Disc golf is a challenging game. Challenging because of how much you have to practice to get better. Challenging because of how long it takes to master discs. And challenging because of disc golf’s general unpredictability. But there are ways to get better and those ways include tip lists, research, and lots of practice. But there is one thing that every disc golfer needs in order to get good at the sport: a good mentor.
What is a disc golf mentor?
A disc golf mentor is a person who has played the game of disc golf for quite some time. This person has reached a skill level that is beyond the level of your above-average player, has decided to take the sport more seriously, has a lot of disc golf experience and course wisdom, and has started playing in disc golf tournaments with the goal of winning and starting a professional career or has already started a semi-professional or professional career. Essentially, a person that is good enough to be a pro or already is one.
7 reasons why you need a mentor in disc golf
Finding a good mentor to teach you the game of disc golf is probably the best way you can learn on the disc golf course. Here are the 7 reasons why you need a mentor in your corner.
1. You’re not as good as you think you are
Well, here’s a thought: you may be a good player, but to put it bluntly, you’re nowhere near as good as you think you are. Sorry if this offends you. But I’m just being real. I will say that you’re probably a pretty good player. And having a mentor on the disc golf course could probably do you good. If you’ve reached a certain skill level on the course, it’s about time that you start looking for someone to help you get to the next level.
2. You need real life, on the course training and experience with a mentor
Disc golf is always really fun (well, maybe except for those trees…). But as much as you play on the course, you need to have a mentor by your side. We all play a ton and get a lot of really great course experience, but having a mentor to show you the ropes offers you in-play training. They can show you what they would do when you land in an awkward spot, hit a tree, or wind up in a precarious position.
3. Fundamentals, techniques, and what not to do
Knowing the fundamentals is a must. And proper technique is crucial. A good mentor can assist you with all of the above plus more. Starting from the onset of play, your mentor can show you the proper course etiquette, simple beginner fundamentals, how to use proper technique, and all of those informal rules of disc golf.
4. There’s only so much you can learn on the internet
Seriously, I thought I would learn everything on Google or YouTube. Well, that’s not the case. That’s actually part of the reason I started this disc golf site…because I couldn’t find a lot of the answers to questions I had. That, or it took some in-depth research to locate said information. When you’re with a really good player, most of the time, that person can tell you exactly what you need to know. Any questions, comments, or concerns can be directed to your mentor for an appropriate response. I found this out pretty quick when I started playing. When you’re with good players, especially players that play in tournaments, they know the rules and can easily show you everything you want to know.
5. Mentors want to teach
Aside from disc golf being easy to learn, there are also many players who don’t mind mentoring those that are not as good at the game. Better players want to help you get better. I used to play ball golf, and if you wanted to learn how to get better, you go to a clubhouse and pay the club pro to teach you. It’s a shame because ball golf is fun. But ever since I started playing disc golf, all I’ve seen is better players helping out newer ones. Or just simply playing with them to give them some competition. The mentor community in disc golf is really awesome.
6. So you can learn how to become a mentor for someone else find a mentor
I want you to learn the game from a mentor for another reason – at some point, I want you to become the mentor. Think back if you’ve ever had a mentor. They probably helped you out quite a bit. If you’ve never had a mentor, you’ll soon see why they are so important. They can show you a lot. I want you to see that when you have a mentor. Then learn everything you can because one day you’ll be someone’s mentor. Who knows, maybe you’ll soon be able to show your mentor some tricks. Worldsportchicago.org’s article on sports mentoring says that mentoring is usually a two-way street.
7. It’s pretty easy to find a mentor
How do you find a mentor? You can do 4 things:
1. YouTube: There is an ever-growing collection of YouTube videos with all of the pros teaching disc golf. While I do think you should watch these videos and listen to our online mentors, always understand that you will get better, more fine-tuned knowledge if you have a personal, real-life disc golf mentor.
2. Go play: hit the course and interact with everybody on the course. You probably won’t find many friends to play with by sitting at home. Every time you hit the course, you’ll most likely run into some players. Socialize with them and ask if they want to play a round. Then seek out those better players. Even if they aren’t a professional, a player that can putt really well or drive the disc straight for 400+ feet can probably give you some good tips on how they do it.
3. Join a local disc golf club: Improvement on the course isn’t the only perk of a disc golf league. You can also meet a lot of good players who hang around leagues. This can help you with your game and can possibly net you the ability to have a mentor in your corner. These leagues are everywhere and aren’t very hard to find. Just ask someone at your local course or Google local leagues.
4. Let the pros find you: once you get good enough, why not enter a tournament or two. If you can show some potential, there are pros who seek out players to try and mold into greatness. Always try to play to the best of your abilities and look for opportunities to show people you’ve gotten better. Once you reach a good enough level, you can get sponsored and start playing with those players who run at the elite level.
I’d say that it’s pretty important for you to find somebody better than you to show you the game. You know, there’s a lot that you can learn on your own. And there’s a ridiculous amount of material on the internet to take in. But a real-life, in-person mentor is one of the best ways to develop and grow your skill in disc golf. So now it’s up to you. Get out on the course and find your mentor today!
If you’ve gotten this far, you must really want to learn more about disc golf! If you’re interested in more of what we have to say about the sport, check out some of our best posts below.
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You can also grab a copy of our book, “The Disc Golf Player’s Manual,” here on the site. It’s packed full of extremely practical tips and tricks to help you immediately start improving on the course!