Snapper’s Disc Golf Tips
Q. Just what is the rule if my disc lands in a bush? Can I stand behind it as long as I’m still in line with the basket?
A. No. According to rule 803.04 of the PDGA official rules; “Players must choose a stance which results in the least movement of any part of an obstacle that is a permanent or integral part of the course.” Once a legal stance is taken, a player may not move an obstacle (or hold it back or bend it) in order to make room for a throwing motion,… It is legal for a player’s throwing motion to make incidental movement of an obstacle.
But if the disc were too deep into the bush to even get a foot in behind it and still have a throw then according to rule 803.05 you can declare an “Unsafe lie: A player may, by adding one penalty throw, declare his or her lie unsafe and relocate to a new lie that is no closer to the hole and within 5 meters of the unsafe lie.”
You can check out all the PDGA Disc Golf Rules on the Internet at http://www.discgolf.com/ – Pick Resources on the left and then Official PDGA OnLine RuleBook.
Q. Can you stand behind your mark a few feet if there is a bush in the way?
A. No, the rules here are as follows: you must show balance on your putt (within 10 meters of the basket) before moving forward to get your disc. When making an upshot out on the fairway it is OK to follow through and step past your mark after release. You must stand within 30 cm. (about 12 in.) behind your lie in a direct line to the pin when making any shot .
Q. How can I improve my approach shots?
A. Make longer straighter drives. Actually, there are several things you can do to improve your approach shots. First of all since you don’t always have an open shot to the hole it really helps to develop several different types of throws. The most important one would be a sidearm throw up to about 100 feet, a 2 finger overhead (hammer or tomahawk) throw, and a short roller shot thrown from a 2 finger throw and a scoobie or backhand roller. You can get out of just about any trouble you get into on this course with these shots.
The easiest way to learn these shots is to take your bag of discs out to a quiet park and place a marker at about 75 feet and start throwing a 2 finger at it until you get a feel for the release. You’ll soon discover that when you lead with your elbow and dip the disc towards its outer edge and then flick it with a strong wrist motion it flies straighter than when you use a lot of arm to make the throw.
Once you have a feel for the sidearm throw, it is time to learn the 2 finger overhead throw. The same mechanics are involved but now you raise the disc up over your head and throw it like you would a ball. Left foot forward once again you’ll want more wrist action than arm speed or your disc will precess around and fall back to the left.
Finally when you get that throw down you’ll have a pretty good headstart on figuring out the roller throw. What angle to release the disc, the transition to the ground, the amount of arm speed versus wrist snap are all elements to be learned in the mastering of the roller shot.
Finally, you’re ready to learn the backhand roller or scoobie roller. Backhands are easier and usually go further. Scoobies spin more and cut harder to the right. So depending on your need both are good to learn.
For the backhand roller, turn away from where you wish to throw and lean back a little as your arm swings around near shoulder height your motion will bring you around to face where you are throwing at about the time of release. Again, amount of wrist versus arm speed and angle of trajectory, transition to the ground and stability of the disc will all be factors to reckon with in the learning process. Not to mention wind direction and velocity as well as elevation change. Oh well, no one said it was going to be easy. But at least if you pay attention to what the disc is doing each time you throw it the learning can be rewarding and probably a lot of fun as well.
The scoobie is usually a little tougher. It’s like doing a yo-yo. You take a backhand grip up to your right ear lean over to the left and unwind your arm with a strong wrist motion. You’ll have to practice this one a bit to figure it out.
The second way to improve your approach shots is to again set up a target or marker and throw hyser, flat, and turnover shots at it from a progressively longer distance starting at about 50 feet. You’ll soon discover that your most accurate shots involve more snap and less arm motion. Now you are ready to put a target on the upslope or downslope of a hill and repeat the drill above. You’ll soon discover that a hyser shot or turnover landing on a downhill slope often stand up and roll away. Again, paying attention to what the disc does will teach you what to expect in different situations. This greater knowledge and familiarity with what the disc will do will give you greater confidence in your shot selections. This should lead to better approach shots in the long run.
