The Vibram Open should be packed full of excitement

Nate Doss takes a plunge into the pond after winning the Vibram Open last year. Will Doss repeat or will someone else claim victory this year?

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

This year’s Vibram Open is shaping up to be one to remember.

And for the first time, the pros and ams are each getting in on the action.

The Vibram is the final stop on the PDGA National Tour Elite Series. This year, the event expands to four days for the pros, running from Thursday to Sunday.

On top of that, the Vibram has added an amateur tournament, which will be held at other area courses with the final being shifted to Maple Hill to play the vaunted gold tees.

Some of the other major new items for this year’s Vibram include:

  • The men’s professional open field is smaller, but has a larger payout. A cap of 144 players has been set (it used to be 160), and the cut will remain at 72. The payout has gone from $41,000 to $45,000.
  • The women’s payout this year has also gone up — from $8,300 to $10,000. The Vibram also allowed any and all women to compete with the cut line being 15.
  • The Vibram has also gone from three to four rounds.

The pro tournament will run from Thursday through Sunday at Maple Hill in Leicester, Mass.

One of the most scenic courses on the tour, the championship gold tees challenge the best in the world with tricky woods shots, long drives and creative water holes.

As the crowning — and final stop — on the PDGA Tour, more than just a victory will be on the line as the tour champion will be crowned at this event as well.

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Opinion: Low voter turnout for PDGA election not good for game

Where are all the disc golfers?

That question, by itself, is probably pretty easy to answer. Head to your local course and find a few.

With disc golf being a fast-growing sport, I would think there would be a lot more disc golfers interested in the game as a whole, not just throwing discs around the course.

The reason I ask this is because of several things I’ve noticed lately. One is the statistics for hits from this website. We go up and down quite rapidly. Part of that, of course, is pinned on us going to basically three stories per week. But even before that, we saw a slight drop.

Is it content? Is it because it’s the summer and more people are outside?

Who knows.

That, to me, isn’t alarming. See, we do this because we love to do it and if people read and comment, that’s a bonus.

Then there’s the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA).

The PDGA is the governing body of our sport. If you have played in sanctioned events, you know all about the PDGA. In fact, I’ll bet most of you who read this blog know what the PDGA is and what they do (for the most part).

The PDGA is ruled over by an elected board of directors. This board helps shape the sport as a whole. The board includes professionals and amateurs and people who have made disc golf their life.

The association held its annual elections for three board seats through the month of July. Members had that month to cast their ballots online. I first got notice in early June that the PDGA would be sending its ballots out July 2, so I knew it was coming.

On July 2, I received my ballot. At that point, I knew I would vote (I always do), so I put a reminder on my calendar for the final date. I wanted to see what would happen through the month.

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Third National Tour event starts Friday

Paul McBeth, shown here competing in the 2011 Vibram Open, has won the National Tour's first two events. He'll look to win the third NT event at the Kansas City Wide Open.

By P.J. Harmer — RattlingChains.com Staff

Paul McBeth is seeking his third straight PDGA National Tour Elite Series title this weekend in Kansas City, Mo.

The Tour will hold its third event of the six-tournament season, at the 30th Kansas City Wide Open from Friday-Saturday.

During this year’s Drive for the Championship presented by Vibram Disc Golf, a player’s top three NT event points, plus those earned at the tour-ending Vibram Open from August 16-19, will decide the champion in the men’s and women’s tour.

McBeth, who placed third in last year’s tour, has won the first two men’s events and has a perfect 200 points this season. The first two wins came at the Memorial and the Masters Cup.

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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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I’ve become certified (or certifiable, pending on perspective)

Note: This story originally appeared on my personal blog Sept. 16. However, being that readership and this readership are quite different, I wanted to bring this post here and share.

I’m certified.

OK, OK, that probably wasn’t the best way to describe me at this point, eh?

What I meant to say is that I’m a certified PDGA (Professional Disc Golf Association) official.

It’s not something I really needed. I don’t plan on being a tournament director, nor do I plan on playing in a National Tour event as a pro anytime soon. I’m thinking my whopping 672 rating probably wouldn’t go too far in those events.

Still, I had thought a couple of things in regard to this…

  • It would give me a way to learn the disc golf rules a bit better
  • It would give me something to do on a rainy day and make for a good blog post

Over the past few days, I’ve peeked at the PDGA rules book and competition manual. I’ve learned a lot of things I didn’t know about the game. Not all of it makes sense to me, mind you, but I at least know a lot of rules now.

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McBeth wins opening National Tour event; tourney roundup: Feb. 22 – March 6

Paul McBeth (shown here at last year's Vibram Open) won the first National Tour event of the season this past weekend at The Memorial Championship.

Using a steady weekend with three rounds in the 40s, Paul McBeth won The Memorial Championship for the second straight year, winning the title by three strokes over Innova teammate Will Schusterick.

The tournament ran in Scottsdale, Ariz., from Feb. 29 – March 3 and served as the first event of the National Tour Elite Series.

McBeth, who earned $3,500 for his victory, finished 44-under-par with a four-day 188. He had rounds of 45, 44, 53 and 46.

One of his rounds — the first — was an 1107-rated round, one of four rounds at the tournament that had a rating of more than 1100.

Schusterick had one of the others — shooting a 43 in the final round for an 1103 round. He finished the tournament with rounds of 49, 45, 54 and 43 for a 41-under-par 191. Schusterick earned $2,500 for second place.

Dave Feldberg, who placed third with a 39-under 193, had the other two top-rated rounds. He shot a 44 in the opening round for an 1115 round and had a 42 in the final round, for a 1112. In the second round, he shot a 48, but a 59 in the third round appears to have doomed him. He still left with a $2,000 check for third place.

Avery Jenkins and Steven Rico tied for fourth place, each winning $1,550 for finishing at 31 under. They each had a 201. Jenkins’ top round of the tournament with a final-round 48. Rico shot a 47 in the second round as his top score.

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News roundup: Locastro joins Innova; several new discs out

It was recently announced that Nikko Locastro would be joining Innova this year.

The news seems to be piling up early in 2012.

We’ve gathered some of this news over the past few weeks, but with not launching until this week, we had to keep it as a bunch of briefs. Though much of this is all out there, we still wanted to share.

Locastro now with Innova

One of the top professional players in the world, Nikko Locastro, has left Gateway and joined the Innova Star team for this season.

Locastro is the 12th member of the Innova Star team. He joins Avery Jenkins, Dave Feldberg, Des Reading, Josh Anthon, Paul McBeth, Paul Ulibarri, Ricky Wysocki, Sarah Stanhope, Steve Brinster, Val Jenkins and Will Schusterick on the team.

On his personal website, Locastro said the decision wasn’t anything against any other company and that he was now focused on this year and beyond.

“After trying out new products in the off season and over looking my options I decided to go with Team Innova for 2012. … Having a mixed bag had its ups and down but at the end of the day it was something that happened for a reason.”

Nikko Locastro, on his website.

Locastro won last year’s National Tour championship, edging Nate Doss (Discraft) by one point.

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