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The Season Begins!

Every year, come February, there is a new feeling in the air as the disc golf season begins. Most players have spent time assessing their bags, cleaning their discs, and feverishly searching for which events they want to play in to start the year. The build-up to the first sanctioned event is intoxicating. Many of us will fondly remember the first time each season that we stepped up to the tee pad, prepared to throw our first shot. Nerves. Excitement.

For today’s blog, we are going to take a deeper look at my first event of the year, coming up on February 4th, the Geibel Classic. This event is a popular event in the Lancaster area and often acts as the first event for most local players. Because of that, it fills up quickly, and the competition is usually stiff. This is particularly the case because of the format. Let’s get into it.

 

The Format and Course

As you most likely know, tournaments are typically comprised of multiple rounds. Not this event. The Geibel Classic is one round on a short course with a low difficulty level. If this event were to be characterized as a race, it would be the 100-meter dash. To facilitate the field, a second round is held in the afternoon for a different pool of players in different divisions. However, as you can imagine, a lot of players end up signing up for both rounds, playing up or down a division to do so. Personally, I am playing in MA2 in the morning and playing up a division in MA1 for the afternoon.

This event is played at D.F. Buchmiller Park. Established in 1994, this classic course has a short or “main” layout that sits at par 54 and less than 5,000 feet. The average hole length is 273 feet. In very simple terms, this course is “birdie or die” pure and simple. In 2023, each stroke accounted for 13 points in ratings adjustments. My performance was less than stellar, which was very frustrating because I typically play the course very well. This is most likely because I didn’t do what I plan on doing this year, going in with a legitimate plan and focus.

 

The Plan

Let’s talk about the overall mentality. As someone with a sincere competitive mindset, it’s hard for me to ever want anything other than a win. However, this year, I’m trying to develop consistency and fix parts of my game that are keeping me from getting the finishes I know that I’m capable of. Last year, one of my biggest issues was being able to play 18 holes of disc golf consistently. I was very good at playing 15 or 16 solid holes, but it was always a couple that would kill my chances of being in the top.

For these two rated rounds, I’m putting my focus on sticking to the plans I have for each hole and minimizing blow-up mistakes. On this course and with this layout, bogeys shouldn’t happen. If they do, something definitely went wrong. My minimum goal is shooting 3 under par in each round. I know that is possible because in my experience at Buchmiller, there are only 2 holes that I’m not currently able to birdie. That means there are 16 birdies on the table.

Another big factor is that I’m playing the same course and same layout for both rounds. Decisions made in the first round will help inform decisions in the second round. There are a few holes on the course where being warmed up and feeling good can help change a bit of the plan. Fortunately, this past weekend, I was able to get out and throw a bunch of extra shots at Buchmiller, and I feel good about my disc decisions. In the end, we’ll see how it all turns out.

What about you? Where is your first event this season? What are you looking to accomplish? Let me know in the comments!

 

- Gary Daddario (www.instagram.com/thumberlife)

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