We’re at that time of year when the weather can present major challenges for disc golfers. The temperatures drop. We get more wind, rain and even snow in some areas. How do you prepare yourself—mentally and physically—for a bad weather round?
Whether you are playing a casual round with friends, a club event or a PDGA-sanctioned tournament, you should be ready for inclement weather. This includes having the right apparel and accessories ready to use. It also means setting the proper mindset. Let’s review some of the things to consider for playing disc golf in bad weather.
Wearing layers is always a good idea when it’s cold, windy and/or wet outside. Have a comfortable base layer and then have other layers you can take on and off throughout the round. There may be times when the sun comes out briefly and it gets too stuffy to play in a thick sweatshirt. Then, the weather changes on a dime and you want to put the outer layers back on. Make space in your disc golf bag so you can add and remove layers easily during your round. Bring extra socks to change in between rounds and keep your feet warm/dry. Check out our fall/winter apparel blog article for more tips.
There are some rainy rounds where you can never have too many towels. Even when it’s not raining, morning moisture tends to stick around longer on winter days. It’s always a good idea to pack extra towels for wet discs. A helpful tip is to keep the extras in a plastic bag so they don’t get wet until you need them. Keep extra dry towels and clothes in your car to grab at the turn if necessary. Most players hate playing with wet hands and discs. Do what it takes to keep your hands and discs dry!
Bad Weather Accessories
There are numerous disc golf accessories you might want to bring along if you expect bad weather during your tournament round(s). Even if the forecast looks decent, it’s smart to keep these items in your car or disc golf bag just in case. Here are a few things to consider:
- Chalk Bag or Sportsack
- Handwarmers (electric or disposable)
- Rain Cover for Your Bag
- Waterproof Shoes/Socks
Food, Drinks and Snacks
A good way to stay warm on the disc golf course is to keep some food in your belly. Pack some hearty snacks that will fill you up with more than just empty calories. Trail mix or jerky will be much more satisfying than candy or chips, though sometimes a good rich candy bar is just what you need on a cold day! Think about bringing a thermos with hot coffee, tea or cocoa instead of cold sodas or sports drinks. Always pack plenty of water no matter what. It’s easy to forget about hydration when it’s wet or cold outside, but you have to drink water throughout your round. It helps with blood circulation and keeps your muscles from cramping up.
Stretch, Warm Up and Stay Active
The colder it is, the more you should stretch and take the time to warm up. Don’t just run out on the course and start throwing full-power shots right away. Get loose. Warm up those stiff joints and muscles. Throw some softer shots and work your way up to full shots during your pre-round practice routine. When out on the course, try to stay active in between shots. Don’t just sit there and freeze when backed up on a tee box. Move around and keep the blood circulating.
You can read our full article about “How Weather Can Affect Disc Selection.” Be prepared to change your game plan if the weather is worse than you expected. Use softer, grippier discs in snow and rain (GStar and R-Pro are great plastics in cold weather). Use more overstable or understable discs if you have a really strong headwind or tailwind. Know your bag and know what to throw when the weather forces you to change your plans.
One of the biggest challenges of playing disc golf in bad weather (especially if you are not used to it) is the mental aspect. You have to change your mindset. Be ready to alter your disc selection. Anticipate that your scores may not be as low as they would be on a nicer day. Prepare for the worst and make the most of a bad weather situation. Remember that all your competitors will be playing in the same conditions. If you are better prepared mentally and physically, you can put yourself in a position to succeed against the field.
When you are better prepared for bad weather, you can have an advantage over your competition. You can keep yourself warm and dry. You can stay in a positive mental state. This is how you become a better competitive disc golfer no matter what mother nature throws at you.