Tag Archives: Disc Golfing

Memorial Day = Disc Golf?

This upcoming three day weekend is a perfect opportunity to go out and hit the course.  I mean come on, it’s three days of no work (for most of us, sorry for those that have to work on the weekend, but I’m sure you probably have your own weekend, so you can figure it out) I’m sure you can find a couple of hours to go out to a park and toss a disc at 18 baskets.  Since this is usually considered the start of the summer, what better way to kick off the start of the season with a great game?

I know that I will be going out, finally, and to top it off it’ll be a new place for me.  I plan on checking out Lake Township Park, over by Lake Michigan.  Looks like a neat place, apparently hole 3 is their premier hole, which is a straight shot along a tree line.  Actually, a lot of their holes look like straight shots, which should be interesting for me, since I’m more of a zigzag guy.  And it looks like the course is on a park, with hole 9 going over a soccer field, which will be interesting if people are playing soccer.

I’ll be going with my father-in-law and my nephews, which should be fun.  They have gone before, so there won’t be any teaching, only schooling!!! 😉

Life has been crazy the last couple of weeks, so I’m really looking forward to finally being able to hit the course again, helps get me in my zone.  And besides, I need to get ready for the big plans my family has at the end of the summer…something about a major tour of the disc golf course on the west coast of Michigan, updates to follow…

Enjoy the sun this weekend, go out to a course, and aim for the chains!!

*by the way, let me know what you did this weekend.  Tell me if you went out, how you did, and what course you went to.

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Nobody Died!!!!!!!!

We survived!!!!

Not that I was expecting any less.  But come on, I’m sure you have siblings and sometimes you have disagreements.  And when you haven’t done something with a group, you are not sure how it’s going to go, and when you are doing something for the first time with family, well, you never can tell what is going to happen.

My family isn’t crazy…well, no crazier than any other family.  So, I wasn’t expecting us to kill each other.  Actually, it was a ton of fun and I hope that we keep this up.  The only thing was that my sister didn’t get to come out with us.  I guess there was some miss-communication.  But, it’s all good.

We went to Cold Brook Park, which is near Galesburg.  It’s a big course–24 holes.  But, they are all pretty short holes.  I think the biggest one that I found was like 400 feet.  Not that that’s a bad thing.  It has a lot of trees, so I can imagine that is why they are short holes.  The holes are all marked and have nice pads.  I guess they do a lot of tournaments there.  I have gone to this course once before.  I remember liking it, and I wasn’t disappointed this time around either.  Just because the holes are short it doesn’t mean they aren’t difficult.  A lot of the holes are on hills and dog leg to the right.  Plus, like I said there were those damn trees.  Always in just the right spot too.  Right when you think you have a great throw going for you, BAM! right into the trunk of a tree.  Yet it didn’t hold me back.  I actually did a pretty good job.

I should tell you that I didn’t disc my normal way.  I believe I have stated somewhere in this blog that I usually go for a par four.  But, my brother usually does a par three.  So, for the sake of a challenge, I went for the par three.  It was a fun challenge.  I only hit par two times, but I did hit four the majority of the time.  Doing that helped me reach one of my goals of this blog, hitting par.  I feel really good about that.  I threw pretty strong, my putts were some what on and I did hit some trees, but I never went deep into the garbage, in fact I stayed really close to the fairway on each hole.

Since there were a ton of trees, I decided this would be a good opportunity to try my right hand (or forehand) throw more.  One or two of the throws rocked, it wrapped around the trees and went where I wanted it.  But, the majority of the right handed throws still cut way too early.  The other throw I tried a bit more was the over hand throw.  Which was a great idea for Cold Brook.  My brothers both use that throw quite a bit.  In fact, I got some good advice about that throw.  By putting one of your fingers inside the disc and another one on the edge of the disc, and not throwing it like a baseball, but more like a flick above your head, you can get some great distance. This throw will usually flatten out and go more toward the right.  If you want to get it to go straight and maybe a bit to the right, aim the inside of the disc toward your head, with the thumb on the inside. This throw will cause your disc to almost do a S and land straight from where you are standing.  I’ll have to try it a bit more to get use to it, but they both did it and it went a lot further than expected.

