I got a round of disc golf in after I got off of work on a recent Friday. It was on the newest course in my area, Music Bend. Posting my intent to play got a couple of a local club members to join me. One of whom was Latitude 64 team member Chris Akers. An all around nice guy and a very good player. The round was challenging from the start for me.
Chris had an easier time of it during the first five holes. He might have been playing even or one under by the time we hit number six. That’s where it started to get tough. Music Bend is cut out of a swath of swampy area that is festooned with small diameter trees. The fairways have been cut out nicely, but jail abounds when you wander left or right.
Not for want of good form and smooth releases, Chris and I found trouble more often than not. Some holes we both had trouble, and others, we alternated between good shots and head shakers. Music Bend is a tough course. It takes hitting the right lines at the right height with the right angles to be in position for birdies. None of the holes on the course are extremely long, with most being 350 feet or shorter. It is the technicality of the course that makes it more difficult for my skill level.
Number one is that disc golf is hard! For those of us who can’t throw 400 feet or just casually, the sport I love is not played for the best score. I don’t play disc golf to win money. I don’t play disc golf with the hope that one day I will get sponsored.
I learned that I will never be as good as many others currently are. My game will be all about making “get out of trouble” upshots and “trying to get to the circle” second shots when my drives crash and burn. Playing for par, or even bogey, is my focus during a round. That usually means making putts when they count, and that means practice.
One thing that I realized quite a while ago was that I would have to find ways of scoring other than parking my drive under the basket. That understanding caused me to focus of becoming a better putter, and thus, my lunchtime putting sessions started. Chris complimented me on my putting a couple of times during that round, saying that my mechanics and motion were great.
I have worked a lot on my putting mechanics. I have a putter that works for me and feels great in my hand. It has been very evident in my past few rounds. I made some long putts for par on Thunderchief DGC, which is long and wide open with lots of wind. On Music Bend, I was able to jump putt some long approaches to with within 15 feet for an easy par.
Working on being able to replicate my putting mechanics has been pretty important over the last six months or so. Chris said he practices putting a lot since he has a basket at his house. I don’t have one myself and thus content myself with using any of the course baskets that I work near during my lunch breaks. In a good week, I might get two to three hundred practice putts in using my five Prodigy PA4s. I can only imagine that Chris puts in quite a few more than I do since he is a sponsored player.
With the weather warming up now, getting out for some field work and rounds after work is easier every day. Perfecting, or as near as can be done, my forehand is my next goal. I have a pretty solid forehand, which is all I can throw for distance shots, if you could call 250-300 feet distance. We all love to watch instructional videos on Youtube, but sometimes watching the form of a pro is the best way to figure out your own best method of throwing.
Here’s a good clip of Rickey Wysocki’s forehand/sidearm.
Compare that to Jeremy Koling’s sidearm from this Prodigy video.
Yes, they have two completely different approaches when throwing a sidearm. Rickey has a farther reach back than Jeremy. Jeremy has a little hop step in his run up. The key is figuring out what works best for you, or me in this case. I went from an Avery Jenkins style sidearm to just a two step sidearm with a farther reach back similar to Rickey Wysocki.
Here’s a clip I posted on Instagram of my sidearm. It’s not the best angle, but it shows where I’m at in my form in the present.
Like I said before, my goal is to work on my sidearm. I’ll keep up my putting practice, but it will be the lesser of my focus the rest of this year.
What are your goals for your game this year? Let me know in the comments below, or on any of my social media accounts.