Thursday, October 19, 2017

We Answer The Age-Old Question: What Division Should I Play In?

So you’ve been bitten by the disc golf bug and can’t get the game out of your mind. After fitting in rounds during every spare moment of your day, you finally muster up the courage to sign up for your first tournament.

But wait a minute - how do you know what division to play in? It might be tempting to register in Advanced with all of your friends, but you’re not sure if you can keep up with them. How are you supposed to know what to do? We break down some of the considerations to think about when signing up for your first tournament and how you can pace yourself for success.

Before You Register

As you look through the registration page for your local event, you might notice an additional fee if you’re not a member of the PDGA. What’s that about?! More often than not, players choose to become a member of the Professional Disc Golf Association for a number of reasons.

Not only does it avoid you having to pay this $10 fee for every tournament you play in, but it also gives you a specific PDGA number and you are able to track the ratings of each of your rounds. This is a great way to see your progress over time and can also help when signing up for larger events that split up registration times and dates based on ratings.

Your First Event And Beyond

Unless you can throw a mile and consistently shoot far better than everyone else you play with during a casual round, it’s recommended that you sign up for Recreational or Intermediate for your first event. This allows you to get a handle on how to conduct yourself during tournament play and get a feel for what it’s like to play with a little skin in the game after having paid an entry fee.

If you completely crush it during every tournament you play, it’s probably smart to move up to Advanced in an effort to improve your skills. Many times this initial jump can be difficult, as a player might consistently place in the top 5 in Intermediate but soon find themselves toward the middle or bottom of the pack in Advanced.

Rather than going down a division, use this as an opportunity to better yourself and your game, as you’re now playing with higher caliber players.

Don’t Be A Sandbagger

Dating back to the 1970’s poker scene, the term sandbagger isn’t exactly something you should strive for. Essentially, as people move up in division and find themselves challenged more and more, some individuals have a tendency to go backward and drop down to the division they were once previously dominating.

This is bad for a number of reasons that relate to your game and to your reputation. Those who play in lower divisions than they should find that they aren’t as challenged during tournament play because they know they’ll take the win by a handful or more of strokes. There’s something about having added mental pressure to perform that makes disc golf both difficult and enjoyable.

Perhaps one of the larger reasons to avoid being a sandbagger comes from the reputation you’ll earn from your local disc golf community. Sandbaggers rob others from hard-earned wins, and they are seen in a pretty negative light. Locals might talk about how certain sandbaggers need to “move up,” referencing that they should compete in a higher division than they are currently in. It’s simple - don’t be a sandbagger.

The Challenge Of Playing Pro

Let’s say you’ve made your way through the ranks and you’re performing exceptionally well in the Advanced division. Now comes the time to make one of the biggest, and sometimes scariest jumps of all - moving up to play pro.

Playing in the Open division is another animal in itself, as you are now playing for cash instead of merchandise. The competition can be extreme, as you’re surrounding yourself with the upper echelon of disc golfers in the game. Not letting the pressure get to you is half of the challenge, let alone making sure you execute your shots perfectly.

There is one catch when playing in Open, however, and that has to do with what you do with your prize. The PDGA does stipulate that if an Open player chooses not to accept their cash prize, they could theoretically play in other lower divisions in the future. Once you take the money though, you’re stuck in Open whether you like it or not.

Where Do You Fall?

Let us know in the comments below what your experience has been when selecting the division you started in, and how moving up or down has affected your game!
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Quick Tip: Leagues

Hey guys, I'm Robert McCall, and I'm the Dynamic Discs Team Manager. Each week, I like to share a quick tip I've learned over the years.

If you took a poll of most competitive disc golfers today, I think their path to playing in tournaments likely looks like mine did:

When I was in college, a friend invited me out to play disc golf. I had played once in high school and wasn’t bad at tossing an Ultimate frisbee around, so I accepted and told him I was going to crush him at disc golf. I almost crushed him the first time we played, but instead, I lost by 20 or so. I’m a competitive person by nature, so I wanted to play again immediately. I kept playing and kept losing until things started to click. Once they did, I would only lose by two throws, then one, then I’d win occasionally, then I’d win most of the time. I loved competing and wanted to take that competition to the next level. I heard about a mini (league) that ran every Saturday, so I went out to play and expected to win, because I was beating my friend at disc golf pretty consistently, so I was the best, right? That’s a negative, Ghost Rider. I lost by a hefty margin, but I loved seeing what scores were possible and playing a round with people with whom I’d never played. Through those new connections, I learned of actual tournaments, attended my first one in 2010, and the rest is history.

