Great Disc Golf Destinations Around The World

Disc golf has become a widely recognized and appreciated sport over the years, and for many who like to play, it’s a joy to simply get to the closest course and play a few rounds with friends. However, another great aspect of disc golf – as with normal golf – is that there are wonderful courses at destinations all over the world, which offers players the chance to travel to enjoy their leisure sport. So just for fun, here are three awesome course destinations around the world, and how you can enjoy them.

Dunes – St. Petersburg, Russia

The Dunes disc golf course is not actually in the heart of St. Petersburg, but is located roughly 35 km to the northwest, on the Gulf of Finland. Built in 2009, Yahoo Sports notes that it was the first disc golf course in Russia, and it features a unique and somewhat dramatic design. Sand dunes, pine forests, and the nearby gulf make up the surroundings, and make for challenging but enjoyable conditions. Just don’t go during the freezing cold Russian winter! To further enjoy your trip, the best option is merely to tour St. Petersburg, which is one of the most striking, beautiful cities in the world. The Hermitage Museum is one thing you shouldn’t miss, and goes well beyond the obligatory museum visit in other cities around the world. The Hermitage Museum is one of the biggest and most impressive in the world, and provides a nice relaxing daytime activity when you’re not on the course!
Parc Ignace Bourget – Montreal, Quebec

There’s only one course at Parc Ignace Bourget, and the Disc Golf Scene rates it a B+. However, with the USA dominating the disc golf scene in North America, and with Montreal marking such an incredible destination for travel anyway, we’d still list it among the top courses to visit for travelers. The course has a nice, if standard setup of holes, and is generally not too crowded.

As for what to enjoy in the area, the list is endless! Montreal is an incredible city—like an old world European capital mixed with gorgeous modern touches and infused with fine dining, French culture, and spectacular architecture. For those disc golfers who want a touch more gaming in their trip experience, there’s also a WPT event sponsored by partypoker that takes place there annually, and offers people the chance to participate in a professional poker tournament environment (with high stakes!). But no matter what your activity, Montreal is impossible not to enjoy.

Ryan Ranch – Monterey, California, USA

The U.S. is home to an enormous variety of disc golf courses, and countless options with flawless player ratings. However, Ryan Ranch is one of the best public courses you can find, consisting of 27 holes located just inland of California’s Pacific coast. The course is known to be somewhat challenging, and consists of some tight holes, as well as numerous elevation changes that keep things interesting.

The Monterey area, meanwhile, offers some incredible vacation attractions for your time off the disc golf course. The most notable is the Pebble Beach area, where some of the highest quality golf in the world is played (if you’d like to drop the disc and pick up some clubs). However, the Pacific coastline also offers beautiful beaches and resort areas in and around Monterey. For that matter, the Monterey Aquarium is well worth a visit as well!

Again, disc golf has become an enormously popular activity throughout the world, and these are only a few of many great courses you can visit. But if you’d like to combine your disc golf with a bit of world tourism, these are great options to start with!

The Vibram Open at Maple Hill Review – September 2-4, 2011

Disc golf is fun for me on many levels --- athletic competition, design and educational principals related to landscape architecture, the mental requirements it demands of you, similarities to my childhood love of golf and best yet…promotion. Golf is fascinating to me, but to many it’s boring. I feel bad that they think its boring to watch or incredibly frustrating to play, but does EVERYONE know what the sport of golf is, right? Pretty much, yes. Can the same be said about disc golf? “What, you mean Frisbee golf?” Sure, I guess.  It’s actually called disc golf though --- and you’ll like it. It never really struck me that I loved promotion, I just did it. I heard a band I loved and I’d go tell all my friends about it because it was so much fun and so good that I wouldn’t want anyone missing out on it. I didn’t want anyone to miss out on anything fun, simple as that. I went to more and more music as I promoted more and more bands. I’d get free tickets to shows, but it was never about that. It was me not wanting my friends to miss out on the fun. It was about promoting a band because that’s what they want to do it and I wanted to do my part in making sure that it was a reality. Promotion was always natural because there was always something fun going on. The deeper into the music scene I went, the more fun I found.

Now I’ve found my most recent, endless promotion: disc golf. How many people know about disc golf? A lot. How many are OBSESSED with it? A lot. How many don’t even know what disc golf is? More than both those a lots put together. Sad, isn’t it? Disc golf is a sport I will play until the day I die. I literally mean that with ever fiber on my being. The fastest growing demographic of disc golf players is seniors --- and they’re turning out in record numbers! Disc golf rocks! If you know me, I’m not a tattoo guy. I’m tall, skinny, have a beard and like disc golf, music and excel spreadsheets --- a tattoo on me would be awkward. I would get a disc golf related tattoo, though, and it would be amazing. Constant promotion! Haha, now that I read that I think promotion is the reason I’d get the tattoo, but it wouldn’t --- it would be because the sport is fun and I love everything about it. You should too.

