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On the Bubble

Posted by Tricia Lafferty


I still consider myself a beginner at disc golf. I feel like there are a lot of parts of my game that I can improve on, and a ton more to learn. What I love about disc golf is that you can take your game to whatever level you want to. You can be a casual player who just goes out and plays rounds for fun. You can join a league and play in a casual-competitive environment. You can play in tournaments and play for higher stakes: prizes, money, and a player rating in a competitive environment. You can choose to be a member of the PDGA, or not. No matter what level you play at, anyone can enjoy disc golf.

For me personally, I am an all-in player: I play causally, in leagues, tournaments, and am a member of the PDGA. I want to improve my level of play, and build on to my game. It is important to me to share my love of the game with others and help grow the sport.

But this year I faced the dilemma that many players who play in tournaments do; moving up in divisions. I have been a tournament player for just over a year now. So, how do you know for sure when you’ve improved enough to move up?

As a female player in this area, it’s tough, there are not a lot of us. Often times when I go to a tournament, I could be the only lady there, or there could be a handful of us in different divisions. Whether I win or lose in a division really doesn’t mean anything.

I looked to the PDGA guidelines for divisions:
Advanced Women - Ratings >= 825 Score Range : <70
Intermediate Women – Ratings < 825 Score range: <75
Recreational Women - Ratings < 775 Score range: 75+
Novice Women - Ratings < 725 Score range: 80+

So I find myself “on the bubble” as far as the numbers go. My player rating is currently sitting at 705. But, in the last few rated rounds I have played, my scores have been right around 75 and hovering around the 775 rating. I looked a little deeper into the information on the PDGA site.

I looked closer at the descriptions for the divisions:
Advanced Women - Upcoming players who have played 2-3 years and are gaining consistency and experience. Throw 200-300 feet, make 4-6/10 putts from 25-30 feet, developing different shots
Intermediate Women – Players who have developed basic Frisbee® and disc golf skills and/or have tournament experience. Throw 125-200 feet, make 3-5/10 putts from 20 feet, can throw backhand with some accuracy
Recreational Women - For beginning and casual players who are learning basic Frisbee® and disc golf skills
Novice Women - For beginning and casual players who are learning basic Frisbee® and disc golf skills

This was by far a lot more helpful information to make a decision. According to these descriptions, I feel I definitely fall into the Intermediate division. On my home courses, I can see where I am improving, my drives are longer, my approaches are shorter, and my putts are coming a lot easier. I also looked back at my tournament history. My first PDGA tournament was last June. I played in a tournament at the same course this June and improved 22 strokes over last year’s total. I couldn’t even believe it at first. My goal for this year was to try to improve on my scores by 5 strokes.

Armed with this information, it was a lot easier to come to a decision; time to move up. I may not win since I am at the lower end of the division, but that’s really not what is important to me. I don’t have to win on paper, I win with experience and knowledge. If I want to keep improving, I need to play at the level I want to be. I need to observe competitors that are better than me and learn from them. They may see a line that I can’t, make smarter decisions, or have a technique that may work for me. If you are not open to learning how another player plays their game and only focused on a win, you are doing yourself a disservice.

I’m excited to see how my game will improve in the next year! Tournament season is in full swing now and it’s the prime time to get out there and throw. I hope some of you will take the leap with me and take your game to the next level!

Source: PDGA Player Classifications and Divisions

Moments of Greatness

Posted by Tricia Lafferty


No matter what level of player you are, from beginner to pro, we all have bad shots. If you watch any of the numerous rounds of disc golf on YouTube, all players experience this. I have noticed over the 2 years that I have been playing, the bad shots are happening less often. Even when I do have a bad shot, I am usually able to recover pretty easily. I also noticed that great shots are becoming more frequent as well. I call these my “moments of greatness”, and this is what I play for. No matter how many bad shots happen in a day, there is always that one shot that can make they entire day memorable.

 

One of my most memorable moments recently was at a fun non-sanctioned local tourney. The tourney itself was pretty ordinary, good shots, bad shots – and I won my division. I always buy in for the Ace Pot, just in case I get that lucky, or even someone else does. And like normal, no one hit an Ace that day. There was a CTP shoot off for the Ace Pot money, which was around $75 or so. A lot of times I look at the shot and know that I can’t even reach it, and don’t even bother throwing. I am a female, and a beginner, and sometimes going up and throwing in front of a bunch of guys is really intimidating. But this day I decided to go ahead and give it a chance since it was such a laid back atmosphere and I knew many of the players since it was local.

I don’t really know how far away the basket was, maybe 250-350 feet, but slightly downhill. They set up a teeing area near the tournament central pavilion and shot to basket #2, which we could see. There was a gauntlet of trees in the way. I stood and looked and considered the best path for me to take with a shot a knew I could likely hit. Without seeing any others throw, I decided to spike hyzer to the right where there was a larger gap and let it glide and fade to the basket. I chose to throw my Latitude 64 Jade for this shot. That disc has become my go to driver and I really love the feel of it so I was confident in using it.

