Photo Focus: Nov. 20

(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.)

The before and after photos of hole No. 12 at Rockburn Branch. (photo by Mike Chvojka)

The Story: Taken on hole No. 12 at Rockburn Branch in Elkridge, Maryland.

On Saturday, Oct. 27, I found myself at a course the locals like to call “Rockburn.” I had never played Rockburn before that gorgeous fall day, but I had an upcoming doubles championship there and I wanted to get a feel for the course so I wouldn’t go into the tournament completely blind.

A lot of people consider hole No. 15 as the signature hole and I can’t say I blame them. But the uniqueness of that hole is hard to capture with a cell phone camera.

As I walked up to my approach shot and lined up for my putt, I thought to myself that this hole was pretty unique as well. In the background was this metal roofed building, which had really weathered wood. That helped illustrate its age.

I know this building is still being used and I wondered if it was once a barn for someone. Or, perhaps there was some historical significance tied to it?

The color photo helps illustrate exactly what I was seeing as I lined up for my putt. But, I felt the photo was a little too dark as I was standing in the shade when I took it. I also felt, because of the amount of shade and lack of vibrant color, that you focus more on the building and less on the basket. I knew this photo would be better if I changed it to black and white.

I edited the original photo by changing is on my phone to the “documentary” setting. I think it suits the photo better. Changing it from color to black and white brightens the photo, highlights its simplicity and makes it easier to focus on the real subject — the basket.

Techie info:

  • Camera: Motorola Droid Bionic
  • Exposure: 1/500
  • Aperture: F/2.4
  • Focal length: 4.6mm
  • ISO: 100

– Mike Chvojka

If you have any comments, questions, thoughts, ideas or anything else, feel free to e-mail me and the crew at: Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!


Photo focus: Nov. 6

(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.)

Stacked baskets (photo by Jenny Cook)

The Story: Taken in Oswego, Illinois, this photo is of stacked disc golf baskets.

During the Discraft Ace Race, tournament director Scott Pitner decided to stack six baskets together for the finishing hole. There was a point system in place for each row.

With each player starting and finishing on that hole, I decided to stand behind and capture the action. It also gave me a better view of the hole so I could figure out what I was going to do when it was my turn to play the hole!

Techie info:

  • Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T1i
  • Exposure: N/A
  • Aperture: N/A
  • Focal length: N/A
  • ISO: N/A

— Jenny Cook

If you have any comments, questions, thoughts, ideas or anything else, feel free to e-mail me and the crew at: Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!

Book Excerpt 3: The time factor in ball golf vs. disc golf

By Jack Trageser — Rattling Chains staff

So far the snippets I’ve posted from my upcoming book have been from the first chapter, which first describes the reason golf is a singularly great game. It then contrasts ball golf with disc golf in light of the many limitations of the former and the lack of those limitations with the latter.

This post continues that dissertation with an examination of time factor, as in, how long each takes to play, and exactly why that matters when it comes to accessibility.

Keep in mind this book is aimed primarily at the non-disc golfing public, designed to properly educate them about the nuances and beneficial aspects of our sport. As a way of explaining the intention of certain passages to you, the disc golf-enthusiast reader, I’ve added some further comments to the text. Those are the sentences in italics.

The Time Factor in Golf

According to GolfLink, a portal website that bills itself as “the most complete online golf resource available on the web,” an average foursome playing 18 holes on an average course at average speed “should expect the round to take near the maximum of 4-5 hours. They estimate that for groups using motorized golf carts the duration might be as low as 3.5 to 4 hours, but that, of course, adds to the list of expenses and reduces the amount of beneficial exercise. GolfLink is a for-profit commerce site dependent on the popularity of the game with no reason to exaggerate this estimate. Quite the opposite, actually.

For an increasing number of people, that’s just too big a chunk of time to carve out of their busy schedules already filled with work and family commitments. In a report in the New York Times in 2009 titled ‘More Americans Are Giving Up Golf‘, Paul Vitello points out that “The total number of people who play has declined or remained flat each year since 2000, dropping to about 26 million from 30 million, according to the National Golf Foundation and the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association.”

A check of more recent statistics on the National Golf Foundation website confirms that the downward trend continues and even steepens into 2012.

