Earlier last week, a thread started on Atlanta Disc Golf’s Facebook page where fellow members weighed in on their Top 10 favorite disc golf courses in Georgia. It was interesting to see everyone’s input and how many of the same courses were repeatedly making the lists. Most of the entries were simply just the course names, but the post that stood out to me the most was one by Loganville-local and Innova Disc Golf Pro, Matt Dollar #26045.
Since moving here to Georgia almost 5 years ago, I’ve been able to make it to and play almost 25 of the nearly 90 disc golf courses located here in the state. I am always up for playing new courses and checking them off my list. While I enjoyed reading everyone’s personal favs, Dollar’s was the one that stood out to me because his list was one of the few–if not the only–that included reasons behind each of his picks. I appreciated that. With permission from Matt, below is his post from the ADGO Facebook page.
And now my Top 10 Georgia courses and the reasons.
10. Bowden Golf Course – Macon.
It’s like no other course in Ga. You really feel like you’re in Texas. It’s hot as hades and is filled with sand, CACTI, lizards, and lots of things that poke you. I don’t ever play great there, but it’s a sick course.
09. Tom Triplett – Savannah.
With at least 2 or 3 tee pads on every hole, you have unlimited options at TTP. Hole 4 from Gold might be the best Par 5 in GA.
08. Redan – God’s Country.
This John David design is amazing. The course itself is only on about 15 acres. Some of the good old school long pins aren’t there anymore, and the key holders seem to favor the shorties. Redan is still awesome, and with PNUT raising funds for new pins, it has me excited to see some of those great pins back in the future.
07. Lake Russell – Elberton.
The other John David old school designed course on my list. Par 3 golf at it’s best. Most courses this old are getting easier with age, but LR is the exception. It keeps getting tighter and the areas that used to be tall grass back in the day are now small forests.
06. Jim Warner – IDGC.
The youngest of the IDGC courses is the squirreliest, but overall a sweet track. The back nine is a hike and features what is possibly the hardest Par 5 in GA, hole 15.
05. Perkerson – Atlanta.
John Ritger is one of the best designers there is IMO. The longtime temp course was amazing. When the permanent course finally got the green light, John had to redesign a course that everyone loved for years. That’s not an easy task and yet he came out with a great layout that pleases the masses.
04. NGCT – Lula.
Keith Johnson and John Ritger made a great design. And Keith pours his heart and soul into this place and it shows. This is the year of Lula with the GTI and 3 A Tiers. Oh, and you play through a chicken shack! Bakaaa!
03. Jackson – IDGC.
The big dog. Starts out with 6 Par fours in a row! And 3 Par Fives! Holes 3 and 12 are the only crappy holes here. Hole 17 is one of the hardest Par Fours in GA. Holes 8 and and 10 are sick.
02. JP Moseley – Stockbridge.
The course that has it all. Short, long, wooded, open, easy, hard, and a Skull Island. I haven’t played the news holes, but the original 18 is one of the best ever. The 3 Par Fives are sick. And The last five holes are like playing Lake Russell.
01. Steady Ed – IDGC.
The easiest course at the IDGC is also the most fun, and also the most valid. It’s super fun in the short pins and in the longs. Long arms get eagle chances on several holes on the long layout. Hole 5 is one of the coolest holes in GA when the lake is up. I could play Ed everyday without getting sick of it.
If Flyboy and Crucible were involved they’d be 1 and 2. Anyone who has ever played Flyboy knows it’s the best there is. Duh.
Innova Pro Matt Dollar
Matt’s already off to a hot start this 2015 season. He’s won the first two sanctioned tourneys he’s played in this year, Savannah Open and the IDGC Ice Bowl. So far he’s won 3 of the 7 sanctioned tourneys and had 2 more top 10 finishes. To follow Matt’s tournament journey, check out Matt Dollar #26045 PDGA.
If you have any more favorite Georgia courses, let us know by posting a comment below!
A week later and just now getting a chance to sit down on this beautiful, cool morning to write about what I enjoy most, disc golf. Although arguably a better morning to be out on the course, it was important to me to get this post up as promised on our Dogleg Facebook page.
Two months ago I posted about an upcoming Vibram Birdie Bash being held at Hunter Memorial Park in Douglasville, GA. Well the time finally came last Saturday, March 21 as our four-man crew made the trek down to Douglasville. Not knowing quite what all to expect, it was all of our’s first time to play in a Birdie Bash and boy were we excited!
