A thank you and farewell to all

Not that this should be a shock to anybody, but the end of Rattling Chains has obviously happened.

However, I needed closure on this part of my life, as well as for the site, considering I still see e-mails asking about it.

announcementI had a time in my life where I was unemployed. This blog provided so many things for me. One, it allowed me to find one of the greatest games in the world. Though I don’t get to play as often as I’d like, I do still try and get out and throw plastic. I’m not an active PDGA member as I don’t plan on playing tournaments or anything, but I still support what they are trying to do.

Maybe, one day, I’ll get back into it. I do think I might subscribe to the magazine, though, as I miss that.

But for the time Rattling Chains existed, I fully believed in the cause. I wanted to bring a journalistic-style of blogging to the disc golf world. It’s something I still think can do well, if done right. As the site grew (and it did so nicely), we had a fun little staff who did some wonderful work.

Thing evolved, but when you try and grow and there’s nothing coming back, it gets tough. I didn’t play enough disc golf to have a full-fledged connection to it. The other main writers were doing so much with but just a thank you. Though, I can’t lie, I still hope to get out to the West Coast and play a round with each of the main players some day in the future.

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With spring here … it’s time to start chucking

In my neck of the woods, it was 66 degrees out yesterday.

After the winter and early spring we’ve had, my eyes popped when I saw that. Of course a lot of areas still have some snow and it’s really muddy out. But it’s a good sign.

Maybe I’ll finally get a chance to play some disc golf again. And start writing. That would be cool.

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When I started this site more than two years ago, I had no idea where it would go. But, I knew it was something I needed to do for a couple of reasons – mainly because there weren’t many disc golf blogs with decent stuff and also because, at the time, I was unemployed and needed to find something to help me through that time.

It worked.

Over the next two years, we had some ups and downs. We had some great writers with us, good stories and a solid following. But it never grew to certain levels and I think it wasn’t necessarily about the quality of the content, but what we did. I never intended to try and make money off the site, either, as I wanted to make sure we always kept independent.

That didn’t stop us from doing what we had hoped to do – deliver some cool stuff.

See, looking at statistics over time, the biggest hits usually came with reviews or shorter stories. The longer, more in-depth features, while liked by many, didn’t get as many hits. It makes sense though, as society grows, that kind of “journalistic style” isn’t always something people want to read. Disc golfers are players, for the most part. They want to know what can help their game.

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Photo Focus: Oct. 7

(Photo focus will run every few 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.)

The fall can be a great time to get some cool disc golf images.

When I’m out disc golfing, I’m usually looking beyond the throws and scores.

Often, my camera will be with me as it’s normally just a casual round. The fall with all its colors makes for some good disc golf photos.

While I realize it’s possible that it’s harder to find certain discs, it’s also a cool time to use nature for photos.

The above photo was pure luck.

I through an errant shot and it ended up, like normal, among some trees. It bounced off at least one and then landed. We had no idea where. We looked for a bit before I finally spotted it.

This is exactly how the disc landed. Could it have landed any more perfect for a photo?

Of course I had to snap away before pulling the disc up for the next shot.

One of the most important things I’ve learned about photography and disc golf is you should always be ready to take photos of the different things as you never know when something will make itself available, much like my Buzzz did.

— P.J. Harmer

Techie info:

  • Camera: Canon 7D
  • Aperture: f/4.0
  • Exposure: 1/500
  • 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!

Exploring a new course makes for an interesting round

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Binghamton University’s new disc golf course has the potential to be top-notch. It also proved to be a crazy welcome back for one disc golfer. (photo by P.J. Harmer)

Do you ever get that feeling where it’s like you are throwing a disc for the first time?

Though I get a small part of that feeling on almost every outing, I really was overwhelmed with it a couple of weekends ago.

harmer_sigIt was like I was pulling out plastic for the first time.

It had been more than three months since I had last played the game, so I was excited to meet with two others and play a round. We met at Binghamton University in upstate New York for a round on a new course. This course, which had been open for less than a month, was designed by Dan Doyle, who also worked on the design of the famed Warwick course.

And, I’m sure, many of you may have seen the interview where Ken Climo put Warwick up there as his favorite course in the United States.

So forgive me if I was a little giddy when told by a friend than Doyle was the designer of this course.

Binghamton University is a deceptively large campus. It doesn’t seem like it should be as big as it is, but there is quite a bit of land. This course is spread over the upper part of the campus, going in and out of the woods, some open land and the occasional parking lot.

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PDGA National Tour heads into home stretch at KCWO

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

With two events remaining before the season-ending Vibram Open, Ricky Wysocki has opened his lead in the PDGA National Tour and will look to widen it even more at this weekend’s Kansas City Wide Open.

