After about a year of playing disc golf, a fellow thrower (we'll call him Boomer, because that's his name) called and said "I found some basket plans online for $10. Wanna split it and build a couple baskets?"
Hecks yeah! My short game sucks. A basket in my backyard could really help.
I checked out the web site for the basket. A short video shows a few discs being tossed into the home-built basket and the sound of the chains was almost enough to get me to buy on the spot. But this is 2007, surely somebody has a decent set of basket plans online somewhere for free, right? Nope, not really. I searched and came up with a few tutorials, but each seriously lacked in one department or another. Back to square one, I Paypal $10 for the eBook. This guy did his homework and the plans look pretty well thought out ... detailed parts list with item numbers for the major retailers, tools required and photos with the step-by-step instructions. But the more Boomer and I (and Jesse, but that's about the extent of his involvement in this saga, so I'll skip lengthy introductions) went over the plans, the more we started to question the durability of a basket made with chicken wire and zip ties ... lots and lots of zip ties.
I said "Give me a week. I'll see what I can come up with."
My first stop was the disc golf course to take some measurements of the real deal. Then, off to the local hardware store and one of the big box chains, to wander the aisles to see if this piece would fit into that piece. I expected to just make some minor tweaks to the basket plans we bought, but in the end, I tossed out everything but the pole. Slowly, the Hardware Basket was coming together. Total cost was about $90. Pricewise, our basket is just about right in line with the one in the plans we downloaded. For about $30 more than it would cost to build the Hardware Basket, you can pick up one of the big name portable baskets ... but the Hardware Basket has 24 chains!
How's it work, you ask? In the few short weeks I've had the basket, my putting "circle of confidence" has extended by a few feet and I've knocked a few strokes off my average. Your results may very.
Step 1: Know the Basket
Before you get started building your basket, go to the course and look at a basket. Have you ever really looked at one? Sure, we throw at them all day long, but check out the parts. Chains, S-hooks and more chains. That's the part to really check out: How the chains all come together at the bottom. Keeping that in your head as a point of reference will help when you get to that stage of your own basket. If you're feeling particularly uptight, take some measurements from the ground to the bottom of the catch basin, from the inside of the catch basin to the bottom of the chains and other such lengths. Having these on hand will let you tweak your Hardware Basket to come as close to the one you'll be aiming at out on the course. To the right are the measurements I came up with and what I used as a reference for the basket built in these plans.
Step 2: Gather the Tools You'll Need
- bolt cutters
- flat-head screw driver
- drill and 7/32-inch drill bit
- round file, sandpaper or Dremel Tool
- and depending on how you want to mount the basket, a
hacksaw may come in real handy. More on that later.
Step 3: Gather Your Parts
Here's what you'll need. Almost everything can be found at your local hardware store. You may have to visit an office supply store for the locking clasp rings. I think they might also be known as binder rings. The whiskey barrel liner is another item that can be tricky to find. Check garden centers or nurseries.
1: 18 guage fence post 1-5/8-inch diamter, 5.5-feet tall
1: 7-inch whiskey barrel liner
47 feet: 2/0 straight link chain
1: 3-inch to 1-1/2-inch PVC coupler
2: 1-1/4-inch to 1-1/4-inch rubber coupler with steel hose clamps
1: 22-inch round grill grate
3: 1-1/2-inch galvanized
8: 1/4-20 stove bolts 1-inch long
8: 1/4-20 nylon lock nuts
4: 5/16-inch fender washers
12: 3/16-inch x 1-1/2-inch eyehook with nut
24: 1-1/2-inch open S hooks
2: 3-1/4-inch hinged locking rings
1: 1-1/4-inch pvc cap
6: zip ties
Step 4: Cut the Chains
Start cutting the chain. You will need 24 lengths of chain, each 23-inches long. Beg, borrow or steal to get your hands on a good-sized set of bolt cutters. You can get through the links with a hack saw, a Dremel tool or an angle grinder, but the bolt cutters will make the job go so much faster. Once you have all the chains cut, set them aside for later.
Step 5: Divide the Couplers
Take the two 1-1/4-inch to 1-1/4-inch rubber couplers with steel hose clamps and cut them in half around the middle using your razor knife. Do not cut off your fingers.
Step 6: Cut Your Pole (maybe)
Figure out how your finished basket will be mounted (see last step). If it will be in a patio umbrella stand, then cut the fence post to a height of 57-inches using your hack saw. If you will be mounting your basket in the ground, then leave the pole alone.
Step 7: Prep the Whiskey Barrel Liner
Cut a hole in the bottom of the 7-inch whiskey barrel liner. Find the center, mark a cutout circle using the big hole in one of the galvanized floor flanges as a template. Cut out the hole using your razor knife. While you're here, drill three holes about 3-inches apart along each of the four raised areas on the whiskey barrel liner for drainage.
Step 8: Erect Your Pole
If you're working alone, you'll most likely need a patio umbrella stand or some other temporary support to hold the fence post upright while you assemble the basket. If you don't have easy access to anything like that, go make a friend and have them help. The first step is simple: Stand the fence post upright. We're going to start sliding on all the parts over the top toward the bottom.
