Disc Golf Goals – 2022

After last year’s interesting conclusion, I have decided to try my hand once again at making some goals for myself. Because I don’t foresee a world where I suddenly play a ton of practice rounds, and because it seems like every single tournament I want to play is scheduled for a week where I have the boys (making it logistically impractical), this is going to be another wonky year. As such, I’m going to reuse a fair number of goals from last year, where I ended up with a pretty impressive 69% success rate (nice). So off we go.

1) Play enough events to justify the $75 PDGA fee.

This is a goal I set every year, and one I seem to make regularly but barely. As mentioned in the preface, this might be tougher due to bad scheduling luck and needing to travel for many of my tournaments. I need to play 8 events to win.

2) Cash in half my events.

While this isn’t usually the hardest goal, I won’t have the luxury of playing mostly courses I’m comfortable with. In fact, given that I may have to travel often, I’ll likely be playing many courses at odd elevations and without the luxury of practice. Here’s hoping.

3) Cash in 75% of my events.

Just like the last one, only harder.

4) Play 25 rounds that aren’t tournament rounds.

I have an advantage and a disadvantage with this one. The advantage is my boys are more interested in playing than before, meaning this should theoretically be easier. The harder one is I have more responsibilities this year, plus I’ll be saving up money (and time) for a big vacation later in the year. If I practice, it will almost certainly be at the course just up the road. At least I should get pretty good at that one.

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

Another goal I have accomplished the last few years, but only barely each time.

6) Win at least one tournament. 

I don’t really know if this will be easy or very difficult. The Masters division is certainly easier to win than Pro Open (5 of my 6 pro wins were in Masters), plus I’m not getting younger, or better for that matter. I ended my season last year at the lowest ending rating I’ve had since 2010. Fingers crossed.

7) Never finish in the bottom third of a tournament.

An oldie but a goodie.

8) Don’t throw a round lower than 920.

I was originally going to recycle my goal from last year, which was not to throw a round under 930. Turns out I’d never actually done in that in any year in my life. I haven’t done the research to find out whether I’d ever done it with the lowered goal, but here’s hoping loosening the waistband might make the pill go down easier. Is that a phrase? It is now.

9) Throw a 1005-rated round. 

I tweaked my normal goal of ‘just throw one 1000-rated round’ just so if I only come in with a 1004, I’ll silently wonder why I do these sorts of things to myself.

10) Hit at least one ace.

Again, I was going to originally recycle the last year’s goal about just hitting metal, but in the only round I’ve thrown in 2022 so far, I splashed chains on a hole (an easy hole, but a hole nonetheless). So, gotta up the stakes. Go big or go home.

11) Have more rounds at or above my rating than below my rating.

I did it in 2021, let’s do it again in 2022.

12) Have my rating be over 970 for at least one ratings update.

I didn’t do it in 2021, so let’s do it in 2022!

13) Play 4 new courses.

Last year I hit six, but this year it might be harder. There isn’t an abundance of local courses I haven’t played before (especially with Tom’s Adventure Park now closed), and the one course I knew I was going to play for the first time was a tournament that I simply forgot to sign up for. Doops!

14) No rounds with more than one double-bogey.

While double bogeys are all but unheard of in the local courses I play, I don’t know where all I’ll be playing this year. As such, I can’t have the lofty goal of never throwing a double bogey – if I end up playing Maple Hill for some reason, there are some holes that a double bogey doesn’t honestly feel too bad. So I’ve eased this goal a bit.

15) Make enough points to qualify for Worlds, or end with a high enough rating to get priority entry in next year’s Tim Selinksi Memorial.

These two tournaments are the two biggest for my age division, and both happen to be on the west coast next year (Worlds is in AZ, the Memorial is in OR). That means it’s far more likely I would be able to play in them. However, with those tournaments being difficult to qualify for, it isn’t a slam dunk I will get in. In the years before the disc golf explosion (before COVID-19), anyone who had the money could enter. Now, it’s entirely likely I won’t qualify without some good play. I don’t know a solid number, but I imagine I’ll need 600 points to qualify for Worlds, or a 975 rating to qualify for TMM. So those will be my goals (or a direct invite – any of those will earn me a win). Of course, the dilemma then becomes: do I enter tournaments as a Masters player, where I’ll make more money, or as a Pro, where I’ll earn more points? Decisions decisions…

16) Have a Circle 1X putting rating of over 50% for the year.

Circle 1X putts mean any putt between 11-33′ (it eliminates tap ins shorter than 11 feet). Now, calculating this will be tricky. First, it means tracking every round on uDisc. I already do this, but usually score only, not each shot. The stats will be much cooler if I track it (yay), but it will be a whole lot more work each round, possibly taking me out of a competitive mindset. My goal is to do it, though I may not during certain rounds if I want to concentrate better. Partially because this also means measuring every darn shot I make with my rangefinder. It also means achieving this, which I literally have no idea how easy it will be. The top pros are around 90% here, though I don’t really know where the lowest pros fall. Anyway, we’ll see if I actually do this enough to even justify a result.