Leagues and/or minis serve several important purposes for experienced and new players alike:

  • New players can play with more established disc golfers if they’re paired on the same card. This allows them to learn from the experienced players and see new shots or lines that they might not have considered.
  • New players can meet more disc golfers in their community and feel connected more quickly. Most people enjoy having some disc golf friends to play rounds with occasionally.
  • Experienced players can use leagues as a pressure simulator for competitive tournament rounds. Everyone understands the importance of muscle memory in the physical portions of disc golf, but practicing in pressure-filled situations is imperative to handling them well in the future.

If you’re reading through this and thinking, “That would be nice, but I don’t have any leagues in my area”, I have good news for you: leagues are easy to run, and they’re a great way to contribute to your local disc golf scene. Running a league or mini that gains traction and is well-attended can work wonders for unifying local disc golfers and creating a welcoming environment for growth.

For first time league or mini tournament directors, here are a couple of suggestions that should help you when starting out:

A little organization on the front end goes a long way. Having a scorepoint board or easy method of entering and tracking scores makes the end of the round really easy to manage. Ensure that you know which holes are the best starting holes for your course (hint: they’re not always holes 1-6). Have plenty of scorecards and pencils on hand. Don’t let people choose their own cards as everyone will play with the people with whom they typically play.

Singles typically works best if you offer at least two divisions. Local disc golfers should be able to help you determine which players should be in each division. In general, lower divisions should be paid out in discs as to discourage better players from playing down to win cash. I’m sure some will argue with this point, but this structure has been my favorite to date. I am not opposed, however, to mixing players from different divisions on different cards at leagues, because people will have an opportunity to play with better players or newer players depending on their situation.

I don’t love handicap leagues personally, but the way I’ve seen them done best is occasionally mixed in with singles and doubles instead of every week. Your league may be different and could encourage more people to attend with handicap leagues, so do what works best for your situation.

If you play doubles, either random draw doubles or splitting players into an “A” and “B” pool helps to make the teams slightly more fair. With random draw, you run the risk of having one or two stacked teams, but it’s pure chance. With “A” and “B” pools drawing at different times, you can basically guarantee that newer or less skilled players will be paired with better players which will allow them to learn from the better player and ask questions throughout the round.

I would encourage players of all skill levels to attend leagues, even if you don’t feel ready to compete. Even if you’ve been playing for less than a year, you can learn from playing with better players and competing against others around your skill level. Leagues are a great primer for becoming accustomed to competitive play!

What’s your favorite format for league? Have you attended or run a successful league? If so, let us know in the comments below. See you next week!

ep 191 Disc Golf Answer Man

 On this episode we discuss discs that we don't want others to throw,  should you always go for the ace,  how do we determine the numbers, and much more. 

New Disc Golf Answer Man Episode

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Dynamic Course Design Feature - The El Dorado Disc Golf Course At Legion Park in El Dorado, KS

There’s a new gem in the town of El Dorado, as Kansas city officials recently approved and installed an 18 hole course at Legion Park. Utilizing land that was formerly a ball golf course, Eric McCabe and the DD team had a blast designing a course that would be fair yet challenging.

We got a little more information from Kevin Wishart, El Dorado’s Parks and Recreation Director, to learn more about the process of installing the course and how he thinks it will affect this small town of about 13,000.

Dynamic Discs Was A Natural Fit

Given that El Dorado sits about 60 miles from Emporia, it was an obvious choice to work with DD when Wishart’s department started discussing the option of opening a course. The city formed a specific Disc Golf Committee, and after some research, they decided to schedule a meeting with Eric to find out all about Dynamic Course Design.

Kevin and his team are pretty new to the sport of disc golf, stating: “We understood that disc golf continued to grow; we had a space that needed a new use, and we had several citizens express interest in a local course.  Otherwise, our background was limited.” After a meeting between Eric, Kevin, and the town’s DG Committee, the decision was clear. “Once the committee made a recommendation, we got out of the way and let Eric do his thing,” Wishart said.

