In The Bag With Disc Golf Chris

In The Bag With Disc Golf Chris

A number of you have recently requested that Rodney and I record In the Bag disc golf videos.  We review putters and talk about discs constantly, but we haven’t given you a good feel of our bag build-out.  Both of us have been adjusting our bags since last season, but we’re finally in a place where we’re essentially set for the 2017 season.  This is my In the Bag video.

We’re giving you three options:  You can watch on YouTube, listen on the Just Throw Podcast or meet up with us at Burchfield Park and see my bag in person!

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A Story of Disc Golf Strategy

A Story of Disc Golf Strategy

If you’ve read any of our articles up to now then you probably know that we preach strategy. Many of our strategy articles are theoretical so that you can apply the strategy to many different situations. To change it up, I thought I’d provide a concrete example of how strategy plays out on our local course.

Rodney and I made it to the course last week to take advantage of the warm February weather. After playing conservatively over the past couple months due to wind and cold weather, we did two things slightly differently to get our arms ready for the season.

The first was match play, which is a game type where the player who wins the hole gets one point regardless of how many throws he or she wins the hole by. Match play encourages riskier play when you end up in trouble since total throws isn’t considered in the score. We wouldn’t normally take extra risks in a scoring round, but the goal was to push ourselves into practicing shots we wouldn’t normally throw. The second was the decision to drive aggressively on each hole, just for practice.

We played Burchfield Park’s Devil’s Den short tees to long baskets. Hole 11 starts with a slightly downhill fairway for about 350 feet followed by a steeper drop. After about 500 feet the fairway takes a slow rise back up to the basket (pictured in the featured image above) for a total of about 740 feet. This a great hole to unleash a bomb of a drive… but this comes with a serious risk. Here’s a rough layout of the fairway, see if you can identify the risks.

Devil's Den discgolf hole 11 diagram

The large pine on the right encourages you to throw left unless you have a 500 foot hyzerbomb (and I do not). However, the fairway immediately tightens after the downhill.

I threw a beautiful s-curve with my Ballista and dropped it halfway down the hill to the left side of the fairway. Rodney threw a clean drive just short of the top of the hill in the center of the fairway. Our instincts told us that I had the clear advantage with the longer drive, but the hole played out differently.

burchfield park devil's den disc golf
Chris throwing from the rough on hole 11

I was halfway down the hill so my long approach would be entirely uphill through a tight fairway. Rodney had a longer shot ahead but he also had a 15 foot elevation advantage and could hyzer around the low hanging tree branches.

We couldn’t see my obstacles from Rodney’s lie so it looked like I had the advantage. Since we were in match play, Rodney chose a risky second throw trying for extra distance but clipped a branch resulting in an early drop to the left in the rough about 50 feet ahead of me. I wasn’t able to hit the small window in front of me and after hitting a large branch I ended up about even with Rodney. From there we threw the hole evenly.

The lack of strategy should be clear here.

  • First, if you can drive 500 feet consistently then you’ll have a large advantage going for the bomb, otherwise laying up will likely give you an advantage due to the elevation. I gained no advantage with a drive that was 50-75 longer here.
  • Second, knowing your opponent’s lie will better allow you to decide if you should go all-out or play conservative. Had Rodney known my lie was poor, he probably would have won the hole by throwing a safe shot.
  • Third, know your playing field. We both should have played that hole differently knowing that a drive down the hill results in a difficult second shot.

There shouldn’t be any amazing epiphanies in this story. It simply comes down to deciding on the best place from which to take your next throw and if you have the skill to get there. I’m not encouraging conservative play with this story, but I am encouraging you to know your disc golf capabilities. Pushing yourself in practice will help you understand your own capabilities so that you can make a more informed decision during your next tournament.

Now get out there and throw!

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Winter Disc Golf – Advice

Winter Disc Golf – Advice

With winter coming to an end and your winter disc golf opportunities dwindling, we thought you might enjoy a wider perspective of advice.  I like to think that Rodney and I are awesome at giving advice…  but then we go and throw our first drive of the round on the roof of the clubhouse and realize that you, the readers, would absolutely benefit from other people’s advice.

With this in mind, we’ve spoken to many of our disc golf friends, mostly in the Midwest but a few a little further out.  Here are some of the great pieces of advice provided by your fellow disc golfers!

disc golf basket chains ice

Tim Steward

Author, Mind Body Disc (mindbodydisc.com)

“For me winter golf is about working on my stand still form.  It’s usually terrible footing anyway so instead of bitching about not being able to do a run up, and many times slipping and hurting yourself, work on your stand still shot instead. It will be less frustrating and at the same time great for your game overall.”