My brother, Jay has gone disc golfing for years.  But, this was the first time that I went with him.  I wasn’t sure what his style on the course was going to be like, maybe he does things a little differently than I usually do with my father-in-law or my friends.  The par three thing was one, but I didn’t know his thoughts on throwing, letting people pass, the extra curricular activities that usually happen on the course, as well as other things.  But, for the most part he was right inline with me.  Which was great, because having two different worlds collide might not lead to a good disc golf game.  It is nice to have a different view on the game and to try things a little different.  I learned some things, like I said, and I also got to see how someone else throws and putts.  I think that is the best thing you can do when trying to learn something, watch how others do it.  You can see things they might do wrong, and you can see things that they did right.  I’m not in the position to critique just yet, but at least I have the ability to see what I might have done differently.

We had a great time out on the course, and I’m pretty sure we will do it again.  I’m still trying to figure out how to fit in my disc golfing with my new job and with my classes starting up again (getting my second bachelor’s degree), so I’m hoping that if I make this a routine I’ll be able to fit in with my schedule.  Any advice on how you keep disc golfing in your life?

GOAL

Better putting

Learn new throwing techniques

Reach par

GOAL ACCOMPLISHED?

I think I accomplished the second goal.  I learned a bit more on the overhand throw.  I also think I did pretty good at reaching par (at least my version of par and not my brothers)

PROBLEM

Still had a couple of wacky backhand throws.  Still need to practice that.  Also, my putting seemed to lack a little this weekend.  I missed some pretty easy putts, at least I thought should have been easy.

SOLUTION

I need to practice putting again.  Plain and simple.  But, I need to find a time to do that.  Also, should probably continue work on my forehand throw.

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Disc Golfing with the family

So this weekend I have plans on disc golfing with my brothers and sister.  I’ve never gone with them before, which doesn’t seem like a big thing, but they all go.  I think this might be the first time to get us all together out on the course.  I know that my brother has been going for a long time, and we have always talked about hitting the course together, but never seemed to find the time.  And I think the group he goes with is a pretty hardcore group, so I don’t know if I would be able to keep up with them.  I am interested to see how I do now, knowing that he hasn’t been on a course for at least eight months.  As for my other brother and sister, I don’t know how often they go, but they are much younger, so I am hoping that I can at least be a little better than them (can’t help the sibling rivalry, it’s just the way it is, besides they are like ten years younger, so if I can’t hold this over them, I’m in trouble 🙂 )

But, this could be a great bonding experience and something that we might like to repeat.  Gotta like the sentimental stuff, right?

I’ll let you know if this becomes a repeat event, or if this is the last time I will speak of it…

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Monday: A crazy time for Disc Golfing in K’zoo!

Who knew that a Monday evening in Kalamazoo would be a busy time to go disc golfing?

Well guess what?  It is.

Maybe it had to do with it being a the first nice day in a while.  Or it could be the fact that it  didn’t get dark until after nine.  Or it could just be that it’s fun to go disc golfing and so people try to find time to when they can.

I found this out because I went to Oshtemo with a group of my friends Monday evening and we seemed to have to wait at every pad.  Not that it was bad waiting, we still got through each hole pretty quick (we must be getting better…) but it brings up a good question: who should you let go ahead of you when the course is busy? I think a good rule is if there are less people in their group than in yours, let them go.  Or if you are stuck searching for a disc in the woods, let the group standing at the pad looking really bored pass.  But, at some point I do think you need to draw a line in letting people pass, or you will be stuck at hole 2 letting everyone go by you and you’ll never get to disc.  I think you’ll probably have a good idea of who to let pass.  Just watch them throw.  The group might have four people and you have two, but the bigger group can get to the basket in two throws while it takes you guys four or five, let that group pass.  Because they might be waiting at the pad every time you are half way down the fairway.  That isn’t fair to that group, and it will probably only cost you five minutes.  Overall, it’s just common courtesy to not be a dick and try to hog the course.

