Hey America, how's that winter storm treating you? Local schools here in Fort Worth have been closed since Tuesday due to very icy roads...and as I write this, we're getting blanketed with big, fluffy flakes of snow...headed toward 5 inches since yesterday. It's cold!!! Especially for a Southerner!
Ok, today's Minute Clinic is about Falling Putts. You know who you are (most of the time) and you know what you do! We want to help! First off, for those that don't know or didn't realize, a falling putt is when you do NOT demonstrate balance inside the putting the circle. The putting circle is 10 meters or 32 feet 10 inches. Inside this circle, you MUST fully demonstrate balance behind your lie when you putt. That means after you release the putter, no part of your body can land in front of your lie (or mini-marker) period. It's not good enough to simply tap your foot down behind your lie as your momentum takes you toward the basket. Same thing if you happen to be kneeling when you putt...if you land in push-up position, you've fallen on the putt.
What happens if I "fall" when I putt?
First, your card will issue a warning and you must re-putt. Anything after that counts as a penalty stroke so it can really add up if you have built in this bad habit to your game.
Watch the video to for a few quick tips on how to eliminate falling putts from your disc golf game!
Happy Friday everyone! Hope your week didn't drag on like mine did. I need some serious R&R this weekend...including some time out on the course. Disc Golf is often the release I need from a tough day/week/whatever.
Our next installment of the Friday Minute Clinic focuses on backpack straps for your bag, how they can make things easier out on the course, as well as a demonstration of how to attach the straps to your bag.
TGIF! Hope you disc golf crazies are having a great week. I know I'm looking forward to the weekend. Wallace and I have made a commitment to each other to practice our putting everyday so we're ready for the SADC Ice Bowl coming up in a month. I'm looking forward to it, it's byop (bring your own partner) so the Stanley twins are bringing each other.
Disc Golf Station Friday Minute Clinic:
Check out the video for a nifty little idea to help you practice your putting for disc golf.
Hope you liked it. It's a great time saver, a lot more fun than putting at a basket, and a nice break from the routine of just you and the basket.
Monday, I went to HasletCommunityPark for some disc golf practice and hopefully an ace.Martin Luther King, Jr. Day turned out to be that perfect, sunny, chilly-but-not-cold day.It was around 55°F and beautiful with strong winds out of the south.
My wife and 8-month old accompanied me.The 9-hole course at Haslet is gem.It’s perfect for mid-range and putting practice so I decided to try a new practice idea.So here it is:
My practice idea:
Choose a mid-range and putter combo and make them go head-to-head with as many other combos as you like.For me, I chose the following combos from my bag and extra discs at home:
So which combo do you think would win?(Bearing in mind that most holes are between 180 and 220 ft)I had my money on the Zone/Voodoo Combo because I love the Zone for these types of shots and in the wind I trust the hyzer line with an overstable disc.
Before, I get to the results….the best part was on Hole 7, I tagged an ace with the #3 Hyzer.
It was a soft but tight hyzer line that went in!I’ve replayed the shot over in my head a hundred times since and it still excites me.Some people are all down on aces and think they are overrated…whatever!Getting a hole-in-one is thrilling everytime whether I threw it or not.
Well, here were the results for the 9-hole par 27:
Meteor/ Banger - 22
#3 Hyzer / Crosshair – 23
Stalker / Voodoo – 24
Warrior / Wizard – 24
Zone / Voodoo - 25
Wasp / Banger – 26
Oracle / Ringer – 26 (Only 4 of the round was on the last hole and was because of a dinked 10 ft putt…I was almost more mad about this than I was excited about the ace…almost)
This was a lot of fun, low pressure on my mental game.I got an ace out of the deal and I found that I can throw my Meteor, an understable mid, in the wind a lot better than I thought.
So my advice to you is this:go find the shortest, easiest course around and make your mid/putter combos battle it out for your bag!
A huge part of disc golf is knowing what and how to throw. The other part is execution. If you want to work on execution, then you need lots of repetition and practice. That part is easy, what we really need is to work on the mental side. Here are 3 things to think about when you are playing disc golf that can help you win the mental game.
