Confessions of a lightweight

It took me a long time to work up to this point, but I am finally ready to admit the truth:

I’m a lightweight, and proud of it.

steve

In a game dominated by those throwing max weight drivers in search of the biggest distance – and, in many cases, ego – possible, I am man enough to admit that I am perfectly content throwing my Latitude 64 Opto Diamond for most drives. Standing out on the fairway with its hot pink hue and weighing in at a whopping 154 grams, it is now a staple of my game.

In fact, I am building all of my drivers around this weight class for the foreseeable future, and I am quite pleased with the results so far.

It hasn’t always been like this, though. In fact, during my two-plus years of disc golfing, I have taken some bad advice, ignored some good, and felt some pain to finally get to this point.

Let’s start with the bad advice.

When I first started playing, I headed out to league night at my local course – not to play, but to learn. The president of the local club was nice enough to show me around and take a look in my bag, which at the time consisted of an Innova DX Valkyrie and the Leopard/Shark/Aviar trifecta found in the company’s starter pack sold in big box stores.

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Wysocki looking to pad lead, win third NT event of season

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

Four down, four to go.

With four PDGA National Tour events in the books, it’s still anybody’s game when it comes to claiming the championship. Four tournaments remain and the top five players are quite close to one another.

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There’s one thing to remember, though. Only the top five of of the first seven events for each player, as well as the season-ending Vibram Open will count in the final standings. Therefore, the current rankings could jump around as the season moves along.

Four events remain, including this weekend’s Great Lake’s Open, which runs Friday through Sunday in Milford, Mich.

The tournament will run one round per day at the Toboggan Championship course at Kensington MetroPark.

Ricky Wysocki, who has won two National Tour events this year, is on top of the standings with 363.5 points. Just behind is Nikko Locastro with 362. Dave Feldberg (334) is third, followed by Will Schusterick (318) and Paul McBeth (290). McBeth didn’t play in the last NT event, however.

Wysocki is the top-ranked player in the Disc Golf Rankings, an independent ratings system devised by Vibram’s Steve Dodge and sponsored by Prime Discs, Vibram and Rattling Chains. Wysocki was also recently named the 2012 Male Player of the Year.

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Poll 59: Did you play this weekend?

Let’s be serious here.

Well, not so serious.

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Sometimes, these polls will take a light-hearted approach to try and get some discussion going and just see what people are doing in the world of disc golf.

That’s kind of where we’re going with this week’s poll.

In the United States, this past weekend (for most people) was a long, three-day one. With a federal holiday on Monday, that made for some free time.

So we’re curious about those of you who played this weekend and if you have any stories!

More on that in a moment.

First, let’s check back with last week’s poll and see what some readers had to say.

Last week, we asked you how far you would walk or hike to play a disc golf course. Only 73 of you voted, but it was still somewhat surprising how the results panned out.

The winning selection was more than a mile, picked by 25 (34 percent) of the voters. A quarter of a mile (18 votes/25 percent) was next, followed by a mile (12 votes/16 percent), half a mile (11 votes/15 percent) and across the parking lot (7 votes/10 percent).

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Take a moment to remember and thank those who make this day possible

Memorial Day is a day to remember why we have what we have.

Though Rattling Chains is a website that is read in countries around the world, we’re based in the United States and the bulk of our readership is from the USA.

Today is Memorial Day.

Remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country.

Many people will have this day off. Some will watch parades, go to cookouts, play disc golf or whatever else.

While you enjoy this extra day, please remember those who made this day possible — the men and women who have fought to protect our freedoms.

This is not a political post. No matter your thoughts about government, wars or whatever else, those who serve in the military protect your right to express yourself as you see fit.

With that in mind, we should take a moment to reflect, remember and celebrate those who have fought — and continue — to defend what we have.

So if you are out playing disc golf today, take a moment to reflect. If you see someone from the military, thank them. This is a day when it should be about that, not about the state of the country or the world.

We’ll be back tomorrow with the poll of the week. For those who have the day off, please enjoy — and remember.