I went with a group of five, Andy, Paul, Paul’s fiance, and Josh.   This was Josh’s second time out, and I think Paul’s fiance has only gone a couple of times.  So, it was a good mix and a fun mix.  Andy still showed us all up with his crazy left handed throw.  When he let a disc go, it would just keep going.  It was pretty impressive to watch.  Josh is getting better, understanding that the way you angle the disc before the throw controls if it’s going to go up in the sky and get pushed around by the wind or if it’s going to fly close to the ground.  Paul cracks me up with his throws.  Every time he threw the disc, he chased it like a dog after a stick.  It was helpful to have a spotter, but it was pretty funny to watch.  Plus, he throws his disc like he doesn’t care what it does.  But, amazingly enough it usually does something good.  I’ve seen that from other disc golfers.  They have no routine or steps they follow, they just get on the pad and throw.  Those guys usually have the furthest throw, so maybe that is something I should try to emulate.  Maybe not concentrating on how you hold it, how you stand, what steps to take, when to let the disc go, did you grab the right disc, are you aiming where you want, did I take enough steps, is everyone watching me, am I doing this right?!!! Maybe if you just get up there and throw it, your body will figure out all of that stuff and the disc will take care of the rest.  I’ll have to think about that, just after I line up my feet with the basket and make sure that my arm is straight.

I feel like I did a pretty good job out there.  It’s been a little while since I’ve gone out ( it was April 26, see, less than a month), but it’s not like it’s been a month or anything so I wasn’t expecting a complete loss on what I’ve gained.  It is still taking me about four or five baskets before I’m finally warmed up enough to see my improvements.  My disc is getting a little further from the pad, and a little straighter, but I am still having a hard time on the control of it.  The disc still seems to want to go up higher and get out of my hand at the wrong time.  But, I did have a nice release I think at the 6th or 7th basket.  Right before I let the disc go when I was at the pad, I thought about aiming down, and that thought helped keep the disc flat and straight for a long distance.  So, I’m pretty happy about that.  My putting has greatly improved since practicing with the practice basket.  Now, I haven’t really had a chance to get out and practice with it in the last two weeks (damn job!), but I think I did gain some experience and knowledge from the practicing I did do.  I found that I didn’t need to be right on the basket to use my putter.  In fact, I was using my putter from a further distance to the basket than I have ever done in the past.  I that really helped.  The putter is a great approach disc, so I think if you are close enough to the basket to see the links on the chains, try tossing your putter.  You might not sink the putt, but you might get right on top of the basket giving you an extremely easy putt.

One thing that I did discover that I really liked was the overhand throw.  When I was out on Monday, I did have quite a few instances of my disc finding its way into the woods.  And this being Spring after a bunch of rain, the leaves were out in force.  Hence my love of the overhand throw.  It was much much easier to just huck the disc over my head and through the top part of the trees, than trying to toss it through the trunks.  The great thing about this was that the throw usually gave me a bit of distance too.  I used my Roc for these throws.  It would cut right through the leaves, go a bit further, and then flatten out and land.  But the distance gained was enough that I never felt bad about getting in the woods.  I also tried it on the 7th or 8th hole at Oshtemo, which ever one has basically a tight shoot to go through when you are on the pad.  It wasn’t something I would try to do to replace my normal drive throw, but maybe with enough practice, it could do some damage.

I also continued my practice with my forehand throw.  Getting a little better, but nothing to really report with that one.  It still cuts way too early to the right for it to be worth anything.  But, I am still trying it and not giving it up.

Overall, it was an excellent day to be out on the course, as seen by all of the others out there too.  I still saw everyone starting from the easier pad.  I don’t know why people do that, but it can be kinda dangerous there at Oshtemo, because the harder pad is usually directly behind the easy one and can make it a challenge to a.) not hit someone up there and b.) have people try to skip you when you are twenty feet behind them standing on the pad and c.) make it hard for you on the back pad to know if anyone is up on the easy pad.  So, I’m still trying to fight that battle.

Also, I’m going to try my best to keep posting regular updates at a more timely fashion (not like posting a story on Thursday about disc golfing done on a Monday *cough* *cough*), but starting a new job and getting back into my online college courses, may make it a little tough.  But, with the summer fast approaching, I’m definitely going to be out on the course more and hopefully seeing bigger improvements, so continue to watch this blog to see how I do.

GOAL

Better Putting

Further distance with my drives

GOAL ACCOMPLISHED?

Kinda.  I did see an improvement in my putting.  Didn’t miss easy putts.  And I am getting closer to the basket in less throws, hence the easy putts.

