Hey Dogleggers, long time no talk! I promise I haven’t forgotten about you guys—I actually daydream about blogging quite often. For those who don’t know, I’m currently in my junior year of college, so let’s just say that I have to write a lot of stuff that’s not about disc golf during the school year and my brain can only produce so many words in a week.
Anyway, I’ve been DYING to tell you guys a little bit about the crazy winter we’ve been having here in Missouri. It’s been a winter wonderland. Not “wonderland” like the deep snow and beautiful trees on a Christmas card—we’re not quite northern enough for that. I mean WONDERland, like “I wonder if it’s going to be 60 and sunny, or if it’s going to be so cold the news anchors are telling me not to let my dog outside for more than 10 minutes.” So, let’s take a look at Missouri’s last few weekends.
Four weeks ago today I played in the 28th Annual Ice Bowl in Columbia, Mo. Columbia is not only my hometown, but the home of the original Ice Bowl in 1987. As we all know, the official Ice Bowl slogan is “No Wimps, No Whiners,” and for the 28th Annual there was nothing to complain about. The weather was beautiful, in the 40s and no rain or snow. I was very happy to be able to play in a division of 5 women, two of us celebrating one year since our first tournament! On top of that, I shot my personal record on the Oakland Top course with a 2 stroke improvement. It was a wonderful day!
After such a great experience at the Columbia Ice Bowl, I was really pumped to play the following weekend in Jefferson City, Mo. However, the night before the tournament there was an ice storm and it wasn’t safe to make the 30 minute drive. Instead, I spent the day playing a 4-hole NOMAD course at my house and gathering with my neighbors to scrape ice off of my street. Not so wonderful.
I didn’t get any golf in the following weekend. There was more snow and I turned 21, so I think you can infer that I was a little busy doing other things…
Last weekend I finally made my way down to Jefferson City to play league at their new course. They still don’t have permanent baskets or tee pads installed, so we played the front nine twice with temp baskets. Just by looking at the front nine and hearing rumors about the back nine, this course is going to be a BEAST. There are a few water hazards, lots of elevation change, and a mix of tight tunnels and long fairway shots that have to be strategically placed. (It’ll definitely be worthy of a course guide when it’s finished.)
Although it only snowed a little while I was there, there was plenty of “leftover” snow on the ground, cause it hadn’t been above freezing in at least a week. The park’s namesake Binder Lake was frozen enough to walk on (although I never recommend walking on ice!), which is pretty rare.
During this round my winter weakness was particularly evident. I’m usually pretty good at not letting cold affect my mental game, keeping my throwing hand warm, and not letting my feet get wet. But the worst thing about winter disc golf is wearing so many layers that it limits my range of motion. For the most part it doesn’t impact my driving, but trying to follow through on a putt when I feel like the Michelin Man is just not going to happen.
Just six days later, I played my first short-sleeved round of the year at Carrollton Park in St. Louis. It was a beautiful, sunny day reaching a high of nearly 60 degrees. Can you say complete weather 180!? Then, fast forward to today, when the high is expected to be only 38 degrees; my disc golf feat for the day will only consist of writing this post and wishing I were at the Gentlemen’s Club Challenge, where it is currently 65 and sunny!
On Tuesday night, more than 40 people attended the Pro Clinic featuring Ron Convers Jr., Jay “Yeti” Reading, and Robbie Olsen. The clinic’s general focus was on playing in the wind, as Kansas is famous for, but the tips given ranged from general disc physics to distance driving. Here are a few key tips from each of the pros for those of you who missed out!
Ron Convers Jr.
Look for visual wind clues
A common way to test the wind condition is to throw some grass or dirt into the air and observe the direction it blows before it lands. However, this only indicates the wind condition at the tee. Especially on longer holes, it’s important to look to the end of the hole for trees or other things that show the direction and speed of the wind. Your shot should be adapted to fit the wind throughout the duration of the hole and your disc’s flight.
Add field practice to your routine
When you’re just practicing on your home course(s), you tend to throw the same discs on the same lines over and over again. Ron suggests going to an empty soccer or football field and getting to know your discs better in this setting. You’ll have a better idea of what types of distance you’re capable of throwing. The monotony of throwing shot after shot will cause you to step out of your comfort zone and to put your discs on new lines. You’ll never know if your backup backhand driver should be your go-to flick disc!