Q. I hear people using all this Frisbee lingo, what’s it all mean, hyser, turnover, is there a glossary somewhere?
A. Actually there is. Dr. Stancil Johnson wrote a book called “Frisbee” in 1976. This is the true Frisbee players bible. Other suggested reading “Frisbee by the Masters” Charles Tips and Dan Roddick and the Players Handbook by Mark Danna. This is a round book that came with a 40 mold around it. Here’s 10 of the most common words and their meanings:
Hyser – refers to the side to side tilt of a disc at release. To hold your hyser is to throw a left banking disc with the nose down for a right handed thrower. The orientation of the front and back of the disc (mung angle) is assumed to be level.
Anhyser – again this refers to the side to side tilt of the disc. To hold your anhyser is to throw a right banking throw with the nose down. Again assuming a right handed thrower and a level front back orientation.
Tailskate – if you throw either a hyser or an anhyser shot and you get the nose up the disc will tailskate. A disc that tailskates will be said to re-helix and fall back towards the thrower and to the left. Throwing with the back of the disc down and the nose up is similar to running with a parachute on your back. Throwing a disc with tailskate will cause it to sky upwards and will rarely travel as far as the thrower wished. Also see; weenie arm, air bounce, and FORE!
Helix – if you’ve ever watched a gyroscope that is running out of spin you watched it helix. That is it rotated on its’ axis and leaned in a different direction. Since a disc is also a wing when a disc changes its’ axis it also has drive forward and therefore goes off in a different direction. All discs helix when they run out of spin. They will then fall in the opposite direction of their rotation. When you tailskate a disc even if you had turned it over when it re-helixes it falls back and to the left. Also see; dying quail.
Turnover – a disc that has a propensity to turn in the direction of its’ rotation is said to turn over. Every disc, if gets old enough will eventually turnover. A turnover disc can be created by sanding the bottom edge of a disc. Stingrays and 77 molds make good turnover discs. Also see; anything thrown at Oak Grove for more than 2 rounds.
Precess – this is when a disc continues to roll over on its axis usually landing at a roll angle. Cleaner snap will prevent this. Wrist roll or too much arm speed respective to wrist snap will cause it. For example, you are trying to increase the distance on your side arm, you need to increase the snap at release not arm speed. Also see Gomer or disc goof.
Hammer – this is a two finger over head throw. Usually used as a shot to go over trees to reach the pin. When thrown with a clean snap the disc will hold its’ line through the air until the spin runs down then it will gently roll over and land upside down. When thrown with too much arm speed the disc precesses and falls back to the left for a right hander. This would be an upside down tailskate. When thrown correctly it is one of the most accurate shots there is and can be thrown with pin point accuracy. Also see DDC lead shot, accuracy contests from the 70’s and early 80’s.
Overstable – the tendency of a disc to turn in the opposite direction of its’ rotation. Also see Ram and X-Clone.
Understable – the tendency of a disc to turn in the same direction as its’ rotation. Also see beat Stingray or anything by Lightning after 10 rounds, OK, 2 rounds.
Wolf – a skins game. The player teeing off first rotates on every hole so at the end of the game each player has had the opportunity to tee first the same number of times. After a player tees he has two options; he can either stand against all the other players in the pack (wolf) or he can wait until the other players tee and choose a partner. The trick is he must choose a player immediately after he throws. He gives up the right to pick a player as his partner as soon as the next player throws. He must then decide if he wants that next player as his partner or wishes to continue the process. If no partner is picked, your partner is the last thrower. The game is then best shot. Two players against the pack . If the two teams tie on a hole the points are pushed or carried over to the next hole. This process continues until one team is a clear winner of a hole and they receive the accumulated skins. The incentive to call WOLF and stand against the pack, is that the skins are then double whatever they would have been for that hole and you don’t have to share them with a partner.