PROBLEM

Still letting discs go at weird times.

SOLUTION

Try to hit the park again and throw my drivers.  That really seemed to help me, even if I was out there for only a half hour.

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Does weather mess with your disc golf?

Living in Michigan has taught us all to never trust the weather guys and to always wait five minutes for something new to happen with the weather.  So, does this life of random weather patterns mess with our disc golf game?  Is disc golf specific to the summer?  Or does it really matter what is happening on the course?

I want to say that it doesn’t matter, but we all know that it does.  I want to say that for some of us die hard fans, we don’t really care if it’s snowing, raining or windy, if the disc can fly than it’s cool.  But, it does have an impact on our game and we have to learn how to ignore the weather, or at least find ways to keep it’s impact to a minimum.

I think that some types of weather we are more use to than others.  Wind, for instance is something that disc golfers are usually always dealing with.  The best way around that is to just keep your discs close to the ground, or aim further into the wind so that your disc gets pushed the way you want it.  Another type of weather that we deal with is temperature.  Again, this is something that disc golfers are always dealing with.  Make sure you dress proper and have water, that’s the best advice I can give.  Maybe try to go a little earlier in the morning.  I hate hitting the last nine holes while dying from the heat.  I don’t know about you guys, but my body sweats like crazy, and dealing with that as well as heat exhaustion can really kill my game.  At that point, I’m not throwing to get a low score, I’m throwing to just finish the game, and that is not the way to play.  And when it’s cold, you should try to bring gloves.  You need your hands to be warm so that you can easily release the disc.   There were many times that I went out and my hands were frozen, killing any control I might of had on when I wanted to release the disc.  It’s a pretty weird feeling to have the disc in your hand and to try to throw it, only to let go way too late.  It felt like you let go earlier, but nope, that disc just got thrown into the dude on your right and you have to explain why you took a chunk out of his leg.  So, where gloves or something to keep your hands warm.

Those are just the normal types of weather that you are probably dealing with the most.  The two that are fun are snow and rain.  These are things that will probably keep you inside and away from a park.  But, I think you can have fun throwing in the snow, and rain…well…rain does kinda suck for disc golf, you can do it, but I don’t know if I think disc golf should be the first thing you think of when it is raining.  When going disc golf in the snow, again dress for the weather (hats, gloves, maybe a coat), but also be careful what color disc you throw.  Try not to throw white discs.  Those can be a real pain to find, especially when it’s soft snow and the disc sorta digs itself into the snow.  My father-in-law and I were out disc golfing in Crystal Lake, IL, and I threw a white disc in a pretty open area, but it was getting dark and the snow was fluffy and deep, causing the disc to blend in.  We walked back and forth for like an hour in the dark trying to find it, we had to come back the next day to finally find it.  So, be careful on the color of the disc.  As for wearing a coat, it is important to keep yourself warm, but make sure the coat isn’t going to mess with your throw, you don’t want it to restrict your arm or get in the way.  Also, you might warm up while you are out there, and that might suck.  It might suck because you don’t want to have to carry it around, but at the same time you don’t want to get all sweaty.  You might want to just wear a nice long sleeve shirt or maybe a fleece.  Finally, this is something you would want when it is raining as well, a towel.  Something to wipe your disc off.  It’s a pain to have a cold wet disc in your hand.  It’s slippery and not fun to hold(….that’s what she said) causing you to not have much control.  So bring a towel and clean that disc.  There is not much I can say about rain that I haven’t already said about snow.  Except, I wonder if the falling rain has any affect on weighing down the disc?  I haven’t really noticed it in the past, but maybe it does.  It can be annoying in the rain, especially if you have glasses, which get covered in the rain.

So that is my little deal about disc golf and weather.  I’m sure I’ll think of more things as I continue with the blog, which I will try to post when I think of them.  Plus, maybe you have suggestions?  Do you care about the weather when going out?  Is there anything that keeps you away from the course?

