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Many disc golf players find it very challenging to play in the wind. For starters, the wind can be very unpredictable.
You could practice due diligence by checking the weather forecast before hitting the course or carrying a makeshift windsock throughout your game, only for the wind to surprise you at the very moment you take your shot.
Judging the wind can be extremely frustrating.
While you cannot completely escape the effects of the wind, you can learn what to do when playing disc golf in the wind and adjust your style of play to mitigate its effects.
Types of wind conditions you may encounter in disc golf
These are perhaps the most frustrating winds you may encounter as a disc golfer.
What makes them so challenging is the fact that they fly straight at you, hence causing air resistance or drag.
In disc golf, this implies that whenever you throw your disc against headwinds, the wind will push your disc in the opposite direction.
Air resistance causes friction hence limiting the distance your disc can travel in the presence of headwinds.
Consider the following tips to counteract the effect of these winds.
- Throw Harder — While this is a bit obvious, it is not the most reliable measure. However, it can slightly improve the chances of your disc traveling farther. Essentially, more velocity requires more air resistance to slow down a disc.
- Use Heavier Discs — Since lighter discs are profoundly affected by these winds, opt for heavier discs to gain more control. Use 175-180 g discs instead of 150-165 g discs.
- Throw Slightly Nose Down — Headwinds often move under a disc hence pushing it up. By keeping the angle of your disc low enough from the get-go, you can prevent your disc from flying uncontrollably.
- Use Overstable Discs — Overstable discs are less likely to turn over or flip in the wind, unlike understable or stable discs. Always carry a few overstable discs in your bag in case you encounter headwinds.
Tailwinds are the direct opposite of headwinds and a lot easier to handle.
These winds blow from behind and in the direction your disc travels.
Since tailwinds do not have much air resistance, most disc golf players would prefer them over headwinds.
Rather than slowing down your discs, tailwinds will speed them up. Here are some things to consider when playing in tailwinds.
- Throw Less Hard — While you can put a lot of power into your throw and make your disc fly insanely far, you should instead go for excellent technique and a decent throw to achieve more distance without spending too much energy.
- Use Lighter Discs — Since you want the tailwinds to carry your discs for you, opt for lighter discs to achieve greater distances. Heavier discs do not float as well as their lighter counterparts.
- Throw Slightly Nose Up — Tailwinds generally push discs towards the ground. Therefore, to counteract this effect, nose up your shots for the perfect height.
- Use Stable or Understable Discs — These discs have a higher propensity for turning over, hence remain stable when flying in tailwinds.
These winds blow from either side of the disc, i.e., right to left or left to right.
The trick to playing in crosswinds is determining the direction of the wind.
The rule of thumb is to throw the disc in the opposite direction of the wind.
For instance, when performing a backhand throw on your right hand in crosswinds blowing from left to right, use an overstable disc to counteract the movement of the wind.
What to do when playing disc golf in the wind
1. Play smart
If you could pick one tip over the others, then it would be this.
Understanding the dynamics of windy weather is a crucial element of playing smart.
Despite their usefulness, drivers, distance and speed can hurt you when playing in windy weather.
Combine the appropriate techniques and discs to overcome the challenges of windy weather.
2. Keep your disc low
While you should throw your disc slightly lower in headwinds and slightly higher in tailwinds, always keep the angle of your disc relatively low.
Use a low-shot approach as much as possible to overcome the wind’s unpredictability.
3. Always judge the wind’s direction
Take some time to judge the type of wind you are dealing with before each shot.
You do not want to ruin an otherwise perfect opportunity by throwing your disc without much consideration of the wind.
To perform better in windy weather, always judge your shots relative to the wind.
4. Keep your disc fairly straight
A common mistake made by many players is throwing for distance to overcome windy conditions.
The major flaw in this approach is the lack of consideration about where the disc will land on the course.
Always keep your disc reasonably straight, or in the general course of the hole.
Strategizing around the wind in this manner can help you save many strokes in the long run.
Putting in windy weather
Putting in headwinds
Trying to putt against a headwind can be a tricky maneuver.
The two greatest considerations you need to make when putting in headwinds are aiming the basket slightly lower since the headwind will push your disc up and keeping your disc as flat as possible.
Generally, headwinds do not affect discs too much for up to 15 feet.
However, past 15 feet headwinds may begin to push discs upwards, thus affecting the outcome of a putt.
Putting in tailwinds
Putting in a tailwind is slightly easier than putting against a headwind.
To mitigate the effects of a tailwind when putting, keep your disc as flat as possible when putting and try to aim the basket a little higher since the wind will push your disc towards the ground.
Putting in crosswinds
As mentioned earlier, determine the direction of the crosswind before attempting a throw.
Throw your disc ever so slightly in the opposite direction of the crosswind.
For instance, if the wind blows from right to left, then throw your disc towards the right side of the basket.
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