Hey Fellow Disc Golfers!
As we are working through the cold winter months here in Idaho, we decided to talk a little bit about how weather affects discs! Different weather changes the game of disc golf and it doesn’t change things in the same way. These changes are not necessarily bad, but they will affect how you play. Hopefully this post will help you understand the effects of different weather patterns so you can elevate your game play, no matter how warm or cold it is!
Warm Weather As we go about this blog post, we are going to be comparing each weather pattern to how discs react during a neutral temperature. This specific weather is warm, limited wind, and basically just comfortable weather to play golf in. This is when your discs are going to react the way that you expect and you are comfortable. Like in Goldie Locks and the 3 Bears, “Not too hot, not too cold. It was just right.”
Hot Weather Heat affects a few different things in disc golf. It is good to be aware of these differences so that when you play in hot weather, you can make the necessary adjustments. The biggest effect of hot weather is in body mechanics. Not taking care of yourself in the heat can cause lightheadedness and other symptoms, which will affect your ability to play. So make sure that you get a good water bottle and breathable clothing so that you can play your best. The other effect of heat is that it changes the firmness of the disc. Heat will make a disc gummier and softer than usual. This in turn makes the disc less stable than usual, changing the flight pattern.
Cold Weather Cold weather notoriously makes it more difficult to play disc golf because your fingers are cold and the disc plastic is affected as well. It is always important that you keep your hands warm while you play (whether that be gloves, an Apex Handwarmer, or anything else). This is because when your hands are cold, there is less movement and feeling in them, so it can change the way you hold the disc and the angle you release without you even realizing it. It can also reduce the amount of power, which affects the speed that you throw the disc. Due to the reduced speed, the disc is less likely to follow its’ normal flight pattern, causing some frustration. However, the cold weather also affects the disc as well. Usually with cold weather, the disc will harden, which changes the flight pattern. The firmness from the cold weather tends to make discs more stable than they would be in warm weather. This can be frustrating for beginning players who are just getting used to their discs flying a certain way. Also, as the disc hardens, it is more likely to crack upon impact with a tree or the ground.
Snow The way that snow affects the disc is pretty much the same as cold weather. It changes your body mechanics as well as the firmness of the disc because it is cold. However, it can also make discs slippery as they get wet, which makes them harder to throw. This is when it is good to have a towel on hand to help you dry off your discs before you throw them. Snow will also make it harder to find your discs, because the disc can easily slide under the snow and out of view. You’ll want to use a bright colored disc, since these colors will be easier to see against the snow. There are also some people who attach a light ribbon to the middle of their disc, so that if the disc slides under the snow, it will stand out against the snow and mark where it went under. Just make sure when you do this that you make sure the weight of the ribbon is evenly distributed and the ribbon is long enough that you can see it easily.
Wind One of the last weather patterns we are going to talk about is wind. Wind has the most variable effect on discs because it really depends on how strong the wind is and what direction it is coming from. It is not predictable and can quickly change throughout the round that you are playing. So, this requires you to be vigilant when you are playing, to watch the wind and predict how it is going to affect the flight pattern of your disc. Wind is something that can affect anyone, even golfers who have been playing for many years. Tailwinds and headwinds are a little more predictable in how they will affect your disc, but crosswinds are unpredictable and change depending on direction and strength of the wind.
When looking at crosswind, the biggest thing to keep in mind is the angle of your throw and how much spin (speed) you put onto the disc. With more spin, the disc will be able to cut through the wind with more efficiency. However, you must be careful at choosing your release angle. If your disc is pointed up away from the wind, you are likely to have your disc veer off course as it is caught in the wind. However, you don’t want to point it too much toward the wind, as a heavy crosswind will push your disc toward the ground.
When you are throwing into a headwind, you want to have as flat of a release as you can get. This will help reduce the risk of the wind catching the disc or pushing it to the ground, just like we talked about with crosswinds. While high speed drivers will cut through the wind faster, heavier discs will be less affected by the wind, as will more overstable discs. This is because headwinds make the discs less stable. Tailwinds will make a disc more stable, so you would want to use your more understable discs here. Unlike with the headwind, you want a lighter disc, as then the wind can help carry your discs farther.
Rain The final weather of the day is rain. Rain itself doesn’t affect the flight of the disc, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect the overall round. The fun part about rain, is often it comes with another weather pattern, usually being cold and/or windy. This makes for a fun round to play in when you affected on multiple fronts. On its own though, rain affects one big aspect of frisbee, and that is the release of the disc. Wet discs are notoriously harder to throw, as they are slippery and it is hard to get the correct speed and angle if the disc is slipping in your hands. This is why it is essential to have a towel with your discs, as you can dry off your hands and the disc and that will help drastically. Overall, the worst part about rain is when it is accompanied by another adverse weather pattern, making playing very difficult.
That wraps up the biggest weather phenomenon’s and how they affect disc golf rounds! We look forward to seeing all of you out there, regardless of weather !