Professional disc golfers on tour are lucky enough to spend all of their time during the competitive season traveling, preparing for certain events, and then playing in those events. Then after an event finishes, they get ready and head out to next weekend’s tournament. For a lot of disc golfers, that’s the dream. The raw talent and ability it takes to be able to live that lifestyle is incredible. And while you may not see yourself on tour, being a local professional can be pretty cool. Local pros aren’t on tour, but they play all the big events in their area and generally get out of town only a couple times per year. I consider myself a lower level local pro, the guy that generally finds himself right around the cash line. I can have weekends where I’ll bump into the top 10, or without proper preparation, I can have a weekend where everything falls apart and I’m towards the bottom. Here are some tricks I have found that help me through the week leading up to an event to make sure my game is the best it can be.
The Week In Pieces
If there is a tournament that starts on Saturday, I like to split my week into three different chunks. Monday-Wednesday, Thursday-Friday (or just Thursday if the tournament starts on Friday), and the weekend. This allows for me to have a routine during the week and approach the weekend in a good headspace and increase my chances of success. I’m just going to focus on the week and ignore the weekend for today, as that’s a whole nother battle.
When Monday comes around, I know that I’ll be working up at Beaver Ranch Disc Golf Course so I know that between work and tags, I’ll have time to practice whatever needs work. Right now, if I was preparing for a tournament this weekend, I would be working on focus. I would take a stack of my putters (all P line P2s within 3 grams of one another), walk out to about 12-15 feet and drain all my putts. I’d then wait for about 5 minutes and do something that is mentally taxing. This might be listening to a complex science podcast, attempting some mental puzzles I find on the internet, or reading over my University notes from last semester (shoutout to everything I already forgot). This little side task between reps translates to the mental battle that a three-hour tournament round becomes. I do this because when I’m standing on the 18th green, my 15 footers need to be muscle memory and automatic. After my little “break” I’ll go back to my basket, and drain 10 more putts from the same distance. I will do this for about 30 to 45 minutes but I’ll only be putting for about 10-15. This not only helps me with putting when I’m cold or not in a rhythm but it also gets me into the practice of being able to distract myself after a missed putt or a poorly executed tee shot.
After my putting practice and day at work, I will either run tags at Beaver Ranch or play focusing on whatever I feel my needs for this week are (up shots, getting off the tee with mids, forehands, etc.) This practice is not my main focus for the round, at this point in the week I try to keep it light, just have some fun with my friends and enjoy my evening in the mountains.
I try to approach Tuesday and Wednesday with a similar approach, whether I’m working at Beaver Ranch or my other part-time job (because being in college is expensive), I know that I need anywhere from an hour and a half of practice up to about two hours. This practice could be field work dialing in my accuracy or practicing putting in my backyard, or working on anything in my game that’s struggling. If by this time I’m feeling good about my game these days could also be a practice round at the course if I have never played there before and it is less than a couple hours away.
If I have a tournament that starts on Friday that week, I’ll start to shift my focus on Wednesday instead of Thursday. I’ll work on whatever needs work probably on the course instead of the field just because this gets me reps and shows me what the course will demand.
Thursday and Friday I still probably have work but my practice is going to be even more focused for the upcoming weekend. On Thursday I try to get a practice round in because hopefully, the OB flags are out, the baskets are in their tournament positions and maybe I’ll run into a friend on the course. During this first practice round, I will be throwing three or four drives and two or three upshots from one of my best two drives. These repetitions show my body what I need to do to put myself in the positions I want to be in. On the green, I’ll focus on making putts with both of my putters from where I lie and wherever the green looks like it may present some challenges. After my practice round, I’ll go home, make sure to eat a huge dinner making sure to get grains, veggies, and proteins. After dinner I’ll head into the backyard to practice putt for about 30-45 minutes (without the breaks I mentioned earlier), just to get my body into a groove and start getting my stroke dialed in. For these little sessions, I’ll focus on 15-25 foot putts. This is because if I can be dialed at 15 and 25 then the adjustment to 35 is routine.
Friday is the wildcard day, I could very well have my first round of the weekend or I might have another day to prepare. If I have another day to prepare, I just take it easy. I’ll probably putt for a half hour or so, and maybe do some yoga and stretches and be sure to eat very healthy and get all the calories I need to feel great for the weekend. I take Friday to try and oversimplify the game or the course in my head. Disc golf is a game of drive and putt, I’ll go through every hole in my head, picture my drive, then visualize the putt. I do this on every hole to give myself the confidence I need on the first tee knowing that any course is as simple or as complex as you make it.
This is my ideal week preparation for every tournament I play. Of course, life comes up and I can’t always give every tournament this amount of time, but I know that if I do, I can play my best golf and make my push to play how I want through the three rounds.
Also when you’re on the course remember, there’s always a hyzer.