Baby Steps Towards Hole 18

I feel I should provide advice concerning the entry into the sport of disc golf. I have a tweaked approach to learning the game than most websites, but if you want more information you should visit “noodle arm disc golf”. They have a good beginner tips article.

Material requirements:

At least one basket, at least one disc, and at least one arm.

Getting a Basket:

Good quality chains are pricy. If you live within ten miles of a course, then I would think you could find time to use a basket there. (Disc golf is free if you hadn’t heard yet.) Having a personal basket is an integral part of becoming a consistent putter, but there is no better practice than “running” (or attempting) putts at a real course. Most people start playing the sport because it is cheap. Only once a person decides to get serious about their play should they think about getting their own basket.

Getting a Disc:

Now, this is what you must understand about discs before you spend money:

There is a difference between frisbees and discs. Discs are smaller and not great for catch. If you like regular frisbees then try a sport called ultimate frisbee.

In disc golf lingo, there are two types of discs. There are overstable discs and understable discs. If a disc is overstable that means when a right-handed person backhands a disc in a straight line the disc will finish its flight to the left. Discs that are understable are supposed to fly to the right or go straight and finish right. The more overstable a disc is, the harder it is to throw.

With this information, you will be wondering how to figure out what disc to purchase and how to purchase it. My first recommendation is DO NOT go into a local sporting goods store. Do not take this lightly. If you go into a store you will see a larger selection of discs than you know what to do with. You will then make about 5 impulse buys and spend money on discs you might not be able to throw. For your first disc, I would suggest going online. The big brands have their own shops and I would suggest Innova because that is the main plastic I throw. (All discs have flight rating systems but Innova’s makes the most sense and helps you understand a disc’s tendencies more pre-throw.)

Lots of consideration will go into the selection of a disc online. First you need to find something with stability that suits you. Here is the simplest way to point you in that direction: Look at the first number on the disc. Innova will tell you the first number stands for the “Speed” of the disc. This is an extremely misleading term because it does not tell you how fast the disc flies or how much it rotates. “Speed” is a complicated way of describing how fast you must release a disc for it to perform its ideal flight. For our case, we are going to re-label the first number. We are going to call it “Stability” instead.

Once at the Innova shop I would say that the best bet for a beginner is anything under a 6 stability. All discs come in multiple hardness of plastic. If you want a durable disc, then try to purchase the disc in champion plastic. If you are trying to conserve resources you can buy a DX plastic disc. The plastic of a disc should not change flights too much.

After the disc and plastic are selected the only thing remaining is the disc weight. Here is a rule of thumb for me that other websites will advise against. ALWAYS buy max weight discs. People suggest beginners throw lighter discs because they will go farther. This is a trap and an excuse companies make so that beginners will still buy their 12 speed drivers. No matter how light of a disc you throw, if you do not build your game up from the ground your incorrect form will take a long time to fix. The whole weight thing is a marketing gimmick. It is essential to purchase max weight discs that are less stable to begin with.

If all this becomes too much or too expensive just remember how much you could be spending on a club and a round of ball golf. That should reassure you.

Getting an Arm:

In the literal sense of a physical appendage, I hope my Lord has blessed you with a healthy body and one arm, minimum.

In the figurative sense of building your arm strength, I have a secret for you. It is all form. As helpful as lifting is to keep in shape it’s nonconsequential to disc throwing. I have not played much ball golf, but I have heard it is similar in how even people who are somewhat out of shape can drive a good distance just because of the swing. A good way to learn form is to look up film of your favorite player and analyze how they throw. Or look up form videos.

I hope I have guided you the way you needed help finding. For those about to throw, we salute you.

The Case for Six Holes

I have some personal bias towards courses with a small number of holes because my “home course” only consists of six holes. The course by my future university is also just nine holes. If there was an 18-hole setup within three miles of my house, then I might be fonder of them. Today I will attempt to give the positives and negatives of a six-hole course and help you to determine which you would prefer.

Pros:

Less walking.

The fact the course only holds 6 holes means the person in charge didn’t have much land to plan around to start with. We can assume that even if one was to play through three times they still would be walking less than on an actual 18-hole course.

Correct signage.

If the designer was stuck with a small piece of land, then it is probable that the baskets will never get moved. It is doubtful there will be multiple basket placements. This means the baskets should be where the sign says they are. (My father never agrees with distances that are written on signs. From experience, I must agree that the hole distances are never very accurate, even on a short course.)

Less traffic.

Most “serious” disc golfers consider six hole courses jokes. For them six holes is just for practice not for actual scoring. (The funny thing is most of the serious ones still produce amateur scores on full length courses. If they were to try hard on a small course they might realize that it isn’t something to laugh at.) If you are trying to avoid other disc golf snobs or you are looking for a quick round a six-hole is empty most of the time.