About El Dorado DGC

As with all of McCabe’s course designs, the El Dorado Disc Golf Course utilizes a great layout and allows players to complete the 18 holes in up to four different ways. Veteran baskets were installed along with dual tee pads across the course. Both beginners and more experienced players will appreciate the course’s terrain, and while it’s mostly flat, there are some lightly wooded areas that create a bit of a challenge.

El Dorado players can already feel the disc golf buzz growing quickly, as a professionally designed course brings individuals from neighboring communities to come play. Wishart notes that bringing in a Dynamic Discs affiliated course is already helping to bolster El Dorado’s economy too: “We believe that our disc golf playing population will continue to increase and that the quality of the course will bring players to town from the region.  It is our hope that they spend a few dollars locally while here.”

How Can Your Town Get A Dynamic Course Design?

Working with Eric and team to get a disc golf course installed in your neck of the woods isn’t difficult. Like the staff in El Dorado, you don’t need a ton of background knowledge about the sport - just a desire from the community and a viable piece of land. Wishart says: “Our process with DD was really very simple.”

If you’re interested in working with Dynamic Course Design, or just have questions about the process, contact us today!
Monday, October 16, 2017

Test Your Knowledge Of The PDGA Rules!

Anyone who has a PDGA number receives a compact handbook that outlines the rules and regulations set forth by the PDGA, and while a lot of people read it from cover to cover, does anyone memorize it?

Today we want to put your brain to the test and see if you know the "legal" way to handle certain situations if they come up during tournament play. You can click here for a full list of the PDGA Rules Q & A.

  1. Could you theoretically kick your disc down the fairway and have each kick count as your throw?
  2. Am I allowed to use my mini, remove my previously thrown disc, but then change my mind and put it back again?
  3. What kinds of substances can I use on my hands for a better grip?
  4. Can I lean on a tree for support while I put or throw if I have an awkward stance?

  1. Yes, you can! Since shots of all types are allowed, "throwing" with your foot would be seen as acceptable play.
  2. No way - once a method of marking your lie has been utilized, it cannot be changed.
  3. Technically you can use anything to increase your grip, as there isn't a rule that prohibits this practice.
  4. This one might surprise you, as you can hold on to something for support as long as it is in-bounds and part of the course.
Friday, October 13, 2017

What Can You Do On Grow Disc Golf Day?

The desire to #growthesport is present for most of us all year long, and at Dynamic Discs, we like to take it a step further each October. We've developed Grow Disc Golf Day as a fun way for us to place the emphasis on informing others about our sport even more through clinics, golfing with a friend, or introducing coworkers to disc golf.

We got the low down from DD Events Coordinator Doug Bjerkaas, as he and his wife invited a group of people out during Grow Disc Golf Day. They all met at a 9 hole course and put on a short clinic first so that people felt a little more comfortable and knew what to do.

Their group totaled 12, and 4 of those people are now die-hard disc golfers! Some of them help to maintain courses in the area while others only have time to golf once a month, but the important thing is that his friends have now found a new hobby they enjoy! Doug notes there were six key things that helped to make his efforts successful - learn about them here.

Visit the Grow Disc Golf Day website to share your experience with us!
Thursday, October 12, 2017

Focusing On The Hyzer - Dollar Store Edition

By now you've more than likely seen our videos where we take regular items and throw them in a field, asking the all-important question: will it hyzer?

On our most recent expedition, we hit up the Dollar Store to find some fun goodies to test out. Many of our finds were rather disc-shaped, and we had a lot of fun watching stuff crash into the ground. One of our selections was described by Bobby as an "aerial ballet," so you know we had a good time.

Watch the full video here

However, on a more serious note, you might ask yourself why we always test items to see if they will hyzer. Sure it's fun, but it's also a really interesting look into the aerodynamics of household objects and how they compare to the flight of a disc.

Both professional and casual disc golfers alike often draw on the hyzer shot from their bag of tricks, while many new players find that hyzers are frustrating and prohibit the amount of distance they're able to throw.

Maybe the next time you throw a disc on a hyzer line, you'll not only think about our fun antics but also give a little more thought into this flight path and how frequently it shows up in the real world.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Ep 190 Disc Golf Answer Man


In this episode we discuss stuff that upset us on the course, mechanics for the forehand throw,  when a disc is too beat-in and gets taken out of our disc golf bag, and much more.



Ep 190 Disc Golf Answer Man

Subscribe on iTunes

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Need Help With Disc Selection? Robert McCall Gives Us Some Tips

If you're relatively new to disc golf, it probably seems like the number of discs to choose from is astronomical. From different plastics to various types of discs and stability levels, how is someone supposed to know what works for them without spending a ton of money?