Q. What’s the deal with 150 class plastic? Don’t heavier discs go farther? Don’t all 150 class discs turnover and wobble? How do you control it? And why would I want to throw it anyway?
A. First of all 150 class are golf discs none of which can weigh more than 150 gms. The concept evolved several years ago, originally as a safety issue for multi-use parks with disc golf courses in them. The Japanese have adopted the 150 class exclusively in Japan. Next, not all 150 class discs turnover if thrown correctly. In fact, in certain situations they will go further than a high performance disc thrown with the same amount of force.
The key in throwing 150 class is to not roll your wrist at the point of release. Many novice players discover that if they roll their wrist at release they sometimes get more distance when throwing an overstable driver. This is true, but let’s look at why. When you roll your wrist you increase the speed of the snap first of all Unfortunately, you’ll nearly always get some wobble with that extra snap because the disc is not being released on a level plane. The heavier discs are more of a projectile than a lighter disc which has more lift and flight characteristics. Because the heavier disc is more of a projectile and because you will impart less spin at release than with a lighter disc it can fight through the wobble and still carry a relatively true line. The lighter disc will have more spin which causes instability, this coupled with the wobble which it can’t work through as well as the heavy disc will tend to make the lighter disc turnover more easily. Secondly, and even more importantly most novice players do not hold their disc correctly. They typically let the back end droop down. Now if they have a level release the disc will tailskate and fall short and left. When they roll their wrist at release it necessarily brings the back end up and orients the nose over to the right as it is supposed to be at release. So in effect they throw a level disc with proper nose orientation if they get the wrist roll just right. This is like playing your slice in ball golf , it may work and is expedient but it is dead wrong. The wrist is supposed to snap cleanly forward at the moment of release and you should finish with your right thumb pointing upward. If your palm is up you are probably rolling your wrist. If you plan to not change your throwing technique be aware that it’ll take much practice and perfect timing to even remotely have some semblance of consistency in your throws.
Better to relearn to release with the wrist breaking straight forward and the disc held level with your forearm. 150 class discs make you go yet another step forward with your release and finish with the palm down. This allows the force imparted to the disc to drive it forward rather than precess it over in the direction of the spin.
When throwing a high hyser shot, overstable 150 class discs are much easier on the back and will travel at least as far. When throwing with the wind at your back or quartering off your back on an uphill throw 150 class discs will far outdrive high performance plastic. If you can master the throwing technique for 150 class the rewards are many. First of all the disc is faster out of the shoot and once it’s out there they tend to slow and float more than their projectile cousins. The overall flight is a more pleasant visual experience. That’s what it’s all about anyway. We all like watching these things fly. Especially when they go where we wanted them to.
Q. What disc goes the farthest for me? I bought a Cyclone and a Polaris LS and they both go hard left and not even as far as my stingray. How come?
A. For many players new or experienced it is very difficult to throw a level throw. Their natural tendency is to throw with a little hyser and the nose slightly up causing the disc to tail skate and fall left very quickly if the disc is overstable to begin with. The solution, outside of relearning to throw is to throw an understable distance disc such as a #1 Driver from Lightning. This disc is understable at high speed so if it is thrown with hyser and nose up it’ll naturally rotate to the right and level out and fly straight until it runs low on spin then it comes into the overstable left side since at low speed it’s overstable. Just remember overstable discs want to turn their nose up and fall left and understable discs want to turn their nose down and go right. The trick is to gauge the wind, know your disc’s exact amount of understableness, and to then put the right amount of hyser on the disc. My friend Warren Whidbee is a master of this technique. He never ceases to amaze me with his “trick” discs and their unique reverse “S” pattern of flight. Older Stingrays, 77 molds, and Hellcats also work for this shot as well.
Q. Two statements/questions I hear a lot are: This disc doesn’t go as far as it used to, how come? or the second version; This disc seems to have a mind of its own now sometimes when I throw it, it seems to go to the right but I know it used to go hard to the left when I bought it, what’s the deal?