Less discs lost.

If a course is shorter then there is less opportunity to lose any of your precious discs. On top of this, there is less traffic so if you do lose a disc you should be able to come back and find it later that week before someone else does.

Cons:

Repetitive.

If you do still want to play eighteen holes, by the third time around the course could get a little boring. This is especially true if the course is wide open and you’ve been cranking drives on every tee.

Less Respect.

I already stated that other disc golfers might not think much of the small course. This is also true if the course is in a public park. Fellow park goers, oblivious to the use of the course, get in the way and don’t worry about getting out of the way. Then you will also worry about some mean kid stealing a disc before you can reach it or some dog chasing it. Also, lots of dog walkers think the property is there as a dog park. The moral is that we must show other people respect even if they don’t care about being respectful.

No Signage.

I know this is a little hypocritical of what I told you earlier. Hear me out. If a designer had less funding for a course, then the holes/tees should be numbered but you might not get a map. That means walking until you find the matching basket. It is not that big of a deal but people (like my dad) get frustrated when they are required to search for a hole.

Less competition.

If there was a higher demand for disc golf in a town then they would have a full 18 built. This means finding casual competition will not be easy and there is most likely not a disc golf club in the town. This means you have a lot of work or driving to do if you want to become very involved in the disc golf community.

Less discs found.

Most of the time disc golfers put their cell number on their discs. That means if their disc is found they’d like to get it back. I have returned two discs in the past and the golfers were very appreciative. If you lose a disc and someone else finds it then they are entitled to call you and return it. If not, they lack something that the rest of us considerate humans have. If you have given up on finding a disc on a six-hole course it is doubtful you’ll ever get called about that disc. Maybe no one will ever find it.

I do enjoy the six-hole course that is in my hometown. I play it, on average, three times a week. If you are a beginner or an amateur, then you will enjoy a small course. I have found it is a great place to play a putter-only round, if you are familiar with those. I would also like to warn all beginners: You will be discouraged if you try eighteen holes right off the bat. I plan on writing a post for new beginners soon so hold tight.

In My Bag, with Hugh Keene: Spring 2017 Edition

Hello, it has been quite a while since I posted anything, and I figured that I might as well update my bag so you can see all the changes. Also, I am not doing too much physical activity because I had my wisdom teeth removed yesterday. (What a pain).

bag tag 119

I will start with my putters. I have had many putters come and go in my bag since my first post, but recently I have discovered a putter I might use for a long time.

 

Kastaplast REKO

I have two of these putters, and they are both 172 grams. One is K3 line plastic and the other is K1 line. Long story short, I walked into the local Play-It-Again store and was looking for a Discmania putter to fill the hole I had in my short game. The store had just received a large influx of a brand I had never seen before: Kastaplast. I touched one of their putters and I loved how the plastic felt as well as the shape of the disc. As much as it is against my custom to buy non-Innova discs, I purchased it and haven’t looked back. I have yet to find an Innova putter that is as flat across the surface and as straight flying as the REKO. Also, the K1 line plastic is surprisingly durable. The REKO gives me confidence I can hit putts from anywhere.

putterstack

XT Nova

As I mentioned in my first “In The Bag” I have two XT Novas. They hold their line to a “T”. The downside of how shapeable they are being you can easily put too much juice on them. The plastic on the rim is very grippy and the Nova is a great upshot disc because it loves to stick its landings. One 171 grams and one is 175 grams.

Building on top of my putters is my Mid-Ranges. I’ve cut down my Mid selection considerably since my first post. It only consists of two discs now. If you need other Mid-Range ideas and tips I suggest watching Big Jerm’s “In the Bag” on Youtube.

KC Pro Roc

I believe this is the oldest disc in my bag. (Oldest meaning the disc I have held onto the longest, not meaning the oldest by production date.) It has taken over the duties of my fairway drivers and I use it for many things including drives and upshots and maybe putts. It flies a great line if you throw it flat. I can easily get it to hyzer or anhyzer accurately. A point and shoot disc. I recommend it to beginners in any plastic. If you can learn to throw a Roc you might not even need to buy that metal flake Gator or that Star Mako3. (I don’t know if either of those even exist) The point being that a Roc can solve all your Mid-Range problems and save you money and bag space as your skills grow. 175 grams.

G-Star VRoc

I needed a version of a Roc that I could throw in rough areas so I would not have to risk tearing up my only KC Pro. The G-Star plastic serves this role well and it seriously might fly straighter than my KC Pro Roc. This VRoc is good on the rocks, haha. It is 171 grams.

Now my Fairway Driver. I just have one disc in this section

Champion Leopard

The result of throwing mainly my Roc for approach shots and such leaves little room for Fairway discs to be included in my game. If you have watched any of Simon Lizotte’s videos he says that he either throws down on drivers for shorter shots or he throws up on putters. He doesn’t worry too much about the in between. My Champion Leopard is what I throw in wooded areas for approach and finesse shots. It has become a utility disc at best. It is 171 grams.