My growing love of disc golf over the past 6 years was taken to another level when I spent multiple days at The Vibram Open at Maple Hill in Leicester, MA. This was the last National Tour Event on the 2011 Professional Disc Golf Association’s (PDGA) schedule and the majority of the world’s top pros were going to be in attendance --- all of this a little over an hour from my house in Amherst. I was going to be viewing my first PDGA tournament through the eyes of my new company, Explore Disc Golf. Explore Disc Golf is me using my Master’s in Landscape Architecture, and fusing it with my knack for promotion and my connections within the music industry over the last 9 or so years. If there is only one thing I took from my graduate work in Landscape Architecture, it would be DOCUMENT EVERYTHING --- and I did. I took pictures of everything from tee pads and baskets to porter pottie locations, vending and tee time sheets. What a wonderful weekend it was!

When I pulled in, the family vibe was very apparent. I was parked by the Tournament Director’s mother, and pointed in the direction of the clubhouse where I walked around to check out some of the discs before heading over to check out some of the vending. I was expecting at least half a dozen vendors, but this weekend there were only a couple, Ten Down Disc Golf from Maine and Bachnein Disc Golf from Vermont. Some of the vendors were also dotted throughout the course to provide hospitality to players, while trying to catch some tee shirt and disc sales as well. The only other set up I saw was at the first tee where a large tent was erected to attract patrons over to the tee. The tent and small trailer go from event to event promoting the sport of disc golf, but the first thing I wondered was, “why is this at a disc golf tournament and not at a music festival?” I get it --- it’s a disc golf tournament, but don’t the few hundred people in attendance already know about or play disc golf? Why not take this massive tent and portable baskets to a 25,000 music festival or a beach on a beautiful, yet calm day. Well that’s exactly what Explore Disc Golf is going to do!

After getting my bearings , I decided to go find the first Super Group of the day. I got a late start to my day, but found the group of Nate Doss, David Feldberg, Will Schusterick and Paul Ullibari on the 7th hole. I followed these guys until the 15th hole, where I would follow the other Super Group of the day, which included Nikko Locastro, Avery Jenkins and two others I can’t remember. I apologize for not knowing everyone’s name, but this was my first tournament and I don’t really know the players that well. The name thing was actually one of the first flaws I saw in the system. We are trying to promote this sport, but what about the common person who has no idea who the #1 player in the world is? At a Professional Golfer’s Association (PGA) Tour event, there are handouts that have a breakdown of each group. Each player has a color next to his name, and his caddy is wearing that color with his name on it. That makes it easy. Nikko Locastro (Blue) --- oh look at that guy in a blue bib that says Locastro handing that guy a disc; that must be Nikko Locastro. Done, problem solved. I’m not trying to be harsh; I’m just trying to help the sport. I was bummed when I had no idea who I was watching, but then again I was thrilled I could walk right up to someone and bump fists with them after they threw 600’ bomb over water and sat it next to the pin just like they envisioned it. Ridiculousness.

Unless you have seen professional disc golfers play, you have no idea what you’re missing out on. It took me less than 10 minutes to start laughing uncontrollably, and even tearing up a bit. That’s what I did when I saw Zach Deputy for the first time in 2007. The same thing happened when I saw Rubblebucket in 2007, as it did when I saw Australian-based sensations OKA in Nova Scotia in July of this summer. It’s all I know how to do when I see something I can’t believe. I just have to laugh and cry --- and take pictures.  The reason I get all weird is because I know I'm seeing the future right in front of me. I was formerly a Tour Manager for a nationally touring band, and went through college seeing music 3-5 times a week. I don’t drink and I don’t do drugs --- but when I see the FUTURE --- I lose it. Zach Deputy and Rubblebucket have one of the fastest growth rates of bands I’ve ever seen. OKA will destroy the U.S. music scene in less than 5 years. And disc golf? There is just so much goodness already in place, but still TONS of opportunity. I’m a nerdy, attention-to-detail guy and there is so much missing in the sport. These guys are INCREDIBLY talented, and once I really saw it in person, I almost couldn’t take it.

The one thing I really took from my time watching these players is the confidence they putt with. I remember watching David Feldberg putt on the island green of the 9th hole --- he had a downhill putt of about 25' with water less than 10' beyond the basket. He doesn’t see the water --- he sees individual chains. The guy strokes it and smiles as he walks back to his bag and onto the 10th hole. Unreal! They aren’t limping these putts in either. The disc is going UP as it hits the chains. I usually throw a pancake putt in there so it’s high enough to give myself a chance to float it in, but if I miss, it’s not wet. I really think anyone can throw the Big D. That’s just technique and torque, but putting is where the money is made and championships are won.

