The last TDGA mini I played was a monstrosity. I couldn’t hit the fairway for all the trees on many holes. Even after my tee shots, the trees kept jumping in front of my discs that day. Some holes felt like I couldn’t get more than 50 feet down the fairway before seeing my disc slam back to the ground. Then I came to the first hole of the course, we had started on hole 3.
I grabbed the white Opto River that I had picked up at the TDGA Bag Tag Challenge at the first of the year. With a headwind, I expected my disc to hyzer towards the road that runs alongside the hole. What I instead witnessed was the stomach churning sight of my disc moving left with no sign of turning to the right into a hyzer back towards the fairway. To make it worse, the left side of hole 1 is like a black hole that sucks all discs that go its way into its maw never to be seen again.
I realize that the jungle to the left of that hole is not a black hole. Some discs do make it out of the stroke eating brush, but those are just a select few. One other disc of mine has disappeared on that same hole, but I was able to find it the next day. I haven’t thrown it since, and gifted it with the name “Dubious” as it was the second time that white Fluid Judge had made its on way where human eyes couldn’t find it, only to be found later.
Losing Its Way
Bad form is usually the cause of a disc becoming lost. I don’t have great form myself. Throwing forehand to save stress to my elbow is the cause of most of that. I’ve worked on it occasionally, and eventually came to my current form. It has resulted in my throwing the bulk of my shots going the direction I was aiming. While not necessarily flying how I want them to, many of my shots at least advance me 150 feet closer to the basket.
As rare as it may seem, there are more discs thrown in the water than you would think. I go back to the Vibram Open this year when I think of a professional player not throwing a disc where he wanted it to go. On Hole 14 during the first round, Jeremy Koling’s tee shot turned to the right and never hyzered back towards land. He threw his hands up to his head in disgust and watched as the plastic splashed unceremoniously into the drink. The way he looked at the disc going the wrong way was exactly how I’ve seen other players look at a disc going the wrong direction.
Clearing The Path
I haven’t played a great number of courses. Those I have played all had the same features, tee pads, fairways, and baskets. What makes it fun on some courses is there are multiple paths to the basket, be it more than one fairway or gaps in the trees of bush. Just last Sunday, the first week of my local PDGA league, my tee shot on number 7 found itself pin high but 100 feet to the left. The slightly overstable disc turned over and inexplicably missed every tree in the path is was flying. I ended up with a bogey, yet the drive was one of my best of the day.
Even when a discs takes a path that is unintentional, it has the potential to teach you something about the course. Small, previously unseen windows can reveal themselves as a way to get closer to the basket. Impenetrable walls of brush that usually prevented a shot you wanted to throw seem to give a slight chance to advance the disc. Udisc and the DGPT has added the scrambling stat as a metric that touring pros can be measured by. It’s an interesting stat because what it really means is the pro threw a bad shot, took a bad kick, or some other misfortune that can occur when the disc doesn’t go where intended.
Matt Dollar had to scramble after his drive on Hole 1, and if you watch after his drive, the others didn’t have an easy time of it either.
Finding Your Own Way
I found the replacement for my lost Opto River just last week on Amazon. There’s not a huge selection on Amazon, but you can find most of the popular brands for sale there. I fell in love with the premium flexible plastice from Sweden a while back. If you like the Lucid/Opto/VIP plastic from the Trilogy brands but want more flexibility, then the Fluid/Frost/Elasto plastic. My tactile response says it’s very grippy and durable. The durability I can attest to due to the all the pine trees on many of the course in my area. Pine trees eat up base plastic like Gabriel Iglesias at a taco bar.
Back to the River!
I ordered one in 170-175g weight on Amazon through the seller Gotta Go Throw. I got a message not to long after ordering that they were out of my selected weight at the moment and offered me two other options. I went with the 166g Orange Frost River. Arriving at my door on Saturday, it was just in time for my PDGA league round on Sunday.
Oh what a disc it is for me! I love the flight path of the River. Out of my hand, it turns left and then tracks back to the right gently. I can turn it over fairly easily, which necessitates good form when throwing it. But I also have been turning my Escape over, which means I have a form issue that I need to work on. So, I guess it’s time to get some fieldwork in.
Disc Golf Dohs!
During Sunday’s league round, I played on the same card with Josh Rayburn for the second week in a row. We both had a bit of misfortune on Hole 7. Josh happened to smack one of the early trees that define a 20 or so foot gap that you have to hit before it gets fairly wide open. The gap is maybe 50 feet in front of the tee pad. I threw a fairly good shot, but it kept heading left, missing a solitary branch that knocks a lot of discs down. Somehow it missed all the trees and landed pin high maybe 65 feet or so to the left.
What made that hole so funny for the both of us was the previous week, we both had almost the exact same results from our drives. His kicked a little further left the first week of league, while my disc landed 100+ feet to the left of the basket pin high. I think Josh may have taken a 3, while I managed a 4 after my approach went high and got knocked down 35 feet short. My putting was off that first week of league, so I left several pars behind as my disc clanged off of the chastity belt on the baskets. Josh and I both shot better than the first week, so it was a good day.
The sponsorship article/series is still a work in progress. I reached out at a bad time of the year, being so close to Worlds. It’s still to come. The Sportsack has taken the disc golf world by storm. Not your normal accessory for keeping your hands and discs dry and gripping well, I’ll be writing a review of the one I purchased a few weeks ago.