For the love of the sport. A place for DG enthusiasts to share their thoughts.

Author Archive

George Smith Earns 10th Win at 31st Annual Mid America Open

Posted by mleefry


Instead of starting my post with a typical excuse for not blogging in so long, let’s be real. Life got crazy and I was experiencing some disc golf burnout. Since my last post, I earned two college degrees and started my first full time job. Clearly disc golf has taken a back seat.

But now that I’m settling back into “normal life” with a “normal routine” I see everything really connecting back to the sport. It is my stress reliever and my social life. It promotes the values I want to uphold in my career at the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing: accessibility, fairness, health, and community. It’s an activity I can share with my boyfriend. It makes me think. And, most of all, I’ve gotten some pretty badass disc golf stories in my neighborhood lately.

Stories like this one I put together to send out to my local media have helped me to rediscover my love for the game. I hope this inspires you to pick up your bag and play this week, and that your feedback will get me out myself!

(Some alterations to this press release were made to fit the disc golf audience. If YOUR club needs help building relationships with your local media, let us know! I’m happy to provide guidance, and if there is interest, write about best practices or develop press templates for disc golf events. I’ll post links to press coverage here if the release is successful!)

Last weekend marked the 31st Annual Mid America Open disc golf tournament presented by the Columbia Disc Golf Club, Dynamic Discs, and Columbia Parks and Recreation. The event included a doubles event on Friday and a three-round tournament on Saturday and Sunday at Albert-Oakland and Indian Hills Parks. The tournament included 123 players from Missouri, Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.

George Smith, 44, of Columbia earned his tenth Mid America Open title with a score of -52 for the weekend. His Saturday afternoon round on the Albert-Oakland Top Course was 13 under par and rated 1087 (yeah, that’s not a typo). It was the highest rated round of his career to date. Smith began playing disc golf in 1984 at the Albert-Oakland Top Course, the only course in Columbia at the time. He has since traveled internationally as a professional disc golf player, his tour including tournaments in Japan and Finland. In addition to his tournament win, Smith also won the Friday doubles tournament along with Grant Hodges of Columbia, MO.

The weekend’s winners also included: Andrea Meyers (Jonesboro, AR), Open Women; Keith Amerson (Columbia, MO), Open Masters; Justin McCain (Joelton, TN), Advanced Amateur; Gary Harvey (Roeland Park, KS), Advanced Masters; Paul Morrison aka Mo Louis (Columbia, MO), Advanced Grandmasters; Justin Neudecker (Alton, IL), Intermediate; Mariah Flagg (Camdenton, MO), Intermediate Women; Scott Foreman (Columbia, MO), Recreational; Beth Aubuchon (Columbia, MO), Recreational Women; Jack Lowen (Blue Springs, MO), Juniors Under 13 Boys; and Cynthia Riocciotti (Columbia, MO), Juniors Under 13 Girls.

Tournament competitor lands a disc in the basket during the Ring of Fire

Tournament competitor lands a disc in the basket during the Ring of Fire

Smith putting during the Final Nine Sunday afternoon at Albert-Oakland Park

Smith putting during the Final Nine Sunday afternoon at Albert-Oakland Park

Smith finishes a hole during the Final Nine as a gallery watches from across a pond

Smith finishes a hole during the Final Nine as a gallery watches from across a pond

Paul Morrison aka Mo Louis, radio personality from 102.3 KBXR, celebrates his win over the Advanced Grandmasters division during the awards ceremony Sunday evening

Paul Morrison aka Mo Louis, radio personality from 102.3 KBXR, celebrates his win over the Advanced Grandmasters division during the awards ceremony Sunday evening

Smith and his trophy following the awards ceremony

Smith and his trophy following the awards ceremony

Smith and Jack Lowen, Junior Under 13 Boys winner, with their trophies following the awards ceremony

Smith and Jack Lowen, Junior Under 13 Boys winner, with their trophies following the awards ceremony


Review: ROA Tournament Bag by FOSSA Disc Golf

Posted by mleefry


One of my favorite things about disc golf is witnessing innovation that comes along with a growing sport. Nothing makes me more optimistic about disc golf than listening to people like DGnomad founder Jeff Gradinger or Legends World Champion and founder of Hott Shotts Pete May as they discuss their creative ideas for making disc golf a household name. A few months ago, I had the pleasure of playing a round with Parker Asay, one of the dedicated idea guys behind FOSSA Disc Golf, a new LLC based out of Springfield, Mo. Southern Missouri may be a surprising home for disc golf growth. In addition to FOSSA, Springfield is home to the first ever disc golf course in Missouri, as well as Disc Golf Monkey, a retailer known mostly for their colorful and heavy-duty Monkey Trap baskets. The Journey Post shop and Treehouz course, home of the Journey Post First Stop, is located just south of Springfield.

Needless to say, it’s not surprising to see a product like the ROA Tournament Bag come from this area.

The ROA Tournament Bag is comparable to the Innova DISCarrier. It holds 25+ discs, has several pockets and three dividers for organized storage, and an end pocket for putters. The bag is made of 600D PVC coated nylon; for those like me who know nothing about textiles, this translates to “waterproof and super durable.”

FOSSA

This being my first opportunity to really review a disc golf bag, I was surprised at how detail-oriented Asay was. He pointed out to me how the seams were stitched in such a way to add to the bag’s durability. On the lowest part of the back of the ROA, there are Velcro loops to secure a golf umbrella. FOSSA’s website is serious when the claim is made that they’re “committed to making products that are perfect for the everyday golfer.” Throughout our round, he continued to ask for my feedback and the feedback from others on the course in order to improve the product.

Even the name of the bag is clever and shows their dedication to perfection. The company’s name, FOSSA, is the name of the cat-like top predator of Madagascar. “Roa” is the Malagasy word meaning “two,” because FOSSA’s initial bag design underwent so many improvements that this bag became the second.

Now, the part you’ve all been waiting for…let’s talk money. The FOSSA bag retails for $59.99. Yes, that is not a typo. Not a sale price. $59.99. For comparison, the Innova DISCarrier is $79.99 on their website.