This year’s championship was won by Nate Doss. Nate had just picked up his third World Championship five weeks prior in Santa Cruz, CA before trekking across the United States to win the year’s final NT event. I watched this guy for two full rounds and he was solid as a rock. I think over the two days I watched, he had two bogies, maybe three. If you saw this course, that fact would rock your world. He avoids the high highs and low lows. He doesn’t get pissed when he messes up; he fixes it. He doesn’t celebrate when he makes birdies; he marches to the next tee. It was such a pleasure to watch him play because he was almost robotic. There’s something to be said about playing with no emotion and ice in your veins. Like I said previously; all this on the PDGA Tour in related back to the PGA Tour. Some of my favorite golfers are the most boring --- not calling Nate Doss’ playing boring, but it was methodical. I distinctly remember him kicking a small rock on the 10th hole on his final road, and after a massive 500’+ drive over water and between trees, his disc nestled up next to the basket on the 16th hole where he tapped in his birdie and gave a mini fist pump before marching on. You should have seen this drive on 16 --- a huge carry over water, skirting between trees as it crossed land and before carrying another 100’ or so up to the pin before it came to rest for a kick in birdie. And all he did was a mini fist pump? He just locked down the tourney! I would have jumped in the fucking pond in early celebration! Did I mention he almost aced 17?

Not knowing or ever speaking to Nate, he seems like a great face to promote the sport through. Avoid the high highs and low lows, one stroke at a time, every shot counts, bogeys are easier to get back than doubles --- all that stuff. Too many people get all caught up in the fact that they just made a double bogey and they lose their concentration. Then when they lose by one shot at the end of the round, it’s the end of the world. If they stayed focused after that double and didn’t compound it with another bogey on the next hole, they would be tied at the end of the round and going into a playoff instead of losing by one. Sorry to break off on a weird scenario there, but it’s true to the game, and true to how Nate plays. The three other players that played together in the Super Group on day one were some of my favorites as well. As enjoyable as following around the lead card on the last day was, day one really stole the show for me. I really enjoyed watching were Ullibari, Feldberg and Schusterick as much as I enjoyed Doss. The thing I remember most about watching these guys --- Schusterick in particular --- is the fact that they don’t step when they throw their mid range shots. They anchor their front foot into the ground and just uncoil on it. Uphill shots of 300’ with an anchored foot are no problem for these guys, as you could imagine.

To make this sport and tournament even cooler, there were dozens of other activities planned to round out this high profile event. There were putting competitions, accuracy challenges, long distance drives, speed contests, match play challenges, ultimate showcases, pie eating contests and more. These guys are very driven and very competitive, but they do enjoy the laid back atmosphere that the sport is based around. It seems that the disc golf community is very close and very supportive. I wish I could have spent more time at The Vibram Open, but I enjoyed every minute I had. I can only wait for more tournaments and more exposure for the sport. My advice to readers is the next time you think or hear about disc golf, look up a course with a 5k loop or playground nearby. Tons of information can be found out about particular disc golf courses on on www.discgolfcoursereview.com. When you do finally find that perfect course --- go over to the 5k loop and take a walk or even branch off on some holes and use the fairway as a hiking trail. Maybe you’ll find hikers, dog walkers or off road BMX bikers. See how disc golf fits into the landscape with almost no visual impact whatsoever and think about how well it connects on-site features. Disc golf can be enjoyed on so many levels --- from the spectator to the promoter to the player. Go out and give it a try, I promise you will have just found a recreational opportunity that you will enjoy for the rest of your life.

The Vibram Open Course Preview – Maple Hill DGC in Leicester, MA

The other day I had the opportunity to play Maple Hill Disc Golf Course in Leicester, MA --- it was the closest thing to playing on a major tournament course I’ve ever experienced. Playing golf since I was 6 years old, I have been brought up watching the sport’s majors intently. I used to dream of what it was like to play on the courses --- fully manicured, greens rolling 14 on the stimpmeter, grand stands erected, rough 4” thick and tournament officials walking about. What would it take to get me to be able to play those courses only days after the event? Probably nothing --- no chance. Now I’m 27 and have had a new passion for 6 or so years now --- disc golf. So what would it take to play in such a setting --- a major event on the Professional Disc Golf Association tour schedule?  Apparently, simply driving to the course, paying my $5 fee and strapping up my shoes would suffice. Cool!

Wrapping up our 3-week Northeast tour with Zach Deputy, we enjoyed a couple days off in Massachusetts before having to head down to Fredericksburg, VA to pick up tour at The Otter House and follow up on successful summer music festival appearances at All Good Music Festival in Masontown, WV and Camp Barefoot in Bartow, WV. Our two days off proved to be very enjoyable, as I was finally able to play Maple Hill which has been a course I’ve had on my to-play list for a while now. Maple Hill will play host to The Vibram Open in a couple days, from September 1-4 to be exact. The Vibram Open is the 8th and final National Tour event on the Professional Disc Golf Association tour schedule.  All the top disc golfers in the world will be there, and I’ll be ready to document every little sliver of information.