 

The first guy gets up to throw, grip locks, and sends it about 300 feet to the right in the wrong direction. The crowd got quite a laugh, me as well, even though I felt bad for laughing because I have been in that same situation before. This is my biggest fear with these shoot offs, having a bad shot and everyone assuming that you can’t throw based on that one shot. I sometimes feel like I have the responsibility to prove that women can be good at this sport as well, and showing a bad shot doesn’t help. About 2/3 of the group threw before I decided to go take my shot. It was a mix of good and bad shots: too short, too long, tree hits, and close calls.

I walk up to the tee and envision the shot I initially decided to take. I lined up my disc at the release point I wanted to take, took a few warm up swings, and then let it fly. As soon as I released it, I started to smile because it was taking the exact line I was hoping for. As it got further away, it sailed it’s way through the gap I wanted to hit, missing every tree. It reached it’s high point and turned and started gliding and fading to the left. Everyone watching was starting to get excited because they knew it was going to finish well. I could hear whispers and gasps behind me as I stood and watched, my heart started to flutter. It started to finish its flight and looked like it may very well crash into the chains. The noise behind me grew, and the disc dove into the ground as my heart was pounding. A cheer erupted as well as congratulations for the shot. From where were were standing, we couldn’t see where exactly the discs were landing. My hands were sweating and heart racing while the final few people threw. I couldn’t wait to get down there to see where I was because I knew I may actually be the closest.

I grabbed my extra ball of string from my Golden Retriever, just in case we needed to measure shots. As I walked to my disc, others were picking up their shots on the way. As I got close to the basket, I could see it was sitting about 4 short from it. The smile on my face grew, it really was an amazing shot! When I got there, I could see another disc laying right about the same distance as mine from the basket, but behind it. As I got the string out, I really hoped mine was closer. After measurement, he got me by about 6 inches. I picked up my disc, threw into the basket knowing it would have been a birdie had it been in play. I walked back to tournament central with the biggest smile I could smile, clutching my disc close to my chest. The memory of that shot is well worth more than $75, and I’ll never forget it.

Tricia

My Intro to the Dogleg crew!

Posted by Tricia Lafferty


Hey there fellow discers!

I would first like to say how incredibly excited I am to be chosen to contribute to Dogleg Disc Golf’s blog! I figured for my first blog I would tell you a little about me, and how I got started playing disc golf. My name is Tricia Lafferty and I live in a small “village” in Pennsylvania called Hawk Run (population 534), and I am 35 years old. I am currently in college, and work part time from home doing customer service and support online.  I’ve always enjoyed doing anything outdoors: fishing, hiking, kayaking, and traveling.  Since my work life involves sitting inside, when I am done, all I want to do is go outside!

In comparison to most of you, I have only been playing disc golf for a short amount of time, just about 2 years now. So how did I hear about disc golf? Believe it or not, from playing the Nintendo Wii. Wii Sports Resort has “Frisbee Golf” on it, and it was one of my favorite games. My friends and I would get together to play games, and we often would have Wii Tournaments, and Frisbee Golf was one of our favorites. After awhile, I started to wonder if it was actually a “real thing” and how in the heck would that work since in the game you’re just aiming at a lighted circle that is on the ground extending upwards.

I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods one day looking for kayak paddle leashes and just happened to walk by an endcap that had Innova Starter Packs and some discs. No way! It WAS a real thing! Being familiar with the Wii game I looked over the discs and wondered now where to play and how. Luckily, they had a print out of nearby courses, and wouldn’t you know it, one was about 10 minutes from the store! I picked up the starter pack and in my excitement, forgot about the paddle leashes. I headed out to the course. I walked up towards the tee pad with my new discs in hand ready to play! I looked at the course bulletin board, and read over the rules, now I was REALLY ready to go!

My first throw was definitely not what I expected. The Leopard was the driver in the pack. I put it in my hand and couldn’t really figure out how to hold it. I did my best “beach frisbee” grip and threw it. It went about 30 feet, hooked left and dove into the ground. Hole 1 at this course is a par 3, 210 foot mostly straight hole. I think it may have taken me 6 or 8 throws to get close to the basket. Well, this was an interesting looking device. I could see how it would literally “catch” the disc out of the air. I was probably close to the basket and missed, but then it happened, the ring of the chains. In that one moment, it didn’t matter how many throws it took to get to the basket, that ring meant success. I wanted to hear more of that for sure. I completed the 9 holes at this course and was definitely tired, but knew I wanted to play again.

This is how the addiction started. I’m sure many of you have a similar story. There is just something about hearing the sound of the chains for the first time that rings into your soul. You’re in it for life. Now at this point, I think I am playing 3-5 days a week now that Spring has finally sprung around here.

