Austin Bible Ridge Disc Golf Course ~ Volunteerism & A World Class John Houck Design

It has been a banner week for great stories in the local media about Disc Golf in Central Texas. Most recently John Houck of Houck Design was highlighted in a recent article in the Austin American Statesman.

The Austin Bible Ridge DGC is one of my all time favorites. The view from 11A/B is awesome. I always love and appreciate the course designs by John Houck. He is a player and master you can talk forever with about our sport and so much more.
If you have ever thought “Who made this hole?” (with a concerned sense of fear)… it was probably him, so don’t get frustrated, overcome the challenge and smile when you make par.
Raise your game and play a John Houck course.

For more on a great local legend and champion like John Houck, please spend some time and read about him and his course designs HERE.

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City Renovations of Zilker Park In The Local News

If you are member of the Central Texas Disc Golf community, then you most likely have played some holes at Zilker Disc Golf Course near downtown Austin, TX. It is a great course that has been around for many years and it is finally getting some major love and maintenance to address the environmental impacts and the increased use that has built upon it.

Here is a local newspiece highlighting the Engineering aspects of the maintenance and improvements:

As a personal note, I know the fluff piece was just about the engineering, but I would have hoped that they would have included small notes about the park improvements coming from the Waterloo DGC and how they helped lower the cost of the project by providing our support as well.
The Waterloo DGC will be assisting with a new kiosk, tee signs, a course map with instructions and information, new tee boxes, replacement baskets, and landscaping that will shape the course for years to come.

It is great to see partnerships like this work between multiple levels of participation (public & private) and it is always good to see Disc Golf in the local news to raise positive awareness of our sport and its direct positive impacts in the community.

If you are interested in the location of Zilker Park Disc Golf Course, please check out the local “Course Updates” section of this blog and it will provide you some additional information.

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IT SLICES. IT DICES. …It makes julienne mulch piles – Video Of The Day

Course designers always need tools, after all you can never have enough of them, but what if you had the DENIS CIMAF – DAH Excavator Mulcher?

Excavator Mulcher

Tools like this could help clean up and install a course in a short amount of time when the conditions permit it.

Here’s your video of the day: Excavator Mulcher in Action

Not impressed? Well here are many other videos <HERE>that may provide you what you need.

Sometimes as a course designer or master of machines, you just have to love the symphony of destruction that engineered technology can perform to assist you in your needs.
Just remember to always Design and Mulch responsibly.


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“Around The Nine” – Can you max out at 45 points?

Here’s a good #TBT (“Throw Back Thursday” for you hash tag novices)…

Around The Nine [DGA FB archives Timeline photos]

Around The Nine Putting Game [photo: Disc Golf Association Archives]

“Steady” Ed Headrick (the Father of Disc Golf) brought us many things we enjoy and this was one of them. You can still find some of the legacy baskets across the country that hold this game displayed on the basket (though they are few).

The object of “Around the Nine” was that you started at Position #1 (approximately 12ft away) and attempted to make your putt. If you made it or not, you then proceeded to travel the numbers in sequential order, as the distance increased by 2ft for each number, adding your score with the numbers from each position that you made the putt from.

You could earn a maximum of 45 points if you made it from  all positions and your last putt would bring you out at about 28ft. (a good precursor to the 30ft ring in PDGA play)

Just like basketball players used H-O-R-S-E as a game to reinforce their skills, this seemingly simple skill challenge will get the best of your concentration and your endurance.

Spend some time and give it a try, then watch your game begin to improve.

Just remember:
- One attempt is made from each throwing position
- Points are scored each time the disc thrown comes to rest in the basket
- The number of points awarded is based on the throwing position number
- The maximum possible score is 45 points.


“Steady” Ed Headrick – The Father of Disc Golf [photo: PDGA archives]

Thanks Ed, the fun you created never ends.


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Help the kids of East Austin and Play It Forward

Want to help some kids in Texas on Austin’s East Side? Then help me make a positive difference to Play It Forward, plant a basket, and grow the sport.

Working with the Austin Children’s Shelter, the Waterloo Disc Golf Club wants to give the kids in East Austin the opportunity to share and experience the sport of disc golf that we all love. Let’s help open the world of disc golf to them and let them get all the great natural benefits it provides.
WDGC Main Logo, cropped

Myself and Gordon Kelley, on behalf of the Waterloo Disc Golf Club, will be installing a disc golf basket and donating a portable basket (for indoor/outdoor use) to the Austin Children’s Shelter within the NEXT 30 DAYS! Yes, it’s a fast moving project.

