Sometimes, I find packing up my NutSac for a round incredibly hard. I stand there, surrounded by stacks of plastic, with an unexplainable urge to take one of each disc with me for my round.
The psychology of disc golf.
I wish I was a better putter.
I wish I could drive farther.
I wish I could put my approaches closer to the basket.
I wish I could keep a better attitude on the course.
I love playing tournaments that use safari holes. Playing one hole’s tee to another’s basket is fun and challenging. If done right, it’s a true test of your disc golf skills.
I played in one such tournament last year called the Crazy Beaver. The hardest hole at that tournament required that you throw out of the woods, hit a 40-50’ wide gap about 275’ out, go over a creek, make a 90 degree right hand turn, go another 300’ down the edge of thick brush, to a basket tucked off to the right and down a hill. It was a true par 4.
Life isn’t practice. This is the real thing. It’s our one shot. Regardless of what you think comes next, the lives we are living now are unique. We won’t get to do this over.
Last week on the Disc Golf Answer Man, my Mind Over Plastic segment focused on taking stock of the previous year. Looking back and making note of what went well and making plans to improve on the things that didn’t. As it gets colder and darker outside, I become more introspective. The furious activity of the summer gives way to to a quiet contemplation.
I’m from Colorado. One of my favorite things about Colorado is the weather. Over 300 days of sunshine every year. How can you not love that?
But I don’t just miss the weather. I miss people’s attitudes about the weather. Hot and sunny? Time to go hiking in the mountains! Raining? The fishing will be good tomorrow! 3 feet of snow? Time to go skiing! My Grandfather was one of those people.
We were walking up the 18th fairway and my doubles partner was pissed. For me, playing in the Saturday morning league was an attempt to get out and play some disc golf with other people instead of my normal early morning solitary rounds. For him, it was a way to earn beer money for the weekend. In fact, he had planned his whole Saturday around starting it off with winning that beer money.
As he was griping and complaining, I asked him what he was so upset about.
Did our previous post on distance leave you itching for more? The wait is over. Here is part 2 of our examination of the importance of disc golf distance.
This is really the $20,000 question, isn’t it? How much controlled golf distance is enough? How much do you really need? Sure, another 10 feet would always be nice, but at some point you are chasing something that doesn’t actually help your score.
The first thing you need to do is take an honest look at your game and your score card. Where are your extra throws coming from? If you can only throw 200′ with accuracy, but you 3 putt every basket, you really need to learn to be OK with 200′ for now. I know it’s boring, trust me I know. But putting practice needs to come first in this situation.
At some point, distance will become a priority. 200′ isn’t far enough to be helpful if you want to play competitive golf. That begs the question, how far is? Part of that answer has to do with the courses you play. Part of it has to do with a point of diminishing returns. Part of it has to do with disc golf course design in general.
Without getting into too much complexity, I want to throw a number out there…
The next time you are out on the course, try to keep track of how many times you say to yourself, “I wish I could…”. I bet it’s a lot more than you think.
I wish I could drive further.
I wish I could putt better.
I wish I could throw more accurately.
I wish I had this or that disc.
I wish I had a different bag.
I wish our course was better.
Tyrone Biggums wants crack.
My 6 year old niece wants candy.
Chicago wants a football team that doesn’t suck.
None of those people want those things more than disc golfers want more distance. If you took the quest for more disc golf distance off of social media and out of the disc golf forums, the internet might implode due to the gaping vacuum you just left.
I get it. I really do. I would love to be able to throw 500 plus feet. But you know what? That’s probably just not going to happen. At 44, and playing more than 11 years (I wish I’d found this sport earlier in my life), I’m pretty comfortable with the controlled distance that I’ve achieved. On flat ground, thrown on golf lines, I’m good with how far I can throw. And it’s usually not even over 400′.
You know what else I’m good with? Not spending countless dollars on new discs thinking they will improve my distance (instead I spend countless dollars on disc for other reasons!). Not spending hour after frustrating hour in a field trying to eek out a few more feet. Not obsessing over who throws furthest when I play with friends (OK, you outdrove me, you’re the man! How many throws am I ahead by?). And most of all, I’m totally good with not obsessing over something that doesn’t actually improve my score.