An offseason can make a world of difference and these pros' results prove it.
April 8, 2022 by Bennett Wineka in Analysis with 0 comments
Before the Texas State Disc Golf Championship, Kat Mertsch said one thing has made the difference for her quality start to the 2022 touring season: “Midrange practice.”
“I decided in the offseason to only work with midranges and putters and I’ve seen improvement,” explained Mertsch. “A midrange is more of a true flight, and a putter, because they are slow. They will show your errors more. And I had a lot of errors with those discs last year.”
The combination of a new training regimen and a focus on mental well-being has shown results for Mertsch. Through five events this year, Mertsch is hitting fairways at a 74% rate, up 18 percentage points over her 2021 year-end UDisc Live stats at 26 events. She is also finding both Circle 1 and Circle 2 in Regulation 20 percentage points higher year-over-year.
And while Mertsch’s scramble rate is technically lower at the moment, if you compare her total Drives Off Fairway at the Waco Annual Charity Open from 2021 (13) to 2022 (3), you’ll see she is finding herself in less precarious lies than before, thus needing to scramble less.
Mertsch’s rise in her second full season on tour is one of the more impressive early returns we’ve witnessed in recent years.
In 2021, Mertsch finished with four Elite Series top 10s, four Silver Series top 10s including one Silver Series podium finish, and one A-tier win. Prior to last season, Mertsch had never finished top 10 at a professional Elite Series or Major.
In 2022, Mertsch already has one top five (career best) and three total top 10 Elite Series finishes in three events, and a second place finish at last weekend’s Music City Open Silver Series event (career best).
Kat Mertsch – Early Season Finishes
|Las Vegas||Elite Series||39||9||+30|
|Texas States||Elite Series||16||8||+8|
Mertsch has made strides by becoming more comfortable with slow discs and herself. Here are two more players who have shown some single improvements so far in 2022.
Canadian Thomas Gilbert is known for his big arm and ability to go on scoring streaks. For his career, Gilbert has four Elite Series top 10 finishes and two second place Silver Series showings. In 2022, Gilbert already has a career-best top five Elite Series finish, one of two Elite Series top 10s, drastically improving at almost every event so far this season compared to last year.
Thomas Gilbert – Early Season Finishes
|Las Vegas||Elite Series||15||10||+5|
The direct stats of strokes gained putting and from tee-to-green may not seem to increase exponentially to explain the jump up the leaderboards (UDisc Live: 2022 vs. 2021), a steadier head and hand may be the reason. Besides entering his second year throwing Prodigy plastic, Gilbert also publicly revealed some personal news over the offseason. In both cases, for different reasons, Gilbert is probably feeling much more comfortable and in control on the course.
Gilbert is playing in this weekend’s Open at Tallahassee DGPT Silver Series event. It is his first time playing the event.
The first time most observers learned Aaron Gossage’s name was during the 2021 OTB Open. In his first season traveling to Elite Series events, Gossage had a top 10 finish at OTB and qualified for the DGPT Championship due in part to five top 25 finishes at DGPT events. Through the first stretch of 2022, Gossage already has his first career Elite Series top five, top 10 at a Silver Series, and strong showings across the board.
Aaron Gossage – Early Season Finishes
|Las Vegas||Elite Series||34||57||-23|
|Texas States||Elite Series||106||50||+56|
Gossage has dialed-in his big forehand and increased his accuracy on wooded courses in Waco and Belton that challenged him last year. In 2022, Gossage was third and second in strokes gained from tee-to-green at WACO (12.63) and The Open at Belton (12.6), respectively, up from 84th and 22nd at the events in 2021.
Gossage is playing in this weekend’s Open at Tallahassee DGPT Silver Series event. It is his first time playing the event.