Fun fact: at the same course today – I threw a beautiful S shot on Hole 1 and clinked the bottom pole.

The Flight Analyzer releases for Android

Posted by Bobby Hoellwarth


The Flight Analyzer [ FlightAnalyzer.com ], the web’s original interactive visual disc route comparison tool, has been released for Android devices.  Compare flight routes easily by selecting a type of disc (Putter, Mid-Range, Fairway, Distance), then a manufacturer, and finally a model of disc.  It can be downloaded for free on the Google Play Store here:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.discmouse.flightanalyzer&hl=en
Or by searching for Flight Analyzer on the Google Play Store on your Android device.

Like the website, the Flight Analyzer app allows users to compare anywhere from 3 discs to an infinite number of discs side-by-side (although your device may lag after a hundred or so).  The app has the following features:

  • compare discs with no internet connection (not available on the website version)
  • load 3 discs and add any number of additional discs
  • switch between Left and Right handed
  • select Metric, Imperial, or both measurements
  • adjust flight route based on throwing speed (MA3, MA2, MA1, MPO)

Advantage of the app: you can compare disc flights while out on those hard to reach courses with no internet

Disadvantage of the app: if you load a lot of discs (like your whole bag), there is currently no way to save them like you can on the site, so they will be gone when you close the app and open it again.

Future plans for the app include adding save functionality and releasing the app for iOS.

Flight Analyzer

Putting The “Pro” in Professional

Posted by mleefry


Think of the perfect restaurant. The food is incredible. The waitresses are welcoming. The prices are great. It’s your go-to with friends and you’re considered a regular customer by the staff.

Then, one day at lunch, you find a bug in your mashed potatoes.

You’ve been to this place dozens of times with flawless experiences, but chances are, you’re unlikely to go back again because of the one horrible experience. One bad impression simply carries more weight than several good ones.

While this analogy may be a little extreme, it is very applicable to disc golf. While in the past I’ve primarily followed amateur players, this year I’ll be watching more professionals. Already in the past month I have been shocked at the lack of professionalism in the professional division, not because unsportsmanlike behavior is rampant, but because the bad examples are more memorable than the players that do everything right. The following three cases highlight the diversity of unprofessional behavior in the Open Men’s division at PDGA sanctioned events that I have witnessed in the last month.

The first incident occurred during the first round of a C Tier. While I do not find it uncommon to see smoking at disc golf courses, I was shocked to hear a player say, “So, this is a C Tier, right? What are the rules about smoking pot?” This was obviously not a comment about the tournament rules for smoking, considering this took place in a state where marijuana is still criminalized. The implications run deeper. The player who phrased his question this way was degrading the legitimacy of a PDGA event, essentially comparing a C Tier to any other casual round or league.

The second incident occurred at an A Tier. I was watching a professionally sponsored player during a round. As part of this player’s sponsorship deal, they are only allowed to throw discs produced by the sponsor. This player was using discs made by another manufacturer. Can you say false advertising?

The third, and most appalling incident, took place at an A Tier as well. The top four players from the Open division were set to compete in a final nine in front of a large gallery. The fourth player was 5 strokes out of third place and decided that, because his place in the top four was secure, he could just “show off.” This “showing off” included rethrowing a putt after missing (more than once), throwing out of bounds three times on one hole because he was trying out his left-handed skills, laying up on 10 foot putts for no reason, and throwing ridiculous rollers that more often than not either went out of bounds or far enough away that it delayed the speed of play. The player verbally acknowledged loud enough so that the gallery could hear that he was just showing off.

What may be more disappointing than seeing a high level professional player simply give up during a tournament is that he got away with it. When he received his payout, the tournament director personally shook his hand and thanked him for coming to the tournament. The final nine was rated as a 918, while the player is rated in the 1020s; since it is more than 100 points below his rating, it will probably not be figured in to the next ratings update. The worst consequence the player had to face on that day was a loud, snarky comment from a member of the gallery during his round and a lack of applause when he made his final putt.

These three incidents are just a few examples of the spectrum of unprofessionalism that occurs in disc golf at all levels of competition. They each have a multitude of consequences and implications for not just the individual players, but the integrity of the sport as a whole. They all make a mockery of PDGA events and professional disc golf. They set horrible examples for new and lower-level players. During the aforementioned final nine, I spoke with an intermediate player who thought the player’s behavior was acceptable because “he’s just having a good time.” Next time that intermediate player is 5 strokes out with nine holes left, how do you think he’s going to play?

Those consequences are just assuming that none of these would be bad enough to turn people away completely. An individual may choose to stop (or never start) playing because of the lack of professionalism. Parents and schools may decide it’s not a suitable environment for children in terms of safety or sportsmanship. Big name sponsors that disc golf needs in order to become “mainstream,” like Nike or Adidas, are not going to spend thousands of dollars to sponsor a tournament where these types of behaviors can be spotted at the professional level.

