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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Product review (and contest): Vibram Lace

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

Vibram has taken its next step in the disc golf market.

After months of anticipation, the Lace — Vibram’s first long-distance driver — was released to the public Nov. 23, or Black Friday as many refer to the day after Thanksgiving in the United States.

Reviews from around the Internet seem to be extremely positive for the new disc, which Vibram says is a stable driver.

When you get to Jack Trageser’s part of this review, you’ll get a more in-depth feel about the disc and what it can do for somebody with a stronger arm and with more ability to do what he wants with the disc.

My part is going to talk about the disc from the vantage point of a light-armed thrower and one who doesn’t have a lot of control over a disc.

Allow me to note I’m a Vibram user. The Ibex is one of my best discs as I can actually  get it to (usually) do what I want. I also putt with a Summit and, in the past, I’ve carried and used a Trak, V.P. and Ascent. So it’s safe to say I like Vibram’s products.

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Vibram leaving its footprint on disc golf

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

This story has the makings of the Little Engine That Could.

Despite being different than traditional disc golf manufacturers, Vibram Disc Golf continually seems to be working with a bit of that “I think I can” mentality. And, because it’s different, the company also seems to have a strong, cult-like following.

Steve Dodge has been one of the driving forces behind Vibram Disc Golf’s rise in the disc industry. (photo by P.J. Harmer)

Vibram, well-known for its shoe soles and its FiveFingers barefoot shoes, has only been a part of the disc golf world for a few years. Despite its short existence in the sport, the Concord, Mass., company has made some extremely big strides in becoming a major player.

The biggest difference between Vibram and other disc manufacturers? It produces rubber-based discs instead of plastic.

“Since 2009, when Steve Dodge agreed to join the Vibram team to help guide the development of a line of discs and expanded materials, we have been committed to being a part of the exciting evolution of disc golf,” Vibram USA President Mike Gionfriddo said. “We strive to support and grow Vibram Disc Golf and the sport as a whole. We believe that Vibram Disc Golf has a bright future.”

The history

Moving to the family farm in 2003 started the path for Dodge to become a key figure in the disc golf world.

His initial idea? Build a course, a pro shop and a major tournament. He teamed with his cousin, Tom Southwick, to design the Maple Hill Disc Golf Course and start the Marshall Street Disc Golf Championship.

In 2008, Dodge left Marshall Street and the tournament stopped.

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October Madness arrives as the Players Cup begins

Dave Feldberg is the overall top seed for the Players Cup, which is running this weekend in Texas.

By P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff

As disc golf continues to grow and evolve, different formats of tournaments, leagues and other aspects of the game will likely be tried to see what works.

Traditionally, tournaments are usually played in a normal setting — stroke play and in divisions. Occasionally, you’ll get a doubles tournament or some sort of non-traditional format, such as best-throw or alternate shot.

On a higher level, though, it pretty much remains the same across the board — stroke play over a certain number of rounds.

Insert the Players Cup, a three-day match-play format tournament featuring 64 of the top disc golfers in the world.

Vibram is the top sponsor of the Players Cup, which is scheduled to run Friday through Sunday at Twin Parks Country Club in Dripping Springs, Texas, which is about 10 minutes outside of Austin.

“I have always wanted to create a true disc golf spectacle,” said Steve Dodge, Vibram Disc Golf’s product manager. “Something that is compelling to watch and will get the average disc golfer excited to be a part of. A bracketed match-play tournament, like the NCAA March Madness, was exactly what I was looking for.”

Enter October Madness.

Originally founded in 2005 by Mike Barnett of Sun King Discs, the Players Cup served as an end-of-season celebration with players who had won events during the year. When the event took a hiatus in 2008, Dodge took that opportunity to discuss with Barnett the idea of making it into a match-play championship.

This tournament marks the third year of the setup.

“In the first two years, we have created an online bracket that people fill out and win prizes,” Dodge said. “The goal of the Players Cup is to celebrate the growth of our sport, create a spectacle and generate interest in watching the best disc golfers in the world.”

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Disc review: Vibram Obex can’t be beat

(Editor’s note: Three people associated with Rattling Chains tested out Vibram’s new mid-range disc, the Obex. Below you’ll find the reviews. All three are different level players, which we hope will allow you to see the differences in the disc via their thoughts. The first part is by Jack Trageser, a pro based in California).

The new Vibram Obex can’t be beat. Believe me, I tried!

Over a couple months’ time I threw it into strong headwinds, threw it with as much power as I could muster, AND threw it with full power and a sharp anhyzer angle. It didn’t buckle and irrevocably turn over one single time. (As a reference point, I don’t have a huge arm, but can still exceed 400 feet with accuracy.)

Vibram’s new mid-range disc is the overstable compliment to the Ibex, which is pretty stable as well, but noticeably less so than the Obex. Steve Dodge of Vibram in fact describes it as a modified Ibex. According to Dodge, Vibram
“took the Ibex and added a Ridge bead to it for stability.”

I like having both because they feel the same in my hand, yet I can tell that the one is a step up from the other in a similar way that a five iron is similar, yet different, from a six iron in ball golf. I guess you could say they compliment each other, which I think is Vibram’s master plan for its eventual complete lineup.

I’m not one to talk in technical terms about a disc — diameter, bead, flight plate, and such. I’m all about feel and performance, and as with all the Vibram discs I’ve tested before, it scores very high in both categories.

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Poll 9: The National Tour

Before we get to this week’s poll, let me say this — some of you golfers play a lot in the span of the week!

And, well, I’m a bit jealous.

See, the nearest “true” course to me is about a 1:20 drive away. And though it’s not too bad if you play a couple of rounds, the economy will tell you that it’s not something that’s feasible to do every day!

So, I go when I can. There are talks, hopes and plans of a course or two in our area, though, so I can hope one day I’ll be playing as much as some of you!

Anyway, let’s check out the results of last week’s poll

We had 126 voters and the winning choice was 3-4 rounds per week, which received 32 percent of the vote with 40 people making that their choice. Next was 1-2 rounds with 33 votes (26 percent) and then 5-6 rounds per week with 26 votes (21 percent). The next was 7-9 rounds (12 percent/15 votes) and 10 or more (9 percent/12 votes).

Brian Buller notes:

It usually varies week to week for me, but on average I would say about 5-6 per week. If I could, I would have a minimum of 3 rounds per day but it’s hard getting out there very often without a car.

Three rounds per day? That would be a lot of disc throwing if you could pull that off!

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