Anyone who has played disc golf even a handful of times has inevitably had to battle some headwinds. When I first started playing disc golf, wind was one of the things that frustrated and discouraged me most. So many times I’ve thrown a disc high into the air, only to have the wind pick it up and sweep it far out of the path I intend it to be on, or I’ve thrown a putt and the wind catches it and tosses it down a hill, adding several strokes to my game! Over time, I have learned a lot of tricks to playing in the wind, hopefully some of which can benefit you. I hope to hear about all of your tips and tricks for playing in the wind as well in the comments!
Playing Into a Headwind:
Headwinds can be tough, as they can have a variety of effects on the flight of a disc. I’ll touch on a few of them below:
The Disc Behaves more understable:
When thrown flat, A disc flying into a headwind is cutting through the air much faster than it would if there was no wind (simple physics: disc speed + wind speed = moving FAST through the air). The faster a disc moves through the air, the more tendency it has to turn over, or behave more like an understable disc. When a disc turns over in a headwind, it has the tendency to be carried far in the direction that it turns over as well.
Extra lift is created:
Most people, especially when starting out, have a tendency to throw their discs upwards. When throwing into a headwind, the upward angle on the disc mixed with the increased air speed, creates lift that will send your disc high into the air, and sometimes will even send it backwards as it comes back down!
How to execute a successful drive or approach shot in a headwind:
To make sure your disc will fly in a straight line, you will want to make sure to throw an overstable disc like the Innova Monster or the Whippet for drives. The Gator is a good wind fighting mid-range disc. You will also want to keep your throws flat and low to the ground to prevent the wind from picking up the disc.
How to putt into a headwind:
This is one of the trickiest (and most frustrating) shots in disc golf. Putting into a headwind, you’ll generally want to keep the put fairly low to keep the disc from floating too much on the wind. Another tip I’ve picked up over the years is to make sure to put enough spin on the disc. If the disc has enough spin, it will stay stable in a headwind, otherwise it can begin to wobble and the wind will have it’s way with it.
I’ll have a follow-up post about playing in tailwinds and crosswinds next time! Hopefully some of these tips will help your game. Also, if you have other tips, tricks, or advice for playing in a headwind, please share it in the comments!