“The best asset a disc golfer can have is a short-term memory”
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Every hole is a new hole. Don’t let a bogey or OB mess up your entire round.
Jay “Yeti” Reading
Play by the laws
The laws of physics, that is. There are four major forces that impact the flight of your disc. Of course, there’s gravity and lift. Then there’s momentum—everything in your throw should be utilized to increase momentum. When you’re doing a run-up, it will only add to your momentum if the elements of your standstill form are still intact! Lastly, the little scratches in your disc impact drag. Contrary to popular belief, blemishes on the outer edge of the disc are less important than those on the inner edge. Some of these can be smoothed out by rubbing the disc with a terrycloth towel.
Play to your strengths
When it comes to playing in the wind—or really any time—first consider throwing whatever style is most natural for you. If you throw right-handed backhand, you should always be on the lookout for a hyzer route, because chances are it’ll be the easiest for you to control.
Distance is all in the hips
Just like a good golf or baseball swing, movement in the hips is key to any good disc golf shot. The hips are where the momentum begins, and using them properly will add distance to your throws.
Keep your core tight
In order for the momentum from the hips to travel to the arms, the energy has to travel through the core. By making sure your core is tight and is acting as a connection for your hips and upper body, you won’t need to pull back as far to still see an increase in your distance. As all of the pros at the clinic agreed, extra crunches or core-focused yoga can give your drives a boost!
Watch some of Robbie’s drives here: https://vine.co/v/h7Ivgl7F6pr/embed/simple
If I had a dollar for every time a disc golfer told me he wished his girlfriend played disc golf, I’d have enough money to install a course in my backyard. If I had a dollar for every time I have played disc golf with another girl…well, let’s just say I would be thankful disc golf is free to play.
The ratio of male to female disc golfers is astounding. As of this month, only 6.7% of PDGA members are women. Of the 3,523 players registered as professionals, 250 are women. These ratios mean that many tournaments offer more divisions for men than for women. This was even the case at the 2012 Amateur World Championships, where there were 3 fewer women’s divisions; no lady champions were named for the Junior <19, Senior Grandmasters, or Legends divisions. It is clear that there is a lot of room for growth in women’s disc golf. For a sport that is so focused on progressing, girls could be a huge resource.
A great place to start utilizing this resource is to get your girlfriend (or wife, or other special lady in your life) interested in disc golf. This seemed to be the trend at my first tournament, the 27th Annual Ice Bowl in Columbia, MO, the home of the Ice Bowl. Of the 55 players at the event, 6 played in the women’s division; all of us had a male significant other who was also competing.
So, then comes the big question, “How do I get my girlfriend to play?” As a disc golf girlfriend, here are 10 tips I recommend trying. No guarantee, but they worked on me!
1. Match her personality
One of disc golf’s best qualities is that it is a sport for everyone. It can be tailored to fit any level of skill, competitiveness, timeframe, or budget. The first step to getting your girlfriend to play disc golf is showing her that it is a sport for her. If she’s generally not interested in sports (like me), present it as a fun game and a great way to get outside on a nice day. If she’s more athletic, make it competitive, but still friendly. To get her interested, you have to make sure that the way you talk about disc golf appeals to her as an individual.
2. Easy on the terminology
The words we use to describe disc golf make up an entirely new language. You’ll need to pay attention to which terms she already knows and which ones are still new. You don’t want to confuse her, but you also want to make sure you’re not condescending by explaining too much. For me, it took a lot of effort to learn the lingo. I wasn’t familiar with basic golf terminology like “par” and “birdie,” so learning things like “hyzer” and trying to memorize that Wizards and Magics are putters was sometimes overwhelming. So, in the beginning, make sure you clearly define what each term means, and don’t get frustrated if you have to explain it several times each round.
3. Make sure she has the right discs
An important aspect of disc golf strategy is using the right disc for your throwing style. For beginners and for women, chances are that the right discs for them will not be the ones you use. Most beginners should start with just a putter and maybe a midrange; at such an early stage, most people throw putters and drivers the same distance. A putter can be used to get comfortable with playing—learning courses, developing good form, and snapping the wrist. Once these skills have been mastered, it will be easier to recognize patterns of how other discs fly. When she does need a driver, start with low weights and fairway drivers (I used an Innova Starlight Roadrunner until I lost it in a pond, then moved on to Discmania’s Jackal). These discs are easier to control, especially if she’s still working on building power and strength in her throws.