I’m a landscape architect professional and disc golf enthusiast. I have spent many hours documenting proposed courses all over the United States, but am yet to actually attend a disc golf event. I’ll be at The Vibram Open on Thursday, as well as the United States Disc Golf Championships at Winthrop Gold in Rock Hill, SC in early October. To be able to see the operation of the tournament directors, video crew, score keepers, hospitality staff, maintenance crew and more is something I will watch very closely. My life as Tour Manager for a nationally tour banding (and Innova-sponsored celebrity ambassador) has afforded me the opportunity to see massive production from behind the scenes. I am able to see the overall flow of it all, and get down to the nitty gritty and see the finest of details from paperwork in the production office to candy in the dressing rooms. Disc golf is an emerging sport --- I still can’t believe how unknown it is to many --- and I’m unbelievably thrilled to be able to see a National Tour event less than an hour from my home.

When we pulled up to the parking lot, I popped out excitedly with camera in tow --- snapping pictures of everything I saw! Taking pictures of the woodchips, signage, skid steers, pro shop, practice putting area, old signage from last year’s Vibram Open, and the extensive Christmas tree farm. I personally have always wanted a Christmas tree farm, so to see this course integrated so beautifully within one was a nice surprise. Douglas Firs acts as a whole other level of hazards in disc golf, too. Have you ever thrown a disc (or hit a golf ball) through a tree and heard someone say, “Trees are 90% air”? Ok, now let’s think about a Christmas tree. On the 11th hole, I had a routine second shot into the pin for what I thought was a solid par. I let down my guard for a minute and my Roc clipped the edge of the Douglas Fir, batting it down to the ground without a second thought. There is no way to penetrate a disc through one of these trees, so to dot them around your course (or to put a course in the middle of a Christmas tree farm) is highly intelligent.

The 1st and 2nd holes are located within the Christmas tree portion of the property as well, but that should be the last of anyone’s worry. Standing on the first tee, disc golfers face one of the most difficult shots on the course right out of the gate. With no practice throws and only minimal stretching, I took my Umphrey’s McGee Valkyrie out of my bag in hopes that I wouldn’t plunk it in the drink. Maybe this was my demise --- thinking “Don’t put it in the water” instead of “Put it next to the pin.” I put a good huck on the disc, but not enough as it landed in the water about 3 feet short of the stone retaining wall. I hustled down to the basket, took of my sneakers and anything valuable off and jumped in to get my precious disc. I love this thing more than a lot of things in my life, and there was no way I was losing it! The next couple holes were routine pars, but things got exciting once we got back to the water again. Holes 4-9 were an absolute blast, as water was in play most of the time. I really enjoyed this stretch cause a lot of the shots were all about positioning --- leaving yourself on the correct side of the fairway, or putting your shot in a location that takes the water out of play, but still leaves you an uphill putt for par. The only shot on this stretch of holes that is all about muscle and less about discipline is the drive on the 8th hole. With a 275 foot carry all over water, you can’t miss your drive left OR right. Short and left is the large pond, while to the right side of the pathway that takes you to the hole is more water! I tried to peel a left to right turning Sidewinder into this hole, but I didn’t get enough on it and left it about 5 feet short and wet. After plunking two discs in the water through 8 holes, I turned my game around and finished up quite nicely.

Hole 10 isn’t the prettiest of holes, but it does have a signature element to it --- a castle wall. The wooden retaining wall perches the basket well above grade, giving disc golfers even more of a challenge to this Douglas Fir-lined, uphill start to the back nine. The tee shot is pretty straight forward, while the second shot demands a pin high right approach, leaving a level putt for par. If you end up short on your second shot, par putts will be to a basket that is located 10 feet above grade --- very tricky par from there! The back nine is significantly longer than the front, but much more open for the most part. There were a couple wooded holes that really caught my attention, but were much more straight forward than their wooded counterparts on the front nine. I strung together a lot of pars on the back nine and escaped it only +2, which was a thrill for me after a +6 front nine. Ugh.

I was happy to keep it under +10 on my first attempt at this course, but was very disappointed with my play on the tight wooded holes, as those are usually my specialty. This wasn’t my best round, but it was more of a course introduction for me so I’ll be prepared for The Vibram Open, which starts in a couple days. I have seen the gold ropes laid out, making the course THAT much tougher for the world’s best. I remember standing on several holes, looking at the out of bands surrounding us, and just laughing at the gold rope. I’m a halfway decent player, but this blew my mind! I can’t wait for the tourney to start and see these guys BOMBING discs like I’ve never seen before. I’ve scouted out some slot holes that I’ll probably stake out just to see these guys peel it in, landing it within feet of the basket. The Golf Course was fun to see, but very humbling to say the least. Seeing the course in tournament conditions, the pin locations, the out of bounds, the tee signage, and the overall course layout were a treat. The world’s best are about to descend on Central Massachusetts and I hope that attendance for the tournament exceeds expectations. There is no reason for every avid disc golfer within a 4 hour drive not to be here. We are talking about seeing the world’s best at one of the finest, most demanding layouts in New England! For those who don’t come, look for a follow up to the tournament, chalk full of pictures, video and extensive review.

