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100 Putts For 100 Days Challenge

Posted by Tricia Lafferty


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If you ask any golfer what the weakest part of their game is, most will say putting. Putting is the most important part of the game, because it is how you actually close out a hole. It’s importance is also overlooked by a lot of players. It’s fun to go rip drives and see how far you can get a disc to fly, but standing 10-30 feet from the basket and repeatedly throw at it is less appealing. The most important part of putting is confidence. When you walk up to your lie and look at the basket, you have to believe you are going to make the putt. If you don’t, you’ve missed it before the disc even left your hand. Practicing putting will not only increase your putting skill, but confidence in yourself.

Sarah Hokom started a 100 Putts for 100 Days Challenge back in November. Starting in November takes her through the 100 days the lead up to The Memorial, which is officially the start of the National Tour for disc golfers. As of now, she is on day 56 of the challenge. She has been posting results, tips, putting games, and other information on her Facebook page. She is getting great results too! Follow along with Sarah here:

https://www.facebook.com/sarahhhokom

I am now a part of Team Infinite Discs, and am attending the Glass Blown Open in April/May 2015. Seeing the great results Sarah is getting, and knowing that I need a lot of work on my putting as well, I have been motivated to start the challenge. I began my challenge on January 1st, which will take me up to about two weeks before I leave for GBO. Having the two week window will also allow me to make up a day if I have to miss one.

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For Day 1 and 2 of the challenge, I set my baselines. The two styles of putts I want to work on are spin putts, and straddle putts. I did 100 putts in each of these styles over the first two days from 15 feet. 15 feet may seem short, but these are the putts that can’t be missed. I got 75/100 for Spin putts, and 77/100 for Straddle putts. My goal over this challenge is to increase these percentages to at least 85-90%. I will do a baseline check every two weeks to see how I am improving. I will also start baselining further distances as the challenge goes on.

In between these baseline checks, I will be playing putting games and changing things up every day so that I don’t get into a stale routine and lose interest in the challenge. I will be posting my progress and what I am doing on my Facebook page, so please follow along and give my page a “like”. Also comment and let me know if you are interested in your own challenge, or any advice and tips you may have for me!

https://www.facebook.com/TriciaLafferty13

Best of luck for a great 2015 Disc Golf Season!


Gear Review: Putter BeadZ

Posted by Tricia Lafferty


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If you ask almost any player what their least favorite part and weakest part of their Disc Golf game is, the answer is usually putting. Putting is the part of the game where you actually score, and can drastically raise or lower your score. If you are a consistent and accurate putter, your scores can drop drastically. If you’re like me, you’re still inconsistent and need a lot of work on that part of the game. The only way to get better at putting is to practice it. A tweak in thumb placement, release point, grip, and technique can make a difference, but you will only know if you practice. Putting needs to become automatic, and over thinking creates mistakes. IMG_1156

So how do you practice? I tried a few methods, and what seems to work best for me is starting close, and gradually moving back. I used to take a measuring reel out and put flags down at certain distances, and putt inside the circle. This was a pain doing it every time I went out, and when I wanted to move the basket to a different location. My yard has some hills and different terrain, so it’s great for practicing uphill and downhill putts.

Problem solved! Megan Ramsey who does Disc-Lexia Disc Golf Art came up with a great product for putting practice called Putter Beadz! Putter Beadz are circle’s length (10 meters) cord with beads placed every foot. Every 5 feet has a distinguishing bead as well. Now when I go out to practice, I can place the basket down, loop the Putter BeadZ cord around the pole, pull the cord out to length, stake it down and I’m ready to go! IMG_1143

I usually start out on the level ground, and start at 10 feet back with a stack of 5 putters. If I make all 5 putts, I move back another 5 feet. If I make all of those putts, then I move back again. If I miss even just 1 of those putts, I move back up. This is an easy way to identify the distance where you are making all of your putts, and where you are getting inconsistent. When I first started using the Putter BeadZ, I was inconsistent starting at 15 feet. Now that I have been using them for awhile, I am pushing out to about 25 feet. I can work in foot increments on my trouble areas. IMG_1144

With the Putter BeadZ, I know where I am at distance wise but visual, and by actual footage. This translates on the course when you walk up to the basket, your brain registers how far you are away, and how hard to throw. This helps great a relation between visual recognition and muscle memory.

