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Overcoming Injury and Age, Amateur Disc Golfer Jack Morris Continues to Improve and Share His Knowledge with Beginners

Jack Morris rolls into Twining Park‘s Kiwanis disc golf course in his Chevy truck, parks, releases the tail gate, and grabs his Ridge Roller from the back end.

As we head to hole one, he tells me his ribs are a bit sore, and it might affect his putting. When he went hunting over the weekend, he tripped over a hidden barbed-wire fence and fell hard.

But Morris is no stranger to injuries. Four years ago when he was working part-time for Leverton Construction, he fell off a roof and broke his back.

“It was a freak thing,” Morris said. “I was on a ladder on a two-story house and a piece of plywood was up there. It was windy. I don’t know what happened. The one guy said he yelled at me, look out. The next thing I know, I was flying through the air. I fell down and broke my back in three places.”

Despite his injuries and his age–Morris is 66–his amateur rating is the best it’s ever been.

“My rating is going up where most guys my age it’s going down,” Morris explains.

Morris has been playing disc golf for ten years ever since his son gave Morris his first disc for Christmas. In those ten years, Morris has worked with his son, Chris, to start the Thursday night disc golf league in Monroe, given clinics through the Park and Rec to kids and adults, played in multiple leagues in Monroe, Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, and Freeport, Illinois, and participated in tournaments for the last six years.

“It’s neat seeing his talent level improve,” Chris Morris said. “It’s just the proof that hard work and practice pays off. He’s always put 100% effort into anything he’s passionate about.”

In his last tournament on Saturday, November 7, the 7th Annual Estabrook Fall Challenge in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Morris placed first in his division.

Although the video is a little long, it gives a good idea of what the course at Estabrook Park looks like.

“With their ratings and being 14 years older, I did not expect to win,” Morris explained. “I just wanted to do good and stay out of trouble. I won, not because I can throw farther than them guys, but I kept it cleaner, and I didn’t get over aggressive.”

After sinking my putt on hole one for a bogey–I’ve never parred the first hole–Morris told me that, in a tournament, the shot I had just thrown would have given me a one-stroke penalty.


Morris pulled out his mini disc, placed it in front of his MVP Entropy, and motioned me over. He explained that, contrary to my journalistic thinking, a mini disc has an actual purpose; it’s not some marketing scam to get people to spend more money on the sport.

As I don’t have a mini disc yet–Christmas present, Mom?–I demonstrated with a regular disc.

Just like a marker in golf, a mini disc is a way to mark your spot in disc golf. The difference here being that the mini disc goes in front of your regular disc. The regular disc is then picked up, and the player has an imaginary space the size of a piece of paper behind the mini disc that their foot must land before releasing the next throw.

If putting, one foot must be within the designated area from the disc and the other must be behind the disc as well, but other than that specification, it doesn’t matter where else the foot lies.

Because Morris and I were playing for fun, he didn’t care, but he told me that, in a tournament, I would need a mini disc. What I had done wrong, though, was my right foot had crossed the imaginary line behind my disc.

Some of Morris’ tricks were more lighthearted. Before his putt on hole four, Morris turned to me, “Wanna see my wind gauge?”

He pulled out a scorecard sleeve with a rope on the end. “I don’t like using grass all the time,” he explained. I chuckled.

As we walked to the next hole, he held up this right thumb, revealing a bruise under the nail. “Did I ever tell you how I got this?”

Morris explained that he was playing with fellow disc golfer Cole Lancaster, who also plays league in Monroe. Morris was just trying to have some fun on the course.

“Jack [Morris] is an easygoing golfer,” Lancaster said. “This game is fun, and he’s not all serious about it. I was getting ready to putt out, and he was waving his hand in front of the basket being silly. So, goofing off, I putted anyway and putted a little harder to get him to move, but he didn’t.”

It had been two or three weeks since this happened, Morris explained. So, the bruise had finally moved from the lower part of the nail to the top.

I let Morris drive first on the next hole. He used his MVP Photon (left) and landed halfway to the basket. I tried to follow his performance up with a decent drive of my own, but, like the last hole, I released my disc too early and sent it into the trees.

Morris’ top three discs: two Photons and an Entropy. The left Photon weighs 137g and the one in the middle is 152g.

Frustrated, I turned around to pick up my bag and retrieve my disc.

“Hey, why don’t you try this,” Morris said, picking a MVP Tesla out of his bag. “How does it feel?”

