|Yours truly contemplating the next blog post.|
During our chair lift conversations he mentioned something about how disc golf "wasn't exactly a work out." It's a line I've heard many times before from my friends who don't play and associate disc golf with drinking a few tall-boys while strolling through the park losing frisbees. Which leads me to myth #1...
Myth #1: Disc Golf isn't Exercise
Okay, so you're not going to end up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I've shaved two loops off my belt; I had to punch a new hole in to keep my britches up! I had the classic late-thirties-skinny-guy-belly that came with my extra large forehead and general lack of interest in sit-ups.
|The proof is in the pudding or lack there of.|
Myth #2: Fieldwork is for Distance
Fieldwork can improve all aspects of your game, not just your drives. It might not be as fun throwing 50-150' shots, but it's a huge benefit to have those shots dialed in.
|Sir Kyle of Upshot|
It's put a strong impression on me that accurate upshots are key to staying under par for a round. Plus, it takes the pressure off your putting and lowers the amount of mental energy that you put into the game when you see that you're walking up to a 10' putt instead of a 40'er.
Practice both forehand and backhand in various ground covers to see what kind of skip or slide you'll get. Flip a disc up-side-down and see how it slides on it's top in case you have to slide it under some tree limbs on grass. The best part of a solid upshot is that it immediately lets you decompress and reserve that mental energy for the future .
Doing fieldwork that focuses on your short game will absolutely save strokes off your game and of course you can still impress the folks walking by with your monster drive.
Myth #3: The Mental Game is for Tournament Players
"Zen Golf" by Joseph Parent. This short and easy to read book put the mental game on my radar. Before I read it, my confidence was completely tied to my immediate past. If I had 2 good holes, then my confidence started building - but if I had 2 bad holes, it was crushed. I never thought that a simple little book could pack such a punch with improving my game. Anybody who plays with me knows that I still go into the tank, everybody does... it's almost impossible to have enough armor shake off endless struggles in a round.
By using a few really simple mental strategies I've really improved how much I can enjoy a round or a hole that doesn't go my way. It's so easy to end a round and focus on the few things you did wrong, ignoring the 95% of the round where you did great. By replaying the round in my head, I often realize that even if I didn't beat my little brother I still had great time, played well and did quite a number of things right.
Myth #4: Drive for Show
It was the first platitude I ever heard about golf and it makes me crazy. Drive for Show, Putt for Dough! Bahhh, I'm guessing that might have been true when a long course included all 300' holes, but not anymore. You've got to develop a solid and accurate drive, upshots and putting. Giving up on an entire section of your game, with the hopes of making it up in your short game is short sighted.
Distance is power.
The reality is that distance can save strokes at all of the courses I play. I play with a buddy named Ryan, who's fluidity and power on drives actually made me say, "HOOOOLYYYYYY SH***%&$^#^$!!" He was throwing lines that were not even on my radar because I simply didn't believe a disc could get there. I still can't necessarily get there, but I'm recognizing what improving my driving technique can yield. Efficiently driving doesn't just mean that you can throw further, it means you can throw higher (over trees instead of around) and you can throw more stable discs in windy conditions. It increases your shot selection.
Distance in forehand and backhand is a fantastic skill. If you've got a moderately workable forehand out to 200' and you put some hours of fieldwork in, I'd put money on the fact that you can develop at least another 50'-100' and open new alleys to throw.
Myth #5: (WHAT? YOU SAID FOUR!) The Gimme Putt
Had to sneak this in because it's been a huge struggle for me lately.
The "gimme putt" does not exist. How many times have I missed a 15' putt?! Too many to count. And nobody is going to gimme that stroke back. Missing a short putt can literally make your head swoon.
Short putting requires focus and practice. I struggle mightily inside of 20'. In fact, 15-20' might be the aspect of my game that raises my blood pressure more than anything else. There's very few things that are easier to fix than taking off your disc bag and making sure to focus... it's simple - TAKE OFF THE BAG AND FOCUS.
My brother pointed out that he feels that inside that range he feels that's mandatory that he put it in, which in turn makes him a tighten up and over think everything. Next thing you know, you're off to the side or in my case, I'm off the top of the bucket.
Practicing at 10-20' feels crazy because you're so close, but even crazier is neglecting to practice the putts that are, without question, going to be involved in every round you throw! In my 15' putt, I realized pretty quickly that I was throwing high quite often (DOINK) and there is a physical reason behind it. When close to the basket, I was trying use my 30' putt stance which feels comfortable and consistent... but I was completely flat footed. I didn't feel like I needed to generate that momentum to toss a disc 15 short feet - but by being flat footed, I'm not leaning forward, and my release point is too high.
How to fix it? Getting up on the ball of my front foot and leaning forward in an aggressive stance. I am putting my body in the position to release the right height. AHA! It feels strange, but by getting up into a forward and aggressive stance, focusing just like I am hitting a long putt - I'm doing better.