A tournament at the Chasm more than delivers on expectations

The Chasm.

The Chasm.

By Matt-Jackie Bertram – for Rattling Chains

We’ve all been to parks or hiking trails or fields and immediately had those disc golf lines appear before our eyes.

We’ve all stared down a line of trees and thought, “That would be a really fun fairway to play.” Maybe you’ve even been lucky enough to set up a few safari holes or played a round of pirate golf in those areas. But chances are you’ve never thrown a disc across raging rapids, or down 200 feet of sheer cliff side.

Unless, of course, you’ve played in the Steady Ed Safari, held at Ausable Chasm in the far north of New York State.

chasm6

Not an easy layout.

Sponsored by DGA, the Steady Ed Safari wrapped up its sophomore outing on September 21. More of an event than a tournament, Ausable Chasm provides a full weekend of disc golf, camping, and hiking tours through the chasm proper, if you choose to stay. The property also boasts a permanent 18-hole (soon to be 27) course, named Campgrounds, which is used for some casual glow golf on the night prior to the main event and also for one of the tournament rounds.

The other tournament round, however, is the main reason for attending.

The crew at Ausable Chasm builds a Frankenstein of an 18-hole safari course up and down and over the chasm itself. Some baskets involve a 10-minute hike down the cliffs to take your second shot. Others require a raft to ferry you across the rapids to reach your lie. And one hole makes use of a vacant boathouse that contains the basket at the end of a challenging par 5.

Does that sound like an interesting round of golf to you? It should.

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Put the Sharpie down and back away from the basket

Dear Disc Golfer,

Congratulations, you hit an ace! I am sure it was a crowning achievement in your plastic throwing career, and something you’ll tell your grandchildren about many years from now. We’re very proud of you.

Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, allow me to let you in on a little secret: No one cares.

steve

OK, OK, I’m sure someone cares. I bet if you send your mom a text message she’ll respond with a smiley, and the group you were playing with that day probably pitched in for a frosty cold one. So there is some care.

But you know who doesn’t care? Everyone else to ever play that basket, or anyone who has to walk by and see your signature on it.

That’s right, I’m talking to you, Mr. or Mrs. Basket Signer. We’re all happy about that ace, but did you really have to deface an innocent sheath of metal with your poorly scrawled Sharpie? Couldn’t you have given high-fives to your friends and moved on, or perhaps signed the disc with which you hit the ace?

No.

Instead, you had to vandalize a valuable, and very visible, piece of equipment that is the cornerstone of our sport. Your arrogance and need for attention has caused an eyesore. In a sport that already has enough stigmas, you are adding another to it by needlessly putting graffiti on a piece of the course.

It’s just a disc golf basket, you probably thought to yourself. Everyone does it. It’s part of the game.

No, it isn’t.

You know what it is? Bad karma. I bet within the next day or two something awful happened, like you lost your perfectly seasoned Buzzz in a ravine, or you caged a gimme putt to lose out on cash at league night.

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Product Review: MVP Resistor

By Steve Hill, Jack Trageser and P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

What’s in a name?

For most golf discs, not much. Monikers such as Teebird, Roc, Wizard, or Buzzz don’t tell much about how a disc will fly, rather lending themselves to artwork that will attract consumers. It’s the same as a car, beer, or many other products.

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For the Resistor, the new fairway driver from MVP Disc Sports, though, the name tells it all.

With a healthy serving of high speed stability, this disc resists turning over on a flat throw, helping it live up to MVP’s “stable-overstable” label.

With a rim width of 1.7 centimeters, the Resistor falls into the same speed class as the aforementioned Teebird, a slower disc that is meant to be used for control and precision. While this represents a step down in speed from MVP’s other driver offerings, I feel it represents addition by subtraction.

By dialing down the rim width, MVP is offering a disc that has the same beefy flight of its other stable-overstable driver, the Shock, while adding a level of reliability that comes from being housed within a more comfortable, easier to control shape.

At 174 grams, my flat-top, hot pink tester was the epitome of stable. When I gassed it, it would fly straight with a forward-penetrating fade at the end of its flight. In this regard, it reminded me of a longer version of the Tensor, MVP’s overstable mid-range.

Also similar to the Tensor was the Resistor’s flight on a hard anhyzer — it would turn a bit but never all the way over, then start to fade back at roughly three quarters of the way through its flight path. So, while it certainly has enough stability to be relied upon for a needed fade on dogleg holes, its not overly piggish to where it cannot be used to shape lines. In fact, I think it makes a better line shaper because you can intentionally torque it and know it will come back without fail.

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Product Review: Vibram unLace

By P.J. Harmer, Steve Hill and Jack Trageser — Rattling Chains staff

Oh, Vibram.

It seems whenever I am away from the game for a while, Vibram releases a disc to get me interested in things again. Those who know me can tell you I’m a bit of a Vibram fan boy. I don’t hide it. That also means I usually hold the company to a much higher standard.

product_reviewI had been excited for the release of the Lace. And though others gushed over it, I couldn’t get into it. It was too much disc for me. I couldn’t handle it or make it do what it should do.