17) Have a Circle 2 putting rating of over 10% for the year.

Circle 2 putts are from 10 meters (33.1 feet) to 20 meters (~66 feet). The top pros are between 30% and 36%. I genuinely don’t know how many of these I make, but here’s hoping I have a sizeable number of 35-foot putts this year.

18) Win at dubs once.

In my early years here in Reno, I’d win dubs probably 75% of the time. I was a big fish in a tiny drop of pond scum. Now, the competition is fiercer and I play well less often. I am looking for just one single first place finish. (I’ll also consider an ace during dubs as a success here as that would net me way more cash than 1st place would.)

19) Witness at least one thing I’ve never seen before.

This can’t be something like “well, I saw someone throw a disc I’ve never seen.” It’s gotta be a story I’d tell over and over again. Like when Nick threw an ace on hole 17 at Vista that was shank, re-directed off a tree, and rolled down the trunk of another into the basket. Or when I landed in a pool of water that was basically 10% larger than my disc (and therefore out of bounds). This is admittedly arbitrary, but might be a fun entry.

20) Remember why I like this game.

It’s getting harder to find time to play, and tournaments fill up faster, and there are fewer and fewer people I recognize on the course, and I play where there are no trees. There have been any number of reasons over the last few years why my love for disc golf has waned a bit. One happy biproduct of that is I tend not to get so upset (if I lose, it’s because I don’t play, I tell myself). But I want to enjoy myself AND find some renewed passion. Hopefully traveling for these tournaments (sometimes with Danielle) combined with a bigger purpose – to qualify for major events in 2023 – might rejuvenate me.

See ya on the course!

2021 – Disc Golf Year in Review

It’s that time again, where I write a blog that I will occasionally look back on and nobody else will. Them’s the facts. I am happy to announce I’ve been sponsored by nobody again, an impressive 18-year streak. Still would rather be sponsored by ibuprofen than a disc manufacturer, but that hasn’t come to fruition either.

I only achieved 7 of 18 of my goals in 2019 (39%), so here’s hoping I did better than that. Let’s go!

1) Play enough events to justify the $75 PDGA fee.

I needed to sign up for 8, and I signed up for 9 (including a league). What’s more impressive is that I did this while most of the Sierra Tahoe Series events were held on weekends I had the boys, meaning I couldn’t play the most convenient tournaments. But I did what I had to do.

Verdict: SUCCESS!

2) Cash in half my events.

So you can’t actually cash at the league event, meaning I had to cash in 4 of the 8 tournaments I played. I did it in 5. Boo-yah! Either I set my goals too low or I surprised myself. Or more likely both.

Verdict: SUCCESS!

3) Cash at King of the Lake.

I’ve snuck by with some iffy justifications in the past when trying to sneak a win out, but I don’t need to do that here. I did cash at KotL this year. It wasn’t spectacular, but it was an odd year, so even scraping a tie for last cash in odd years feels remarkable. See below:

Even years:
2008: tied for 3rd out of 18 (top 17%) – won $221
2010: 25th out of 31, no cash. However, I finished the last round severely injured and was at least close to the cash line before that happened.
2012: KotL didn’t happen.
2014: 15th out of 42 (top 36%) – won $135
2016: tied for 17 out of 55 (top 31%) as an A-Tier – won $87
2018: 2nd out of 20 (top 10%), my best tourney ever – won $435
2020: KotL didn’t happen.

Compare that to the odd years:
2009: tied for 13 out of 29 (last cash, top 45%) – won $70
2011: tied for 45 out of 58 (bottom 23%)
2013: KotL didn’t happen
2015: 25 out of 36 (bottom 30%)
2017: T31 out of 46 (bottom 32%)
2019: T8 out of 19 (last cash, top 43%) – won $55
2021: T8 out of 22 (last cash, top 37%) – won $91

So it was my best odd-year showing, even though it was still a tie for the last cash spot. Still…

Verdict: SUCCESS!

4) Play 25 rounds that aren’t tournament rounds.

The computer tracking all this broke down a couple of weeks ago, but looking at some old charts and Udisc, it looks like I played 28 casual rounds this year, many with Landen. Another (somewhat surprising) success as I don’t think I’ve played that many casual rounds in a year since about 2005.

Verdict: SUCCESS!

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

I won $813 this year, and although I don’t have everything tracked as well as I’d like (thank you again janky computer), I’m pretty certain the 8 tournament I played didn’t cost that much as most were ~$80. I didn’t crush this one, but I eked it out nonetheless.