These baskets, indoors and outdoors, will give the kids, the counselors, and families a healthy activity to participate in. These baskets will be a great physical activity and stress reducer at this very important facility on the East side of  Austin, Texas.

These are some of the things I need (suggestions & expertise welcome):

Putters (new & gently used)
- Most anything will do. These are for kids and families new to the sport and to help them enjoy the activity of placing plastic into metal.
- Please donate what you can.

- durable storage containers for the discs to be stored in
- durable bags, equipment bags, or other small items that may need to be stored
- Please donate what you can

Dedication Marker/Stone/Brick
Suggestion or donation for a dedication marker/stone/brick to be mounted on the ground with a dedication message from the Waterloo DGC. Do you or someone you know, that has the skills for carving or cutting out words in stone? What about the option of a mounted piece of metal that has the words engraved/cut-out/etched/etc. so it can be mounted and seen for as long as it is there (we do not want this removable)?
[looking for your ideas/skills]

Skills/Game Markers
Suggestion or donation for 9 (or more) marked/engraved place stones/bricks/markers for putting games around the basket. These will be used for games like “HORSE” and circular putting points, etc. so that the kids can experience a fun time when playing.
[looking for your ideas/skills]

Additionally, the installation will only take about 2 nights of work, during the week, for just a few hours each (depending on who shows up to help).
One day/night will be for all the digging and mounting of the items, then allowing the concrete to dry and set.
The next day or opportunity will be to mount the basket and complete in the installations.

Volunteer work has to be on a weeknight (date TBA) specifically since this is a protected area for the kids, there are limited hours we can access the facility, and as not to disturb the normal days activities.

Knowing these factors we will need:
- Volunteers with tools (shovels, wheel barrow, rock breakers, etc.)
- Concrete mix for mounting
- Mulch/mix to spread around the basket area
- Any additional items that may be needed to coincide with other donations, etc.

Naturally, some of these things will come out of my pocket or some club funds, but with all the talent and business people out there I was hoping that many of you would offer a good solution, donation, or source of knowledge to benefit this.

Please contact me via Facebook/private message, Waterloo DGC message, or email at If you have my cell number, text/calls are welcome.

Ideally, the dedication stones and game markers MUST be durable. We need your experience to help us ensure that they are not removable or can become vandalized over it’s lifetime (i.e. engraved metal plates removed). Hence, why carved or other permanent fixation would be nice.

The Austin Children’s Shelter needs donations and things like this to help the kids thrive and smile through tough times. We will cover the majority of the costs, the equipment, the mounting, the basket pad, etc., but donations to help make it a total package will be simply awesome!

Imagine this, one day meeting some of these kids on a course and learning that YOUR donations to this basket project helped them first learn about disc golf at this great place during a tough time.
Learning that YOUR donations helped these kids “escape” and simply enjoy something that we all may take for granted. Just imagine how great that feeling will be.

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” – Albert Pike

Let’s get this project done. The ground breaking and installation will be done in the next 30-days… we are moving that fast on this so the kids can have a great Summer and beyond!

#growthesport #discgolf #playitforward


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Growing Disc Golf Starts With You

The Waterloo Classic in Austin, TX by the State Capitol. ©Troy Herman

The Waterloo Classic in Austin, TX by the State Capitol. ©Troy Herman

Most recently I attended a sports networking event in Austin, TX. It was a casual event hosted by the local city sports commission and it allowed the opportunity for many in the sports culture to collectively come together and mingle. The groups represented were from the City of Austin, major universities, local and global businesses, and many others that are associated with the active sports culture around Austin; this included everything from yoga to running clubs.
I saw this as a great opportunity to step up to the tee-pad, analyze the field of play and “grow the sport” by throwing the “driver” of disc golf to introduce the disc-golf-curious to what our passion is all about.

It may seem odd in this modern day of technology where information travels at the speed of the internet and everyone seems “hip” and up to date on the latest trends and crazes, but disc golfers still need local opportunities like this event to grow our sport and make our presence known. No technology can replace great human contact and a firm handshake. It creates a bond of trust that sometimes gets forgotten in an age of automation.

