Rattling with Avery: Looking back at 2012

avery_logo_2013

I said it last year and I’ll say it again this year — I need to write my yearly review during the winter months before going too far along into the disc golf season.

My recent month-long trip to Asia, which included stops in Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and South Korea, put me behind on a few projects, including disc golf articles. I have a lot to write about but very little time to do it. I need to stay on to of my blogs before I fall too far behind. There’s always so much to write about in regard to disc golf as it’s my life and there are always exciting adventures.

So, let’s look back at another great year as I take you on a quick journey of some highlights from my 2012 season.

Avery Jenkins competes at the Sula Open in Norway during the 2012 season. (photo contributed by Avery Jenkins)

Avery Jenkins competes at the Sula Open in Norway during the 2012 season. (photo contributed by Avery Jenkins)

The life of a touring professional can be strenuous at times, but I realize I really love to travel as much as I do and I always look forward to the next event. I played very few tournaments this year because of conflicting schedules of other things going on. I haven’t played this few events since 2004, when I stared back at the University of Oregon.

Over the years, I have realized it’s about the quality and not the quantity of events I attend throughout the season. I pick and choose the tournaments I really want to play. I used to play 30-plus events per year, but it was always such a grind and I didn’t always get the most out of the hectic travel schedule.

I have an amazing passion for gaining more exposure for disc golf. I realize teaching the sport and installing more premier courses is the way we are going to grow the sport.

In 2012, I played in 19 PDGA-sanctioned events and had seven top-5 finishes and two victories. Those came at the Lewiston (New York) Luau and the Sula Open in Sula, Norway.

I also had several strong finishes at the Memorial Championship, The “Steady” Ed Memorial Masters Cup, the Toronto Island Maple Leaf and the Rochester Flying Disc Open.

Continue reading

Trick-shot battle: The making of Avery Jenkins vs. Brodie Smith

(Note: At the end of this post is a giveaway for an autographed disc. See the details on how you can win!)

By Avery Jenkins — For Rattling Chains

I hope many of you have already watched “The Gods of Disc — Epic Trick Shot Battle 3” on YouTube. It features ultimate superstar Brodie Smith and myself performing outrageous throws into basketball hoops and disc golf baskets. If you haven’t, you need to watch this video before reading how it all came about.

This started last fall after I read a Twitter post from a good friend of mine, Jarrod Job, comparing Brodie Smith and myself in regard to our relevance in our respective sports. I responded, showing my appreciation for Smith’s Frisbee skills, but I questioned what he had for throwing distance shots — in hopes of eliciting a response from Smith.

For those who don’t know Smith, he’s a world-class ultimate player from Gainsville, Florida. He played for the two-time National Champion Florida Gators and is well-known for his outrageously entertaining Frisbee trick-shot videos on YouTube.

I’ve watched many of his trick-shot videos and I was thoroughly impressed by his never-ending energy and his amazing Frisbee skills. He also does a great job making these videos entertaining by calling out shots before making them and making funny comments to add to the entertainment value.

I remember the first time I watched one of Smith’s videos last year where he attempted — and completed — about 25 different throws into a plastic trash can from various heights and distances. He took multiple lines and made it all look very easy!

Being we are both extremely active on social networks, we communicated for several months and talked about the possibility of doing a trick-shot video together as I’m pretty good with a Frisbee, considering I have been throwing one since I was a kid. I also played ultimate at the University of Oregon for two years. Being we are both at the pinnacle of our respective sports, we knew we needed to make this happen, but he was in Florida and I was training in Santa Cruz for the winter. That made it difficult to make the connection. We decided to wait for a more convenient time so we could possibly meet up during the summer tour.

A few weeks later, he sent me his most recent video — a speed-boat trick shot he performed in Sydney, Australia. Smith threw a distance forehand shot off a bridge as a speedboat raced down the river. On the boat was an ultimate player, who did a full-extension dive, making the catch before landing in the water. I saw it on the first day it was released and it had about 250 views, so I made sure to post it all over Facebook in the hopes of getting him more views.

Continue reading

Rattling Chains with Avery Jenkins: Getting aggressive at the Memorial

With my first PDGA-sanctioned tournament of the year behind me, it was time to leave Las Vegas behind and make the six-hour ride to Phoenix, Ariz..

Nate Doss, Val Jenkins and I set out early in the morning to travel the six hours to Phoenix, Ariz., for the Memorial Championship, an event on the National Tour. In the back of the Sprinter Van, I took naps and watched movies. That’s how you travel!

The Memorial is a four-round, four-day event, beginning on Wednesday and ending on Saturday. That gives players two days to practice. It really only gives one day to practice if you stay the night in Vegas and use Monday as a travel day.

Arriving at Fountain Hills at about 4:30 p.m., we met with Discmania stars Jussi Meresmaa and Seppo Paju. I looked forward to rooming with them for the rest of the week.

