I’ve been out working on my distance form over the last few weeks. After a long winter of tentative footing, I got back onto some grass and started throwing a few shots after work, just to get used to my discs again.
I quickly found that I was releasing all of my discs low and burying them in the ground on my drives. That’s incredibly frustrating for me because I have the power, but it’s me stopping me. I can’t even blame a tree or rock or anything else for my failures.
If you’re having the opposite problem and throwing your discs too high, here’s a blog I wrote in 2021 to help you throw at a better height.
So I went out to a soccer field and worked on my height of release for drives. I skyed a few and threw them nose up. That’s just as frustrating, but seeing change is seeing progress. And that's how you know that you're at least moving the right parts.
A couple other drives I threw too low and they only got a hundred-ish feet before hitting the ground. If disc golf was easy to master, I’d be bored. It’s that perfect drive that’s rewarding and it’s what I chase. I think it’s why we all play the sport.
After about 20-30 drives I was starting to feel better about my throws. They were closing in on the height I was looking for and I was achieving the 375-400 foot distance regularly. That’s my desired distance for most holes in Maine. If you want more distance, click this hyperlink to get more distance.
If you’re struggling and throwing a low height on your drives, I recommend imagining throwing through your target. Instead of trying to land a disc there, I think about throwing a disc that blows up the basket. I find that makes me focus slightly further down the fairway.
So that practice was an absolute win for me. Check it off on your Excel spreadsheet, put a cool sticker on your paper calendar, whatever you do to track progress, mark it. I’m a fan of writing on my calendar “success” after a practice. Make sure you’re staying positive about yourself and your disc golf game.
Then I went out onto the course and put that driving height practice into use. My drives were hitting the lines I wanted and I was getting further down the fairway.
So my score should be better right?
Here’s where the title Practice Putts That Matter To You comes into play. Instead of being 75-100 feet away on my drives I was 40 feet away. This happened on 7 of the holes from the week before. I was getting closer and 40 feet is an achievable putt for me.
By achievable I mean I can hit those, I’m putting from that distance not upshotting/turned sideways to throw.
But, I walked away with the same score as last week because I didn’t make enough of those putts. And because I ran one from about 50 feet, airballed, and missed my comebacker.
So while I put myself in a better position on my drives, I was still getting the same score. And that’s disheartening at first. At the end of the day what really matters is the “total” number on the scorecard (when you’re playing competitively either against yourself or others).
I’m pretty decent at getting up and down from 75-100 feet. That’s because I practice not making it from that distance. I know that it’s a low percentage shot with possible rollaways and misses. So I take away the stress by not running it. Unless it’s late in the round or for casual dubs or something.
So I snagged my Caiman for my forehand, set my feet so I’m only using my arm, swing my arm back and forth a couple of times to get the right angle feel, the right speed , then I pitch up close for a boring putt.
So that’s what I had been doing when I was seeing 75 foot looks.
I was faced with the new challenge of seeing consistent 40 foot looks. I don’t really practice those that often because it wasn’t something I was used to seeing. So this week what am I going to practice?
It’s going to be those 40 footers that I know I need to hit to improve my score!
Now I only have to hit one of them to improve my score. 2 would be great. Do I dream of 3? Do I get mad if I don’t make any of them like last week?
Let’s be realistic about circle 2 putting percentages. The best C2 putter on the DGPT was Cameron Messerschmidt. He made a jaw dropping 38.9% of his putts from 33 to 66 feet.
So if Cameron, the best player statistically, had 7 putts from that distance we could reasonably expect him to make 3 out of 7 of those putts (42%).
I’m not Messerschmidt. And I’m not 2017 Beaver State Fling Champion Ricky Wysocki. Which I still consider to be the greatest putting performance ever.
I’m going to feel good with 1 made putt, great with 2 made putts, and feel like I got away with something if I make 3. If I make 0 putts, that’s going to be on me.
So now it’s time to go out and find what looks you’re routinely getting and to practice them. If you’re consistently getting 18 foot chances and not converting most of the time it’s time to practice those putts. If you’re missing 8 footers on an elevated basket, practice those.
Make some notes about your last round and see if you can find where you can improve in the putting green. Don’t just try 10 footers, 20 footers, and 30 footers over and over again if you’re consistently seeing putts from one distance more frequently.
This advice helps if you’re playing the same course regularly. I get to play in a Tuesday night league where we usually play from the same tees each week. Putting practice should occur frequently, and if you do you'll lower those scores a couple strokes. Who doesn't love a 55 instead of a 57?
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397