But it takes more than price to determine if a product is the right fit. As fascinated as I am by the FOSSA bag, I know that it would not yet be the best bag for me. As a beginning disc golfer, I carry 13 discs on average, which only makes up half of the ROA Tournament Bag’s disc storage. In order for the bag to not sink in the middle, I had to add extra discs for the round. That being said, having too much storage is typically not an avid disc golfer’s problem. For anyone who carries enough discs and is not ready to make the financial commitment to a backpack bag (like the Grip A14, which runs $259), the ROA is definitely the way to go. I would also recommend upgrading the bag with backpack straps to add a little more comfort and support—I used the ROA strap for 9 holes and my Phoenix straps for the other 9 for the sake of testing both out.

For more information or to order the ROA Tournament Bag, check out FOSSA’s website http://fossadiscgolf.com, like them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/fossadiscgolf, or ask your local disc golf retailer.


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.


Missouri Winter Wonderland

Posted by mleefry


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

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.


Interview with 3x Legends Champ Pete May

Posted by mleefry


This summer, I had the pleasure of meeting 3x Amateur Legends World Champion Pete May (#12700). I first ran into May during a practice round at Emporia Country Club a few days before the Amateur World Championships. Luckily someone in my group pointed him out to me, or I would not have given much thought to the man in the cowboy hat walking the course on his own. I caught up with him again later in the week at the dgNOMAD Glow Ace Race, and learned more about his accomplishments and aspirations in the realm of disc golf.

May has lived in Augusta, GA for the majority of his life, and is a Senior Vice President of Morris Communications and President of the International Barrel Horse Federation. He started the Collegiate Disc Golf Championships, invented the disc golf game Hott Shott, and has earned the Amateur Legends World Title in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Here’s more about May and his achievements, in his own words:

Dogleg: When did you first start playing disc golf, and how old were you?

May: I first started playing with my oldest son and his two buddies, I was 58, they were all Table Tennis Olympians.

Dogleg: Explain the concept behind “Hott Shott.”

May: Hott Shott is my newest start. It is an indoor court game using elements of disc golf. Its noble purpose is the get middle school kids doing more with their hands and eyes and less with their fingers (cell phones). The business purpose is to create cottage businesses for the disc golf community… It is a putting type game that simulates bowling or darts [in terms of scoring]. The goal has a five year plan to start 7,000+ leagues nationwide in middle schools, churches, rec centers, senior citizen [centers], and similar gyms. I believe this is very doable. This game is fun, easy to learn, and hard to master—a nice combination. The game could have a profound effect on the growth of disc golf.

Dogleg: In your opinion, what are characteristics of a “perfect” disc golf course?

May: A perfect or sustainable disc golf course should…
• Be pleasing to the eye
• Have no more than 1 par four each nine holes
• Have at least two ace runs [per nine holes]
• Most par three holes should be designed for players that throw less than 350 feet; that distance is only thrown by 5% of all players
• Have tee shots that are fun to throw, but difficult to make a two unless the shot is very precisely placed
• Take more than 1:45 to 2 hours [to play]
• One water hazard per side adds to a great course
• Five to seven tree tunnel holes create the skill factor, not just distance
• No more than 3 blind shots on a course
• Close to the basket trapping is one of my course design features
• I like tough but not “mean” courses
• I like elevation change if possible
• I like 20 hole courses with par at 62

Dogleg: What inspired you to start the Collegiate Disc Golf Championships? How has it evolved since its first year? Where do you see it going in the future?

May: My youngest son was a college freshman, and my “boss”—the owner of Morris Communications—showed interest at the same time. I had just been a TD of the 2006 Pro Worlds in Augusta, and my boss said, Why can’t we have this here every year? I said it moves about. He said, Let’s have our own tournament. So, since there was no Collegiate Championship, and my son was in college, I asked him to help me start one.

The first year, 2007, we had University of Georiga, Clemson, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia Southern, East Georgia College and Southern California. Wow, what a start. We played on one course.

Last year we had four courses going on one site with 63 college teams, [including] seven schools from the west coast. This year we will have 16 regional tournaments feeding into the Championship, which we expect to be 80 teams. This is our max.

In 20 years, I will expect ESPN to cover the tournament and up to 10,000 spectators at the event. I do not see disc golf merging into the NCAA.

Dogleg: In an article from the Augusta Chronicle about your win in 2012, you were quoted saying “I didn’t really go there to win.” What was your goal going into the 2013 World Championships?

May: My goal for the 2013 World Championship was to broaden the reach of Hott Shott and win the Over 70 Championship… Winning is never easy and shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Dogleg: What is the most fun disc golf tournament you’ve ever played in?

May: This recent World Championships in Emporia was my most fun competition.
The town respected us, the courses were fun, competitive, and logistically
easy to get to and from.

Dogleg: How do you prepare for tournaments?

May: At the practice rounds at the tournament sites, I keep a journal on each course. I play fast practice rounds only teeing off and looking at the upshot and making notes in my journal. I will usually get 3 rounds per course logged in. I waste no time putting in practice rounds. I do this alone with no playing partners so I can stay focused.

Dogleg: What do you mean when you say you consider yourself a gamesman, not an athlete?

May: A gamesman usually has great eyesight, very soft hands, and good balance. They will train obsessively and are usually very confident. They don’t necessarily run extra fast or jump excessively high or lift ridiculous amounts of weight over their head.

Athletes can run very fast, jump very high, are super strong and many times hate to train, because they are so gifted out of the box.

Dogleg: Should the PDGA and TDs be doing more to get more individuals who are over 50 to play in tournaments? What advice would you give them?

May: I think the PDGA should group all seniors over 50 into one Senior Championship.
The age breaks should be each 5 years. They should combine both Pros and Ams together for more senior fraternity. In my opinion, there is not and will not be enough money in these divisions to make a difference one way or the other.


Ladies Only!

