2019 Disc Golf Year in Review

2019 Disc Golf – Year in Review

It’s time for my favorite blog to write and probably the one fewest people read. Oh well, it’s mainly to keep myself accountable in disc golf, and see if I’m any good at predicting something that is, by nature, very unpredictable. (Spoiler alert: I’m not.)

In last year’s recap, I made almost half my goals but was overall very proud of my season. It was my highest-grossing season in terms of winnings and I even got my first professional win since 2013 (and first in the 40+ Masters division).

This year – the highs were higher, the lows were lower, and I dealt with my first real injury in the sport (not counting my low back, which has been a factor in disc golf literally since I started in 2003). Let’s see how I did.

1) Win more than 800 points in Masters.

Wow. This was just… wow. I earned 798 points. SON OF A…

VERDICT: FAIL, BUT BARELY

2) Cash in 2/3 of my events.

I cashed in exactly half my events, 5 out of 10. I mean, it’s an improvement from last year, but still a fail.

VERDICT: FAIL, BUT ONLY BECAUSE 50% IS LESS THAN 66.6%

3) Cash in the St. Patrick’s Classic or the Tim Selinski US Masters.

Remember how I talked about the lows being lower than last year? The short answer is I did not cash in either event. The painful thing is I was in the cash until the last round of St. Patrick’s Classic (when I blew up) and until the last HOLE of the US Masters. What should have been my most impressive tournament cash in my life came to an abrupt halt when I took a 7 on the very last hole of the tournament (a difficult par 4, but a par 4 nonetheless). I missed cash there by 1 stroke. I stunk so bad at St. Patty’s that I was basically out of the running early in the last round, but still, this was one goal I absolutely should have hit.

VERDICT: FAIL, BUT BARELY

4) Cash in every PDGA event.

This is a painfully obvious fail. I was definitely a pie-in-the-sky sort of goal, but I was still hoping to get closer than this.

VERDICT: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

 5) Win enough cash to pay for my entry fees.

 

Now here’s a pleasant surprise. I joined two larger tournaments (which equals two much higher entry fees) yet still managed to hit this. I spent $880.34 on entry fees (and additional online charges) but I walked away with $975 in winnings. This is just for tournaments, but even if I add doubles (where I inexplicably did not cash even once this year), I still spent $924.34 and made more than that. In fact, somewhat surprisingly, this was my best tournament winnings season, though it fell short of 2018 where I had additional doubles winnings and an ace pot.

VERDICT: SUCCESS

6) Win enough cash to pay for ALL my disc golf expenditures.

Given that I was joining bigger tournaments and three of my tourneys required travel (and one of those needed cross-country flights), I didn’t actually expect myself to come close to this. And boy howdy, did I ever not. Of course, I would have had to literally double my winnings to actually hit this goal. Whatever, I did my best.

VERDICT: FAIL, AND BY SOME MARGIN

7) Finish every PDGA tournament I start. 

You heard me mention an injury earlier. Late in 2018 I played a round (my first in months) and the next day I couldn’t lift my throwing arm at all. I got it checked out and was diagnosed with bursitis in my throwing shoulder. That’s… bad for a sport that requires throwing. While I did get injections early in the year that helped for about a month, it was a problem that bothered me all year.

And worst of all, it didn’t really impact my ability to drive, but it most impacted my putts, particularly anything outside 30’. For the past few years, my putting has been a strength. Sure, I miss from inside 30’ somewhat often, but I would make enough outside 30’ to make up for that. This year, I estimate I probably made 5 putts all year longer than 30’. And I missed a TON of short ones. I simply could not lift up my arm to do my loft putting and didn’t stand much of a chance of anything longer than 50’. That seriously hurt my game.

That being said, I toughed it out and finished every tournament I started.

VERDICT: SUCCESS

8) Never finish in the bottom third of a tournament with a field of more than seven players.

It genuinely didn’t matter what caveats I put into this because I finished DEAD FUCKIN’ LAST twice. Not even tied for last, either, straight up sucksville. I hadn’t done that since 2012 and had only ever done it twice in my entire 16-year disc golf career.

VERDICT: SUPER FAIL

9) Don’t throw lower than 940 in the first round of any tournament.

Hmmm. I recalled having some pretty crappy starts to tournaments, but my history doesn’t actually jive with that. In 9 out of 10 tournaments, I hit this goal (though one of those first rounds came in at exactly at a 940 rating). However, the one tournament round where I missed this goal came in rated 872, my fifth-lowest rating OF ALL TIME. (Funnily, my fourth-worst ever was thrown two months earlier, but it was a 2nd round). So, yeah, pretty low lows this year.

VERDICT: 90% SUCCESSFUL BUT 10% ABYSMAL FAIL

10) Don’t lose a playoff in a PDGA event.

I didn’t have any, so I succeed by legal loophole once again!

VERDICT: TECHNICAL SUCCESS

11) Throw three or more 1000-rated rounds. 

While I figured this might be a challenge, I had no idea I wouldn’t actually fail so thoroughly. I didn’t throw one. This was only the second year ever where I did this since turning pro in 2005, and that other year was back in 2014. That year I didn’t even hit the 990s. This year wasn’t quite that bad as I did throw three 990+ rated rounds (including an infuriating 999), but it was still a definitive fail.