A. As a disc ages it gets nicks and dings on the edge of the disc. As the disc spins these tiny nicks act as friction or tiny air brakes on the disc. The net effect is lost rotation and less distance. Additionally, the nicks tend to turn the disc on its axis in the direction of its’ rotation (precess) causing it to turnover. For a right hander this means the disc will now go to the right. It’ll turn more when you least want it to also. Like into a headwind or when you really try and crank one.
You can get a little more life out of your discs if you give them a good washing and take a green scrub pad and clean up the nicks and dings with some elbow grease. A little time invested will give a greater lifespan to some of those old favorite discs.
Q. Why does the same disc fly differently for different people, and why does my disc fly differently on various holes when I know I’m releasing it the same?
A. Wow! Where do we start? First of all, even a highly grooved thrower with well practiced muscle memory will still have slight variation changes as they attempt to throw harder or softer on different tee shots. Be that as it may, let’s look at some of the main components that’ll affect the flight of a disc.
A disc’s flight will vary depending on amount of spin (more it goes right, less it goes left, for a right hander), direction and speed of wind, arm speed of thrower, and attitude of the disc at time of release. Greater spin causes greater instability. Wanna hold a turnover shot, put more spin on it. Flying downwind an overstable or stable disc will fall harder left and sooner than against a headwind or sidewind from the left. Greater arm speed requires a more stable disc and finally the attitude of the disc should nearly always be dead level front to back at time of release. You can still adjust the side to side tilt (hyser or anhyser), just keep the back end up. A nose up throw (as most new players and even some old timers throw) at release can be done downwind without too much flight damage but upwind will rapidly turn left and die.
So in essence it’s normal, although possibly disconcerting for you, that your disc will fly differently on different holes with all of these and other variables at work. The trick is to factor in as many variables as you can before you throw to help predict what will happen. This is where experience and the ability to learn from observing will play a big role. Even then this only matters if you release the disc the way you hoped to. Good luck!
Q. How can I get more consistency in my putting?
A. Having just gotten back from this year’s PDGA World championships I asked the three best putters I could find their putting secrets. Dr. Rick Voakes winner of this year’s grandmaster division (I was 3rd) is possibly the best putter in the world on any given day. I’ve never seen a more consistent putter from 40′ and in my life. Mike Travers, NorCal’s team captain is as good as anyone I’ve ever seen from 50ft. And finally, Ken Climo, now 8 time world champion. Here’s what they had to say:
Dr. Voakes- “I try to keep my entire motion moving directly at the basket.” In the nine rounds I played with him at the worlds he never missed even one putt either right or left. If he came up early , he hit high. When he came up late or out of sync he would hit the rim. He comes straight out from his right leg and finishes with his hand directly pointing at the basket. This style requires a high degree of confidence in one’s form as the disc is moving fast and a yipe could end up with a long comeback putt. The good Dr. never yipes! Standard practice time 2 hrs. per day.
Mike Travers-also putts in a straight line from his body but extends from his chest using a strong forearm motion and then a wrist snap. The disc floats more, on longer putts he has to slightly “S” the disc to account for the overstable left fall when the disc runs low on spin. I like Mike’s style on 20′ and in. There are less moving parts so hopefully less can go wrong. Practice time is mostly at tourneys on weekends. Mike plays 20+ tourneys per year.
Ken Climo- lets his disc hang down off his left knee and he bends way over. He does a horseshoe style pendulum putt. He says he tries to not break his wrist at all, but to sling the disc in a direct line after several pendulum motions. No one alive can argue with this man’s amazing success with a disc.
There you have it, three great putters, and three completely different styles. Yet they all have one thing in common, each guy has learned that this is the best style for him, and each believes he will be successful if he just perseveres with his own style. Moral of the story; whatever you style is just keep at it. Practice enough so that it is the same each time you putt. But I would add that you need to practice it from both a parallel stance and a one foot in front of the other stance. Good luck.