 

Josh Hohbein,

Co-host, Big Daddy Disc Golf Podcast (https://bigdaddydiscgolf.podbean.com/)

“My advice is layer up and use handwarmers!

To expand, the number one goal is to stay dry. So Layer 1 is a baseline, usually long sleeve to wick sweat and dry fast.

Layer 2 is something for warmth, like wool or polyester

Layer 3  is the heat trap, so a big jacket and if its really good an extra waterproof jacket over that.

Once you get moving around and get to warm, you can take layers off and put back on if you get too cold.

Facemasks to protect against wind and hand warmers to keep your throwing hand nice and toasty! There’s a quote that goes something like “There is no bad weather, just bad gear” With the proper gear you can chuck discs in any weather *almost* haha.”

 

Kastaplast Disc Golf Putter Snow BergTorrey Laffoon and Craig Compton

Co-founders, Central Disc Co., Mt Pleasant, MI (https://www.facebook.com/centraldiscco)

 “We’ve got two tips that we rely on for great disc golf from the early season all the way through to the winter time.  The first is for anyone looking to really improve their scores and it is to play more than just casual rounds.  Even if you just compete with yourself, take more rounds seriously.  But whenever possible, play against competition that’s better than you are to elevate your own game.

Second is to find a way to putt year round no matter where you live or what the weather is like.  Even if it’s just across your living room into a couch cushion, it’s important to maintain muscle memory through the off season.  If you take a whole winter off completely, in the spring it’ll feel like you totally forgot how to putt.  No one wants to re-invent their putting stroke every year and take months to get back into top form.  So put in the hard work in the off-season.  And stock up on Putters!”

 

Brian

Owner, Wolf Pack Discs, Michigan (https://www.facebook.com/WolfPackDiscs/)

“In Michigan you could be golfing in shorts and a t-shirt on Friday, and six inches of snow on Saturday. I have found over the years that proper clothes are your best friend. I would rather wear warm boots that might be harder to drive/putt in but keep my feet happy. I also like to wear a glove on my opposite hand but not my throwing hand.  After a few holes your discs are cold, I want my hand to get “acclimated” to the weather fast. I want my hand to feel comfortable on the discs. Most people don’t do that, but i found it has worked for me.

Winter golf creates unique shots, and much more stand stills as well, so make sure you stretch for a good amount of time before you tee off, and after you are done. You don’t want to enter the spring season with an injury.”

 

Snowy disc golf basketScott Stacey

Owner, 616 Disc, Grand Rapids, MI (www.616disc.com)

“If you have the space… set up a net indoors to practice your drives if you don’t like going out in the cold weather. I think it has helped me line up better on the tee pad.

Another one.. Acrylic bag tags can become brittle in the cold weather and can snap or break easily. If you have this problem, check out our stainless steel bag tags at www.616disc.com.”

 

Nic

Owner, Nak Mini Disc Golf Markers, Pennsylvania (https://www.facebook.com/NakMiniDiscs/)

“Being that many people are fair weather friends of disc golf, me slightly included, it’s important to stay on top of your putting game. Because when spring hits you don’t want to be rusty in that part of your game. I have a basket in the basement that I practice with in inclement weather.”

 

As you can see, one of the largest themes here is to simply keep throwing.  Whether it’s braving the cold, putting in your garage, or even throwing at your couch, it’s important to keep a disc in your hand!  We hope that the advice and recommendations above inspires you to continue disc golfing through the winter.  Sticking with this theme, we have one last piece of advice from the Puttheads:

“As Patrick McCormick, the Podfather himself, would say, Just Throw!”

What advice do you have for winter disc golf or adjusting your style to a drop in temperatures regardless of the season?  Please let us know what you would add to the list and we’ll continue to share all the advice that we get.

 

Check out other winter content here:

 

Don’t forget to follow the DG Puttheads on Facebook for all our posts and other great content!

 

Winter Disc Golf Sunset

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Winter Disc Golf – Benefits and Goals

Winter Disc Golf – Benefits and Goals

I love playing disc golf in the winter.  Primarily because we rarely encounter more than one or two other groups and the course is customarily quiet.  That does bring up the question though, why are there no other disc golfers on the course?

