2017 was quite the year for me as a disc golfer. It was the first year where I was on the road close to full time. Most of the year was a roller coaster. Every great moment, was followed by a poor one. I was coming off an incredible 2016 which shot up my goals and expectations. Those would ultimately help and hurt me.
I started the year in Perth, Australia for the Aussie Open, the first Major of 2017. I lost by one stroke taking 2nd place to Ricky Wysocki. I had played the best disc golf of my life resulting in a 1067 average. But it would turn into a hard obstacle to overcome throughout the season since there was so much heartbreak involved with the event. After a three week long pause, I would start the Flying Circus Tour with Simon Lizotte and Jan Bass.
Tournaments and Flying Circus events
We started at the Gentleman’s Club Challenge and ended at Glass Blown Open. Over the two month period, we ran nine Flying Circus’s and played seven tournaments throughout; Nevada, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas. Running these events was really great because it put me out of my comfort zone when it came to public speaking. Speaking in front of crowds was never my forte but by forcing myself it really helped overcome the fear of it (even though Simon did most of the talking).
After the tour finished, Simon and I flew to Europe for the second stop of the DGWT - The Konopiste Open. Before the event I got to see Simon’s hometown of Bremen, Germany. I played a small tournament at Simon’s home course which I beat him at… A definite highlight of the year. The next week at Konopiste, I was very sick and did not perform as well I would of liked, taking 23rd place. I had a Master’s Cup lined up the next week but after being on the road since the start of the year, I was very tired of traveling and decided to go home to Colorado for a few weeks to refresh.
Back home and on tour again
The time I spent in Colorado did wonders for me emotionally. I hit the road again early June to play Beaver State Fling, The Worlds Championships, Estonian Open, and European Open. I found my groove in those event having good finishes in all of them a which built my confidence. I can attribute my success at those events to many hours of practice and visualization.
The last stretch of the year consisted of Pittsburgh Flying Disc Open, Vibram Open, Green Mountain Championships, and USDGC. The event that sent me for a whirlwind was Vibram Open. I played well the first 3 rounds and was hovering around the top-5. In the final round I caught fire, and found myself playing at the top of my game. I would find myself tied for first place with 3 holes to play. Unfortunately, I did not capitalize on the opportunity and ended up finishing 2nd. This was much like what happened in Australia. I had a great finish but the disappointment of not coming out on top made me very lackadaisical in the final events of the year.
Looking back to 2017
I noticed a pattern throughout the year: I would leave home and play 1-2 events really well and as my time on the road extended, my play suffered. Looking back to 2016, I was never on the road more than a month at a time. I constantly was going home and being refreshed. If you look at my finishes, I was top-10 in every event except for two. For those of you think about touring, it is not easy. In retrospect, this year defined me as a very capable player but I know that if I want push to a higher level, I will need to be more disciplined, and maintain a level head. In 2018 my goals are to find a better balance for my time on the road and to not be result orientated. In the off-season I will lay out the groundwork to make those goals possible.