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Team Discraft's Mike Raley

Mike Raley / Team Discraft NAME: Michael Raley  
HOMETOWN: Ann Arbor, MI
connect: Mikeraley.com
PDGA #: 7846
2013 PDGA RATING: 1004
BORN: 1963
day gig: Just trying to become a nicer person.
STARTED IN DISC GOLF: 1989
Disc cred:
  • 2013 Grandmaster World Champion
  • 1996 Pro Rookie of the Year
  • 2009 Discraft Great Lakes Open Champ
  • 2007 PDGA Pro Master Points Champ
  • 2007 SoCal Champion
  • 2001 and 2004 Can Am Champ
  • 1999 Michigan Overall Champ
  • MEMORABLE DISC GOLF MOMENT
    There have been so many. Playing with Kirk Gibson of baseball's Tigers and Dodgers, has got to be the highlight. How many people get to teach a childhood hero their favorite sport. Winning Grandmaster Worlds. Being able to actually feel the support I was being given by the whole disc golf community was amazing.
    Pro Clinic: Forehand Drives
    Spend a few minutes with the most informative forehand driving clinic ever produced.

    Mike joins Mark Ellis to walk you through different forehand grips, styles, shot options and disc selection. Length: 12 minutes.

    Looking for more videos? Take a gander at the Discraft Video page.
    Mike's Disc Golf Tips
    Mechanics for the Non-Athlete
    I was not a great athlete coming into disc golf, so I had to figure out how to do things in a completely mechanical manner. In my opinion you can only control the first line of your drive. Then you are counting on the spin, wind, type of disc, and angle of release to do the other parts of the flight correctly. Always run up on the line you want the disc to start. If you are round in any of your motion, your head has to tell your hand to do something at the last second. An athlete can do that. It has to do with good timing and a strong head game, neither of which Mike Raley / Team Discraft I have. A quarter turn is the only way to have a straight pull through. If you turn your shoulders any more than that you end up with something being round. Your elbow cannot lock until the end of your pull. Don't get me wrong: you can throw well with your elbow locking early -- and probably further (to start) -- but as soon as it locks, things start to go round. So as long as you always aim your shoulders to the first part of your line (the outside of your first curve) you should at least get past that first tree.

    The Upside-Down Putter Shot
    When I have a low ceiling and grass that will grab the disc and need it to skip a little when it hits the ground I will throw my Challenger upside down like a regular backhand. There are lots of reasons to do this: 1) It will skip on the top of the disc and the rim won't catch the grass. 2) When upside-down, the disc has no lift. It will drop as soon as it leaves your hand. 3) It becomes the most overstable disc you have in your bag. The more beat the disc is the straighter the skip will be.

    Distance Control
    I feel that one of my strengths is distance control, If you are 30 feet long and 30 feet to one side or the other you end up about 45 feet away. So if you throw the right distance you are only the 30 feet away. I do this by knowing how far my Challenger goes with the wind, against the wind, with a crosswind. Knowing how far a full throw goes, a one step, no shoulder turn, no step. Same thing with my Buzzz's and my Surges (except the no step). So If I am able to throw a straight line at the basket it should end up parked. Like I always say: straight is good and round is bad. That is good advice for all parts of the game.
    COURSES YOU SHOULD PLAY:
    Course Comments
    Hudson Mills Original
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Taught me how to play.
    Leviathon
    Ludington, MI
    Once you get to a certain level of skill it's hard to find a course that can kick your butt. Here you are challenged on every throw.
    Morley Field
    Dan Diego, CA
    The course is all about fun. Snapper has done a great job keeping the course playable. The whole atmosphere of the place is what I enjoy.
    Idlewild
    Burlington, KY
    Challenging. You throw shots here that are out of the ordinary. You see some great golf if you are playing well.
    Hickory Hills
    Traverse City, MI
    Great elevation, beautiful scenery, fun shots, couldn't ask for more.
    In The Disc Golf Bag: Drivers
    Disc Comments
    Ti NUKE
    (173 - 174)
    This is my overstable driver. I use it for all shots that need to hook a lot. When thrown low it will skip a lot. When thrown high it will turn into a chop when it slows down. You end up with a tombstone or just bounce and stop. This disc has been thrown about a year and still looks brand new with no change in flight.
    Z NUKE
    (173 - 174)
    I use this for most of my open drives. I can turn it pretty hard and it will still hyzer out. I can also throw it with a flip up hyzer and it will act really stable but not just dive into the ground.
    ESP Surge
    (173 - 174)
    Straight driver. When thrown into a headwind with a flip up hyzer release it will go straight with a little push to the right. If I have a tail wind it is beat enough that I can still get it to go straight with out hooking off at the end too much. I also throw giant anhyzers with it and tight woods sidearms over 280 ft.
    Z Talon
    (173 - 174)
    I use this for shorter hyzers. When I think my nuke will skip too far. The talon will kind off check up and stop. Great for short chop shots.
    In The Disc Golf Bag: Midrange
    Disc Comments
    Z Buzzz
    (176 - 177)
    I carry three; one new, one little beat, one lotta beat. You can make a Buzzz do anything you want. A new one is gonna handle a lot more spin and power than a beat one. But a beat one is gonna hold straighter line at a slower speed and shorter distance. Right now my new Buzzz is handling up to 300ft, whereas the shortest I'm throwing my beat one is about 210 with a putter grip.
    In The Disc Golf Bag: Putt and Approach
    Disc Comments
    D Challenger
    (173-174)
    I carry two, one new, one old. The new one is mostly driving and upshots. On flat ground I'll use it for up to 250ft. Depending on the wind. It will hyzer or go straight. The old one is my main putter. I use it for anything including upshots that I have to throw backhand that have to go right up to 210ft.


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