How to Practice Disc Golf in the Winter
Disc golf is a lot of fun. When winter hits the thought of taking a break for months can be disappointing. In this post we’ll discuss why you don’t need to take a break.
Practice disc golf in the winter by playing a full round with hand-warmers and setting realistic goals. Practice putting for 10-15 minutes throughout the day outside, or set up a basket indoors. Practice driving indoors with a ProPull, towel drills, and by driving a real disc into a blanket.
Playing Outside in the Winter
If you live in Michigan like myself, or anywhere with a harsh winter, it is hard to play all year round. In January and February it gets cold. Really cold. But if you take the right measures, you can still play full rounds in the winter! There are plenty of steps you can take to play a full round in the cold.
The first and most important tip is hand-warmers! Hand-warmers are a life-saver. I use rechargeable hand-warmers. They aren’t expensive, and should last a full round on a single charge. Keeping that hand warm is essential for putts. I prefer to wear several sweaters with pockets and forgo the gloves. I keep my hands in my pockets with the hand-warmers between throws and they never get cold.
The second tip is to set realistic goals. Goals in disc golf, like any sport, are very important. They help us to grow and to improve, and it feels great when we hit them. But when we throw in the winter we can’t set the same goals we did on a beautiful summer day. If you shoot worse in the winter don’t beat yourself up. The most important things are that you are practicing and enjoying yourself. Disc golf in the cold restricts your muscles, is often windy, can have worse footing, and the extra clothing can be a major limitation. Disc golf in the winter can’t be judged by the standards you set in the summer.
Many disc golfers, including myself, agree that putting is the most important part of the game. I shoot my personal bests when my putting is on, even if my driving is just average. When my putting is bad - well let’s not go there. Putting is something we can practice all year round. Even if you don’t have an indoor basket set up, a basket in the back-yard is great during winter. I like to take several 10-15 minutes to practice my putting throughout the day. If it’s too cold to take several hours for a whole round, just take 10 minutes to practice putting. If it is still too cold to practice putting outside, I’d recommend setting up an indoor basket.
Putting in the cold can be a great exercise for your putting. The limitations on movement can actually help you to simplify your putting stroke - almost always a good thing. Remember that the less that is going on in your putting stroke the more consistent you can be - and the less capacity for something to go wrong.
Practice Driving Indoors
The final tip for disc golf in the winter is to practice your driving indoors - yes it can be done! Practicing our driving is a fundamental part of disc golf - it isn’t something that you want to put on hold for several months. There are a few ways we can practice indoors.
The first, and my favorite, is with a ProPull. ProPull basically a disc attached to a resistance band. It sounds simple, but it is fantastic. Working through your drive with resistance can maximize your power like nothing else. We don’t receive any incentive to support ProPull, but I still couldn’t recommend them enough!
The next method is with towel drills. This is a similar but simpler method to the ProPull. Basically work on your driving stroke while holding a small towel. The resistance from the towel as it flies through the air allows us to feel resistance through our pull. I also use towel drills to warm up before a round and to stretch my muscles.
The final method of practicing driving indoors is by actually driving. That’s right, at full speed and power, into something. Set up a large blanket to catch your discs about 15-20 feet away from you. Practice throwing straight into this blanket. Make sure you have plenty of space around and above you! Driving your hand at full speed into a wall is a quick way to have a tour of your local emergency room. More importantly it would put your disc golf on hold for a while. Driving into a blanket also lets you not see the result of that drive. It sounds counter-intuitive, but this is actually a good thing. Not being able to see the results on your drive, occasionally, actually helps you to concentrate completely on form, not changing your form from one throw to the next based on where each shot lands. I recommend recording your driving stroke and comparing it to a disc golf professional who has a similar drive to you. See what they are doing and try to model your throw on theirs.
Disc golf doesn’t have to be put on hold during the winter! By following this guide you can still improve your game during the colder months. You can play full rounds outside with hand warmers, the right clothes, and realistic goals. You can practice putting outside for 10-15 minutes at a time, or by setting up a basket indoors. And you can even still work on your driving with a ProPull, towel drills, or setting up a blanket to drive into!