I like to think we’ve got a pretty solid, standup group of guys—Daniel, Rick, Sean and myself. Our four group plays regularly together on the weekends and an occasional weeknight. We try to select tournaments that we can all make and feel like it’d be a fun time. Although this was actually only the second tournament that all four of us had been able to participate in together since forming the group less than a year ago. I enjoyed our hour-long carpool down to D’ville last weekend talking disc golf and even strategizing for the Birdie Bash, haha. We had questions about how players would be split up amongst the cards for the first round and whether or not our 2-disc choices would play to an advantage. Of course it would be fun to all play on the same card the first round, but could that be a disadvantage to each of us four? Based on how we were thinking the point system worked, could we potentially be stealing points from one another? For example if no one scores on a hole, then the point goes to whoever landed closest to pin. Then we tried to figure out if our odds would be better if we played on different cards the first round in hopes to score similar and get paired together for second round. As much as we each love disc golf, we take it serious as well. All while having fun, of course!
Speaking from previous experiences in other tournaments I’ve played where you play with the supplied discs, it’s always good to get there as early as possible to sign in, get your discs and practice throwing them. The discs always seem to fly differently than what you expected or used to. So I highly recommend getting there early enough to get your discs and take them out on a couple of holes to practice. Learn how they fly. Test what they can do and how much arm they can handle. It sure helped me in our ~45 min. worth of practicing Saturday throwing the new discs before the start. I had thrown a Lace before, but not one that was in the weight range I chose. This one was a bit heavy and a little bit more overstable than what I’d thrown before. My other disc choice was an Obex which is an overstable, long glide midrange. I had never thrown one of these before either, so I’m glad I got out there and learned its flight path and how to control it to get it to work like I needed.
Vibram Birdie Bash Swag Pack
We got there really early and was able to get in a few holes with our regular discs to warm up. As soon as the tent opened up, we signed in and got our Vibram swag packs with our discs. I actually appreciated how the swag packs were already put together with the discs already in there. I’ve been to other tournaments where the line gets backed up with everyone carefully choosing their disc weight and color—it takes forever. So I liked the simplicity of the pre-packaged swag packs. The swag packs come with the two discs you selected back during online registration, a tshirt, two stickers, playing cards, and a Vibram rubber coaster. Note: The water bottle is not part of the swag pack. I’ll mention that later. [see pic].
One thing I freakin’ love about Vibram discs is the awesome, tie-dyed swirled patterns in the discs. Check them out! I went with a 170M Lace and a 167M Obex. I prefer the X-Link Medium which is Vibram’s original and most popular material.
The X-Link material is a unique rubber-based compound which resists scuffs, has incredible durability and unequaled grip. Additionally, X-Link has a stronger memory than any disc currently on the market, so if you do manage to bend it out of shape, in all likelihood, it will work its way back.
The players’ meeting kicked off with the introduction, “brief” rules, group pairings and scorecards were handed out and then we were off to our starting holes. One thing I didn’t like was that I felt like the scoring instructions, penalty scenarios and starting rules weren’t as clear as they could have been or the OB rules which weren’t mentioned at all. For example, it didn’t come up until we were halfway to our start hole that we had no idea when we were supposed to start. TD didn’t mention if it was an airhorn start or at a specific time. We were at the furthest hole from the tent too. Also, TD never mentioned the OB rules (later covered prior to second round). Do OB rules apply in a tournament like this? What’s considered OB at this course? etc.
I know the scoring rules were on the back of the scorecard, but I felt there was still confusion in a few scenarios that weren’t covered on the card. However, I did like the fact that the TD gave out his phone number to each group and encouraged any player to call if there was a question. But to my point, I feel like the scoring could have been slightly unfair or different amongst the groups when there were obvious things that were failed to be covered. Did everyone count OB’s the first round? Did people ignore those? Can the same player get a metal point and CTP on the same hole, or does metal cancel out the CTP? I know not every scenario could be brought up during the first player’s meeting, but I feel like it can affect the scoring for sure. And I understand that a scenario might not arise until it actually happens during the round. So, say they call the TD and find out the ruling.. What now? How do the other groups learn of the ruling? Another group could have encountered the same thing and may have scored it differently. I feel like there’s too many variables that could come up. If one group counted it one way, and another group a different way…the points are now different. You see my point.
