Category Archives: Disc Golf & me

Me and my history and thoughts on disc golf. When I’m not out on the course or writing about products

Taking a dog on the course

I have gone by myself, I have gone with friends and family, and I have gone with kids, but before now I have never gone with a dog.

I have seen people do it, I have heard about my brother-in-law taking their dog with them, and now that I have a dog I was wondering if it was time for me to take her with me.

However, I have some questions about it.  The first thing for me is, how is this not a tease? I mean, we teach our dogs to fetch.  How will they know what to do with a disc when they see their owner throw it?  In the past, when I was out on a course and someone had a dog with them, they are usually with a group of people and the dog is on a leash.  For the most part, I think someone in the group is not discing, so it isn’t a problem.  Yet, how does the dog not want to chase the disc?  Or what do you do to keep your dog from not picking up someone’s disc?

My brother-in-law had trained their Golden Retriever to actually chase after the disc and lay down next to it.  What a great concept!  To be able to have someone there that’s sole purpose is to find your disc; it would save you so much time to have a hunter dig through the woods for your disc  Or when you might have thrown a long drive and the disc is hard to spot.   Yes, the dog would have to be unleashed and there is the potential that the dog might run off or scare another player.  But I think having an animal on the hunt to find your disc would outweigh the possible problems of an unleashed dog.

This is what I wanted.

Piper looking toward the future

There she is giving us her best regal look.

I have a pit bull puppy (a bit over a year old) named Piper that finally got to take the trek out to Oshtemo township park to partake in some disc golf.  She was extremely excited about this.  But, being a puppy and a pit bull, I thought it best to keep her on the leash.  Piper loves people.  It seems like her goal is to please people…and to play.  Fetch is one of her favorite games. Which I didn’t think about at the time, but quickly realized that this might be a bit of tease for her, as she could not chase after the discs that we threw.  And my friends found out that Piper is strong, almost pulling them over and dragging them to get the disc.  I had a hard time getting her to focus on anything else, even when I gave her one of my dead discs to play with, she wanted the ones we threw.  At one point, she got a hold of my Roc and added some nice teeth marks on it…I’m hoping I can convince my wife that I need a new one 😉

My first foray into taking my dog with me has opened my eyes into what I might need to do if I want to take her again.  I’ve been now teaching her to sit and wait until I release her when we play fetch.  She has picked up on that very quick.  I think the next step will be to either ignore what I throw or to have her sit and wait next to what I have thrown.  I’m not sure if she is completely ready to be off the leash while at the course, so it might have to be the ignoring the disc part.  I might also just want to take her to the course so much that she just gets use to it.  It also probably doesn’t help that she is a puppy, and puppies like to play.  Maybe I should bring a person along that isn’t going to disc golf and instead they can focus on Piper.

What about you?  Do you have a dog?  Have you taken your dog or a friend’s dog on the course?  What did you do to not have the dog pull out a friend’s arm?

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I’m back!

Hi all!

I’m back from my National Guard training and ready to get back in my disc golf adventures.  It was a great experience and if anyone has any questions about joining the guard or about Basic Training/AIT post something in the comments section and I’ll try to answer it for you.

But this blog is not about the National Guard, it’s about disc golf.  I did not get a chance to play while I was at AIT, all we had were taxi’s to take us places and they really tried to cheat you on prices.

So I’ve been out of the loop for awhile.  Which is where you come in.  Hit me up and let me know what is going on in the world of disc golf.  Any new courses you want to talk about?  Anyone go on a cool disc golf tour they want to talk about?

I did check out the Kalamazoo Air Zoo course, which I will talk about soon.  And I plan on getting out weekly now, so you should see some more action on this blog.

Also, I’m looking for good pictures of courses in the Michigan area.  I can’t seem to find any and don’t have the time to roll around the state taking pictures.  So, if you have some, give me a holler and we can share them with everyone.

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Changes in life and going to be gone for a while…

I’m sorry for being away for such a long time.  I really meant to continue to post to this blog all year long and to also go disc golfing all year long.  Well, there has been a bit of a life change for me and that has caused me to put somethings on pause.  Including this blog and disc golfing.

