Today I’m writing to those of you who are upset with the scores that you are getting on the course. I get it, we all get frustrated. “I two’d this hole last time” or “This is such an easy birdie, how did I miss that?” These are all things I think about and hear others say in frustration (okay I also say them too). For example my favorite hole is a wide open 335 foot shot on the Hawk Course. If I miss the deuce, I don’t understand how I could miss such a wide open shot, in an open field with only a small rock in the way. My average according to UDisc is 2.9 on the hole so 9 times out of 10 I’m taking the 3, what’s happening?
I think we suffer from seeing how easy things are and forgetting how difficult disc golf can be. I mean we’re chucking plastic hundreds of feet through the air and trying to avoid natural objects. We watch Jomez and CCDG and criticize the top pros from our couches as they miss complicated shots under pressure. Brodie Smith tweeted after The Preserve Championship where Calvin Heimburg shot -17 one round, and Nikko Locastro shot -15 twice to win with a score of -41.
Before you jump on the Brodie is bad for the sport train, he’s not alone in this opinion. Other people ask all the time about why is it so easy to shoot under par on one of our courses? A perfect score on the Hawk would be a 43, I’m still waiting for anyone to turn in that score. The closest to a perfect round on the Hawk that I’ve heard is a 47, that’s still 4 strokes off of perfection. To those who think it’s easy to shoot -17 on a Pro Tour course I say...
Perfection is hard. It’s insane to shoot that well. It’s mind blowingly incredible to do what they did. Why do you think SportsCenter did a 1:45 condensed video on Paul’s -18 round ? It’s still one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Here’s the the round with Paul’s commentary if you want to watch it unfold with all the drama.
Should we add more pins to bowling simply because someone bowls a 300? Or does a pitcher who throws a perfect game need to have the mound moved back? In Darts when people shoot a 9 Darter (180,180,141) do they move the board further away? No, obviously we don’t do any of that. There’s been 23 perfect games in baseball out of 218,400 games, Darts have a few perfect legs per year, and disc golf has had 2 perfect rounds. Enjoy the supreme brilliance of the moment, you never know when, or if, it will happen again.
I like the argument: “If it’s so easy to do why isn’t everyone doing it?” It’s also silly for you to get mad or not think you had a good round when you don’t shoot your personal record out there. You can’t do it every time or you’d be on Lead Cards every week. Heck even the greatest players have mediocre rounds. Sometimes you just can’t get something going. I’ve had rounds where I can’t drive to save my life but I’m scrambling well, and others where I’m driving well but can’t hit a putt. The rounds where we put it all together are our personal bests.
Take a breath and don’t worry about it. That’s the advice this week, take a UDisc break and leave the scorecard in the Pro Shop. Go have a fun round with your friends. Get back to what started your love of the game and just go throw. You’ll feel the difference in a round where you don’t care about your score. Where you don’t have any pressure to make a birdie.
A few years ago I obsessed about a tournament, the Vacationland Open. I would get out of work on Mondays and play in the weekly doubles there. I’d skip playing my local courses and was logging round after round at this course. I mean, for like 2 months I only played there. When the tournament rolled around I played some of the worst golf of my life. I struggled on holes I thought I knew, I was so upset I considered skipping the next round and DNF’ing. I put too much pressure on myself to be great and I crumbled spectacularly.
But I’ll tell you a story of another tournament. One where I played the course once before the tournament. About a month before just to check it out. I continued to play my local places and I ended up taking second by 2 strokes in one of the more fun and competitive tournaments I’d been in at that point. It’s because I didn’t burden myself with unrealistic expectations before the tournament had started.
And it’s not just you and me who need to worry less about our scores. *DGLO Spoiler Alert* Imagine being in the lead on the last hole of a DGPT event and not knowing it. I’m glad that Jomez Productions decided to put in the quotes for us so we get to be a part of the action. Here’s Eagle McMahon not knowing until the last putt that he needed it to win.
Quit obsessing over perfection and find some fun out there. Heimburg shot -17 because he’s 17 strokes better than the average player on that course. Not to mention he had a good day. Don’t hate your mediocre rounds; they're part of what makes your personal record so much sweeter.
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397
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I’m a sports management student at USM and for the most part I don’t like pay-to-play sports. I’d argue that they’re detrimental to the growth of the sport, target rich people, and ruin the fun nature of sports.
But disc golf is different.