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Course Conditions - Rain

Disc golf is a fantastic outdoor activity that brings people together to enjoy competition and recreation. While sunny days are often ideal for disc golf, sometimes Mother Nature has other plans, and rain becomes a part of the game. Don't let a little precipitation dampen your spirits or keep you off the course. With the right approach and preparation, playing disc golf in the rain can still be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. In this blog post, we'll explore some valuable tips to help you make the most of your disc golf rounds even when the rain starts pouring.

There are several factors that can make a big difference in the success or failure of rounds played in the rain. First, we’ll look at the equipment that can prove to be essential for rain rounds. Next, we’ll take a dive into understanding how the course is affected by the rain. Finally, we’ll stop and look at the most important piece to putting together a good round in the rain, yourself! For the purposes of this post, we’re going to talk from the standpoint of competing in the rain. However, these concepts are fine for casual rounds as well!

 

Equipment

It cannot be overstated enough that the success of a rain round starts before you ever set foot on the tee pad for hole 1. I’ve seen great disc golfers hit the course in the rain and have their spirits crushed within a couple of holes because they didn’t prepare their equipment properly. Equipment starts with the clothes that you wear. The first thing that you must decide is how wet you are comfortable being. For some players, keeping their bodies completely dry is more important than feeling restricted by clothing or too warm. Personally, I’m 100% fine with being wet if it means that my temperature is comfortable and I’m free of restriction when throwing. The only part of my body I need dry is my throwing hand.

Things like jackets, waterproof shoes, thick socks, gloves, and other wearables are important. What can be equally important is bringing extra clothing to either change into between rounds or to change into after a round. Knowing you have some dry clothes is always a boost to the mental game. Additionally, bring bags or towels specifically for your car to store the wet clothing or in worst-case scenarios, to lay on your seat while you’re still wet.

Speaking of towels, let’s hope you have a lot of them. I’ve seen two major approaches here. You can choose to bring a few larger towels or have a lot of smaller towels. Honestly, what’s most important is that you have a lot more than you anticipate using. Another big key to success is knowing how to use and store those towels during the round. If you are carrying an umbrella, which I hope goes without saying, you can hang towels that you are currently using from the underside of your umbrella. This will keep them usable for longer than simply holding them or stuffing them into your wet bag or cart. You should also store your dry towels in some kind of plastic zip-up bag.

(Image - 37 towels used for 1 event)

Towels are great for keeping your discs and hands dry, but you can supplement their effectiveness by adding in the awesome power of a chalk bag or whatever brand you happen to use. I love using Whale Sacs because they look awesome and get the job done really well. One of the issues you have using just a towel is that sometimes, the constant drying and re-wetting of your hand can cause some textural issues where you may feel like you’ve gotten your hands too dry. Using the powder can help get your hand and disc in that sweet spot of comfort again.

Another thing to consider may be the types of discs you decide to pack for the round. Dealing with moisture and your grip can vary greatly depending on the type of plastic you’re throwing and the rim width/depth. Newer and slicker plastics may prove more difficult to keep a firm grip on, while older plastics like DX, D-Line, or Pro D can be much easier to hang onto. The same issue can be seen with high-speed drivers. The lack of rim depth and larger rim width makes for a much harder surface to exert pressure on and throw properly. Deciding to bag slower discs could be a crucial one for success.

 

Course Conditions

The overall conditions of the course in the rain can be wildly different from course to course. Some questions you need to ask yourself are the following:

  1. Am I playing on a course with significant elevation change?

If the course you’re playing has a lot of hills, keeping yourself safe while navigating the course should be a high priority. Muddy spots can be dangerous, especially on slopes. While it’s not entirely funny, I have to chuckle a bit while I type this because only a few weekends ago, I was playing in the worst amount of rain I have ever competed in. In an attempt to cross a small ditch, I stepped on a muddy spot and slowly slid down, getting my right side nice and muddy. I had a little laugh and hopped up to wipe myself off. I then proceeded to butcher my upshot. I wonder if I would have done that had I not slipped. Who knows. Make sure to protect yourself out there! Don’t forget that if the rain stops, your umbrella is a glorified walking stick!

  1. What kind of tee pads does the course have?

The type of tee pads a course has can really make a difference when moisture is involved. Rubber mats in the rain are practically ice-skating rinks. Concrete tee pads and even textured concrete pads can be dangerous if everyone’s been dragging their mud, caking it onto the concrete. Turf tee pads can be really hit or miss. Long story short, prepare accordingly with the right shoes or even with a towel placed on the pad itself.

This is a big question I ask myself because I think the most bothersome thing in my mind is the stability of my plant foot. In my experience with other sports, I’ve seen too many people blow out a knee or mess up an ankle slipping, so I’m very concerned about slippery tee pads. I’m not sure my wife would continue to support my disc golf passion if I end up tearing an ACL on a wet rubber mat.

  1. Are you familiar with spots on the course with poor drainage?

If you’re at a course that’s familiar, you most likely know where those wet spots are going to be. This might adjust how and where you throw your shots. This also might adjust where you walk when moving up the fairway or navigating the green. Sometimes, a great way to avoid unintentional ground play is to throw your disc into a puddle. Whatever floats your boat…or disc in this case.

 

Yourself

The number 1 reason that rain rounds do not go well for people is the lapse in the mental game and unwillingness to deal with the circumstances. At some point, you just need to tell yourself that you’re going to get wet, the round is going to take longer, and throwing will be harder. Learn to come to terms with it early, and I guarantee you’ll have a lot more fun. Remember that everyone else is playing in it too (most of the time). One tip that I have is to remember that not everyone is going to have a good attitude. Usually, doing just that alone will move you a few spots up the leaderboard. I’ve seen it happen. It’s real. While you’re at it, be a leader of positivity on your card. Keeping others happy will help keep you happy.

Next, be honest with yourself about the game plan. Playing in a downpour means you’re not going full power 13-speed off this hole. Take your medicine and disc down to an appropriate level. Trying to do too much in the rain gets a lot of people in trouble. Don’t think you can come into a tournament round with rain and think you’ll use the exact same game plan as you would if it were 75 degrees and sunny.

Another big thing to keep in mind is your pace and the procedure. Don’t play too fast. Take the time to dry your disc before putting it in your bag. Wipe your disc as you get it out with a different towel. Use a separate towel for mud. Get out a new towel when you must. Take the time to evaluate your footing. Get your hand chalked up. Get your disc chalked up. Do all the things you need to be comfortable throwing your next shot. Do. Not. Rush. Also, don’t rush others. Let them handle their process.

A fun little tip to add to your process is to focus on keeping your throwing hand dry. Don’t pick up discs or your mini with your throwing hand. Keep the drying towel in your throwing hand. Try to cycle your wet discs by putting them on one side of your bag. One of my biggest secrets is lightly blowing on my throwing hand between shots. Slowly air-drying your hand can prevent it from getting that rough or sticky over-dried feeling. Trust me. It helps a lot!

 

Conclusion

There is a lot more I could say about playing in the rain, but these core concepts can really help to make your rounds more successful. If you didn’t get anything from this, just remember to stay positive. Get out to the course to practice in the rain to help get used to it. These things can make a massive difference in how well you play and how competitive you’ll be.

What are your tips for playing in the rain? What are the most important pieces of gear in your preparation? Let me know in the comments down below!

 

Gary Daddario III (www.thumberlife.com)

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