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 andlike us on Facebook!

TeeBoxx seeks to be more than a vending machine

By Steve Hill – Rattling Chains staff

After spending most of his life working in marketing and advertising, which included producing commercials and an ill-fated anti-hangover beverage, Aaron Martin said he realized he needed to branch out on his own.

“I got tired of making other businesses money,” he said. “So that’s why I started going into business for myself.”

PrintAs a longtime member of the Omaha, Nebraska disc golf scene and a former player for Team Discraft, Martin has watched the sport grow to its current level, bringing both new players and business opportunities to the table. But he has also witnessed firsthand the wear and tear associated with the sport’s boom.

“After playing a lot of courses all over the country, I saw a lot of erosion and trash, and a lot of things that needed to be updated,” Martin said. “That was part of the problem, so I sought out to find a solution.”

That solution has manifested in the form of TeeBoxx, the automated disc golf retail center and accompanying business Martin and his partners have pioneered.

More than a machine

The story of TeeBoxx is nearly five years in the making. Recognizing that most of the money coming through disc golf was associated with retail, Martin – who now serves as the company’s chief marketing officer – and his partners decided that an automated machine was the best way to offer something new.

“Disc golf has been something that I’ve really wanted to be a part of and somehow figure out a sustainable business through it,” he said.

At its most basic level, TeeBoxx is a vending machine much like those that dispense candy and other snacks. With the familiar spinning coils holding discs in place and a keypad used to make a selection, the mechanism is one most people should be familiar with.

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Product Review: DGA Breaker

By P.J. Harmer, Steve Hill and Jack Trageser — Rattling Chains Staff

Rattling Chains was lucky enough to be one of the sponsors for a tournament that had the DGA Breaker as part of a player’s pack.

In fact, it was the first tournament to have the Breaker with a custom tournament stamp.

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The DGA Breaker

Still, if the disc doesn’t deliver, then it’s nothing more than eye candy.

When I play in tournaments, I usually find the nicest disc with the tournament stamp and keep it. I don’t throw it at all, rather allow it to become a wall-hanger to show what tournaments I’ve played in. Usually, I hope it’s a disc I’ve already thrown or own.

I was lucky enough to be able to grab more than one disc from this tournament, which allowed me to have something to throw, too.

Score!

I’m not one to get into technical details of a disc. As barely a 700-rated player, my disc choices are based on feel and what the disc does for me.

And I’m digging the Breaker.

With a lower — and flatter — profile and a different feel to the underside, I wasn’t sure what it would do for me. But it fit what I was looking for — a putt-and-approach disc I could use in multiple situations. What I really like about it is it doesn’t seem to do anything silly once it lands.

Within 100 feet or so, I usually use the Innova JK Aviar. I still will use it as it’s reliable, but the Breaker is going to start pushing its way into play. The reason being is when the Breaker heads toward the basket and slides in, it stops. The Aviar, as well as a few others I’ve used, will sometimes hop up and bounce or roll away.

The Breaker didn’t do that. I’m not saying it’s not possible for it to do it, but it hasn’t in the times I’ve used it. For me, that’s enough to put it in the bag.

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Photo Focus: May 21

(Photo focus will run every week or two 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.)

Ace Race from 2011.

The beauty of the Discraft Ace Race or something along those lines is it’s a bit more loose than a regular tournament.

That means it’s a tournament where carrying a camera isn’t a bad thing.

Throughout this tournament in 2011, I kept trying to find the “one” shot. I took action shots, artsy shots and everything else.

Then we got to this hole.

I really liked the setup and found a tree that would hold the Ace Race disc quite well. Then I started snapping away, keeping the focus on the disc. This image was my favorite of a bunch I shot because of where the disc is with the throw, the expression and the backdrop.

Alas, I was irritated I cut off one of his feet.

In the end, though, I captured something I was happy with. It showed the Ace Race disc, some action and the area we were in. With this being my first Ace Race, I was pleased.

I’d also like to note we encourage people to send us photos for Photo Focus. Check the link at the top of this post for guidelines and send us your good shots so we can feature them here!

