Ladies, we’ve all been out playing disc golf with the guys and have come away feeling disappointed in our own abilities. Either it’s because we can’t get the distance, can’t match the power, or some other aspect of our game just doesn’t seem to match theirs. I spent the first six months of my disc golf career playing with only men, and I was convinced that I was not good enough to compete. My backhands couldn’t break 230 feet and my sidearm was (and continues to be) nonexistent. My only exposure to other female disc golfers was what I could view online within the FPO (professional) division, and I definitely wasn’t able to play at that caliber. So I concluded that if I wasn’t as good as my guy friends who don’t even compete, I must not be very good at all— right? Wrong!
Over the past four months I have started playing with more females and I’ve worked to build up my mental game. Through doing this I have realized two very important things that have helped me to stop comparing myself to my male counterparts. The first, and most important thing I learned, is that during a practice round your goal is to beat your own best score. Practice rounds are supposed to encourage you to improve the parts of your game that need some help. Don’t be afraid to throw multiple shots, play from the hardest lie, and put on those scramble-pants. At no point in this practice round should anyone else’s score have any bearing on what you’re round looks like. A practice round is for you to compete against yourself— no one else, regardless of gender.
The second thing that I realized is specifically about competing. Don’t worry about how you measure up to the guys. You aren’t competing against them anyway. Who cares that your friend, Steve, can bomb 400 feet and still get in a great landing zone? Or that your boyfriend has a sidearm that can park the hardest hole on your home-course every time? Those people aren’t your competition. Plus, in my experience, the ladies that you’re competing against would be more than happy to give you some pointers and have likely tripped over the same things you struggle with now.
My parting advice is to get involved in more tournaments. If you are tired of comparing yourself to guys, play with girls. If you want to meet more female disc golfers, take the effort to find them, or invite some friends to try the game. If you want to know how you’re doing for your field, play with girls. If you want to play with girls, play in tournaments! And don’t be afraid to play in a higher division if your division of comfort is empty; it might be easier to win if you are unopposed, but it doesn’t really feel like winning. Plus, it’s more fun to play with other girls than it is to win by yourself.
Remember, this game is for you to have fun. You improve on your own merits and comparing yourself to other players, regardless of gender, should act as motivation rather than discouragement.