Step 9: Couplers, Flanges & Liners, Oh My!
Loosen the hose clamp on one of the 1-1/4-inch to 1-1/4-inch rubber coupler halves and slide over the pole. You will want this piece to be about 30 inches from the top of the pole. Tighten the hose clamp. Now slide one of the 1-1/2-inch galvanized floor flanges, flat side facing up, down the pole to rest on the rubber coupler. Next, the whiskey barrel liner is put into place. From the bottom, use the holes in floor flange as a guide to drill through the whiskey barrel liner. Add another 1-1/2-inch galvanized floor flange, flat side facing down. Secure with bolt and nut.
Step 10: Secure the Liner
Loosen the hose clamp on another of the 1-1/4-inch to 1-1/4-inch rubber coupler halves and slide over the pole. Push it down tight over the whiskey barrel assembly and tighten the hose clamp.
Step 11: Drill and Screw, Drill and Screw
This step involves the 3-inch to 1-1/2-inch PVC coupler. Measure around the wider end. It should be real close to 12 inches. Make a mark every inch or so, about 3/4-inch down from the open end. Drill a 7/32-inch hole at each of these marks. Insert a 3/16-inch x 1-1/2-inch eyehook in each hole and secure with a nut on the inside of the PVC coupler. Tighten each one down pretty well, but be careful not to crack the PVC. Once all the eyehooks are secured, use the bolt cutters to cut off some of the extra threaded part of the eyehook inside the PVC coupler.
Step 12: Search for the Holey Grill
Grab the bolt cutters again and snip out a spot in the dead center of the grill grate for the fence post to slip through. The orange circle in the middle of the picture to the right should give you a general idea where to snip the grate. If you don't have bolt cutters, the Dremel tool with a cutoff wheel or angle grinder will do the trick. Once you have the hole for the fence post, align the hole in the 1-1/2-inch galvanized floor flange with the hole in the grill grate. The flat side of the flange should be against the flatter side of the grill grate. Push a bolt through the flange up through the grill grate. On top of the grill grate, secure bolt with washer and nut.
For the time being, ignore the little circled Xs. Those indicate placement for the S-hooks, but well get to that later.
Step 13: Making the Basket
Time to assemble the top of the basket. Loosen the hose clamp on one of the 1-1/4-inch to 1-1/4-inch rubber coupler halves and slide over the pole with the hose clamp side toward the top. Tighten enogh to hold in place, you'll fine tune the placement later. Now see if the PCV piece with the eyehooks will fit. You may need to sand/file/grind a bit out of the smaller end to make it fit on the fence post. Slide it down the fence post to rest on the rubber coupler. Next, place the grill grate assembly on the post with the flared end of the galvanized floor flange resting in the PVC part. Loosen the hose clamp on the remaining rubber coupler and slide on the post with the hose clamp facing down. Tap the 1-1/4-inch PVC cap into place on the top of the fence post.
Step 14: Tweak It
Fine tune the placement of the top parts, loosening the hose clamps as required. Once everything is in place, securely tighten the hose clamps.
Step 15: S-Hooks All Around
Hang S-hooks on the grill grate at each of the locations shown in the photo of the Grill Grate with orange Xs. With pliers, crimp the S-hook closed around the grill grate. For the two S-hooks that rest near the handles of the grill grate, secure them in the center position with three zip ties as shown in the picture.
Step 16: Start Hanging Some Chains
Hang chains on each of the S-hooks on the grill grate. Crimp the S-hook closed around the chain. Open one of the 3-1/4-inch hinged locking rings, place it around the fence post inside the whiskey barrel liner and begin threading the chains on the ring. When all the chains are in place, close the ring. Now attach S-hooks to each of the eye-hooks on the PVC piece; crimp the S-hooks closed. Hang chain on each of the S-hooks and crimp the S-hooks closed. Thread the inside chains on the remaining hinged locking ring, alternating the inside chains between the outside chains. Close the ring and throw a putt.
Step 17: Mount the Basket
If you are sticking this in a patio umbrella holder, then you are done. Congrats. If you want this in the ground, you have a bit more work ahead of you. Your fence post should be 66-inches tall and a disc golf basket is about 55-inches tall. That means you need to dig a hole 11-inches deep. A post hole digger works best for this. Dig the hole a few inches deeper to add some gravel for drainage. Stand a section of 1-1/4-inch PVC pipe (its diameter is a bit bigger than the fence post) level in the hole, fill the hole with quick-dry post cement, add the water and recheck for level. When the cement is dry, pull out the PVC and stick your basket in the ground.
Step 18: Parting Thoughts
Share these plans with as many people as possible. Why am I giving this away for free? Because I love the game so much that I want to give something back. You can pay me back by picking up some trash during your next round or helping your local club work on a course.
If you're looking for a ton of great courses in one area, consider visiting the Quad-Cities. Check us out www.qcdiscgolfclub.com.