Now for the largest part of my bag. The distance drivers. This is the part of my bag that has transformed the most. My form has become much better since my first “In The Bag” and so my distance selection has expanded along with my skills.

Glow Champion Destroyer

This is the only disc that remains in my distance arsenal from the first article. As I mentioned then, it is very overstable and has a skip/roll at the end of its flight which I can’t get my other discs to perform. You can visit my previous article for more on it. I think it is the only tournament stamped disc I currently carry. It is my main forehand disc and weighs 168 grams.

Blizzard Champion Boss

151 grams of pure stable plastic. I got it with the recent David Wiggins Jr. distance record stamp. Probably the most enjoyable things in a round of 18 is letting this disc fly and seeing it glide a big S-curve. I just bought it brand new and I can’t wait to throw it more and to see how it performs once it is beat in. It should become a mainstay in my bag.

Champion Krait

Dad gave me this predictable and reliable disc. It is 171 grams and has a smooth hyzer. I can get a good release on it both forehand and backhand. Comfortable in my hand. I’ll be keeping it a while and probably could use another one.

C-Line DDx

175 grams. It has become my main disc for long distance lines. It feels like a Destroyer with more dome. It flies well both forehand and backhand but backhand is much more efficient. It is my pin money disc.

Champion Ape

I bought this two days ago because I read online that it is torque resistant. That is what I am looking for in my distance discs. The rim is not very comfortable but it isn’t painful. I have only thrown it about five times and it has not let me down. We will see how helpful it is moving forward. It is 175 grams.

P-Line DD2

To be completely honest I must say this disc is rarely used and I think I will trade it for something else soon. It gets insane distance, but what Discmania gained in distance with this disc it lacked in stability and control.

P-Line PD

This disc is a backhand MONSTER. It is comfy to throw and reliable on its paths. I feel as if it is a beefed-up Leopard. The only downside to this disc is the P-Line plastic beats in very, very quickly. It is 175 grams.

S-Line PD

Another 175 grams. I purchased this disc because, like I previously stated, my P-Line was not going to last me very long. This disc works both forehand and backhand.

P-Line CD

While my parents were vacationing in South Carolina they bought me this disc as a souvenir. I do not throw it a whole lot but there is a funny story with this disc. One of the few times I used it was when I obtained the only Eagle in my career. It has nice glide but is almost too easy to turnover.

distancedriverpile

And that is all that is in my bag as of right now! A lot has happened to my game since the first time I did this, including a ruptured Achilles tendon, a weekend membership drive and I joined a local club. I look forward to having major improvement in my game this summer as I learn my discs’ limits and tendencies. Be prepared for an eventual Summer “In The Bag”.

 

EMG Installation: Firsthand Experience

firstlook.jpg
This is right after we opened the case for the first time.

My father recently purchased me a used guitar. It was in “okay” condition. It made noise, and when it was in tune it sounded like a guitar. It was apparent from the start that all three pickups were different. We could not tell from the outside or from our googling which pickup was the original or if any of them were stock. On top of this, the switch only worked in certain positions and the tone/volume control knobs were worn and grimy.

fretboard
There were little Saturns on the fret board instead of dots!

 

It needed some work and some TLC. My father and I opened it up and found that the neck pickup’s left screw hole was broken and the previous owner had just taped it the screw to the pickup. The other two pickups appeared to be in fine condition, but they took up so much space inside the body that the pick guard was sort of hunched up around the middle pickup. They were forcing the pick guard to bend.

My dad and I discussed the next step. I mentioned how I loved the guitar in its current state but I would like to get a pickup to replace the broken/taped one at the neck. After some online browsing my father decided that he would just buy a set of three new pickups. I was excited by his decision and when he said that he had bought a set of EMG’s I readily agreed. That being said, this was the first custom guitar my father and I had attempted, so we did not realize until the day afterward that the pickups he had ordered were active instead of passive.

brokenpickup
You can see how the hole for the screw on this pickup has been taped and not very well.

Up until this point we had no idea there were different types of pickups, we just thought there were different brands. After more googling on our part we discovered active pickups require a battery to be included in the inside of the guitar. Passive pickups do not have to be charged by a battery. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise though, because the active pickups allowed for easier setup and less soldering. Also, they just give a guitar such a slicker appearance.

 

After completion of installation I still have some static I have to deal with and the pick guard is still a little hunched. The switch didn’t fit in the original slot because it was too long, so we ended up drilling two new holes but they don’t stand out because the pick guard is black. I am proud of the job my father and I did and I hope this post encourages other guitar players to try their hand at customization. It makes the guitar much more valuable to the player if they have worked on it personally.

lastlook
This was after the pickup replacement and the addition of fresh control knobs. I wanted red ones but have not come across any yet.