1. Play the hole before you shoot.
Don't just walk up to the hole and try to fling your drive as far as possible. Stop for a moment (even 5 seconds helps) and ask yourself how you are going to play each shot. (Let's pretend you are right handed) If you step up to a right curving fairway and the basket is 390 feet away but you can't throw backhand anhyzers very well and your sidearm consistently hits 320 ft and maxes out at 350 ft, you need to play the hole for 3. You should NOT expect to birdie this hole. Your max distance, perfect shot, once every other month sidearm still leaves you 40 feet short. You've left yourself with a chance for a long putt (assuming you were also accurate). What usually happens though is you try to overpower your disc to get it that extra 20 or 30 feet and sacrifice accuracy.
While, you may occasionally get that long drive to be accurate and then follow up with a long putt, you need not pressure yourself to deuce this hole. PLAY IT FOR 3! Take an accurate 300+ ft drive. Throw your putter the next 80+ ft to leave you a gimme par putt.
You have to be honest about your abilities and limitations and play within them. On longer holes or more technical holes, you need to think SHOT PLACEMENT. Stepping up to the tee, ask yourself: "where do I want each shot to be?" Place your shots mentally, then try to execute accordingly. Don't just slam your disc down the fairway and hope for the best.
2. Lines, angles, disc selection
Think about what line or shape you are going to try to throw as well as the angle of the disc (hyzer, flat, or anhyzer). Here is an example in my own game. Hole 3 at Arcadia Park in Fort Worth, Texas is a 305 foot slight hyzer with woods lining the left side of the fairway, open field to the right. I can throw my Stalker basically straight at it with enough hyzer angle to handle the speed. My max distance with the Z Stalker is just enough to get it to the basket. Or I can choose to throw my Z Force (a much faster and more overstable driver) on a wider line. The better choice is the Force and this is why: the line I'm throwing on is totally clear (the open field to the right). The hyzer angle I'm throwing on with the Force will bring the disc to the ground and not fly past. Because I can throw my Force past the target on a normal shot, I can use more of a hyzer line (but not quite a hyzer spike) to get me to the basket without risking blow-bys. The Stalker is not a bad choice but just not preferrable when I know that I can more easily turn the Stalker over drastically decrease my distance along with the possibility that if I throw it right down the pipe and it finishes left even a little early I'm in the woods praying for a clear out to save a par.
3. Don't grumble...recover!
When your shot doesn't go as planned, don't embarrass your friends and family by yelling, cussing, throwing your bag, or whining like an overgrown baby. Say to yourself: "Time to go to work" or "I can recover" or "I can still save the par" or "I can still make that putt." How many times did you mean to lay your putter up right under the basket but instead you left it 25 ft short. Well, don't start grumbling and complaining about your shot...as if you have already missed the next putt. Speak positivity into your game about how you are going to nail the putt anyway. I don't need no stinkin' drop-in or SOMETHING to keep your attitude lifted. Plus there is nothing worse than that guy who blows a gasket when he doesn't throw a pro level shot on every stroke. RELAX. Get over your mistakes and oopsies and try to make the next shot a good one. Getting ticked off will only make things worse and make you look stupid.
Sometimes you need a change of pace. Sometimes you need a break from just “playing lots of rounds” of disc golf. Sometimes you, no – WE, need to actually practice. When I first started playing, the concept of actually practicing rather than always playing was non-existent. I figured I would just play a lot and eventually get better. I will practice my putting via all of the disc golf I played. It’s kinda like saying “I’ll work on my free throws when I get fouled in the game.”
But practicing is boring and disc golf is fun. Yes, I understand the dilemma. Here’s the first idea to help you practice while maximizing the fun factor. (Besides at the end of the day, being better at disc golf is fun…)
Really Great Idea #1: The Two Disc Round
First off, make a buddy do this with you. Choose your favorite putter and mid-range disc, you will play the round with ONLY these two discs, hence the name. Go to whatever course you want but you can only use those two discs. For me, it’s a Pro-D Banger and an ESP Buzzz.
One round like this every other month will keep you grounded. Expect to learn your discs very well. You may be surprised at how far you can throw your putter and mid-range and the different lines that you can get but otherwise wouldn’t try if X or Y disc was in your bag. The first thing that I noticed was that I can use putters and mid-ranges MUCH more often than I used to. Ideally, you could always use a very slow, easily-controlled disc for every shot. Well, if you work on expanding the utility of your slowest, straightest discs, you will see a difference in your game. Seriously, why would you use a high speed, overstable, maximum distance driver for a 200 ft open hole? Even small arms can push that mid-range out near the 200 foot mark. Try me!