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Kids and the disc golf basket

This weekend was a tough weekend to get out to the course.  As my last weekend as a free man (I got a job this past week, so I was prepping for that.  I’m pretty happy about the job, but just need to get use to not having a free schedule), I had some things to do that kept me from the course.  However,  I did get a nice surprise discovering that my cousin disc golfs.  And on top of that, I found that two of his kids (he has three kids, but one is like four months old) have quite the knack for throwing a disc.  Which brings me to the topic of kids and disc golfing.  I’ll probably discuss it more than once, but for now we will narrow it to the use of the disc golf basket and a bored Saturday afternoon.

My wife’s cousins were at the house planning for their wedding (see Weekend of disc golf!) and one of her cousins has three kids (like I mentioned above).  While the ladies were planning for the wedding, it was up to the guys to find something to do.  I suggested pulling out the disc golf basket and tossing some discs at the yard.  The plan was immediately accepted.  With the same eight discs that I discussed practicing with earlier (see Tossing in the basket)  we headed out to the backyard and started tossing at the basket.  It turned out to be perfect.  And I found that they were pretty good at it.

They loved doing it, throwing the disc as hard as they could.  Running to get all of the discs to have more than the other, seeing if they could hit the garage, and trying to get the small soccer ball into the basket, it was a great way to introduce them to disc golf.  Since the basket wasn’t a couple hundred feet from the pad, it gave them a clear goal: hit the chain and get the disc in the basket.  Plus, it helped me to try to teach them how to throw the disc and what to aim for.  They did really well too.  No, they didn’t get the disc in the basket every time, but they got it in just as much as me or my cousin-in-law.  One of them was a natural for a side arm throw, he picked up the disc and just started throwing it that way, I didn’t want to stop him, because he was really good.

So, here is my statement: get kids out to the course!  Take them to the park and spend an hour or two on a game of disc golf.  I have found that most places have a smaller course around, usually with nine holes (contact me and I can help you find that course), and they are usually no more than 200 ft per hole.  Just give them one disc each (probably a mid-range, like a Shark) and have fun.  Or if there isn’t a course, maybe you know somebody with a basket.  Just do what I did, set the basket up in the yard and give them a game, maybe have them try to get the disc in the basket first.

I think it’s a good thing to have kids trying out disc golf.  Maybe they will keep it up and continue as they get older.  And these kids will become pros one day.  Plus, maybe these kids will help get it even more popular and possibly get disc golf on TV.  Some might not want disc golf to get anymore popular than it is, but I don’t think it would hurt having disc golf be as popular as other sports.  What do you think?  Should it stay a little underground?  Or is it fine if more people pick up the sport?

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Tossing in the basket

Last Sunday I received my friend Paul’s practice disc golf basket.  Basically it’s a basket that you can easily set up and use either for practicing your putting or you could use it to set up your own course.  I guess it’s probably better to use as a practice basket than for a course, but if you had a bunch of them and some time and a large area you could set up a neat course.  Going a little off topic, when I lived in New York I looked up courses and they said there was one in Park Slope.  I have a friend that lives there, so one early summer day we made the trek to Brooklyn and met my friend at Prospect Park to check out the course.  Well, it turns out that you actually have to bring your own baskets and they have a suggested course for you to follow.  Not having a basket kinda put a damper on that and we played bocce ball instead.   So I guess now that I have a basket, I could take it there and try the course, but living in Kalamazoo makes that a little difficult.

Anyway on to the heart of this post and let’s talk about using the basket for practice.  I have read and talked to disc golfers and they both say that practicing putting is probably the most important thing you could do.  Being able to sink putts easily will help you shave off a throw or two and get you closer to par.  The disc golfers that I talked to at a tournament back in 2006 said that they usually practiced with it every day.  Kinda intense.  But these guys were able to usually do only two throws a hole,  I guess it paid off.  So I guess it’s important to practice putting.

I’ve only had the basket for a week and a half, but I have practiced with it four or five times and I actually have seen a bit of improvement in my putting.  I probably could do it every day, but some days it’s crappy out, other days I’m disc golfing, and other times I just don’t feel like it.  I’m trying to get better at that, I mean even doing it for 20 minutes is better than nothing.