6 Ways To Tell If You Have Ruptured Your Achilles.

The strongest and largest tendon in our body, the calcaneal tendon, was named after the Greek god Achilles. I have not yet determined if this was because Achilles was defeated in battle because of his harmed leg or if it was because he was the strongest and largest fighter on the battlefield. I know for a fact, as well as from experience, that if my calcaneal tendon was disabled mid-battle I would be rendered almost utterly useless and immobile. Mine was ruptured clean through during an ultimate frisbee pickup game, not a Greek and Trojan war, and I could barely hobble to my car to drive home. If you have just suffered of a similar series of events, or you plan on rupturing your calcaneal tendon in the future, here are the warning signals of which you should be attentive.

I was going up for a defensive deflection. (Playing the “deep deep” position of our matchup zone, for you Ultimate players.) There was a cherry picker named Chuck that I was attempting a chase down block on. I backpedaled with my eyes on the disc then I wound up for the leap of glory. Except it never came. As I began to leave the ground I collapsed in pain. I was sure I had just felt Chuck’s toe contacting the back of my heel. After the fact, I found out that anyone who suffers from a rupture says the same thing. They all were kicked in their tendon too, even when there wasn’t another soul around. It is the first sign.

I laid on the ground slightly holding my left ankle. It is not unbearable pain and I did not cry, but it was by far the biggest injury I have suffered in my athletic career. For this reason, all my buddies came over and asked if I was okay but none of them seemed too concerned. They had just come to assume I would get back up and shake it off. That’s how it usually goes. I sat for an extended period and then was helped up, but something was wrong. I could not apply pressure to any of my toes on my left foot. That is the second sign.

After explaining it to my parents when I returned home I was then scheduled for an appointment at Peak Sport and Spine three days later. My foot swelled up and developed a bruise in the side of my heel. It was dark purple and blue. I still could not use my left toes to any capacity. That is the third sign.

bruisedheel
Picture taken four weeks post surgery yet you can still see a trace of the purple bruise near the bottom of my foot.

Arriving for my appointment, I noticed the therapist and her assistant were not very hopeful looking. The therapist tried to keep me somewhat hopeful but I sensed a feeling from the student intern that this was a serious situation. She said she had never seen someone as young as me have a complete rupture. She scheduled an appointment at an Orthopedic Group for me. She said if I was not in pain then it meant that the tendon was clean tore apart. My pain had already disappeared. That is the fourth sign

I went to the orthopedic doctor. He squeezed my calves and my left foot did not react properly. He began reassuring me that it would be completely possible for me to return to full activity after rehab, that it would not end my athletic career. He tried to put me at ease, but I failed all his tests and he scheduled an MRI for me the next day. That is the fifth sign.

On my way to the MRI that day I received a call. I was informed that my MRI had been canceled. The doctors at the group had consulted and decided that it was obvious enough how badly I had hurt myself. They would not need an MRI to confirm it. Instead I was scheduled for an appointment with the surgeon to discuss different ways of fixing the tendon. That is the sixth sign.

Long story short, once you reach this point in your injury timeline, you have most definitely torn your Achilles tendon. I am sorry that you too must share this unique experience. Do not fear, surgery is not painful and you will most likely wake up from whatever sleep they put you in. You will be unable to walk on your left foot for four weeks, and even then, you’ll have to walk in a boot. If you have low pain tolerance you might be unable to walk in the boot for close to a week before it is comfortable. That puts it at five weeks.

boot
If you have yet to experience or see a boot then here is what one looks like.

With all this sitting time you will be doing you might as well purchase a gaming system, or convince your mother to buy you one. Happy healing!

Ken “The Champ” Climo: The Gold Standard

There is an aspect of every sport that people enjoy debating. Who is the best? They are perpetual arguments and drive serious sports fanatics to research. It convinces them that they must obtain as much historical evidence and data as they can to support their side. In the NBA there is the MJ and Kobe argument. (Some older, uninformed, relative will over hear the conflict and try to be astute by claiming, “Wilt Chamberlain was the GOAT. Just look at his numbers.”) Or, for Spurs fans like me, there is the argument that Duncan was the best power forward ever. (This is where the same relative from earlier interjects, “Tim Duncan wasn’t even a power forward! He was a center.”)  For NFL fans then there is always the more current acclamation that Tom Brady has proven himself as the greatest quarterback in league history. All of the well-known sports have such discussions.

Professional disc golf fans have nothing to discuss.

Kenneth R. Climo, PDGA #4297. He goes by Ken and is also known as “The Champ”. It is IMPOSSIBLE to argue his greatness or his secure place upon the disc golf Mount Rushmore.

ken-climo-japan-open-2006-putt-172x172
Ken Climo putting.