Currently the sport of disc golf is still growing its “brand” and influence. It needs to be consistently identified to many groups in the community. This consistent identification reminds everyone, even if slightly, that disc golf is relevant to the community and a great sport for everyone to participate in. Disc golf has simply not reached the caliber of recognition that many other “main stream” sports have, but, it is growing and it is getting better!

At this event, I approached it as a disc golfer. I saw this crowded environment as my field of play and I was competing for recognition against many other sports. I looked at this event as a simple putt and approach “Par 3.” You throw what you know, you play it safe to not go “OB” and you always putt with confidence.

During these networking events, people will be relaxed and casually open to conversation; these are great opportunities for you to speak about disc golf.
Like any round that you play in disc golf, you should know the course rules, have your “go to” discs, and bring enough water for a long round. On this night, I came prepared for a long 21-holes of play. I carried with me: a notepad, a pen, business cards from my disc golf club, and brochures from my disc golf club. My goal was to stay on the lead card and not lose any strokes to my competitors.

[I know your thinking about it] Yes, I said I brought “business cards” and “brochures.” Don’t you when you’re attending these events? If not, why not? These are the key items that can make a lasting impression long after your funny jokes have faded and they are items that give them something to take away and reference later. You are not blindly canvasing a parking lot or neighborhood with business flyers, you are making a one-to-one connection that will have positive and lasting effects. I am not selling a service, but I am selling a passion for our sport and it’s a great opportunity to educate those around me at the event.

Wayne Gretzky once said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” So, GO FOR IT! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Make The Putt ©Troy Herman

Make The Putt
©Troy Herman

Wayne Gretzky was right. With opportunities at an event like this, you take those shots. Place your marker on the ground, talk about your sport with truth and passion, and make that putt with confidence. You may not know what the score is on the leader board or how your fellow competitors are playing, but by playing your game and following your rules it only takes one throw to make an “Ace.”

In example, I was able to hold a group conversation on the topic of disc golf and dispel many of the cliche’s that sometime follows our sport; yes, some of these were the “stoner” and “hippie” references. For those, I explained with a smile that they are a part of our history and feel that they are not a part of the sports true future. I emphasized that almost every “main stream” sport has it’s own scarlet letter attached to them. Disc golf is not alone with stigmas like this and over time this will fade from conversations and no longer be the first description of our sport. Reflecting on my whimsical analogy and level approach, some actually smiled with humor knowing the recent sports scandals in the news, and my point was well taken (it made a good impression).

By the end of the evening, I met many people from the community in Austin, TX. I felt it was an overall successful round of play. I was confident to say that I finished under the course par with many “Birdies” in the bag and one good “Eagle” for our disc golf club.

These events are not frequent, but they are in each of our communities and I would encourage you to get out and participate. It may be an informal potluck at church, it could be a workday at the park, it could be during a local sports expo. The opportunities to promote disc golf are endless and you could be the one to do it.

I encourage everyone to prep their promotional disc golf bag, throw the seeds of our passion into your community, and always know that you are the driving tee pad for growing disc golf. Everyone may feel like a “Recreational” player at their first networking event, but when you are in conversation with a non-disc golfer, you are the first “Professional” they will have ever known.

Grow the sport, because disc golf starts with you.

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Summer is here and the time is right for… Poison Ivy

Yep, poison ivy, that favored nemesis of disc golfers, animal lovers, and outdoor enthusiasts everywhere in North America and Canada; more specifically, those of us located in North America, the Canadian Maritime provinces, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and all U.S. states east of the Rocky Mountains (also in some of the mountainous areas of Mexico).

US Regions of Poison Ivy

US Regions of Poison Ivy

For the “nerds” out there, it’s formal name is: Toxicoden radicans, but there won’t be a test later, so you can just use that for your next trivia night or you can just keep using the name that is commonly stated after an encounter “that [expletive] poison ivy!”

Poison Ivy exposure and blistering [Photo credit Larsonja]

Poison Ivy exposure and blistering [Photo credit Larsonja]


BASICS: Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac can be found in the Central Texas region. They are all plants and they can cause a temporary, irritating allergic rash when they come in contact with your skin. All three plants contain a plant oil called urushiol (pronounced yoo-ROO-shee-all) that triggers the bodies rash-like symptoms.
The oil will penetrate the skin at the thinnest layers first. Example, your hands may not get the rash as soon as the bottom of your feet. The outside of your arm may not get the rash as fast as the inside parts of your arm, etc. since they will absorb at different rates.
Additionally, you can get it year round. If you are pulling roots in the Winter, yes, you can get the rash then as well since the roots contain the oil that is just as effective.

