The last few weeks have been great. After spending many years playing disc golf tournaments nearly every weekend, I now rarely find myself playing back-to-back events. This was not the case recently, as I was able to compete in both the Disc Golf Pro Tour’s Ledgestone Insurance Open and the Illinois State Championships.
Playing sporadically can be difficult. The game and lessons learned don’t come as easy as they once did. Making competitive adjustments didn’t have to wait weeks or months at a time, like they do now. I was able to hop back on the course and more easily learn from the previous week. I am not complaining nor making excuses for my play, just noting my personal experiences.
Finding The Putt
I had a pretty successful Ledgestone Insurance Open aside from one key element: C1x putting.
C1x putting includes putts between 3.3 meters and 10 meters, essentially anything outside of a drop in. You may have even witnessed some of this poor putting, as I was on the Jomez Pro Featured Card for Round One. The putting woes continued through Rounds two and three and ultimately landed me with a C1x ranking of 146th. Note that I finished the event at even par in a tie for 37th.
This putting performance was unexpected. I had been putting very confidently over the last few months. Let’s be clear, if you expect to putt bad you’re likely not setting yourself up for success. My previous events saw me putting the best I had in years, but those events were all the way back in May. Confidence was high... until it wasn’t.
With one of my favorite, and most important, events coming up right after Ledgestone, the Illinois State Championships, I needed to put some work in. All week I furiously putted (and missed) in my backyard. It wasn’t until I sat down and thought about what happened inside of C1x at Ledgestone that it clicked. (This next portion gives me anxiety thinking about it.)
Imagine you’re trapped in an elevator for hours and hours. You don’t have your phone, it’s dark, and you’re scared. Then, all of a sudden the doors open and you’re free! All you want to do is get out of that elevator you’ve been stuck in, right?
Every time I had my putter in my hand at Ledgestone, I felt like I was trapped in that elevator and the only way to get out of it was to hurry up and putt. The quicker I got that putter out of my hand, the quicker I could get out of that elevator.
I rushed my routine. I rushed my stroke. I did whatever I had to do to get off the putting green as quickly as possible.
In the heat of the moment, I didn’t fully realize it. I felt the anxiety, which was so strong it masked the fact that I was rushing. In fact, even in my backyard I was rushing my putt. It finally became clear what was actually happening.
Thankfully, this realization came before playing in the Illinois State Championship. Once I reminded myself to, “slow your roll” before each putt, it helped me relax and not wildly rush through the routine and putt. Like magic, my putts started to find chains. I started to believe in myself again and saw my confidence return.
With my new putting mantra, I was able to convert on a lot of those C1x putts that once seemed impossible just a week before. Deep breaths and repeating, “slow your roll” helped me stay out of the elevator.
Having the Illinois State Championship quickly follow Ledgestone forced me to address my putting problem sooner rather than later. If my next tournament was in a few weeks, or maybe a month, I would not have had that urgency to figure it out. It felt reminiscent of my old tour days of making adjustments quickly between events.
The next time you find yourself struggling with any part of your disc golf game, remember to stop, step back, and take a true look at what is happening. Hitting reset and slowing your roll can lead to great success.
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Editors note: Thank you to Lauren Lakeberg and LEL Photography for the photos.