Whether you are playing your first competitive round with a local club or you are playing in your hundredth PDGA-sanctioned event, as a disc golfer, it’s good to have goals for all your rounds of disc golf. Disc golf players and tournament goals may be different for everyone. It’s a very individual pursuit. Having some specific objectives in mind can help you stay focused throughout your round.

Disc Golf Goals

What kind of goals might we be talking about? Here are some examples:

  • Shoot even par
  • Break par
  • Attack certain holes
  • Have a smart lay-up strategy for some holes
  • Make all putts inside circle 1
  • Avoid OB strokes (keep all your disc golf discs)
  • Shoot above your PDGA rating
  • Stay positive
  • Have fun!

These are just a few sample goals that may make up your personal game plan. The important thing to remember is to set reasonable goals. Be at least somewhat realistic in your expectations. This is what keeps you grounded. Not even the top professional disc golfers birdie every single hole, even though they have the ability to do so.

Be Realistic

If you’ve never shot under par before, you shouldn’t expect yourself to suddenly play a tournament round at -10. It could happen. It’s just not a realistic goal. You may set a personal goal to strive for an even par round if that’s within your reach. If you shoot even, you’ll feel great at the end of the round. If you shoot under, then you’ll feel even better. If you are a few strokes over, then you shouldn’t beat yourself up. Remember that goals are what we want and hope to achieve. They aren’t always what we actually accomplish.

Disc golf is a fickle sport. We all get bad tree kicks and roll-aways. We all miss short putts from time to time. We all take penalty strokes after shanked drives. It happens. We believe the strongest two goals you can set for yourself are the last two on our list above. Stay positive and try to have fun! As the saying goes: “The worst day of golf beats the best day of work.” In other words, there are a lot worse things you could be experiencing right now than a bad-luck bogey on the disc golf course!

Find Your Motivation

When it comes to setting your own disc golf tournament goals, be reasonable and figure out what motivates you the most. Some players prefer to have very lofty goals. They want to win their division and shoot better than their average. This approach motivates some players. It can frustrate other players who easily go off the rails when things don’t go exactly their way.

For some of us, it’s better to have lower goals that are easily achievable. Though you may average under par on a specific disc golf course and you shredded the tournament layout during practice, you may still decide to set your goal at even par. This is achievable and easily within your reach. You’ll feel great if and when you surpass that goal, but you won’t feel too bad if you are a little off.

You may even adjust your goals during the round. You originally wanted to shoot -5 but you got over par early after a bad stretch of holes and you've lost your favorite disc golf disc. Then, make your goal on the back nine to get back to even. It will give you something to strive for the rest of the way rather than getting caught up in the fact you missed your original goal.

Get Specific

Beyond a larger goal like a total score, you may break it down even further into specific goals like putting percentages, hole-by-hole game plans, minimizing OB strokes with approach discs and/or a specific amount of birdies you’d like to get. An example is a simple goal of having five birdies on a course you know where you can birdie most holes with good play. Let’s say you go on to have six birdies during the round, even though you also ended up with seven bogeys. Your final score is not where you hoped it to be, but you can still feel pretty good about surpassing your birdie goal.

The point is to set reasonable goals for yourself. Figure out what will keep you motivated and help you stay focused throughout your rounds. At the same time, be positive and look for the good things even when you are having a bad round. And never forget the number one rule and goal of disc golf: HAVE FUN!