Hello everyone! The weather is getting better and disc golf season is getting in full swing. Lucky we have some amazing people in Korea who are creating some upcoming tournaments. You can see the dates of some of the major events on the schedule of events. I wanted to give everyone some quick tips and ideas that I use when approaching a tournament.
1) Of course, in the weeks and months before the tournament you want to get your game up to par. You should be playing a decent amount of golf on a course, throwing some field shots, and putting often. Basically you just want to get your skills up so that physically you can preform as well as possible. It is also important to remember that many tournament last multiple rounds and getting your stamina up is very important.
2) One of the most important parts about playing a tournament is throwing on the course at least a day before a tournament. Bring your whole bag, don’t play with a group that needs to play quickly, and truly examine the course. It is easy to misjudge distances and angles the first time you play a course. You want to throw multiple shots on each hole. “Do I need to throw a driver? Can I get to the basket with a more controlled disc? Is there any danger on the hole that I need to watch out for on tournament day?” Don’t just think about the best shots, think about possible safe shots that might save you strokes.
***** A big key to “figuring out” a hole is looking at the hole from the perspective of the basket. At the end of playing each hole, take a few minutes to look at the hole backwards. It is easy to see what trees you need to miss right off the tee, when often the most important thing while actually scoring birdies on a hole is letting the disc finish with a proper flight. You can get close by knowing what happens at the beginning of the flight, you can park if it you know the end of the flight.
3) Be realistic in your plan. Imagine a hole that is 400 feet with ob reasonable off both sides. You can throw drives around 300 feet around max. As satisfying as it is to get that perfect throw leaving an easy upshot, how many times will you throw out of bounds? Also, how many times will your competition throw out of bounds. On holes where a monster throw will not score you a birdie anyways, maybe throwing a putter or mid-range off the tee, and taking your easy par, might gain strokes on the field.
4) Get your bag ready. Nobody wants to pack in the morning. Some things I try to keep in my bad are: pencils, towels, plastic bags if its rainy, a mini and an extra one for your dumb friend that forgot theirs, some snacks, hand warmers, and fingernail clippers.
5) Get to bed a bit early. Hey, let’s be honest, dinner and drinks with friends is often on the schedule, but you wanna keep it reasonable. Have a good time, but save some energy.
1) Wake up early and get a little bit of food in you. It will help you later in the day to have some energy.
2) Get to the course early. Nobody wants to be in a rush when starting their day. Put on some sunblock if your pasty white like me. You will be outside all day.
3) Stretch! “But Derek, I’m not old enough to need to stretch.” Yes you are jackass. You are trying to throw something as far as you can, while lugging a heavy bag, while hiking across a huge course. Not only that, but you are taking large breaks between holes to cool down and tighten up. Just stretch so you can play tomorrow eh?
4) Get in some putting. Of course you should already have your putting confidence set up. What you are really doing is just getting the feel. When you practice putting on tournament day, don’t putt 5 times in a row from the same place. Go through your entire routine. Set down your mini, do your routine, putt like it means something. I personally switch from straddle putting and standard putting. My morning putting practice usually determines what I will do for the rest of the day. (Sometimes if my putting is falling apart I will switch mid-round, but I try not to.)
5) Play a few holes to get the rhythm. 18 holes is not really that many. Being tight on the first 6 holes can really hurt your score. Get out there and play some holes before the tournament. Not only will you be in rhythm, but nothing is worse that literally having your hand shake on your first few putts. Bang some chains before the round and you will feel much better your first hole.
6) Keep fueled up. You don’t need to eat a big lunch, but drink some water and eat a handful of nuts or something throughout the round. It sucks to get a headache midway through the second round.
7) Before the first round you’re going to want to decide how you want to play your game. Do you want to smash the first round? Do you want to play conservative? Do you care what your opponents scores are or are you just playing your best? I personally think that the lower divisions should play to their scores. The higher divisions might not want to let the competition get out too far ahead of them. If you beat your card on every round of a multi-round tournament you will do amazingly well for yourself. There is always the old saying “You cant win the tournament during the first round, but you can defiantly lose it.”
8) During the round play how you feel comfortable. Sometimes I like to play without talking to my competition even if they are my friends. I like to focus on the course and what I need to do next. Others, if I am not playing well or feel stressed chatting between shots might help me out. I also find myself staying focused on the present holes more if I don’t constantly look at the scorecard. Of course as the tournament gets close to the end you want to know where you stand, but think about staying focused on your next shot.
9) Last round strategy: This is when you need to decide what position will you be satisfied finishing in. If you just want to do your best, play your own game and don’t worry about the scores. If you will only be satisfied with 1st place, you might need to take some chances. If you are winning by a few strokes, don’t give any easy ones away. This is when you might want to throw some controlled shots down the center on scary holes. If you are losing by a few, you may need to go for some putts that may give you a bogey if you miss. Just remember, you need to decide what your goals are for the tournament.
10) Have fun. You will play better.
I hope you guys grabbed a few pointers for the next tournaments. See you out there. Good luck!