Quarry Run Disc Golf Course- Augusta, Maine

Quarry Run Disc Golf Course- Augusta, Maine

            This course is straight up awesome!  Any type of hole you can imagine is here.  There are short ace runs, long downhill bombers, tight wooed shots, shots from fields into gaps, open field holes, and plenty more.  The course plays through an old rock quarry with a few of the holes going over or though the quarry, which is a cool touch for me.  Quarry Run also has a decent sized pro shop with reasonable prices and the staff are very friendly and willing to help.  Talking to the owner, he is planning on expanding his course and making 2 different course, a pro level course and a beginner friendly course.  This is very exciting and disappointing at the same time because I love the current lay out, but I can’t wait to see what else this property has to offer.

Pros-

-          Great Hole Creativity

-          Great mix of shots i.e. backhand/flick, hyzer/anhyzer, short/long, open/tight

-          Great use of elevation

-          Super clean course

-          Very friendly and helpful staff

-          Course is maintained as well as any other top notch course

-          Tee signs give the perfect amount of details

-          Tables and/or benches at every hole

Cons-

-          Pars are too easy ( I shot 10 under par with 2 or 3 eagles, I’m not THAT good!)

-          The course is going to be changing in a year, so get this lay out in as soon as you can!

-          Tees are rough at times, multiple kinds of concrete used and in sections so they can be bumpy and uneven

 

This is just a fun course to play.  If you are a player looking to get your first under par round or looking to hit par, this is the course to do it on.  Get it out of the way so when you find yourself shooting under par during a tournament, you don’t choke cause you’ve never gone under par before.  With a readjustment to the pars, this course would be a 5 out of 5, but with the easy pars, it is a 4.5 out of 5.  I am excited to see the changes and the new course put in here, but I will miss the current lay out.  Another great thing about the location of the course is that it is a hot bed of courses.  New courses are developing and popping up often to add to the many existing course up there.

Pyramids Disc Golf Course, Leicester, MA

Pyramids Disc Golf Course is my favorite disc golf course.  This play has it all, open, tight, long, short, doglegs, elevation, and one of the best and most famous pro shops in all of the North East- Marshall Street Disc Golf.  This course is located on a great piece of land that has a stream running through 8 of the holes.  Being on privet land, it is a pay to play course (the only down side to the course).  The maintenance on this course is like no other I’ve ever seen.  There is hardly any litter around the course and the course is constantly being improved.  The course has two different baskets for each hole, creating a gold and silver layout.  The gold course is the longer, more challenging course that offers plenty of birdie opportunities, if you can make a good drive and upshot.  The silver course really tests your ability to make great drives and to convert 15-30 ft putts.  Each lay out tests yours skills and rewards you for good throws.

Pros:

-2 lay outs

- Great balance of shots i.e. backhand/forehand, hyzer/anhyzer, long/short, open/tight

- Super clean

- Home of the Marshall Street Disc Golf store!!!!!!  Best selection, best service, and the best prices!

- Great elevations shots

- Great use of over water shots

- Tons of the small detail touches to make a course great! (benches around, tables at every hole, great Tee signs, bridges over water, warm up driving net, DDC court)

- Creative hole design

-Jason Southwick- this man has done so much for disc golf in New England, and he is quite the character.

 

Cons-

-          Pay to play (although I don’t mind paying to play this course, its worth it)

-          Some of the holes zigzag and errant drives and become dangerous for other players.

 

So over all, I give this course a 5 out of 5!  There are such for negative things about this course that they really don’t come in to factor about the course.  This should be on every player’s must play course list.  You really can’t find a better maintained course.  Plus you can’t find a course with such an extensive and amazing pro shop!

The Redwood Curtain in Arcata, CA

Have you ever played a disc golf course that you absolutelyloved, never to have played it again? Have you only played HALF of a disc golf course that you absolutely loved, never to have played it again? Well, until this summer, I thought the second half of that statement was applicable to me. Here’s the back story on a beautiful course: In 2008, I took the summer off to travel. I spent the first part of my summer in Honduras and Guatemala, with the later half of the summer spent trekking across the US hitting up all the festivals I promoted for throughout the school year. Early July found me at High Sierra Music Festival in Quincy, CA having the absolute time of my life --- raging late nights into the early morning, only to do it again the next day with new found friends. After four days at High Sierra, I hitchhiked back to San Francisco, eventually making my way to Arcata, CA for a couple nights of couch surfing before an even wilder trip led me to Oregon Country Fair in Veneta, OR.

