Put simply, the object of Disc Golf is to play each hole in the fewest strokes possible.
One stroke is counted each time the disc is thrown and when a penalty occurs. The winner of the game will be the player with the lowest total strokes for the entire course, and the hole is complete when the disc lands in a disc golf basket.
So that’s how you literally win the game, but what does it take to win the game? What should you keep in mind and what things can you do ahead of the game to improve your performance?
Below we’ll take a look at all you can do to go into a game feeling confident and ready to win!
Unfortunately, many of us can’t devote lots of hours during the day to practicing Disc Golf, but it’s always a good idea to try to squeeze in a friendly game before a tournament – especially if you can do so on the tournament course.
If this isn’t possible, do your homework on the course beforehand. Some courses will even have walkthrough videos on YouTube which is a great way to familiarize yourself with the course if you can’t physically make it there ahead of the big day.
Having a good idea of what the course looks like will help focus your practicing time on specific shots and also give you an idea of the appropriate discs to pack.
We also recommend looking up the event on the PDGA website. If it’s an event that has been played for a few years, you can look up previous winning scores in your division.
This is a great way to set up realistic targets for your own rounds.
Also, if you can’t make it to the course ahead of the competition, maybe try to get there early enough on the day that you can take a stroll. Start at the first teepad and make your way to the last basket and then go back again.
This may take a while but it’s a good way to see the course from plenty of angles. It also gives you the opportunity to discover new routes, and discount routes that may be too difficult.
Practice Makes Perfect
This may seem like obvious advice, but if you’re new to Disc Golf it can be hard to know where to start when practicing and what practice is going to help you achieve results on the big day.
Leading up to your tournament, focus on practicing on all of the different shots you’ll need for the tournament. When it comes to practice, quality is definitely better than quantity.
Sinking hours into practicing isn’t helpful if you’re not focusing on key areas of your game. On smaller courses, accuracy is crucial and that should be a key aspect of any practice you do.
But where should you practice? A park that is full of trees is great for practicing tunnel shots with putters, midranges, and drivers.
While it is tempting to go a bit easy on yourself during practice (and of course you should never push yourself too far), it’s always worth pushing yourself during practice so challenging shots in tournament play feel like a piece of cake!
Bring The Essentials
We’ve already mentioned how getting to know the course before the tournament is helpful in picking out the right discs, but we can’t stress enough how important that is.
Make sure you bring all the discs you’ll need to the tournament and that they’re clearly marked with information such as your name and PDGA number. Brightly colored discs are always recommended as they easily stand out on the course, but having some info scribbled on your discs helps to identify them as yours.
Other essentials to bring along include your mini marker, a couple of towels, water, and anything else that will help you to withstand the weather conditions that day.
You may end up playing in cold, windy, or wet conditions and it’s always good to have gloves or umbrellas to ensure your game is a pleasant one and you’re not thrown off by rain and wind.
Look (and feel) Good
While the right clothing can make you feel comfortable and put you in the right frame of mind for a game, it’s also important to feel good on the inside. Establish a stretching routine so you’re limber and warmed up ahead of the tournament.
This not only improves your range of motion, but reduces the risk of injury.
Range of motion should also be considered when dressing for the event. In warm weather, shorts and loose-fitting shirts should be your outfits of choice. In cold weather, layers are key but make sure these are not too heavy or restrictive.
This allows you to stay warm and dry while also letting you move around easily.
Also consider what meal you’re going to be eating ahead of a tournament. Energy drinks and candy may give you an initial boost but they wear off quickly, leading to a sugar crash and you feeling sluggish as the game goes on.
Also, don’t forget to go to the bathroom! Again this may seem obvious, but some courses may be limited on bathroom facilities – and we all know how hard it is to concentrate with a full bladder!
It’s also hard to concentrate after a lackluster night’s sleep. Make sure you get a good sleep, and the day before the tournament, do some light practice only, like putting.
If you feel good you’re sure to perform well.
Finally, Have Fun!
While winning a tournament is of course rewarding, the main reason why we compete is to have fun. Making friends with your fellow competitors makes for a fun competition and fosters good sportsmanship.
It’s natural to feel nerves at the beginning of a tournament and want to do well, but a desire to do well shouldn’t interfere with the fun of the game.
It’s just as important to feel good mentally as it is physically, so a positive mindset is crucial for a good performance and a satisfying win!