Putting Practice: Month 5

For 2022 I set a goal of achieving 70% putting from 25 feet. That seems attainable enough, and if I go higher than that, well, all the better.

I’m reworking my putting style. There are a few reasons for that.

First, one of my disc golf pro favorites, Scott Stokely, recently decided that he needed to take a few weeks off the Tour to work on a new putting style. Heck, if he can do that, why am I married to the way I do things?

Also, I’ve been impressed with Catrina Allen’s improved putting this year, so I decided to watch how she does it. I discovered that she throws a hyzer putt that enters the basket at around a 30- to 40-degree angle. Hmmmm…

Finally, I noticed that in general I am not putting in a standard way.

I wondered why I had so much problem with power for longer putts, and the answer is that I am standing with my front foot exactly perpendicular to the target, and bringing my disc back to my middle. The good male putters I watched — Catrina Allen does not do it this way — stand with the front foot closed to the target and they bring the disc to the side of their bodies.

Oh, wait, I also rememberd something I saw in a video I watched when I first started playing disc golf. At least I think what I saw was that my elbow and wrist should be pretty still during putting, and I should use my shoulder as the only hinge.

All those changes felt good to me right from the word go. I’m still not able to execute them properly every time, but when I do, I can feel it, and it feels right.

Speaking of not being able to execute properly, my pushoff with my back foot is off. I think it’s a timing thing, but I can finally feel a difference between what I do and what I want to do.

I want to push off my back foot when I putt, especially from farther away. What I do, though, feels more like pulling up with my front foot, and if that’s not a recipe for a power outage, I don’t know what is.

That piece of the puzzle is still in development, because, even though I know it was there, I only felt it today for the first time.

Forehand Putting

On a side note, let me tell you about another thing I’ve discovered works well for me: forehand putting.

I’ve been putting forehand around obstacles, mostly trees, for a while now, and it has always felt pretty good.

From 40 to 50 feet, I’ve found that I can make 20% of my putts using forehand style with my Yeti Pro Aviars. And, more importantly, when I miss, the disc is not going too far by the basket.

Is 20% from 40 to 50 feet good? It is for me! And with more practice, it can only get better, right?

In addition, I’ve found that forehand putting is great in the wind. I can more easily adjust the angle of the disc to account for the wind’s direction.

Jon, my practice partner in San Antonio, has said before that maybe forehand putting should be my go-to. I’m starting to believe him!

Anyway, onward to this month’s exciting recap of my Putting Challenge. And it was, indeed, a very exciting round!

May 2022 Putting Challenge

I didn’t do my usual warmup game this month before heading into the money round. Working on the new style, I felt more comfortable simply diving right in after about a half-hour of putting practice.

And I started out hot! 5 of 5!

Of course, I only made 3 of the next 5. Regression to the mean. But I stayed very hot, and had made 31 through seven rounds. That is almost 89%! I was on my way to my by far best round ever!

And then…

Off to my right, someone started moving, walking toward me. I should have stepped away, but I didn’t. I missed the first putt with them in my peripheral vision, and made the second. Then they were too close, so I decided to wait.

The person walked a straight line, crossing directly behind my basket. I waited until they were 30 feet past, and threw my next three discs.

I missed them all. That put me at 32 made for eight rounds. Still an average of 4 out of 5, 80%. Still on record pace.

Round 9, time to buckle down… I made two putts.

Round 10? I made two putts.

What the hell? Am I that easily distracted that a person who two minutes ago walked through my target area would get in my head, put me off my game so much, that I’d fall apart?

Apparently so. Well, that’s disc golf.

While I am very disappointed with my meltdown, on the positive side I matched my previous record of 72% from 21 feet. I am working on a new style, and my entry level score with that style is the same as my previous best. That’s great!

Running tally:

  • January: 44% from 21 feet
  • February: 68% from 21 feet
  • March: 72% from 21 feet
  • April: 64% from 21 feet
  • May: 72% from 21 feet