Now, let’s move into the future five years or so. Optimistically speaking, there will be cameras from ESPN if we’re lucky, or even just local television stations, at every large PDGA event. Right now players are allowed to think their behavior is no big deal because very few people are there to witness it firsthand. But what will happen when their actions are no longer instantaneous, and they are replayed over and over on YouTube, the news, or just through word of mouth? This is going to be the case very soon at the rate disc golf is growing.

My intentions here are not to complain about the things I have witnessed. This is meant to warn disc golfers that unprofessional behavior is not acceptable. Change is necessary, and can come from a variety of sources. First and foremost, the players themselves need to be aware of how unprofessionalism and bad sportsmanship reflects on not only their own character, but disc golf as a whole. Players and officials who witness inappropriate conduct can also help by enforcing PDGA rules, including calling courtesy violations. Tournament directors should consider enforcing rule 3.3 of the Competition Manual, which states, “Any conduct deemed to be unprofessional is subject to disqualification by the Tournament Director, and may also be subject to further disciplinary actions from the PDGA.” Finally, sponsors should stop condoning unprofessional behavior by holding their players to higher standards of conduct. Just because someone can consistently throw 1000+ rated rounds does not mean they deserve to represent your brand—in the same way that Nike cut ties with Lance Armstrong in 2012, sponsors need to make sure that their players are not only excellent golfers, but display good character.

Until these people are willing to step up and take professionalism seriously, disc golf will continue to have the reputation of a casual game and its advancement will be hindered.

Welcoming New Players: A Short Guide

Posted by destinjames


Last night I went to a friend’s BBQ party, and  three interesting things happened: I broke up a dogfight (wow, that was crazy), afterwards someone said ‘frolf’ during a conversation, and then lastly someone else said ‘frolf’ again within the same hour.

Even though the dogfight was crazy and gave me minor injuries and quite the adrenaline rush, the use of the word ‘frolf’ captured my attention the most, and it got me thinking…

The sport of Disc Golf is still growing, but there are a lot of players that don’t understand how truly amazing Disc Golf is.

Here is my short guide to welcoming new players to the wonderful sport of Disc Golf.

#1

Be convincing that’s it’s worth their time. Take them to a scenic and/or relatively flat course – it will be more playable and enjoyable for a beginner.

I personally recommend buying them a beer (21 and over of course!) before the round, or buy/give them a disc… It will have more impact on whether they play again or not.

#2

 A new player will always ask, “What’s the best disc to use?” and you should give options – and in my years of playing, you should always say “mid-range” and a recommendation. Once they have played, they will find a certain disc that fits their hand and throwing style.

#3

 Give them a crash-course on the physics of how a golf disc flies. Teach them what understable, overstable, and stable is. I recommend throwing a couple discs from your bag to demonstrate – also, let them know about thumbing (thumber) and tomahawking. For right-handed throwers, thumbing will make the disc curve to the left, and opposite for tomahawks.

 #4

ALWAYS be courteous. A lot of new players take a while to learn and straighten their throw, make sure you’re quiet and patient during throws and be positive towards them no matter how far they go off course – and congratulate them on successful fairway drives!

This wonderful sport still needs a lot of players. If you play, don’t be afraid to invite a friend you think might like hitting chains for the first time – chances are, they wanted to hang out and have a great time outside anyway.

Lots of Chain Noise,

 :Destin

Missouri Winter Wonderland

Posted by mleefry


Hey Dogleggers, long time no talk!  I promise I haven’t forgotten about you guys—I actually daydream about blogging quite often.  For those who don’t know, I’m currently in my junior year of college, so let’s just say that I have to write a lot of stuff that’s not about disc golf during the school year and my brain can only produce so many words in a week.

Anyway, I’ve been DYING to tell you guys a little bit about the crazy winter we’ve been having here in Missouri.  It’s been a winter wonderland.  Not “wonderland” like the deep snow and beautiful trees on a Christmas card—we’re not quite northern enough for that.  I mean WONDERland, like “I wonder if it’s going to be 60 and sunny, or if it’s going to be so cold the news anchors are telling me not to let my dog outside for more than 10 minutes.”  So, let’s take a look at Missouri’s last few weekends.

Four weeks ago today I played in the 28th Annual Ice Bowl in Columbia, Mo.  Columbia is not only my hometown, but the home of the original Ice Bowl in 1987.  As we all know, the official Ice Bowl slogan is “No Wimps, No Whiners,” and for the 28th Annual there was nothing to complain about.  The weather was beautiful, in the 40s and no rain or snow.  I was very happy to be able to play in a division of 5 women, two of us celebrating one year since our first tournament!  On top of that, I shot my personal record on the Oakland Top course with a 2 stroke improvement.  It was a wonderful day!

