2017 Disc Golf Goals

After last year’s success (I hit 9 of my 15 goals which were, in truth, not exactly reach-for-the-sky goals), I’m going to try to top that this year. 2017 will be my last year playing Open (the regular professional division) because in 2018 I will be able to move to the Masters (old dudes) division where I hope to have better success. So does that mean this is a transition year?

Well, hopefully not. For the last two years I’ve played quite a bit until King of the Lake then basically stopped playing all year. One of my goals is obviously not to do that, but for a special reason. What is that reason? Read on to find out!

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1) Gain enough PDGA points to qualify for Masters Worlds in 2018. 

This is the aforementioned reason why I want to play the whole season out. It looks like I need 600 points to qualify for 2018 Worlds (the location of which has not yet been announced). In the off chance it’s somewhere accessible to me, I’d like to qualify outright instead of hoping to get in when registration opens up to the public. My pro points WILL count for Masters totals, though, so that’s nice. How often have I hit 600 points in a season? Since moving west in 2008, I’ve hit 600 points 7 out of the 9 years. That sounds like a shoo-in until you realize that I was only over 800 points in one of those years, and quite a few were just barely over 600. It’ll mean playing many tournaments that are well populated by open players and beating some of them.

basket2) Break the odd-year curse by cashing in at least 1/4 of my events. 

Last year I lowered my bar so much it was a tripwire – I hoped to just cash at all. This year I’m going to raise the bar to a difficult be achievable goal: making money back at least 25% of the time. This is something I’ve done about half the years I’ve been a pro, but those tend to be the years I play fewer tournaments. We’ll see if I can have sustained success over a year where I hope to play quite a bit.

basket3) Cash at King of the Lake

I’m not sure if this will be easier or harder this year. The King will be a smaller tournament than in past (2 days instead of 3) so it may not attract quite the large fields it has in the past. While that seems to make it easier, it might just mean that more of the top “local” pros show up and raise the cash bar comparatively. I’ve cashed in half the KotLs I’ve played (3 of 6).

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4) “Make” more than $700 in Masters

Clearly, I’m not playing in Masters so I can’t make money in Masters. But making the logical assumption that I would have finished with the same overall score as I did in pro, I want to find out how much I *would* have made in Masters. Take 2015 for example. I made $0, not cashing once in Open. Had I been in Masters and played the exact same, I would have cleared almost $1000. Last year I made $345 but would have made $470 in Masters.

basket5) Play every event at the Sierra Series FINALLY.

I’ve never done this, though it’s been a goal of mine every year. It’s comprised of seven tournaments this year and it includes (and removes) a few traditional courses, so it’ll be a pretty interesting year. Dayton is in for a 2 day tourney (never been done before I don’t think) and Truckee Regional is out (yay because I don’t like the course, boo because I tend to shoot it well). Kirkwood is in, which is cool as I’ve never played there.

basket6) No DFL (dead f’n last) finishes.

I wasn’t going to include this again this year as it is a pretty easy goal to hit (I’ve only DFL’ed 3x since moving west, and two of those were technically ties so they weren’t DEAD last). I *am* including it mainly because I’m starting my tournament season next week after having taken the last six months off. Seriously, I’ve thrown maybe 50 holes since last June. And I’m playing at a course I’ve always done poorly – Auburn, where I’ve only beat my rating once and have averaged 15 points worse than my average). Plus I may hit up some other tournaments pre-May when I historically do very poorly.

basket7) Beat Jere Eshelman in a single PDGA round.

Last year I tied him twice. This will be the year, I can feel it (provided we even play at the same tournaments this year – he hardly played any Sierra Series events).

basket8) Keep my lifetime streak of never DNFing (did not finish) a tournament alive. 

