Discraft’s Ace Race continues to evolve in its 10th year

By Steve Hill — Rattling Chains staff

No matter how old you are, or how long you have been playing, everyone who partakes in disc golf wants to achieve that ultimate goal — release the disc, watch its gorgeous path through the air, and SPLASH! Ace!

Even if you are a golfer who has a list of aces as long as Santa Claus’ naughty and nice scroll, it’s always fun to take a run at the chains, and Discraft offers that each fall with their annual Ace Race.

Now in its 10th year, the Discraft Ace Race is comprised of more than 300 individual events held over nearly three months that bring golfers — both veterans and those who have never touched a disc outside of their DVD players — together for the sole purpose of trying to hit as many aces as possible in one day. With this year’s event boasting more than 16,000 participants from 12 countries on three continents, it is the largest single disc golf event in the world, according to Discraft marketing director Brian Sullivan.

Coming from humble beginnings in Michigan and rapidly ascending to more than 50 events in three years, Sullivan said the goal of the Ace Race originally was to serve as the middleman between new players and their more established brethren.

The 2012 Ace Race disc.

“Our research has shown that the average new disc golfer takes three years to make the transition from a one-disc-wonder who plays a few times per year to joining a league and contributing to the local club’s growth,” Sullivan said. “Ace Race was conceived from the beginning to be a vehicle that would help to bridge the gap between casual players and organized clubs, serving as an introductory activity.”

The concept, for those unfamiliar, is pretty simple — Discraft designs a prototype disc each year that is released to the public specifically for the Ace Race. Participants pay $25 to enter the event, receiving two discs (as well as other goodies) that they use to simply tee off and try for an ace on each hole. No birdies, no pars. Just pure, unadulterated ace racing.

Sullivan admits, however, that Discraft did not devise the Ace Race concept all on their own. They just put their own spin on it.

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Spreading the disc golf word isn’t always easy

Four-year-old Ethan gets some help from his father, Joe, Sunday at a local event.

By P.J. Harmer — RattlingChains.com Staff

Sometimes, it’s not the most simple of tasks to get an area interested in disc golf.

For more than two years, a few people — spearheaded by one person — have been trying to get a disc golf course at a local park. Though originally accepted with open arms, it’s recently battled red tape and silly “roadblocks” in the quest to get the course in the ground.

Six-year-old Rylie sends a disc into the basket.

The worst part of it is that we’ve already raised a whole heap of money.

Alas, until the red tape can be cut, we’re stuck. The area is ripe for this game, too. There are a lot of younger athletes who have shown interest in the game. And once a few of them got involved, we have no doubt it would continue to grow.

Especially with having a good course at a nice park. Even if it had to start out as a 9-hole course with a couple of tee pads on each hole, it would be good.

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The time has come: Women’s Global Event to run Saturday

With all the planning and plotting out of the way, the PDGA’s Women’s Global Event is set.

On Saturday, 41 events around the world will take place in conjunction with the Women’s Global Event. Nearly 600 ladies have pre-registered for the event and walk-ups will likely push the number to well beyond 600.

This event could be a crowning achievement for women’s disc golf and the PDGA.

“All of the PDGA events are important,” said Sara Nicholson, the PDGA’s membership manager. “This one will make the biggest ‘field’ of women competing against each other during one event, so this is definitely one for the history books.”

The concept of the event, though it may seem extremely complicated, is actually pretty straightforward.

Women from all over the globe will play two rounds of disc golf at a local event. The scores are submitted to the PDGA and rated. Those ratings equal the “global score.” Two rounds must be played on the same course and layout and include at least five players (male or female) in the field with a rating of 800 or higher. That works to keep the ratings in the event consistent.

Scores and ratings will be updated throughout the day Saturday and eventually will crown an overall champion.

That equals a ton of work, but in the end this could be a massive step for women’s disc golf. As of Thursday night, 597 women were pre-registered for the event.

“It’s about participation,” touring professional Sarah Hokom said. “Get as many women as possible out there competing as one force. This is a huge thing and I think it will be epic.”

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Helping disc sports grow: Take your disc to work this Friday

Give yourself a chance to win!

Have you participated in something where you brought something to work for one day?

A child?

A pet?

Something or someone else?

Now you have that chance again. This time to hopefully help spread the word of a sport you play and enjoy.

This Friday — April 6 — Discraft is sponsoring an event called Take Your Disc To Work Day. The idea is simple — take a disc to work or school and get someone interested in a disc sport, be it disc golf, ultimate or something else.

Do it creatively and you could win a spending spree in the Discraft store.

Get creative with your photos and you could win a spending spree! (Photo courtest Discraft)

The idea isn’t just to spread the word of disc golf, but to make it a way to talk about all disc sports.

“It’s a concept we had tried briefly years ago, before my time,” said Brian Sullivan, Discraft’s marketing director. “It’s a concept that’s brilliant. It’s a concept Pete (Chumas) came to us with and said we should take it globally.”

Chumas said he saw the idea as when Ultimate Canada did it the past few years and he thought it could work on a much bigger stage.  A former ultimate player with ties to the disc golf community, Chumas said he wants to keep seeing disc sports grow and maybe appear on television some day.

Ultimate Canada has been running something similar to this and Chumas said he had participated in that event and thought it could go global.

“I have some old friends at Discraft, and they were immediately on board when I pitched them since they had tried something similar way back before social media,” Chumas said. “Now, thanks to (Discraft) we had some prizes and celebrity judges, and could get the word out quickly with the power of social media, so we jumped in with both feet.”

Sullivan said getting involved with this was an easy decision for Discraft.

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