Disc Golfing in the Snow

Don’t let the white stuff stop you having fun

Just because the temperatures have dropped and there’s snow on the ground, doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun round (or two or three) of disc golf.

General Advice:

  • Play in groups and use spotters as frequently as possible, ideally on every drive and long approach, and especially on any blind shots.  A set of eyes closer to where the discs are landing will make them much easier to find in the fluffy stuff.
  • Stick to well trodden paths when walking the fairways.  This is good for two reasons:
    • You save energy because you do not have to create your own paths through the fresher snow.
    • The more undisturbed snow that remains in the fairway, the easier it is to find fresh disc marks.
  • Always be wary of your footing.  You never know when the next step will be onto a patch of ice or into a hip-deep drift.  Take your time and watch every step.
  • Never take your eyes off the disc in air and use whatever landmarks you can find to remember where the disc landed.  If you see that the disc landed at the base of the second birch tree, it will significantly cut down the area in which you will have to search.

Personal Advice:

  • Dress in layers and wear breathable fabrics, especially close to the body.  Walking around on the course will warm you up, so you’re sure to find yourself wanting to remove layers during a round so you don’t overheat.  Sweat + cold air = very cold body.
  • Keep your arms as light as possible.  A sleeve-less vest is an ideal top layer over a single long-sleeve shirt since it can provide warmth without hindering your arm movements too much.
  • Water-proof your lower-half.  Some combination of water-proof socks, shoes/boots, and water repellant pants will keep you drier, warmer, and happier.  Nothing can bring a round down more than a pair of wet, cold feet.  Not to mention, it’s a recipe for frostbite.

Disc Advice:

  • Avoid throwing white discs as much as possible.  Why make the difficult job of spotting discs in the snow even tougher by throwing a color that matches the surroundings?
  • Don’t carry as many discs as normal.  First, this will lessen the chances of losing your “favorite” disc(s) in the snow.  Second, the lighter load will save you energy in the long run, not to mention give you more room in your bag to carry the extra layers of clothes you shed during the round.
  • Keep your discs cold.  If you’re planning to play a round or two tomorrow, put your discs in the car the night before.  If there’s a heated clubhouse or shop, leave your discs outside.  The reason is simple.  If discs are warm when they hit snow, the snow will melt and stick to the disc more.  If the disc is cold, snow will slide off easier.  This really should only affect the first few holes of a round since the discs should cool the longer they’re out anyway. But the less sticky wet snow you create early in the round, the drier your discs and more importantly, your towels, will stay as you play.
  • Utilize a special technique to make finding discs easier:
    • Coating the rim of your disc in colored chalk dust so that it leaves a swath of color when it hits the snow.  The best type of chalk to use is construction or marking chalk, usually available in bottle form at any hardware or construction supply store.  Best means of applying it to your disc is to take an old sock, put the chalk in it, then gently tapping your disc with the chalk-filled sock.  Think rosin bag, only filled with chalk.
    • Tape a length of ribbon to the bottom of your disc.  Center the tape on the disc and it will have very little effect on the flight of the disc.  When the disc enters the snow, the ribbon will remain out where you can spot it.  Don’t forget to account for the affect the ribbon may have on your distance.  For instruction on how to properly attach a ribbon so that it won’t come off, see this how-to by our friends at Killer B.

Attitude Advice:

  • The more you think about the cold and the snow, the more it will affect your mood.  As hokey as it might sound, when you think about how cold you are, you’re just going to feel colder.  Think warm, feel warm.
  • Distance will be hampered by the combination of the cold air, slick and/or unreliable footing, and the extra bulk created by your layers of clothes.  Bear that in mind and play accordingly.  Shorter drives + longer approaches = make-able putts.
  • Maintain realistic expectations for score and performance, keeping in mind that course conditions likely won’t yield record-breaking or personal best scores.  Not only will distance throws suffer in the cold, but icy patches could create odd skips and slides away from the basket.  Snow could weigh tree branches down into normal throwing lanes.  Basically the course will not play the same as in summer conditions, so scores won’t match summer efforts either.