With my back getting worse annually, this one is more and more difficult, but so far I’m perfect with it.

basket9) Throw two or more 1000-rated rounds

In my 13 years of playing disc golf, I’ve only achieved this three times: 2006, 2009, and 2013. If my math is correct (3 years between the first two times, four between, the second) it won’t be until 2018 until it happens again. But hey, dreamers can dream, can’t they?

basket10) At least 1 round over 1010.

It’s looking less and less likely every year, but I’m gonna keep throwing this one out there.

basket11) No more than 3 rounds below 940

I originally set the goal as no more than 2 rounds below 940, but changed my mind. Since 2008, I’ve achieved my initial goal only in 2009 and 2011, both years I played fewer than normal rounds. Giving myself one extra bad round opens up a few additional years where I achieved the goal, or about 1/2 the time.

basket12) Have my rating go over 965 at some point this year during an update.

Though I’ve hovered around here forever (my rating has been between 958 and 969 since August of 2012), it hasn’t been over 965 since August of 2014.

basket13) Hit an ace or an eagle. 

I’ve averaged one ace a year my whole career but didn’t have one last year. I’m due. (I added the ‘eagle’ a bit because I think I’ve only ever eagled a hole once – hole 4 long at the Ranch, which I’ve seen someone have a 70′ putt at. I guess this gives me a *slightly* easier chance at achieving this goal.)

basket14) Play more casual golf, either alone or with the boys. 

Disc golfer Matt called me up recently just to see how I’m doing and tell me that he’s game to play anytime, even if it’s just at the pitch-and-putt. Paul called me up within a week to basically have the same conversation. I played so little last year because of many factors but I really want to get out and play more “fun” golf this year. Casual rounds, kids rounds, dubs, tags, whatever. I want to get out of this habit of just playing one time the week of a tournament to “get my arm ready”. I want to be playing consistently all year, and I want some of those rounds to not be just to prepare, but just to have fun.

basket15) No missed putts within 15′.

I’m not going to bring a tape measure out with me on the course, but I tend to remember those missed putts pretty well, even if they were 16′. I’ll know which ones I’m talking about.

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It’s an odd numbered year so I want to break my ridiculous streak of sucking in these years, both skill-wise and goal-wise. Other than that, the season starts soon; one week to get my body in shape and there’s snow everywhere in Reno. LET’S BRING IT!

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.

Disc Golf Goals – How’d I do? (spoiler alert: crappy)

You know it’s not good when it’s October and I’m already going over my year-end goals. This is because… well, I’m on a disc golf hiatus. I’ll explain more later. But suffice to say, this is going to be a truly humbling exercise.

1) Play in the entire Sierra Series, the GCC, and maybe one tourney at a course I’ve never played.

NO – I played the GCC (did poorly), and then played the first 3 events of the series. After a truly disappointing showing at King of the Lake (where I was in the top 10 through two rounds, including a 1000+ rated round a Bijou, I proceeded to throw my worst-ever rounds at both Sierra College and Tahoe Vista. I went from top 10 to bottom third.

I DID play a tourney at course I’ve never played – Oroville – which saw my lowest two combined scores (ratings) in years. I have NO idea why I even wanted to do that. Playing a course blind and – worse yet – playing two courses that DON’T HAVE DISTANCES MARKED blind – is just stupidity. My new resolution is to never play a course that doesn’t have accurate distances on their signs.

2) Cash at either of the A tiers I’m playing (GCC and King of the Lake). 

I did not cash at all. Not once. For the first time in my life, I did not cash at a PDGA event in a calendar year. Worse yet, despite playing basically my exact rating all year, I only sniffed cash once (and I played myself out of it by one stroke b/c of what I now realize was heatstroke). It was really frustrating. At my local course, I played toe-to-toe with some of Norcals best, but lost by 4 because I missed 11 putts! ELEVEN putts! At Turtle Rock I went-bogey free on the toughest round yet lost strokes on many of the pros because I hardly got birdies. And then, of course, KotL where I was on pace to have a great tourney, then just sucked it up big time.

3) Cash in at least 1/2 the Series tournaments I play.