The first round, players were divided up in alphabetical order by their first name unless you had requested to be grouped with other players during the online registration. That was one thing we learned that we didn’t know about. We might have requested that if we had known during the online registration process. But it was cool though, it allowed us to get paired with others and meet new faces. By the way the names fell, Rick and Sean ended up on same card. I really enjoyed meeting each player and getting to know them a bit more as the round progressed. The first round I got paired with Mark, Michael and “Bull”–all fun guys to be around. I did have a rough start and even took me several holes to score my first point, ugh. But I did better later that round once I was felt more comfortable with my discs. After talking to the guys after the first 18, it sounded like we all had a weak first round.
Lunch at Irish Bred Pub
Hole #18 CTP
They gave us about a 1.5 hr lunch which was nice–plenty of time to grab some brews down the road. Ya know, loosen us up for the second round. The second round pairings were based on the scoring of the first round like most all tournaments. First round I had 13 pts and Daniel had 12, so we got paired together with Brian and Will. The second round I was on and already doing leaps better than my first round start. It was also nearly 20 degrees warmer the second round, so I felt more in my element with it being short-sleeve weather compared to our cold morning start. My group started the second round on Hole #16 and two holes later I ended up winning the second round CTP on #18 [see pic]. That CTP win is how I got the aluminum Vibram water bottle seen in pic above.
I ended with 18 pts the second round which was enough for a T-5th place finish of 31 pts. All in all I had a great time at the Bash and would recommend it to anyone, regardless of skill level. It’s fun getting out there, trying out new discs, enjoying the Spring weather and meeting new people. I plan to play in next year’s event too at a different course. My hopes would be that the rules will be more in-depth, OBs covered, and just explained more clearly to keep scoring fair amongst the cards. Check out Vibram’s Birdie Bash Locations to see when/where the next one is closest to you!
Congrats to Zach Haynes for the Hunter Park Vibram Birdie Bash win–pulling in a total of 44 pts! Great shooting.
Reviews from the Field:
The birdie bash was great. The format really allows players of all skill levels to have fun. I had never thrown a Vibram disc before the tournament. I was impressed and they will definitely have a spot in my bag going forward.” –Sean C.
It was my first Birdie Bash, first time throwing Vibram, and only second tournament. My biggest highlight was the player packs. I was able to add the Lace and Ridge to my bag. The Ridge is now my go to putter. The point’s system was new for me. But, it was easy to understand once you started playing and kept the tournament competitive regardless of skill level. Overall, I had a good time and learned a few things.
I’ve been playing for right at one year, and this was my first birdie bash. I thought it was a really cool way to play a tournament. Haven’t really thrown Vibrams before, but really loved the discs we received. The disc material felt great and the look was cool. Everyone was given brand new discs which really leveled the playing field. The scoring method also helped everyone playing be competitive. Really enjoyed the bash!
Daniel #9 Tee Shot – Caboose Hole
Hole #11 Drive – Overshot basket on big dogleg right.
JT walking away with Hole #18 CTP Prize.
If I have any tips to share, I’d leave you with this:
Disc Selection: If you’re not familiar with Vibram discs or have never thrown one, check out their flight paths and compare them to the discs you’re comfortable with on sites like Inbounds Disc Golf Disc Comparison. This might help you select the right Vibram disc that matches your own. Remember, you only get two Vibram discs to play with. Think about the course, the lines. Choose carefully.
Disc Material: Vibram discs come in X-Link Medium and X-Link Firm. The medium is the most popular and original material by Vibram. The medium has more of a grippy service, gets less skip, and more of a slightly flexible nature. The firm is a stiffer, less grippy rubber compound that cuts through the air and can get more ground skip.
Online Registration: If you’re wanting to play on the same first round card as your buddies, request that in the comments field of registration. If you don’t, you might end up getting paired alphabetically the day of.
Arrival to Tournament: Get there early! Sign in and get your swag packs as soon as they start handing them out. You’ll want to get in the extra practice and test out your new discs before the tournament starts.
Walking the Course: Be sure to walk as much of the course prior to the tournament. At ours, there was a few holes that the teepads were moved up on to lessen the difficulty. These were previously very long Par 3′s. Yellow flags were used to mark the closer “teepad” area. Start figuring out your lines from these new positions.