Q. I’ve seen guys throw the disc upside down for an approach shot, usually to get over some trees, yet every time I try the shot it corkscrews. Can it really be controlled, and can you bring it in from both the left and the right?
A. Yes, to all of the above. The reason the disc is corkscrewing is because you are using too much arm speed and not enough snap. Slow your arm down and snap your wrist hard and the disc will hold it’s line (if it’s a stable disc to begin with). For a righty, use a 2 finger grip (sidearm) to come in from left to right. This is called a hammer in Ultimate. To come in from right to left use a scoobie or a hooked thumber. A scoobie is merely a regular backhand grip brought up to your right ear and released as if you were slinging a yo-yo. A hooked thumber has only the thumb under the rim the disc is held upside down again near your right ear and snapped away. The scoobie is the easier to learn and to be able to throw far with control.
Q. My putting sucks, I think I was even a better putter when I first started, how come?
A. This is a familiar lament. When you first started you didn’t know how hard it was, also you hadn’t learned how many ways you could miss. Plus you hadn’t experienced the putting for birdie and ending up with a bogie when you miss the come back syndrome. Now that you’ve learned that no putt is too close to miss when you’re nervous, your ready to start learning how to putt. Yogi Berra used to say that hitting was 90% mental the other half physical. Putting is sort of the same way. First of all, you need to spend some time at the practice basket learning both a strattle putt (feet parallel) and a regular putt. Learn your 90% range. That is the range that you can make 90% of the putts you try. Work every time you play to extend that distance. When you’re on the course and you’re in your 90% range relax and tell yourself to stay positive you already know you can make 90% of these. Also learn a stall putt. A putt that allows you to run at the basket from 40 feet and out but not run by too far when you miss. This putt either falls from above and right of the basket (for right handers) or is thrown with the nose of the disc up and with added spin (air bounce). Always remember that if you think positive and believe you can make a putt, often times you will. But if you think negatively and think your going to miss, then you always will.
Q. How important is the mental game, and what can I do to improve mine?
A. Keeping a positive attitude is most important. We all get frustrated when we perform at less than our expectation, or when fate deals us a cruel hand. But it is important to put that behind you quickly and move on.
It is also important to keep your concentration on what you want to do not on what your score is. If your throwing correctly your score will show it.
It is this pairing of concentration or focus if you will along with a relaxed or at least non uptight attitude that will help you consistently attain your best scoring results.
The next component of a good mental game is good course management. How best to play the course so as to maximize your opportunities for birdies and minimize your opportunities for bogeys or (shudder) worse. This requires actual thinking and planning ahead. As Jack Nicklaus once said always miss to the open side. In this game that translates into making sure your not putting over a cliff when you miss that 25 footer. It means looking at the surface around where your disc is going to land and determining whether it is going to slide or stop. It means checking both the speed and direction of the wind before throwing to determine what that effect might have on your shot. But mostly it means paying attention to the objects in your way be they trees, distance, or wind and pre determining how best to deal with that obstacle based on your particular strengths and shot selections and always going with the highest percentage shot. When putting to an uphill basket never ever miss low and hit the rim or it’ll roll away nearly every time. Know when it is wiser to toss a lay up to the base of the pole than to go for it and risk losing 2 strokes to gain only one.
Proper course management leads to greater consistency of your potential. You may not get that one in a million incredible round you would by always going directly at everything, but you’ll rarely suffer the indignity of a round 10 strokes above your average either. Just remember a lot of aces are a shot that would’ve been 40′ to 50′ too long and just another par, but luckily the basket got in the way. Better to have many more birdies by throwing just up to but not further than the hole. Always let your head not your ego dictate the shot. Like they say you may drive for show but you putt for dough. Just make sure you have a reasonable putt to begin with or lay up and wait till you do.