MYTHAfter the first time, I can’t get poison ivy again
FACT: Not everyone reacts to poison ivy when they first come in contact with it (or other exposures), but some can become more sensitized each contact thereafter and may react more severely. Additionally, the reaction may last longer.

MYTH: Dead poison ivy plants are no longer toxic.
FACT: Urushiol remains active for up to five years. Always use proper protection when handling dead plants or roots that look like poison ivy.

Poison Ivy vine [photo credit: Melissa MB Wilkins]

Poison Ivy vine [photo credit: Melissa MB Wilkins]

MYTH: The poison ivy rash is “contagious.”
FACT: The rash itself is a reaction to urushiol. The rash cannot pass from person to person after the urushiol binds or has been removed. If there is remaining oil, THAT is what can cause it to spread.

MYTH: My dog/cat got a poison ivy rash.
FACT: Dogs and cats do not appear to be sensitive to the effects of urushiol like many humans are. The animals hair/coat provides protection. That’s the good news, but the bad news is they CAN TRANSMIT the urushiol from their hair/coats to their owners and others, as well as, other surfaces (furniture, clothing, vehicle seats, etc.). Remember, Urushiol remains active for up to five years so use caution for pets that roam outside. Wear gloves and bathe your pet well to reduce contamination with this oil. [Note: If your animal has a rash please look for other causes]


Poison Ivy
Poison ivy is the most common plant of the three. It leaves have three or five serrated-edge, pointed leaflets. The leaves can be bright colors in the fall, turning yellow and then red. Poison ivy grows as a vine or free-standing plant.
Try to remember: “Leaves of Three, Leave It Be.”

Poison Ivy Tree Creepers [Photo credit: Jonathan Sachs 2002]

Poison Ivy Tree Creepers [Photo credit: Jonathan Sachs 2002]

Poison Oak
Poison Oak has three oak-like leaves and grows as a low shrub. It produces whitish flowers from August to November that dry and can remain for many months. In the fall, the leaves assume bright colors, turning yellow and then red.
Try to remember: “Longer Middle Stem, Don’t Touch Them”

Poison Sumac
Poison Sumac has seven to 13 staggered leaflets with one on the tip of the plant and grows as a shrub or small tree. Poison sumac is distinguished from nonpoisonous sumac by the location of its fruit, it grows between the leaf and the branch as opposed to the ends of the branches.
Try to remember: “Hairy Vine, No Friend of Mine”

Transmission can occur many of the obvious ways…
1) Directly contacting with the plant
2) Indirectly contacting the oils when you touch pets, gardening tools, sports equipment, or other objects that had direct contact with the plant
3) Airborne contact from burning these plants, which releases particles of urushiol into the air that can penetrate the skin, eyes, nose, throat, or respiratory system.

Poison Ivy on ground [Photo Credit SWMNPoliSciProject]

Poison Ivy on ground [Photo Credit SWMNPoliSciProject]

*NOTE* For serious cases or concerns you should ALWAYS seek medical attention. In some extreme cases, a reaction can progress to anaphylaxis.

AT EXPOSURE (This is where the important steps begin)
- Wash it off your skin right away using LOTS of cold water, DO NOT take a bath/shower since you could expose more of your body to the oil. Warm water opens your pores and increases the chance for it to be absorbed.
- Use plenty of soap when washing  the affected area.
- Vinegar or Sterilizing Alcohol are alternatives that offer some help after exposure
You can use commercial brands Tecnu Extreme or Zanfel cleanser
- Some research indicates that washing with alcohol may help remove the oil. This may work up to 1/2 hour after the exposure.After that the oil probably has soaked in and you can’t remove it.
- If exposed on the face, wash AWAY from your eyes, mouth, nasal and ear openings.

