Discmasters, the world’s first disc golf variety show

Most of you who read this blog know that I run School of Disc Golf as a side-gig, mainly because I thoroughly enjoy getting new players hooked on the game and helping those already addicted to get better. You’ve likely at some point read that I used to play all the tournaments I could get to, topped out at a 999 player rating (so close!) and for a time was an officer of the DeLaveaga Disc Golf Club.

What I don’t think I’ve mentioned in quite a while in this space – if ever – is another off-and-on project of mine- Discmasters TV. Since the first new episode in quite a while just hit YouTube I thought I’d take a little time to tell you about the show and its origins.

It all started when I came across a video on YouTube that covered a tournament in Santa Cruz called the Faultline Classic. I thought the video was well-produced given the obviously limited technical resources and decided to approach the guy who posted it with an idea I had been tossing around for some time. The concept was for a ‘lighter side of disc golf’ type variety show that would incorporate instruction, interviews, and cheesy, badly-acted comedy. It should come as no surprise the last part came naturally.

My original model for the show and indeed the name itself came from a cheaply-produced fishing show from the 80’s called Fishmasters that itself was a spoof on another show called Bassmasters. I liked the way Fishmasters turned their minimal technical capabilities (which I think were still greater than ours) into a positive by having it add to the comedic element of the show- knowing that anything we could muster would have the same limitations.

So as I said, I contacted the guy who posted that original Faultline Classic video and learned that he worked for Community TV in Santa Cruz, and the video had actually been broadcast there first, on local TV. At this point, let me introduce that guy- Ben Baker.

Ben had a year or two before that graduated from San Francisco State University with a film degree, and his job at the TV station was his first film-related position. He liked the idea as much as I did, and was even more excited when I told him that I had spoken to disc golf luminaries (and friends) Nate Doss, Valarie Jenkins and Avery Jenkins and gotten them to agree to participate as well. As luck would have it, the disc golf touring season had just ended and Nate, Val and Avery would be in Santa Cruz for the next couple months, enabling us to spend time in both the studio and on courses shooting footage.

A side-note about Ben: When we started the project he was enthusiastic about disc golf but pretty much a novice player. His sidearm shot had power yet score-wise he was all over the place. I even hustled a lunch out of him giving him a stroke per-hole at DeLa (that’s 28 strokes!). Ben was not altogether pleased with that introduction to disc golf gambling. That was a couple years ago. This past season, he captured the overall Championship for the venerable NorCal Series tour in the AM2 division. Good for you, Ben! I’d like to think that my instruction and Val, Avery and Nate’s excellence rubbed off on him.

As we envisioned, the show has covered lots of disc golf-related territory. There have been instructional posts by me (on the show known as Jack Tupp), Nate, Avery, Val and even one on putting by Nikko Locastro. There has been lots of tournament coverage, including the 2011 Pro World Championships and the Otter Open in Monterey.

Lots of disc golf celebrity appearances in addition to our regulars: Greg Barsby, Eric McCabe, and Nikko come to mind, but there have been plenty of others (you’ll have to watch the shows to find out who else.) Viewers also get introduced to players known better in Santa Cruz than the rest of the dg world, like Shasta Criss, Don Smith, Tony Tran, and Jon Baldwin (who became World Champion in the Masters division after his Discmasters appearance).

We  managed to get a cool logo created by Nate’s step-sister, the talented Audrey Karleskind. Even a cool theme song (lyrics by Yours Truly). And of course, there have been numerous bits of cheesy comedy.

My favorites are the ones that involve me playing bongo drums while Avery tries to putt, followed by Avery nailing me with a disc with Kung-Fu like accuracy, and magic minis that adversely affect my wardrobe. And of course there is the hipster-doofus named Jimmy Shank. Gotta love that guy. And possibly the best is yet to come as we shot some great footage in which Valarie stars. Stay tuned for that.

