DGCR 101: A history of commitment drives the Internet’s largest disc golf hub

This is the first of a two-part series about DGCourseReview.com. Check back next Friday for the second installment.

By Steve Hill — Rattling Chains staff

When many players discover the game of disc golf, it is only a matter of time before they want to branch out from their home course and discover other venues to play.

Luckily for them, searching Google for “disc golf course” or “Frisbee golf courses,” much to the chagrin of those who despise that term, yields many results, none more useful than DGCourseReview.com

Boasting a directory of more than 4,500 courses, Disc Golf Course Review (DGCR) allows players to find courses, track scores, map out road trips, and so much more.

Genesis of the site

New players of the past were not always as fortunate as those today.

Take Tim Gostovic, the brainchild of DGCR. The Rochester, New York native started playing disc golf 10 years ago and was immediately hooked on the sport. As his interest grew, he and his friends took their love of the sport beyond their local surroundings.

“After I had been playing for two years or so, my friends and I started traveling outside our area to play new courses,” Gostovic said. “That escalated to full-on road trips after exhausting the nearby options. We would visit the PDGA site to see which courses were around and try to plan our trip.”

But with the PDGA website listing only locations and directions — and with other sources of information being scarce — Gostovic found the planning process to be restrictive.

“The problem was that it was very difficult to decide which courses were worth stopping at,” he said. “There weren’t really reviews at the time, and maps and photos were tough to come by and required going to a club’s site and hoping you could find something there. It was quite the ordeal and didn’t really guarantee the course you were traveling hundreds of miles to play would be a good one.”

It was from these dilemmas that DGCR was born.

“After planning two road trips using the ‘check the entire Internet’ method, the frustration of the planning process led me to the idea of a central repository of maps, photos, information, and reviews to make my life and the lives of traveling disc golfers like myself easier,” Gostovic said. “So I sat down, sketched out some basic page layouts and functionality, and got to work.”

After a little more than a month of development, DGCR was launched in May 2007. In addition to the number of courses available to locate, there are currently more than 44,000 reviews and 84,000 photos to accompany them.

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Bringing the family on board makes disc golf even better

By Steve Hill — Rattling Chains staff

Bless my wonderful wife.

First, it was football. She would hear me talk nonstop about all the NFL action she could handle, until it all sank in and she acquired this insane level of knowledge that she can unleash to impress our fantasy football league (of which, yes, she is the only female participant).

Now, it is disc golf.

Steve Hill’s wife Kelly has started to take up disc golf, so maybe knowingly looking for houses closer to courses wasn’t a one-way deal?

Being that I am a disc golf player, writer (allegedly), and all-around obsessive, she is always having to listen to (or tune out – really, I don’t know) my various adventures. Ranging from “I was this close to an ace today!” to “I think I want x disc in y plastic, but I am not sure because I like the grip of z plastic better,” she certainly gets her fill, yet never complains.

Recently, though, I thought I had pushed her to her breaking point.

You see, my wife was recently offered a new job, which found us relocating to North San Diego County, California. For those who are unfamiliar with the area, it is close to the beach, has boatloads of craft breweries and, most importantly, a nice selection of disc golf courses.

In short, we relocated to my personal mecca.

There was only one minor drawback, though — house hunting. Goodness, house hunting is the worst, and nowhere near as glamorous as those shows on HGTV (which I totally don’t watch, and only know about because my wife watches them and I hear them in the background). We were on a crunch for time, and we needed to find a place that would be near enough to her work and not require a ton of time in traffic.

Now remember: Close to the beach, beer, and golf courses. Should have been enough for me, right?


Every time we looked up a new place to rent, I would look at three things — the price, if it allowed pets, and how close it was to the nearest disc golf course. Often times, we were looking at a 25-minute drive, which for many readers (and Rattling Chains head honcho P.J.) is probably close enough.

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Discraft’s Ace Race continues to evolve in its 10th year

By Steve Hill — Rattling Chains staff

No matter how old you are, or how long you have been playing, everyone who partakes in disc golf wants to achieve that ultimate goal — release the disc, watch its gorgeous path through the air, and SPLASH! Ace!

Even if you are a golfer who has a list of aces as long as Santa Claus’ naughty and nice scroll, it’s always fun to take a run at the chains, and Discraft offers that each fall with their annual Ace Race.

Now in its 10th year, the Discraft Ace Race is comprised of more than 300 individual events held over nearly three months that bring golfers — both veterans and those who have never touched a disc outside of their DVD players — together for the sole purpose of trying to hit as many aces as possible in one day. With this year’s event boasting more than 16,000 participants from 12 countries on three continents, it is the largest single disc golf event in the world, according to Discraft marketing director Brian Sullivan.

Coming from humble beginnings in Michigan and rapidly ascending to more than 50 events in three years, Sullivan said the goal of the Ace Race originally was to serve as the middleman between new players and their more established brethren.

The 2012 Ace Race disc.