Players’ Meeting: Make sure the TD covers all rules, scoring and goes over what the OBs are. Not everyone has played that course before. Be sure everyone’s clear.
You ONLY get a CTP point within your group if NO ONE else scores a point on that hole. For example, if someone hits metal and you have the CTP, you don’t get the point. Their metal hits cancels out your CTP.
Most importantly, HAVE FUN! Meet new people, learn new things. Teach others. Have a positive attitude. Strive for that Spirit Award!
Hunter Park’s Vibram Birdie Bash made the local news. – Dogleg JT in the red shirt.
I don’t know how often you guys troll crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter.com which allows backers to pledge funding to creative startup projects. These projects typically offer backers tangible rewards and/or special experiences in exchange for the pledge. Kickstarter’s a platform to help bring creative projects come to life. There is ALL kinds of clever and innovative, cool stuff on there! But back to my point, I do browse through Kickstarter’s site quite often and search for disc golf-related projects. Currently on Kickstarter, there are nearly 30 “disc golf”-related projects that show up in search results dating back to 2011. However, only one of those projects is currently active and it’s the one I really want you guys to check out. Introducing PING, the world’s first trackable disc golf disc!
Have you ever lost a disc in the woods or spent hours on end stumbling through briars and mud looking for you disc?
Well, check out the PING disc from Tobu Discs. Claiming it’s the first trackable disc, this disc has a built-in, underside compartment that states it does not affect the disc’s flight path and also completely waterproof. The disc pairs with the bluetooth on your iPhone or Android phone along with their free Tobu app. The app—specially designed for the Ping—will help lead you to locate your disc once you start walking in the direction of the thrown disc. The PING disc will automatically begin to beep and flash once it’s thrown too!
The app also lets you search for other courses in your area, view course maps using your phone’s GPS, rate courses, create/submit your own courses, track you and your friend’s scores, and even measure and record the distance of your throw.
There’s a lot more to it as well. I don’t want to spoil it here, so get over to the PING Kickstarter campaign and learn more! The project’s campaign only lasts until 3:00pm EST this coming Thursday, February 5th 2015. Pledge them!
Earlier in the week, I caught up with Steve Dodge of Vibram Disc Golf on this year’s upcoming Vibram Birdie Bash. Here’s what he had to say:
With Spring fast approaching (as well as two feet of snow!), it is time to look into the Vibram Birdie Bash. In addition to improved prizes and more streamlined admin for TDs, we have added in a Vibram Birdie Bash World Championship. http://www.birdiebash.com/championship.html.
The VBB World Championship is happening the weekend before Am Worlds at one of the Am Worlds courses. It will be broadcast live by Terry Miller and Smashboxx TV, and all VBB TDs and VBB winners are invited to attend.
The VBB is geared towards bringing non-tournament players into organized disc golf as well as creating the next generation of Tournament Directors. By design, the events are easy to setup and run. We also emphasize the culture of the disc through our Spirit Award.
-Steve Dodge, Vibram Disc Golf
What is the Birdie Bash you might ask?
The Vibram Birdie Bash is a two disc/two round tournament where everyone throws one shot less than the par for that hole. Eagles are worth five points, birdies two, and metal hits count as one. If nobody in the group scores on a hole, the CTP after the final throw gets the point.
Birdie Bashes run from February 28th to May 31st this year. You MUST pre-register online to sign up for the event. Check out the Birdie Bash Event Finder here to see which events are happening closest to you.
For those of you here in Georgia, as of right now, there are two approved so far for this year. The first one will be hosted at Patriot’s Park DGC on March 8th near Augusta and the second will be later that month on the 21st at Hunter Memorial Park in Douglasville.
How much is it?
Only $30 gets you signed up and a player pack (valued over $60)!
What kind of swag is there this year?
The player packs are looking pretty sharp; here’s what you get: Birdie Bash Player Pack:
Two Discs (one driver, one putter or mid)
One VBB Shirt
One VDG Coaster Mini
One VDG Sticker
Birdie Bash Prizes:
Card Winner prize for 1st round
Per Group CTPs for 2nd round
1st Place Men’s Prize
1st Place Women’s Prize
1st Place Juniors (under 13) Prize
Spirit Award Winner
Extra Prizes are Possible: The TD will award these extra prizes however they want!