It’s the 31st running of the annual event, which has 80 players registered as of Thursday morning.

kcwoThough not a massive field — it’s the second-lowest turnout for an NT event this year, ahead of just the Hall of Fame Classic — the top 10 players in the men’s standings and seven of the top 10 in the women’s are slated to play.

The standings can change quickly, though, as only the top five of the first seven events for each player, as well as the Vibram, will count in the final standings.

With fewer events remaining, however, Wysocki has established himself as the man to beat. This weekend’s event runs Friday through Sunday on four courses in Kansas City.

Two rounds are scheduled for Friday with the first at Water Works Park and the second at Rosedale Park. Round three is at Blue Vally Park on Saturday and the fourth round is at Swope Park Gold on Sunday. That’s followed by the final nine at 2 p.m. local time, also at Swope Park Gold.

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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!

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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Kristy King inks her connection to disc golf’s past

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

Disc golf is largely an individual sport.

Though there are sometimes events with a team aspect — such as the Collegiate Championships or a doubles tournament — the sport is highly individual.

Kristy King shows off her "Steady" Ed Headrick tattoo. (photo courtesy of Kristy King)

Kristy King shows off her “Steady” Ed Headrick tattoo. (photo courtesy of Kristy King)

Whether one competes against a course, another player, the field of a tournament or against themselves, there’s not a lot of room to blame others for things that happen during a round.

It also leaves the opening for people to show off their personality. That type of expression can come in many forms, whether it be clothing, bags, disc designs, the way they act on the course, or, even, tattoos.

In the professional ranks, individual expression is there, but it’s often tame. Some top-level players may have a tattoo or two, or wear a certain type of clothing. Others may be known for outspoken comments or actions on the course.

It all depends on the player.

For Californian Kristy King, her expression is on her right forearm.

That’s where, adorned for all to see, is a tattoo of the signature of “Steady” Ed Headrick, the father of disc golf. As a DGA-sponsored player, the tattoo makes sense.

What makes a disc golfer go that far? Being connected to the game and to the sport.

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Ragna Bygde looking beyond Sweden to make her mark on the sport

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

Life as a professional disc golfer isn’t the most glamorous of career choices.

Especially for women.

The fields are smaller, which, in turn, makes the prize money smaller than in men’s tournaments. And that’s just in the United States. Add in being a professional women’s player in Europe and it’s even harder.

Ragna Bygde is one of the newest members of Prodigy Disc. (photo courtesy Ragna Bygde)

Ragna Bygde is one of the newest members of Prodigy Disc. (photo courtesy Ragna Bygde)

Such is the life of Ragna Bygde, one of the newest members of Prodigy Disc. A resident of Stockholm, Sweden, the 23-year-old Bygde has been playing on and off for eight years and comes from a family of disc golfers. Her father, Peter Bygde, is also a professional.

Being a professional wasn’t much of a choice for Bygde, though, as she made that move when she played in her first tournament.

“In Europe, there’s only pro for women,” she said. “So as soon as you get into the game, you are a pro.”

Though she had a father who played disc golf often, it wasn’t her first love. She did spend a lot of time with her father at Järva Discgolf Park, but it was just to hang out with her father.

“I never joined him though,” she said. “I was to busy working on my career in show jumping and synchronized swimming as most young girls did at that point.”

Something changed, however. During her teenage years, she started throwing plastic. Bygde said she saw another teen playing and wanted to give it a chance. The love of the sport didn’t take long to set in and she soon left the pool and horses behind.

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Women to take over Rattling Chains from May 12-18

Women’s Week has returned to Rattling Chains.

Before I continue, allow me to wish a happy Mother’s Day to all you discin’ mothers and any others who happen to come across the blog.

If you have been a follower of us since the early days of our blog, you’ll remember us declaring one full week last year as Women’s Week. Our plan was simple — to dedicate a full week to write about or have stories written by women.

womens_week_pj

We did it in conjunction with the PDGA’s Women’s Global Event. For the week, we changed the look of our blog and ran stories that seemed to be a hit among disc golf fans.

Still, we did it in our early days. We had only been going at it for about two months and didn’t have the connections or contacts we do now. We had some pretty solid stories, but there were some about the Women’s Global Event and things like that.

The PDGA decided it wasn’t going to hold the WGE this year. It’s not a permanent thing, though. After all, the WGE drew more than 600 women worldwide playing in these events and it is a smart and strategic move for the PDGA to be involved in the advancement of women’s disc golf.

Despite that, we made a conscious decision last year to make this a permanent part of our site. As long as Rattling Chains is an active blog, there will be Women’s Week each May.

This year, we’ve started the week on Mother’s Day, which seems like the most fitting time to start our week to honor the women in this game. We’ll, once again, be changing the look and colors on our site and our stories this week are about or written by women.

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