3-Putting — everyone does it and we all hate it! So how do we minimize it or remove it from our game completely? While removing it from your game completely may be harder said than done, this article will touch on a couple ways to help minimize 3-putting; ultimately shaving strokes of your game as a result. As many of you know, several 3-putts come from lack of mental focus, but we will take a look at how lag putting and putting arcs will up your confidence and down your stroke total in no time!
Tell me if you have ever been in this scenario: you are playing a round of disc golf with a friend and he throws his driver almost all the way to the basket, skips up another 30 feet and settles under the tray for a tap in birdie. As you approach the basket, he starts flipping out about HOW CLOSE HE GOT TO A HOLE IN ONE! While we’re happy for our friend and fellow disc golfer, we have to be realistic — he didn’t almost make a hole in one.
Why not, though?
Besides having the disc skip off the ground and get to the height of the chains, it was physically impossible for that disc to go in. That being said, the only other option would have been a speeding bullet out of his hand that was at the height of the chains when at the basket — but if it missed, it would continue to fly and skip out another 75 feet past. In this scenario, I’d rather have a tap in birdie that didn’t have a chance at a hole in one, than a hole in one rush only to be dashed by a missed 75 foot putt and a standard par.
We aren’t giving tips on how to make a hole in one, but the principle of disc height when near the basket IS the focus — especially when applied to putting. For any of you traditional golfers out there, the focus on the putting arc concept in disc golf will be applicable to lag putting for you. Lag putting in traditional golf is when you are far from the hole (say 50 feet), and want to get it close enough to make your next putt for par. Even more so than that, what you’d REALLY like to do is to run the ball 18” past the hole at worst — where you actually give yourself a chance to make the putt, but cemented the fact that you will undoubtedly make the comebacker. While, yes, you are trying to make the initial putt, golfers should envision an 18” circle around the hole and aim for that — giving yourself a chance if at a realistic distance, but eliminating the possibility for a 3-putt.
Now in disc golf, since we are dealing with discs flying through the air instead of balls rolling on the round, we need to focus on the arc of the disc. Similar to the example for the hole in one, you have to get the disc high enough to even give yourself a chance for it to go in. Imagine that you are 30 feet from the basket with no trees in sight. You gently arc the disc high enough for it to have a chance to go in (at the proper height of the chains when nearing the basket), but then just misses and softly touches down only a few feet from the basket. Obviously, not the end result you were looking for, but accept your tap-in par and take your chances for birdie elsewhere.
Now let’s imagine you are in the woods about 60 feet away from the basket with a stream downhill in the distance. I’ve seen so many playing partners throw a flat missile right at the basket, only to land at the base of the pole where it skips out and runs away. If you aren’t going to get the disc high enough to even GIVE IT A CHANCE, then just lay the disc under the basket and tap in for your par. Not every putt is make-able, and smart players have to realize when to take their medicine. For players that are yet to understand that the disc has to reach a desired height to even have the opportunity to go in may struggle a bit with minimizing 3-putting, as “shaking it off” and making the comebacker requires just as much mental tenacity as it does technique and skill.
The next time you are at your local course working on your putting game, think about the putting arc required to “give the disc a chance” to go in, yet will sit fast enough if it misses. Then think about a completely level, flat flight of the disc at the height of the chains, and how far it will continue to go past the basket if it misses. Understanding these simple putting arcs will hopefully help eliminate costly 3-putts and shave some strokes off your game in no time!