It’s dark by the time you get off work and glow disc golf isn’t your thing. It’s winter and you’re jonesing to chase your discs around the course and if you spend another Saturday without disc golfing, you’re gonna go crazy. Don’t let the weather hold you back, paying disc golf in the snow can be a lot of fun!
Before hitting the frozen fairways of your disc golf course, you’ll want to make sure you have the right discs in your bag.
Snow throwing no-no's: irreplaceable discs, white discs, and stiff plastic.
Hunting in the snow for your favorite disc is a quick way to ruin a round, so leave the precious plastic at home. Same goes for white discs, that is unless you’re throwing them in the basket every time you toss 'em. Trees are no match for stiff plastics. For instance, if you smash a Discmania Stiff P-Line P2 in to the first available tree, it’s likely going to end up in pieces when temperatures are low.
Once you've cleared out your bag, you’ll need to replace the open space with some other discs. Head to your backup stash or your favorite store and bag yourself some bright colored discs. You’ll also want to consider softer plastic, such as Soft P-Line or G-Line. Once you’ve got your winter bag set, go put your bag in your garage or car. Let the discs cool off, if they are warm and you throw them in the snow, the snow can sometimes be harder to remove.
“G-Line isn’t the best plastic in 90 degree heat, but when the temps dip below 20, it ain’t nothing but a G thing, baby.” - Team Discmania's Dana Vicich
Dress in Layers
Having cold weather gear can help make your time outside much more enjoyable. You’ll want to layer up, but not so much that you totally lose your ability to throw.
Get a pair of mittens. Using a mitten for your throwing hand is a veteran move. Keep quality glove for your non-throwing hand. Keep your throwing hand toasty warm by cracking open a few hand warmers and putting them in your mitten before you get to the course.
Respect the Course
If you are the first person out on a course after a fresh snow, please be prepared to clear off tees. If you’re not interested in cleaning tees, you can search local disc golf groups on social media or check course conditions on Disc Golf Course Review.
Be prepared with both a shovel and a broom. You'd be surprised how useful a broom is on lighter snow. Take your time and make sure things are safe.
Plus, don’t aimlessly wander around fairways and greens. This makes it harder for the next person to find their disc. Follow footsteps and when you can, retrace yours. Footsteps in snow make it substantially harder to find discs.
Don’t forget that your local course might become a popular sledding area during the winter. If a few holes play directly on, across, or close by a sledding hill (or any area where kids might be playing), skip those holes and move to where there isn't any chance for an accident.
Play Smart, Slow Down
Pay extra attention to where your disc lands. Make a mental note and try to keep your eyes on the exact spot you saw the disc enter the snow. You can also pick out an object like a tree, target or something else and say, “It was 20 feet or so right of that Maple Tree.”
You may have to opt to play a short or safe shot instead of throwing a shot where you won’t be able to see your disc land.
To help with visibility, it is common to tape on some bright colored ribbon to the disc. As the disc enters the snow, the ribbon will still be hanging on to give you a much better sense of where to look. Just make sure the ribbon is long enough.
Don't worry about the ribbon changing the flight of the disc. Remember, this is a fun round of disc golf in the winter, not the PDGA World Championships.
Ace in the New Year
Winter disc golf is a great way to burn some of that cabin fever that is quite common in the cold, winter months. One way to combine both a little disc golf with a social function is to organize an event on New Year's Day.
The "Ace in the New Year" events are a fun way to get together to start the next calendar year on the right foot... well, at least in disc golf. Take some friends, or announce to the local disc golf club a time on January 1 that you'll be at the course.
Focus on just one hole on the course. Likely that ace-run hole that everyone goes for, but rarely gets. Setup shop with some refreshments and snacks, maybe even some sort of temporary shelter from the elements, and see how many aces you can grab on the first day of the year. This scratches the disc golf itch without forcing you to trek around a cold, wintery disc golf course.
Most of all, you'd be surprised just how much fun a winter disc golf round can be. Bundle up and we'll see you on the first hole!