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!

YouTube:

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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 – 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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Disclaimer:

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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.

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Flick Putting

Flick Putting

Consider this scenario.  You’re 100 ft from the basket with several trees directly in your line.  The straight line is blocked, an anhyzer won’t work because of the trees, a hyzer won’t work because there isn’t enough room for the arc.  You should probably consider a layup to guarantee the next shot.  But, what if you change your pivot foot and try flick putting?

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Mind Your Misses

Mind Your Misses

January in Michigan brings cold weather and snow.  Today I played several rounds after a winter storm layered ice on top of an inch of snow.  The ground was firm enough in most places that it didn’t even collapse under my feet.  As a result, every putt posed an interesting question: do I go for the make or just lay up?  What is the proper strategy in the Approach Zone?

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Play the hole backwards

Play the hole backwards

No, I’m not saying for you to tee off at the basket and try to land your putt on the cement tee pad.  I’m talking about a strategy that legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus employed.  Nicklaus often talked about starting his thoughts at the perfect location on the green to hole a putt.  From there, he would determine what spot in the fairway gives an opportunity to easily find the selected location on the green.  His strategy moves backwards all the way to the tee.  This is a simple concept, but how does it apply to disc golf?

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Disc Golf Analysis – Distance Tiers

Disc Golf Analysis – Distance Tiers

I’ve played disc golf for 13 years and like most tenured disc golfers I’ve evolved my game over time. While it’s much more common to analyze individual throwing techniques like power grips or putting styles, I find it helpful to occasionally assess my overall disc golf style to ensure that I’m continually making progress. Read more

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