Next up in our series on disc golfing in the winter is putting. Just how much does the cold weather affect these short shots?
Dude, Where’s My Glide?
As discussed in the Winter Disc Golf Distance article, the colder air is more dense. This requires more velocity to propel the disc the same distance as it fights through the thicker air. This might give the appearance that you’ve lost some glide on your approaches and putts. Just like with our drivers, you may consider a more understable disc or at least one with more glide to compensate for winter putting. At the least, spend a few minutes at the practice basket working on finding your range.
A Time to Soften Up
During the summer season, I love using a firm putter. The hard plastic helps me keep my form and feels great in my hand. That same putter in the winter feels like a brick. To counteract this feeling, I’ll drop down to a medium or soft putter. These will tend to feel the same as my putter did in the summer.
I’ve noticed something else in the cold. Certain plastics don’t grab the chains very well at all. A slippery plastic like Discraft’s Z or Latitude 64’s Opto will spin on the chains and sometimes spit out. Something with more grip like Gateway’s Eraser or Dynamic Discs’ Classic Soft will have better success. That said, I think the cold chains spit more putts in general.
Understand Your Body Changes
Your muscles and joints stiffen in the cold and that can affect your form. I’ve found exercises that keep my body loose but I still don’t get my normal amount of motion. As a spin putter Chris has to be especially careful of his wrist becoming stiff from the cold. The lost mobility often results in him releasing the putter early with a low amount of snap. In this case you can take measures to keep your joints limber, or you may want to adjust your form for winter putting.
Consider Trying Something New
I normally putt with a straddle stance. With a few extra layers of clothing I’ve noticed that I can’t always bend the same way. If there’s some snow on the ground I’ll occasionally drag my putter through the snow during a putt. A strict push putt requires some good balance on dry ground – imagine what will happen if your plant foot is on ice. None of these help the putting process and they may engrain bad habits. So I’ll often work on a different putting style. I don’t spin putt very often but this is a wonderful opportunity to try it out.
With cold hands, multiple layers of clothes, and a different putter than normal, you shouldn’t expect to putt your best. If you keep score, perhaps you should compare your scores only to other winter scores. Or maybe play a shorter layout. Our home course actually adds several winter holes, allowing for the normal 18 holes on the short layout and an additional six holes played from a temporary tee near the short basket to the long basket.
Don’t Lick the Basket
Should go without saying.
Remember, winter disc golf is bonus time. You’re out there because you love to play so be sure to enjoy your time. Most importantly, Just Throw.
Are you suffering from disc golf withdrawal from cold weather? Infuse some disc golf conversation into your life with the Just Throw Podcast!
Check out other winter articles:
- Winter Disc Golf – Discs and Plastic
- Winter Disc Golf – Distance
- Winter Disc Golf – Benefits and Goals
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