Five ladies competed in the women's division at the 28th Annual Ice Bowl in Columbia, Mo.

Five ladies competed in the women’s division at the 28th Annual Ice Bowl in Columbia, Mo.

Ice Bowl Shirt

Winners of each division at the 28th Annual Ice Bowl in Columbia, Mo.

Winners of each division at the 28th Annual Ice Bowl in Columbia, Mo.

After such a great experience at the Columbia Ice Bowl, I was really pumped to play the following weekend in Jefferson City, Mo.  However, the night before the tournament there was an ice storm and it wasn’t safe to make the 30 minute drive.  Instead, I spent the day playing a 4-hole NOMAD course at my house and gathering with my neighbors to scrape ice off of my street.  Not so wonderful.

NOMAD target set up in my backyard while it was too icy to drive to a course safely.

NOMAD target set up in my backyard while it was too icy to drive to a course safely.

My street covered in ice, and everyone trying to clear it off.

My street covered in ice, and everyone trying to clear it off.

 

I didn’t get any golf in the following weekend.  There was more snow and I turned 21, so I think you can infer that I was a little busy doing other things…

Final Birthday

Last weekend I finally made my way down to Jefferson City to play league at their new course.  They still don’t have permanent baskets or tee pads installed, so we played the front nine twice with temp baskets.  Just by looking at the front nine and hearing rumors about the back nine, this course is going to be a BEAST.  There are a few water hazards, lots of elevation change, and a mix of tight tunnels and long fairway shots that have to be strategically placed.  (It’ll definitely be worthy of a course guide when it’s finished.)

Although it only snowed a little while I was there, there was plenty of “leftover” snow on the ground, cause it hadn’t been above freezing in at least a week.  The park’s namesake Binder Lake was frozen enough to walk on (although I never recommend walking on ice!), which is pretty rare.

During this round my winter weakness was particularly evident.  I’m usually pretty good at not letting cold affect my mental game, keeping my throwing hand warm, and not letting my feet get wet.  But the worst thing about winter disc golf is wearing so many layers that it limits my range of motion.  For the most part it doesn’t impact my driving, but trying to follow through on a putt when I feel like the Michelin Man is just not going to happen.

Geese on the shore of Binder Lake in Jefferson City, Mo., near their newest course.

Geese on the shore of Binder Lake in Jefferson City, Mo., near their newest course.

One of my drives at the new course in Binder Lake Park

One of my drives at the new course in Binder Lake Park

Jefferson City Disc Golf Club's President Stan Balke putting from a tree on the new course

Jefferson City Disc Golf Club’s President Stan Balke putting from a tree on the new course

Just six days later, I played my first short-sleeved round of the year at Carrollton Park in St. Louis.  It was a beautiful, sunny day reaching a high of nearly 60 degrees.  Can you say complete weather 180!?  Then, fast forward to today, when the high is expected to be only 38 degrees; my disc golf feat for the day will only consist of writing this post and wishing I were at the Gentlemen’s Club Challenge, where it is currently 65 and sunny!

Precarious basket at Carrollton Park in Bridgeton, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis.

Precarious basket at Carrollton Park in Bridgeton, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis.

The “Towch” Review by Dogleg JT

Posted by randomtiz


As the end to Valentine’s Day Weekend draws near, I would like to share with you guys a new love that’s in the air. Something that I hope you guys will end up loving as much as I have.

A few weeks ago I was searching for a new towel to clip onto my disc golf bag. I stumbled across this thing called the “Towch®” and was like whaaaaaaaat? Weird name, right? This was something unlike I had ever seen or heard of before. For those of you that know me, I am huge proponent and fan of new technology—especially when it relates to disc golf.

Towch1

It’s Called a…What Now?:
What exactly is the Towch® you might ask? Well let me tell you. The Towch® is a pouch that also doubles as a towel. Before I dive too much further into the review, I’d rather you watch the video review we put together. Watch the video below and see the Towch® in action!

*If the video does not load, click here to view it on YouTube!

How it Works:
1) Using the 2 carabiner clips, attach to your belt loops, belt or bag.
2) Insert 3-5 discs to use as a carrying pouch.
3) Insert 1 disc and spin the disc around within the pouch to dry it off or to remove dirt/mud.

Final Thoughts:
This thing has so many different uses! Lately I’ve found myself using it more as a putter carrier attached to my belt loops. I haven’t had 5 discs maxed out in it yet while playing, so not sure if it affects my throwing. But 1-3 discs do not affect my throw. I like keeping my putter(s) in there for super quick access for putting. This would be a great solution for frolfers that only carry a handful of discs anyway.

