Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Quick Tip: Disc Choice

Hey guys, my name is Robert McCall. I’m the Team Manager for Dynamic Discs, and I’ve been playing disc golf for around 10 years. I’ve played with players from all over the world, and I’ve been doing my best to learn from as many of them as possible. In the Quick Tip series, I’m going to share something I’ve learned over the years from a combination of personal experience and expertise from other players.

This week's Quick Tip: Disc Choice on the Course

How is your bag set up? Do you have one disc or group of discs that can perform several types of flights? Or are your discs so perfectly organized that you have one disc for 250' shots and a different disc for 280' shots?

I've heard tall tales of people who knew the distances of their discs down to a few feet, but even those people often encounter disc choice dilemmas on the course. Disc golf is drastically different from golf in this way - golfers know the distance of their clubs down to a few yards, but disc golfers must contend with different obstacles on the course that force us to consider factors beyond distance alone. For example, here in Emporia, hole 2 on Jones East provides a perfect example of a hole that can be attacked with multiple types of discs. Hole 2 is around 300', slightly uphill, with one large cedar tree to the right and a couple of smaller trees between the tee and the basket. Most disc golfers can reach this pin with a midrange, fairway driver, or distance driver, and with a variety of shot shapes. How do you choose the best disc and line for the hole?

Here are the factors everyone should consider when facing a hole that's in between disc speeds and distances for you:

1. Ceiling

Are there trees or branches that force you to throw a lower line than you'd like to? If so, faster, slightly understable discs are great for throwing lower lines with greater distance potential. On lower ceiling shots, I like to throw the Dynamic Discs Biofuzion Trespass. The Trespass has good glide and responds well to a smooth release, so it's great for slight hyzer flips that get to flat and can remain lower to the ground.

2. Wind speed and direction

Every disc golfer's first time playing in the wind is an eye-opener. All of your discs that typically finish left are now traveling straighter, your shots with a higher release tend to fly farther off line than normal, and your tailwind shots slam down quickly and rob you of distance. In general, if I'm throwing into a headwind, I'm stepping up the speed and stability of my disc while maintaining the same 80% release. I really like the Dynamic Discs Enforcer for headwind shots because they still want to finish left, even when they face a stiff headwind. Tailwinds are the opposite - I like slightly slower discs and less stability. I'll often choose a Dynamic Discs Escape in a tailwind, because it wants to stay in the air and doesn't deviate much off of a straight line for me.

3. Slope and surface of the landing area

If you're throwing on to a severe slope, discs have more potential to roll away. As a general rule, matching the landing angle of the disc to the slope of the hill decreases roll aways. Conversely, if you're throwing to a slope angled high left to low right, throwing a right hand backhand on a spike hyzer angle that lands perpendicular to the slope is likely to cause a roll away. Another factor to consider is thickness of the grass and/or other landing surface. A disc finishing on hyzer is likely to skip on shorter grass or dirt, but won't travel much past its initial point of contact in thick grass.

4. Which disc/shot shape do you feel most comfortable throwing?

On a hole like hole 2 on Jones East with few obstacles, you should probably throw your most consistent angle and disc, because if you feel more comfortable over the shot, you'll be more likely to execute the shot. Most of the time, I throw a Dynamic Discs Lucid Criminal on hole 2 with a 30-40 degree hyzer. The hyzer release is very comfortable for me, and the overstable Criminal just wants to get to the ground and stick, which makes it a perfect choice for pinpoint hyzers and approaches.

Once you've considered all these factors, the most important part follows: commit to the shot. In general, I like throwing my most predictable disc on my most predictable angle. If I can throw a Warden, I will - I like the flights that I can achieve with the Warden, and it's very forgiving if I miss the angle or line by a few degrees. That's what I like, but what works for you? I'd love to hear back on your experience with disc and shot selection. We'd love to hear from you on the Disc Golf Answer Man podcast or Facebook page, or you can reach me via my social media links below. See you next week!

Robert McCall
Dynamic Discs
Team Manager
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