VDG Water Bottle prize for every 10 players
VDG Hat prize for every 20 players
VDG Bag prize for every 30 players
Looking forward to seeing you guys out on the course!
If you ask any golfer what the weakest part of their game is, most will say putting. Putting is the most important part of the game, because it is how you actually close out a hole. It’s importance is also overlooked by a lot of players. It’s fun to go rip drives and see how far you can get a disc to fly, but standing 10-30 feet from the basket and repeatedly throw at it is less appealing. The most important part of putting is confidence. When you walk up to your lie and look at the basket, you have to believe you are going to make the putt. If you don’t, you’ve missed it before the disc even left your hand. Practicing putting will not only increase your putting skill, but confidence in yourself.
Sarah Hokom started a 100 Putts for 100 Days Challenge back in November. Starting in November takes her through the 100 days the lead up to The Memorial, which is officially the start of the National Tour for disc golfers. As of now, she is on day 56 of the challenge. She has been posting results, tips, putting games, and other information on her Facebook page. She is getting great results too! Follow along with Sarah here:
I am now a part of Team Infinite Discs, and am attending the Glass Blown Open in April/May 2015. Seeing the great results Sarah is getting, and knowing that I need a lot of work on my putting as well, I have been motivated to start the challenge. I began my challenge on January 1st, which will take me up to about two weeks before I leave for GBO. Having the two week window will also allow me to make up a day if I have to miss one.
For Day 1 and 2 of the challenge, I set my baselines. The two styles of putts I want to work on are spin putts, and straddle putts. I did 100 putts in each of these styles over the first two days from 15 feet. 15 feet may seem short, but these are the putts that can’t be missed. I got 75/100 for Spin putts, and 77/100 for Straddle putts. My goal over this challenge is to increase these percentages to at least 85-90%. I will do a baseline check every two weeks to see how I am improving. I will also start baselining further distances as the challenge goes on.
In between these baseline checks, I will be playing putting games and changing things up every day so that I don’t get into a stale routine and lose interest in the challenge. I will be posting my progress and what I am doing on my Facebook page, so please follow along and give my page a “like”. Also comment and let me know if you are interested in your own challenge, or any advice and tips you may have for me!
Custom zipper pulls make zipping/unzipping pockets a breeze, with a unique twist! Thanks to Gone Discin Paracords, you can stylize your disc golf bags and backpacks zippers with an edgy, custom flare! These things rock!
Custom-made “Cobra” Zipper Pulls with Spikes from Gone Discin Paracords
If you’re like me, I love backpacks. But not just any backpack, I like backpacks with as many compartments and pouches as imaginable. Regardless of what I’m using the backpack for, I like having lots of storage knowing that I can store anything and everything I deem necessary to tote around with me. I like being prepared–prepared for any unexpected potential situation. Especially when it comes to disc golf and being outdoors. Aside from carrying all of my discs, minis, pens, towels, etc…I also like carrying essential camping/emergency accessories such as a flashlight, knife, paracord, drybags, band-aids, matches and an assortment of other stuff when I go play disc golf. Hey, you never know.
This leads me to my modified disc golf backpack that I use now. I wasn’t satisfied with a lot of the current designs and the associated hefty price tags that come with a lot of the pro disc golf backpacks out on the market today. I just couldn’t justify paying nearly $150 for a pro bag that had the adequate amount of storage space/pockets I needed when I could potentially modify my own for a fraction of the cost. So I browsed for weeks for a low price point bag that had enough pockets and compartments that suited my needs. I finally found one to hold everything that I could possibly want to carry along with me in my disc golf bag. I wanted it to almost be like a disc golf/survival backpack. I bought a FUL backpack on clearance for less than $15 that had ample storage and had a bicycle helment pouch attached to the front. A bicycle helmet pouch you ask? Yes, it would serve as a loose, quick-access pouch that was perfect for holding my 3 go-to discs. I even went as far as to build a custom PVC exterior frame for the bag to give it enough support to stand upright. But I digress.