During this cold spell these past few weeks, I’ve found myself even using it as a handwarmer pouch. Put a “Hot Hands” packet in there and keep that throwing hand warm! You could also use it to carry snacks, maybe a cold drink or two, camera, etc. Hahha or even use it as a hat to keep your head and ears warms! (See me being ridiculous towards the end of the video where I demonstrate the hat use). Possibilities are endless!

Get this, they’re 100% made in the USA! That’s awesome.

I want one! Where can I buy one?:
Please visit their site at TowelPouch.com to learn more! Towches® currently come in a variety of 8 colors. The standard, one-color Towch® has an MSRP of $11.99. Be sure to “like” their FB page at www.facebook.com/TheTowch! Mention you read the Towch® review on DoglegDiscGolf.com.

Share the Towch® love this Valentine’s!
-jt


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Vibram Birdie Bash, the Steve Dodge Interview

Posted by randomtiz


I am excited to kick off the 2014 year with our first post this year! An interview with Steve Dodge from Vibram! Steve is a continuing supporter of the Dogleg Blog and has worked with us before allowing us to test/review a few new Vibram discs before they hit shelves. We are very fortunate that we could connect with Steve for this interview and learn more about Vibram’s annual Birdie Bash for a Dogleg special.

Q&A with Vibram’s Steve Dodge:


DLDG: Thank you Steve for helping make this happen and for being a part of our first post of the year! I know we’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s jump right into it.

So Steve, tell me a little about the history behind the Vibram Birdie Bash (VBB). How did it all start?

Steve: I get bored easily and wanted to create an event that was both easy to run and fun and engaging to play. Discraft’s Ace Race was a great starting point, although it was too minimal for me. After a dozen test events in 2012, adding a second throw, a creative scoring system, and counting metal hits for points were the primary changes that made the event universally fun.

birdie-bash-v1.10.0.1732.1218.356.250.c

DLDG: What exactly is a Birdie Bash?

Steve: In a sentence, use two discs and get two throws per hole.

Scoring:
- Birdies: 2 Points
- Ace/Eagle: 5 Points
- Any metal hit: 1 Point

For example: hit metal on the drive, sink the birdie putt: 3 points

The Birdie Bash format was created to increase the fun of a good shot and decrease the aggravation of a bad shot.

DLDG: That sounds like a lot of fun. I agree sometimes Ace Race’s can go by way too quick and it’s either all or none. I like the thought of getting more throws in there to where it’s more of a competitive, strategic game rather than a throw-off. OK, so who would play in a Birdie Bash?

Steve: Advanced and Pro players would play to enjoy a great day of fun disc golf, maybe try out some new discs, win some great prizes, and help teach some newer players how great our sport is.

Newer players will find a relaxed atmosphere for one of their first “organized” disc golf events. They will also get some great discs, meet their local discers, and have a chance to win some great prizes.

Basically, if you want to have fun, come play a Birdie Bash.

DLDG: We all love swag! What kind of sweet gear comes with signing up for the VBB?

Steve: $30 gets each player:
- two Vibram discs (of their choice)
- a Vibram dry fit tee
- a Vibram towel, mini, and sticker

As well as a chance to win tons of prizes: http://www.vibramdiscgolf.com/players-pack-and-prizes.html.

DLDG: I’m liking what I hear! That swag tops Ace Race’s in my opinion! And the Birdie Bash is open to anyone, right?

Steve: Yes!

DLDG: I heard that anyone can be a TD for the Birdie Bash too, is that right? Is it really that easy?

Steve: Yes! We have a document that does a step-by-step including prep work, day of, players meeting, getting sponsors and more. It really is a Tournament-In-A-Box.

DLDG: Oh wow, yes that does sound easy! I think sometimes the overall impression about being a first-time TD can be fear of inexperience. I think that is awesome that you guys have put that much time and thought into this that does makes it easy enough for anyone to be a tournament director to run a Birdie Bash.

Now do Birdie Bash tournaments occur during a particular seasonal timeframe or do they go year-round?

Steve: The VBB events are held each Spring. This year they can be held anytime from March 1 to June 1.

DLDG: I know Dogleg has some international readers that might be curious, is the Birdie Bash available outside the US?

Steve: Yes, although not everywhere yet. We are expanding it to Canada, the UK, and the EU. We shut registration a week earlier and charge a little extra for shipping. If it works well, we will expand to Asia and Australia in 2015.

DLDG: Tell me about this Spirit Award. What is that?

Steve: Spirit, or the culture of the disc, is the reason that I want to grow our sport. In short, the ability to compete with honor and respect is what Spirit is all about. This year, we are introducing a Spirit Award which is given to a player that embodies the culture of the disc.

I invite people to read more about my motivation here: http://www.vibramdiscgolf.com/4/post/2013/11/grow-the-sport-why.html

DLDG: I love that idea about the Spirit Award, what characteristics make someone a prime candidate to win the Spirit Award?

