Tag Archives: practice

Nine holes of fun

I think I like a nine hole game of disc golf for a family event.  It’s not so long that you miss the actual event (a reunion in this case), but it is a great practice and taste for people new to the sport.  I got to experience this perfect mix the other week in Grand Rapids at Lamar Park.

The course is a nice little course with not much of a challenge, besides some water hazards, picnic areas, and baseball fields.  The majority of the holes are short, except for one, which makes up for the others.  The other hazard that you will run into is the that this park has a lot of picnic benches and picnic areas around, with some really close to the holes.  So, you have to look out for the people in these areas.  That part is annoying, considering hole number three has a creek on your left and a giant picnic area to the right of the basket.  When we were there, that area was full of people enjoying a birthday party with lots of kids.  Meaning that you had to make sure you had control of your disc.  You didn’t want to go fishing or piss off a bunch of parents.  The baseball fields also present a challenge, though not as bad as the moving hazard of children.  The baseball fields only presented you with the trouble of having to hop fences if your disc went over them.  Obviously not a problem if a game is not going on, but…you don’t really want to mess up a game by stopping the outfielder from catching a pop-fly.  Plus, if you are doing disc golf right, that is out-of-bounds.

Overall, it’s a great little place that I do recommend you checking out if you have some time up in the Grand Rapids area.  Just be prepared for the one hazard that really shouldn’t be a hazard, yet seems to be for my brother-in-law, Mario.

The pond.

This pond seems be a storm run-off, that just happens to always have water in it.  I guess there are fish, because there are usually people on the edges of it with fishing poles.  Well, this pond is on the far left of the ninth hole.  The way the hole is laid out, the pond really doesn’t seem to be in the way of anything.  You wouldn’t even really want to try to cut over it with a big throw, because the basket isn’t in place where it would make sense.  I could see it being a problem, because it is in your line of sight when you are getting ready to throw your disc.  And if you let the disc go too late when you are doing a backhand, it could fly in there.  But, for the most part it shouldn’t be an issue.

However, both times we have gone to this course, Mario has had to take a swim.  The first time was pretty bad, because the disc went into the middle of the pond.  The second time I didn’t get to see it, because he went around the course one more time than I did.  The funny thing was that as we stood around the pad for for the first round, we had joked about him doing it.  He said he had no idea why his disc went in the water.  So, he must have cursed himself, because sure enough, as we were sitting around the picnic area for the reunion he came back with wet shorts.  Moral of the story: be prepared for anything, and don’t mind getting wet.

Now on to my game…

I think I did a decent job.  The only hole I really had an issue with was hole number seven, which was the long one of the course.  My drive was good, as well as my second throw, however the third one that was suppose to get me to putting range bombed.  There is a step hill that follow the fairway on the right, and at the top of the hill is a street.  Well, my third throw took my way off course and almost on that street.

Otherwise, I actually kept on or just over par on the holes.  Now, I am starting to count par as three and not four.  Four is a safe bet, which is fine for me, but three makes me pretty happy.  I did this with my backhand and overhead throws.  These drives usually got me close enough that my next throw put me on top of the basket.  And I never really had to worry about my putts.

I’m feeling better for the Wolverine Cup 2010, not perfect, I need to practice a bit more.  I didn’t mention the dreaded forehand throw, because I didn’t even give it a thought.  I guess I chickened out a bit on that one.  I’m focusing on one thing a time, and that is definitely not it.  My putting and other drives have become priority right now.  I know those are my strong suits and I want to strengthen them up even more before the tour happens.

Have you been to this course?  Any thoughts on it that I missed?

GOAL

Hit par on more holes.  Increase my putting range

GOAL ACCOMPLISHED?

Yes on both!  It was a shorter course and that might have been the reason, but hey I’ll take a win.

PROBLEM

Biggest problem is the length of the drives.  I know most people say putting is the name of the game, but you need to be able to get to the basket to make those putts.  I want to do it in a shorter number of throws.

SOLUTION

Practice, practice, practice!  I should try to go back to the park and throw some more discs, work the arm muscle a bit.  Also, should probably go to the courses a bit more.  Since the move has been delayed, this might be possible.

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Is this wrong?

Life happens.

And when you think it’s slowed down to a point where you can manage it, something else comes and throws a turbo boost under your wheels and you are speeding along the track at a pace where you can’t see everything again.

This is how you lose track of your goals.  Such as trying to get better at disc golfing by going out to the course as much as possible.  I was hoping that having this blog would help focus me on that goal.  It has, but in a way to make me mad at myself for not being able to reach this goal.    But, I do think about disc golfing a lot, especially trying to come up with great ideas for this blog for times such as this.  Times where I don’t get to go out to the course as much as I want.  I guess this is a good test at my time management skills.

Which somewhat leads me to this post.  Life.  As in my wife and I are looking for new house and all I can really do is look at the backyard and ask myself: “is this yard big enough to practice disc golf in?”

Is that wrong?

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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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Practicing Disc Golf

Yesterday was my first “official” day of practicing disc golf.  You may ask yourself, how do you practice disc golf?  Wouldn’t it just be easier to go out on the course every day?  The answer to that is, probably.  The best way to practice would be just to do it.  But, I’m sure any master of their craft would tell you that you should probably break the craft into pieces and do each piece until you get it right.  So, if I would like to be a master, I should break the craft of disc golf up into pieces.  The pieces? Putting and the drive.

I have read from multiple places that putting is the most important part of disc golf.  I’m sure it’s the same way for regular golf as well.  The skill of being able to hit the chains on the basket from 20 feet away is something you wish you had when you are standing there staring at that basket.   Getting the disc in from that distance would save you a throw and give you some bragging rights 🙂  I think that most people can throw a disc far, but it takes some skill to not have to get your disc a foot from the basket to putt.  So, you practice throwing your putter into that basket.  I don’t have a practice basket, but I should be borrowing one soon from Paul, so I won’t go into that practice yet.  But, I can cover the drive part.

If you have been following this blog, you know that I am having a problem with letting go of my disc too soon.  For whatever reason, my hand just lets go and the disc hooks to the left a lot sooner than I want it to.  I can usually get warmed up and by the end of the course I’ll have more control over my grasp, but by that point the game is over and I am way over par.    So, until I get that basket, I want to practice on my drive and I want to know where I am putting my disc.  If I want the disc to go straight, I want to have the confidence of knowing that the disc is going straight.  That’s the same for if I want it to go left or right.

Yesterday I went to the park with my discs and started throwing them.  There was a clear mark for my “tee” and there was a tree pretty far out in the distance that I aimed for.  I threw all of them, even my chipped Beast (I have  pro beast too).  I have never done that before, so it was interesting to see where all of the discs would end up.  My practice was two-fold, I was able to test where my discs would fly and I was able to practice my control.  I found that my Pro Beast would go the furthest and that my Roc and Leopard would go the next furthest.  Now, I could go into a lot of detail about the plastic and the differences between Pro and DX, but I’ll save that for later.  Right now I just want to say that it was great to see what would fly, where they would end up, and if I had the control to put them where I want.  Near the end I started to have that control, but I think I need a lot more practice.

Any practice advice?  Do you have a favorite disc that you use?

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