So with that many zippered pockets on my new bag, I had to find a better way to keep track of where everything was stashed and which pockets I accessed the most each round. Discs make up three of the pockets and others house things like snacks or emergency stuff that don’t necessarily get pulled out or used on a round-to-round basis. For those of you that have played with me before, know that I like to play speedy rounds. I have to be able to grab discs quickly and efficiently. I found myself quite often fumbling with all the zippers trying to find the correct zipper to the correct pocket. It can get frustrating–especially when it’s super cold out and your fingers are numb.
So how do I keep track of where everything is? How do I quickly find what I’m looking for or where the most important pockets are? Well it’s a heckuva lot easier now that I’ve added custom-made zipper pulls from Gone Discin Paracords to those main pockets!
From hole to hole, it’s a breeze to quickly find the correct zippers to pull open and grab discs. And you know how difficult and cumbersome it can be reaching for those dang little zippers. But guess what, it shouldn’t have to be anymore. Welcome to Gone Discin Paracords custom-made zipper pulls. Add these badass, wicked little zipper pulls for quick access to those pesky minuscule zippers!
Steve and Lindsay Wilmoth are the owners of the small Michigan business, Gone Discin Paracords. They are gracious and super nice! Please check out their Facebook page to see a variety of their zipper pull designs. Be sure to notice the double helix and the DNA knot ones too, they look sweeeet! Steve and Lindsay do completely custom orders to suit your needs.
These high-quality, durable zipper pulls and sets make great giveaways for tourneys or your club. The set I have shown here in the pics is the “Cobra” Set with skulls and spikes. I haven’t added all the pulls onto my bag yet, but the set comes with 6 pulls, birdie beads, and a bag tag/towel holder! You can select from 5 designs and nearly 30+ colors. Don’t like the skulls? Get the beads instead. Imagine the combination possibilities!
Still looking for Christmas gift ideas? These zipper pulls can also make great gifts or stocking stuffers (there’s still time)! Actually, this month they’re even running a special sale so grab the deal while it lasts!
[from their Facebook page]
December $ale of the month!!!!
Full Sets will be $15 Shipped on all designs! Includes 6 pulls, Birdie Beads, Bag Tag Holder, and FREE Towel Holder
$1 pulls for all designs. (30+ colors) (5 Designs)
$4 Birdie Beads with beads or skulls.
$2 Bag Tag Holders.
$2 Towel Holders.
Shipping Starts at $3
50% off customization including Spikes Available in Cobra only, Numbers/Letters Available in Cobra, DNA, and Double Helix.
Hello Dogleg Community,
Unfortunately I have some sad news to share. This is not going to be my typical, lighthearted or pun-filled style of post. It is a tribute, a special dedication, to Destin Walch who passed away this past weekend. Destin was a very close, personal friend of mine and fellow Doglegger to the blog. Allow me to share some of my memories as we take a moment to remember Destin.
It was around 10am this past Saturday morning (Nov. 1) that I received a phone call from the wife of a very close, dear friend of mine. The type of call you never want to receive. She told me that Destin didn’t make it—that he had passed a few hours earlier. I got very quiet, I could barely speak. I lost it. I could not believe what I was hearing—no, not Destin, surely this couldn’t be happening right now. It did and I took the news very very hard.. He had finally succumbed to his 6-month fight with liver failure.
Destin was truly a character. He had such an outgoing, friendly personality—the type of person that you enjoyed being around. He had a sense of humor about him that always kept it interesting out on the course. Destin and I first met a little over two years ago stumbling across our blog while searching for disc golf app reviews. He joined the Dogleg crew back in October 2012 and became one of our top bloggers. I remember him talking about how excited he was to find out that we were actually headquartered right down the road from where he was living. Destin had moved down here to GA from Michigan for chiropractic school a few years earlier. I still remember that day I first met Destin in person. It was back on October 3, 2012 at Oregon Park Disc Golf Course where we’d first met up to throw a round. I remember how excited he was to finally meet up with us. He had the biggest smile on his face when he got out of the car and, haha, literally ran up to shake my hand. We had a really good round of disc golf accompanied with good talks. I knew from that moment on that we were going to get along well and be good friends. He was as obsessed with disc golf at the time as I was–and that was pretty awesome.
