Disc golf continues to grow as a popular sport. It’s becoming increasingly accessible, very affordable and fun for players of all ages and skill levels. But disc golf is also a difficult game that can be very challenging to many players. It can seem terribly complicated at times, but it keeps us coming back for more. When first starting to play, everyone seems to experience the same difficulties of trying to make a disc fly properly. It is never an easy task. But not to worry, now is absolutely the best time for you to learn disc golf. Follow these fundamental disc golf beginner tips and you’ll be right on your way.
1) Learn Basic Technique
By learning the basics and building up crucial elements of your game you will progress as a disc golfer. Proper but simple technique involves minimizing unnecessary movements and motions that are going to directly affect extension, speed and power from the throw.
The disc golf throwing motion is an athletic movement. It combines proper stance alignment, posture, and balance. You use entire body to throw the disc and not just the arm. Use a technique that produces positive results. Start with a stand-still throw and progress to a full run up. Use a straight linear reach back with full extension of arm and elbow, bring the arm through the midsection driving the elbow and accelerating through to the release. You might want to watch our Deep in the Game instructional video for a backhand throw.
Keep it simple as possible while limiting unnecessary body movements as well as concentrating more on control and accuracy over distance.
2) Disc Release - Flat and Low
Focus on keeping the disc flat and low. Always remember, flat and low. The most common mistake that I’ve seen as a disc golf instructor is the player’s tendency to swoop the arm low and release the disc at an upward angle. This causes the disc to go nose-up, stall out, and finish back to the ground with extreme angle and no forward distance. Don’t worry, every player that picks up a disc for the first time has done this at some point and if you’re shaking your head, it’s time to be honest. It happens to all of us when we first start throwing. By breaking out of this habit, you’ll see improvement.
Concentrate on keeping the disc level to the ground, and the same height throughout the entire throwing motion from the reach back extension, the pull through, and the eventual release of the disc.
Take a few warm-up arm swings to determine your release point and do everything possible to keep that disc on the same level plane when reaching back and pulling-through being aware of the keeping the disc flat throughout the throwing motion. Lastly focusing on the leading edge or nose angle of the disc to ensure that it’s flat and level while driving the disc to get that forward penetration down the fairway.
3) Develop a Practice Routine
When just starting with disc golf there should be no expectations and you should just go out there to play casually. Once the addiction sets in and the competitive juices start flowing, you will soon realize that you want to personally get better as a disc golfer. Even if you’re only playing a few rounds a week, by learning the fundamentals, you will see improvement.
I highly recommend that you dedicate a significant amount of time to open field practice off the course. By throwing lots of shots to refine your technique through repetition, you’ll learn the flight characteristics of the discs that you’re throwing and develop a solid practice routine that you can refer back to when your performance isn’t up to par.
Be patient with the learning process as you should embrace the time and progression, it’s exciting to see the evolution as execution starts to as match expectations. Disc golf can be very overwhelming at times. When you feel frustrated with your game, go back to the basics and develop an effective practice routine.
4) Play with Better Players
The best way to becoming a better player besides developing a routine and dedicating time to practice, is playing with players that are more experienced than you. And if you have trouble finding those players I suggest that you sign up for a local weekly events and you’ll quickly find those players that you’re looking for.
Once you become comfortable with your own game it’s good to see how those compare to other players that might have been playing longer and are much more experienced than you. This is accomplished by simply asking to arrange a practice round with one of these players. Discs Golfers are typically very nice and accommodating people especially when it comes to helping beginners develop their game.
...So when you’re ready, ask a local pro if you can play a round with them to see how your skills stack up against theirs and maybe you’ll learn something as well.
5) Start with Just a Few Discs
The right equipment always helps. Especially when first starting out, it’s important to find the discs that work the best for your arm speed and throwing style. You're allowed to carry as many discs as you’re willing to carry in your bag, but you won't need nearly that many when you're first learning. Use a minimal amount of discs when first starting to play in order to learn the basics.
First learning how to control the slower flying discs such as Putters and Midrange Discs will allow you to learn the fundamentals such as angle, height, speed and power. These are the essentials that must be attained before graduating to fairway and distance drivers that require much more expertise to properly control.
...Minimize the use of high speed drivers until you feel comfortable enough with slower speed drivers. Even though you might not get the same distance off the tee, you would rather be shorter in the fairway than longer in the rough.
- Learn Basic Technique
- Disc Release - Flat and Low
- Develop a Practice Routine
- Play with Better Players
- Start with Just a Few Discs
Bonus Tip - Have Fun!
The most important disc golf Tip for beginners and something that you should never forget as long as you play this incredible game...the most fun wins! If all else fails, remember to have fun no matter what. If you’re out on the course with friends, practicing in the field, or playing a tournament, it should be the sheer excitement of being outside and playing a fun, competitive sport that you love that makes you want more.
Relax. Enjoy yourself. Laugh at your mistakes. Celebrate when you throw a good shot. Most people have enough stress in their lives already, don’t add disc golf to the list of things you are worried about. Breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the beautiful surroundings, and have fun playing one of the greatest games in the world!
Always remember back to why you started playing disc golf in the first place. Enjoy your time and realize that a bad day of disc golf is always better than a good day at work.
The writer is a household name in disc golf. A face for the whole sport. Avery has been touring professionally since 2000 with great results, the brightest being his 2009 Disc Golf World Champion title. Avery is also known to be one of the longest arms in disc golf, with 3 US Distance Champion titles under his belt.
Besides being one the top pro players in our sport today, Avery is well recognized as a true ambassador of the sport. He’s played disc golf in almost every US state. Outside the US, he's played in countries like Taiwan, Japan, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Estonia and Germany. At Discmania, Avery is responsible for the Deep in the Game clinics, and he goes around the world educating players on how to become better in the sport of disc golf. He's also our Discmania Combine host responsible for evaluating players trying to make it to Team Discmania. Furthermore, Avery also works as a Disc Golf World Tour expert commentator.
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