Compared to my 170g Innova Pro Wraith, the 137g Tesla felt like nothing in my hand. Plus, with its GYRO® technology, all of the disc’s weight is located in the outer black rim compared to my Wraith, where the weight is on the inner rim. I stepped onto the teepad and launched Morris’ disc. Instead of landing in the trees, it landed next to Morris’ Photon that he had just thrown.

“Looks like you need a Tesla,” Morris said.

Morris shows his driving form.

Despite those errant throws, Morris said I had pretty good form. I suspect this is from all of my years of softball; some hitting techniques transfer over to disc golf.

As Morris explained to me, he has three steps for a good drive:

  1. Break the glass with your elbow
  2. Tickle your titties
  3. Follow through with your other arm

Like the jab movement in a softball swing, breaking the glass ensures that your movement is linear toward your target, and that you lead with your elbow. Tickling your titties, as Morris explained, simply means keeping your hand close to your chest and avoiding a release that is too rotational. Like a softball swing, you don’t want to cast your hands away from your body. Lastly, like most any sport, you must follow through or you aren’t using your full potential.

Due to the limited amount of daylight, Morris and I skipped a couple holes and headed back toward the parking lot. On one of the last holes, I smoked a tree. Even though I’ve done it multiple times, it still upsets me.

“Oh, whamee,” Morris said behind me as he watched. I had some other, not so nice, words in my mind.

“I get disgusted with myself if I throw a bad shot,” Morris admitted. “But I don’t pout; I don’t swear. When I really get mad, I just say, aw poop on a stick.”

I’ll have to keep that one in mind.

As we were sitting down for the interview, two men got out of their car and waved at Morris.

“I’m doing an interview for ESPN,” he joked. It occurred to me then that we had met another group of people on the course that had known Morris. He seemed to know everyone and had a good relationship with them all.

Lancaster agreed.

“I always make jokes that Jack’s like my grandpa,” Lancaster said. “I can call him about anything I need, even outside of disc golf. He’s just a super helpful guy and always brings positivity to whatever he’s doing.”

Photo provided by Jack Morris. From left to right: Cole Lancaster, Jack Morris, and Ben Borke.

Reflecting on Lancaster’s comment, I found that Morris’ greatest advice didn’t come from any technical tip; it came from his attitude.

“I have three basic rules of disc golf,” Morris said. “Number one, have fun. Number two, do your best. Don’t ever quit because you’re having a bad round. Number three, be a good sport. I don’t care if I have a bad day, a bad tournament, I’m ready for the next one. That’s what it’s all about.”

Review of Riggs Park in Ripon, Wisconsin: Beginner’s Disc Golf Course That Gives the Perfect Fall Atmosphere


If you don’t want your pants to look like this, all full of burrs, then this course isn’t for you.

I feel like I should have posted this review closer to Halloween because this course gives me walking-through-a corn-maze, picking-out-your-pumpkin-at-a-pumpkin-patch vibes. The course is located in a field where the fairways have been mown, but out of bounds is full of tall grass and brush.

This was a common view for me on this course.

All five reviews on UDisc mention that it is easy to lose a disc here. However, even playing by myself, I didn’t lose any of my discs. In fact, I found all my discs that ended up OB plus one that had been left behind. The Discraft Buzzz didn’t have a name or phone number on it, so I picked it up and kept it for my own.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I didn’t spend any time searching for my discs, but all of the grass was pretty matted down. This may be due to the fact that I played in late October, and the brush was all dead or decaying.

If all else fails, use bright-colored discs!

All of this aside, I really enjoyed this course because it forced me to work on my forehand, my biggest weakness. Of the 18 holes, I threw a forehand as my drive on six of them.

No other course I’ve played–Twining Park or Red Arrow Park–has been designed in such a way thatI felt the need to use my forehand as much.

Like Twining, most of the holes here are par three but a couple par four holes are in the mix. These par four shots aren’t nearly as long as Twining’s, though.

Hole seven has a corn field behind it and to the right.

Around hole seven, I started to feel at home. The course surroundings reminded me of hunting with my Dad. I even thought I heard some turkey, so I called back. To my surprise I heard them respond. This went back and forth for a little bit before I noticed a ground blind at the edge of the field.

It was then that I realized I had spent that last five minutes responding to a hunter’s turkey call . . . at least I was believable.

I was able to regain my dignity on holes 10 and 11. These shots were between 239 and 258 feet, both par 3. My drives on both holes put me in a good position for birdie, I just missed my chances. With more putting practice, I’d sink them. I was frustrated, so when my forehand drive on hole 14 put me in the brush, I thought, well, no chance for birdie on this one. That’s when I surprised myself by sinking a shot with my Cali-Panda.