“Our research has shown that the average new disc golfer takes three years to make the transition from a one-disc-wonder who plays a few times per year to joining a league and contributing to the local club’s growth,” Sullivan said. “Ace Race was conceived from the beginning to be a vehicle that would help to bridge the gap between casual players and organized clubs, serving as an introductory activity.”

The concept, for those unfamiliar, is pretty simple — Discraft designs a prototype disc each year that is released to the public specifically for the Ace Race. Participants pay $25 to enter the event, receiving two discs (as well as other goodies) that they use to simply tee off and try for an ace on each hole. No birdies, no pars. Just pure, unadulterated ace racing.

Sullivan admits, however, that Discraft did not devise the Ace Race concept all on their own. They just put their own spin on it.

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Company Closeup: Arroyo Disc Sports

By Steve Hill — Rattling Chains Staff

Since the sport’s inception, disc golf has been constantly evolving. Lids and blunt-edged discs have given way to the modern, physics-pushing sharp-nosed drivers of today. Courses are growing in size and number. Even bags have pushed the limits of technology, with human hands now being eschewed in favor of military-grade backpack material hoisted over one’s shoulders.

But one area that has not kept pace with the current rate of change is the basket.

Yes, companies have added more chains to their devices, or worked to make them more visible, but current chain-device design still allows for a good deal of spit-outs and pass-throughs. Casual and professional players alike can tell you about their experiences with the “one that got away,” so to speak, more than likely with a scowl and a couple expletives to accompany their stories.

The Arroyo Vortex.

Arroyo Disc Sports is hoping to rewrite the ending to these tales with their new basket, the Vortex.

With the Vortex, the Pasadena, California-based company has completely redesigned the chain structure, giving it a net-like appearance and function. The aim is better catching, happier players, and, in the end, evolution of the game.

“The idea for a new basket sprouted from our experiences as tournament players,” said Arroyo co-founder Logan Turner. “We felt that there was a need for an upgrade to basket technology for a number of reasons, the first and foremost being the functional shortcomings of most baskets we play on today.”

Turner pointed to the aforementioned spit-outs and the havoc they can wreak on a player’s mental game and, in the case of professionals, their wallets.

“All players have experienced spit outs and pass-throughs on putts at some point in their career, and at all levels that can be mentally frustrating,” he said. “Not to mention it can cost top pros hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars each time it occurs.”

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Once the buyer, now the seller (and trader)

With the pile getting bigger, it was time to shed some plastic. (photo by Steve Hill)

By Steve Hill — RattlingChains.com Staff

As readers of this fine website may recall, I have battled plastic addiction for quite some time now.

However, over the last couple months I have been navigating the road to recovery, and it is all due to making the plunge and selling discs online.

As a member of the forums over at DGCourseReview.com, I have wasted plenty of time posting about discs, courses, and other nonsense. Luckily, some of my time there has now been productive, as I am using their Marketplace forum to list my discs that were otherwise collecting dust.

It is quite easy, really — you start a thread listing your discs, then give each a little description, rating of wear, a photo, and price. People can then message you to arrange payment or trades.

The best part of the Marketplace, though, is the feedback you can give on transactions, much like on eBay. Since it is the Internet and you have no clue who you are dealing with, you can use each buyer’s feedback ratings to guide you in the process.

The First Taste

At first, it was pure laziness that kept me from dabbling in the Marketplace. Taking all the photos for the discs, listing the prices, making multiple trips to the post office … It all sounded like a lot of work.

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Cardio Disc Golf: A new fitness trend to sweep the nation?

Rattling Chains writer Steve Hill doing a new fitness trend -- Cardio Disc Golf! (photo by Kelly Hill)

Cue intimidating, yet cheesy sounding voice over…

Insanity. P90X. Boot camp. Today’s new, intense workout programs promise to “get you ripped” or give you a “beach body” in no time at all. But, do you know what none of these workouts do?

Get you outdoors.

This is why I am taking this opportunity to unveil the newest trend in extreme physical fitness: Cardio Disc Golf.

The premise is simple, really. Want to get a real workout while also enjoying your favorite sport? Just carry a driver and a putter (or any two discs of your choosing), and run or jog between shots. Work up a sweat, and get in a quick round. You’ll be ripped and ready for summer in no time.

OK, so this isn’t an actual workout program (yet), but after kicking the idea around with Rattling Chains head honcho P.J., we decided I should give it a whirl. We thought it might be fun to see how it would affect my game, and if I could burn a couple of extra calories in the process, then it would be a bonus.

Besides, it kind of merges the best of two worlds for me. Before I started playing disc golf, I was an avid runner, completing numerous half-marathons, and even a couple of rounds of 26.2 miles. Now, though, I don’t always have time to go for a run and play disc golf, so I usually have a dilemma.

Hill tees off on hole 8 at Ford Park in Redlands, Calif. (Photo by Kelly Hill)

And by dilemma, I mean I choose disc golf nine out of 10 times, then feel guilty about not running.

Cardio Disc Golf, then, would assuage any remorse I would feel about not running, plus bring me the pleasure of disc golf. It’s a win-win situation.

The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that merely running between shots wasn’t enough, so I added a couple of additional stipulations to really take this workout to the next level.

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