The mental side of disc golf can arguably be tougher to tame than the true performance on the course. Having a grasp of your current mental state and what challenges you might run into is another element that many could struggle with.
For Paul Ulibarri, he knew the mental game was going to be a focal point going into this previous weekend’s Minnesota Majestic on the Disc Golf Pro Tour. He just returned from a trip to Sweden for a pair of tournaments and already had his mind on the upcoming World Championships.
We caught up with Ulibarri after he fought hard to finish 13th at the Majestic.
You had a feeling this weekend was going to be a bit of a grind. 13th is certainly not the best outcome you were hoping for, but what are your thoughts walking away from this weekend?
“It was exactly what I thought. I have a good grasp on my feelings going into a tournament. I played good the first round and the second round and later caught a few bad breaks. A spit-out cost be a double bogey on one hole which I think was my first double bogey of the season. That got under my skin a bit.”
“It was tough to recover and hit the putts solid. Putting was just tough. The course really kept you on edge the entire time. No time to relax. A tough tournament to stay focused. A lot of distractions too. I knew the mental game was going to be hard and it was.”
“The good thing was I never gave up and maintained a high level of intensity which I was proud of. I bounced back from a bogey and kept pushing. Made a great putt to finish the tournament in front of a big crowd. Told myself I needed to make it to boost my confidence and was very pleased to hit it after putting that pressure on it for something that really didn’t matter to anyone except for myself.”
You were able to avoid the roller coaster type tournament and didn’t face any big swings in your score. Do the scores reflect how you feel?
“That’s it. I was struggling, but I still threw the disc really well all tournament. I might have had the most fairways hit all tournament. I gave myself opportunities. Putting stroke wasn’t there though.”
“Being a little off was fine, I fought through and avoided what could have been a 23rd place finish. Let me get my small payout and get on to Worlds. The fight was worth it. I earned that 13th place finish.”
The Majestic is behind you now, focus turns to Worlds, you talked about knowing you can win the big one… are you ready to take on what Emporia brings?
“Yeah, I am. I was able to push through some things and still perform well. The way I’m throwing the disc right now tells me that I’ll be there in the end. I believe in myself, which is good.”
The courses you’ll play at Worlds are very different from Blue Ribbon Pines in Minnesota. Do the different styles of courses effect you?
“I tried not to let the course get to me this weekend. I couldn’t get wrapped up in the tight shots where you need the slow shot on tight lines. That isn’t the strongest part of my game and knowing what was ahead, I didn’t want to change my style too much.”
“That might be part of the end result, I wasn’t willing to change my game for the course this weekend. I stayed true to myself.”
Thanks to Ulibarri for another great conversation. It is easy to talk about things when wins are coming every weekend, but when it is a grind it shows another side of what the pros go through each and every week. Trust has been built up between us and we’re very thankful for that.
We’ll continue to follow Ulibarri through the Disc Golf Pro Tour with our next check in coming before the Ledgestone Insurance Open in few weeks.