Posted by mleefry


Hey Dogleggers!  I apologize for getting so behind on my coverage of Worlds this week.  I often convince myself that I’m going to have tons of free time when I travel.  I somehow managed to forget that, since I planned on attending the majority of the events going on in Emporia, the rest of my time would have to be used for catching up on rest!  That being said, I will be catching up on my posts over the next couple of days.  I have coverage of the Player’s Party, Night Ace Race, an interview with Pete May, and an overall review of the event coming to you soon!

Now, on to the ladies-only event!

More than 30 ladies made it out to the Emporia Country Club on Wednesday night to compete for TONS of prizes in a ring of fire.  Miranda Fulton put on this great event, and was assisted by the adorable Haley, who was in charge of yelling out “1, 2, 3, FIRE!”

Image

As if a bunch of disc golf girls getting together to putt wasn’t fun enough, Miranda switched it up on us.  Some rings were reserved for juniors or required use of forehand putting.  Others required us to stand backward, or to “butt putt” by throwing the disc backward between our legs!

Image

At an event where so many female disc golfers travel from so far away, it was really great to come together to be reminded that so many of us share the same passion for disc golf and growing the presence of women in our sport!  I hope to see events like this at more tournaments in the future!

 

PS:  I forgot to mention–every lady at the event got an awesome umbrella straw, even if they didn’t win!  It was definitely a fun way to show off and start a conversation with others after the fact!  GREAT idea!


Worlds Pro Clinic

Posted by mleefry


On Tuesday night, more than 40 people attended the Pro Clinic featuring Ron Convers Jr., Jay “Yeti” Reading, and Robbie Olsen.  The clinic’s general focus was on playing in the wind, as Kansas is famous for, but the tips given ranged from general disc physics to distance driving.  Here are a few key tips from each of the pros for those of you who missed out!

Image

Ron Convers Jr.

Look for visual wind clues

A common way to test the wind condition is to throw some grass or dirt into the air and observe the direction it blows before it lands.  However, this only indicates the wind condition at the tee.  Especially on longer holes, it’s important to look to the end of the hole for trees or other things that show the direction and speed of the wind.  Your shot should be adapted to fit the wind throughout the duration of the hole and your disc’s flight.

Add field practice to your routine

When you’re just practicing on your home course(s), you tend to throw the same discs on the same lines over and over again.  Ron suggests going to an empty soccer or football field and getting to know your discs better in this setting.  You’ll have a better idea of what types of distance you’re capable of throwing.  The monotony of throwing shot after shot will cause you to step out of your comfort zone and to put your discs on new lines.  You’ll never know if your backup backhand driver should be your go-to flick disc!

“The best asset a disc golfer can have is a short-term memory”

This one is pretty self-explanatory.  Every hole is a new hole.  Don’t let a bogey or OB mess up your entire round.

Jay “Yeti” Reading

Play by the laws

The laws of physics, that is.  There are four major forces that impact the flight of your disc.  Of course, there’s gravity and lift.  Then there’s momentum—everything in your throw should be utilized to increase momentum.  When you’re doing a run-up, it will only add to your momentum if the elements of your standstill form are still intact! Lastly, the little scratches in your disc impact drag.  Contrary to popular belief, blemishes on the outer edge of the disc are less important than those on the inner edge.  Some of these can be smoothed out by rubbing the disc with a terrycloth towel.

Play to your strengths

When it comes to playing in the wind—or really any time—first consider throwing whatever style is most natural for you.  If you throw right-handed backhand, you should always be on the lookout for a hyzer route, because chances are it’ll be the easiest for you to control.

Robbie Olsen

Distance is all in the hips

Just like a good golf or baseball swing, movement in the hips is key to any good disc golf shot.  The hips are where the momentum begins, and using them properly will add distance to your throws.

Keep your core tight

In order for the momentum from the hips to travel to the arms, the energy has to travel through the core.  By making sure your core is tight and is acting as a connection for your hips and upper body, you won’t need to pull back as far to still see an increase in your distance.  As all of the pros at the clinic agreed, extra crunches or core-focused yoga can give your drives a boost!

Watch some of Robbie’s drives here:  https://vine.co/v/h7Ivgl7F6pr/embed/simple


Course Guide: Municipal Golf Course

Posted by mleefry


I’ve had the pleasure of walking the Municipal Golf Course’s temporary disc golf course three times this year, although I have not yet had the chance to get out there without the purpose of caddying!  Municipal, located just outside of Emporia, KS, uses only half of the ball golf course, and plays a total distance of 8,608 ft for the long tees and 7,987 ft for the short tees.  Course par is 65.

Throughout the week, this course will be used for the PDGA Amateur World Championships.  The A and B pools of Advanced Men played it today, with a hot round of 55.  Tomorrow the C pool of Advanced Men and Advanced Grandmasters will play the course.  The Advanced Men will play it once more on Thursday or Friday.

Because I have not personally played this course and because I’m trying to spend as much time out experiencing Worlds while I’m here, I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves (they are worth a thousand words, right?).  For an overall course map and hole-by-hole distance and OB information, head over to the Dynamic Discs website: http://www.dynamicdiscs.com/2013amworlds/courses/.  Dynamic Discs has been very supportive of my efforts to keep you all updated on the Amateur and Junior World Championships by allowing me to use bits and pieces of their course map here on Dogleg.  Thanks for being so great!

And now, to the course!

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image


Welcome to Worlds

Posted by mleefry


Hey Dogleggers!  I’m very excited to have the opportunity to spend this week at the 2013 Amateur and Junior World Championships in Emporia, KS!  This small town is booming with disc golfers, with more than 540 competitors here.  During my time here, I plan on bringing you daily updates on all things worlds.  Tomorrow [Tuesday] I plan on posting a course guide of the Municipal Golf Course, where the Advanced Men division will be playing in the morning.  Other than that, I’d be happy to take requests on what you’d like to read.  Just let me know in the comments, or tweet me @MLeeFry.

 Image

Since driving in from Columbia on Saturday, I’ve been to 4/5 of the courses, hung out at the field events, attended the players meeting, and socialized in our campground (which is PACKED with disc golfers!).  The photo collages below make up just a small portion of what’s going on here in Emporia, and I look forward to updating you on more throughout the week!