The best thing about having the Putter BeadZ is I can move the basket easily onto a hill, pull the string out and stake it down, and then putt uphil or downhill in the same manner. On downhill putts I was overshooting the basket a lot. Now that I have had practice using the Putter BeadZ, I am sinking those putts that used to sail over the top of the basket. Same with uphill shots, I was hitting the cage a lot, now I bring my release point up further based on the grade of the hill and distance. IMG_1145

Overall, using the Putter BeadZ has made me a more confident putter, as well as a better one. Since I can easily move the basket and string around, I am more likely to actually move it and practice all of the variations. It has saved a lot of time as well not having to measure and flag every time I go out, or move the basket.

Putter BeadZ come in a lot of different colors and varations! Hit up the Facebook page to see photos of all the options that are offered. You may also email Megan directly to place your order at disclexiadgart@yahoo.com
Facebook:
Putter BeadZ

Also check out Megan’s awesome art work!
Facebook:
Disc-Lexia Disc Golf Art (more…)


Creating a culture of respect

Posted by Tricia Lafferty


Just like many of you, I know a few golfers who have headed off to Portland for the 2014 Professional Disc Golf World Championships. I am excited to follow the local players and see how they play, as well as the touring pros. I’ve been watching my Facebook feed for updates and pictures about what is happening on the other side of the country.

However, one particular post struck a nerve. It was posted on Facebook via DG Guy, Terry Miller. A screen capture of the post is below. Admittedly, I was not there, so I do not know the specifics as to the particular instance he is referring to. But, I do have some personal experiences dealing with the same issue. Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 2.36.04 PM

Pittsburgh is hosting the 2015 Professional Disc Golf World Championships, and I was fortunate enough to attend one of the planning meetings that was held earlier this year. This opened my eyes up to how much time, effort, and planning goes into an event of this size. Everything is planned in order to make the players, volunteers, spectators, and others have a great experience. I can’t even imagine how terrible I would feel if I were up on stage giving a presentation at Worlds expressing how excited I was to show everyone the result of the year plus of hard work, only to look out in the audience to see people not listening and distracting everyone else.

I even experience this at the league I run. I generally start off by raising my voice and saying, “Ok, it’s **time**, let’s get started.” I try to talk fast and be brief when making any announcements, only occupying a few minutes of time before I give card and hole assignments. I know that not everyone is interested in some of the things I may be talking about. More and more I was finding that I was trying to talk over people standing 15 feet away from me immersed in their own conversation. So then it happened, it finally made me angry. My solution was to turn my back on the group and walk away. That got their attention, and the group got quiet. I walked back in, mentioned that I do my best to try not to take a bunch of time, and it will go faster if they just pay attention for a few minutes. It has gotten better since that day.

I think a lot of it has to do with a general issue, not a disc golf specific one: lack of manners and respect, whether it is intentional or not. When people are giving a performance or presentation, it is respectful to pay attention and stay quiet. If you do need to make a comment to a friend, then lean in and whisper as to not cause a distraction to others. There is nothing more annoying when you pay money to go see a movie that you have been anticipating for weeks, only to have someone sitting behind you yacking loudly about something and ruining your experience.

This is truly a simple fix. We can remedy this by creating a culture where it is expected that you will be respectful to others, at all times. Correct each other. Give people your time and be conscience of how your actions are effecting others. I understand that not everyone feels like the need to attend a players meeting, that they have been through these events numerous times and that they know how these things operate. However, it may be the first time the people running these events. They are excited that the pros and players from all over the world are in their city playing their event. Don’t ruin it for these people that give part of their lives to make these events run.

Just as you prefer that people are not talking and distracting while you are trying to make an important putt, give others the same respect for things that are important to them.


On the Bubble

Posted by Tricia Lafferty


I still consider myself a beginner at disc golf. I feel like there are a lot of parts of my game that I can improve on, and a ton more to learn. What I love about disc golf is that you can take your game to whatever level you want to. You can be a casual player who just goes out and plays rounds for fun. You can join a league and play in a casual-competitive environment. You can play in tournaments and play for higher stakes: prizes, money, and a player rating in a competitive environment. You can choose to be a member of the PDGA, or not. No matter what level you play at, anyone can enjoy disc golf.

For me personally, I am an all-in player: I play causally, in leagues, tournaments, and am a member of the PDGA. I want to improve my level of play, and build on to my game. It is important to me to share my love of the game with others and help grow the sport.

But this year I faced the dilemma that many players who play in tournaments do; moving up in divisions. I have been a tournament player for just over a year now. So, how do you know for sure when you’ve improved enough to move up?