VERDICT: A DEFINITIVE FAIL

12) Don’t follow up a 1000-rated round with anything below my rating.

Woohoo, another legal loophole success!

VERDICT: CHEATIN’ SUCCESS

13) Throw at least 1 round over 1010.

Ummmmmmmmmmmm………..

VERDICT: 11 POINT FAIL

14) Beat Robert Bainbridge in a tournament.

We actually didn’t play many tournaments together, so this ended up being another case of SO CLOSE. I beat him in the first round of a tournament but he came back to tie me during the second and final round. And it was a tournament I didn’t do particularly well in (tied for last cash). That was my best chance but I couldn’t close the deal.

VERDICT: FAILED ON A TECHNICALITY

15) No rounds below a 925 rating.

I failed three times and each of those rounds were below 900. Since turning pro in 2005 until the start of 2019, I’d only ever thrown 6 rounds below 900. This year alone I threw three more. Super ugh.

VERDICT: WHEN I SUCKED, I SUCKED HARD

16) Have more rounds over my rating than below my rating. A tie counts a victory considering I’m starting the year at a very high 972 rating.

My first 9 rounds of the year were below my rating (8 of those 9 were played at or near sea level). I managed to make it pretty competitive after that, going above my rating 11 of the last 18 rounds, but alas, it was way too little, way too late.

VERDICT: THIS IS BECOMING MORE AND MORE PAINFUL TO WRITE

17) Keep my rating 965 or higher the entire year.

I think this one is pretty easy to call. By the time the first ratings update was published in April, I’d already dropped my rating from 972 to 960. It was then over 965 the rest of the year until the final update in December, where I dipped again to 963.

VERDICT: MAYBE I SHOULD LOOK INTO A NEW HOBBY

18) Hit a tournament ace or eagle. A dubs ace with a pot over $100 counts.

I was all set to chalk this one off as I wasn’t even really close to an ace all year. But I *did* manage to hit a legitimate eagle at the Tim Selinski US Masters. It’s not a long hole and there were a few eagles by the big arms, but I hit mine with a perfect drive and a 150’ uphill throw-in (I didn’t know the hole well and thought I was WAY past the basket when my 2nd shot left my hand). Either way, got this one at least.

VERDICT: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

19) Play at least 20 “casual” rounds.

I was more or less on pace for this through the halfway point of the year, but ultimately I had to give up trying for it because I stopped playing for a few months to rest my shoulder up. Since July, the only practice rounds I played were to practice for the US Masters.

VERDICT: FAIL, BUT I’M OKAY WITH THIS ONE

20) Break the King of the Lake “Odd Year Curse”

Because I didn’t say “Play well at King of the Lake” for once but set the bar just at cashing, I can finally say I broke the curse. It was a pretty mediocre event, but just enough to sneak me into a last-cash tie. I only averaged 955 golf, but it was just enough.

VERDICT: MAYBE “BREAK” THE CURSE IS A BIT OVERBOARD, BUT I CERTAINLY BENT IT QUITE IRREPARABLY

21) Win 1 tournament.

I saved the best for last. Not only did I do this one, I did it twice. And neither were fluky wins either. Both of these were in May and they were during very trying times for my girlfriend who was having procedures done on her kidneys. Since I couldn’t do anything to actually help her (since she was at the hospital), she told me to play them. And I did, but I’d be lying if I said my head was in the game. Maybe that’s the key. Maybe I have to NOT CARE if I play well.

Each tournament saw me in a tie for first after round one, pulling away a bit in round two, and holding onto or expanding my lead in round three. I won each by 4 strokes. And the latter (at Turtle Rock, which is still my favorite course on the west coast) saw me taking home my largest disc golf payday ever.

VERDICT: I AT LEAST CAN END THIS STRONG

 

FINAL ASSESSMENT

  • I suck at sea level. I think there’s no other way to sugarcoat this. I used to think I just played badly in the first few months of the year, and while there’s some truth to that, I tend to ONLY play low-elevation courses early in the year (since Tahoe is usually under snow until about May). I did manage to sneak into a last-cash tie at the Council of the Fallen Masters, which is at sea level, and at a course I played blind too. But that was the fourth time I cashed at a tournament below 4000’ in… let’s see… THIS DECADE.
  • I can usually get by in a tournament with my bad back; I’ve learned to adapt and get around this. But my shoulder legitimately hurt my short game. I missed 9 circle putts (<33’) in TWO ROUNDS in one tournament, putting me in last cash as opposed to 2nd place.
  • I did not cash at the Tim Selinski tournament by one stroke, having thrown a triple bogey on my last hole – in September. I have not stopped thinking about the many many many mistakes I made during that final round since then. This still haunts me more than anything else I’ve ever done in disc golf.
  • I won’t be traveling nearly as much in 2020, as I expect to have many large expenses popping up during the year. While I still hope to play more than last year, I have to curb my desires a bit since I won’t have a ton of time or money. Because of this, I’m still mulling over my goals for 2020. Which I’ll post soon. And then it will likely go unread until the end of 2020 when I look at it again to see how I did.
  • Which has to be better than this year, where I went 7-11 with my goals, and two of those “successes” were unapologetic cheats.

Onto 202!