Destin had a love for the game. He loved talking about disc golf; loved writing about it. The passion that drew him to Dogleg and lead him to write posts for us here at DoglegDiscGolf.com. Destin really helped me grow the Dogleg brand and blog these past two years–especially here locally. He had a passion for writing tutorials for frolfers new-to-the-game, disc reviews, and interesting articles relevant to the physics of disc golf. He helped make several connections to a few larger disc manufacturers and loved reviewing discs they would send us. I went to visit Destin the first time he was admitted to the hospital in late April/May. He had just gotten the then-unreleased Vibram Four20 driver in the mail a week or so earlier. Due to his illness he had not had a chance yet to toss it so he gave it to me to try it out. He would not know that he would never get that chance to ever throw it. That disc would also become the last one he ever gave to me. It has so much more meaning to me now–I’ve already retired it.
Even in the two short years I knew Destin, he quickly became one of my closest friends I had made (outside of work) since living here in Georgia. Our friendship grew with a shared passion for disc golf, determined to help grow the sport, the blog, and welcoming any new friends to the game. Destin always jumped at the opportunity to go play disc golf after work and school. Whenever I wanted to check out a new course in the area that I hadn’t played before, he was my go-to guy to call because he rarely turned down an opportunity. He and I both liked buying old discs and trading them or giving them to friends that were new to the sport to get them started. I remember one time we were out at Perkerson Park DGC in Atlanta and met up with this guy that played alongside us. That guy was fairly new to the sport and I remember Destin giving him one of his extra bags to carry his discs in after we finished the round. He was just like that. He liked telling people about Dogleg and the blog and always coming up with ideas on how to expand it. He was such a fun guy to be around—the kind of guy that always made you laugh when he was around.
We were very competitive when we played disc golf together. At the time we met, neither one of us had gotten our first Aces yet. Every time we’d go out to play, we were determined that this would be the round. With several close ones brushing the chains, we got to where we started filming all of our throws for every short hole we played—you know, just in case we hit that first Ace.. We wanted it on film. Although Destin never got his Ace here on Earth, I like to think that he’s clanging those Aces up there. I hope—at the very least—he’s playing disc golf everyday. He was an Ace in my book, a great friend.
Aside from disc golf, Destin loved music and flyfishing as well. We talked fishing a lot and had mentioned plans about putting together a flyfishing trip. We were even planning a trip this fall with our wives to go up to my grandparent’s lakehouse to fish all weekend.. Destin shared his birthday date with my wife and I’s anniversary as well. I had invited Destin and his wife to our wedding and even thought it was on his birthday, we were very excited that they came. I remember Destin having such a good time there that night. Haha I remember him literally taking my camera and laying on the floor taking pictures and videos of the events. I guess you could say he became our unofficial wedding photographer for the night. If it wasn’t for Destin, we wouldn’t have any video from our wedding.. He took that job upon him out of the kindness of his heart.
Destin had been battling liver failure since the end of April and had been in/out of the hospital a few times during that span. He first told me that he’d been admitted on my 30th birthday. It was a few days later that I was actually able to visit him while he was there. It was hard to see him like that—in so much pain. He was very weak but I was glad I got to see him and talk to him. He had a tough time gaining enough strength and energy the first time he got out of the hospital. It was months before he was able to get back on the course again. And even at that, he could only play a few holes before he’d get too weak and have to stop. We played disc golf only a few times since that first stint, but never able to complete a full round. On August 13, a few friends and I met Destin up at Legacy Park after work for a round. ..That would ultimately be the last time Destin ever got to play disc golf…
He had some more complications a few weeks later and was put back into the hospital the first week of September. He was there over a month before taking a turn for the worst two weeks ago and went into a coma. Just the weekend before they’d moved him out of the ICU down to a normal room. But late that Sunday they found bleeding in his stomach and it didn’t improve any all week. He hadn’t really been able to speak and had to have a trach put in at one point. For awhile he was too weak to speak and could only communicate by writing on a board. He did get to where he could mouth words. His wife told me that last Thursday that he knew he was going, it was time. That he wasn’t scared. That he was ready…
Full of life, that kid. He was much too young. He saw his 27th birthday in the hospital. He truly will be missed and will be thought of every time I hit the course. I would like to think he’s up there watching down, helping my game or either making fun of every tree I hit on a drive. I lost two friends back in high school (over a decade ago), but never a friend as close as Destin.