Image

Jay “Yeti” Reading introducing the EDGE Skills Challenge; Junior Doubles Champion and 13 and Under Putting Challenge Winner Braxton Lawrence; Skills Challenge Competitors; Luis Nava putting during the Skills Challenge

Image

Sarah Nicholson presents the mayor of Emporia with an honorary PDGA membership; Founder and owner of Dynamic Discs Jeremy Rusco welcomes players to Am Worlds; Jay and Des Reading bring up the energy levels by giving away prizes from EDGE; 540+ disc golfers conjugate for the Players Meeting


Course Guide: Treehouz, Ridgedale, MO

Posted by mleefry


Image

Doglegger Emily by 19′s basket at Treehouz

Image

Some of the houses at Treehouz, including a treehouse, the Journey Post, and the trophies for Journey Post’s First Stop. 

About three weeks ago I made my first visit to Branson Cedars Resort, home of Treehouz Disc Golf Course and The Journey Post.  The occasion was Journey Post’s First Stop Presented by Prodigy Discs.  I chose not to play in the tournament for a few reasons, including the difficulty/length of the course, which I think was a good decision at the time.  I’ll be ready for it before I know it though!  Anyway, since I didn’t get to play very many of the holes myself, my analysis is based mostly on observation of the Advanced division players, specifically my boyfriend Adam Morrison, and our friend Brad Bullerdieck from Columbia.  I also had the pleasure of following the Advanced Grandmasters card for a few holes, and of watching the Pros from afar!

Image

Will Schusterick putting on Hole 16. Paige Pierce throwing a warm up drive on Hole 18.

Image

Ring of Fire on Hole 19 during the First Stop 

So, a little background on the course.  Treehouz is located in Ridgedale, Missouri, between Branson and the border to Arkansas.  Its 19-hole course’s par is 60, and is a total of 7,407 feet in length.  The course uses DISCatcher baskets and has multiple tees and placements on some holes.  Treehouz is pay-to-play: $5 per person for a full day.

Journey Post owner Jaysin Smith designed Treehouz in 2012.  Smith said his vision while designing was to create a, “championship level course with a lot of elevation change and a mixture of wooded holes, open holes, and hazard holes; as well as long and short holes.”  When asked what other courses inspired him, he referred to Sioux Passage in St. Louis and Hole 1 on Water Works in Kansas City, in terms of their length and elevation changes.  (These courses are particularly iconic for Missourians.)  He also wanted to incorporate the difficulty of water hazards as seen at Fountain Hills in Arizona.  After seeing this course, I’d say this course definitely lives up to his expectations.  As if this isn’t enough, the resort is considering adding more holes, pin placements, and tee pads to make the course larger and more accessible for players of all skill levels.

Just for comparing holes and getting a sense of direction, check out this map of the course from Disc Golf Course Review:  http://www.dgcoursereview.com/course_files/5830/993ec582.pdf

Now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s get to the pictures!

 Image

1.  Your disc’s placement in the fairway is critical to playing this hole well.  If your disc lands too far to the left, or too short or long, you have to make a difficult upshot down to the basket on slanted ground.  If it is too far right, you end up in the woods.  Even worse, I saw a few players land their discs in the fairway, but they ended up rolling into the valley on the right!

 Image

2.  Knowing how your discs behave in the wind and with large elevation changes helps significantly on this hole.  It’s challenging from both tees.  The view definitely makes it one of the favorite and most iconic holes on the course.

 Image

3.  Beware of this hole’s water hazard, sloped terrain, and tree placement.  Although this is one of the shorter holes on this course at 337’, it can be deceivingly difficult.

 Image

4.  This hole is all about placement.  With the water hazard so close to the end of the hole, you must decide from the tee where you think you’ll have the most success with an upshot.  Landing near the water’s edge gives you a straight shot at the basket, but possibly an intimidating putt toward the water.  Landing to the right (the path is not OB) is more technical with the trees and the slope, and may lead to a more difficult hyzer upshot because of the possibility of skipping toward the water.  However, this positioning will probably allow you to land you closer to the basket and prevent you from putting toward water.

 Image

5.  You wouldn’t know it from the tee sign alone, but it’s obvious what the challenge is from seeing the terrain of this hole.  Be sure to know how your disc flies and how it lands—or you’ll be rolling down the hill!

 Image

6.  This hole’s hard turn to the left is sharper than it appears from the tee—the sign gives insight into the degree to which your flight path should curve.  If you’re too narrow, you’ll hit the trees to the left.  If you’re too wide, it may hit the trees and not come back in bounds.  Trees surround the basket, and the green slopes toward the water.

 Image

7.  This hole combines a water hazard, sloped landing zones, and guardian trees to make it technical.  The lower left picture is of the placement designated by the yellow circle on the right and is represented by the basket on the tee sign illustration.  The lower right picture is of the left placement, which is not shown on the sign.

 Image

7B.   Hole 7B was temporarily used for Journey Post’s First Stop Tournament.  Orange flags on the edge of a putting green designated the tee.  The fairway curves to the right and slopes upward.  Past the curve, trees line the fairway.

 Image

8.  Hole 8 is characterized by its steep uphill fairway and dense trees.  I saw several birdies on this hole during the tournament.  I took a 4 using only a midrange when I snuck this hole in between rounds.

 Image

9.  The slope of this fairway in addition to the trees makes the line of your shot very important.  When preparing to throw, consider how throwing uphill will affect the stability of your disc, and how your disc will roll when it lands.

 Image

10.  The biggest challenge on this hole is the combination of the OB on both sides of the fairway and the trees that surround the basket.  Accuracy in your line is key!

 Image

11.  Hole 11 is also characterized by having OB on both sides of the fairway.  The basket is located on a putting green with a pretty steep hill behind it (the bottom picture is taken from behind).  Be sure your upshot doesn’t roll!