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‘Priceless’ mission trip brings disc golf to Haiti

Trent Solomon, right, plays catch with a child during his mission to Haiti. During the trip, he introduced disc golf to many members of the community. (photo courtesy of Trent Solomon)

Like most disc golf courses, the one Trent Solomon designed and installed evolved from an idea into an arduous task. Filled with setbacks, delays, and even injury, Solomon’s course finally came to fruition in March, joining the numerous other disc golf courses being installed each year.

There is, however, one exception that makes this project stand out from the rest — Solomon’s course is located in Haiti.

Open Door Haiti Disc Golf Course is the first of its kind in the Caribbean island nation. Comprised of four portable baskets, it sits on land that also hosts a church, a mission house, and a medical clinic in the city of Bois de Lance, about a half hour outside Cap Haitien.

Solomon, 24, built the course while on a mission trip to work at an orphanage in Haiti. The orphanage houses children who were displaced by the magnitude 7.0 earthquake, which devastated the country in January 2010. The mission trip was facilitated by Open Door Haiti.

Originally, the plan was for Solomon and his father to do electrical work for the facility, but it became much more.

“The thing that really got me was the orphanage was actually built specifically for orphans from the earthquake,” he said.

Being an avid disc golfer for nearly four years, as well as an assistant manager at retailer Marshall Street Disc Golf, exporting the sport to Haiti came naturally to the Winchendon, Massachusetts native.

“I came up with the idea to bring some Frisbees, or discs down there,” Solomon said. “You know, whatever I could bring just to give them something new to do.”

Solomon planned to gather discs from whomever would donate them, reaching out to fellow players, disc retailers, and even some of the top manufacturers in the sport. Despite striking out with most of them, he found success with Vibram, who donated five discs; Marshall Street, who donated a box of 30 lost and found discs; and Maple Hill Disc Golf Course, who also donated lost and found items.

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Are you ready to go Deep in the Game? Discmania hopes so

Discmania's Jussi Meresmaa during filming of Deep in the Game. (photo courtesy of Discmania)

Are you ready?

Discmania is hoping that disc golfers everywhere are ready to go Deep in the Game.

On Monday, the disc golf company will release the first of its five video instructional series “Deep in the Game.”

All episodes will be free.

Discmania released the trailer for the series earlier this week:

Deep in the Game will air for five episodes and will cover the topics of putting, backhand, sidearm, mental game and monster distance.

Putting is on the schedule for Monday and the remaining episodes will be released every second Monday.

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The stories were great — now let’s give away the plastic!

Oh how sweet it is to win a shiny new disc, eh?

For the past two weeks, we’ve run a contest where disc golfers could share their favorite stories and have a chance to win a new disc.

I thought we’d gather more entries than we did. After all, free plastic is free plastic, eh?

Instead, we only received 16 entries, which is slightly disappointing. Especially when free plastic is involved.

Still, we received some good stories. And for the 16 who entered, it’s much easier to have a chance to win via the randomizer!

All of the stories were quite fun to read. They differed in tone and substance, which really shows the versatility of the game and how different things can happen.

Take for example, Luke. It seems our reader was playing in a not-so-nice neighborhood, loaned a disc to a shady character for some holes and… well, I’ll let Luke take it from here…

So we are playing and he starts telling me how he used to play there all the time but he hadn’t for a while because he had been in jail and just got out a few weeks before. He didn’t say what he’d been in for, but then he goes on to say, “Yeah, and I’m probably going back as soon as I go home today. The cops are probably waiting for me. I got drunk and beat the hell out of my ex-girl’s old man.”


How about Kevin, who suffered a broken ankle and when he was on the mend, he went out for a round with some friends and his brother. He then decided — on a hole not known for aces — to call a skip ace.

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Plastic giveaway: What’s your best story?

Somebody will win this... will it be you?

For those who don’t know me, I’m a pretty competitive softball player. I’ve been playing it since I was 17 and I’ve loved every minute of it.

I’ve run a team for that long as well — and we’ve had a lot of success. We’ve won championships, reached the finals and done all sorts of fun things.

But one thing I always remember was playing in a league as a younger player — and I was one of the youngest on the team. During those days, I listened more than anything.

Oh the stories.

Things about the days gone by. Past tournaments and league shenanigans. Great games and road trips. It was a grassroots way of playing the sport of softball.

