The natural approach — Flywood looking to make a mark on the game

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

Disc golfers are often noted for being fans of nature and the outdoors.

Brad Vehovic is taking it to a new level.

Vehovic, the owner and lone employee of Flywood Disc Innovations, is bringing a new look to the game with hand-crafted all-wood discs. Though not PDGA certified, the discs seems to have found a place in the game.

Flywood owner Brad Vehovic shows off one of his discs. (photo courtesy Flywood)

Flywood owner Brad Vehovic shows off one of his discs. (photo courtesy Flywood)

He founded the Nicktown, Pennsylvania company in 2010. The main products are the all-natural wood discs and, in the past, the company has also produced wax, accessories and hemp discs.

But wood discs?

In a game where plastic rules and rubber has recently started to surge onto the scene, wood discs seem a little out of place.

Especially because the discs Flywood produces can’t currently be used in PDGA events.

“Flywood offers disc golfers an alternative to mass-produced plastic products,” Vehovic said. “Each hand-crafted disc offers natural and sporty characteristics very capable of competing with today’s engineered plastic goods.”

To make his discs, Vehovic uses North American hard maple, Eco Glue wood adhesive, all-natural hemp oil and beeswax.

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Company Closeup: inbounds Disc Golf

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

A search for finding discs that fit his style led Brian Rogers to a much bigger commitment in the sport of disc golf.

And like that inbounds Disc Golf was born.

Rogers, the owner of the company and the author of its newest publication — the inFlight guide, has been playing disc golf for three years.

Rogers said he got hooked on the sport within the first two or three holes and, from there, the obsession grew. As it is with many people, real life makes playing time limited, but he said he’s constantly thinking about disc golf.

“Whether it’s following disc golf forums, reading disc golf blogs or brushing up on the current disc golf news and players standings, I’m surrounded by a disc golf cloud,” he said.

Rogers is a data guy.

His education is in computers/business and IT, so data is obviously a massive part of his life. From that, he said he tried to get the data to tell him something, no matter how he’s working with it.

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Company Closeup: Skulboy Designs

A Skulboy design.

By Steve Hill — Rattling Chains staff

Thinking back to the days of middle school and high school, most people can probably recall that one artistic kid who would doodle on people’s binders and scrawl intricate scenes for the most mundane of assignments.

Duncan Crawford was that kid.

“I’m the guy that people remember as the one drawing on everybody’s notebooks,” said Crawford, the mind behind Skulboy Designs. “I’ve gone barbarians and superheroes pretty much since I was a kid.”

Duncan Crawford at work on a design.

As an adult, Crawford has taken his art from the notebooks to the disc golf course, as he pens unique, skull-filled custom stamps under the moniker Skulboy Designs. Known for aggressive, hand-drawn renditions of skeletons, skulls, and images both mythical and historical, Crawford has gained a following among disc golfers looking for more than the traditional stamp on their plastic.

And while his designs have developed a following, their gestation was born out of simply wanting something interesting for himself.

“Once I started collecting discs and getting discs, I found that there were not enough skulls on discs,” he said. “I’ve always been a skull guy. I love skulls, and there just weren’t enough, you know?”

Based in Monrovia, California, Crawford is surrounded by a bevy of courses and an established disc golf scene, which is where he found his path to stamp design. Playing many rounds at Sylmar Veterans Park – home of Steve and Bamba Rico of Legacy Discs – helped Crawford jump into the process by designing a custom stamp for the course’s 2010 Summertime Open.

The disc design that helped get it all going.

Crawford’s relationship with Bamba Rico was what really got the business off the ground.

“I did a stamp for him, then I started doing t-shirt designs for him,” Crawford said. “And that’s what got it all started.”

But when Crawford began to explore the idea of putting more of his designs on discs to sell on his own, he found the bulk orders that Innova and other manufacturers required to be cost prohibitive.

But a chance opportunity soon came his way — in the form of missing out on a tournament — as he was able to meet Dan Mangone, the owner of Discovering the World, a disc golf shop that happens to be the main West Coast distributor for Latitude 64 golf discs.

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Company Closeup: NutSac

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

It seems like a marketing ploy.

Get a bunch of guys playing a round of disc golf and walking along and one guy has a small satchel-style bag and says “It’s much more fun playing with your NutSac.”

Say what?

Sure, the name NutSac may get some giggles and laughs. But in the end, name withstanding, it’s a quality bag made for the everyday player who isn’t always concerned about carrying dozens of discs.

Founded in 2008, NutSac LLC is a one-man company (besides sewing contrators) who handles the aspects of the business, from marketing to shipping to everything in between.

The business was originally founded by two friends, but when it became evident that business was not going to be able to support two people for at least two years, Greg Kise took control of the business as the second partner (who still has a minor stake in the business) wanted to move on to other projects.

Kise said he had plenty of experience “bootstrapping small businesses,” so he was able to build.

And just like that NutSac, based in Corvallis, Oregon, started its journey.

One needs to back up a little before getting a grip on NutSac.

Why bags?

“Start with what you know,” said Kise, who also serves as a stay-at-home Dad. “I was playing a lot of disc golf and thought the trend toward larger and larger bags was kind of silly. Especially since most of the guys I played with used about three discs.”

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Company Closeup: Explore Disc Golf turns the ‘course into a classroom’

By Steve Hill — RattlingChains.com Staff

Like many disc golfers, Brian Giggey’s beginnings in the sport evolved quickly from recreation to obsession. Giggey, however, took his love of the game one step further:

Profession.

Explore Disc Golf's booth at an event.

Giggey is the founder of Explore Disc Golf, a Massachusetts-based company specializing in course design, equipment rentals, and “Mobile Disc Golf Experiences,” which bring the courses to the people. Through the business, Giggey’s aim is to use the sport of disc golf as a way to have more people interact with nature, while also teaching customers about their surroundings and the game.

“Our slogan is ‘turning the course into a classroom,’” Giggey said. “We believe that disc golf seamlessly lends itself to a variety of environmental education opportunities, in addition to education about the sport of disc golf.”

Education is what first brought Giggey to the sport, he said. While spending long hours in the design studio during his graduate studies in landscape architecture at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Giggey would use disc golf as his reward for getting his work finished.

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Company Closeup: Paragon carving its way in the disc golf world

As disc golf continues to be one of the fastest-growing sports in the country, if not the world, more and more businesses related to the sport pop up.

But it’s not easy to get by on disc golf alone.

There are many stores where you can purchase disc golf supplies — from discs and bags to clothing and videos. Do a quick Google search for these places and you’re choices will be endless.

Too, most of the prices at these places are similar, thus making it more of a personal feel or choice.

With seeing all of this, it takes a little bit of hope and courage to make the jump into the world of selling disc golf ware.

Or, it takes for the right situation.

Take Miles Parkhill, for one. Parkhill is the owner of Paragon Disc Golf, a name that is starting to become more and more recognized inside disc golf circles.

Parkhill found something he thought was needed and used those talents to build Paragon.

A disc golfer for more than 15 years, Parkhill said when he was part of a band he used to print shirts. Once he finished doing the band “thing,” he started seeing how much disc golf was growing. But not everything was good, per say.

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