I’m not happy with the casual 57 I shot yesterday, that’s my average. So to improve in the areas where I need to, I’m going to do field work.
Don’t groan or roll your eyes. I hear so often from folks that field work is “boring” or that they only take out their drivers and pump it 100 times as hard as they can and aren’t getting any more distance.
This week in the blog I have 3 pieces of field work you can do anywhere you can find a field. I promise they’re fun drills that focus on fundamental disc golf shots. And did I mention that you don’t need to bring anything other than your discs and bag?
I realize that when I write these blogs I often focus on using tools that I know and that Sabattus sells. That’s because I have experience with them and I like to teach things from a place of experience.
But I know that not everyone has access to a couple of $150-$200 tools, like the Rangefinder or practice basket. Those are a sizable investment for lots of folks, and it took me playing for about 2 years before I ever got gifted a basket by my late grandparents. While that’s helped me immensely in the 12 years I’ve had the basket, I know that not everyone can afford it or have the room to use it consistently to justify the purchase.
There are less expensive practice tools like the disc golf dot, pro-pull..etc. But the disc dot works best when you have a basket at home, and the pro-pull is more for warm up and keeping form in the winter for me. So if you’re into those, grab them on our website.
Back to the no frills drills!
Approaching with a game plan.
This is probably what costs amateur players 2-3 strokes per round. When I work in lessons, I often see folks take whatever driver they threw with, mark it with a mini, and chuck their driver towards the basket.
Approaching the basket is an important part of the game. It’s overlooked because it’s not driving off the tee, and it doesn’t smack chains.
- Begin by selecting your approach disc. If you have a few, grab all of them.
- Take about 20 steps away from your bag. You’re now about 50-60 feet away.
- Hit your bag with your discs. (Probably should have added to remove valuable and fragile stuff)
- When you hit it from 20 steps, switch to forehand/backhand. It’s important to get this locked in when you’re behind a tree.
- Once you’ve done this, move back to 30 steps and hit it with both forehand and backhand.
- Move back to 40 steps and repeat.
As you keep doing this drill, you’re going to find that the distances you practice are similar to what you’re seeing out on the course. Those approaches where you blow past the basket? They’re going to be a thing of the past. Those short ones where you leave yourself a knee knocking 25 footer? Not anymore.
Making my Understable Midrange Work For Me.
If you’re a woods player you need an understable utility midrange disc. This may also be a putter for some folks, but I like something a little faster like a 5 speed with a round edge. There are 3 very cool ways that I’d like you to throw this disc. Since you likely have one of these discs, I recommend getting a friend to work with you if you don’t like cardio. Or find somewhere in a field you can throw back and forth without interrupting other people.
- Put the bag about 100 feet away from you. The 3 throws you’ll be working on are Hyzer flip, Flip up to anhyzer, and holding anhyzer.
- Start with Hyzer. Stand so that you’re on the left side of the bag 100 feet away. Work on throwing the disc out on a hyzer so that the disc passes on the right side of the bag in the air and finishes on the left side of the bag on the ground. This should be a normal throw and the easiest one for you.
- Now you’re working on the hyzer flip to anhyzer. Staying on the left side of the bag, throw a shot that passes on the left side of the bag, and finishes on the ground on the right side of the bag. This may take a few attempts.
- Holding Anhyzer the whole way. Now you’re going to move to the right side of the bag. Throw a shot that passes on the left side of the bag and finishes on the right.
Practicing these shots in the open field also allows you to see the movement of the disc and get a better measure of your actual distance. Trying to practice this in the woods is going to lead to lost discs, tree hits galore, and you might not be able to see the full flight through trees and leaves.
Measuring Driver Drift.
I often simplify disc golf for folks just starting out and say that a lot of disc golf is just learning how far left or right your disc is going to fly and then compensating for it. If all of your discs are finishing to one side of the basket, you’re not compensating for your discs' side to side movement.
- Pick 2 of the same disc, this is important for consistency. So if you have two of the same driver in the same plastic, it helps.
- Know about how far you throw with them and go to that distance. Example: I throw the Wraith 350 consistently, so I take my Wraith out and walk about 120 steps away.
- Throw your normal drives but release directly at your bag. Let the disc do all of its own natural flipping and fading.
- Watch as your disc (probably) drifts to the left and lands. Now use your pointer fingers, and point your right one at your bag, and your left one at where the disc game to rest.
- Rotate your body so that your left index finger is now on your bag.
- Look at where your right finger is, for your next throw release there.
This is a rudimentary way to find out how much fade your disc is capable of giving you at the end of a flight. Since so many people release at different heights and different angles, it’s impossible for me to say “aim 50 feet to the right with your Wraith” unless we’re in a lesson together and working on a repeatable release point.
Do this drill a few times and it will help you find an aiming point when you’re next on the teepad. This drill is a little hard to perfect because I believe we all go through growth during the disc golf season. The wind affects the disc a lot here. And if you have lots of glide on your driver you’re going to get a further fade with more variability.
These drills offer you challenges, a chance to spend more time with your discs, and they don’t require you to use any gear you don’t already have.
It’s a win win all the way around in my book. Spending a little time in an open field with your bag doing something other than max distance driving is a great way to start converting more tricky holes into pars and birdies.
If you have any questions about these drills please let me know. I may do a video series on drills in the future on the Sabattus Disc Golf YouTube page. Let me know if these drills work for you!
As always, please don't expect progress to be linear. If you and your friend do these together and suddenly they're getting better and you're stuck, your time will come. I believe in everyone who goes out there and practices.
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397