Winter seems like it is going to wait until 2017 to show up. October 31st tied a record high for Tupelo, MS at 89 degrees, set back in 1937, and was definitely the hottest Halloween in my memory. It has made for some great weather for disc golf. The local TV station has an award winning weather department, and they have steadily reported the lack of rain in the region which has resulted in burn bans for most of the state. Even with the late time change, I have been busy helping my wife in her endeavors most weekends, thus leaving little time for disc golf.

The one time I do have free five days a week is my lunch hour Monday through Friday. I spend it getting in putting practice, some disc testing, and lately just playing some partial rounds. After using the Perfect Putt 360 Android app for the last few weeks, my putting has definitely felt more dialed in. Just getting in putting practice had gotten a little stale, so this week I decided it was cool enough to play during my lunch hour.

Noise Isolation

I am a big listener of all things audio. Audio books, podcasts, music, audio dramas, etc. Since a co-worker during my days working in furniture factories turned me on to audio books, I’ve been a steady consumer of them. First on CD, then MP3, I have listened to probably over a thousand audio books. All the Jack Ryan series, nearly all of the Star Wars novels, and dozens of other book series and singles have grace the airwaves of my headphones in the last decade. And this all means I have to wear headphones or earbuds.

In the past, I would buy over the ear headphones made by Philips or other brands. When working in manufacturing, earbuds would fall out easily no matter the size of the tips I wore. Since getting into IT work, I have gone back to earbud style headphones like these that I can get at Big Lots for five dollars and change. What’s important though is the size of the driver in the headphones. I’m picky about that since the smaller the driver, the more tinny the sound will be. So, for earbud style headphones that I get at Big Lots, I have to check and make sure that I’m getting ones with a 10mm driver. Also, I look at the sensitivity number as well, as the greater the number is, the better the audio will sound.

So, when I set out to play I usually have my phone and headphones and a podcast or audio book lined up. It lets me focus on something besides my throws and keeps me in a good head space. I also recommend queuing up a comedy station on Pandora as well. Pick your favorite comedian and enjoy the laughs as you walk down the fairways. It’s something that will put a pep in your step and get you laughing if you smash a tree and kick somewhere unexpected.

Low Expectations

While it may not seem like a lot of pressure is mounting when playing with your buddies, it is there. Slow, steady, relentless, driving. You want to throw farther, harder, higher, and better than whoever you are playing with. At my last Dynamic Discs Two Disc Challenge, I experienced the worst set of tree kicks since I started playing. I wrote about it a while back, and I look back on it with a laugh. I wasn’t feeling any pressure during that round, yet I managed to make a mess of my round.

None of that happens when I’m playing a solo round. There is nobody there to laugh or snicker at my misfortune. Who cares if I throw one, three, or five discs from the tee pad when I am alone on the course. Chances are I will mess up worse on the successive throws after the one that truly counts. Probably the most important aspect of a solo round is that there is no reason to keep score unless you absolutely want to. Our competitive nature can call for competing with one’s past performance and striving to better it the next time, and each one after that. A singular trek doesn’t have to be competitive at all. I find myself just enjoying the time getting out, whether I’m getting out of the house, or out of the office during lunch.

Freedom From Speech

As a parent, I, and many others, find quiet to be a precious commodity. More valuable than clean air, fresh water, and toilet paper at times, having quiet time is very important. Ok, ok, it may not be more valuable than the things I listed previously, but it is a great thing to have. If you don’t like to wear headphones and listen to something while you play a solo round, then the sounds of the environment is some good background racket. There are a lot of quality courses in parks and if you are on a private course, then the background din will just be some squirrels searching for food in the leaves at this time of year.

An aspect of the freedom from speech that I find rewarding is not having somebody on the course with you trying to help out your game. Keep the clinic off the course. I will ask for advice about my game at an appropriate time, which is not while I am enjoying a round. I’m not saying for anybody to not to try to be helpful, but to keep it on the back burner until the round is over. If anything, offer to help somebody on a particular aspect of their game on a different day and it will be taken more as an offer to help their game improve rather than highlighting something not done as well as others.

Finding The Right Flight

It has been a tenet of disc golf advice and development for a long time that one must learn one’s discs to better play the game. It has taken me almost two years to find disc that I can throw that work for the form that I use, which is predominately a forehand. Quickly, I now bag a Saint, River, Escape, Bard, Suspect, Warrant, Truth (non-Emac), Warden, Iridium, and putt with PA4s. I don’t have any meathooks in my bag because they don’t fit my game. Big arm I have not. I’m lucky to get a fairway/control driver out to 300 feet.

Not having drive and putt ability on each hole requires the knowledge of how each one of my discs will fly. I pull out one of my four Dynamic Discs Truths a lot lately. I grab the Fluid one when I need more of a finish to the right, and the Lucids or Fuzion when I need a straighter shot. I have a Dynamic Discs Lucid Justice for when I need my disc to really finish right, and have just recently thrown it in my vehicle for when I play Music Bend DGC in Tupelo, MS

Throwing multiple shots from the tee pad isn’t really my thing. If I want to try something out, I’ll grab a different disc than I usually throw on whatever hole I’m on or try a new line and just go from there. The work on forehand rollers I did not long ago is an example of my method of trying new stuff. Stepped up, threw the shot, and finished the hole from where my tee shot finished. It may not have worked one time and been brilliant (in my best Harry Potter impression) the next. Whatever.

Do It For You

However you like to play practice or casual rounds, get that solo round in. You’ll enjoy it. They often go quicker, so you can get more than one round in if you have the time. Enjoy the peace and quiet, or jam to your favorite tunes. Delve into the past with some historical fiction audio book or span the universe with a space drama. Laugh at the stories from Gabriel Iglesias, John Mulaney, or Jimmy Carr as you smack the Billy tree. As much of a social animal as we are, being a lone wolf every once in a while is a good thing.