It took me a long time to work up to this point, but I am finally ready to admit the truth:
I’m a lightweight, and proud of it.
In a game dominated by those throwing max weight drivers in search of the biggest distance – and, in many cases, ego – possible, I am man enough to admit that I am perfectly content throwing my Latitude 64 Opto Diamond for most drives. Standing out on the fairway with its hot pink hue and weighing in at a whopping 154 grams, it is now a staple of my game.
In fact, I am building all of my drivers around this weight class for the foreseeable future, and I am quite pleased with the results so far.
It hasn’t always been like this, though. In fact, during my two-plus years of disc golfing, I have taken some bad advice, ignored some good, and felt some pain to finally get to this point.
Let’s start with the bad advice.
When I first started playing, I headed out to league night at my local course – not to play, but to learn. The president of the local club was nice enough to show me around and take a look in my bag, which at the time consisted of an Innova DX Valkyrie and the Leopard/Shark/Aviar trifecta found in the company’s starter pack sold in big box stores.
The president of the club flipped through my discs, turned them over and, looking at the “150” written on the underside of the starter pack trio, derisively said, “No. These are for ladies.”
While I was definitely put off by his tone and the insinuation that women weren’t skilled – something I found to be offensive, but didn’t speak up about due to my lack of comfort in the setting – I wanted to improve at disc golf. So, I quickly ditched the 150-class stuff and added some discs in the 170-gram range…
…and promptly had trouble throwing them. I guess that’s what I get for heeding close-minded advice.
So, after struggling with weights in the 170s, I cobbled up my pride and dropped down into the 160s. Why didn’t I go all the way into the 150s and just get it over with?
Stubbornness, if I had to guess.
Some months down the road, though, I had a great opportunity presented to me. When playing in a low-key Ice Bowl event, I was put on the same card as Innova Ambassador (and Rattling Chains contributor) Allen Risley. Watching him play all day, and seeing how easy everything looked, told me I was doing something wrong. When I asked him for some advice on smoothing out my form, he pointed to throwing lighter discs, as they would be less forgiving of form flaws and would still travel far if thrown correctly.
So, naturally, I rushed out the next day and stocked up on 150-class drivers, right?
Well, kind of. I bought a 150-gram Star Teebird and a Star Valkyrie of the same weight, and headed out to the course.
However, due to my lack of patience – shock of the century, but these discs didn’t fly well for me right off the bat, because I never gave them time – I ended up ditching my new toys and heading back into the 160-range.
And that’s how it stood, up until about three weeks ago. I am not sure what happened – whether a flaw in my form had worsened, or if I strained something off the disc golf course – but I started to experience sharp, stabbing pains in my throwing elbow. When I got home from the course, I was having problems even picking up my daughter. That just can’t happen.
So, after taking a couple days off and a boatload of Ibuprofen, I decided something in my game had to change.
Right around the same time, Will Schusterick released an extremely helpful driving tutorial video that really broke down form in an easy-to-digest fashion.
Thinking back to what Risley told me – that light discs are good learning tools – I decided to dig into the stash of discs I bought for my wife, grab the Diamond, and pore over the Schusterick video to rebuild my form.
And while this process has only been a few weeks in the making, I am excited about the results so far. I have made some nice shots with the Diamond that have required very little exertion, including a near-ace on a basket I normally never touch with a drive. And, best of all, my arm hasn’t been in any pain since I started throwing it.
So, I am making the full switch to 150-class drivers. I just added a light blue Star Teebird that makes my discs look like they are suited for a baby shower, and I am on the hunt for one more distance driver to add to the mix. I might suffer a bit in the wind, but I think that is a small price to pay for playing without pain.
In the meantime, my old drivers are sitting in a stack, longing to be thrown. And maybe they will be someday. But for now, I am proud to admit that I throw lightweight drivers, even if they are pink.
Steve Hill is the associate editor for Rattling Chains. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @OneMileMore.