My birdie shot!

My first birdie!

Even though I enjoyed the course, it has two downfalls. The teepads are a mixture of gravel, mud, and grass, making the surface less than ideal. I slipped once and threw to the side or at the far end of the pad from then on. Additionally, the course is out of town unlike the two previous courses I’ve reviewed. There are few additional activities to do outside of disc golf at the location.

I wouldn’t discourage playing this course based on those features, though. It is perfect for beginning to advancing players. Bring along a driver and putter and you’ll be set.

Holes 18

What the Heck Do Those Flight Numbers on my Discs Mean: Speed, Glide, Turn, Fade, Weight

When you walk into a disc golf store, the selection can be overwhelming. Don’t make the mistake I did and chose the coolest looking disc because, odds are, it isn’t the right disc for you. The numbers on the discs are there for a reason, and, would you believe it, they actually mean something. Understanding flight numbers will help improve your disc selection and your game overall.

My Champion Destroyer is a 12 speed with a 5 glide, -1 turn, and 3 fade.

Speed: The first number on your disc indicates speed, which can range from 1 to 14. Contrary to popular belief, and what I believed when I first started playing, a higher speed disc does not mean it is faster or will go farther. Shocking, I know. Speed actually tells you how fast your arm speed needs to be in order for the disc to work properly. So, for beginners, throwing a lower-speed distance driver or a fairway driver will work best. Toss your ego aside and wait to throw those big boys until you get better.

My Champion Destroyer above, I’ll be honest, is probably too fast for my arm speed. I should be throwing a 10 speed or lower. I bought this disc before knowing a lot about flight numbers; I was mainly focused on weight.

Dynamic Discs put together a video with more reasons as to why beginners should throw lower-speed discs.

Glide: The second number on your disc refers to glide, how long the disc can stay in the air or how much lift it has. This number can range from 1 to 7. The higher the number, the more lift. This does not mean, however, that it will stay in the air if you have a downward angle on your throw. Logistics still play a factor. For a beginner with little arm strength, a higher glide disc is beneficial, as it will give you some distance in your throw.

Best Disc Golf Discs further explains why higher glide discs are helpful and when to use them. Their videos are a bit technical for beginning players, but you should focus on the basic concepts they are teaching.

Turn: The third number on your disc is turn, the tendency for the disc to turn to the right in the beginning of its flight. This number ranges from +1 to -5. Numbers closer to -5 are more likely to turn.

I’ll be honest, this is the number that I knew least about, and once I did learn a little bit, I always got this confused with fade. Although it seems counterintuitive at first–why would I want more movement on my disc if I can hardly control it to begin with–the more turn, the better for beginners. As I’ve said earlier, beginners typically don’t throw as hard, so your disc is more susceptible to fade at the end of its flight path. To counteract this, or essentially, to throw straighter, a high-turn disc is what you’re looking for.

If I’m not making any sense to you–I take no offense–let Best Disc Golf Discs give you another informational video. They also explain the terms overstable and understable.

Fade: The last number on your disc is for fade, the disc’s tendency to hook left at the end of its flight. Fade can range from 0 to 5. The higher the number, the more fade. Although Best Disc Golf Discs gives you five reasons to have a high-fade disc, their target audience is a more advanced player who can throw flex and hyzer shots.

As a beginner, your arm speed isn’t quite up to par–I know, how many times am I going to say it–so the disc is going to fade more than you think it should. So, if you start with disc that has little fade, it won’t be as drastic. Once you can control a little fade, start playing with other discs and the lines they create as they will help you on more difficult courses.

BHSDiscGolf gives a great explanation of fade and how to utilize it on the course.

This disc weighs 154 grams.

Weight: This number isn’t found with the flight numbers on the front of the disc. Most of the time, this number is written on the back of the disc in the center. Sometimes, this number isn’t present at all, and you have to rely on information given by the seller or a scale to determine this. Discs are weighed in grams, and I’ve found the lighter the disc, the better.

Because of a beginner’s arm speed–this is the last time, I promise–a lighter disc is going to get more distance. I chose the disc pictured above because it is on the lighter end of the spectrum at 154 g. When I need a good, long drive, I use this disc over a heavier disc to get more distance.

Of course, each situation is different. I don’t recommend using light discs in high winds as the wind will catch it and send it in places you never intended.

Infinite Discs gives a quick guide for disc weight.

Now that you know the basics about flight numbers, you can leave the store satisfied that you made a smart purchase instead of bragging to your buddies how cool your discs are and looking like an idiot on the course.

