As an intermediate disc golfer, I am wondering what everyone would say their greatest tip would be, whether it is about driving longer/straighter, putting more accurate, or just a general tip about the game.
Practice, practice practice! Go out to a soccer field and practice your drives ( for me, usually for 30 odd minutes). Get a basket/target at home and putt 100 times a day (takes about an hour). Not as fun as being on the course with your buddies, but when you do get back out there you will play better - which is even more fun!
I played in my first open tournement last weekend in sacremento. I asked a great pro if he and other pros always give aproach shots between 80 and 120 a chance to go in. He said that was what ams think they have to do and pros will usually play the safe smart shot and park it. I was lucky enough to play with the guy who won the tournement in the first round, and I dont remember him making any huge puts. I saw a few amazing up shots, and a ton of parked drives.
Drive for show and putt for dough. Putting, Putting and more Putting.
Right handed. Stand tall with your right foot behind the marker and your left off to the side behind you, supporting you only alittle with 95% of your weight on your right foot. Stare at the very link in the basket that you want to hit. When you pitch the disc extend your hand up towards the basket as if to shake hands. You will be painting the right side of the basket with your upstroke. Your wrist should not go past straight. As I pitch, I raise up on to the ball of my right foot.
Stare then handshake. Those are my two steps for putting. Never stop looking at the link you want to hit through your movement. The handshake motion does not allow you to put alot of spin on the disc and that is a good thing according to Ken Climo. The least amount of spin possible for the disc to travel from your hand to the basket is optimal according to him.
Now that you have the standing putt; what about the jump putt??
The TomaHawk is a vaulable shot. I used a Tomahawk upshot in the month end tourney and my group was blown away. Said they never even thought about that shot. The Thumber and the TomaHawk can get you out of allot of rough spots.
My tip would be to focus on each shot, not worrying about what went beforehand (especially if the pervious shot or hole was a bad one). Once your technique is decent, the biggest hurdle to lowering your scores is mental, and a lot of people struggle with this aspect of the game. My first few tournaments, I was playing far too seriously, and whenever i threw a poor shot, i beat myself up mentally, thinking this would improve my performance. It had the opposite effect, and dragged my game down further. Once I learnt to throw each shot on its merits without thinking about what happened before the shot, my playing standard and personal best scores took a big jump. I'm far from the best disc golfer in our group, but i'm glad I've conquered the mental demons.
I would say the key to success in Intermediate is eliminating disasters, whereas the key to Advanced is scoring. Maybe this has changed with the ratings bump, but it was true when the cutoff was 925, and might still be.
In Intermediate, 12 pars in a row can be a good thing. The thing that makes all the difference in the world is making sure you get your 4 when have a total shank of a drive, and not turning it into a 5 or worse. Most players try to "get it all back" in one throw, and that can easily turn a bad shot into a disaster hole. If you shank into the schuul and you don't have a reasonable look at the basket, shoot to a spot where you know you can get up and down in 2 and just take that bogey and move on. If you are gong for the 2% shot, the prayer save, you can easily end up in a worse spot than you are now, or with the same crappy look but only 10-20 feet closer. Learn to make a realistic appraisal of the situation and take your lumps when need be.
Players shank shots, that's true of all players. The good players don't turn one bad shot into 5 bad holes. Since Intermediates aren't as consistent as Advanced or Open, it stands to reason that there will be more shanked shots, and being able to take your lumps and move on will make more of an impact in the final standings since everyone has more shanks.
You can also use this skill in evaluating when to layup for a dangerous 30 foot putt and when to give it a safe run. It's the same deal. A slight breeze in your face and 35 feet away with a big dropoff behind the basket? Layup! 50 feet with an uphill grade 15 feet past? Give it a run. :)
My biggest tip is, to quote Allen Iverson (while with the Philadelphia 76ers):
"If Coach tells you that I missed PRACTICE, then that's that. I may have missed one PRACTICE this year but if somebody says he missed one PRACTICE of all the PRACTICEs this year, then that's enough to get a whole lot started. I told Coach Brown that you don't have to give the people of Philadelphia a reason to think about trading me or anything like that. If you trade somebody, you trade them to make the team better...simple as that. I'm cool with that. I'm all about that. The people in Philadelphia deserve to have a winner. It's simple as that. It goes further than that ... If I can't PRACTICE, I can't PRACTICE. It is as simple as that. It ain't about that at all. It's easy to sum it up if you're just talking about PRACTICE. We're sitting here, and I'm supposed to be the franchise player, and we're talking about PRACTICE. I mean listen, we're sitting here talking about PRACTICE, not a game, not a game, not a game, but we're talking about PRACTICE. Not the game that I go out there and die for and play every game like it's my last but we're talking about PRACTICE man. How silly is that? ... Now I know that I'm supposed to lead by example and all that but I'm not shoving that aside like it don't mean anything. I know it's important, I honestly do but we're talking about PRATICE. We're talking about PRACTICE man. We're talking about PRACTICE. We're talking about PRACTICE. We're not talking about the game. We're talking about PRACTICE. When you come to the arena, and you see me play, you've seen me play right, you've seen me give everything I've got, but we're talking about PRACTICE right now. ... Hey I hear you, it's funny to me too, hey it's strange to me too but we're talking about PRACTICE man, we're not even talking about the game, when it actually matters, we're talking about PRACTICE ... How the hell can I make my teammates better by PRACTICING?"
And to quote Larry Brown (his coach at the time):
"He said "PRACTICE" more times than he's actually PRACTICEd."
So, what is my biggest tip? Don't be A.I. Get out and PRACTICE.
I too am an intermediate player that is about to be an advanced player. The reasoning for this is two very simple tips: Get better at putting, and experiment with different putting styles. I tried the stradle put and literally took 3-4 shots off per round almost over night. The other thing that has helped me is getting a super-consistent driving form. I can only throw about 330' but I can do it with a very accurate line. I've been beating guys with big arms simply because I can place my drive on tight holes.
My advice would be to play conservatively when you are in a tournament. Meaning that you lay up the 40 footer that you may have a chance at missing. Don't take risky shots to shave points off of your score.
Taking one's own advice----difficulty rating (impossible)