As a female player in this area, it’s tough, there are not a lot of us. Often times when I go to a tournament, I could be the only lady there, or there could be a handful of us in different divisions. Whether I win or lose in a division really doesn’t mean anything.

I looked to the PDGA guidelines for divisions:
Advanced Women - Ratings >= 825 Score Range : <70
Intermediate Women – Ratings < 825 Score range: <75
Recreational Women - Ratings < 775 Score range: 75+
Novice Women - Ratings < 725 Score range: 80+

So I find myself “on the bubble” as far as the numbers go. My player rating is currently sitting at 705. But, in the last few rated rounds I have played, my scores have been right around 75 and hovering around the 775 rating. I looked a little deeper into the information on the PDGA site.

I looked closer at the descriptions for the divisions:
Advanced Women - Upcoming players who have played 2-3 years and are gaining consistency and experience. Throw 200-300 feet, make 4-6/10 putts from 25-30 feet, developing different shots
Intermediate Women – Players who have developed basic Frisbee® and disc golf skills and/or have tournament experience. Throw 125-200 feet, make 3-5/10 putts from 20 feet, can throw backhand with some accuracy
Recreational Women - For beginning and casual players who are learning basic Frisbee® and disc golf skills
Novice Women - For beginning and casual players who are learning basic Frisbee® and disc golf skills

This was by far a lot more helpful information to make a decision. According to these descriptions, I feel I definitely fall into the Intermediate division. On my home courses, I can see where I am improving, my drives are longer, my approaches are shorter, and my putts are coming a lot easier. I also looked back at my tournament history. My first PDGA tournament was last June. I played in a tournament at the same course this June and improved 22 strokes over last year’s total. I couldn’t even believe it at first. My goal for this year was to try to improve on my scores by 5 strokes.

Armed with this information, it was a lot easier to come to a decision; time to move up. I may not win since I am at the lower end of the division, but that’s really not what is important to me. I don’t have to win on paper, I win with experience and knowledge. If I want to keep improving, I need to play at the level I want to be. I need to observe competitors that are better than me and learn from them. They may see a line that I can’t, make smarter decisions, or have a technique that may work for me. If you are not open to learning how another player plays their game and only focused on a win, you are doing yourself a disservice.

I’m excited to see how my game will improve in the next year! Tournament season is in full swing now and it’s the prime time to get out there and throw. I hope some of you will take the leap with me and take your game to the next level!

Source: PDGA Player Classifications and Divisions


Moments of Greatness

Posted by Tricia Lafferty


No matter what level of player you are, from beginner to pro, we all have bad shots. If you watch any of the numerous rounds of disc golf on YouTube, all players experience this. I have noticed over the 2 years that I have been playing, the bad shots are happening less often. Even when I do have a bad shot, I am usually able to recover pretty easily. I also noticed that great shots are becoming more frequent as well. I call these my “moments of greatness”, and this is what I play for. No matter how many bad shots happen in a day, there is always that one shot that can make they entire day memorable.

 

One of my most memorable moments recently was at a fun non-sanctioned local tourney. The tourney itself was pretty ordinary, good shots, bad shots – and I won my division. I always buy in for the Ace Pot, just in case I get that lucky, or even someone else does. And like normal, no one hit an Ace that day. There was a CTP shoot off for the Ace Pot money, which was around $75 or so. A lot of times I look at the shot and know that I can’t even reach it, and don’t even bother throwing. I am a female, and a beginner, and sometimes going up and throwing in front of a bunch of guys is really intimidating. But this day I decided to go ahead and give it a chance since it was such a laid back atmosphere and I knew many of the players since it was local.

I don’t really know how far away the basket was, maybe 250-350 feet, but slightly downhill. They set up a teeing area near the tournament central pavilion and shot to basket #2, which we could see. There was a gauntlet of trees in the way. I stood and looked and considered the best path for me to take with a shot a knew I could likely hit. Without seeing any others throw, I decided to spike hyzer to the right where there was a larger gap and let it glide and fade to the basket. I chose to throw my Latitude 64 Jade for this shot. That disc has become my go to driver and I really love the feel of it so I was confident in using it.

 

The first guy gets up to throw, grip locks, and sends it about 300 feet to the right in the wrong direction. The crowd got quite a laugh, me as well, even though I felt bad for laughing because I have been in that same situation before. This is my biggest fear with these shoot offs, having a bad shot and everyone assuming that you can’t throw based on that one shot. I sometimes feel like I have the responsibility to prove that women can be good at this sport as well, and showing a bad shot doesn’t help. About 2/3 of the group threw before I decided to go take my shot. It was a mix of good and bad shots: too short, too long, tree hits, and close calls.

