Twist and Shoot

How to shave strokes off your score by opening your mind and twisting your body (and I’m not talking about meditation or yoga).

I know it?s a stretch (that was truly an accidental pun), but whenever I have a shot that is difficult and requires me to throw through and around things, I purposefully think of the old game Twister. You see, I?m willing to contort myself any which way to get the best chance at the best shot for the situation. Otherwise, I might get lazy and sometimes try to execute a slightly lower-percentage shot just because it?s ?easier? to get to. But more to the point, lazy or not, I think we often don?t see all of the options on each shot. Ours brains tend to focus in on the most obvious choice and settle for that. You can save strokes simply by opening your mind enough as you size up each shot to see all the options in front of you. For me, this is where the game Twister comes in.

When I have a tough lie, I picture myself keeping one foot behind the marker and stretching the other foot out in different directions. Then I check out the possible routes from each position, from the skip-shot I release barely inches off the ground to the floater aimed at an opening between branches. Switch foot, repeat. Often just by doing that, or even picturing myself doing it, I see a route or and/or an angle I didn?t see at first. Obviously, it takes practice to the point of intuition to be able to do this in 30 seconds or less. But if you, like me, are not gifted with scary skills or distance, it’s worth it.

If you’re not yet open to opening your mind when considering all the different openings for your throw (whew!), consider the following about how much difference a few inches can make:

One of the great and unique challenges of disc golf – as opposed to stick golf – is the amount of potential obstructions between you and the target. Even when you?re close enough to putt (and especially at DeLa) you?ll find yourself with low hanging branches, tree trunks, bushes, etc., close to where you want to throw.

When this happens, try to imagine the line your disc typically follows on the throw you plan. Hint: putts almost always have more arc than you think, so keep that in mind. If it seems likely it will hit something, try to change the line by stretching out left or right, or moving up or down. Especially consider going down to a knee or even sitting down to putt (if the putt/throw isn’t too long). Changing your release point by even a few inches will change the angle and line of your shot significantly, maybe allowing a legitimate run where before there was none. And if you’re good at geometry (I’m not) you’ll know that the two inches difference at the point of release can become two feet of difference after the disc has travelled for 20 feet or so. You may have a low ceiling that forces you to throw the disc on a lazer beam-like line in order to keep it high enough to get in the basket, and those shots tend to be ‘do-or-die’ attempts that zoom their way into 30-plus foot comeback putts. By getting down on one knee, both knees, or even into some kind of sitting position, you’ve bought yourself the few inches necessary to go for that putt without risking an extra stroke if you miss.

If you compete in tournaments or just enjoy besting your friends, employing this advice is an easy way to save a couple strokes per round. Just remember: Twist and shoot!?

Originally Blahged Friday, July 28, 2006- Updated October 25th, 2007

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