I only have two putters, a Mercury Putter (which seems to not exist when you do a Google search for it, weird) and then a Birdie.  Obviously, it would be kind of a pain to just use those two putters when practicing.  Throwing two and then walking over to pick them up and then throwing them again is fine, but it’s probably better to have a bunch of putters to throw (kinda like those guys that practice golf putting, they usually have a bunch of golf balls).  So, being the crafty guy that I am, I grabbed the putters that my father-in-law has and then found that you can use the Shark disc as a putter as well.  This gives me a total of eight putters to practice with.  Much better.  Now if you are reading this for advice for practicing with a basket, you don’t need to have a bunch of putters, you could do just fine with one, but I think it might be a little easier if you could just have a stack next to you to practice with, won’t throw off your rhythm.

I put the basket in the middle of my in-laws’ yard, which gave me the most options to move around it and practice different length putts.  Actually, it was a little weird at first because the next door neighbors were on their porch and I didn’t feel like having an audience, so I moved it a little further away from their view and it was just fine (I’ll talk about disc golfing with an audience later, for some reason it messes with me).  I would recommend putting the basket on a flat surface, because the majority of courses have baskets on a flat surface (most of the Kalamazoo area courses do, not all of them, but most of them.  Also, you don’t want to have the basket wobbly and maybe fall over).  Plus, I think in the context of practicing your putts, your focus should be that you want to get the putter into the basket.  Being able to do that from different distances is more important than worrying about the height of the basket.  Once you can get the putter into the basket from varying distances on your first try, and you never have to worry about it not getting in the basket, then I say what the heck, if you got a hill in your yard go for it.

My first time practicing with the basket was me just getting a feel for it.  I would stand at one place, throw all of the putters, and then move to another random location.  I had no rhyme or reason on where I was going, I just wanted to get all of the putters in the basket.  This worked, since you can’t really determine where you are going to be putting from when you are out on the course.  But, was kind of a pain because you really couldn’t track your progress.    Therefore, on my next couple of times out there, I used a marker that was about 13 feet from the basket and tried to get all eight discs into the basket on one try.  If I couldn’t do that, I kept throwing until they all got in the basket, and then tried again, this time doing it in less throws than the last time.  I figure once I can throw all of them in on the first time, I’ll move back a couple of feet.

I am also practicing my holds and aims while putting.

  • What am I focusing on?
  • How do I want to hold the putter?
  • What should I aim at?

These are things that I think about while practicing.  All of the pros say that you should do the same thing every time you putt, this way it becomes automatic and helps clear your head.  You don’t want to be thinking about the guys you are playing with, or the next hole, or something unrelated to disc golf completely.  You want to focus on the task at hand, which is sinking the putt.  So, doing the same thing is kinda zen like.  Also,  they say that you should aim for a link on one of the chains.  Again, this helps with the focus zen thing you are trying to accomplish.  Plus, I think it helps you get the disc in the chains, which usually helps stop the disc and drops it right into the basket.  There is nothing so painful then having a disc smack the basket under the chains and drop to the ground.  So, aim for the chains (title of the blog makes sense now, doesn’t it? ;)).  Finally, I suggest that if you are right handed, aim for a chain on the left, and I’m guessing if you are left handed you should probably aim for the right.  This is because the disc (like I have said before) goes the opposite way you throw it.  So, aiming for the opposite side of the way you are throwing will help keep that disc going toward the basket and not just passing it.  This is a lot to think about as you putt, but trust me it’s really not this bad.  You know that you need to get your putter into the basket, so just do that.  These are just things to help you get that putter into the basket.  Most of them are probably common sense, but gotta say it.

One final thing that I noticed while practicing.  My hold on the disc is becoming different.  Usually when I putt, I hold the disc with my pointer finger on the edge of the disc.  So I have my thumb on the top of the disc, my pointer on the edge, and the rest of my fingers gripping the lip ( looks like I’m making a gun with my hand and it’s sideways).  But, for whatever reason, I’ve started putting the putter in between my pointer and middle finger.  This puts my thumb and pointer on the top of the disc and the rest underneath the disc.  It seems to help, but since I have only just started doing this, I’m not sure on the long term affect it will have.

I will continue to practice with the basket, it’s nice out, so why not.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get all eight in on one try.  My best was yesterday, I was able to get six in.  I’ll let you know when I get all of them in.

Anyone have their own unique way to putt?  If you don’t have a basket, do you practice with something else?  Do you think you need more than one putter?

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