 

 

Before we jump into his career and stats let us answer a question. What makes an athlete great in their sport? There are many ways to make cases for greatness. In most sports you win by scoring the most points so the statisticians keep track of career points. More points make a player greater maybe? Or, greatness could be all the accolades that come along with their success, such as MVP awards or the Gold Glove and FIFA Golden Ball award.

When I look at an athlete and discuss their greatness I go directly to the championships column. Championships are the ultimate test and the things that athletic competitors live for. If a player competed for a lengthy career he should have multiple championships to be considered great. Sorry for another NBA example but this will show my point of view:

Bill Russell.

Playing career: 1956-1969.

Championships: 11, made the playoffs every year of his career and won a string of 8 consecutive championships between ’58 and ’66.

Wilt Chamberlain.

Playing career: 1959-1973.

Championships: 2.

Looking at this comparison tell me who was/is the GOAT. Guess which one has the NBA Finals MVP award named after him?

Greatness is exemplified by the champions who continue to win. Winning becomes a habit to them, and it is almost a yearly event. Not only did Bill win eleven championships in only 13 years of playing he did it against great competition. Wilt is considered one of the best ever, but they played at the SAME TIME. Bill obviously was the one doing something right. (I will address teammate quality shortly.) We will use the Russell blueprint to examine Ken’s disc golf greatness.

Ken Climo started playing disc golf late in high school but did not turn pro until 1988, when he would have been about 20. He still plays a few tournaments a year, and he continues to win now at the age of 49, presently competing in the Masters division. The most recent record on Wikipedia has him notched at 231 career professional wins with 103 recorded aces. If he has, in fact, been playing for 29 years that would mean he averages 3.6 aces a year. (I have yet to hit a single, lonesome one…) Here is the really important stat: Ken has 12 open division Disc Golf World Championships. He has 3 more World titles in the Masters division, placing his career total at 15!! He also is a five-time champ of the U.S. Disc Golf Championships.

Like Bill Russell, Ken won multiple consecutive championships, refusing to lose at Worlds from 1990-1998. That is unprecedented! Even more impressive is that he was solely responsible for the accomplishments. In the Russell vs. Wilt argument we have to consider that Bill might have just been blessed to land on productive and motivated teams while Wilt could have been stuck on teams of losers. There is not this margin of error when observing what Ken Climo has done. He did not require help from a team, he won 9 consecutive titles with his own hands.

If disc golf would have had as much media coverage then as it does now, Ken would be on the lead card of every YouTube video that SpinTV produced. If it had as much coverage as ball golf receives then he would be as coveted as Tiger Woods. Fans would watch his game no matter where on the leaderboard he sat. He would be more royalty than he already is.

As we come full circle the reality is that there have been many disc golfers that have won and many that are going to win in the future, just as in all sports. Ken just decided to win at the right time and for a long time. I want to be like Ken. (Not “Mike”, get it?)

If you would like to learn more about the man who represents disc golf’s Gold Standard, I would suggest watching the 1999 World Championships on YouTube. (Spoiler, Ken does not win that year, but he should’ve because I don’t know how Ron Russell made any putts with the form he used.) Wikipedia will give you a full account of his honors and accomplishments. You can also google the episode of Final Round Radio podcast that has Climo as their guest speaker. It is very insightful into his very confident mindset and the only lengthy interview I can find of him on the internet. I truly wish we had more footage of Climo’s game in his prime.

Unintended Birdies

It would seem, from personal experience, that about everyone I have played a competitive disc golf round with before has made a miracle shot. By miracle shot I mean any throwing position or location that you would only try if someone was making a trick shot compilation backed with a dubstep remix of “24k Magic”. In other words, throws only attempted when imitating the one and only Brodie Smith 21 #darkhorse. Over the past few months of playing these shots tend to happen as often as every other round, and I have yet to accomplish such a feat so it seems all my throwing buddies MUST be practicing them or something.

The following is an account of the top three shots I have seen while playing a round of disc golf, excluding my father’s ace which has its own article:

Number 1

My friend Dane and I were playing a round of 18 and he was not doing well. His putts were not sticking. (That might have been due to the fact I provided the putter, but I didn’t make him use it… just saying.) I was winning by a large margin of strokes and we had reached hole 13. It was a par four and we both used two strokes to get within range of the basket, but there was a large tree between us and it. It wasn’t just your average large tree mind you, it was one of those whose limbs start growing about four feet off the ground and a way out. Going underneath the limbs was not an option and there was not space for a flick or backhand to slide through. Dane opted for a thumber (basically holding the disc vertical) and didn’t think twice about it. Now this is hard to imagine if you were not there but he was staring into the sun and he had never thrown a thumber before IN HIS LIFE. Of course you can assume what happened. He made it for birdie. It just floated around the tree and into the basket, didn’t even touch the chains. I went ahead and double bogeyed, still in disbelief.

daneshole-1
A rough sketch of the hole Dane birdied.