The two days in Arcata, CA found me exploring ever piece of the town I could. I ended up in a park playing Frisbee and listening to some banjo pickers before seeing a couple kids walk by with disc golf discs. I picked up my gear, tracked the kids down and joined up for an afternoon of back nine disc golf. These kids were a blessing for a couple reasons --- 1.) I would never have found the course if it wasn’t for them and 2.) I would never have been able to find the next hole, either. This course was INTIMIDATING! If I could get past the sheer size of the redwoods that laid the framework of each hole, I still had absolutely no idea where the next hole was or where an appropriate place was to miss, as the vegetation was so thick and the signage so poor. Playing the course several times, I was only able to play six or so holes before getting completely lost, only to find the remaining three holes a day later. I never did play the front nine as my time spent in Arcata was limited, but I did enjoy the local bars and music scene with the guys from the disc golf course and a couple kids I met on the ride in. I was bummed I barely completed the front nine of the course, as I was leaving early the next morning to meet up with friends I met at High Sierra for a couple day hikes that would take us to who knows where.

Fast forward to July of 2011 and I’m back at High Sierra, tour managing Zach Deputy who is playing a total of four sets over two days. After a fly in date to Electric Forest Festival in Michigan and a show in Mendocino County, we were tired, but ready to wake up early for a trek up to Arcata and a round at The Redwood Curtain. Last time I played this course I walked from the park to the college then over to the back nine of the course. I can’t remember much of the back nine other than it started with a par 3 over water with an elevated island green. The island green was created by a three foot retaining wall that turned good enough shots into bad shots, as the wall would spit discs right back into the pond that your disc just cleared moments earlier. The rest of the back nine have a mix of long, narrow holes that are framed by towering redwood trees as opposed to the skinny pine trees that I’m used to in my home state of Maine.

We parked our 50 foot long Sprinter and trailer under the shade of the redwoods as those in the back laced up their shoes and get mentally prepared for what we thought was going to be a long, grueling round. Coming up to the message board that denotes the first hole, you could see that this course had put in some effort to educate the public about the vegetation along the course. In my opinion, this is the least that a disc golf course can do, as the holes are just an extension of the landscape, grabbing you and forcing you to interact with nature. The message board, signage on the tees or even in the fairways can and should educate the public about their surroundings, as there is so much to be know about this wonderful world. How the hell do these trees get so big? Why can you eat some of the plants on the course and not others? And how do you know which plants are edible?

The first hole wasn’t the hardest of holes, but the visual intimidation was extremely significant. The uphill, dogleg left hole called for an Eagle that would split a sliver of redwood trees, while making it far enough up the hill to leave yourself with a clear second shot to a pin that was guarded by a couple fallen trees. The fascinating thing about disc golf (as well as golf in general), is how some holes just don’t fit your eye. The opposite end of that would be holes that perfectly fit your eye, but this was not the case on the first hole for me. Usually I pick a line and try to keep it, but this time I just looked at a couple big windows in a general area and hucked it. Lucky for me, it landed perfectly at the bend of the dogleg, leaving me with a kick in par and a significant weight lifted off my shoulders. The second hole boasted one of the more unique features I’ve seen in all my disc golf travels...the tee was located on top of a redwood stump! There were a couple hand and foots holes to help players climb up the stump, as it was a good 8 feet above grade, giving a neat perspective of the second hole as well as looking back down to the first hole and the flying discs coming up the fairway. I ripped a Shark on this tee, turning the corner to the right and moving hard to the basket. There wasn’t a lot to this hole, but the experience on the tee is one of the coolest I’ve had yet.

The remaining holes then headed deeper into the Arcata Community Forest, at one point even criss-crossing and blending in perfectly with the local bike and hike trail system. I love disc golf so very much, and with more courses trying to fuse the sport with its surroundings will bring the sport more promotion as there are far more number of hikers, bikers and dog walkers than us disc golfers. The signage on the course was a unique feature, as the wood burned placards were nailed to the massive redwood trees, giving a unique appeal to a common feature in the disc golf world.