With that in mind, I was skeptical for the release of the unLace, Vibram’s second distance driver and the understable partner to the Lace.

Realize this, too — I carry one distance driver, and occassionally a second one. Both are Innova products and both are at 150 grams or lighter. The main one is my Blizzard Katana (132), and I sometimes carry a Valkyrie (150).

So how would a 172 unLace match up?

Holy smokes!

Maybe it’s because I haven’t thrown seriously in a couple of months. Could it be that I forgot all my bad habits and, in turn, was doing something right? I took the disc out on an open field to see what kind of things I could do with it.

The first throw went about 230 feet or so.

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Brodie Smith bridges the gap between Ultimate and disc golf

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains Staff

Though Brodie Smith isn’t a mainstay of the disc golf world, he’s certainly not a stranger to it, either.

Known heavily for his trick-shot videos, some of which have appeared on ESPN, and his work as a professional Ultimate player, Smith has drawn a large following of people in and out of the disc sports community. He’s personable, engaging and really knows how to capture an audience.

In the world of disc sports, that’s a big thing.

Well-known among the Ultimate and trick-shot crowds, Brodie Smith also has connections to disc golf and is one of the top disc sports ambassadors. (photo courtesy Brodie Smith)

Well-known among the Ultimate and trick-shot crowds, Brodie Smith also has connections to disc golf and is one of the top disc sports ambassadors. (photo courtesy Brodie Smith)

He’s active on social media, too, interacting with fans and others.

“I enjoy it,” he said. “I love my fans and I know I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing without their support. Also, at the end of the day we are all people and its always nice to get to know new people and make new friends.”

Smith’s fan base is pretty big, too.

His YouTube channel has nearly 240,000 subscribers, with more than 36.8 million video views. Smith’s Daily Vlog, also on YouTube, has almost 20,000 subscribers, with nearly 8 million views.

He also boasts more than 21,000 followers on Twitter and more than 48,000 likes on his Facebook page.

Needless to say, he’s out there.

But who is Brodie Smith?

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Product Review: MVP Tangent

By Steve Hill and P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

At this point, the output from the MVP Disc Sports factory has to be nearing the level of its automotive counterparts in nearby Detroit.

The Tangent, scheduled to hit stores this Friday, is billed as a slightly understable mid-range driver. With this release, MVP has knocked out four molds since October. And while most MVP fans were probably hoping for the brand’s next offering to be a distance driver, I feel confident in saying the Tangent will be more than enough to hold the devotees over.

product_reviewMore importantly, I think it will bring a lot of new MVP throwers aboard the bandwagon.

See, while MVP’s prior offerings have been enjoyable, none have been quite so effortless to work and manipulate as the Tangent. Case in point — my first throw in the field with the 170-gram, lime-green tester I was given produced an audible “holy crap.” With an easy, smooth toss, this disc got up and ran straight out to about 250 feet, gliding with ease to a soft landing almost straight in line with its release. For me, that’s a good pull with a mid.

But anything can happen in the field, so I knew I had to temper my expectations for this disc until I gave it a true workout on the course. Content to continue working with the 170-gram disc from the field, I decided to use it exclusively for a round of 18 at Brengle Terrace Park in Vista, Calif., to try and unleash all of its potential.

And, I knew I needed to have some additional perspective on how it flew. So, I took it out to the course with the Mikes, two guys I play with who are, without question, huge fans of the MVP Axis, the company’s stable mid-range. I knew that, with their bigger arms and MVP experience, they would be a good measure for how the Tangent would perform.

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Shop for the disc golfer in your life with the Rattling Chains Holiday Gift Guide

By Steve Hill – Rattling Chains staff

Let’s face it – disc golfers are a picky lot. Whether it is a certain weight range (160-164 grams only), color (bright pink, so I can see it in fall foliage), or plastic blend (give me Champion Edition, or give me death!), those who take part in this sport are particular about what they use.

Come the holidays, this level of exactitude can result in stress for those non-disc golfers who are charged with shopping for the disc golfers in their life. Sure, they can risk it by picking up a disc at their local brick-and-mortar shop, but it might be something the golfer won’t use. There are always gift certificates to online retailers, but some might find those to be impersonal. (Note: This writer does not feel that gift certificates to online retailers are impersonal. Hint hint, family.)

What’s a gift giver to do?

How about following this handy Rattling Chains Holiday Gift Guide? Free of (full-sized) discs and full of useful gadgets and other funky ideas, there is bound to be something here to satisfy even the most finicky of disc golfers.

This article, then, isn’t intended so much for the disc golfers reading as it is for those related to the disc golfers. As a result, feel free to print it out and pass it on to “Santa.” There’s still time to shop.