Now, feel free to get creative but I like the putter/mid-range combo because it will emphasize control, accuracy, and throwing smooth. It forces you not to overwork your discs, like I’m in the habit of doing. (Hey just boom it man!…not good disc golf philosophy usually…) Ok, get out there and try it, let me know if you see a difference.
Here after a month of the Putting Confidence Program…Bad news. This was not the mystical elixir that cured all my putting woes. In fact it was merely a routine-based solution to my lack of consistency in the putting game. The mental aspect of the program is great-you learn to make short putts over and over again. You establish a consistent pre-putt routine that helps your body recreate the successful motion.
There’s one problem here. My human mind still wanders, lacks focus, carries frustration from that last sorry putt, etc etc. The biggest lesson I learned was to fix the head part of the game and let the rest fall into place. More positivity, more makes. More anxiety and worry, more misses.
I encourage anybody wanting to putt better to give it a go. CAVEAT-set your course against all odds or don’t even bother. If you’re not up to putting when you don’t feel like it, this probably won’t work. I’ve had a month of hard rains which made it ANNOYING to get out and work on my putting game. If you wanna see some improvement, I think this could be successful for you too.
After some thought, I decided to replace my Dart with a Elite-X Soft Challenger from Discraft to go along with my Pro-D Challenger. I feel this will accelerate my progress because my putters are now much more comparable.
Halfway through the putting program, I thought I’d go public with my progress-good or bad. First let me recap the program:
1. 30 minutes a day(two 15 minute segments) for a month. 2. Develop confidence by making SHORT putts. 3. Use the same setup/routine as you would in your tournament rounds.
I’ve been using a Discraft Pro-D Challenger and an Innova R-Pro Dart. The two act differently, but I’m really comfortable with each disc. I found that 15ft( yeah only 15ft!!!!) was the best distance to work from. It’s the first point I feel that I have to actually THROW the disc. Admittedly, you can get away with minor imperfections in your form at 15ft but you still need clean throws as I found it’s really easy to miss from 15ft. From 10ft, I don’t get any value out of it and from 20ft, I don’t build my confidence because I miss a lot.
Putting with a Discraft Pro-D Challenger
So, 15ft putts for 30 minutes a day! My consistency and confidence has gone up, although I was hoping for a magic quick fix. This is not that. It has taken a lot of dedication. I didn’t realize how LONG 30 minutes a day can seem. We’ve had a lot of rain in the last two weeks for me which made it even harder to get my practice in. All that said, I’ve felt more at ease at this distance and it’s already helping on the course. Today I went 57/60 (95%) during one of the 15 minute segments! That is my best so far.
The discouraging part is I STILL MISS PUTTS!!! Can the sadness never end? The mental game is what this program is all about and I still find myself getting frustrated and letting one miss lead to another. As I’m practicing I have to talk myself up and keep cool( just like at a tournament or in a round). I have two more weeks, but I think overall I’m improving slowly. Hey I’ll count that as a victory. More to come later!
Okay. Lets be honest. My putting game is not the best. In fact, I would venture to say out of the broad categories of driving, approaching, and putting, it is the worst of the three. This has been the cause of many what if’s and maybes. Woulda Coulda Shoulda. I’ve tried a few different styles, a TON of different putters, and hours of practices and the results are……..inconclusive.
So again, I’m looking for a way to give me a solid technique that I can latch on to round after round and start making some of those birdies and saving those pars. C’mon man, I’m only human. And all the humans I know HATE MISSING PUTTS.
I’m going to give Discraft’s Putting Confidence Program presented by Mark Ellis the ol’ college try. The basics of the program build the #1 skill needed for putting-CONFIDENCE. The drill is simple 1. 30 minutes a day(two 15 minute segments) for a month. 2. Develop confidence by making SHORT putts. 3. Use the same setup/routine as you would in your tournament rounds.
Mark Ellis recommends picking up a couple of new putters that are void of any “history.” I just picked up a Pro-D Challenger from Discraft. I like it for the short push putts and for short tee shots or upshots. If you need some discs, Discgolfstation has DOUBLE REWARD POINTS this week!!!
Check back and I’ll let you know how it’s going! Leave a comment-what putter do you like best? What’s your routine? Has anybody tried this program before?