Tuesday Tips: Golfing In A Winter Wonderland

Setting a purpose for your winter disc golf

Hey there. How are you holding up?

Here in Connecticut, the final weekday leagues wrapped weeks ago and now it’s dark out by 4:15. It’s a struggle to get home in time to bang some backyard practice putts, and even getting a round in on the weekend takes advance planning. I’ve got a bad case of the Lack of Disc Golf Blues and it’s taking all my willpower to not relentlessly self-medicate with my favorite vice — buying new discs just to get a taste, man. Just a tiny tangential taste of the sweet, sweet game I love.

Hopefully, you’re keeping it together better than I am.

Alas, it’s true, winter has finally come. But a little snow on the ground or chill in the air doesn’t mean you can’t have a productive offseason. That’s why I’ve been focusing on today’s tip: setting a purpose for your winter golf.

For the most part, if you’re out there playing in the snow you are playing low stakes golf. That makes winter a perfect time to break from your norm and try a thing or two you wouldn’t bother to when the earth points us back at the sun and scores start to matter again.

Give yourself one thing you want to work on, and then actively work on it. Here are some ideas.

Learn A New Disc

Despite my aforementioned plastic addiction, I would suggest concentrating on a disc that is already in your bag. My advice? Pick a middie or a fairway driver and try to use it 18 times or more every round.

Two years ago I got tired of watching the Destroyers that serve me so well in summer skip off the icy fairway and shoot deep into the snowy rough. I realized that accuracy, not distance, should be my priority in winter. I am aware that one could make the case that this is an evergreen truth, but, c’mon, chicks dig the guy who can bomb a 12-speed driver.

I put my Destroyers on the shelf to eliminate the temptation and set about re-learning my Teebird. Whether the hole was 250 feet or 500, the Teebird is what I threw. I bonded with that disc and used it regularly on holes that I previously considered Destroyer-only  — turns out chicks dig a guy who can outdrive a 12-speed with a 7-speed. As an added bonus, once the snow melted and I did go back to my Destroyers, I found them flying further and more accurately than ever before.

Work On Your Weak Points

The Teebird revelation was two winters past. Last year I committed to improving my forehand because it was the weakest part of my game. I forced myself to throw forehands as often as I could stand to. Fast discs and slow discs, overstable and understable, right-turning shots and left. It wasn’t fun biffing easy lines that I could have dropped under the pin with a backhand, but it did make me better.

Now the weakest part of my game is rollers which, tragically, will not get better in a New England winter.

Work On Your Standstill

As far as I’m concerned, this is the best thing to focus on during winter. One reason is that the footing is going to be slippery all season, even on a shoveled tee pad. Another is that unpacked fairway snow makes a normal run-up nearly impossible. You can take both of those concerns out of the equation by learning how to throw for distance and accuracy from a standstill.

There are many helpful videos and drills out there. The standstill muscle memory you build, that subtle coordinated shift of weight, will pay off any time you’re over a compromised lie regardless of the conditions. My winter standstill work was so productive that I completely dropped my old run-up and traded it out for a simple little “diamond step” as my buddy Joe Bish dubbed it.1

The fact is, I know a lot of people who hate winter golf because of the very things that I think we should try to embrace. It may sound pithy, but challenges aren’t challenges, they’re opportunities. Ditch your favorite white disc (see you in April, my dear, dear Classic Roc) for some hand warmers and transform yourself into a better golfer!

  1. P.S. That’s the Teebird from two winters ago. 

  1. James Bress
    James Bress

    James is a contributor at Ultiworld Disc Golf. He played Ultimate from 2000-2015 for the Amherst HS Hurricanes, UMass ZooDisc, New Noise, Capitol Punishment, and Dark or Light. Now he plays disc golf for Team Wick (4x NETC champs) out of Wickham Park in Manchester, CT. One time he hit a tournament ace on camera. Despite that, he has not quit his day job as a high school teacher. Send questions and comments to [email protected]. See what tournaments he's playing at his PDGA player page #84048.

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