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Not sure if it is one of those fool hearty, mid-life crisis activities or more of an "it's about time" type of thing, but tonight I registered to participate in the Minnesota Spring Open, my first "real" tournament on the disc golf scene (after 30 years of my on-again, off-again love affair with this sport)...playing against serious competition.

Realistically, coming off a 6+ month lay-off with two torn tendons in my right knee (LHBH), I'm not expecting much other than hopefully coming home at the end of the day pain-free! However, I have to be honest to say that I am pretty geeked-up to see what I can do against some of the best Minnesota has to offer. A butt-kicking is likely in my very-near future, but if I can finish ahead of anybody after my little forced hiatus from the sport this winter, I'll consider that a victory.

I was just going to ask you all, who are regulars to the tourney scene, what advice you might have for showing as best as I can (under the circumstances). My thought is to spend an hour or two a day over the next two weeks primarily putting and working on my approach shots. I don't want to embarrass myself off the tee...but my thought is:

1. I'd probably embarrass myself against most of the better players anyway, since drives have never been my strong-suit, and

2. What I lack in driving distance I believe I could counter-act a bit by being razor-sharp in my mid-range/approach shots.

Any other advice any of you might have for putting my best foot forward on the 5th? This will be my first time playing against a lot of these guys...and I want to do everything in my power to be on my A-game if I can. Thanks!

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Good luck Derek, from another old guy! lol
so if you do better then last place gonna go to more events?
Where I place won't affect my participation in events at all. I've told others this, but "competition" and "disc golf," for me, isn't about competing against others. It is about competing against myself. Doesn't matter whether I am ten shots up or ten shots down against people I am playing with. What matters is how I am playing against my own abilities and my previous bests. When I play C.P. Adams Park in Hastings for the first time on April 5, my first time around will be "see what I can do on this course," with my second round hopefully being better than my first! With an average length of 374 feet off the Pro tees AND snow still on the ground, it's going to be a solid challenge.

Honestly though, I just want to play how I know I can play...then beat that by 1-2 shots the second time around. Makes no difference to me, per se, where I fall in the pack...although not finishing dead-last would be nice. I won't risk re-injuring my knee though via full (usual) X-step run-up on the tee. 1-2 shots better in a tourney isn't worth losing a spring/summer of disc golf out on the courses...if you know what I mean. ;-)
Playing in your first real tournament will most likely be an enjoyable experience, if you know what your in for. The first tourneys I played were unsanctioned one day events that were more along the lines of a competitive casual round with everyone in the area that I've played with at least once before. My first REAL tournament was the 2007 Victoria Open. That was a real wake up call. I think I came in dead last or really close to it. It's really tough to keep focused on your game for three to four rounds. After my horrible experience finishing DFL, a buddy and I decided on a good way to practice for tournaments.

We each put down 30 dollars and played three rounds of golf and a putting game. For the actual rounds of golf we would play only midrange shots for each hole ( nothing over 275 feet ). We would pick a tee location for each hole that would require placement ( not too many just straight forward/open basket shots). Whoever won the first round got to 20 dollars from the other guy. The second round was the same way, except if the first round looser lost he didn't owe anything else. Also, and what I think helped immensely, before we threw on a hole there was a mandatory 5 minute waiting period. The last round was for driving practice. The holes averaged 300+ feet with nothing much over 425' (the guy I played against could push 600' at will). And like before, if you lost the first two games you didn't owe anything extra. These rounds were aimed at putting pressure on you to play well. If you won the first game it was to keep the pressure on you to maintain your lead and if you lost the first round it would put you in that pressure situation to make a come back.

The last part of it was a putting game for 10 dollars. We would take turns putting from various distances and whoever made the highest percentage won.

My advice to you while playing during your tournament; don't throw any kind of shot you haven't already thrown 100 times before. And be honest with yourself about your game. If you know you can make that 350' anhyzer drive one 2 or 3 times out of 10 then DON'T do it. Tournaments are all about course management and playing within your ability. The reason I finished DFL my first time was that I tried to make shots that I wasn't comfortable with.

P.S. how's the rehab for the knee coming along?
My advice, let it all go and have fun! You're not playing Open so you don't have to worry about your score or how well you finish. If you do well, fantastic! If not, fanastic! In either scenario it's important to not focus on "making shots" or "I just missed that for birdie" rather just focus on "how can I make this experience enjoyable and fun".
Hey! I just registered for this a few days ago and it will be my first tournament as well! I don't see myself winning anything but really I think it's mostly about making so new friends and the atmosphere because from what I hear tournaments are a ton of fun. Good luck on Sat, and maybe I'll see you around!
dont worry about how your playing. Just go there relax talk to some of the others players and have a great time. Tournaments for me mean meeting and playing with new people for all around the state.
Thanks folks! Yeah, I'm primarily looking at next weekend as an opportunity to learn and have fun. I did go out today with 6-7 superior MFA players in Owatonna, MN (most of whom will be playing in higher brackets than me next weekend). I got my arse handed to me, as expected. I pulled a fat 34 on the first 9 off the long tees (ugh), though I did play a lot better, I thought, on the second nine on their course's custom "gold" tees...think I shot a 33-34 with at least 500-600 "extra" feet to cover.

The cool thing though was that I played a full 18 holes without any pain in my knee. Even tried a bit of the 'ol X-step without any pain too (after stinking up the joint off the tee with my "modified" footwork). I've played a ton of "practice" shots during my recovery, but today was the first time I've actually played a full round since late September. That meant a lot to me...as I really do LOVE this sport! :-) Guys were really cool/patient too...helping with a few throwing tips and a couple discs they thought would help me off the tee.

Should be fun next weekend! I'll work on putting, putting and more putting this week (REALLY disappointed myself today Re: putting), as well as try and get 2-3 rounds in on our local course before letting 'er rip on Saturday......

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