Building your better bag: A do-it-yourself guide

By Matthew Bertram — For Rattling Chains

In disc golf’s infancy, simplicity reigned supreme. You took your one disc, carried it in your hand, and played your round.

With the evolution of the game, though, has come a plethora of discs to cater your game to a tee — meaning that, more often than not, two hands aren’t even enough to carry everything.

Here is a Cabela’s bag built with a frame that lifts the discs up into a top-load orientation, allowing the bottom compartment to be used for storage. (photo by Matthew Bertram)

What once was an Under Armour backpack is now a disc golf bag, thanks to some intrepid DIY spirit.  (photo by Matthew Bertram)

Now, disc golf bags are undergoing a similar evolution, moving away from the standard bag-plus-quad straps to more backpack-style bags being available on the marketplace. Players, it seems, are starting to re-think how they carry their gear.

Backpacks are designed to offer better weight distribution by keeping the bulk of your disc weight high and tight to the body. Aside from the comfort aspect, they also tend to offer superior storage capacity. Whether the backpack is best for you is a personal decision, but what you can’t argue is the price — manufacturers of backpack bags demand a premium for the comfort and style they offer. Today, the industry standard for these bags is right around $200.00, and can climb near $300.00.

With the backpack market continuing to grow in 2013, more options will be available to disc golfers. If dropping $200.00 on a bag is of no concern to you, or if you find a backpack that gives you everything you’ve been looking for, then you’re making the right choice. These bags are designed for disc golfers by disc golfers. That fact should not be understated.

However, if you’d rather spend more money on discs or tournament entry fees, there is another path you might take – the do-it-yourself route.

The DIY contingent was once just as niche as the ones who carried true disc golf backpacks. But, as the backpack market grows, so do the amount of players who want more fiscally viable options – myself included. I’ve been tinkering and converting non-DG bags for a couple years now, and what I enjoy is being able to build something that is unique and functional out of a bag that had an entirely different purpose to begin with. My hope is that this article can offer some tips and tricks that I’ve learned (mostly by wasting money), so that you may be able to avoid the pitfalls and reap the benefits of creating your own disc golf backpack.

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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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Creative Corner: Making a disc golf cart

By Darren Dolezel — RattlingChains.com Staff

I’ve seen a few disc golf carts on the market, but spending upward of $300 on something like that is hard to justify. Especially considering I won’t use the cart all the time.

So, I set out to build an inexpensive alternative and came up with what I think is a winner.

The finished cart.

In the past, I’ve seen some local professionals using hand trucks modified as a cart, or an old fashioned red wagon as another cart. My thoughts were that they weren’t as functional as I wanted them to be.

I searched and searched for something I could convert and found a feed cart at Tractor Supply for about $60. It took me a good two months before I settled for this cart, but it turned out to be the cheapest cart with the most capacity.

The first thing I wanted on the cart was a seat, so I went to a local construction supply store and purchased a shop stool for $15. I modified that to fit the cart. After a trial run, it was nice, but I wanted a seat with a back for a little support.

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Creative Corner: Making a portable basket personal

Darren Dolezel's lit-up basket at the local Relay For Life event in 2011.

I recently came to the conclusion that I have an addictive personality.

When I get involved in something I like and enjoy, I usually jump in full force and take it to another level.

When I first got into disc golf, the first thing I purchased, besides many discs, was an Innova SkillShot portable basket. It was a good starter basket, but I didn’t think it caught discs as well as a real basket. Next came an Innova DISCatcher Sport, which turned out to be great.

However, even though it was great, I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I wanted to find a way to modify the basket to make it better.

Cue the music and let’s hit the garage!

The first thing I did was get rid of the chains that came with the basket and replaced them with stainless steel chains. It’s not a cheap investment, but when you are blinded by the possibilities of what can be done, I tend to forget how much things cost. Not only did I replace the outer chains, but I also added inner chains.

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Creative Corner: Need a bag for your minis?

Darren reverted back to his home ec classes to make a bag for mini disc golf.

As a disc golfer, I have slowly developed my skills by playing on a regular basis and learning all the discs in my bag and how they fly.

Nobody told me I’d have to do the same thing with minis.

Minis?

As if it wasn’t enough to play disc golf with regular discs, now I have to learn how to throw my mini?

These shorts made for good fabric to make a mini bag with.

I was recently invited to play some mini disc courses in Pennsylvania. After doing some YouTube research, I found some short movies on how to throw a mini. I also received some helpful advice from New Jersey-based professional Bob Graham.

Add those things together and I was able to throw the minis exceptionally far.

As a bit of a disc junkie, I have accumulated quite a few different minis. And they all seemed to do different things, so I got wondering — are there mini bags? I searched the internet and found some bags for minis, but most of them were plain and simple.

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