One last word on course management. If the hole has an OB and your likelihood of a deuce is very low to begin with, consider breaking the hole into two shots to reach the pin. The first to a clear area that allows you an easy approach to the pin. Avoid OB aggravation off the tee whenever possible by removing the danger with high percentage shorter control shots.
Q. My game has stabilized (read stagnated). I’m shooting right around par which is OK,but I’m wondering if maybe there aren’t a few more birdie opportunities waiting out there if I learn to roll the disc. How do I get started?
A. Well, first of all discs roll the same as they fly. That is a turnover disc is easiest to land at roll angle, but it will also turn over while it’s rolling. A stable disc if landed near vertical will continue to roll on a straight line. So your best bet is to go out to a field or park near your house and take all your old discs. Especially good rollers are Stingrays, Eclipses, Cobra’s, even old Cyclones. Take out everything you don’t use anymore.
When you first try to throw a roller do two things differently than you normal throw. 1.) Start your run up 45 degrees off the perpendicular to where you want to throw. What that means is if you were running up on a tee pad you’d start from the right of the pad if you were right handed. 2.) Try turning 180 degrees away from where you want to throw and then lean back and do your normal throw. This also sounds more complicated than it is. Just turn away so you can unwind…the lean back is so you don’t have to lift your arm so high up to release the disc. Too many players run straight down the tee pad and do their normal throw only they arc their arm so the disc will land at an angle and roll. Well if you don’t start from the side and turn away and lean back you’ll invariably airbounce your roller and it will land with too little spin to travel the desired trajectory.
If you go out to a park you can not only see how all your old discs roll and start to figure out under which circumstances you’d use a particular disc but you’ll start to figure out that the disc needs to transition to the ground from the air near the peak of its flight spin in order to have a predictable and desired flight path. If it lands with too much spin it may stand up and then turn over (precess) too soon and not travel very far. If it lands with too little spin (the usual senario) it may not stand up at all and again not travel very far or straight. Air bouncing the roller will force it to land with too little spin and therefore not travel as far as a well transitioned roller throw.
All this said when you go out to the park just stand there and face the opposite way you intend to throw lean back a little and wing the disc arcing it slightly above your shoulder height. Let your follow through after release bring you around so that you are now facing the direction that you just threw. OK…now go try it. It might just open up a whole new vista of birdie opportunities once you get the hang of it.
Q. Why does Disc Golf seem to get more difficult with time? I started a few months ago and got better rapidly. But lately I seem to be going backward, everything I try seems to make things worse and I can’t hit a putt from 20 feet to save my life. Does anyone else have the same problem?
A. Unfortunately, this is a common ailment. I suggest you not try so hard for a while. Just go with the flow for a while and relax. If you start pressing in any sport and try to analyze what you’re doing too much, you not only take all the fun out of it, but you spend too much time thinking about mechanics and not enough time focused on fluid and controlled throws. Stay within yourself and don’t overthrow. Remember it’s all about having fun. Or you can go to Jack’s and get a spicy greasy chicken sandwich before each round like the Willmeister does. Seriously though, it’s difficult to improve when you’re constantly worried about your score or if you allow negative thoughts to enter your mind while playing. Try to stay positive, enjoy the social aspects of the game and throw as smoothly as you can. If you are throwing correctly, your score will soon show it.
One other thing, spend a little more time at the practice basket putting before beginning play. Also always warm up for a while playing catch with a buddy or tossing to an open basket. Get loose before beginning play and you’ll soon move past the plateau you’re currently stuck at. Then just about the time you think you’ve got it all figured out again a double bogey will jump up and bite your backside. Proving once again, golf in all its’ forms is a humbling game.
Here’s some other little known or at least seldom practiced course courtesy’s; a player’s disc lands in your fairway, he comes over to pick it up and throw just as you are approaching your lie, who has right of way? The person playing the higher numbered hole has right of way. A disc lands on top of the basket, is it good? No, the disc must come to rest either in the chain assembly or in the basket only to be counted as good.