Night golf setup (LED Flight lights, UV flashlight, packaging tape) – Now that winter has set in, have you noticed your disc golfer has become irritable or jittery? With daylight fading while everyone is locked up in their cubicles, it makes it tougher and tougher to get in the multiple rounds per week that hardcore discers love.

LED flat lights are the perfect gift for the golfer who wants to play at all hours.

LED flat lights are the perfect gift for the golfer who wants to play at all hours.

The solution? A simple night golf setup.

While you can head to the local Radio Shack or doodad shop and snag those round watch batteries and loose LEDs, why not make life easy and spring for LED Flight Lights? With three settings (strobe, flash, and solid), an on/off switch, and flat housing, these bad boys are easily taped onto the underside of translucent discs for awesome nighttime play. Nothing else is quite like watching your disc fly through the starry sky like it is a UFO gliding toward the basket. Throw in a UV flashlight for charging any glow discs (or for spotting the basket) and a roll of heavy-duty packing tape, and call it a day. LED flat lights, $0.84 from extremeglow.com; UV flashlight 2-pack, $9.99 from newegg.com; packing tape, cheap, any store.

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Product Review: MVP Amp

By Steve Hill, P.J. Harmer and Dave Coury — For Rattling Chains

I’ll be the first to admit that I am a fan of MVP Disc Sports. In the company’s short existence, I have tried all five of its molds, and have bagged three for a nice driver-midrange-putter set-up – the Volt, Axis, and Anode.

At the same time, I love understable plastic. The Innova Roadrunner and Latitude 64 Fuse – a couple of the flippiest discs on the market – are staples in my bag for their control and ease of use.

product_reviewSo, when MVP announced it was releasing the Amp, an understable fairway driver, I was excited. One of my favorite brands releasing my favorite kind of disc, obviously, had some appeal, and I knew I wanted to throw it.

One thing I knew coming into the review is that MVP discs – whether it is due to the overmold, or some other phenomenon – tend to require more snap and spin to fly as advertised. To wit, it took me a month to really dial in the Axis and learn how to throw it correctly, which seemed odd for a mid-range.

This is almost a blessing and a curse for new users of MVP discs. Stick with them, and your snap will likely improve. But it can be extremely frustrating to click with the disc at first, which can make it easy to give up on and move to an old standby.

And even though I knew this would be the case with the Amp, I still found myself frustrated with my first few throws with it. Since it was advertised as understable, I expected a nice gentle turn out of the box, with maybe a little fade.

I know it is user error, but If I wasn’t really concentrating the first couple times I threw this disc, it would hyzer out on me real quick, leaving me a little demoralized and ready to throw in the towel.

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Photo Focus: Dec. 12

(Photo focus will run every two 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.)

Parma, Ohio. (photo by Trevor Tippets)

Parma, Ohio. (photo by Trevor Tippets)

The Story: The fall in Ohio can be bleak and cloudy, so when a sunny day comes, it’s hard not to take advantage.

It was a fall day in mid-October. A friend and I had decided to get in an early round of disc golf. The day could be described as crisp, or as they say in Spanish “fresco” or fresh.

I like the term “fresh” to describe a sunny fall morning. It’s a feeling that things are new and the day could bring many great things.

This photo is at hole No. 4 at Veterans Memorial Disc Golf Course in Parma, Ohio. We generally start on hole No. 1, which faces west. The next two holes also face west. Turning east to hole No. 4 was the first real view I got of how grandeur the sun was projecting in my direction.

The hole plays from an open area into the trees, and as I got to my disc after my drive, I looked up and saw my friend standing with a perfect and sunlit group of trees at his back.

With the basket in the foreground, it seemed like the perfect shot. There was just a little bit of fog, giving the area a little mystery. There was also the right amount of sunlight to project rays through the boughs and fog.

I pulled out my phone and hoped I could capture, even if just for the memory, a little bit of what I like the call the perfect day for disc golf.

Techie info:

  • Camera: Galaxy Nexus
  • Exposure: 1/100
  • Aperture: F/2.8
  • Focal length: 3.4 mm
  • ISO: 50

– Trevor Tippets

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!

Photo Focus: Dec. 4

(Photo focus will run every two 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.)

From Hawk Hollow in Virginia. (photo by Kevin Morrow)

The Story: Fall is my favorite time of year to photograph disc golf. Not just because of the bright fall colors, but the light has a great yellow hue during the afternoon.

This is one of my favorite images from the fall.

The blue disc in contrast with the orange and yellow leaves really appealed to me. This was an approach shot on hole No. 15 at Hawk Hollow in Spotslvania, Virginia.

Hawk Hollow is the most photographer-friendly disc golf course I’ve ever been on.

For this shot, I hung back about 50 feet and used a 300mm F/4 lens to get this shot. When I realized he was going to throw an overhand shot, I tilted the shot to make sure I got the disc in the frame.

Techie info:

  • Camera: Nikon D2X
  • Exposure: 1/2500
  • Aperture: F/8
  • Focal length: 300mm
  • ISO: 400

– Kevin Morrow

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!