Verdict: SUCCESS!

6) Finish every PDGA tournament I start. 

I started this prediction write-up with: “this is actually interesting that I’m including this”, and that’s oddly telling. My writeup in the predictions column seemed to indicate this would be the year I break my finish streak, and I did. In the first tournament. Yes, I was battling a torn ligament in my ankle at the start of the year, and it did certainly hamper me in my first event – in Idaho. But I really was just so miserable that I wanted instead to hang with my girlfriend and my friend Kat, who I hadn’t seen in a decade. So I failed on this, but if Danielle is to be believed, it was subconsciously intentional. So, go my subconscious?

Verdict: FAIL! (but the monkey is finally off my back)

7) Never finish in the bottom third of a tournament.

If I had been playing well in that Idaho tournament and withdrawing cost me this, I might have called this a success, or even a “not applicable”. However, I would have had to play among the best rounds in my life that final day to claw my way OUT OF the bottom third (I was tied for last out of 17 when I dropped out), so there’s no way I could justify this as anything other than a

VERDICT: TOTAL FAIL!

8) Don’t throw a round lower than 930.

Well, I made it almost one round before ruining this one. Damn Idaho and its humidity and rainfall and open land and blind course… But it turns out I missed this goal four times, twice in Idaho, once during King of the Lake (which would otherwise have been a pretty great tournament since this happened when I was on the top card during round two), and once in the final tournament at the Ranch.

This actually brings me to an interesting point. This was easily the year where I played the most open courses in tournament play. I would say I average about 25% of my tournament rounds in the open during most years. In 2021? 14 of my 20 rated rounds were in open courses, and that’s being generous in saying that Bijou isn’t an open course – it’s wooded but pretty lightly. Anyway, big time fail.

VERDICT: Sad panda.

9) Throw a 1000-rated round. 

The drought since 2018 is officially over! I only threw one this year, but it was a very respectable 1016, which helped propel me to my second consecutive win at Turtle Rock (there was no tourney in 2020, and I won in 2019). This year it took a playoff, but I took it down. There will be no Turtle Rock tournament in 2022 because of the fire that ravaged that area, but here’s hoping I can defend in 2023.

Verdict: SUCCESS!

10) Hit metal on a drive.

For a while I thought I was going to have to count the metal hit I had on hole 10 short at Mayor’s Park early in the year, but I got a straight up ace in September while playing with Landen. It was the first ace he’d ever witnessed, and my first thumber ace. I nearly got it the very next round too, throwing just too high.

Verdict: BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!

11) Have more rounds at or above my rating than below my rating.

Well now, this is an interesting one. If I average my ratings points above and below my rating for the year, I shot -77, which would lead me to believe I failed this goal. However, in 20 rounds, 12 of them were above my rating. The problem is when I did poorly, I sucked. And 6 of my above-rating rounds were less than 10 points above (meaning about one stroke better than my average for the entire round). Still, a win is a win.

Verdict: SUCCESS!

12) Have my rating be over 970 for at least one ratings update.

No sir, I don’t like it. The closest I came was a brief time where I was at 965, but I mostly hovered around the 960 plateau all year.

Verdict: FAIL.

13) Play 6 new courses.

I nailed this one exactly, having played Mayor’s Park (which I helped design), the Washoe Golf Course, Mallard Park (ID), The Ranch at Old River (CA), Tree Top Park (WA), and South Pines (CA).

Verdict: SUCCESS!

14) No double bogeys or worse.

Next year I plan to track my scores a little more thoroughly (can you even WAIT for all the stats I’m going to throw at you?) but for now just know that I failed in this, and in the first tournament round I played in 2021. Stupid Idaho. I failed this one a number of times, and it might have been a pretty lofty goal to begin with.

Verdict: FAIL, and not valiantly either.

15) Have fun.

Curious that I didn’t list winning a tournament on here, as that’s always a goal of mine. I think the reason I didn’t was because I tend to have less fun when I care about a goal like that. And truth be told, I did mostly have fun this year. I don’t think I ever really got bitchy throughout the year (even during my terrible start and end to the year). I would have preferred to play some of my favorite tournaments, but scheduling has been unfortunate that they’re nearly all on weekends I have my boys. With Landen playing and Duncan enjoying it more, there’s a possibility of more tournaments in 2022, but we’ll see. The schedule so far does NOT look favorable.

Verdict: SUCCESS!

Bonus goal: win a tournament!

Verdict: Success at Turtle Rock, my favorite course on the west coast. May it recover from the fire quickly.