Number 2

In a very similar scenario my buddy Jacob saved par one day with a hammer throw. We were on hole 4 and it was par three. The basket was hidden behind a large mound of dirt, basically a small hill. The small hill also had saplings growing out of the east side of it. The basket is behind that east side. We both used up two strokes getting to the small hill and I am in better position. He is slightly behind the hill and saplings so he cannot see the basket clearly and I am to the southeast of the hill with a direct line to the hole. He says something along the lines of, “Are you ready for this? I’m going with the Tomahawk.” I laugh at him as he lines up his putter (the same putter I lent Dane) between the saplings. That throw of his had no arch, it was a line drive. Straight into the chains. He couldn’t see it so when I cried out in amazement he lifted his hands in the air, clenched in victory. As I recall, we were playing the first round of disc golf IN HIS LIFE. Something about firsts I guess.

jacobshole
One of my favorite holes. If you have enough power you can flick a drive all the way around the back of the hill on the left side and birdie it. 

Number 3

And how can I not include my dad on the list? He seemingly broke the laws of physics, or manipulated them, I can’t decide. It was hole 5 and a par 3. You cannot see the basket from the tee, but there is a tree line about 80 feet ahead of the tee and about 10 feet beyond that a creek. Right after you pass the tree line and before you reach the creek there is a sharp turn right in the fairway. It takes you to a basket directly behind the tree line from the tee. Dad throws off the tee right into the tree line and it bounces back out to the edge. On his next throw he appears to be aiming the tree tops and is holding his disc vertical. See a pattern? I walk around to the other side of the trees so I can track his disc for him when he misses, because why shouldn’t he miss this? And up the disc goes, over the trees it seems, and back down it comes landing in the basket. I don’t know what disc he used but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the same Gator with which he tossed his ace.

dadshole.jpg
Such a weird hole. I have lost and re-found two discs in this tree line and creek. 

When I play disc golf I play for a good score and mostly to win. Dane does not play this way because once he misses his first six putts he loses hope. Jacob was still figuring out how the discs flew because he had never played before, and my dad just does crazy shots whenever he gets the chance.

So, what can we learn from such situations? I have pondered all of these memories and have come to a conclusion. In all three cases my golfing partner has been carefree about the result of the throw. Sort of a what-the-heck-this-won’t-hurt-my-score-more-than-I-already-have point of view. These people did not contemplate the end result they just went for it and now have something to be proud of. So maybe that is something every disc golfer needs to do. Not worry so much about the score all the time. Or maybe it means that we should all start putting with our discs vertically. As you can see, vertical shots lead to birdies.

In addition, I will mention that I was the one who won the whole round in the end. Maybe being carefree is not the answer, maybe it just has to do with whether you doubt yourself or not. Don’t second guess. As much as I ache for an ace or an eye-catching birdie maybe I should just be patient. I’m sure that if I play enough rounds then these pleasures will come my way. All things come to those who wait.

Dad’s Bragging Rights

It happened on the 30th of December. (2016)

holtsace2
Hole 12 at Holts Summit Disc Golf Course.

My mother, father, and I drove down to Holts Summit, MO to play a round of 18. The course is only about fifteen minutes away, maybe twenty, and it was built a little over a year ago. I had read a review on dgcoursereview.com before we headed out to see what the future held. The golfer had commented on how it was a proficient course with good design but how it had a couple of fairways that still needed a few trees removed. I also noticed, in the provided pictures, that it had two water holes of decent length. I was excited to try a new course and the weather was great, so what could possibly happen?

The course is located next to a park. We pulled up and the parking lot was “yuge”, as one might say. It was completely gravel and you probably could have fit a rock concert on it, and I don’t know why it was so large because the only thing at he park that is regularly used is the disc course. There is a newly made baseball field which appears to be untouched and a really nice concrete walking trail… if you’re into walking. Driving to the far end of the parking lot we stopped and got out, searching for the first hole.

I won’t give a full record of the first nine holes, but let us say it was a very bad nine for me, and I won’t use the “it is a new course to me” excuse. I just played bad. From the very first throw. I think the first hole was a par four and I threw a seven: a triple bogie. My father hit it in par, and my mother… well she doesn’t like to keep track of her strokes. Dad played well all morning and it was just a build up for what was to come.

