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High Altitude Disc Golf in Tahoe: Tips & Tricks to Playing at Elevation

Friday, July 19th, 2013

 These tips and tricks come from Justin Weilacher, a friend of TMS and avid disc golfer (PDGA #41309) residing in Sacramento, CA. With extensive knowledge of the game from years of experience playing in a variety of environments and weather conditions, Justin is a great resource for all sorts of disc golf advice. Read more from Justin at his blog, http://dbfreediscgolf.wordpress.com.

Bijou Disc Golf Course

Bijou Disc Golf Course in South Lake Tahoe

One of the coolest things about disc golf is how the flight characteristics of your discs change as the elevation changes. This facet of disc golf adds an element of challenge to the game that few other sports have. There are many tricks that can help you adapt to this change in flight patterns that you might find useful during your next trip to the Tahoe disc golf courses.

Driving:

Driving from the tee and the fairway will be where you can sense the most dramatic difference in flight characteristics. At the Tahoe courses, you will quickly see that your driver discs are far more stable than when you are at your home course closer to sea level. There are a couple ways to combat this shift in stability on your drives.

First, you can ‘disc down’ to a less stable disc. If you frequently throw a Destroyer (-1,3) at sea level you might decide to throw a Tern (-2,2) instead. The lower turn will keep your disc straighter and the lower fade will keep the disc dropping to the ground more like you are accustomed. Second, you can throw the same disc but reduce the weight of the disc. The lower weight will allow you to spin the disc faster which will keep the disc closer to its fade and turn numbers.

The third option is the one I prefer; I don’t switch out a lot of discs in my bag. I will replace a Firebird with a FL – Firebird long. Other than that, I keep with the same disc types but pull my beat discs out of storage to replace my existing discs. This accomplishes most of what disc-ing down accomplishes because the beat-up discs are already floppier than their newer counter-parts. It also lowers the weight slightly as they have lost a few grams due to wear. Finally, disc-ing down preserves my current disc’s flight characteristics. I throw almost exclusively Innova Star plastic because I like the way the discs wear out. This allows me to carry discs at multiple states of wear which fills niches in my driving strategy. If you throw some of the softer plastics like I do, your current bag selection will not throw the same after a long weekend of serious Tahoe disc golf. So pull out some of your old plastic or pick up a couple more under-stable options at Tahoe Mountain Sports.

Hole 13 Bijou Disc Golf

Hole 13 and wildflowers at Bijou Disc Golf Course

Putting:

Changes in your short game are the trickier adjustments to make. It’s easy to see the way your disc flies differently over 300+ feet. (more…)

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