 Image

12.  The gap to hit on this hole is very narrow and makes for a difficult shot (especially for righties).  From the tee, the basket is barely visible, as illustrated in the center photo.  Because you have to step off to the left of the pad, as seen in the far right photo, it can be difficult to judge the angle of the throw.  If you’re unlucky enough to hit a tree or an “invisibranch,” you could be in trouble if your disc decides to roll.  Off to the right of the fairway is a fairly steep hill covered in trees—not a place you want to end up!

 Image

13.  I think the photo for this hole really says it all.  The fairway is pretty narrow with pretty dense trees on both sides and behind the basket.  The ground slopes a bit to the right, but not enough to make a significant difference on how this hole plays out.

 Image

14.  Some call it a fishhook, Adam says it’s a “P” for Prodigy, and I say it’s a question mark for “Where is the basket?” when you’re standing on the tee.  From the tee, the fairway looks like a hallway that goes all the way to the tee for hole 15.  The trees get less dense 200 feet or so down and to the right of the fairway where the basket placement is.  The ground is sloped, so make sure your discs aren’t going to roll!

 Image

15.  I think the tee sign and the photos of this hole really speak for themselves.  I’ll let you figure this one out.

 Image

16.  Because of the OB on the left, righties need to be especially aware of the distance, wind, and the line you’re throwing your disc on.  Knowing that your disc is prone to rolling on this smooth terrain may impact your disc selection!

 Image

17.  This tight shot is especially technical because the fairway is uphill.  This means your disc is going to be more stable.

 Image

18.  In most cases, the OB should not make much of a difference on this hole if your disc goes where you intend.  If you have the arm for it, you’ll want to make sure you get across the valley in the fairway.  The closer you are, the more level you’ll be with the basket.

 Image

19.  My advice for this hole is similar to hole 18.  I would recommend trying these two holes as well as hole 2 out before playing them competitively just to get a feel for how the elevation changes effect how far you are able to throw.  Additionally, you’ll want to get a feel for how your disc acts when it lands on the putting greens.


Course Guide: Jones West, Emporia, KS

Posted by mleefry


I’m really excited to share with you all the first of many photo-based course guides I plan on creating.  I got the idea to start these when I realized that many members of the Dogleg community would not have the opportunity to practice the courses for Amateur Worlds until they arrived for the competition.  Since Columbia (my hometown) is only 3.5 hours away and St. Louis (where I go to school) is only 5 hours away, I figured I was in a great position to help non-Midwestern disc golfers prepare for such a big event.

But, making a trip to Emporia was easier said than done.  I sat on the idea for a month or two before Adam and I decided Valentine’s Day weekend would be the best time for us to take a disc golf trip.  (Jealous?  Refer to my last post: Love Is In The Air.)  After a few near-death experiences caused by our failure to realize that some highways outside of Kansas City were icy, we made it safely to my first Emporia course:  Jones West.

According to Disc Golf Course Review, Jones West, an 18-hole par-54 course, was established in 1989.  The topography has some gentle hills, but is mostly flat.  After all, it is Kansas we’re talking about!  Trees—ranging from broad and branchy evergreens to skinny deciduous trunks—definitely factor into the strategy on this course, but not to the degree that it creates the feeling of playing in the woods.  There are two ponds on the course, which create water hazards on 5 holes.  Each hole has two different pin placements, red and blue, for the Mach 3 baskets.  (For more info:  http://www.dgcoursereview.com/course.php?id=1403)

As with most other Midwestern courses, the difficulty will vary with different weather and seasonal conditions.  Wind wasn’t a huge factor the day we played, but I’ve heard it can be pretty extreme in Emporia (there was a tornado nearby during the weekend of the Glass Blown Open last year).  The seasonal changes to the course will be a little more predictable.  Just like anywhere else, in spring and summer trees will be thicker and have more leaves; in the fall and winter they’ll thin out and leave more gaps.  The size of the ponds will change depending on precipitation in the days and weeks before.  This will cause the water hazards to be more or less extreme on some holes.  (The water was pretty low when I took these pictures; there was a drought last summer, and the heavy snow didn’t hit until a few weeks later.)

After playing the course, we swung by the Dynamic Discs store and talked with Adam Searle.  He said that all of the courses in the area will be getting new tee signs before hosting Am Worlds.  (The ones they have at Jones West now are pretty nice, but several have been vandalized.  I edited most of the vandalism out in my pictures.)  As of my correspondence with Dynamic Discs on Thursday, I learned that Jones West will not be used for the Glass Blown Open this year, but it will be for Am Worlds.  They are in the process of finalizing which pin placements will be used for the tournament.

Image

Now that I have all the details out of the way, enjoy the pictures!

Image

Hole #1:  We played this hole in the red placement.  For those of you who have played at Jones before, you may notice that the giant tree in the middle of the fairway (the one on the tee sign) is no longer there, which makes the hole play out a lot easier.  Water shouldn’t affect you on this hole, even though it can be seen on the tee sign.  Scores: Emily 4, Adam 3

Image

Hole #2:  We played this hole in the red placement.  The road on the left is OB.  Scores:  Emily 5, Adam 2

Image

Hole #3:  We played this in the blue placement.  Righties, beware of the road that runs down the left of the fairway, it’s OB!  Scores:  Emily 5, Adam 4

Image

Hole #4:  We played this hole in the blue placement.  The fairway is gently sloped downhill.  When the pin is in the red placement, water may come into play.  Scores: Emily 7, Adam 3

Image

Hole #5:  We played this in the red placement.  Scores: Emily 4, Adam 5

Image

Hole #6:  Based on the pictures I took, I can’t remember which placement this hole was in.  Tee for this hole is right up next to the edge of the pond, whose width will vary depending on rainfall.  I didn’t quite have the distance or confidence to go across, so I played around it.  The top center picture shows the view from the pad.  The far right picture looks back at the pad from across the pond.  The picture across the bottom shows the length of the pond; you can see the tee pad on the left.  Scores: Emily 7, Adam 4

Image

Hole #7:  We played this in the red placement.  I didn’t get any pictures of this one because I ended up in the water (which shouldn’t typically happen for lefties, but I kept griplocking REALLY badly).  Water will come into play though for right-handed hyzer shots if they go too long.  Scores: Emily 5, Adam 3

