A thank you and farewell to all

Not that this should be a shock to anybody, but the end of Rattling Chains has obviously happened.

However, I needed closure on this part of my life, as well as for the site, considering I still see e-mails asking about it.

announcementI had a time in my life where I was unemployed. This blog provided so many things for me. One, it allowed me to find one of the greatest games in the world. Though I don’t get to play as often as I’d like, I do still try and get out and throw plastic. I’m not an active PDGA member as I don’t plan on playing tournaments or anything, but I still support what they are trying to do.

Maybe, one day, I’ll get back into it. I do think I might subscribe to the magazine, though, as I miss that.

But for the time Rattling Chains existed, I fully believed in the cause. I wanted to bring a journalistic-style of blogging to the disc golf world. It’s something I still think can do well, if done right. As the site grew (and it did so nicely), we had a fun little staff who did some wonderful work.

Thing evolved, but when you try and grow and there’s nothing coming back, it gets tough. I didn’t play enough disc golf to have a full-fledged connection to it. The other main writers were doing so much with but just a thank you. Though, I can’t lie, I still hope to get out to the West Coast and play a round with each of the main players some day in the future.

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Wishing everybody a Merry Christmas and a great holiday season

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We at Rattling Chains would like to wish everybody a great holiday season.

Enjoy the season and the time with family and friends.

And if you aren’t buried in the snow, how about hucking a disc or three?

We would also like to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to visit us as often as you do. We have had fewer stories this year, but we still try to bring the best we can to you.

We’d like to wish everybody who celebrates a Merry Christmas and to everyone, a wonderful holiday season.

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 andlike us on Facebook!

Poll 64: The Outsiders

Before we begin, no this post isn’t about the 1980s movie.

Instead, we’re curious about something — how do people respond when you tell them you play disc golf? In recent weeks, there have been some crazy looks when people hear it from my mouth.

pollSo how about you?

Before we get to that, however, we need to go back and check out our last poll.

We asked you if you had ever had or witnessed a good old-fashioned blow up on the course? Though we didn’t get a lot of voters, we received some good stories!

Of the 70 voters, 55 people (79 percent) said yes. That left 15 (21 percent) to say no.

Some shared stories while other made some good points. So before hitting up our current poll, let’s check back to see what some readers said.

Kyle Breuer said:

Over the years that I have been playing, like most, I’ve witnessed my fair share of people blow up on the course. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a tournament round or just a warm up. Some people just do NOT understand how to keep their composure. While some of it may be due to immaturity, not all of it is. Frankly, I think it’s embarrassing.

No one is perfect. Everyone tends to throw a bad shot (maybe even a few during a single round) here and there. Personally, it’s how you rebound from those shots. Why waste a round on a blow up?

It’s a good point, for sure. But once competition comes into play and if there’s money on the line, people tend to get a little crazy.

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Jamaican ideals, constant innovation drive Small Axe Disc Golf Co.

By Steve Hill – Rattling Chains staff

The island nation of Jamaica – home of reggae, coastal beauty, and Olympic champion Usain Bolt – at first does not seem like the source of inspiration for a burgeoning disc golf company.

Indeed, the country boasts zero proper disc golf courses.

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For the minds behind Small Axe Disc Golf Co., though, vacations to the country have provided a mindset and energy that they have brought back stateside and injected into their products.

Billed by founder Damon Neth as a “disc golf lifestyle and products company,” Small Axe in the past year has introduced three products to market, all geared toward, as the company’s art director puts it, the “disc-nerd” in every player.

From the Puck – an interlocking putter and driver mini set that can hold coins, first aid kits, and anything else you can think of – to Chucker’s Chalk, which packages grip chalk into a disc golf bag-friendly bottle – Small Axe is aiming to bring players products that combine innovation and function, all while maintaining the core reason most people pick up a disc in the first place – fun.

“It started a long time ago with the feeling that disc golf could benefit from a positive, joyful brand that celebrated the fun and cooperative spirit of disc golf,” Neth said.

After coming to enjoy interlocking minis, Neth dreamed up the idea of a putter and driver hooking together as something that would be more appealing to consumers, he said.

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Poll 63: Blowing up on the course

OK, folks, it’s time to really have some fun.

This poll truly only works, however, if you leave a comment at the end explaining.

