The wind. It’s the great equalizer in our sport. The best laid plans of many disc golfers have been dashed by a 30 mph headwind. 20 foot putts become 60 foot come backers. Drives end up 10 fairways over. Oaths are sworn to never play in the wind again.
My first year of tournament play (second year of disc golf), I regularly played with a small group of locals at my home course. We played almost every day…. almost. I was the newb in the group, hopelessly addicted to disc golf, so I played in every kind of weather. Didn’t matter if it was rain, hail, snow, locusts, mosquitos, or actual cats and dogs falling from the sky. Most of these guys played with me in all of that. Except when it was windy. None of them would play in high wind.
Enter the last tournament of the year. It was windy the entire week prior to the tournament. None of my buddies wanted to practice. So, I didn’t practice. Sunday came and I was ready for what was to be my last tournament for several months. I was excited. This was on my home course and I had been shooting better than ever.
At that time, on that course, I normally shot between 3-5 over par. It was my second year playing and I was pretty happy with my progress. Enter the wind. Enter my complete lack of preperation to play in the wind. My first round score was something like 22 over par. Second round was worse. I think I’ve actually permanently erased that round from my memory because it gave me night terrors for at least a week afterword.
That was the last time I ever refused to practice in the wind. Now, I actually look forward to windy days. Here’s the top 5 reasons to get out and play when it’s windy.
- You don’t control the weather. All bets are off when you show up to check in with tournament central. Mother Nature has a cruel sense of humor and weathermen are wrong more often than people who post comments on YouTube. If you aren’t prepared and practiced, you are screwed.
- You get to throw plastic you don’t normally throw. Your Stilletto, Banshee, Firebird, XXX, Trident, Zone, or other super overstable discs don’t get a lot of work on calm days. I may throw one of those discs once or twice in a round as a utility shot, but they get little to no work. The best way to get to know these seldom used molds sitting in the side “in case I need it” pocket in your bag is to throw them in the conditions they were designed for.
- The course is empty. I do most of my practicing in a field, but I often shift that to the course on windy days. No one is out there. I can throw as many discs from as many spots on the course as I want. No casual players, no crowds, no distractions.
- It’s fun. Learning to work with and ride the wind is fun. Tailwinds give incredible distance. Crosswinds make you aim places you never thought you would. Headwinds make uber beefcake discs that you could normally never throw go straight and far. Discs float, hover, dive, and perform flights you just don’t see on calm days.
- It teaches you to throw on lines and angles you don’t normally throw on. Low line drives and distance anhyzer lines both come to mind as shots I learned in the wind.