There are benefits to practicing on the course and in the field. The main benefit is that no matter where you practice, you’re getting more time in with your discs. When there’s a DGPT event or something equally as large, the course is shut down so that players competing can practice. If you want to see an entertaining practice round I suggest looking at Big Jerm and Paul Ulibarri who practice together before events.
I don’t have a preference of where to practice, some days field work is rewarding and other days on the course is best. As long as you’re practicing, you’re getting better and that’s what it’s all about.
Looking back at my recommendations for practice I realized I’ve suggested mostly field work to people, when we all know that the point of field work is to get better out on the course.
So maybe you’re sick of those soccer fields and baseball fields and you want to get back out there to your favorite local course.
Today’s blog is about different things/ways to practice when you’re out on your local course.
First things first, always let folks through if you’re the slower player/ practicing. Just because we’re practicing doesn’t let us off the hook for good course etiquette.
Big Brain Tip: Count your discs before you tee off on each hole. Nothing hurts worse than forgetting your disc somewhere you could have found it if you knew it was missing.
Here are 5 different ways I think you can practice to improve your game while you’re on a course. And what this practice will help you accomplish. Different kinds of practice will help you with different parts of your game.
1. Use your non-dominant throw. If you’re backhand dominant (like me) then working on your forehand will make you a much better player. I played a front 9 where on every single drive and upshot I would throw a forehand. Surprising myself, I managed a couple of birdies and took par overall. Sometimes we get into a routine with our throws on courses we know. (Robotic voice) “Hole 2, take my Wraith and bomb it out to the left, then upshot, and putt.” When we’re forced to throw a different drive it adds a lot of challenge to a familiar hole. Try driving only forehands off every tee, even if they’re backhand holes.What does this accomplish? It breaks you out of routine, and creativity is a huge part of disc golf in my opinion. Trying new lines, throws, and using different discs is part of what makes this sport so great.
2. Put some pressure on yourself. It’s hard to manufacture that tournament feeling but you have to try to practice with pressure on. Maybe you don’t get those M&M’s you’ve got in the bag if you miss this putt. Put yourself on video, there’s no pressure like trying to make a shot you know you should on film.
What does this accomplish? It’s harder to putt with pressure on yourself. Practicing throws while under pressure will help you for those moments when you need to hit a putt.
3. Make it twice. If you have a backup copy of a disc, make the shot twice. One thing I recommend every player has is a backup of their putter. Did you make that 25 footer and it felt… lucky? Do it again to prove to yourself you can. If you parked your Star Beast on your drive, pull the other one out of the bag and try to replicate that shot.
What does this accomplish? You can gauge what you did right or wrong. Doing something once is good, doing it twice proves that you can do it when you need to. If you can’t replicate a shot, then that’s one you should work on.
4. Play the hole until you birdie. I first heard of this idea last year when another local area course, Dragan Field, put on a tournament where you continuously played a hole until you birdied it. Maybe you liked your drive, so you’d throw an upshot from there. If your upshot was bad you’d throw another and take a stroke. This is a fun way I practice after work. You can often catch me out on the course trying to birdie a 6 hole loop. Occasionally you get through all 6 holes with all birdies, some days I’m out there taking a few drives/upshots on a hole. It helps my confidence to practice the same holes each day.
What does this accomplish? This will help you think more about placement on the holes you play. Where do you have to place your drive to give yourself the best chance of birdie?
5. Take your worst shot. Worst shot doubles. You can do this with a friend or by yourself. Always take 2 drives, 2 upshots, 2 putts. You take the worst shot and play from there. If you both do well that’s great, but odds are you’ll take some tough shots too.
What does this accomplish? You can definitely get up and down from 50 feet, but can you do it from your 100 foot upshot? Working on harder shots will prepare you for those days when things aren’t going your way.
So these are 5 different ways that you can practice while you’re out on the course. My last piece of advice is that scoring is kind of up in the air. When you’re practicing don’t think about the bogey you took, think about how you got that 3 on a tough hole. Focus on the positive things that you did that were good, think about what mistakes you need to avoid, and don’t worry about your +/- score, that’s what regular rounds are for.
Are there any ways that you practice when you’re out on the course, not just playing a round? Let me know here.
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397