Disc golf is a fun and challenging sport that has seen rapid growth in popularity over the past decade. As more courses pop up across the country, more people are picking up a disc and giving it a throw. However, it takes practice and dedication to develop solid disc golf skills. Whether you’re a beginner looking to get into the sport or a seasoned player hoping to step up your game, implementing these tips can help take your disc golf abilities to the next level.
Choose the Right Discs
One of the keys to success in disc golf is using the right golf discs for your skill level and the demands of each hole. Here are some disc recommendations for players at different stages:
When first starting out, it’s best to choose very lightweight discs, usually 150-165 grams. Lighter discs require less power and skill to throw properly, allowing beginners to more easily focus on technique rather than straining themselves. Good disc choices for beginners include:
- Putters: Aviar, Magnet, Polecat
- Mid-ranges: Buzzz, Shark, Cobra
- Fairway drivers: Leopard, Diamond
Avoid high-speed drivers as a beginner, as they are the most difficult discs to control.
As you improve timing and technique, you can graduate to more advanced discs in the 165-175 gram range. Intermediate players will gain more control and distance using these discs:
- Putters: Aviar, Wizard, Judge
- Mid-ranges: Roc, Mako3, Tursas
- Fairway drivers: Teebird, Eagle
- Distance drivers: Valkyrie, Sidewinder
Experienced players throwing 400+ feet will get the most out of extra heavy maximum weight discs (175 grams +). These discs provide extra stability for handling powerful throws. Top disc choices include:
- Putters: Aviar3, Zone, Pig
- Mid-ranges: Buzz OS, Matrix, Verdict
- Fairway drivers: Firebird, Felon, Thunderbird
- Distance drivers: Destroyer, Force, Nuke
In general, heavier discs fly farther and resist wind better, while lighter discs offer more precision and glide potential. Choose weights based on your skill, keeping in mind that going too heavy too soon can ruin technique.
Practice Proper Technique
No matter what level you play at, proper throwing technique remains vital for achieving power and accuracy. Spend time learning the basics from online tutorials and experienced players. Key pointers include:
A clean, consistent grip is vital. Most players use some variation of the power or fan grip. Set up with a neutral wrist and the disc sitting across the knuckles of your index and middle finger, pressed firmly into the bases of those fingers. Your thumb placed on top helps stabilize and pop the disc loose during the throw. Lightly pinch the outer rim between your thumb and fingers. Find the grip position that feels most controlled and allows for clean releases.
This basic footwork technique is essential to incorporating your lower body into the throw for maximum momentum and power transfer. As you reach back to drive the disc forward, step across your body at about a 45 degree angle (front leg to back leg), loading your weight onto your back leg. Shift forward as you drive through the throw, transferring weight to your front leg and swiveling hips and shoulders toward your target.
Stance & Release
Stand with a neutral, athletic stance – feet about shoulder width apart, perpendicular to the target. Bend at the knees and waist as you reach back to initiate the throw, then straighten legs to power forward. Release the disc flat and level with a snap of the wrist, pronating your forearm to spin the underside of the disc up. A clean, low-altitude release aimed at the chains gives you the best chance of sinking puts and completing accurate upshots.
Play in Different Conditions
Learning how wind, cold weather, and other factors affect disc flight is instrumental for adapting your throws in various conditions. When it’s windy, use overstable plastic that doesn’t get pushed around as easily. Lightweight discs handle calmer conditions well. Cold weather makes discs stiff and less glidey – go down in plastic to softer, more flexible options when it’s frigid out. The more experience you have compensating for conditions, the more versatile of a player you’ll become.
Improve Putting Proficiency
There’s no doubt that honing your short game goes a long way in lowering scores. Set aside 15-20 minutes per practice session for nothing but putting reps. Feel free to try out various stances, grips, and techniques to find what works best for smooth, accurate putts. Invest in a stack of identical putters to groove muscle memory. Chains offer the best feedback, but putting into an empty bucket or homemade target helps smooth things out. Track your percentages from different distances and constantly strive for improvement.
Standstill putting allows you to isolate upper body motion and develop touch. Step putting adds hip rotation and lower kinetic chain engagement to generate more power and snap. As you improve, mix in straddle putting which opens up your stance, utilizing wider foot placement for balance. Whichever style you prefer, keep your head still, eye on the pole, and finish toward the basket on every putt.
Analyze Your Game
Setting aside time for thoughtful practice is important, but competitive rounds also reveal useful information about strengths, weaknesses, and areas needing improvement. Keep a scorecard and take notes each round.
- What holes give you the most trouble?
- Do you have enough disc variety in your bag?
- Which types of shots lead to bogeys and doubles?
- Are you losing strokes on certain holes repeatedly?
Identifying patterns like this shows where you need to focus efforts. If you constantly go OB off the tee on hole 5, put in field work reps with fairway drivers to increase control. Struggle with touchy 200-foot approaches? Add a stable mid and practice those at various power levels. Shaky putting under pressure? Dedicate practice days to nothing but putting.
Make adjustments based on gaming statistics and observations to build confidence and lower scores long-term. Video yourself throwing for comparison to pro form. Share notes with friends and learn from each other.
Play Different Courses
It’s easy to become overly comfortable on your home course by learning all the lines, landing zones, and hazards by heart. While very useful, this can develop significant blind spots in your game. Playing a wide variety of courses with alternate tee pads, pin positions, out of bounds areas, elevation changes and terrain types exposes strengths and weaknesses you may not have noticed before.
Getting crushed distance-wise at a ball golf style course with wide tunnels? Work on disc speed and power generation. Struggling with accuracy on a technical wooded course? Hone in on precise landing zones. Bombs getting eaten up by headwinds on a prairie style links course? Choose more overstable plastic and play for placement rather than distance. Making subtle adjustments and gaining versatility will quickly make you more consistent and take strokes off your scores across various track layouts.
Implementing even a few of these tips into your disc golf training can pay major dividends this season and beyond. Stay hungry in your practice habits, reflect critically on gaming performances, set measurable goals, and embrace the lifelong pursuit to enhance skills. With dedication to sound technique and smart preparation for varying situations, your consistency and scores are sure to reflective substantive growth in no time. Now grab your favorite disc and hit the course!