4. Start easy
Once you’ve been playing for a while, it can be hard to remember how much work it takes to play a round at your favorite par 64 course. Keep in mind that it is unlikely that your girlfriend will have the same disc golf endurance when she starts playing. You’ll probably want to start at a course with shorter holes that aren’t heavily wooded or surrounded by poison ivy and thorns (common course conditions here in the Midwest). If your options are limited, start by playing 6- or 9-hole rounds at a difficult course, and progressively play more as she gets more comfortable and develops her disc golf muscles.
5. Ladies first
Let her take the pad in casual rounds, regardless of whether or not she’s earned it. Be a gentleman. Easy enough. The only exception is if she asks you to go first, which may be the case if she’s unfamiliar with the hole and wants to learn from your shot.
6. Use “lady par” to score
When anyone first starts playing, it is unlikely that they will be able to regularly par holes. In order to make scoring more encouraging, add 1 to the par on each hole. A standard par 54 course becomes par 72. Playing and tracking progress will be a lot more fun if she has scores to be proud of—no one wants to announce a round with 13 double bogies, even if its better than they normally play. Adjusting the par will more accurately reflect how well she is doing as a beginner.
7. Make it a date
Pack up a picnic lunch or take a trip to a course that is especially scenic. If she’s not quite hooked on disc golf yet, she may feel like a third-wheel when she’s out with you and the course. Make sure she knows that the important part is adding disc golf to your relationship—not the other way around.
8. Encourage her to play with other girls
For a girl, learning to play disc golf only by watching experienced males is like being raised by wolves. No matter how much time and effort you want to put into helping your girlfriend, her body is fundamentally different than yours. A man’s center of gravity is in his shoulders, whereas a woman’s is in around her hips. Generally speaking, women typically have less upper body strength than men. Obviously, the process of pulling one’s arm across the chest for a backhand throw is significantly different for the two sexes. Your girlfriend will be able to get more detailed tips from girls who already throw, and not feel like as much of an “outsider” in the disc golf community. A great place to start is to introduce her to girls in your local disc golf club, then encourage her to invite her friends to come out and play too.
9. Resources and Networks for Women
In addition to introducing your girlfriend to individual female disc golfers, make sure she knows about the groups and networks that have been created to expand her opportunities. Start by finding ladies leagues in your area, or a disc golf club that has bag tags specifically for women. Beyond the course, the Internet is a great place to stay up to date with the female disc golf community. PDGA Women and DiscGolf4Women.com both have a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter, and have a variety of resources for ladies of disc golf to get more involved in their community.
10. Return the favor
If she’s willing to take a chance on disc golf, it’s only fair for you to do something equally out of your typical realm of interests for her. Suck it up and watch a chick flick or go to the mall with her. Let her know that you appreciate her giving disc golf a try. She’ll be more willing to play again in the future, and be more likely to get hooked. Eventually, she’ll be the one begging YOU to go out for a round.
Go to Dogleg’s Twitter @DoglegDiscGolf and Retweet our latest “Love is in the Air” tweet for a chance to win. If we get at least 50 retweets, we will be giving away a FREE Dogleg Disc Golf Tee! To be eligible, you MUST retweet it!
Grip and Rip DGC began as an outcropping from the Dogleg crew’s drive to bring another course to our hometown of Jasper, AL. The new course is still being decided by the local city council, but they are pretty close to making a final decision. When researching all the details for starting a club, I found the PDGA to have a helpful How-to guide.
We cut our teeth with Discraft’s annual Ace Race tournament, which proved to be a valuable learning experience. Skills learned included: managing costs, gathering sponsorship’s, taking pre-registration monies, registering with the local park, setting up the course for tourney play and coordinating schedules with football season (if you are not from the Southeast, then you wouldn’t understand =)).
With all this Ace Race tournament director experience, I decided to take the PDGA’s Officials Exam to better understand the rules for sanctioned play. PDGA Rules – The rules are interpretative in some cases. I am more of a casual player, so I don’t necessarily agree with all the tedious rules (just my preference). The 10 official’s exam can be taken an unlimited amount of times and is only $10, which is good for 3 years. The PDGA now has a Pre-Register Tool that allows tournament directors to collect payment online. It does cost $2-3 for the player to use, but the players list updates in real-time.
I started building a GnR website with a forum to house all of the club’s activities. This proved to be more complicated than anticipated; so we setup a Facebook group under “Grip and Rip Disc Golf”. The events section is extremely helpful, since it allows local players to accept the tourney invite. The real-time feedback allows for us to judge the expected attendance ahead of tourney day.
