A couple weeks ago I went out and played a round of disc golf with some pretty good players. Three I would consider to be Local Pros in the Disc Golf Scene here and the other guy is a very good Advanced player. Myself I would consider in PDGA divisions as being either novice or recreational. As you here on disc golf Answer Man quite often they say playing with better players will help better yourself and that’s what I was doing that day.
Being the least skilled player in the group that night of course I was the one making or taking the most shots. Often when I would throw my forehead drives it would hyzer out on me and thus result in a fairly long second shot. However, I have been working on my putting skills enough in the last month or so that once I was within 50 feet of the basket I felt I had a very good chance of making that putt for par.
I made several long putts that day, and one of the guys wondered if I had a basket at home. After telling them about my practice out at the course, they said it showed. A few long putts to save par later, I was on a 600 foot plus par 3 facing a stiff headwind. After my drive, I took a call from my wife and threw my next two shots while on the phone. Still over 50 feet from the basket, I lined up my putt, took the shot, and watched as it S curved into the basket for the best bogey I have ever made. I could hear in the background several damns, and one comment of “and while he was on the damn phone to.” Something I’ll always remember. What’s the best disc golf putter?
If you are wondering which courses I am talking about, click on over to the TDGA courses page. Though it needs a little updating on the maps, it’s pretty accurate on the locations. The ones at Veteran’s Park are nearest to my work and where I go for my practice. There are three courses there, Veteran’s Original, Thunderchief, and Music Bend. Thunderchief meanders around a public fishing pond and is wide open, meaning I can use any of its baskets to practice on.
Depending on the weather conditions, I like to putt from the baskets not near the water. You can check out a video I made of my putting practice on Youtube, which Using a short stack of Prodigy PA4s, I can get in 50 putts in ten to fifteen minutes, and 100 putts in twenty to thirty minutes.
The Step Off
As with many who play and practice disc golf, when putting, the most common practice is to walk off a number of steps from the basket and take your putts from that spot. I do that myself, and move around the basket so that I am facing all angles with different winds. I make as many putts as possible, rinse, repeat from a different direction. This can get boring quickly, so to spice it up. Well…there’s no way to spice up practicing from the “exact” same distance the entire practice session. That’s where my other two more often used routines come into play.
Make & Step
As simple as it sounds, what I normally do is step off 5-7 steps and start putting. For each make, I take a step back and if I miss, there’s no step back until the putt is made from where I stand. It makes the practice much more fun than standing in one place. One aspect of making a put and stepping back that helps with your putting is that you are not focused on one specific distance. The step back puts a focus on making sure you are using the right amount of power to get the disc to the basket.
Headwind v Tailwind
This practice really only works if where you are at is wide open. At the Thunderchief course, it is wide open. The part of the park that encompasses the ponds, disc golf course, and ball fields is like a depression in the ground. Everywhere around it is tall trees, hills, and buildings. It makes for a low spot for the wind to whip through, and it can get really stiff at times.
The routine is pretty simple, and works with any set that works from one side of the basket. Set up in a head wind, using either routine one or two. Practice those head wind putts how ever many times you want, and then switch to a tail wind set up. You can get dialed in on the head wind putts by doing several sets in the head wind then switch. To get maximum challenge out of this routine, I recommend doing one set in either wind and then switching to the other. It forces you to make adjustments and keeps your putting practice more like a real tournament/round situation since you sometimes have no control over the wind direction in the tournament.
Practice Make Confidence
It has been said a million times over, “practice makes perfect.” While that statement is false on many levels, I prefer to say “practice makes confidence.” And I have verifiable proof to attest to my statement. Going back to before my first tournament, I was a horrible putter. Anything beyond twenty feet was only going in maybe twenty percent of the time. I made a commitment to getting better, and thus started my lunchtime putting practice. Sure, it has its ups and downs, but it has made me a much better putter.