— P.J. Harmer

Techie info:

  • Camera: Canon 7D
  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Exposure: 1/800
  • Focal Length: 17 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 58: Walking to courses

Before we move on with the poll, the Rattling Chains staff would like to thank everybody who made women’s week so successful. We’ll continue this annually as long as the site is up and running.

weekly_pollWe’ll also write women’s stories throughout the year, so if you have ideas, feel free to e-mail.

And now on with the show.

One of the other writers on the site, Jack Trageser, sent a whole heap of poll questions to use a few months back. One of them seemed really interesting because it shows the difference between ball golf and disc golf.

He noted that sometimes, a disc golf course is located a bit from parking. So how far will somebody walk to play a course?

Yes, it may seem a little odd to some, but consider one course in upstate New York. It’s not the greatest of courses and, unless you really were looking, most wouldn’t know it existed. There are baskets, but it’s not the easiest to navigate. And to get to it? A good half-mile hike around a pond.

But we’ll get back to all of that in a few moments. First, let’s check back with our last poll, when we asked if you had helped in the growth of the women’s game.

Despite being on the site for two weeks, the poll garnered a disappointing 73 voters. Of those, 81 percent (59 votes) said they had helped the growth. The other 19 percent (14 votes) said no.

Let’s see what some people had to say:

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Living life takes on a stronger meaning for Denise Cameron

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

Life’s good for Denise Cameron.

The key word in that sentence? Life.

The 28-year-old resident of Syracuse, New York, is living life the way she wants. She’s less than a year from getting her college degree. There’s an awesome internship set up for the summer.

Denise Cameron has overcome a lot in the past year, but she's kept an upbeat attitude throughout. (photo by Dan Traub)

Denise Cameron has overcome a lot in the past year, but she’s kept an upbeat attitude throughout. (photo by Dan Traub)

Then there’s disc golf. Oh, is there disc golf. She’s coming off one of the best seasons she’s ever had. And, heck, just to throw things into another orbit, she’s even dating 2010 PDGA world champion Eric McCabe.

Life’s grand, it seems, for Cameron.

But if not for things working out in a crazy way, all of this may never have happened.

See, on Feb. 4, 2012, two days after her 27th birthday, Cameron suffered a brain aneurysm. And if not for everything lining up just right, the situation may have not worked out so well for her.

Despite being young and active, this health issue ran in her family. Her mother died at 51 from a massive aneurysm.

Active in the Central New York disc golf scene, Cameron said she started playing in 2004 or 2005, when she still lived in Florida. She moved to New York in 2008 and continued playing.

Central New York, specifically the Syracuse area, is a pretty solid area to play the game. With plenty of courses and a lot of people, it’s rare to not find somebody playing.

“It was a fun thing to go into the woods and throw discs,” Cameron said.

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The Disc Golf Guy helps bring the sport to women

By Jenny Cook — Rattling Chains staff

When I think of Terry Miller — aka The Disc Golf Guy — a few words come to mind that create a recipe for a well rounded individual and promoter of disc golf: collaboration, dedication, hardworking, professional and innovative.

Some 20 years ago, Miller was introduced to the sport while at a summer camp. Using 50-class Frisbees and grocery baskets as targets, he competed in and won his first competition.

Terry Miller comes out of the woods for a shot. (photo by Kristin Reichensperger)

Terry Miller comes out of the woods for a shot. (photo by Kristin Reichensperger)

Later that summer, he played on his first “official” disc golf course, filled with baskets. That helped Miller get hooked on the game.

Fast forward to 2013, where Miller has gained a reputation as a course designer, teacher, mentor, and professional player. He’s also been the director for many tournaments, including the 2007 Amateur Worlds in Milwaukee, Wisc., and a tournament for last year’s Women’s Global Event at the Grey Fox course in Silver Lake, Wisc.

That Am Worlds tourney was the second time I ran into him. I’ll never forget watching him walking among the women’s groups and showing his support — something he’s continued to do throughout the years.

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