not afraid to speak the truth. The one thing we’ve found out? We might be a little ahead of the game in being honest.

The “big wigs” in this game don’t always like things like that, as I’ve found out from e-mails and other correspondence. It doesn’t do anything to promote the game, I’ve been told. I’ve been asked why we don’t just focus on the positives and don’t worry about the negatives.

One answer – we’re not a public relations firm.

Disc golf isn’t perfect. I think we all know that. And if the game is going to continue to grow, everyone else needs to realize that, too. We learn from the negatives or low points. Well, at least we should.

Believe me, if we could just write happy-go-lucky stories, we would. But then we wouldn’t be doing what we set out to do – to give an honest look to the game we all love.

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Schusterick overcomes scorecard error, wins Memorial in playoff

By P.J. Harmer – Rattling Chains staff

One day, Will Schusterick will be able to look back at the 2013 Memorial Championship and laugh.

Schusterick birdied the opening hole of a playoff with Paul McBeth to win $3,700 and the championship at the 25th Memorial in Fountain Hills, Arizona.

Some 30 minutes earlier, a playoff was the furthest thing from Schusterick’s mind. In the span of about five minutes, things came crashing down.

Will Schusterick, shown competing at the 2011 Vibram Open, earned a victory in the first National Tour event of the year by winning The Memorial Championship on the first hold of a playoff with Paul McBerh. (photo by P.J. Harmer)

Will Schusterick, shown competing at the 2011 Vibram Open, earned a victory in the first National Tour event of the year by winning The Memorial Championship on the first hold of a playoff with Paul McBerh. (photo by P.J. Harmer)

This almost turned out to be the tournament that got away.

Celebrating his win at the season-opening National Tour event, Schusterick broke away from friends and fans to make sure his scorecard added up. It added up to a 43 and a two-stroke victory over McBeth.

Moments later, while being interviewed, he got news that he said made him look white as a ghost.

Schusterick forgot to put the total on his card, resulting in a two-stroke penalty. That meant he’d have to go into a playoff with McBeth.

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Casual golf’s competitive summit: an epic and friendly grudge match

I rarely dedicate an entire post to a first-person account of a disc golf round, but on rare occasions I feel it makes for good enough reading and I break my own rule.

This round is at DeLaveaga in Santa Cruz, California, and I’ve included links to hole descriptions so you can better visualize the situations.

jackFirst, let me give you some background. My friend Alan and I have played together since the late 1990s. We used to gamble small wagers. In the early days, he was an established — he won the Faultline Classic/California State Championship in DeLaveaga in 1994 — and I was playing Am1 and still learning.

More often than not, he hustled me. But I paid attention and, eventually, my improving game and injuries on his part swung things in my favor. I’ve had the advantage for the past eight years or so, but Alan has really cranked his game up in the past few months. We’re pretty even now. I’m sure most readers would agree that it’s more fun if your more evenly matches with a playing partner.

We attempt to play when the courses aren’t too crowded. This time, however, a 2 p.m. Saturday round was the only time that worked for both of us. We’re not used to being on the course at such a peak time and it was like a party spread out over 80 acres. For us, that’s not a goof thing on a golf course.

Discs were flying everywhere and voices continually cascaded up and down the ravines. It was wild. Crazy wild. The wind was crazy, too. It was pretty gusty, but the challenging aspect was that it kept changing direction. You’d factor the headwind into a certain shot and then it would change to a tailwind.

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