Whenever I plan on playing a round, I go through a checklist in my head before I get to the course. Warmup, use discs I know, follow through, firm grip, etc. Then I get to the course and it all goes out the window. Many who play sports do the same thing. Whether it is due to being in the moment of playing, being amped to play, shooting the bull with your buddies while you walk to the first tee, it can all lead up to unfortunate events during your round.
1. No Warm Up
I am personally famous for not warming up before a round, or just a few holes, of disc golf. This is usually the product of only having enough time to play a round or a few holes during my lunch break. With many tasks, errands, and duties pulling at each 24 hour day I have, shortcuts are taken quite often. I like to think of it as working smarter, not harder, but that’s not always the case. Things can, and often do, backfire on me for trying to take a shortcut.
Not warming up hasn’t hurt me just yet. I attribute that to two things. First, I don’t throw extremely hard to begin with, and second, I don’t try to throw hard when I am playing. When I get to the first tee, I’ll do a few arm rotations and stretches so I’m not throwing completely cold, and usually take less than 5 minutes of this before I throw. With my elbow injury that prevents my right arm from fully extending, any truly hard throw causes me pain. I do my best to avoid this, thus my use of the forehand as my primary form.
I have never aspired to become a professional, or even a regular tournament player. According to most estimates of the number of disc golfers, I would be in the majority of players for that mindset. While that limits my ceiling for skill in the sport, it doesn’t lessen the risk of injury for playing any kind of sport. I have a good mind to implement a 10-15 minute warm up routine before playing any more this winter. We’ll just have to see how wet a winter it will be this year in Mississippi.
2. Using Discs I Don’t Know
I have my bag pretty well tuned in at this point in time. I throw a lot of mid range discs and putters. Not having the arm speed for fairway and distance drivers means my bag will not hold as many discs as well. My trusted discs number around 15 in the main compartment plus my 2 putting putters. While that doesn’t seem like many to most, I am very comfortable with those particular discs. I throw a mixed bag consisting of mostly Trilogy, a couple of Element Discs putters, and my main putters being Prodigy PA4s.
Not to long ago, I traded some old paintball equipment for some Prodigy plastic that I hadn’t thrown before and wanted to try. They were used, which didn’t matter to me in the least. I put some of them in the bag for a couple of months to test when I had the time and inclination to do so, but ended up taking them back out because I just wasn’t sure what I would be able to do with them if or when one was pulled out to be thrown.
3. Using Only One Shot Type
I worked on forehand rollers a couple months ago to help my game when I am facing a hole that doesn’t suit my preferred throws. After three days of working on that one shot on one particular hole, the forehand roller became a decent shot in my arsenal. I learned what worked and what didn’t. Which discs are better suited for rollers they way I throw them, and that high cross winds are the nemesis of roller shots until they hit the ground.
I still don’t have a very good backhand throw. It is weak, inaccurate, and likely to go the wrong direction. Thus, I throw only a few backhands during any given round. I always look for the forehand route first when I get to where any shot landed. That can hurt me a lot on many courses. Taking time to evaluate the options will not only help lower my score, but yours as well.
4. Selecting the Same Disc
Habits are hard to break. Both you and I have the habit of going to the same disc over and over again because we know what it will do every time it flies. Again, that is a mistake that can hurt scores. I bag four Dynamic Discs Truths. 2 Lucid, 1 Fluid, and 1 Fuzion. I know what each will do, and can swap all but the Fluid out and expect almost identical flights. The Fluid one doesn’t have near the turn that the others do, so it usually gets pulled when I’m facing a hole that doglegs right.
Carrying a Suspect, Bard, Justice, and Warrant as my other mid range discs of preference, I have a range of options to choose from on the tee. Going back for a Truth time and time again leaves me bereft of the options the other discs provide. To counter that mistake, I tend to gravitate to one of my other mids for a greater role during the round. I’m not a huge proponent of field work as my preferred method of learning my discs. But, next year will find me out in a field throwing towards basket(s) on my own personal mini course.
5. Not Factoring in the Wind
I’m so guilty of this. Not only for tee shots, but especially on putts. Longer putts not so much, but from the circle and in, I tend to disregard the wind to my detriment. For such a short distance, you would think that wind wouldn’t play much of a factor in the flight of your putter. From my practice time on the courses near my work and the wind that they generally endure, I can confidently say that wind hurts my scores more than anything else I do on the course.
Two things will happen when putting in windy conditions. With it, the putter will rise; against it, the putter will fall. During my putting practice, I would try to move all around the basket so that I wouldn’t get comfortable with just one wind direction. My success in this was variable. Some angles were much better than others. When I started using the Perfect Putt 360 app, I noted measurable improvements in consistency. Practicing on a basket that saw swirling winds and plenty of directional changes helped a bunch.
So what do you struggle with on the course? Let me know in the comments below!