Overall, the front nine of the course was relatively easy in comparison to what I remember about the back nine. I’m not going to say I was disappointed, but I was hoping for much more of a challenge and some better scenery. The trees were significantly smaller on the front nine and there were even a few holes that didn’t have the same feel as the rest of the course. These holes could be considered “field” holes, but were just clear cut woods that were now home to access roads for a plethora of vehicles. This is all well and good; it just took away from the continuity of the rest of the course, as well as a lot of the challenge. I finished at +1, but felt like I left a couple strokes out on the course --- showing how easy it was playing. All in all, the course is one I would recommend to any avid disc golfer, as the sheer size of the redwood trees and the rugged terrain you play on makes it all worthwhile. There aren’t too many big D opportunities out there, but precise driving and precision approaches are in high demand. With a couple pole holes dotted throughout the course, disc golfers must be ready for a challenge, as these narrow poles are significantly smaller targets than the normal baskets that we are used to. With a plethora of challenges and unique course features, if you’re ever in the Pacific Northwest for any reason, check out The Redwood Curtain in the quaint town of Arcata, CA for a real sleeper of a course. Be forewarned --- don’t be awestruck by its beauty, cause if you’re not on your game, it will eat you alive!

DIY: From Christmas Tree to Disc Golf Basket

My name is Adam. I've been disc golfing for about a year now. I'm still relatively new to the world of disc golf, but have found that I really enjoy it. I typically play between 1-3 times per week. If you are anything like me, after getting down the basics of disc golf you found yourself thinking about ways to practice, in hopes of improving your game. More specifically, ways to practice realistically in order to improve your game. Its pretty easy to find a field to practice drives and mid range shots, taking aim at any suitable objects at reasonable distances within these fields, open areas, etc. However, when practicing putting, a target that closely resembles what you would see out on the course is obviously best, and will help you to become a more accurate and consistant player. Sure, you can practice putting with anything from office chairs, to signs, to buckets on poles, but naturally, the more realistic the "target" is that you are putting at, the more realistic practice you will get. With that said, I tried the alternatives, but decided that I needed something a little more realistic to practice on. Something with chains that I could rattle, and at least looked somewhat like a disc golf basket. A wide variety of options existed. From very expensive, full-spec competition baskets, to less expensive basic "on course" baskets, to least expensive "practice" baskets. The problem is trying to find the right mix between maintaining the realism of the basket, while at the same time keeping the price affordable. About six months ago, after some research, I bought a Mach Lite portable basket made by DGA. It is a nice basket and suited my needs well. I believe I paid about $130-$140 for it. As far as a practice basket goes, it was a pretty good basket. Well made, portable, inner and outter chains, etc. I used (and still use) it quite a bit to this day. Fast forward. I found myself wanting another basket for two reasons. One, it would be nice to be able to toss back and forth between baskets. Two, my family owns some wooded lakeside property that I would LOVE to have a few realistic, yet affordable baskets on. I decided that none of the available options suited my needs. They were either too expensive, or not very realistic. After thinking about it, and taking a quick peek at what kind of parts it would take, I decided to try my hand at building a DIY (Do It Yourself) basket to see if I could get the best of both worlds (realistic yet affordable). It all started with a fake xmas tree my wife and I were going to get rid of. I decided to strip the tree limbs, needles, etc. and use the base, pole, limbs, etc. to get started on the basket. The following pictures document my process and experience building the basket.
Approx. 3/4 of the way through de-limbing the tree.

 

I removed the remaining limbs (except 1 row being used as the inner chain holder).

Next, I sanded, primered, and painted the pole "metallic silver".

After looking around for potential items to use as a basket, I decided I'd be better off just making one. I bought a pre-cut piece of 2' x 2' 1/2" thick plywood, then used my mach lite basket as a rough blueprint. I bought some cheap 4" by 8" shelf brackets for the outer wall supports of the basket. (Borrowed some ideas from the "wilson basket" design)

This picture shows the basket bottom cut out and brackets spaced evenly on it.

Here, the center hole has been cut and the basket "test fit" onto the pole. Beneath the basket is a pvc "collar" that slips over the pole and is what the basket will attach to.

The basket was then cut for weight reduction purposes and painted to match the silver center pole.

Chains were the most expensive part. I went with 12 outer & 6 inner chains. (18 chains at 27" each. I used 2/0 chain as it is very close to the size and thickness the chains would be on a course basket).

I used some plywood that I had left over in my shed for the top/outer chain mount. I cut it square at 22" per side, then measured every 30° from the center point to get 12 evenly spaced arms. The metal arms are actually stripped limbs from the xmas tree being bent into shape and re-used.

Holes were drilled for the arms to mount through at every corner. I mounted the arms with short, wide head screws.

I ended up painting it red to match my DGA mach lite (red/silver)

Test Fit: top/outer chain mount, inner 6 chains and ring. I used a 2 inch pvc collar to brace the underside of the top/outer chain support.

This picture shows the top attached with the outer chains mounted. I cut a wire hanger and bent it into a 6" diameter circle to use as the ring that the outer chains attach to.

I wrapped 3 lengths of light duty hose in red electrical tape to match the top of the basket, then attached it to the brackets with some small nuts/bolts to form the outer walls of the basket.