I walk up to the tee and envision the shot I initially decided to take. I lined up my disc at the release point I wanted to take, took a few warm up swings, and then let it fly. As soon as I released it, I started to smile because it was taking the exact line I was hoping for. As it got further away, it sailed it’s way through the gap I wanted to hit, missing every tree. It reached it’s high point and turned and started gliding and fading to the left. Everyone watching was starting to get excited because they knew it was going to finish well. I could hear whispers and gasps behind me as I stood and watched, my heart started to flutter. It started to finish its flight and looked like it may very well crash into the chains. The noise behind me grew, and the disc dove into the ground as my heart was pounding. A cheer erupted as well as congratulations for the shot. From where were were standing, we couldn’t see where exactly the discs were landing. My hands were sweating and heart racing while the final few people threw. I couldn’t wait to get down there to see where I was because I knew I may actually be the closest.

I grabbed my extra ball of string from my Golden Retriever, just in case we needed to measure shots. As I walked to my disc, others were picking up their shots on the way. As I got close to the basket, I could see it was sitting about 4 short from it. The smile on my face grew, it really was an amazing shot! When I got there, I could see another disc laying right about the same distance as mine from the basket, but behind it. As I got the string out, I really hoped mine was closer. After measurement, he got me by about 6 inches. I picked up my disc, threw into the basket knowing it would have been a birdie had it been in play. I walked back to tournament central with the biggest smile I could smile, clutching my disc close to my chest. The memory of that shot is well worth more than $75, and I’ll never forget it.

Tricia


My Intro to the Dogleg crew!

Posted by Tricia Lafferty


Hey there fellow discers!

I would first like to say how incredibly excited I am to be chosen to contribute to Dogleg Disc Golf’s blog! I figured for my first blog I would tell you a little about me, and how I got started playing disc golf. My name is Tricia Lafferty and I live in a small “village” in Pennsylvania called Hawk Run (population 534), and I am 35 years old. I am currently in college, and work part time from home doing customer service and support online.  I’ve always enjoyed doing anything outdoors: fishing, hiking, kayaking, and traveling.  Since my work life involves sitting inside, when I am done, all I want to do is go outside!

In comparison to most of you, I have only been playing disc golf for a short amount of time, just about 2 years now. So how did I hear about disc golf? Believe it or not, from playing the Nintendo Wii. Wii Sports Resort has “Frisbee Golf” on it, and it was one of my favorite games. My friends and I would get together to play games, and we often would have Wii Tournaments, and Frisbee Golf was one of our favorites. After awhile, I started to wonder if it was actually a “real thing” and how in the heck would that work since in the game you’re just aiming at a lighted circle that is on the ground extending upwards.

I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods one day looking for kayak paddle leashes and just happened to walk by an endcap that had Innova Starter Packs and some discs. No way! It WAS a real thing! Being familiar with the Wii game I looked over the discs and wondered now where to play and how. Luckily, they had a print out of nearby courses, and wouldn’t you know it, one was about 10 minutes from the store! I picked up the starter pack and in my excitement, forgot about the paddle leashes. I headed out to the course. I walked up towards the tee pad with my new discs in hand ready to play! I looked at the course bulletin board, and read over the rules, now I was REALLY ready to go!

My first throw was definitely not what I expected. The Leopard was the driver in the pack. I put it in my hand and couldn’t really figure out how to hold it. I did my best “beach frisbee” grip and threw it. It went about 30 feet, hooked left and dove into the ground. Hole 1 at this course is a par 3, 210 foot mostly straight hole. I think it may have taken me 6 or 8 throws to get close to the basket. Well, this was an interesting looking device. I could see how it would literally “catch” the disc out of the air. I was probably close to the basket and missed, but then it happened, the ring of the chains. In that one moment, it didn’t matter how many throws it took to get to the basket, that ring meant success. I wanted to hear more of that for sure. I completed the 9 holes at this course and was definitely tired, but knew I wanted to play again.

This is how the addiction started. I’m sure many of you have a similar story. There is just something about hearing the sound of the chains for the first time that rings into your soul. You’re in it for life. Now at this point, I think I am playing 3-5 days a week now that Spring has finally sprung around here.

Fun fact: at the same course today – I threw a beautiful S shot on Hole 1 and clinked the bottom pole.


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