The big life change is that I have joined the Army National Guard and basic training is right around the corner.  Like I’m shipping out next Tuesday (Jan 11) and I won’t be back until June.

So, with that hanging over my head, I have been sorta busy getting all of my ducks in a row.  I actually joined back in October and with the holidays my head has been all over the place.

I won’t get a chance to get on here during Basic (duh), but I am hoping that I might get a chance to hop on here during my Advanced Training.  Maybe give you a quick update on how that is going.  Maybe if I’m lucky I could actually go out disc golfing…I’ll be in Maryland, they have courses, right?

But, once I get back I do plan on going out to the courses and getting my game back in order.

I hope you’ll come back and visit and see what’s happening.  I’m always open for comments if you have gone out disc golfing.

Talk to you soon!

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Moved in and back on track

After months of almost finding a house, having it taken away, finding a new house, and again having it taken away, my wife and I have found and moved in to a new house!  We have been in for a little over a month and are finally getting back into a routine.  As most people know with moving, and especially with those that understand the first time owning a new home, you find yourself get a little busy.  This has totally affected my disc golf playing and writing about disc golf.

But don’t worry, I didn’t forget about the Wolverine Tour 2010 featuring the Chain Gang.  I have photos and the posts ready.  Just had a slight problem of no internet at home.  So, look for the the story about the weekend in the next couple of days.

While waiting for that, anyone have any stories about disc golfing during the fall?

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Is this wrong?

Life happens.

And when you think it’s slowed down to a point where you can manage it, something else comes and throws a turbo boost under your wheels and you are speeding along the track at a pace where you can’t see everything again.

This is how you lose track of your goals.  Such as trying to get better at disc golfing by going out to the course as much as possible.  I was hoping that having this blog would help focus me on that goal.  It has, but in a way to make me mad at myself for not being able to reach this goal.    But, I do think about disc golfing a lot, especially trying to come up with great ideas for this blog for times such as this.  Times where I don’t get to go out to the course as much as I want.  I guess this is a good test at my time management skills.

Which somewhat leads me to this post.  Life.  As in my wife and I are looking for new house and all I can really do is look at the backyard and ask myself: “is this yard big enough to practice disc golf in?”

Is that wrong?

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Memorial Day = Disc Golf?

This upcoming three day weekend is a perfect opportunity to go out and hit the course.  I mean come on, it’s three days of no work (for most of us, sorry for those that have to work on the weekend, but I’m sure you probably have your own weekend, so you can figure it out) I’m sure you can find a couple of hours to go out to a park and toss a disc at 18 baskets.  Since this is usually considered the start of the summer, what better way to kick off the start of the season with a great game?

I know that I will be going out, finally, and to top it off it’ll be a new place for me.  I plan on checking out Lake Township Park, over by Lake Michigan.  Looks like a neat place, apparently hole 3 is their premier hole, which is a straight shot along a tree line.  Actually, a lot of their holes look like straight shots, which should be interesting for me, since I’m more of a zigzag guy.  And it looks like the course is on a park, with hole 9 going over a soccer field, which will be interesting if people are playing soccer.

I’ll be going with my father-in-law and my nephews, which should be fun.  They have gone before, so there won’t be any teaching, only schooling!!! 😉

Life has been crazy the last couple of weeks, so I’m really looking forward to finally being able to hit the course again, helps get me in my zone.  And besides, I need to get ready for the big plans my family has at the end of the summer…something about a major tour of the disc golf course on the west coast of Michigan, updates to follow…

Enjoy the sun this weekend, go out to a course, and aim for the chains!!

*by the way, let me know what you did this weekend.  Tell me if you went out, how you did, and what course you went to.

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A little of my disc golf history, part 2

When I last left you on my personal history of Disc Golf, (click here for part 1) I was leaving to go to Crystal Lake, IL.  It was there that I really got to experience disc golf and all it haves to offer.  I got to try out many different courses in the area, see how the pros do it, and watch my disc collection grow.  I think that time in Crystal Lake helped make disc golf more than just a passing thing and grow it into something I want to do for the rest of my life.  I’ll try to take you through that time and share some of the highlights that got me where I am today.