Image

Hole #8:  We played this in the red placement.  Scores: Emily 6, Adam 3

Image

Hole #9:  We played this in the red placement.  The fairway is slightly downhill overall, with a drainage creek running across it.  There is a cluster of skinny trees surrounding the tee pad, and a few larger evergreens guarding the basket.  Scores: Emily 5, Adam 4

Image

Hole #10:  We played this in the blue placement.  The big tree on the tee sign that used to be in the fairway is gone.  It previously played as a mando, so the shot to the basket is significantly more open than it has been in the past.  Scores: Emily 5, Adam 3

Image

Hole #11:  We played this in the blue placement.  The fairway curves to the left for both placements.  The green slopes down then back up, creating a bit of a valley.  Scores: Emily 5, Adam 5

Image

Hole #12:  We played this in the red placement.  The right side of the fairway is lined with trees; the left side is relatively open.  The basket is within the treeline on the right, and is surrounded by trees on 3 sides.  Scores: Emily 6, Adam 3

Image

Hole #13:  We played this in the red placement.  The road on the right is OB.  You can see that it is roped off on the edge of the pictures; the ropes are a few feet from the edge of the road.  Scores: Emily 4, Adam 3

Image

Hole #14:  We played this in the red placement.  The basket is tucked between two evergreen trees, and behind a smaller tree.  Scores: Emily 3, Adam 3

Image

Hole #15:  We played this in the blue placement.  The road on the right of the hole is OB.  Past the evergreens on the left is wide open, in the event a shot doesn’t land in the fairway.  Scores: Emily 5, Adam 3

Image

Hole #16:  We played this in the blue placement.  I didn’t get any pictures of this hole because, for me, it was long and frustrating, and Adam’s shot didn’t turn over and landed in someone’s yard across the road.  Whoops!  Scores: Emily 9, Adam 3

Image

Hole #17:  We played this in the red placement.  There is OB on both sides of the fairway (road on the right, houses on the left).  Water comes into play for the blue placement, but not the red.  Scores: Emily 5, Adam 3

Image

Hole #18:  We played this in a special placement that is usually used for Hole #1; it goes all the way across the pond and rests on the edge instead of being on the left side of it, as is seen in the red and blue placements.  You can see the basket from the tee in the top picture, where it is to the right of the brown trees.  The water makes this placement especially difficult.  We learned from experience that, if faced with a difficult putt, it is vital to throw a shot that will not roll if it hits the ground.  I ended up 50+ feet from the basket more than once on a roll.  Also, for the blue placement, it may be important to know that the road is OB behind the tree line.  Scores: Emily 11, Adam 4


Love is in the Air

Posted by mleefry


If I had a dollar for every time a disc golfer told me he wished his girlfriend played disc golf, I’d have enough money to install a course in my backyard.  If I had a dollar for every time I have played disc golf with another girl…well, let’s just say I would be thankful disc golf is free to play.

The ratio of male to female disc golfers is astounding.  As of this month, only 6.7% of PDGA members are women.  Of the 3,523 players registered as professionals, 250 are women.  These ratios mean that many tournaments offer more divisions for men than for women.  This was even the case at the 2012 Amateur World Championships, where there were 3 fewer women’s divisions; no lady champions were named for the Junior <19, Senior Grandmasters, or Legends divisions.  It is clear that there is a lot of room for growth in women’s disc golf.  For a sport that is so focused on progressing, girls could be a huge resource.

A great place to start utilizing this resource is to get your girlfriend (or wife, or other special lady in your life) interested in disc golf.  This seemed to be the trend at my first tournament, the 27th Annual Ice Bowl in Columbia, MO, the home of the Ice Bowl. Of the 55 players at the event, 6 played in the women’s division; all of us had a male significant other who was also competing.

 

The ladies who participated in the Columbia Ice Bowl

The 6 ladies who participated in the Columbia Ice Bowl

 

So, then comes the big question, “How do I get my girlfriend to play?”  As a disc golf girlfriend, here are 10 tips I recommend trying.  No guarantee, but they worked on me!

1.  Match her personality

One of disc golf’s best qualities is that it is a sport for everyone.  It can be tailored to fit any level of skill, competitiveness, timeframe, or budget.  The first step to getting your girlfriend to play disc golf is showing her that it is a sport for her.  If she’s generally not interested in sports (like me), present it as a fun game and a great way to get outside on a nice day.  If she’s more athletic, make it competitive, but still friendly.  To get her interested, you have to make sure that the way you talk about disc golf appeals to her as an individual.

2.  Easy on the terminology

The words we use to describe disc golf make up an entirely new language.  You’ll need to pay attention to which terms she already knows and which ones are still new.  You don’t want to confuse her, but you also want to make sure you’re not condescending by explaining too much.  For me, it took a lot of effort to learn the lingo.  I wasn’t familiar with basic golf terminology like “par” and “birdie,” so learning things like “hyzer” and trying to memorize that Wizards and Magics are putters was sometimes overwhelming.  So, in the beginning, make sure you clearly define what each term means, and don’t get frustrated if you have to explain it several times each round.

3.  Make sure she has the right discs

An important aspect of disc golf strategy is using the right disc for your throwing style.  For beginners and for women, chances are that the right discs for them will not be the ones you use.  Most beginners should start with just a putter and maybe a midrange; at such an early stage, most people throw putters and drivers the same distance.  A putter can be used to get comfortable with playing—learning courses, developing good form, and snapping the wrist.  Once these skills have been mastered, it will be easier to recognize patterns of how other discs fly.  When she does need a driver, start with low weights and fairway drivers (I used an Innova Starlight Roadrunner until I lost it in a pond, then moved on to Discmania’s Jackal).  These discs are easier to control, especially if she’s still working on building power and strength in her throws.

4.  Start easy

Once you’ve been playing for a while, it can be hard to remember how much work it takes to play a round at your favorite par 64 course.  Keep in mind that it is unlikely that your girlfriend will have the same disc golf endurance when she starts playing.  You’ll probably want to start at a course with shorter holes that aren’t heavily wooded or surrounded by poison ivy and thorns (common course conditions here in the Midwest).  If your options are limited, start by playing 6- or 9-hole rounds at a difficult course, and progressively play more as she gets more comfortable and develops her disc golf muscles.