Yeah, I get it.  Cold.  Discs don’t fly as far.  Wind.  Snow.  Cold.  Well, I believe winter disc golf has many benefits that outweigh the discomfort of the cold.  Over the past couple months we’ve written about various aspects of winter disc golf, and this post will focus on benefits and managing your goals while throwing in the cold.  If you’re already a year-round disc golfer then you can probably relate to most of these.

 

winter disc golf benefitsMuscle Memory

Simple concept, if you don’t play in the winter then you’ll be rusty in the Spring.  Even just going through the motions will help you stay loose as long as you’re going through the right motions.

Adaptability

Learn to play through as many conditions as you can, this includes cold, wind, and snow.  This will teach you about many different aspects of your game and will help you round out your disc golf game in general.  This will also give you an advantage next time you’re playing in a tournament and the wind suddenly picks up or an unexpected rain cloud douses the field.

Perseverance

I get it, I’m starting to sound like a motivation poster.  Seriously though, after you’ve played through zero degree wind chills or a couple feet of snow, the rest of the season will feel like paradise.  It’s basically the concept of overtraining.  For example, if you’re planning to run a 3 mile race, you may train for 6 or 9 miles so that the 3 mile run feels easy. 

Bragging Rights

This may be contrary to our disc golf values, so don’t be arrogant, but there is a sense of satisfaction that comes with telling your peers that you played through the winter.  Even on the day that with sub-zero temperatures.

 

I just laid out a number of winter disc golf benefits, but are your goals properly aligned?  We’ve talked about goals in the past and we truly believe that managing your goals and expectations will help you achieve the maximum benefit of anything in life, including a disc golf round.  Here are my primary goals when throwing through the cold, but I’m sure this list doesn’t come close to exhausting the possibilities.

 

Form Improvement

That’s an odd goal to list for winter disc golf, isn’t it?  I can’t throw as far and I’m bundled up with extra clothing!  Yes, that’s exactly the point!  Since you know you won’t be able to throw as far, focus on your form so that you’ll be in prime shape when the Spring arrives.  Plus, if you can perfect your form under all those extra layers of material, then you should have no problem as you shed those layers… just be careful not to develop bad habits from puffy jackets.

snowy disc golf tee padAccuracy

This is closely related to the benefit of adaptability.  You already know that distance is difficult to work on in the winter, so why not focus on improving your accuracy during the sub-optimal conditions .  Similar to perfecting form beneath layers of clothes, improving accuracy through cold wind will pay off immensely when the weather becomes more mild.

Meditation

As I said, the course is usually quiet.   It’s also beautiful covered in snow or frost.  This is a good opportunity to escape the daily clamor.

Fun

Yep, now I really sound like a motivational poster.  We love disc golf and I don’t think I need to explain further.

Do you have goals or benefits that we didn’t cover?  Please share them with us, and then share this post with your fellow disc golfers who aren’t sure about playing through the winter!

 

Check out other winter articles:

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Winter Disc Golf – Discs and Plastic

Winter Disc Golf – Discs and Plastic

Does this sound familiar?  You pull out your cold hard Elite Z Nuke, still beaded with drops of melted snow from the last hole.  You wipe it over with your towel only to realize that the towel is also completely saturated and your Nuke is still wet.  You decide to throw anyway but immediately regret your decision as the extra firm plastic rim rips at your fingertips.  Then you watch it hyzer out hard and drop far earlier than expected.  That’s winter disc golf for you.

We recently discussed how to adjust your putting for the cold and a few ways to help mitigate the loss of distance due to dropping temperatures.  But Cold Disc Golf Basketthose of you who have played disc golf through winter and cold temperatures know that there’s a lot more to cover.  You’re probably also well aware that plastic itself changes along with temperatures.

Sadly, there is little you can do to change your form so knowing your plastics can help greatly.  We’ve already touched on using softer plastics so let’s get into a little more detail.

Base Plastic

Base plastic is my favorite choice for winter, specifically Discraft Pro-D, Dynamic Discs Classic Blend, Kastaplast K3, and especially Element Disc’s Terra blend.  The reason I like base plastic is because I find that it changes the least among all plastics I throw.  It will of course become more stiff but not nearly as hard as translucent plastics become.  Base plastic also provides superior grip.  I’ve thrown many gummy type plastics that have a great consistency when cold, but if there’s snow on the ground (and there usually is here in Michigan) then those plastics quickly lose any grip that they may offer.  I also highly recommend sticking to base plastic putters in the winter, primarily for grip and also because harder plastics have a tendency to slide right through the chains in cold weather.