Working the third shift in a new town makes it kinda rough to meet people or spend time with your new wife.  With my wife working a normal 9-5, my mornings and afternoons were free to do what I pleased.  At first it was mostly just video game playing.  My last year at school was intense, so I took this newly free time to catch up on what was important to me, my Playstation 2 and a stack of games needing to be finished.  However, it was the summer time and the sun was out, so after a bit it seemed weird to stay indoors.  I had to do something outside….then I looked around my office and saw my stack of discs, and it dawned on me, “There’s gotta be a course around here somewhere.”  A quick search through the PDGA website showed that there were two course within a mile of my place.  One was a 9-hole course and the other 18.  Perfect.

Lippold Park and Hanna Beardsley Middle School were the two course I found, and I soon became really familiar with both of them.  I think once you hit the point of knowing in your sleep where the trees, baskets, wind, and pads of a course are  you’ve gone to the course a bit much.  That’s the way it was for Lippold Park.  I went to that one quite a bit.  It was an awesome course, with open fields, forest, and some long holes to make the course challenging enough to keep you coming back for more.  The Middle School was the 9-hole course, with each hold under 200 feet.  Fun place to go when you only have half an hour, because you should be able to whip right through that one with no problem.  It was around a school, so some of the issues came in with either hitting the school, or dealing with the students.  I also think it was a good place to take new people, because they could get a feel for the game, and not get overwhelmed by 18 holes.

I tried hitting Lippold Park once a week, similar to what I am trying to do now.  Going by yourself is a little different than with a group, and I think I’ll talk about that more later, but for now just know that for me at that time, I tried to hit the course when no one else was there.  I didn’t want to embarrass myself too much in front of the other people out there.  And I also wanted to take a little time with my drives and mid range throws.  Just for the sake of getting it right.  I couldn’t always do that, because it was a great course.  But, it was fun by myself, I have some good memories of that course.  Once, right after I picked up my Roc I went to Lippold to try it out, and I think on hole 10 I threw my Roc right into a tree and almost lost it.  I was digging through that tree for 30 minutes and was just about ready to give it up.  As I was ready to walk away from that brand new disc, I decided to take one last look around and decided to look a little more up in the trees this time.  Sure enough, that disc was stuck up in some branches.  It’s always the way.  My advice to you, just keep looking and cover every inch of the space, it’s gotta be there.

That wasn’t the only time the Roc gave me grief at Lippold.

My father-in-law and I were there during the winter, and when we started it was still light out, but the sun went down really fast that day and added another challenge to the game, playing in the dark.  Well, the Roc is a white disc, and when it’s snowy and dark, it can be a pain to try to find a white disc.  Hole 14 or 15 is a hole that starts in the woods, goes through some sort of garbage-y meadow and ends with the basket on the opposite side of a line of trees.  It’s a great hole, but that meadow is a pain, because it either becomes swamp-like in the summer, or just collects snow in the winter.  And this night was no different.  My Roc went straight into the meadow and must have buried itself under the snow, because we could not find it.  We covered that ground like we were looking for a body.  We did a shuffle through that meadow, going from one side to the other, one line at a time trying to find it.  In the dark, it was impossible.  Deciding to finish up the course and come back the next day, I had to trust that no one else would find it and get a free disc.  The rest of the course was a blur.  Early the next morning, with the sun shinning down, it was really easy to find the disc.  The snow was covered in our footsteps, except for the one tiny patch where the disc had landed.

Another great memory at Lippold was the tournament that I covered for the newspaper.

http://ssm.nwherald.com/northwest-herald/video/20070703discgolf/disc-golf/

*That’s a link to the video I shot while attending the tournament.  (For some reason I couldn’t embed it in the blog, but the link should work, let me know if it doesn’t)

I think the video speaks for the fun I had there.  It was an amazing time and that is a goal of mine for the future, to participate in a tournament.  While following around the different golfers, I was able to get some good advice on how they got as good as they were, I got to observe the different throws, and see all the different levels of player.