In recent years, the style of softball I play (modified) seems to be fading some. The local leagues have dwindled and most have folded. Slow pitch has taken over, especially co-ed.

In those young days, several of the older players told me that I grew up in the wrong generation. I was a bit of a throw back on the field in the way I played and how I saw and viewed the game.

I see disc golf in the same way. A growing sport in a grassroots atmosphere. But really growing — not on the flip side, such as softball was (at least in our area).

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Two writers join Rattling Chains

Rattling Chains is proud to announce the addition of Steve Hill and Jack Trageser as regular contributors to the writing staff.

Hill, who already debuted on the site with his account of being a plastic addict, started playing the game in early 2011 and has been hooked since. Writing since the age of five, Hill said he is happy to be able to combine is writing passion with disc golf.

A sixth-grade math, science and journalism teacher, Hill earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2004 before relocating to Redlands, Calif., where he still lives.

Some of the items Hill will cover include noodle-arm reviews (for those who just don’t throw too far!), Southern California-based tournaments, adventures in the game, in-depth journalistic-style pieces and other topics as they arise.

“This is giving me an opportunity to scratch that journalism itch that never quite goes away, while helping bring a great sport to the masses,” Hill said. “I’m looking forward to the adventures ahead.”

Trageser (PDGA #9715) is bringing more than two decades of experience in disc golf to the site.

The owner of the School of Disc Golf, he is a professional player with multiple tournament wins on the PDGA tour. Trageser also coaches a team in the Santa Cruz County Interscholastic Disc Golf League.

He has experience in designing and installing courses and teaches a course on disc golf at Cabrillo College. Maintaining a strong passion for growing the sport, he is focused on helping players at all levels develop skills and have more fun with the game.

Trageser’s main focus will be bringing instructional posts to the site, with an emphasis on the mental component that makes golf and disc golf unique and compelling. He’ll also bring stories from two decades in the sport, the business side of the game and some product reviews.

“Rattling Chains aspires to be both the premier online destination for disc golf enthusiasts and a professionally designed, accurate window to the sport for the outside world,” Trageser said. “I’m excited to join a team that is committed to providing well-written, compelling content that spans all aspects of disc golf. Hopefully my focus on instructional posts will generate a healthy interactive dialogue that results in real improvements in our readers’ games.”

Trageser’s first post is slated to run Tuesday (March 27).

Rattling Chains is excited to have two writers with a journalism background join the site. We hope the readers enjoy the insights each have to offer.

If you have any comments, questions, thoughts, ideas or anything else, feel free to e-mail me and the crew at: pj [at] Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!

Disc golf in the media: March 19-25

Though this wasn’t really in the media, I thought it was quite news worthy — especially for the disc golf community — and wanted to lead this weekly media roundup with it.

DGA is again doing a dream course giveaway and they will award two 9-hole Mach III disc golf glow courses to a couple of lucky winners!

This is being done as a fundraiser for the 2012 Worlds. With that, there will be a new disc, too — the SP Glow Undertow.

DGA’s website says the disc is a blend of glow material and DGA’s premium SP Line plastic. The disc is limited and this won’t be available after the promotion ends. The discs cost $25.

Go to DGA’s site about the contest to get all the details!

Now for the week of disc golf news in the media:

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Did it rattle or did it not? That is the question. Here is the answer

I’ve had more questions about this contest than any other we’ve done thus far.

It seemed to draw some interest.

I received a few e-mails and other messages. And I’m glad that people were thinking about it. Because if we’re giving away prizes, I need to make you think a little sometimes, don’t I?

It all started with this image...

So the big question was based around the photo posted last week and we asked — did the disc rattle the chains?

There were a lot of different answers and theories. I will be doing this again. I have ideas for it and different ways  I hope to capture the disc to really make you think.

Such as this one.

What I loved about this photo is that it can really make you wonder. You can obviously tell which side it’s coming from. And the flight path makes it look like it’s heading downward.

But does it rattle those chains?

I’ve missed — and witnessed others miss — shots like this. They look perfect. Heading right in.

And nothing.

Of course, we’ve all been on the other end, too. You know, it looks ugly only to rattle the chains like it was destiny.

And that sound is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

Of course a grown that comes after missing a putt can be humorous, too.

I know, I know — get to the point, right? OK, OK, OK… here’s the results. Peek below to see what the disc did as it headed toward the basket…

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