Review of Twining Park in Monroe, Wisconsin: Intermediate Disc Golf Course with an Abundance of Trees

I might be biased in saying Twining is one of my favorite courses because it is my home course where I learned to play.

I still remember the first time I played, and how it took me at least six drives to get it anywhere close to the basket. I used to really suck at throwing a frisbee, so much so that my family made fun of me for it because I’m so athletic in everything else.

A post I commented on a year ago and my friend’s reply this year.

Regardless, I probably could have learned to play on a different course because, in comparison to Red Arrow Park, Twining is a little tougher; there are some par fours and it isn’t nearly as open.

Hole one has a line of trees to the left. To the left of the second row of trees is OB.

For example, I wouldn’t throw a driver that has a fade of three or more on hole one because, unless you aim for the parking lot on the right, it will go out of bounds to the left.

Plus, depending on whether or not the tee is set up for A tees or B tees–Twining has two locations for tees, but both baskets aren’t up at the same time–there are trees that surround the basket on hole one, forcing your line to be either to the left or right of the basket for an easier putt.

Holes two and three are more forgiving, but, if you are playing B pins, the longer pins, hole three is the first par 4 with a distance of 497 feet.

Hole five takes you back out of the trees you tried so hard to get through.

Hole four is also challenging. If you can get your drive through the line of trees that block the basket, you’re in the clear. Try a couple different lines to find the best gap in the trees to get your second throw through.

Hole five deals with the same row of trees as hole four. Here, you have two options. Throw a straight line through the trees to the basket ahead and pray you stay to the right of the cart path, otherwise it is OB. (This is only in league. When you play for fun and practice, don’t worry about official play areas, it can cause unnecessary frustration.) The second option is to throw through the second gap in the trees to the right, allowing for a bit of fade in your disc.

My favorite holes are 10 and 12 because they are only 267 feet in distance with very few trees to block my line. I usually get par on these holes.

On hole 11 A tees the basket sits in a grassy area surrounded by the creek on all sides.

Hole 13 is another par four on B tees, with numerous lines to play. On your first shot, you can aim toward the playground to get some distance and get over the creek on your second throw or aim to the right to get over the creek right away, then worry about distance.

Hole fifteen is my least favorite as there is another set of trees to get through before reaching the basket. Plus, the basket is the only tall basket on the whole course with a decline to the creek right behind it. My advice on this hole is not to overthrow the basket, otherwise you’ll have an even worse elevated putt than normal. Throw a nice lay up shot just short of the basket that makes for an easy putt.

Overall, this course is for intermediate players who have more control over their discs. There hasn’t been one time I’ve played this course where I haven’t smoked a tree and cussed as a result. You’ll definitely want a driver, midrange, and putter for this course.

This course also has a league that runs from April to October, depending on the weather, on Thursday nights. I’ve played a couple weeks, and we usually get about 10 players every week, making for five doubles. The teams are randomly drawn to ensure fairness. Get in contact with Dustin Egger for more info.

The park also has two softball fields where I played softball in high school, two tennis courts, half basketball courts, a soccer field, sand volleyball pits, a playground and multiple shelters with picnic benches and bathrooms. You could easily plan a day at the park with the family and not run out of activities to do.

Come check it out, and you might see me playing!


UDisc Creator Matt Krueger Explains the UDisc App and Provides Tips for Beginning Disc Golfers

Logo provided by UDisc

When I started this blog, I thought, what does every beginning disc golfer need to succeed, regardless of age, location, gender, or race? The UDisc app was the first thing that came to my mind. My brother recommended the app to me when I first started playing, and I’ve been using it ever since.

Interesting in learning more, I emailed UDisc creator and software developer and engineer, Matt Krueger. With ideas sparking for the app in 2010, Krueger released the first version in March 2012. Now, the app shows you over 11,000 courses and 700 disc golf stores, enables you to keep and record your scores, track statistics on each one of your discs, reference the official rule book, and search for events near you.

Download from the Apple Store. Download from Google Play Store.

Below are Krueger’s responses edited for clarity.

Why did you create the UDisc app?​

There are a few reasons it came to be, namely, I wanted a way to hit a button on a smartphone and use GPS to tell me where the closest course was to my location and get directions to the course. In 2010 when the idea first sprouted, there were no mobile apps that did this. I also wanted to learn how to build mobile apps, but I needed a problem to solve to have a good reason to take the plunge and learn how to build apps. When I realized I could build something to help me and my friends play more disc golf, I used this as the impetus to learn mobile app development and build the first version of UDisc.

The app allows you to keep multiple scorecards.