After shooting this video, I was really inspired to step up my game.  It was right after that I picked up my disc golf bag, bought the Roc and tried new things with my putts and drives.  They were the ones that told me the Roc was the best disc to have in your bag, and that they use it for everything.

I think it was around that point, that I really wanted to take my game up to the next level.  Before that, it was just something fun to do outside with friends and family.  It’s cheaper than golf, easier to get people together, and I could find a course relatively easy.  But, seeing these guys on the course and what they could do, showed me that I could do it.  I could throw my disc that far, I could get amazing putts, I could even get an ace.  I was on top of the world staring down at a basket.

Then I moved to New York City.

No disc golf there.

After two years of emptiness, I moved back to Kalamazoo and picked up my discs the next weekend, and that pretty much leads you back to the beginning of this blog.

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Disc Golfing with the family

So this weekend I have plans on disc golfing with my brothers and sister.  I’ve never gone with them before, which doesn’t seem like a big thing, but they all go.  I think this might be the first time to get us all together out on the course.  I know that my brother has been going for a long time, and we have always talked about hitting the course together, but never seemed to find the time.  And I think the group he goes with is a pretty hardcore group, so I don’t know if I would be able to keep up with them.  I am interested to see how I do now, knowing that he hasn’t been on a course for at least eight months.  As for my other brother and sister, I don’t know how often they go, but they are much younger, so I am hoping that I can at least be a little better than them (can’t help the sibling rivalry, it’s just the way it is, besides they are like ten years younger, so if I can’t hold this over them, I’m in trouble 🙂 )

But, this could be a great bonding experience and something that we might like to repeat.  Gotta like the sentimental stuff, right?

I’ll let you know if this becomes a repeat event, or if this is the last time I will speak of it…

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Does weather mess with your disc golf?

Living in Michigan has taught us all to never trust the weather guys and to always wait five minutes for something new to happen with the weather.  So, does this life of random weather patterns mess with our disc golf game?  Is disc golf specific to the summer?  Or does it really matter what is happening on the course?

I want to say that it doesn’t matter, but we all know that it does.  I want to say that for some of us die hard fans, we don’t really care if it’s snowing, raining or windy, if the disc can fly than it’s cool.  But, it does have an impact on our game and we have to learn how to ignore the weather, or at least find ways to keep it’s impact to a minimum.

I think that some types of weather we are more use to than others.  Wind, for instance is something that disc golfers are usually always dealing with.  The best way around that is to just keep your discs close to the ground, or aim further into the wind so that your disc gets pushed the way you want it.  Another type of weather that we deal with is temperature.  Again, this is something that disc golfers are always dealing with.  Make sure you dress proper and have water, that’s the best advice I can give.  Maybe try to go a little earlier in the morning.  I hate hitting the last nine holes while dying from the heat.  I don’t know about you guys, but my body sweats like crazy, and dealing with that as well as heat exhaustion can really kill my game.  At that point, I’m not throwing to get a low score, I’m throwing to just finish the game, and that is not the way to play.  And when it’s cold, you should try to bring gloves.  You need your hands to be warm so that you can easily release the disc.   There were many times that I went out and my hands were frozen, killing any control I might of had on when I wanted to release the disc.  It’s a pretty weird feeling to have the disc in your hand and to try to throw it, only to let go way too late.  It felt like you let go earlier, but nope, that disc just got thrown into the dude on your right and you have to explain why you took a chunk out of his leg.  So, where gloves or something to keep your hands warm.

