Recently, one of our readers, Mickey, reached out and asked us to cover course management. Looking back across all of the posts on this blog (and holy cow are there a lot of them now!) we realized that we hadn’t really covered much, if anything, in relation to this very important topic. This week will be the first of at least 4-5 where we take on the subject of course management. Thanks for the great idea Mickey, hopefully these posts help you and some others play better disc golf!
When we talk about disc golf, the overall object is to get the disc in the basket. The fewer throws that takes, the lower your scores. There is nowhere that more throws are shaved off of your score card than around the basket itself. Whether or not you agree with the old adage that you drive for show, there can be no doubt that we definitely putt for dough.
You hear a lot of people talk about how to improve putting. Most of that talk involves actual putting technique. What is not addressed very often is how to leave yourself putts you have a better chance of making. There are a few things that go into that. Today we’ll be addressing reading the green.
The green is the area around the basket. I usually think of it as the 10 meter circle that surrounds the basket. That’s where you are typically putting from. The closer you can leave yourself, the higher your percentage of putts made will be. That leaves us with the question of what should we be thinking about when throwing our approaches (or even drives on shorter holes).
If you pay attention to these 5 things, you’ll give yourself a much better chance of having a shorter putt. If you always work to leave yourself the shortest putts possible, your score should go down.
1. Is the green flat or slanted?
This is going to tell you what’s going to happen to your disc once it lands. If the green slants away from the direction the disc is coming in, the disc will tend to travel further, skip, and slide more. If it is slanted towards the direction the disc is coming from, the disc will hit that angled ground and have a higher tendency to stop.
2. How long is the grass?
The longer the grass, the faster your disc is going to stop. The short the grass, the more action and skip you’ll get when the disc comes down.
3. Is the ground wet or dry?
Wet grass is slippery. You’ll notice this a lot when you play all day. Your early morning round, when the ground is covered with dew, will see more skips away from the basket. Later in the day, when the ground has dried out, you’ll notice your disc stops a lot quicker.
4. Is there something other than grass around the basket?
If you are shooting into mulch or wood chips, for example, your disc is probably going to stop almost dead in its tracks. Pick your landing spot accordingly.
5. Are there any obstacles around the basket?
If there are trees or low hanging limbs on one side, but not on another, aim for the clearer side of the basket. It doesn’t matter how close you end up, if there are things in the way, you’ll miss more putts.
6. Bonus tip…
Notice that nowhere in these tips have I addressed trying to throw the disc into the basket. Your goal on approaches should always be to slide the disc right up under the basket leaving yourself a drop in putt.
Most of the time, when you see a pro throw in an approach shot, they were not trying to make it. They made it by mistake. The aim should always be to be able to consistently get up and down.
If you can get up and down in 2 most of the time from 250′ and in, you’ll suddenly be able to beat most of the players you could run into. That’s a huge skill to have. Paying attention to the above 5 things will go a long way towards helping you do that.
We left out one major part of managing your approach shots. Make sure to check out this post to see what it is!
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For those of you that noticed, this regular Monday feature will no longer be called “Just the Tip”. My goal is to help as many disc golfers as possible. It turns out that anyone on line searching for “just the tip” was definitely not trying to find disc golf tips. Those that searched “disc golf tips” were never directed here. So, in an effort to reach more people, I am reluctantly changing the name.
**Image credit for the “bonus” picture – Frederic Bisson