Roadside poison ivy [photo credit Jaknouse]

Roadside poison ivy [photo credit Jaknouse]

UPON EXPOSURE (The oil has been absorbed)
If you happen to be so unlucky to get exposed to the oils from the plants listed above, you can expect a few things and I will try and highlight them for you.
- A reaction can appear within hours of touching the plant or as late as 5 days later
- Gentle to severe itching develops into reddish colored inflammation or some non-colored bumps that then evolve into blistering
- Blisters that may “weep” (leak fluid) and later crust over
- The affected area will become red and swollen

- First and important, do not scratch the blisters. Bacteria from under your fingernails can get into the blisters and cause an infection.
- In most situations you can treat the rash on your own with OTC items like calamine lotion.
- Cold compresses, for 15 to 30 minutes intervals, several times a day help with itching and blistering (cool showers can be effective).
- With a severe rash or condition that requires medical attention, a doctor could recommend/prescribe oral prednisone or another corticosteroid.
- apply topical OTC skin protectants, such as zinc acetate, zinc carbonate, zinc oxide, and calamine dry the oozing and weeping of poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac.
- Use protectants such as baking soda or colloidal oatmeal relieve minor irritation and itching.
- Aluminum acetate is an astringent that relieves rash. This can even be found in some common aerosol deodorants.
- Take short hot baths to ease the itching (remember, do this ONLY after it has become a rash and DO NOT confuse it with the initial contact wash of cold/soap water)
- Take antihistamine pills. The pills can help reduce itching, but use caution. Do NOT apply antihistamine to your skin, this could worsen the rash and the itch.

Overall, the rash and irritation can generally last as long as 3 weeks, the average is 1-2 weeks.
If you should experience any of the following conditions you MUST seek medical advice immediately:
- if you have a temperature over 100 F
- if there is pus, soft yellow scabs, or tenderness on the rash
- if the itching gets worse or keeps you awake at night
- if the rash spreads to your eyes, mouth, genital area, or covers more than one-fourth of your skin area
- if the rash is not improving within a few weeks

Poison Ivy bush [photo credit: credit Jonathan Sachs 2002]

Poison Ivy bush [photo credit: credit Jonathan Sachs 2002]

- Wash exposed clothing
- Wash exposed surfaces and items (discs, chairs, bags, tools, etc.)
- Wash exposed pets and animals
- If you think you are exposed, keep exposed areas that may contain oil AWAY from your genitals, infants, eyes, nose, mouth

- Wear protective clothing around exposure situations (long sleeve, gloves, etc.)
- Avoid the plants whenever you can
- Use a skin-care product called an “Ivy Block Barrier.” This helps prevent the skin from absorbing the urushiol oil, which causes the rash. Products of this type usually contain bentoquatam. The can products be purchased OTC without a prescription. Always apply the block BEFORE going outdoors.
- Other tips and information about barrier lotions for protection can be located here.
Remember these three mnemonics:
“Leaves of Three, Leave It Be”
- “Longer Middle Stem, Don’t Touch Them”
“Hairy Vine, No Friend of Mine”
- Only 15% of the population has NO allergic reaction to the oils, while 85% does with varying degrees
- If all this reading wore you out, how about a video? Great! You can find a video here that essentially highlights much of the information I provided you.

[photo credit:]

[photo credit:]

(Bonus information and factoids that you may not care about)
Wait? What? There’s MORE information? Yes, there is a little bit more for you. I would rather you have something to mumble about under your breath as you are laid up complaining about coming into contact with Toxicoden radicans. (see how I threw that in there again)
Poison Ivy is NOT an “ivy” and Poison Oak is NOT an “oak They are actually both members of the cashew family. Now chew on that information and stump your friends on trivia night.
Goats are a Toxicoden radicans worst nightmare (okay, third and last time that I threw that in there…promise)
- Goats can eat poison ivy with no ill effects and can do so in very large amounts while saving the eco-system from harmful equipment/chemical damage. Yes, I have a goat video for you and you can see them eat what they love to eat.

Nope, nothing else to say. I hope you would all have a great fun and safe time in the outdoors and go away with some of the information that can help ease your pains of being exposed.
We can never avoid the poison ivy, we all encounter it at one point, but the more we know to look for it will help us, our kids, and everyone else. Don’t live your outdoor time in fear, live it with FUN!

Frisbee and Goats are best friends [photo credit:]

Frisbee and Goats (Abby) are best friends [photo credit:]


For additional links, factoids, posters, and handouts check out:
Want to test your knowledge on identifying Poison Ivy? Click Here (Section 11)

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