Summary: 2021 was a weird year on so many levels. But as for disc golf, it was a more successful year, even if my general play was nothing to write home about. I only had two rounds rated 980 or higher, and a whole lot that worked out to slightly better than mediocre play. It was enough to make a bit of coin. In all, I succeeded in 11 goals, failing in 5. That’s pretty darn good.

The biggest joy this year was getting to see Landen play his first tournament and Duncan really enjoying playing more (he has discovered my Champion Stingray, which he throws upsettingly consistently – I should take some pointers from him).

Let’s see what 2022 has to offer!

Disc golf goal realized without even trying

For years, I’ve made it a goal to beat Jere Eshelman in a single PDGA round, and every year I’ve fallen short. When I kill it, so does he. When he falters, I falter more. It looked like a goal I would never fulfill. (In fact, in this year’s wrap-up I gave myself credit for this because I beat James Procter, who is probably an overall better player, but I never actually battled Jere).

Well, it turns out I did beat Jere in a round. 7 years  ago!

Proof!

 

So, I guess this means I’ll need to get creative this year. Maybe I’ll beat Patrick Brown in a round? Ken Climo? Ricky Wysocki? The sky’s the limit!

Or, you know, my back. That’s probably my limit.

2016 Disc Golf Goals

It’s that time of year again, the time of year where I optimistically (foolishly) believe I have a chance to be World Champion, and I will have 100 aces, and I will finally beat Jere Eshelman in a round. Then May comes, my back goes out, I stop practicing altogether, and in rare instances (last year), I don’t make a single dollar playing disc golf all year. I do this every year. Seriously, every year. So let’s do it again!

You’ll notice if you clicked on the last two years’ results above that I make pretty modest goals and then fail to meet even them (in 2014, I reached 3 of my 13 goals, in 2015 only 2 of 15). So this year, having experienced major surgery (and likely a second surgery) and a back that continues to give me periodic problems, I’m not holding out hope for a bounceback season. I *have* been practicing once or twice a week for the last month, so I’m not totally out of it, but I have to realize that my body just isn’t what it was when I was actually (barely) contending in the open division.

Well now, that was a depressing opening. Let’s get to it!

1) Play in enough tourneys to justify the $75 PDGA fee. So I need 8 tournaments. I was originally going to specify something about the Sierra Series, but for now, let’s just stick to any 8.

2) Cash in a tournament. At all. Last year was my first year since turning pro in 2005 that I didn’t cash. What’s more I only even sniffed it once or twice. I just want to not have all my competing be in vain. Still 2 years until Master!

3) Top 3 at either Sun Valley tournament. As of now there are only 4 players signed up for the one in 10 days, so I like my odds.

4) Cash for the first time in the Sierra Series. I’m going to be optimistic that I will play most of the events and give myself a shot at cashing, but truthfully, it’s going to come down to a good showing at King of the Lake, where most of the points are given out.

5) No DFL (dead f’n last) finishes. Yeah, it’s that bad where not sucking the most has become the bar to beat.

6) Beat Jere Eshelman in a single PDGA round. Still hasn’t happened.

7) Keep my lifetime streak of never DNFing (did not finish) a tournament alive. This one seems to be getting more and more difficult every year.

8) At least 1 1000-rated roundI average almost 1.5 a year, so this is certainly do-able, though I should note I’ve only thrown 1 since 5/6/2013.

9) At least 1 round over 1010. Only ever done once, but an old guy can hope, can’t he?

10) No more than 1 round below 930I’m reluctantly coming to grips with the fact that I will suck at least one round every year, especially in the early months. So I’m lowering my basement to 930 (it used to be 940) and allowing myself one stinker. I’ve had 3 years since moving west where I accomplished this.

11) Have my rating at some point this year move out of the 959-969 rangeI’ve had an impressive 22 ratings update streak of this rating going (dating back to 9/2012). I’m okay if it drops below, honestly, as long as it changes. This is a pretty monotonous streak.

12) Hit one ace. I average one a year, helped in large part by a 3-ace 2013. So what’s one more?

13) Camp out and actually have the “fun” experience at one of the Turtle Rock tourneys. Recently I have placed too much importance on cashing (for a guy who doesn’t practice). I want to go back to why I play, to have fun. The camp-out experience helps this a great deal, even if it means sleeping on the ground and drinking – essentially giving myself a fast track to playing poorly the following day. I suppose it could be any tourney, not just Markleeville; it just makes the most sense there.

14) Play dubs at least 5 times this year.

15) Try to have fun. Last year I got burned out, partially because of my back, but partially because I just wasn’t actually enjoying myself. Two years of disappointing play has something to do with that, I’m sure, but really, if I’m not enjoying myself, why am I doing it?

There you have it. The bar keeps getting lower. Hopefully I decide whether I’m supposed to vault over it or limbo under it. Knowing me, I’ll probably just run headlong into it.