I have a decent backhand these days, but it wasn’t always so.
In the past, I used to throw nothing but forehand shots. Over the years, this old shoulder of mine has had it with forehand and overhand shots. Heck, even just watching someone blast an overhand shot into the stratosphere can make me wince.
Nearly two years ago, I came to the conclusion that not having a backhand throw was not only holding my game back, it was threatening to cause permanent injury. Over that time, I managed to hobble together a decent backhand, which netted more distance and less discomfort, but there was a hefty void with the lack of a forehand shot.
That’s why I set out to develop a consistent anhyzer shot at the start of the summer. Well, that and the fact that I was constantly reminded of my deficiencies by holes No. 8 and No. 9 at my local course.
The problem with these holes is they have mandatory doglegs to the right.
This presented few obstacles for a younger, forehand-throwing André, who could bend it right around those doglegs with a quick flick. OK, maybe not every time. Still, it was with much more frequency than an older, backhand-throwing André has been able to muster. But I digress.
Since transitioning to backhand, anhyzers have become hecklers of the worst kind, jeering at me as I missed mandos, scoffing derisively as my shot faded on me instead of maintaining turn and breaking into that beautiful anhyzer glide I had watched so many others wrap around those leering bends.
I felt powerless against holes No. 8 and No. 9 in spite of my inching progress during the summer. I would become nervous as I approached the tee pads, sweating palms belying my nonchalance as I stepped up. I would preface my shots with deflective self-deprecations. Inside I had begun to lose faith that I would ever find my anhyzer, and hope faded in the same way so many of my failed shots did.
“Would I ever find an anhyzer of my own?” I often wondered. So many others perfectly execute the shot. The mounting evidence of the existence of this shot flew in the face of my own frustrated denials.
But the proof also drove me to keep searching for more pieces to construct my own anhyzer. I was a mad scientist, taking his prototype out, watching it fail catastrophically, only to go back to the ol’ drawing board to tweak a few elements.
I forged ahead, adjusting stance, fiddling with form, and finally getting the proper turnover out of my disc, getting it to resist fade and turn like a good anhyzer should. Still, there was no power behind it. I was still falling well short of my mark.
Frustrations mounted and morale fell for the hundredth time. Hats were flung into the dust and second (equally poor) shots were thrown out of anger before I’d stomp away from the tee, muttering in disgust. I was near the end of my patience and the end of summer. I had failed.
Then it happened.
Something clicked in my head as I reviewed my past struggles, trying to figure out what was missing. I tried everything again, and in that moment, all of the pieces fell into place.
On hole No. 8, I stood agape as my shot cleared the mando, turned right gracefully and dropped to the ground within easy birdie range. I had such minor successes before, so I was reluctant to start hooting and hollering just yet.
I tried it again on hole No. 9.
Once again, it carried farther than it had in prior attempts. I came out the next night, and the night after that, fearing that it had just been a fluke. Surely, I couldn’t have unlocked the secrets of the anhyzer? Then I almost aced hole No. 8. Not once, but twice! In a row, even!
My confidence was bolstered and I felt like my game changed forever. I couldn’t wait to blow my best score out of the water with my new anhyzer. I reveled in the thought of bringing it out on the green during next season’s doubles league.
Then I found out the course would be completely redesigned at the end of the summer. Holes No. 8 and No. 9 would be retired, forever. In fact, they have already been pulled.
In spite of my antagonistic relationship with the two holes, I will remember them fondly for all that they taught me about humility and anhyzers and about success and failure. Most importantly, I’ll remember them for what they taught me about patience and persistence.
I’ll miss those holes.
André Fredrick is an Oregon-based disc golfer writing for RattlingChains.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.