5.  Ladies first

Let her take the pad in casual rounds, regardless of whether or not she’s earned it.  Be a gentleman.  Easy enough.  The only exception is if she asks you to go first, which may be the case if she’s unfamiliar with the hole and wants to learn from your shot.

6.  Use “lady par” to score

When anyone first starts playing, it is unlikely that they will be able to regularly par holes.  In order to make scoring more encouraging, add 1 to the par on each hole.  A standard par 54 course becomes par 72.  Playing and tracking progress will be a lot more fun if she has scores to be proud of—no one wants to announce a round with 13 double bogies, even if its better than they normally play.  Adjusting the par will more accurately reflect how well she is doing as a beginner.

7.  Make it a date

Pack up a picnic lunch or take a trip to a course that is especially scenic.  If she’s not quite hooked on disc golf yet, she may feel like a third-wheel when she’s out with you and the course.  Make sure she knows that the important part is adding disc golf to your relationship—not the other way around.

8.  Encourage her to play with other girls

For a girl, learning to play disc golf only by watching experienced males is like being raised by wolves.  No matter how much time and effort you want to put into helping your girlfriend, her body is fundamentally different than yours.  A man’s center of gravity is in his shoulders, whereas a woman’s is in around her hips.  Generally speaking, women typically have less upper body strength than men.  Obviously, the process of pulling one’s arm across the chest for a backhand throw is significantly different for the two sexes.  Your girlfriend will be able to get more detailed tips from girls who already throw, and not feel like as much of an “outsider” in the disc golf community.  A great place to start is to introduce her to girls in your local disc golf club, then encourage her to invite her friends to come out and play too.

9.  Resources and Networks for Women

In addition to introducing your girlfriend to individual female disc golfers, make sure she knows about the groups and networks that have been created to expand her opportunities.  Start by finding ladies leagues in your area, or a disc golf club that has bag tags specifically for women.  Beyond the course, the Internet is a great place to stay up to date with the female disc golf community.  PDGA Women and DiscGolf4Women.com both have a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter, and have a variety of resources for ladies of disc golf to get more involved in their community.

10.  Return the favor

If she’s willing to take a chance on disc golf, it’s only fair for you to do something equally out of your typical realm of interests for her.  Suck it up and watch a chick flick or go to the mall with her.  Let her know that you appreciate her giving disc golf a try.  She’ll be more willing to play again in the future, and be more likely to get hooked.  Eventually, she’ll be the one begging YOU to go out for a round.


Go to Dogleg’s Twitter @DoglegDiscGolf and Retweet our latest “Love is in the Air” tweet for a chance to win. If we get at least 50 retweets, we will be giving away a FREE Dogleg Disc Golf Tee! To be eligible, you MUST retweet it!


Next Stop, TV!

Posted by mleefry


The disc golf community received lots of exciting news last December.  Clearly, as I addressed in my earlier posts, the discopalypse and announcement of Prodigy Disc Golf stirred up tons of gossip.  Dynamic Discs released its new line of discs.  But the announcement that has the greatest potential to impact the sport went unnoticed in comparison.  On December 21, PDGA Executive Director Brian Graham announced that the PDGA would be joining with two other sports organizations to create the Emerging Sports Network.

The purpose of the ESN, according to its website, www.emergingsports.info, is to recognize and celebrate the “most innovative, exciting, and competitive sporting endeavors available today.  Though each of these sports might not have millions of fans and dollars to support their play, they do not lack the passion or the skills necessary to create great broadcasting.”  The other two organizations pairing with the PDGA to make up the ESN are the Upstate Watercraft Promotions-International Jet Sports Boating Association (UWP-IJSBA) National Tour and the Extreme Volleyball Professionals (EVP) Tour.  Before the PDGA became involved, the two sports had partnered together to form the Beach Sports Network, which has now evolved into the ESN.

As a partner for the ESN, the PDGA will produce four 30 minute video segments this year.  The first of the four disc golf episodes will cover the Memorial Championship in Scottsdale and Fountain Hills, AZ at the beginning of March.  Between the three sports, 20 episodes will be created, then distributed by Comcast or another sports network.  These episodes have the potential to be picked up by networks all across the country and to be seen by 66 million households.

The group who owns the rights to the ESN website and who will provide key help in producing the first disc golf shows for television is the Terra Firma Media Group, who specializes in strategic communications and “helping your company reach its audience.”  Terra Firma already has a big role in disc golf.  They run DiscGolfPlanet.tv and their clients include the USDGC, the Japan Open, Innova, Red Bull, and Kimberly-Clark.

I expect that partnering with the UWP-IJSBA and EVP Tours will have several, large effects on disc golf in the next couple of years.  The most direct effect will be that disc golf will be more well known, and therefore, more people will want to play.  This could eventually lead to more course installations and cooperation from Parks and Rec-type groups.

Although I do not see this until next year or later, I believe that if the ESN is successful, the PDGA will collaborate with the UWP-IJSBA and EVP to organize a tour made up of mega-events where all three sports are represented.  Graham said in his announcement on Disc Golf Talk Radio that he hoped to have one of these events in the future, but I expect that there will be several if the ESN is a successful alliance.  The other two sports have already synced up the time and place of several of their major tour events for the 2013 season, and this trend could easily transfer to include disc golf events as well.

These large events would put disc golf in a new position.  They will attract better bids from Convention and Visitors Bureaus, which would cut costs for tournament hosting.  They will also make tournaments more appealing for sponsors that apply to all three sports–like Nike or Gatorade.  We can also expect that the cities that will host these big events will be on beaches, so they can accommodate jet ski racing and beach volleyball.  Cities like Kansas City, who hosted the 2009 Pro and Am World Championships and is home to the Kansas City Wide Open (a national tour event), will be less likely to host these giant events.  Large cities in coastal states will have a higher chance of hosting disc golf’s biggest events.