Since the very top of the tree fits snugly into to the top of the pole being used, I decided to strip all but the last few fake tree limbs, paint the pole silver, top limbs red, and use it as an optional "flag/pole" to help find the pin when shooting from a distance.

Final hose has been attched and the basket is officially DONE!

The aftermath.....

Specifications:
56" to top of chain rack
22" diameter chain rack/top
24"/26" diameter basket (depends if measuring from corners or faces of basket edge) by 8" deep
24" from the ground to the bottom of basket
12 outer chains (2/0 chain)
6 inner chains (2/0 chain)

Recycled parts:
Fake Xmas tree stand, pole, limbs, top, other small misc.stuff

Bought parts:
18 pieces of chain by 27" long for total of 40.5ft of 2/0 chain (approx $45)
PVC collars (2) (approx $4)
Spray pain [optional] (1red, 1silver) (approx $7)
50' light duty hose (have leftover) (approx $10)
Large roll of red elec tape [optional] (approx $5)
12 shelf brackets (8 basket rim, 4 basket support) (approx $12)
2" steel ring for outer chains to mount to (approx $2)
Misc. screws,nuts,bolts,fasteners (approx $10)

Total Out of Pocket Expense:  Approx $95
*Supply list can be changed to adjust the price. There were also some left over parts (if you are building multiple baskets this could save some $) The spray paint and elec tape were strictly for aesthetic purposes. If you remove these, the price adjusts to about $80.

Total time spent:  Several hours a day for approx 1 week. (much of this time was dedicated to deconstructing the tree.)

Final Result:  A basket that mimics very closely what you would see and use out on a disc golf course without costing the amount of money it would take to purchase a pre-manufactured basket. I modeled the chain structure after the DGA mach new 2. http://www.discgolf.com/equipment/ba...lf-basket.html. It is nice and solid and catches noticably more realistic then other practice baskets I've tossed at. It is a bit heavy when compared with most "portable" baskets out there, but can be moved by one person without issue. It can also be taken apart very easily for longer transport. Everything has been mounted securely and is very stable. I made a point to keep it as close to regulation specs as I could. It catches very well and will serve me (and my game) well into the future.

My goal is to share the results of this DIY basket project in hopes of inspiring other disc golfers out there to think creatively, and take opportunities to recycle, or use repurposed materials whenever possible. Also, to show that for the price of a rather cheap manufactured basket that often times sacrifices realism in an attempt to keep cost down, you can make your own, far more realistic basket and get the best of both worlds. There is also something quite fulfilling about looking at a finished product, when you are the one responsible for its creation. Happy Hucking!

Latitude 64 Diamond Review

The Diamond is one of the newest discs on the market from Latitude 64. It is unique in that currently it is only available in super light weights - in the 145 - 155 range. This makes it idea for anyone who has a smaller arm, women, children, and beginners.  The Diamond is an understable driver, meaning it will tend to go right when throwing RHBH. It also has great glide. Currently it is only available in Opto plastic which is Lat 64's durable plastic comparable to Innova's Champion and Discraft's Elite Z plastic lines.

I decided to go ahead and pick up a Diamond a couple weeks ago because the flight characteristics are similar to the Archangel, which is another great understable disc for beginners by Innova. The problem with the Archangel is that it is only available in DX plastic and therefore once you play a few rounds with it, the disc will get "beat in" and the flight characteristics can change quite a bit. With an already understable disc, this can be a big problem, so I see the Diamond as a durable alternative to the Archangel in a much higher quality plastic that will maintain its flight characteristics for a much longer period of time.  This disc also reminded me of the Lat 64 River, which has similar flight characteristics, but is harder to find in light weights.

The disc itself looks great and the plastic is extremely gummy feeling - more so than other Opto Lat 64 discs I have. That is one thing I really like about it. I tend to use heavier discs than the 149 gram Diamond I picked up so it is probably not a disc I will carry with me on regular occasions. Rather I will probably give them to my wife to use. The thing I probably find best about this disc is that it is super easy to hyzer flip for huge distance. This is done by releasing the disc at a gentle hyzer angle. If done correctly, the disc will straighten out and fly very far. Especially so with this disc due to the light weight and huge glide. This disc is also great for bombing on downhill shots or in a tailwind. Alternatively, since it is so light, it is not a great option for headwinds.

Overall, for newer players and players that are having trouble getting distance on their drives, this is a pretty solid disc to consider. It's a beautiful disc in a great plastic that is super easy to throw. If I didn't already have a couple lighter weight Rivers for hyzer flipping, I would actually probably carry one of these with me all the time. I would love to see Lat 64 make this in heavier weights, and in Gold Line plastic as well.

Grips and Putting: A Video Tutorial

Kyle demonstrates various disc golf grips and shows you how to use proper form when putting.

Proper Disc Golf Driving Technique: A Video Tutorial

Kyle demonstrates proper form when driving.