The three of us made it to hole twelve, and by that point dad had acquired a new disc. A red Star Sidewinder if I recollect correctly. It had been partially hidden in the fallen leaves. I was something like +12 and dad was about +3. We approached the hole and it was a pretty one. The ground after the tee sort of dropped off and if you looked across the little valley on the opposite ridge was the basket. I think the sign said 164 feet, something close to that. It was basically a direct shot, and the hole had a tree to the left of it as well as plenty of woods behind it. It was a par three.

holtssummitace
A shot of hole 12 from the basket. Here you can see the slow drop off after the tee and then the ridge upon which the basket sits. Also, notice the Gator in the basket. (Photo by my dad)

I stepped onto the rectangle of concrete and selected my trusty DX Leopard. Going through a few practice swings I aimed in the general direction of the basket. I didn’t know exactly how to get it where I wanted without overthrowing it. Now that I think back I should have thrown a mid-range. I backhanded the disc too hard and it glided over to the other side of the gorge and…. BANG, right into the tree to the basket’s side and off into the wooded area behind.

I knew I had missed my chance, so turning to my dad I said, “This will be your best chance for an ace if you are gonna get one.” Little did I know. He grabbed his Star Gator and lined up on the tee pad. No priming necessary, he just went for it. Let the Gator fly forehand and it was magic! It was one of those moments you can sense before it happens. The disc drifted left and hooked back right, clinking off the middle post and the chains, then settling in the basket.

I wish I had a video. It was the flattest throw I’ve ever seen Dad have. When it went in he threw his hands up in the air and looked back at mom and I with a grin that he gets when he can’t believe something just happened. I was jealous and I let on that I was. I feel as if, out of the two of us, I should be the first to get an ace because I have been playing the longest. It didn’t seem fair to me. Only a week before I had an almost ace at Albert Oakland Park in Columbia, MO. It was also with my Leopard, and dad was witness to it. I guess some people have that touch.

Since then Dad and I have spent the past few weeks debating whether mom and I need to sign the Gator as proof of the ace. Many disc golfers make a habit of requiring signatures on aces from the witnesses who were there. In this way they are able to tell stories to other disc golfers and remember their moment of glory. This would typically be done with permanent marker. Dad and I are amateur enough that we do not traverse courses with markers in our bags. As for signing Dad’s Gator, I think we should because it is the first ace any of us have witnessed and I don’t feel as if dad will have many more. We should take the opportunity we have been given. In opposition, Dad does not want to “ink up” his disc with signatures. His argument would be valid if I thought he was going to trade the disc back in at any point, but I know he won’t. He will hold on to that disc forever until one of his grandkids gets it. Although, without our signatures how will they ever know what a special disc it is?

Also, my signature might be worth something in the distant future. Ha.

In My Bag, with Hugh Keene: Winter 2017 Edition

Hello fellow disc golfers,

and welcome to my first installment of “In The Bag”. I am not a big name in disc golf –actually not a name at all– although I someday hope to be. I do wish that, for beginning golfers, by reading this article you may see an example of a beginning to intermediate level bag. I would like to inform you on my selection of discs and maybe give you some food for thought about your own bags that you have either started or are thinking about starting.

Many “In The Bag” features you read in your search for disc golf knowledge tend to open by talking about putters. This is the most logical way to begin as putting is the foundation of the game. If you do not have a putter that feels good to you and is consistent then you are losing the majority of the confidence it takes to be a good putter. Bags should be built around putters in my opinion, but this mostly because making the chains clink is what gives me the most joy.

Putters

I have five putters, the most used two are my XT Nova’s.

My go-to putter is my purple and red XT Nova. I purchased it used from Show Me Disc Sports, and soon after realized I needed a complementary one in my bag. One reason I prefer it is because it weighs in at 172 grams. I like heavy putters since it seems to me that the heavier ones tend to hold the line you put them on more. Also the heavier discs sit down in the basket instead of jumping out, which is a problem at the beginning level. I only throw this disc backhand.

My next XT Nova is green with a pink rim, and it resembles a full slice of watermelon. It was a birthday present from my father, and it is special to me because it has been signed by George R. Smith #4034, one of the Innova Disc Golf Masters. He also owns Show Me Disc Sports in Columbia, MO. This disc weighs in at 175 grams and I only use it backhand as well.

In my bag I also have two DX Aviar P&A’s. I use my purple one for approach putts and only use my white one for practice. These do not reliably stay in the chains or basket when I putt with them, so that’s why I don’t pull them out very often. The purple one was my first putter I ever had, as it came from the starter pack that got me into the sport. It weighs 150 grams and I only toss it backhand. My white one is so worn down that I don’t have an exact weight for it, but from holding it I’d estimate it around 165 grams. It only gets thrown backhand as well.

My last putter is only for putting practice. It is a DX Classic Aviar. It feels nice but I would need more practice reps with it for it to become a large part of my bag. It is 172 grams and only thrown backhand.

hughsdiscs

Mid-Range

And so, onto mid-ranges I suppose.