Close. 0%. That’s almost half, right?

4) Top 25% or better of a B Tier. 

Ugh. This isn’t getting any better.

5) Top 3 at the Sun Valley tournament.

Had I converted HALF of my missed putts, I would have. Instead, I finished in 8th (of 15).

6) Cash for the first time in the Sierra Series. 

Nope nope nope.

7) Beat Jere Eshelman in a single PDGA round.

I think this is the one that bugs me most. In that same Lizard Peak tourney where 11 putts over two rounds cost me 12 strokes, Jere beat me by 3 strokes and1 stroke respectively. Again, at Turtle rock, he beat me by 1 (on my bogey-free round). And on my 1000+ rated round at Bijou during KotL? He beat me by two. SON OF A…

8) Keep my lifetime streak of never DNFing a tournament alive.

I did drop out of a tournament due to injury, but it was before the tourney started, so I consider my streak still active.

9) At least 3 1000-rated rounds

I had a 1004 at Bijou. My next best was 982. *sigh*

10) At least 1 round over 1010. 

Nope. I’m adding to my collection of rounds between 1000-1010 (13 and counting, compared to just one over that).

11) No rounds below 940. 

Truly embarrassing. I had FIVE, including two that were below 905 (but at least above 900!) When I was off this year, I was truly off.

12) End up with a rating over 975.

Again, no such luck. Instead, I’m kinda rocking a pretty impressive streak of consistency – twenty straight ratings updates with a rating between 959-969. I’m nothing if not consistent (except, of course, for my actual playing time, which is painfully inconsistent).

13) Hit a dubs ace or a tourney ace.

I did manage to snag an ace, but it was a few days before a tourney. In fact, I was practicing one of the Lizard Peak holes in a position I’d never seen, and I threw a great anhyzer with my FIGHTER Buzzz 343′ downhill for the ace. It was so windy that I barely heard any chains.

14) Play at least 3 new courses this year.

I ACCOMPLISHED ONE OF MY GOALS! I actually played 5 new courses this year, including one in a new state (UT!) That brings my total to 140 courses in 29 states.

15) Continue playing dubs/tags during tournament season.

Ha ha ha! Ha ha! Whew. *wipes tears from eyes* Heh, that’s a good one.

16) Stop talking about myself so much during the tournaments.

Gotta be honest, I don’t know if I did this. I was conscientious of this all year, and I took my iPod out more often than I had in past, so I think I was sorta good at it. But it’s also one of my inherent flaws. I’m gonna keep working on it.

Actually, I may not need to. As I stated, I’m on something of a hiatus. I feel really frustrated with where in the country I live. I have to average 970-980 golf to even scrape last cash at a tournament. Nowhere else in the country is that the case (for B Tiers at least). I looked around, and in many places, a 950 or 960 would get me there.

I simply have too many other balls in the air to actually practice like I would need to to be competitive. And being close to 40, but not actually being 40, doesn’t help. If I were 40 (or even 39 turning 40), I’d be able to play Masters, an age-protected division. If I were to have done that this year, instead of cashing in 0 tournaments (out of 7), I would have cashed in 5 (coming in 3rd, 4th, 8th, 1st, and 1st). I didn’t crunch the math, but that’s probably a different of about $800.

I’m also just not having fun. Knowing that I have to play the best golf I’ve played in years to even scrape bottom of the barrel just isn’t fun. Halfway thru events I was looking forward more to going home than finishing playing.

With surgery scheduled next year, I’m likely going to be missing most of next year. I’ll try to play King of the Lake if possible b/c it’s my favorite, even though I will NOT be hoping to compete (with such little practice and a likely atrophied body, I don’t hold false hope for success). Maybe I’ll make next year (and possibly the year after) where I really take the boys to play often. Landen’s getting old enough where he could start playing tourneys (only if he wanted to!) but we’d have to see if it’s worth it.

Anyway, yay disc golf!