Your drive lands in a tree and it stays up, it’s above two meters and it remains there until you’ve finally reached the tree. It is now determined to be your turn to shoot since you’re out and suddenly the disc falls out of the tree. How do you play it, is there a stroke penality for being stuck above two meters for what has now been several minutes while you awaited your turn to throw? No. As long as the disc falls out of the tree before your 30 second time frame you been given when it was determined that it was your turn. Your cool and lucky, under the old rule you started the timer as soon as it became apparent that the disc was lodged in a tree even while you were on the throwing pad.
Here’s a rule that causes some confusion; if your disc has landed within one meter (39 in.) of an out of bounds area (parking lot, road, sidewalk on hole 8, etc. or building, wall or fence you get a one meter relief perpendicular from that out of bounds area even if this movement moves you closer to the hole. The reason is you’re not allowed to take a stance in an out of bounds area. Also the meter from the fence or wall is so you don’t smash your hand on the follow through.
For example, your disc goes into the parking lot on two when it’s in the far right pin position. But it’s not 100% in the parking lot it’s actually leaning on the curb and part of the disc appears to be above the top of the curb. How do you play it? It’s good, bring it in a meter and make your putt no stroke penality, as the top of the curb was considered fair ground and if any of the disc is good it’s all good.
Q. RAIN, RAIN, RAIN …any suggestions on how to deal with rotten conditions?
A. Hopefully you’re not made of sugar cause you won’t last too long in the rain. Just kidding. First of all keep your feet dry. Wick away socks or other types of water proof socks are important. Next, rubber boots or another type of water proof shoe is highly preferable. If you’re going away to a tourney take several sets of rain gear, a lighter rain coat and hat that wraps up and goes into your golf bag if the weather is iffy and a heavier annorak or rain suit if the weather has already arrived. I always take an umbrella that folds up and goes into the outer pocket of my Morley bag. It is small enough to be unobtrusive yet opens large enough for good protection even in the worst downpour. If you’re caught in a downpour turn and face the rain and sit on your haunches above the ground with your umbrella opened and resting on your head until the squall passes, then stand back up. This gives the maximum protection against getting soaked as virtually no part of your body or clothing is exposed to the elements. I’ve always found that in a constant downpour it’s good to have an even larger umbrella and that you keep a towel hooked in the webbing. Another towel around your neck under your jacket will also help. Then the towel on your bag wipes off the mud, the one under the umbrella dries the disc and the one around your neck dries your hands for putting or driving. Some players keep chemical hand warmers in their pocket or in a reversed car polishing glove in their bag for cold but not wet conditions.
When playing in cold or wet conditions lower your expectations as to distance and score. If you’d normally throw a Roc on a particular hole consider using a stable wedge distance disc instead and don’t throw as hard. Since your grip won’t be as good as usual throw easier let the disc do the work. Also, always test your footing before throwing whether it’s on the tee or a long fairway approach. Hard run ups in the rain are rarely successful. Remember the one who adapts to the conditions the best and soonest will probably have the best results down the road. Remember it doesn’t matter whether you got a deuce with an Avair or a Cyclone, only that you got a deuce. So be flexible, swallow that macho pride and go ahead and do what’s necessary to reach to hole easiest. Your scorecard will thank you later.
Q. How do I decide which disc to throw in windy conditions? Headwind, tailwind, crosswind. Does the same apply to putting in the wind?
A. Most important rule of wind play is to try an keep the disc low and level regardless of wind direction. Second rule is lower your expectations and don’t get discouraged. Remember the wind is our ally. Use it whenever you can and try and throw to the upwind side or sheltered side of the hole.
Into a headwind you should always throw a stable or overstable disc. Tailwind throws should be done with understable to stable discs. Crosswind from the left use a low profile overstable disc, crosswind from the right use an understable disc thrown with a slight hyser angle and nose down .