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We want to know this — have you, or have you seen, somebody have an honest-to-goodness blowup on the course? We’re not talking just a toss of a towel or something, but a true boomer that makes people stop and stare?

We’ll expand more on that in a moment.

Before we get into the new poll, let’s check out the results and some comments from the last poll, when we asked you what your favorite season was for disc golf.

Of the 156 people who voted in the poll, it was a runaway victory for fall, which garnered 91 votes (58 percent). Summer followed with 31 votes (20 percent). Spring placed third (30 votes/19 percent) and winter was last (4 votes/3 percent).

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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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Poll 62: Favorite season

As the seasons shift in both hemispheres (though it’s different from the northern to the southern), it brings on the question of wondering when everyone likes to play disc golf.

Of course the diehards won’t care. But what about everyone else?

Let’s hold off on that question for a moment. Before the summer, we posted a poll asking what all of your plans were for that season. We left the poll up for the full summer to allow people to answer it as they went along.

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A total of 228 people voted in this poll, in which you were allowed to select up to three options.

The winner? Playing courses they’ve never played, which scored 134 votes (59 percent).

Second place went to play more casual rounds (122 votes/54 percent), followed by more tournaments (91 votes/40 percent), disc golf road trip (87 votes (38 percent), help design/build/install a disc golf course (41 votes/18 percent), play in leagues (36 votes/16 percent), play in states I’ve never played before (31 votes/14 percent), run a league (12 votes/5 percent), run a tournament (11 votes/5 percent) and play in worlds (9 votes/4 percent).

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Part 2: Two universal truths — and 7.5 tips — to help improve your putting

By Jack Trageser — Rattling Chains staff

Before you dive into this post, make sure you read the first 3.5 tips and universal truths to improve your putting from the neck up. You can see part one here.

If you’ve already seen that one, or are now done with it, read on!

4. Follow through. Really, really follow through! Think about all the pictures you’ve seen of pro players having just released a putt. I guarantee that most of them will show a player with his or her arm extended almost perfectly straight, and with all fingers — and even the thumb — rigid and reaching out toward the target.

Rattling Chains staff member Darren Dolezel shows his follow-through on a putt. Notice how his arm and fingers are pointed straight out. (photo by P.J. Harmer)

Following through is an important aspect of mechanics is many different sports, especially those that include throwing a disc or ball. The benefit is two-fold as the best way to ensure consistent aim is to extend toward your target in an exaggerated fashion, and doing so will add a smoothness and extra bit of momentum that increases power and speed just enough to make a difference.

I’ve had too many putts to count barely go in where I noticed, as I brought the disc forward, that my grip was a little off or I wasn’t providing enough speed, but compensated by following through as strongly as I could.

This might be tough to do right away as it requires developing muscles in a different way. But this short video tutorial demonstrates an exercise that will help you understand the concept as well as develop the form.

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18 songs for 18 holes: A disc golf mixtape

By Steve Hill — Rattling Chains staff

Of the two venues I refer to as my home courses, only one – Brengle Terrace Park in Vista, California — can make me feel like a naïve post-adolescent all over again.

Marked by tight lines and peppered with elevation and tricky pin placements, Brengle Terrace takes me on an emotional roller coaster each time I play it. Like the girls I pursued in high school and college, it makes me feel like I have a fleeting chance at glory, only to shoot me down and tell me it just wants to be friends.

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Still, like the sad sap I once was, I keep coming back for more, hoping one day it will see me for the disc golfer I am.

Since this course is my disc golf version of unrequited love, I thought it was only appropriate to make like my 17-22 year-old self and try to win it over with an awesome mixtape. After all, what female didn’t swoon when presented with a collection of songs that you took the time to put together in her honor?

What’s that? None of them swooned? Oh, that’s right. I forgot.

At any rate, the personality of this course lends itself to a collection of songs that captures its spirit. Some of these selections are obvious and some have subtle undertones that take a deeper listen to be revealed. And, like any good mixtape, there are a couple gems from relatively obscure artists, just to show you how much work I really put into it.

(And yes, I am aware that we don’t have actual mixtapes anymore. Just humor me on this one.)

I lean more toward the rock-based side of things in my musical tastes, and that is reflected on this list. Plus, some good, heavier music puts me in a good mood to go out and try to conquer the course.

So, without further ado, I present 18 Songs for 18 Holes: A disc golf mixtape. Enjoy.

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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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