Disc Golf, Snow Style

As you may have already read, I discovered disc golf this year. Over the summer I was playing as much as possible. I got pretty bummed when the days became shorter and the weekends were the only times to play. That didn’t stop me from playing, even if the weather was cold, I’d be out there throwing some discs.

Enter the snow… I hate the snow. Every year it seems summer is just long enough to make me forget how much I hate the cold, snowy winters of Michigan. I don’t ski, I don’t snowboard and I’m completely over sledding. Frankly, if I never saw snow again it wouldn’t break my heart. So it was a bit of a surprise to me that I’d enjoy playing disc golf in the snow so much.

Sure it’s cold. Sure that effects the flight of my discs. Sure you have to be bundled up and sure it’s almost impossible to throw a disc properly with a glove. All those things are true but for the first time I’ve found a reason to go out in the snow. My love of disc golf is so deep that not even a foot of snow can stop me.

My brother playing snow disc golf.

Here are a few tips I’ve figured out to make snow disc golfing a little more enjoyable:

  • Wear warm clothes. This almost goes without saying but it can get mighty cold out there and it’s important to stay warm. I recently bought Smartwool shirt that keeps me nice and cozy without a lot of bulk. That coupled with a sweatshirt (and fleece jacket on really frigid days) usually does the trick. I highly recommend Smartwool socks too. I haven’t found any other socks that work as well. Gloves are a must, but I’ll admit I throw bare handed and just use the glove between throws.
  • Proper footwear is key. It’s snow and your old tennis shoes (or Vibram FiveFingers as is the case for me) just aren’t going to work. I hate wearing non-barefoot shoes but if there’s snow on the ground, some waterproof boots with a decent grip are necessary. Even with the right boots it still can be pretty slippery (I just took a huge spill while teeing off. Let the double size of my knee cap and elbow be a cautionary tale).
  • Your discs will be exaggerated. I read this somewhere but didn’t really understand until I started playing in the cold. Everything your disc normally does, it does even more in the cold. There’s not a lot of resistance in the air so those discs with a little turn in the summer will probably have a big turn in the winter. Same for fade and you can probably sneak a little more glide out of your discs too.
  • Have a buddy spot your shots. All that snow will cover your disc like nobody’s business. Even the brightest discs are hard to find under a few inches of snow. Pay lots of attention to where your shots land because they normally don’t sit on top of the snow. Sometimes the best tool is your foot for sweeping back and forth in the area you thought it landed. If you’re lucky, your disc will leave some sort of trail going into the snow. I’ve heard attaching ribbons to your discs is another trick (the idea being the ribbons will stick further out of the snow).
  • Plan for a longer round. The extra time it takes to traipse through the snow, especially when looking for your disc will add a fair amount of time to your overall game. A round that might have taken an hour in the summer could easily be double that in the snow.

Those are just a few things I’ve noticed while playing this winter. If you’re a disc golf junkie, don’t be afraid to give a snow round a chance. It’s still disc golf after all, just colder and wetter.

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