Contrary to popular belief, tournaments are time-consuming to run, and yield little profit for the club. However, they are beneficial in growing the sport. Without groups of disc golfers coming together with similar interests, new parks wouldn’t be built and existing parks wouldn’t be improved. Just in the Birmingham metro alone, there are 7 new parks coming online in 2013! I really hope we can continue growing this beautiful sport.
A long time ago a friend of mine who just started playing Disc Golf asked me a fantastic question:
“What is more important… manipulating the angle of the disc to fly how you want it to, or understanding how the disc is supposed to fly when thrown flat, and utilize it’s natural characteristics?”
The first thing I said, and I would think most would agree, is that you need to understand how your disc flies naturally first. Not only how it is supposed to fly new, but how it will eventually fly after you have hit all those darn trees and broke it in. You can really only determine this with your own experimentation disc to disc since no one knows how much bark you’ve made fly!
The rule of thumb with plastic is the cheaper it is, the quicker it will become understable with use. And for some plastics such as the Discraft Titanium plastic, that disc will fly the same as brand new forever. The Titanium plastic is close to indestructible. Don’t rely on expensive plastics to change flight characteristics too much over time.
Also, more expensive is not always best. One of the cheapest plastics you can buy is the Discraft Pro-D, I have an XL Pro-D, and it’s a staple in my bag. It’s crucial for me because after years of use it went from stable to understable, and I now use it as a roller or a predictable turnover disc.
Once you are very comfortable with how your disc flies (make sure you are using the same grip, speed, etc. to ensure predictability), then move on to manipulating your hyzer and anhyzer shots.
With proper practice and experimentation you will know if a disc thrown flat will give you exactly what you need without the huge unpredictability of angling a hyzer or anhyzer.
Grip, Throw, Repeat,
Recently I had the pleasure of playing White Oak Park in Dallas, GA. A beautiful open hilly course — nice little pond that comes into to play for holes after 14 too. The air was a bit brisk, but certainly a good day to hear chains as always. After about 6 holes I noticed my go-to Sidewinder not having the same glide it usually has. This made me think…
I’m not a meteorologist or a physicist, but proper disc weight in adverse conditions, no matter the skill level, is extremely important!
Over the years I have heard that low weight discs (roughly 150-168) are easier for distance, but hard to release and control consistently, especially with wind. Heavier discs are naturally more over-stable (slightly), harder to gain distance, but consistent. I find that this is very true.
BUT… I’ve yet to read about disc weights and how to adjust them according to the weather, mainly temperature.
I found that throwing my 172g Sidewinder feels like throwing a 190g when it’s coat-wearing time. It sunk like the Titanic on my first moderate up-shot this last weekend. I bought a 154g disc today to compare, and I had a tremendous improvement.
I highly recommend adjusting your disc weight according to the outside temperature. In these low temperatures of Winter (high 40’s right now here in Georgia) my go-to weight is 160 now, but I am not a high speed thrower. The beauty of Disc Golf is you need to find what works best for YOU. Right now, for me, it seems that lighter weight cuts the cold air a bit better.
Peripheral Blood Flow
While playing at White Oak, the great J.T. of this blog made an EXCELLENT point. When the weather is cold, our hands don’t have as much blood flow and do not move and react as they normally do. So naturally when we throw the disc it may not have the same release point, usually late-whipping it way off track — to the right for right handed back handed throwers.
The way he remedied this is by using a modified fan grip on his drives as he would a long approach shot. Since the fingers aren’t tucked in the rim, they don’t need to get out of the way in time, giving you a smooth release. As long as you have grip on the disc and can still snap it, this is a fantastic modification for cold weather conditions.
As always, these points and tips are something to read, enjoy, and go by – not to live by. Disc Golf is truly amazing because it’s personal. In order to become great you have to practice A LOT and define your own game. I just hope the tips and stories we share here at Dogleg Disc Golf steer you into a happy and successful direction.
Hey all! I have about 15-20 discs that I am looking to either sell or trade. To prep them for that, I need to remove my sharpied name and number off the back of the discs.
Do any of you know the best way or have any tips/tricks for removing the ink off the bottom of discs? Let me clarify though, I’m not looking to remove the stamp on top (I’ve heard that can be done with acetone).
Please let me know, thanks!