Those are just the normal types of weather that you are probably dealing with the most.  The two that are fun are snow and rain.  These are things that will probably keep you inside and away from a park.  But, I think you can have fun throwing in the snow, and rain…well…rain does kinda suck for disc golf, you can do it, but I don’t know if I think disc golf should be the first thing you think of when it is raining.  When going disc golf in the snow, again dress for the weather (hats, gloves, maybe a coat), but also be careful what color disc you throw.  Try not to throw white discs.  Those can be a real pain to find, especially when it’s soft snow and the disc sorta digs itself into the snow.  My father-in-law and I were out disc golfing in Crystal Lake, IL, and I threw a white disc in a pretty open area, but it was getting dark and the snow was fluffy and deep, causing the disc to blend in.  We walked back and forth for like an hour in the dark trying to find it, we had to come back the next day to finally find it.  So, be careful on the color of the disc.  As for wearing a coat, it is important to keep yourself warm, but make sure the coat isn’t going to mess with your throw, you don’t want it to restrict your arm or get in the way.  Also, you might warm up while you are out there, and that might suck.  It might suck because you don’t want to have to carry it around, but at the same time you don’t want to get all sweaty.  You might want to just wear a nice long sleeve shirt or maybe a fleece.  Finally, this is something you would want when it is raining as well, a towel.  Something to wipe your disc off.  It’s a pain to have a cold wet disc in your hand.  It’s slippery and not fun to hold(….that’s what she said) causing you to not have much control.  So bring a towel and clean that disc.  There is not much I can say about rain that I haven’t already said about snow.  Except, I wonder if the falling rain has any affect on weighing down the disc?  I haven’t really noticed it in the past, but maybe it does.  It can be annoying in the rain, especially if you have glasses, which get covered in the rain.

So that is my little deal about disc golf and weather.  I’m sure I’ll think of more things as I continue with the blog, which I will try to post when I think of them.  Plus, maybe you have suggestions?  Do you care about the weather when going out?  Is there anything that keeps you away from the course?

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Kids and the disc golf basket

This weekend was a tough weekend to get out to the course.  As my last weekend as a free man (I got a job this past week, so I was prepping for that.  I’m pretty happy about the job, but just need to get use to not having a free schedule), I had some things to do that kept me from the course.  However,  I did get a nice surprise discovering that my cousin disc golfs.  And on top of that, I found that two of his kids (he has three kids, but one is like four months old) have quite the knack for throwing a disc.  Which brings me to the topic of kids and disc golfing.  I’ll probably discuss it more than once, but for now we will narrow it to the use of the disc golf basket and a bored Saturday afternoon.

My wife’s cousins were at the house planning for their wedding (see Weekend of disc golf!) and one of her cousins has three kids (like I mentioned above).  While the ladies were planning for the wedding, it was up to the guys to find something to do.  I suggested pulling out the disc golf basket and tossing some discs at the yard.  The plan was immediately accepted.  With the same eight discs that I discussed practicing with earlier (see Tossing in the basket)  we headed out to the backyard and started tossing at the basket.  It turned out to be perfect.  And I found that they were pretty good at it.

They loved doing it, throwing the disc as hard as they could.  Running to get all of the discs to have more than the other, seeing if they could hit the garage, and trying to get the small soccer ball into the basket, it was a great way to introduce them to disc golf.  Since the basket wasn’t a couple hundred feet from the pad, it gave them a clear goal: hit the chain and get the disc in the basket.  Plus, it helped me to try to teach them how to throw the disc and what to aim for.  They did really well too.  No, they didn’t get the disc in the basket every time, but they got it in just as much as me or my cousin-in-law.  One of them was a natural for a side arm throw, he picked up the disc and just started throwing it that way, I didn’t want to stop him, because he was really good.

So, here is my statement: get kids out to the course!  Take them to the park and spend an hour or two on a game of disc golf.  I have found that most places have a smaller course around, usually with nine holes (contact me and I can help you find that course), and they are usually no more than 200 ft per hole.  Just give them one disc each (probably a mid-range, like a Shark) and have fun.  Or if there isn’t a course, maybe you know somebody with a basket.  Just do what I did, set the basket up in the yard and give them a game, maybe have them try to get the disc in the basket first.

I think it’s a good thing to have kids trying out disc golf.  Maybe they will keep it up and continue as they get older.  And these kids will become pros one day.  Plus, maybe these kids will help get it even more popular and possibly get disc golf on TV.  Some might not want disc golf to get anymore popular than it is, but I don’t think it would hurt having disc golf be as popular as other sports.  What do you think?  Should it stay a little underground?  Or is it fine if more people pick up the sport?

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