Steve: A Spirit Award winner:

  • Is fair-minded and respectful
  • Has a positive attitude
  • Is happy when someone else makes a great shot
  • Listens and considers
  • Is respected by their competitors
  • Treats others as they want to be treated
  • Believes there is someone else more deserving
  • Instantly helps to find a lost disc
  • Is happy to be surrounded by so many friends
  • Has fun
  • DLDG: Ok I’m stoked about the VBB concept! Now how can I find out if there’s one close to me?

    Steve: www.BirdieBash.com

    DLDG: Ok Steve, I’ve got to ask. What is it like working at Vibram? Kind of jealous, it must be awesome! Right?

    Steve: I am very fortunate to not only be working in the industry I love, but to also be able to have an impact on it. 3,500 people played in a VBB in 2013. For over 2,000 of these people, it was their first “organized” disc golf event. Additionally, over 40 people TDed their first event. It takes a lot to move an industry and I’m excited to be able to push as much as I can.

    DLDG: How long have you been with Vibram? What is your position there?

    Steve: 2008: Vibram sponsors Vibram Open, which I TD.
    2009: hired by Quabaug, which manufactures for Vibram, as a consultant for Vibram Disc Golf.
    2010: Quabaug hired me full time to develop the Vibram Disc Golf business unit
    2012: Shifted to Vibram corporate as the Business Unit Manager for Vibram Disc Golf

    DLDG: What would you say your top 3 favorite go-to Vibram discs are and why?

    Steve: Ibex — it is easy to put on any line and it is forgiving when I don’t put enough pop on it.
    Lace — this disc allows me to throw 400′ again, something I had lost for over a decade.
    Summit — 80 feet and in, I’ve got a legit chance to sink it with this slow-speed-friendly finesse putter.

    DLDG: Can you give us a glimpse of what to expect from Vibram [products] this year?

    Steve: Nope ;)

    DLDG: Dang! Lol, I figured that’d be your answer. =) No, but we’re really excited for what’s to come for Vibram this year. Several of the guys here at Dogleg are big fans. Is there any bit of disc golf advice you would like to leave as a takeaway for our Dogleg readers?

    Steve: Vinnie Miller once told me, “Brother, this life ain’t long, get happy as fast as you can.” Disc golf makes me happy. My advice, have fun and do good.

    DLDG: Thanks again Steve for helping us put together this interview. I’m very excited about the Vibram Birdie Bash and hope to make it to one this year!


    Here in Georgia where the Dogleg Headquarters is located, there is already one Birdie Bash set to take place at Patriot’s Park in Grovetown, GA on May 24th. Click to read more on the 2014 Patriot’s Park Birdie Bash.

    Some of our fellow Dogleg members are helping with a Birdie Bash in our hometown of Jasper, Alabama. They have two dates set already for March 8th and one later on May 24th. Click for more info on the 2014 North Jasper Park Birdie Bash in March and for the 2014 North Jasper Park “Second Session” Birdie Bash that will take place in May.

    To find out if there is a Birdie Bash already scheduled in your area, check out the Vibram Birdie Bash’s Events page.

    Want to register for a Birdie Bash? Find your VBB and sign up here.

    Want to take it to the next level and host your own Birdie Bash?
    Click here to sign up to be a TD.

    Follow Steve’s Disc Golf BlogVibram Disc Golf Blog
    Read More on the Vibram Birdie BashBirdieBash.com
    “Like” Vibram Disc Golf on Facebookfacebook.com/VibramDiscGolf
    Follow Vibram Disc Golf on Twittertwitter.com/VibramDiscGolf

    -JT

    Kickstarting a DG Following

    Posted by randomtiz


    According to the “Disc Golf and PDGA Demographics” article on PDGA’s website, last year there were an estimated 500+ thousand regular disc golf players in the world. Disc golf is rapidly growing at a significant rate every year. And it can grow at an even more substantial rate with the help of the hundreds of thousands—if not millions—disc golfers all over the world. We, as a disc golf community, have to back and support our fellow disc golfers and companies looking to improve and expand the sport. Look how far disc golf has grown just in the past 10 years, for example. It is astonishing to me. Whether it’s a new type of disc technology, a new disc retriever, a rolling disc golf cart that houses everything but the kitchen sink, or even a new disc golf app that lets you—right from your living room couch—flick discs into those sweet chain sounds we’ve learned to love, there are numerous projects out there that can have an impact on disc golf.

    One place I’ve found to help support and hopefully “kick start” a fellow disc golfer’s dream is Kickstarter.com. If you guys aren’t familiar with Kickstarter, check it out—it may have more appeal to you than one might think. Ok, so Kickstarter started back in 2009 and is a community of both big and small projects that are “brought to life through the direct support” of people like us. “Project creators set a funding goal and deadline. If people like a project, they can pledge money to make it happen. “ With over 52,000 projects listed since its launch in 2009, there have only been around 16—that I’ve found—to be disc golf related. Funding is all or nothing with these campaigns, soif the projects do not reach their goal, no funding is allocated. It is a really low risk form of investment for people looking to support creative projects, and the incentives that are created for Kickstarter backers are often very cool and can only be had by backing a project.

