NEWS – Zen & The Art of Disc Golf coming to iBooks, Audible

Zen & The Art of Disc Golf is coming to both iBooks and Audiobook within the next few months.

Matt Hays has been chosen as the narrator for the Audiobook (which will be available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes). Matt has an impressive resume of narration, acting, and voice-over and will add much life to Z&TAODG. We are excited to have such talent on board to work on the project.

No release date yet on either iBooks or Audiobook.

More info as it comes!

DISCS & ZEN – Chasing that Perfect Flight

I have often said to new disc golfers “Once you hear those chains, it’s over.” Disc golf has a strange ability to turn any newby into a crazed disc golf addict with only one or two rounds.

But it is not only the chains that bring us back again and again. It is chasing that perfect flight. Hitting that extra long putt. And of course the ultimate win for any disc golfer, hearing those chains ring from the tee pad.

In a way, disc golf is a lot like surfing. There is a certain spiritual “flow” to the game that brings disc golfers out to the course day after day. Just like surfers spend their lives chasing a ride on the perfect wave, we go from course to course and disc to disc chasing that perfect flight. And when it happens, when that disc is in the air taking the flight path it was intended for, time seems to slow down. For some reason we get a mild high from this.

For those few seconds, time stands still, and all that matters in the world is a spinning disc in the wind. Everything in our mind is at peace and when the disc lands, we want to do it all over again.

Disc golf brings our mind into the moment. If our mind is anywhere other than on the course, we know it hurts our game. On the course, with practice, we become able to focus on what is important – putting this disc in that basket.  How often though do we walk around from day to day like a zombie thinking about everything else but being in the moment? And what can disc golf teach us about how this not only hurts our game but who we are off the course.  We know that half heartedly lobbing a disc somewhat toward the basket only costs us strokes. We take time on the course to prepare our focus and our shots, carefully planning and eliminating distractions. What are we doing off of the course the prepare our focus, to be in the moment, and not simply lobbing ourselves at other important tasks?

Chasing that perfect flight is about being in the moment and bearing witness to the amazing things you can accomplish. It is finding “flow” in all that you do. It is becoming an active part in your game and your life instead of just a spectator.

Patrick McCormick
– Author of Zen & The Art of Disc Golf
– Host of The Zen Disc Golf Podcast

Image by @franksandtanks on IG

DISCS & ZEN – How to Hit Less Trees and More Chains

“You simply can’t be a victim of your bad shots. A lot of players will dwell on a bad hole and carry negative thoughts into later shots.” – Erik Smith [Team Discraft]

How many times has this happened to you? You are playing the round of your life and feeling really good when all the sudden CRACK – you hit a tree right off the tee that turns a hole you’d otherwise birdie into a double or triple bogie. Now you feel like you have to make it up on the next hole. You are concentrating on all the work you are going to have to do to “catch up” and make up the diffrence. You step onto the tee box, mind still stuck on that stupid tree, and release your disc late, only to hit ANOTHER tree!

It happens to us all. The round is going great but that one shot just sends everything into a downward spiral. At the end of the round you tell yourself “Man, I was playing awesome until I hit that tree on hole 8. What happened?”

The answer is that you were in the moment on holes 1 through 7. Everything was going smooth and you were playing great because with each hole you were focused on the shot that you needed to make. Not a previous shot. Not a future shot. Your mind was in the now. And each great shot that you made was a result of your building confidence. Then somthing disturbed you. Your focus was changed. Now you lost some of the confidence. You were now on the teebox, thinking about hitting that tree, thinking about having to “catch up.” And the downward spiral began in your mind which manifested in your game.

Disc Golf is an “in the moment” game. Your mind must be in the now to throw the best you can throw. When you start thinking of hitting that tree, your subconcious doesn’t understand that is something you DON’T want to to do. It becomes focused on hitting a tree. Any tree. Have you ever notice that hitting one tree leads to hitting another and another until you feel more like a lumberjack than a disc golfer?

So what is the best way to recover after hitting a tree or any other poor shot? Regain focus by telling your mind what you want it to do rather than what you don’t want it to do. Step up to the next teebox, set your aim and rather than thinking of the obstacles – focus on the basket. That’s where you want to go, right? Tell your mind: “basket, basket, basket,” instead of “tree, tree, tree.”

Life, like disc golf, is full of obstacles. And our mind doesn’t understand what we don’t want, only what you are thinking about. Changing your thinking is the first step to any type of success in life. Always be focused on your goals and not the challenges that stand between you an achieving them. Stay focused on today and what you need to accomplish and if you hit a few trees, so what, stand back up and keep going!