 

Translucent/High Grade Plastic

I typically avoid throwing these types of plastics with a few special disc exceptions.  Plastics like Elite-Z and Champion become far to firm and overstable for me in the cold.  Other similar plastics like Latitude 64 Opto and Dynamic Discs Lucid are slightly less firm and I’ll occasionally leave those in my bag, but I still throw with caution and they will still lose grip when wet.  These are also the fingertip ripping plastics.

 

Premium Plastics

I know many people who choose to throw premium plastics like Innova Star, Discraft ESP, Dynamic Discs Fuzion.  I am not one of those people.  While these plastics don’t become as firm as translucents, I still feel that they become so firm that the disc flight is hardly recognizable.  Plus, these plastics don’t do much to help grip unless the conditions are completely dry

 

Disc golf ribbonsFlex and Gummy Plastic

These plastics hold a great consistency in the cold and I carry one or two through the winter.  I especially like Discraft FLX which has great glide and firms into a nice feeling grip around 30°F (-1°C).  GStar by Innova is another very popular choice, but I find I release more consistently with FLX.  One great benefit to these flexible plastics is that they are often less stable than the normal firm mold.  That means as the temperature drops these plastics will often fly just like the normal mold would fly in warmer temperatures.  You’re also less likely to rip off your finger tips.  The problem, as I mentioned above, is that they lose grip the moment they get wet so if my towel isn’t completely dry then I switch to basic plastic.

 

Light Weight Classes

We mentioned this in the distance article, you can throw lighter weight discs further.  Additionally, lighter discs will often turn more than heavier discs which can compensate for the overstable properties of a cold and hard disc.  I also find that lighter discs release more easily so I don’t hurt my fingers.  The obvious disadvantage is that the wind will affect the lighter class discs much more.  Also, most lightweight discs come in higher grade plastic like Blizard or Z-Lite so you’ll often deal with the same grip issues.  

 

Clearly there are many options and you’re going to have to get out in the cold and throw to figure outwhat works.  Here’s my typical winter disc golf bag lineup and a quick note on why each disc is in my bag. (I’ve linked to Amazon and Infinite Discs listings in case you need to stock up your cold weather disc golf bag!)

Kastaplast Reko (K3) My year-round go-to putter.  K3 plastic handles cold and wet environments with no problems.Winter Disc Golf Putting

Kasaplast Berg (K3) – My go-to approach putter.  The K2 Berg is the least affected by cold of any disc I have thrown. 

Element Discs Iridium (Terra) Terra blend is excellent in the cold and more durable than most base plastics.  The Iridium is quite overstable and is my short hyzer and utility putter.

Kastaplast Kaxe (K2) –  The Kaxe is a great wind fighter.  In the cold my K2 Kaxe flies like my K1 Kaxe normally would, I just need to ensure it’s dry.

Element Discs Uranium (Terra) – This is brand new to my bag and has replaced my Elite Z BuzzzOS for the cold months.  Overstable and consistent.

Legacy Discs Patriot (Pinnacle) – Also brand new to my bag.  Holds a turn like the pre-Barry Leopard and is a great finesse fairway driver in the cold.

Discraft XL (FLX or Pro-D depending on precipitation) – High glide and controllable as it becomes more stable.  Easy distance in the cold.

Discraft Crush (Pro-D) The Crush is my go-to driver, ESP in summer and Pro-D in winter.  Pro-D has great grip and flies like the mold is intended. 

Latitude 64 Ballista (Opto) – My maximum distance driver.  I don’t use this when wet, but if I can grip it then it will sail.

 

What do you think of this winter disc golf disc line up?  Do you change your discs at all for cold and winter weather?  What plastic recommendations are we missing?

Check out other winter articles:

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Winter Disc Golf – Distance

Winter Disc Golf – Distance

It’s cold in Michigan, 24 degrees as I write this article.  Yet Rodney and I still find ourselves out on the course and putting in our yards.  Crazy?  Maybe.  Die hard disc golfers?  Yes.

We’ve had a few readers recently ask us questions about disc golfing in the winter so we decided to write a short series of articles about disc golfing in the cold. Read more

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The 5 Most Important Putting Components

The 5 Most Important Putting Components

Watch a round of disc golf at the local course or a professional tournament, and you’ll notice something very quickly: there are a lot of different putting styles! Spin, turbo, push, spush, walking, and list could go on.  Each of those basic putting styles has seemingly unlimited possibilities and personalizations.  Zoom out a little and you’ll notice that successful putters have a few basic similarities regardless of individual technique.

Read more

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