Man, I wish I had discovered disc golf when I was in high school. It could have helped me in so many ways. Even later after I had discovered the game, it took me awhile to see all the benefits and how they were affecting my life in a positive way.
After I discovered disc golf I thought of it as a fun thing to do with friends that allowed us to be outside, enjoying nature and enjoying each other. Once I began to feel the urge to play disc golf bad enough to start playing rounds alone did I begin to see how the sport was helping me.
Many things in my life have helped me with the development of self-confidence, various ball sports, snowboarding, hiking, biking etc. But in disc golf it is so obvious and apparent that it cannot help but teach you. If you don’t believe you are going to make that shot, you won’t. Now in snowboarding I had learned this, because as soon as I questioned my endurance on a powder run or if my faith wavered about my ability in a wooded section, I would crash.
But there is just something about disc golf, over and over again throughout a round you are battling with yourself, telling yourself, ‘ok you missed last putt, DO NOT MISS NOW’. Then it hits you to start talking to yourself differently. Don’t think about last hole, but only remember how good you are at putting from the exact distance you happen to be away from the chains.
It might be the ability to practice this so much throughout a day of disc golf that made it stick for me. Having self-confidence no matter has happened is a huge part of life as well as golf.
Golf teaches you that you do not have it all figured out and you probably never will. That doesn’t mean that you can’t be the best on the course that day because I can promise you no one else has it ALL figured out either. But just by having the awareness that you do not know everything and your technique is not stone cold perfect means that you are open to getting better, much much better.
Humility means standing outside of your own shoes, looking at yourself and saying, you have a lot to learn. Even the oldest pro wants to get better. You can think you are the best, but never stop thinking you are as good as you can ever get.
Humility also means being a good sport sometimes. As much as you want to brag yourself up when you win you have to remember, next event might not go so well. Show respect for your competitors and yourself.
This is probably the hardest lesson for myself to learn from disc golf. Not being patient has cost me more strokes than any other factor hands down. You must have patience, you are playing golf, not just throwing a Frisbee. Knowing the layout and playing to it is important. Patience comes into play somewhere between self-confidence and humility. This is because you must have self-confidence in your shot but be humble enough to know where you SHOULD throw. The most obvious example is in the decision to lay up a shot or go for the bomb drive. Patience will teach you to know when to go for it and when to lay up.
If you can’t focus than you cannot maintain self-confidence when the going gets tough. You cannot see all your lines and you cannot imagine proper strategy. Focus is important in golf because it is the glue that ties all the other qualities you need together. If you lose focus enough to discredit even one of those qualities, chances are you are not going to play optimally.
I began to learn this lesson after I discovered all the other qualities disc golf taught me. You have most likely heard it a thousand times from friends or yourself, ‘I’m just not feeling it’. This phrase is a clear cut indication that your focus has fallen off enough to nullify one of the important qualities required to play golf. Maybe its patience, humility, self-confidence or a combination of several. Lose focus and the whole thing crumbles.
If I had disc golf when I was in high school I may have learned some lessons sooner than I did. However I cannot allow that to shadow the fact that I DID learn those lessons, and for that I am grateful. Disc golf, thank you very much. I intend to make sure you continue to help others the same way you have helped me.
What has disc golf done for you?