The Holiday Inn were stayed at was conveniently located across the street from the course. It’s one of the main reasons we have stayed here the past two years. That means we only have to travel to the Vista Del Camino course twice and the other days we just have to walk across the street. We were less than 400 feet from the basket on hole 15. The final round and awards were also held at this course.

I grabbed my bag as Val, Nate, Seppo and I headed out for a quick practice round in limited daylight. It was less than two hours until sundown. This is a course I have played for the past 10-plus years. They have altered some of the holes throughout the years, but it’s basically the same layout that we play each year.

With winds gusting at more than 35 mph, it made for an interesting round. We avoided many of the approach shots to the baskets near the water as it wasn’t worth it to lose a good upshot disc a few days before the event. I still ended up losing a Star Teebird and a Power Driver 2 on hole 17, which is one of the longer downhill holes. The wind came from the right and carried them left and sent them into the water. I didn’t want to lose those crucial discs before the tournament, but I always carry backups for each of my go-to discs.

Avery Jenkins putts during the Memorial Championship. (Photo courtesy Marble Jones: http://www.marblejones.com)

The Fountain Hills course is gorgeous and it’s in my top-10 list for courses. It has a great layout with rolling hills surrounding a lake. In the center of the lake is a huge water fountain. It’s the fourth-tallest fountain in the world. It can reach heights of 560 feet, which it does on select holidays and celebrations.

The course is challenging because there’s a chance to throw out-of-bounds in the water on nearly every hole. It’s especially difficult when the winds are ripping. On the other hand, nearly every hole is reachable in one shot, so when the wind is down, the scores can go really low on this par-56 course.

Continue reading

Rattling Chains with Avery Jenkins: The 2012 season gets underway

My 2012 PDGA tournament season started like it usually does — with a trip south to Las Vegas for the Gentleman’s Club Challenge.

The event is considered a season opener as many of the top players come out to the desert in search of warm weather and some top-notch disc golf. Plus, it’s in the great city of Las Vegas. We’re always looking for an excuse to get back to Sin City as often as possible. We’re usually here in the spring for the GCC and in the fall for the Las Vegas Halloween Classic. Sometimes, we get the chance to come back if there’s the “Big D in the Desert,” the Distance World Championships in nearby Primm, Nev.

I arrived in Las Vegas three days early for the 2012 PDGA Spring Summit, an event to discuss issues and topics concerning the Professional Disc Golf Association. The sport continues to grow and expand with more people playing every year. We, as an association, try to put ourselves in position to adapt to the massive growth.

I’m a member of the PDGA Board of Directors and have been for the past two years. I do my best to increase the quality of standardized, competitive play, while representing the voice of our membership. We discussed many subjects and topics at this year’s Summit, including information technology, website advancements, social media integration, strategic planning, prioritizing the future of disc golf, the PDGA Women’s Committee, PDGA Leagues, and international disc golf relations.

Two of the biggest projects the PDGA has going on now are information technology and the Woman’s Committee. The implementation of these programs will help gain more exposure for disc golf in the future.

Many of us have been directly affected by the lack of performance from the PDGA website. This situation has been made a top priority by the PDGA and we have the man for the job. The website is crucial to the growth of the sport and it’s the hub for all our communications, course directory, player statistics, event schedule and tournament results. It’s a go-to website for people looking for more information about the sport and how to become more involved. More than 96,000 visitors account for 1.1 million page views each month.

Continue reading

Rattling Chains with Avery Jenkins: Looking back at 2011 and forward to 2012

Editor’s note: As noted in our announcement last night, 2009 World Champion Avery Jenkins has agreed to blog with us during the 2012 season. It’s an honor to have him willing to work with us. We’re just a couple of amateur players from upstate New York, so when we started this blog, we never thought we’d get so lucky to land someone like Avery to work with us. He’ll blog periodically throughout the season, so sit back and enjoy as he takes all of us through life on the tour and in the world of disc golf!

****

Before getting too far into the 2012 season, I needed to write my 2011 year in review. I always need to stay on top of my blogs before I fall behind. Let’s look back to another great season of disc golf as I take you on a quick journey of some highlights from the 2011 season.

The life of a touring professional can be strenuous at times, but realize I really love to travel as much as I do and always look forward to the next event. I played in 24 Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA)-sanctioned events with 10 top-5 finishes in 2011. I also earned a win at my first event of the year, at the Asia Open in Taiwan.

Avery Jenkins had a strong 2011 season. (Photo courtesy Leah Taylor)

I also had several strong finishes at the Kansas City Wide Open National Tour event, the Players Cup Match Play Championship and the Hall of Fame Classic Super Tour event. I also had a solid showing by placing fifth at the first Professional Disc Golf Association Championships at the International Disc Golf Center in Augusta, Ga.

I also finished seventh at the European Open, a major disc golf event in Nokia, Finland. And, I was part of the NorCal championship team at the NorCal vs. SoCal Team Invitational Championships earlier in the year.

Continue reading