Later that Saturday that I received the news, I went out on the course here at Legacy Park (last course Destin would’ve played) to reflect on the good times we had. A solo round. Destin sure was a talker, especially when we played. I miss all the good conversations we used to have. This round was extremely quiet though—it was a hard round to make it through. But I knew if he was here and well, he would’ve been out there with me; in search of that Ace. That next day, Sunday, some mutual disc golf friends of mine and Destin’s went out to Oregon Park (first course Destin and I ever played together) and joined me for a Memoriam round for Destin. It was a good time talking to one another and sharing the memories we had of Destin. I felt like he was there with us.
Hole #9 at Legacy Park DGC. This is the hole that Destin and I used to pretty much empty our entire bags—throwing every disc—in hopes for an Ace. In honor of Destin, I emptied half my bag trying for an Ace later that Saturday.
Hole #18 at Legacy Park DGC. After finishing 18 holes, I sat on the creek bank and reflected on the memories and good times we’d had in the two very short years we knew one another.
This has been a really hard week on me..it’s taken me all week to get something going. I’ve been fairly quiet online all week for those of you that follow me on some of my other personal social media accounts.. It’s been more of a reflection this past week and realizing how much we actually take for granted. How short a time we actually have on this Earth. How little time we actually have to make the most of our life. Take nothing for granted. Take a moment, look around, absorb how beautiful nature really is. Enjoy every single breath and moment of life, because no one’s guaranteed tomorrow. It can come and go so fast. Create memories that will last a lifetime—that people will remember you by—a legacy. In the short time I had to know Destin, he did just that. How will people remember you?
➥ To read some of Destin’s blog posts here on Dogleg, click here.
If you ask almost any player what their least favorite part and weakest part of their Disc Golf game is, the answer is usually putting. Putting is the part of the game where you actually score, and can drastically raise or lower your score. If you are a consistent and accurate putter, your scores can drop drastically. If you’re like me, you’re still inconsistent and need a lot of work on that part of the game. The only way to get better at putting is to practice it. A tweak in thumb placement, release point, grip, and technique can make a difference, but you will only know if you practice. Putting needs to become automatic, and over thinking creates mistakes.
So how do you practice? I tried a few methods, and what seems to work best for me is starting close, and gradually moving back. I used to take a measuring reel out and put flags down at certain distances, and putt inside the circle. This was a pain doing it every time I went out, and when I wanted to move the basket to a different location. My yard has some hills and different terrain, so it’s great for practicing uphill and downhill putts.
Problem solved! Megan Ramsey who does Disc-Lexia Disc Golf Art came up with a great product for putting practice called Putter Beadz! Putter Beadz are circle’s length (10 meters) cord with beads placed every foot. Every 5 feet has a distinguishing bead as well. Now when I go out to practice, I can place the basket down, loop the Putter BeadZ cord around the pole, pull the cord out to length, stake it down and I’m ready to go!
I usually start out on the level ground, and start at 10 feet back with a stack of 5 putters. If I make all 5 putts, I move back another 5 feet. If I make all of those putts, then I move back again. If I miss even just 1 of those putts, I move back up. This is an easy way to identify the distance where you are making all of your putts, and where you are getting inconsistent. When I first started using the Putter BeadZ, I was inconsistent starting at 15 feet. Now that I have been using them for awhile, I am pushing out to about 25 feet. I can work in foot increments on my trouble areas.
With the Putter BeadZ, I know where I am at distance wise but visual, and by actual footage. This translates on the course when you walk up to the basket, your brain registers how far you are away, and how hard to throw. This helps great a relation between visual recognition and muscle memory.
The best thing about having the Putter BeadZ is I can move the basket easily onto a hill, pull the string out and stake it down, and then putt uphil or downhill in the same manner. On downhill putts I was overshooting the basket a lot. Now that I have had practice using the Putter BeadZ, I am sinking those putts that used to sail over the top of the basket. Same with uphill shots, I was hitting the cage a lot, now I bring my release point up further based on the grade of the hill and distance.
Overall, using the Putter BeadZ has made me a more confident putter, as well as a better one. Since I can easily move the basket and string around, I am more likely to actually move it and practice all of the variations. It has saved a lot of time as well not having to measure and flag every time I go out, or move the basket.
Putter BeadZ come in a lot of different colors and varations! Hit up the Facebook page to see photos of all the options that are offered. You may also email Megan directly to place your order at firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: Putter BeadZ