The just-released clip I mentioned earlier is a 48-minute studio interview of disc golf hall-of-famer Tom Schot and Monterey disc golf pioneer Merle Witvoet. It was shot just before the 2011 Pro Worlds so part of the talk is about that, but I think the most interesting discussion centers on the history of disc golf in Santa Cruz, of which Schot is principally responsible. Disc golf historians should find it interesting.

The best way to see all the episodes and other miscellaneous short clips is to visit the DiscmastersTV channel on YouTube. And if you’re eager to see new episodes, visit the Discmasters page on Facebook and let us know. Hope you enjoy watching them as much as we do shooting them.

The ‘Worldwide Broadcast TV Premier’ of DiscmastersTV

So here’s the lowdown on the TV show: We’ve got the first episode complete and online on our YouTube channel here. We have enough footage already for the first four episodes, but will be shooting more soon.

We now also know when the show will air on local Santa Cruz cable. If you’re interested in helping it get aired in a different community, let me know. Here are the initial Santa Cruz show times:

+    Sat    05/21/11    03:00 PM    Channel 27/73
+    Fri    05/20/11    08:30 PM    Channel 27/73
+    Thu    05/19/11    06:30 PM    Channel 27/73
+    Tue    05/17/11    01:00 PM    Channel 27/73
+    Mon    05/16/11    09:00 PM    Channel 27/73

Future episodes feature Nikko Locastro, GreGory Barby, Jon Baldwin, Shasta Criss, and a bunch of other local and Pro players. Enjoy!

A Discmasters teaser plus, uh, "Gourd Disc Golf’

Being Jack Tupp on Disc Golf . . . it’s a way of life

For some time now, the majority of the posts on this blog have leaned towards instructions, course reviews, and equipment reviews, and away from the author’s personal experiences in the sport. This has plenty to do with my no longer competing at the higher levels, but I’ve got a couple tidbits to share that have nothing to do with my plummeted player rating and disappearance from the sanctioned tournament scene.

Disc Golf Class at Cabrillo College
The Cabrillo College Extension Program’s Spring catalog, which is mailed to nearly 100,000 households, features disc golf on the cover. They’re promoting my short class, called Disc Golf for Fitness, Fresh Air and Fun! I’m marketing it to and tailoring it for people of all ages that are interested in learning more about, and playing, disc golf. They tell me being on the cover might force us to add a second session, which would be awesome!

Monthly Disc Golf Show on Community TV in Santa Cruz plus YouTube
It probably won’t begin airing for a couple months, but I’m excited to be working on a monthly disc golf show that should be different than anything I’ve seen out there thus far. World champs Nate Doss, Valarie Jenkins and Avery Jenkins (all living in Santa Cruz) will be featured in most if not all episodes, and we’ll try to mix in equal amounts of footage of disc golf action, course reviews, tutorials, and discussion of various topics surrounding our growing sport. Hopefully we’ll be able to flavor it with some weirdness and humor to keep it interesting.

Avery Jenkins putts on Hole 10 at Pinto Lake Championship DGC while cameraman and producer Ben Baker films

My partner in this ambitious endeavor is Ben Baker, a Community TV producer and creator of the recent coverage of the Faultline Classic tourney in Santa Cruz. More information, including broadcast times locally on CTV and links to view the show online will be published here in the (hopefully) near future.

Baskets seem to find me
Took the family to Tahoe recently, and one of our goals was to find a great place for sledding. We were pointed in the direction of a hill at North Tahoe Regional Park. True to the suggestion we received, the hill was great for our kids for sledding. But I also received a nice surprise when I spotted first one snow-covered basket,

then another,

and finally one right near the hut where we paid to go sledding (don’t know how I missed that one when we first got there- must be slipping).

I inquired with the guy in the hut, and sure enough he had one disc (a beat-up DX Stingray, which I assured him was valuable as a roller and finesse turnover disc) for me to borrow. I tried a few putts with ski gloves, and a few with frozen digits. Not sure how those in other parts of the country manage to play their Ice Bowls. No whimps, no whiners indeed! Anyway, I checked it out on line, and apparently the course at the North Tahoe Regional Parkis quite challenging and fun. I’m on a mission to get back there in a warmer month and play all 18.