When putting into the wind the disc will have a tendency to rise and bank left sooner. You must take care to putt as level as possible into a head wind. With the wind at your back the disc will fall more quickly. You need to loft the disc well above the rim in order to have a chance of it going in. Cross winds from the left will also hold your disc up and tend to carry it long if you miss. Sometimes a hyser loft putt is best if the wind is sufficiently strong. Stall and fall is another name for this putt. Crosswinds from the right will push your disc left sooner so aim a little further out to the right of the center of the chains.
Q. My effective putting range is only about 15 ft., when the holes are longer I have a hard time getting my second shot that close. How can I improve my approach shots?
A. No matter what level of play you are at if you don’t have good approach shots it will be hard to ever improve greatly and become consistent. Steady approach shots are the foundation to a strong game. Also the less power you have the more important are your approach shots.
The best way to learn good approach shooting is to go down to Dusty Rhoades Park or any big open empty park and take your bag of discs. Start at 50 ft. from your bag and try to throw all of your discs within 10 ft. of it. Once you are able to do this move back to 75 ft. and repeat process. Next try it using a side arm throw. Next a 2 finger over head. Keep moving back until you are able to put all your shots within 20 ft. at 200 ft. distance.
As you do this you will soon realize that some discs, usually your distance wedge discs, are more difficult keep straight. You’ve now learned that domier discs make better and more accurate approach fliers.
Next go back to 50 ft. and try to fly at your bag with enough height to go into an imaginary basket but not go very far past if it were to miss. This requires greater spin on the disc but with less forward momentum. Also putting the nose up a little (air bounce) will help stall the disc. This is just the opposite of a good drive where we want the disc level upon release. Here we rotate the wrist a little to the left (the way you threw when you first started), and use more forearm and snap than a slower full arm motion for short shots…Now practice…practice…practice.
Q.How can I get my disc to turn right? Everything I throw goes left, how come?
A. It is normal for a golf disc to fall to the left at the end of its flight. At low spin all golf discs will turn in the opposite direction of their spin (left for a right handed thrower.) More spin and a level disc release will correct for the left turn.
There are two general ways to make a disc turn right. (1) Throw a turnover disc, that is a disc that is understable at high speeds. Any old and beat up disc will turnover. Or one can even be created by sanding down the bottom edge of a disc. Almost anything by Lightning turns over eventually. Eclipses, cobras, and stingrays are also popular turnover discs. (Caution: Don’t try to anhyser a turnover disc or you’ll get a roller.) (2) Take a stable disc and you throw anhyser with lots of spin and have the disc hold its line of flight to the ground.
To do this shot approach from the right rear of the tee so your shoulders are turned away from the direction of the hole and have your throw come across at least as high as your shoulders with the outer edge of the disc up and the nose of the disc down. The actual release needs to impart more spin than arm speed. Spin cause instability and that’s what your lookin for. (Caution: If you get the nose of the disc up it will run out of spin and helix back to the left and short of where you intended it to go.)
Both types of right turn, either turnover disc or anhyser throw has its relative merits and limitations depending on the situation that is called for. So the knowledge of how to do both types of right turn and when to use which are necessary in a well rounded game.
Q. What is hyzer (hyser) and anhyzer? I keep hearing these terms, what do they mean?
A. Hyzer refers to the side to side tilt a thrower places on a disc when throwing it. For a right hander if the leading edge of a disc in flight is at twelve o’clock, then a disc tilting towards the 9 o’clock edge is said to be holding its hyzer. The trick though is to keep the nose (12 o’clock) and tail (6 o’clock) level when banking to the left. As often happens, players get the nose up. This is called tailskating and will result in a shortened left banking throw.
Conversely anhyzer is holding your tilt to the three o’clock side while remaining level at 12 and 6 o’clock. With most modern distance discs being overstable (wanting to turn against the spin or left for a righty) knowing how to hold your anhyzer is just as important in order to get the maximum distance an overstable driver is designed to get.
So, the next time someone tells you to hold your hyzer, know they mean a level left banking throw with the nose down.