For Brian Graham’s announcement:  http://discgolftalkradio.com/2012/news-from-the-the-pdga/

For the full interview with Brian Graham:  http://discgolftalkradio.com/2012/interview-with-pdga-executive-director-brian-graham/

How do you expect the ESN to impact disc golf?  Tweet @doglegdiscgolf with the hashtag #EmergingSN to let us know!


Looking Back: 2012 World Championships

Posted by mleefry


Although it has been more than 3 years since I was introduced to disc golf, this is the first time I have had the winter disc golf bug.  Today, for example, in Missouri the high temperature was below freezing and there is 2 inches of snow and ice on the ground.   This is not my idea of disc golf weather, especially as a beginner who gets frustrated enough when my discs are dry.

 

These conditions have left me thinking about disc golf much more than playing.  Mostly I have pondered my favorite disc golf moments from last year, and those I’m looking forward to most this year.  The biggest difference between the two is that now I’m a player, not just a spectator.

 

Last summer I drove to Charlotte, NC, with my boyfriend and his dad for the 2012 Disc Golf World Championships.  At the time, I hadn’t even played a full 18-hole round of disc golf.  I was coming as a girlfriend, caddy, and camera girl.  From my point of view of as non-player and disc golf spectator of nearly 3 years, here were the top 5 things I loved about 2012 Worlds that I hadn’t seen anywhere else.

 

5.  Beautiful courses

Yes, I’ve been to other courses that were pretty (most notably, Diamond X in Billings, MT, and some courses in Des Moines, IA).  However, this was the first time that EVERY course I went to was gorgeous and visually interesting.  On top of simply being nice pieces of land with awesome layouts, they were clean with very little litter.  Despite the heat of the Carolina sun, it was always fulfilling to be outside just to see the courses.

 Image

4.  Narrow, straight fairways with tall, skinny trees

When I first started watching disc golf, I thought it was so neat how discs flew in curves and “S” shapes.  It wasn’t long before I realized that discs curve naturally, and it is extremely difficult to throw down a narrow fairway.  Watching drives on the numerous holes with tight hallways simply amazed me, especially because so many were so accurate!

 Image

3.  Putting for dough

As the saying goes, “drive for show, putt for dough.”  At such a competitive event with incredibly skilled players, putting was for dough AND show.  Every throw counted, and long putts created more suspense than any drive from the tee.  And, when someone made one, led to more excitement.

 Image

2.  Watching people of all ages play

As a 19 year old girl, it is often hard to find other people “like me” at the course.  Spending a week watching the junior divisions gave me a whole new perspective on the sport (even if I mostly followed the boys!).  The disc golf community is so much larger and more diverse than I knew.  It was definitely a shock to see kids ten years younger than me flicking farther than I can throw backhand (still)!

 Image

1.  Watching other people watch

As someone who watched disc golf for nearly 3 years before I started playing, it always seemed so odd to me that I was usually the person in a gallery.  The way the discs fly and the relaxed atmosphere of the sport make it such a unique sport to watch.  Seeing so many people with so much interest in watching others play was pretty foreign to me.  It changed my view on the potential of the sport.  Now that the PDGA has announced a partnership with the Emerging Sports Network, the opportunity of having a new role in the disc golf community—spectators—is more possible than ever before.

 Image

Sitting around, drinking hot tea, and waiting for spring to come is giving me plenty of time to get excited about the upcoming disc golf season.  I haven’t decided how many tournaments I’ll play in or where all I will travel to watch, but I sure hope to get to Emporia, KS and Crown Point, IN to have the Worlds experience again!


A New Year’s Revolution

Posted by mleefry


As we’ve all heard by now, a big change for the world of disc golf will be announced on New Year’s Day.  Many of the most well known pros have dropped major sponsors and have dropped hints of a revolution happening at the start of 2013.  Players including two-time U.S. Champion Will Schusterick, 2011 World Champion Paige Pierce, 2006 Amateur World Champion Paul Ulibarri, and 2011 Junior World Champion Ricky Wysocki have all made announcements via social media this month.  The online disc golf community has been asking for more than a week:  what’s the hype about?

Image

The answer?  No one seems to know.  The signs from the pros seem to point in different directions, which has caused a handful of theories to emerge.

The most conspiracy-like idea is that a new super company is about to emerge.  Most references call it Prodigy Disc Golf.  A person or group with a large base of financial support supposedly backs the new company.  The sponsored players would have a larger salary than they get with currently existing sponsors, like Dynamic Discs.  Prodigy is assumed to be a disc manufacturer, because the majority of the pros have dropped Innova, Discraft, and/or Dynamic Discs (who recently released a line of discs manufactured through Latitude 64).  That’s why 2010 World Champion Eric McCabe announced yesterday that he would no longer be sponsored by Discraft, so he could join Team Dynamic Discs.  This would also explain why some of the pros have picked up new retailor sponsors—like Will Schusterick and Paige Pierce joining the Journey Post team, based out of Branson, Mo.

Another line of theories all point in the direction of existing corporations breaking into the disc golf market.  As can be expected, Nike has been mentioned by many because of its large financial base and role as a sponsor in most major sports in the United States.  Keen’s name has also been thrown in the hat; they already sponsor a few players, like Avery Jenkins, and have produced footwear with Vibram, who has also manufactured discs.

Regardless of whether a new company is forming, or an existing company is growing, the guys at Furthering the Disc are definitely stirring the social media .  Will Schusterick, who dropped Innova and Discmania on December 16, is a key player in their social media movement to revitalize disc golf.  Both Will and FTD have been promoting the hashtag #discopalypse13 on Twitter.

Image

Until Tuesday, when the pros are set to make their big announcement, all we can do is try to put the pieces together and hope that they add up to something that will advance the sport we all love.  Share your thoughts on what’s going on by commenting, or tweeting @DoglegDiscGolf.  Do you think that everyone is moving in the same direction?  Is a new company forming, or is disc golf just getting more commercialized?  Is this ordeal going to help the sport grow in 2013?  What do you want to see the pros doing next year?


Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: