Some of us are not as fortunate to live in sunny California, or any southern state for that matter, and play disc golf all year in beautiful weather. I am one of the less fortunate that plays half of the year in snow. After playing in the snow for the first time, I made a list of some important differences between summer disc golf and winter disc golf.
- Throw flat shots for skips.
Because the snow I played in had a thin layer of ice on top–or simply put, it wasn’t fluffy–it created a perfect surface for skip shots. This can be beneficial for beginners who don’t get a lot of distance. With a flat skip shot, players can get an extra 10-15 feet on their drives. Be aware, however, this means flat shots can skip in directions you don’t intend. Be strategic with these shots.
- Throw hyzer or anhyzer shots for discs to stick.
If you don’t want to skip your shot, rather have it stop exactly where it lands, throw a hyzer or anhyzer shot. These types of shots have more angle to the disc, causing it to stick in the snow on impact. This is especially useful on approach or lay-up shots. As someone who plays rather conservatively–going for par instead of sending it for a birdie–I use this shot often.
- Use frozen water to your advantage.
Normally, water acts as a hazard to avoid at all costs; you will most likely lose a disc. When a water source is frozen enough to walk on, however, incorporate it into your play. Like a flat shot, throwing on a frozen surface will give you extra distance on your shot.
- Bring a towel.
In the summer, towels can be handy if your disc lands in the water, but it isn’t necessary; if you can control your shot, you don’t need one. When playing in the snow, however, your disc will land in snow no matter what–unless there is a green patch–and it will get wet. I wipe off my discs at least every other hole, if not every hole, so this is a must-have in your winter bag.
- Shorten your approach.
Because teepads can be covered in snow or icy, you’ll want to slow down and shorten your approach on your drives. This may mean instead of taking a four-step approach, you may only take three or even stay stationary. Not only will this save you from possible injury, but it causes you to focus on your form. Sometimes we get so caught up in the power of our legs and momentum that we don’t focus on our arms or snap.
Now that you know how to play in the snow successfully without falling on your ass, go give it a try! Let me know how it goes. Do you prefer playing in the summer or winter?