    Lets take a moment and review a few of these. After recent research of the disc golf Kickstarter projects that I could find listed on the site, there were only a few that I felt were truly unique and worthy enough to mention. I will start by commenting on the very first disc golf project I could find, the “carbon disc” by Tyler Seamons. The “carbon disc” was a disc driver prototype made from Carbon Fiber with a heavy-duty polyurethane plastic protective edge. Sounded like it would have been pretty cool—something that sturdy and could take a beating—but I doubt it would have ever be approved by the PDGA. It raised over $4400 of its $7500 funding goal.

    Then a few projects later there was “Chains the Movie: The First Disc Golf Documentary” launched by pro disc golfer Avery Jenkins back in 2011. “Chains” was to be the first definitive disc golf documentary featuring pros from all over the world in hopes of bringing the sport to the mainstream. Although nearly $20k short of the funding goal, it still raised over $6k. If I had known about this project and Kickstarter years ago, I would have for sure pledged some bucks their way! I’ve always been a fan of Avery’s—not to mention he’s a subscriber of our blog too.

    There are several other neat ideas such as the Walkadisc and Six Shooter disc holsters, but I’m not sure how those would work with big spin drives. Then there’s a handful of “wtf” projects that leave you wondering if it was a joke or if these people were actually serious? Regardless, only 1 of these 16 disc golf Kickstarter projects was successful by meeting its funding goal.

    Why weren’t more of these successful? Was the proposed budget goal too high? Is there not enough current support in the disc golf community? Does the disc golf community even know about these efforts? Or it could just be a flawed concept to begin with. I won’t get into that now—my sole intent here is to raise awareness to new disc golf initiatives and encourage this ever-growing disc golf community for their support. If you feel like these new projects, companies, and apps present a strong concept, please support them! Just think, what if a project that you actually helped fund, made it all the way to completion!

    DiscGolfUnchained-Logo-Light

    This leads me to my final topic. The latest disc golf project to hit Kickstarter that needs your help and support! The “Disc Golf Unchained” campaign by Local Route Labs is the latest disc golf video game app project. Check it out here on Kickstarter and on their website, Local Route Labs for more info.

    I was excited to see the “Disc Golf Unchained” gameplay featured in the video above put out by Local Route Labs. The graphics and environment felt very realistic compared to any other disc golf game app that I have come across. It’s awesome to see the progress and where disc golf video gaming has come so far. After reading about the project on both their website and Kickstarter, I was itching to know more! I was able to get in touch with Local Route Labs’ co-founder, Tyler Krucas, to learn more about the project. Here’s what Tyler had to say:

    “Local Route Labs is proud to introduce Disc Golf Unchained, the most realistic and engaging disc golf video game in development. Disc Golf Unchained is a video game by disc golfers for disc golfers. We want Disc Golf Unchained to satisfy both the casual and hardcore player, hopefully steering new people into disc golf. The game looks to capture the excitement and experience of throwing the perfect shot and bring it to the palm of your hand. We attempted to create realistic flight physics and course environments that, along with a complex player progression system, offer a fun and immersive game anyone can enjoy, just like actual disc golf.

    The game is slated for release on Android and iOS sometime in 2014, and we have developed an extremely intuitive touch interface for the game on these platforms. Although we intend to initially release Disc Golf Unchained on mobile devices, advancements in human interface technology and online networks for next-gen consoles have us thinking about the full potential of disc golf in the virtual world. Imagine throwing a round with or against your friends at your beautiful local course, but from the comfort of your respective living rooms! The prospects for Disc Golf Unchained are very bright.”

    This is where the guys at Local Route Labs and “Disc Golf Unchained” need your help. With ONLY 7 DAYS (ends Dec. 3rd) to go with their Kickstarter campaign, they have already raised over $5500 but still have a good ways to go. Please check out the campaign where you can read more on the project, watch their video, and if you like, pledge money! There are different pledge levels starting as low as donating $1. Each pledge level gets you more swag as the pledge amount increases. It’s pretty cool how it works!

    I’m very excited about “Disc Golf Unchained” and can’t wait to hopefully see it in the App Store and Google Play Store soon! Even better, I hope it makes it to a gaming console in the near future. Lets put the “fun” in funding and go support your fellow disc golf community—I just did!

    -jt


    For more info on the “Disc Golf Unchained” project, check out the following links:
    -“Disc Golf Unchained” Kickstarter campaign
    -Local Route Labs
    -Local Route Labs on Facebook

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