What are some benefits in having a Pro account versus a free trial?

UDisc is free to download and finding courses, measuring throws, cataloging discs, finding events, and much more is completely free. You can also keep score for free. If you want to keep more than 10 scorecards, please upgrade to a UDisc Pro account. 

The biggest benefit to a UDisc Pro account is that it supports continuous development of the UDisc app. We are a very small team of disc golfers, and your support is how we are able to keep improving and innovating the UDisc app.​

In terms of app benefits, a UDisc Pro account ($5/year) allows you to keep unlimited scorecards and stores your scorecards, measured throws, played courses and much more safely in your account. If you play more than a couple times a month, UDisc will help you track your progress and improvement over time and help you to become a better disc golfer.

The events tab shows you leagues and tournaments in your area.

How important is a community to a new player and how can someone find that on the app?​

Community is very important to disc golfers. The best way to get better is to play with people who are better than you. One easy way to do that within the UDisc app is to check out the Events tab. Find a local league and show up. Leagues are a great way to ease your way in to competitive disc golf before you’re ready to play in a tournament. Most leagues have divisions that are based on your skill level, so you can play with people of similar ability. As you get better, you can move up and play with better players, which allows you to watch and learn up close.

What is your favorite course?

My personal favorite course is Maple Hill. Maple Hill is great not only because it’s incredibly challenging from the Gold tees, but also because it has four sets of tees on every hole, which means players of any ability can play a layout that suits their ability. ​

Each course has a page with directions, reviews, and images.

Which course would you recommend for beginners?​

For beginners, I’d generally recommend playing nine-hole courses in your area, as they tend to be a little easier and more forgiving. As your skills improve, seek out some 18 hole courses and don’t be afraid to skip shots that require a water carry until you are comfortable. There is no sense in losing your favorite discs until your skill and comfort level is higher.

What tips do you have for beginning disc golfers looking to get better?​

Get out in a field and practice shots you’re uncomfortable with. Watch form videos on YouTube. Play leagues. Ask to play with players who are better than you. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Proper disc selection is one of the hardest things in disc golf to learn and sometimes will make the difference between saving par and carding a double bogey, so ask more experienced players what they would throw from your lie. Once you’re confident in your disc selection, confidence in the throw will follow.

Review of Red Arrow Park in Oshkosh, Wisconsin: Great Beginner’s Disc Golf Course with Elevation Changes

Photo provided by Tim Gostovic with Disc Golf Course Review.

When I returned to campus this fall, Red Arrow Park was the first course I visited because of the reviews on UDisc.

As a beginning to intermediate player, I was surprised that I outdrove the basket on hole one, and, no, I didn’t even eat my Wheaties that day.

Holes one through five are all rather short, around 200 or less feet to the basket. It’s a great confident boost before you hit the longer holes.

Hole six is probably the worst. I have had to look for a disc or two on that hole. As a right-handed thrower, unless you are comfortable with your forehand, I’d skip this hole entirely if you don’t want to lose a disc in the pond or go searching in the brush.

I guess I was pretty lucky my first time I played this hole. My forehand was so bad that my disc landed on the other side of the pond . . . but then I had to walk all the way back to hole one to cross the bridge, walk the length to hole six, retrieve my disc, walk back to the bridge, and finally to hole seven where I picked up. At least I got my steps in, right?

The remaining holes are fairly open, so you don’t have to worry about losing any more discs. Hole seven starts to play with elevation; the basket sits on the side of a hill. I always try to land my drive on top of the hill so my putt is downhill. Nothing is worse than having to put uphill. Hole thirteen is set up in a similar way, so I approach my shot like on thirteen like I would on seven.

The hardest hole in terms of elevation is fifteen. You start at the bottom of the sledding hill and throw to the top. It usually takes me three drives to get it to the top because I always throw it too low. I also don’t want to throw it too far up in the air that it gets caught by the wind and taken of my intended flight path.

Once you have made the trek to the top, hole sixteen rewards you with a downhill shot. After all that hard work getting up the hill, it’s nice to see the disc fly down to the basket. Not to mention, this hole provides a great view of the whole course. From there on out, the course is simple and fun.

Overall this course is great for beginners. The shots are open, the holes are all par 3, and other players on the course are friendly and helpful. It had a great community environment. The park also has softball/baseball diamonds, a waterpark, a skate park, and playground to keep everyone in the family entertained.

On this course you could get away with just a driver and a putter, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to carry a fairway driver or a midrange for those shorter holes at the beginning.

Try it out before it gets too cold!

Holes 18
BasketConcrete pad underneath