Attending a pro clinic is a lot to digest, but still useful

Dave Feldberg demonstrates correct form for throwing a hyzer by reaching away from his body. (photo by Courtney McSherry)

When describing my skill level to fellow disc golfers, I often refer to myself as a “recreational enthusiast.” I love the game, and play as often as I can, but I am still not a great player.

Naturally, then, I am always looking for ways to strengthen my game. Whether it is some way to add more distance to my drives, or a putting routine to improve my accuracy, I will take any pointers I can get. Sometimes this helps, and other times it leads me to change what I am comfortable with, which yields inconsistency.

So when I heard that my local pro shop, Kinetic Disc Golf, was bringing an instructional clinic to Kit Carson Park in Escondido, Calif., featuring top players Dave Feldberg, Nikko Locastro, and Philo Brathwaite, I jumped at the opportunity to attend. It isn’t every day that three 1000-rated players roll through town, so I figured I should take advantage.

The end result?

A brain left drowning in new ideas and techniques, simply trying to wade through all of the knowledge and seize on what would help me the most.

Upon arriving at the clinic, I took stock of some of the fellow attendees and was pleased at the cross-section I observed — seasoned players with every disc known to man in their bags, all the way down to a new player with six months of experience who brought along his nine-year-old son. (Reports that said nine-year-old has a better forehand drive than me may or may not be true.)

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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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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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‘Non-Stop’ opportunities, growth on professional tour

It's a non-stop tour for four PDGA pros this summer.

Tens of thousands of miles. Four professional disc golfers. One van.

No, this isn’t the premise to the newest goofy Adam Sandler film. Actually, it’s the framework for the Non-Stop Disc Golf Tour, and it is serious business.

OK, so it isn’t all serious business, but there is plenty of work involved, nonetheless.

The brainchild of 2008 world champion David Feldberg and 2010 United States Disc Golf Championship winner Will Schusterick, the foundation of the tour is simple: The two pros – along with fellow hotshots Nikko Locastro and Cale Leiviska – cross the country in an RV, holding school clinics during the week and closing out their visits with weekend tournaments. From pounding the pavement for sponsorships to cleaning up the remnants of their events, these four and their crew arrange these outings with the common purpose of growing the game of disc golf.

Passing the Torch

The genesis of the tour, according to Feldberg, came from the close relationships the players already had with one another.

“The idea of a tour this year…I think that was a combination of all of us thinking together, because we’ve been traveling together a lot,” Feldberg said. “I’ve been thinking about it for years. I’ve been building my career around the idea of being able to go to schools and teach clinics, so it works out well.”

Dave Feldberg works with another player at a NSDG clinic. (photo courtesy NSDG via Facebook)

Besides teaching new players about the game, Feldberg is also using the tour as a chance to educate the younger professionals and usher in the next era of the game.

“I just figured that it’s almost a passing of the torch,” he said. “I figured I’d take out some young guys and make sure they’re the next best.”

That torch isn’t being passed just from Feldberg to the youngsters, though.

“I think we all have something to learn from each other, even though I haven’t been around as long as everybody else has,” Schusterick said. “I’m definitely picking up a couple of their tricks and a couple of things to add and always build my game.”

Feldberg agreed that even he, as the seasoned veteran of the group, can pick up some tips from the young guys. He also sees this as a necessity to keep up with the rapid acceleration in the quality of professional disc golf currently being played.

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NSDG holds tournament, sweeps top four spots; tourney roundup: March 7-13

The Non-Stop Disc Golf Tour held the Taos Open this past weekend in Taos, New Mexico.

The foursome of Dave Feldberg, Nikko Locastro, Will Schusterick and Cale Leiviska are touring the country this year as part of NSDG.

Will Schusterick (shown at last year's Vibram Open) is part of the Non-Stop Disc Golf Tour.

The group are playing in tournaments as well as running 15 B-Tier PDGA events. Feldberg, Locastro and Schusterick are part of Team Innova. Leiviska is a member of Team Discraft.

Feldberg, the 2008 PDGA World Champion, served as the tournament director for this event.

The four also took the top spots in the Open division.

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