Monday, February 24, 2014

A Tale of Two Rounds

A big part of why I started this blog was that I wanted a place to document my path along the way from complete noob to wherever I end up. I've gotten in the habit of writing bigger pieces about technique and reviews for the blog - which I enjoy doing - but I've not talked about where I am.

This weekend was a tale of 2 completely different rounds. I played a windy round with Kyle (who has a new post coming out soon), his friend Brian, my brother, and a few other friends (Chris and Sean for historical accuracy) at Colorado Heights University (CHU). I've not developed my game to handle wind very well. I can't putt well in the wind is what it really boils down to. I had a number of drop in birdies and a number of really hard earned pars that turned into +1 or +2 by floating 3' above the basket into a headwind. Shot +18 on the round. That was with at least 3 birdies that I remember, but to be honest, I felt like the wind made every hole a par 4.

My little bro is the real beard.
I am reading a book called "Zen Golf" by Joseph Parent and let me just say that I am in no way able to really take advantage of all of the good stuff in his book YET, but it's in my mind. Missing a putt doesn't mean there's something wrong with me ("What's WRONG with me?! ARRRRG!") or with my putting stroke. It just means I missed the putt, move on to the next shot. That's what I'm trying to do - but it's very tough. I'm as prone to frustration as anybody.

It's hard to have the highs of blasting a great shot, 20' from the basket from 350' out and then missing a putt, missing the come-back and then try to let it slide off your back. I tried to just find things to be positive about and there were a few. I felt like my thumber was flying really well - the 171 Servo has been a god-send for thumbers. It just goes so much further than all my other discs and consistently straight. There was a few bright spots and good friends, but still a very windy and rough round that left me feeling a bit defeated.

Sunday I played 27 holes with my brother at Badlands. Wind was very mild so we were both over-joyed when the sun came out and a day that started covered in snow warmed up to blue skies.  I had played this course just once before, and it was probably in the first month of playing disc golf. It's really a great course and we joined up with a nice guy named Brian who was looking for a group. We each put $2 on the line... so things were serious!

The round started off really solid - I was shooting under par until we went into the Blair Witch section which is heavily wooded. I had almost no clue where the baskets were on a number of holes and consequently threw some pretty wild shots and had to really work to save par on a few holes. Picked up about 3 strokes coming out of the 9 holes in the woods, but ultimately I was really happy with some of my "getting out of really bad trouble" shots. The best was a 70' approach shot that I forehand skip-shot under a bush and around a tree to slide under the basket to save par. Shots like that are what makes me love playing disc golf in the woods.

You're forced to get creative!

Somewhere around hole 23 I think I started to lose focus a bit. Not knowing how far out the basket was lead to under throwing some drives. I felt really happy with my upshots through the round, but I missed 2 easy birdie opportunities with sloppy putting. Then on hole 25 I 3 putted and that just took the wind out of my sails. Ended the round shooting +5, and 4 of those strokes were from missing putts that were definitely in my range.

The positives were that my forehand felt pretty solid with the exception of trying to throw my Valk into a slight headwind and it was worthless and never faded. Another positive was that even though I didn't finish strong, I played pretty solid on a course that I was completely unfamiliar with. My brother won the well deserved $4 from Brian and I - and we were very lucky to have a gorgeous day in the middle of winter.

Perhaps the best thing to come out of that round was that when I three-putted (giving away an easy bird) - I went in my head and actually said, "There's nothing wrong with you. You're having a nice afternoon in a beautiful park. Remember the Zen shit." and then I whistled a tune and looked forward to my next shot.


  1. "Blair Witch Section of the course" -- epic description. I also loved "remember that zen shit." For I too, am working to improve mental strategies.

    1. I wish I had coined the name, but it was dubbed that before I got there! I have an epub of Zen Golf if you want me to send it your way.