That's precisely why we put this video together, in an effort to help guide newer players and those with lower arm speeds toward discs that will fly well for them. Let's face it - you want to have fun playing disc golf, and part of it is being able to execute the shots you draw up in your mind!

Discs that are designed for more experienced players will have a tendency to fade left pretty early on, and that kind of flight can be discouraging as you're trying to make it to the basket.

When it comes to creating a strong foundation in your disc collection, we recommend three options:

  • Dynamic Discs Witness for distance shots, allowing for a straighter line and achieving maximum distance
  • Dynamic Discs Truth for approach shots, giving you a straight and controllable disc you can trust
  • Dynamic Discs Judge for putting, a great disc that feels nice in the hand

If you need a laugh, Robert has some pretty "crappy" outtakes!
Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Dynamic Course Design Feature - The Hollows in Manchester, NH

If you haven’t been out to New Hampshire in the last few years, you’re missing out on a complete gem of a course in Manchester. Named The Hollows, it’s one of the courses that Dynamic Discs’ very own Eric McCabe designed from start to finish. In an area that once had few disc golfers around, their local club now numbers over 140 members and The Hollows sees between 20,000 and 25,000 rounds played per year.

How did a course that’s only two years old completely revolutionize Manchester disc golf and bring revenue to the community’s restaurants and hotels via tournament play? We spoke with the Director of the Parks and Recreation department in Manchester, Don Pinard, to get an idea of how The Hollows came to be.

It Started With Don’s Vision

“Four years ago, as the newly hired director of Parks and Recreation in Manchester, it was my vision to increase affordable recreation for the citizens of Manchester and the surrounding communities,” explained Pinard. “I received numerous inquiries concerning the possibilities of a disc golf course in the city. I had no exposure to disc golf and knew nothing about the sport.”

Don began his research and formed an acquaintance in Bill Bruce, owner of Breakin Chains Disc Golf Supplies. As a first time player, Don traveled to a nearby community to play a round and was instantly hooked. He saw the obvious link between offering free recreation for all and the benefits a course could bring to his local area.

What Was It Like Working With Dynamic Course Design?

Don certainly performed his due diligence when exploring course options, and said that it was clear Eric McCabe was the one to work with: “I was impressed with his professionalism and enthusiasm. He also shared our vision of bringing disc golf to the forefront in Manchester and the area. Through our research of Dynamic Discs, we soon came to realize that DD was the company we wanted to partner with.”

Eric flew to Manchester to work with Don and figure out where the new course would take shape. Pinard had three locations in mind but kept his preference to himself while Eric surveyed the possibilities. In the end, McCabe selected Don’s first choice, and the designing phase instantly began.

The goal was to create a course that wasn’t just enjoyable on a recreational level, but one that could host top level tournaments. Taking this into consideration, Eric’s design included two pin positions on all but one hole as well as two tee pads on many holes.

After the ground had been flagged, it was up to Don, Bill and wife Norma Bruce, Parks Department employees, and numerous volunteers to bring the course to life. The Hollows was the first course in the US to feature first run Veteran baskets, but these were later swapped out for the newer version.

The Hollows Is Truly Special

Not only is this course a premier destination for New Hampshire residents, but Eric designed it to be especially versatile. Using the various pin placements and tee pads, Don says the course can be played four ways. It utilizes a tight and technical tract of wooded land and even has separate teeing areas specifically for junior and beginning players.

Manchester’s beauty of a course is truly family friendly and is in a secluded setting over rolling terrain. The city itself is on the smaller side, just reaching over 110,000 people. The effects of the course in the community are stunning, as Don describes:

“Although still in its infancy, The Hollows has hosted many tournaments from Trilogy Challenges, B-Tier tournaments, and the New England Amateur Disc Golf Championship.  The NEADGC has brought people to our course from all NE states and has reached states as far as Texas. The course is near the interstate, airport, and hotels.  Restaurants in the area have already felt the impact of The Hollows.”

The Hollows has been such a success that Don is currently planning the installation of a second course in the area to meet the high demand of Manchester disc golfers.

Designing A Course With EMAC

Could your community benefit from installing a disc golf course? We’d bet it probably can. Contact us at Dynamic Course Design to learn more.