Patrick McCormick
– Author of Zen & The Art of Disc Golf
– Host of The Zen Disc Golf Podcast

Image courtesy of IG @scott_dudek
DISC GOLF

DISCS & ZEN – What Disc Golf Taught Me About Life

Not to be over-dramatic or anything, but plain and simple – DISC GOLF CHANGED MY LIFE. Being sort of introverted, I did not grow up playing many sports. I have been a musician my whole life, and as a young person I spent most of my time in a dark recording studio layering guitar tracks or vocals. I was scared of the sunlight. I had played disc golf  a couple of times as a young teen with a church that I attended, and enjoyed it but it never really stuck as I went through the trials and tribulations of my teen years.

Fast-forward about a decade and a half, I am living at the beach in Virginia Beach (still recording) but finding myself taking breaks more and more often to walk on the beach or jump on a bike. One day on a bike ride with my lovely wife, I realized how close we lived to the disc golf course I played at as a kid and immediately had the itch to try it again.

By this time, I had grown up, gotten a job, joined the workforce and told myself I was too old to have fun anymore. But there we were the next week with frisbees we bought at Petsmart, trying to hock these featherweight plastics 300 ft. Needless to say, the frisbees didn’t work out. But whether it was nostalgia or disc golf fever, once I heard those chains, I was addicted. I upgraded those frisbees to the Innova standard set -Leopard, Shark, and Aviar. Then I bought a bag. And then a few more discs. Then some replacements in case I lost those. Oh, and I needed a practice basket… You get the drift – we have all been there.

But most importantly. I began walking, playing, being in the sunlight, walking through the trees, listening to the birds and I started wondering: “What if I would have continued playing all those years?”

When I wasnt on the course, I craved it. I watched YouTube videos at work. I even carried my skillshot to work and through during breaks. I was seriously hooked. I began looking for that perfect flight path like a surfer looks for the perfect wave. And I began realizing how everything in disc golf related to life, my happiness, my health, and this focussed state which kept me so grounded. I felt better about living my life after every round.

I began to realize that just because you grow up doesn’t mean your too old to enjoy anything anymore. I began noticing many little things that made me happy and showing those things gratitude. Disc golf hit me like a wave and continues to give me strength and happiness. It is a meditative practice. It is Zen.

Patrick McCormick
– Author of Zen & The Art of Disc Golf
– Host of The Zen Disc Golf Podcast

Image courtesy of @nicholas_foster from Instagram

disc golf basket

DISCS & ZEN – Welcome to Zen & The Art of Disc Golf!

About 3 years ago while playing a round of disc golf on my local course, I began pondering what it is that I love about this game so much. It is so simple. Put this disc in that basket, try to do it in the least amount of strokes possible, yet there is something that brings me back out this course to play the same holes every morning. In sunshine, in rain, in snow – there I was putting this disc in that basket.

But why? What is the appeal?

Then I realized, I already answered my question.

“IT IS SO SIMPLE. ”

I began noticing that on the disc golf course, all problems melted away. All my thinking about bills, work, or family problems simply did not exist. Not that I was running from these things of course, but for one or two hours a day – I had but one simple focus – Put this disc in the basket. And try to do it better everyday.

Then I began realizing that this was not only a game but a walking meditation. I was using the experience of the game to drive focus and create flow. This focus and flow was central to fact that day to day problems didn’t seem to bother me anymore. I was becoming happy.

I began seeing everything happening around me had its equivalent on the disc golf course. Problems in life are just trees. You are going to hit some. Goals in life are like baskets. They are worth striving for. And guess what…You are going to lose a few discs on the way if you really want to play.

I found myself constantly relating life issues to my wife to their counterparts on the course, only to realize that since she was not a disc golfer – it was difficult for her to find meaning in them.

Then I had a thought – put it in a book. Zen & The Art Of Disc Golf was born. I wrote this book over a period of three years and am excited to say it is 90% completed. I really look forward to sharing it with all of you soon, until then I created this website, this blog, to begin sharing even more insight with you.

This is going to be a journey. And I want to take as many friends with me as I can. I am hoping to include articles, interviews, reviews, whatever interesting things I can that my fellow disc golfers would be interested in reading.

Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned!

Patrick McCormick
– Author of Zen & The Art of Disc Golf
– Host of The Zen Disc Golf Podcast