My first mid-range is an 11x KC Pro Roc, Multipurpose. I don’t know how common it is to find one of these discs but I feel fortunate to have one because now all I can order online is KC Roc’s without the “Multipurpose” on the end. It is 176 grams and I bought it after it was well used. When I first started playing I was using this disc as my putter because I couldn’t get my DX P&A to stick in the holes. I throw it backhand and it holds it line well. I was so impressed I went online and bought another.

A 12x KC Pro Roc, Mid-Range was my next mid-range. I use it the most out of all my mid-range selection, preferring it for short straight shots and longer approaches. It is 175 grams and I throw it both backhand and forehand. It has a special type of skid at the end of its flights that I like. It is getting beat in so I will need to buy another Roc here pretty soon. I prefer my Roc’s in KC plastic because Ken Climo is THE CHAMP, but also because it feels nice on my hands.

Next I have a Champion Panther Multipurpose Disc. It is pre-flight-ratings which is sort of cool. It flies well and does not beat in, thanks to the champion plastic. I throw it majority backhand but also forehand when necessary. It’s 167 grams and I opt for it when I’m approaching through the woods and don’t want to bang up my Roc too bad.

Lastly for mid-range, I have a DX Shark. It is one of my throw away discs if I have a water shot I doubt I can clear. It is always good to have a disc you are willing to sacrifice from your bag. It weighs 150 grams and I throw it backhand. It is so light that any attempt to throw it forehand would turn it over and off course.

mids

Fairway Drivers

Next is fairway drivers. I have three, although I could always use another I suppose. All three are Leopards, one is an Echostar and the other two are DX.

My two DX Leopards are both white and one is really beat in so I throw it when I need a straight shot with a bunch of turnover at the end. My newer one still turns over at the end but not as much. I’ve never had an ace in my playing experience but I have had multiple close calls with my Leopards. They are so easy to place where you want them, and everyone can throw them, or else why would they be in all of Innova’s starter packs. I love how predictable they are and how they are a low enough speed it doesn’t take enormous amounts of effort to throw them straight. I’ll be buying another one soon to replace my original Leopard and I can’t wait to try it out. My beat in Leopard is 150 grams and my newer one is 175 grams. They both perform well either forehand or backhand.

My Echostar Leopard is just as efficient and I use it quite a bit, but most often on windy days. It tends to hold its line in the wind better than my DX’s. It’s a great disc, and I am not an outstanding fan of the Echostar plastic but it is not uncomfortable but any means. It is 175 grams, yellow, and I throw it both ways.

fairway

Distance Drivers

Lastly we have to discuss distance drivers. This is a touchy section because I am still developing my long distance throwing ability so I will not be as knowledgeable about these discs as others.

My most used right now is a Blizzard Champion Destroyer. It does not have a weight as I also bought it used, but I would say around 165 grams. It is my lightest distance driver, at least it feels that way. I can whip this destroyer forehand and I have surprised myself with overthrowing and turning it over before. It gets great distance and it is so pretty when it flies. I rarely throw it backhand. Side note: This is the only disc which I have had tombstone on me.

Next up is a Pro Destroyer. My father found it and I traded him a Discraft Avenger for it. I got the better side of the trade, but he is a non-Innova person and I’m and only-Innova person. It is 171 grams and feels hefty. I only throw it forehand and it goes where I want it to. The only issue I have with this disc is that it is colored dark blue with a tie dyed rim that is tan and blue, so it blends in with any dark woods and any dry grass. I can understand why it was lost in the first place.

I have a tournament stamped Glow Champion Destroyer. It weighs in at 168 grams, and it is wayyyyy over stable. I don’t know what makes it so much more stable than my other Destroyers. I use it for shots I NEED to curve hard. It is good in the wind and, unlike my other discs, when it bumps on the ground it makes a strange hop on its edge and slightly rolls before settling so I have to be careful about surrounding hazards when driving with it. I throw this forehand.

Just a few days ago my father bought me a Star Destroyer because he knew I had been looking for one. It is used so the original design has been worn off so the disc is mostly bright pink. It is 168 grams and feels good in the hand. Alas, I have not been able to throw it since I received it because of the weather here and an unfortunate physical ailment I acquired on New Year’s Day. I assume once I do get to toss it I will do so forehand.

I have a blue Champion Firebird in my bag, and it doesn’t get used very often, because I haven’t had much practice with it. I purchased it so I would have a distance driver with minimal glide, but once I used it a few times it really liked to bite the ground and it has large bounces when the edge makes contact with the earth. I need to polish my game with this disc and see what situations I might need it for in the future. It is 175 grams and I throw it forehand.

My last disc in my bag is my clear-ish Champion Beast which I found during a local round in the woods. It acts in the same role as my Shark, it is a throw away disc mainly for water or creek shots. I throw it both forehand and backhand, although I soon intend on trading it in for something else, maybe my next Leopard.

betterdistanve

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