One of the most common topics newer players ask about is how to hold, or how to grip the disc. In this article I’m going to go over all of the most common and most useful ways to grip a disc golf disc. I’ll also talk about what type of throw each grip is best for and post pictures of the grips themselves for you to reference.
Firstly, let’s talk a little bit about grips. In disc golf, there are 7 main grips which include the power grip, for both backhand and forehand, modified power grip, fan grip, modified fan grip, stacked grip, and split Grip. These grips cover every aspect of the game including driving off the tee, fairway drives, midrange shots and putting.
While these grips are all great and work very well for most players, keep in mind that you should hold the disc in a way that’s most comfortable to you. If you feel you need to modify these grips to fit best with your style of play, go for it!
With that said, if you’re starting fresh, I encourage you to try out each and every one of these grips to find the ones that fit best with your style of play. They are the most common grips for a reason… they work!
Also keep in mind that you should become proficient with at least a few different grips. You wouldn’t use a power grip to putt and you probably wouldn’t use a stacked forehand grip to throw a backhand drive off the tee. You should pick your favorites for each type of shot and stick with those. Personally, I use 4 different grips which cover every type of shot I throw.
Let’s start with backhand grips. There are four main backhand grips which include power grip, modified power grip, fan grip, and modified fan grip. You can use these grips with every type of backhand shot including driving off the tee, fairway driving, midrange shots and putting. Let’s talk about each one and what they’re best for.
Driving Off The Tee
The power grip for backhand is one of the most common grips for driving off the tee. This grip provides a very firm hold on the disc which allows you to put the maximum amount of torque on the disc without having to worry about it slipping out of your grip too early.
This grip is best for driving off the tee and fairway driving. I use this grip for my tee shots as I find I get the best distance potential using it.
With that said, I wouldn’t recommend this grip for any shot that requires a really high degree of accuracy. Though players can become quite accurate with this grip, other grips are better for that. This grip is mostly for power and distance.
To use the power grip, hold the disc firmly in the middle of your palm with your thumb on the rim of the top flight plate and your fingers curled around the edge with the tips set inside the rim of the bottom of the disc. Hold the disc firmly but not too tight and keep your wrist straight and loose as you throw.
Modified Power Grip
Driving Off The Tee
Moderately High Distance
The modified power grip is for those looking for a hybrid grip allowing for both power, distance and accuracy. You may have to sacrifice a small amount of distance with this grip when compared to the power grip listed above, but you’ll gain a bit more accuracy. Some players really like the extra control this grip provides over the power grip.
The modified power grip is a great grip for driving off the tee as well as fairway drives. You can also use this grip for midrange shots if it feels comfortable for you.
Using the modified power grip is very similar to the power grip with a couple slight exceptions. The first is that the fingers that tuck around the edge to rest on the inside lip are splayed out slightly more that the power grip. This gives the forefinger that space it needs to wrap around the outside edge of the disc instead of tucking under like the other fingers do.
Low to Moderate Distance
The fan grip provides the highest degree of accuracy and control. This grip does however sacrifice quite a lot of distance potential in order to gain that high level of control.
Though the fan grip probably shouldn’t be your go-to grip for longer shots, it is great for shots that require that high degree of accuracy and control like putting and approach shots. Personally, I use this grip for putting.
To perform the fan grip, hold the disc in your dominant hand with your fingers splayed out and resting on the bottom of the flight plate. The forefinger should be resting along the outside edge of the disc for added support, which gives you even more control.
Modified Fan Grip
Medium to Moderately High Distance
Medium to Moderately High Accuracy
The modified fan grip is a mix between the traditional fan grip, and the modified power grip, and it gives you a very high degree of accuracy and control, while still allow you to throw a bit harder for more distance.
This grip is great for midrange shots, and can also be used for fairway driving and approach shots depending on the situation. Personally, I use this grip with all of my midrange discs. I also really like this grip for throwing putters as it allows you to firmly grip the disc despite it’s deep rim.
To perform the modified fan grip, the forefinger and pinky should be curled around the outside of the disc and resting on the inside lip. The middle and ring fingers are curled around the outside of the disc, but should be out straighter and resting on the bottom of the flight plate. This is still a tight, firm grip, but adds quite a bit more control over the power grips.
There are three main forehand grips which include power grip, stacked grip, and split grip. These grips will allow you to throw every type of forehand shot including driving off the tee, fairway driving, and midrange shots. The only thing left off that list is putting, which you probably shouldn’t be doing forehand anyway. Let’s talk about each one of these grips and what they’re best for.
A quick pro tip for all forehand grips is to keep the disc tucked back into the cup of your hand as far back as possible. This is the meaty part of your hand where your forefinger and thumb connect. The disc should be securely fit into this area leaving no gap.
Driving Off The Tee
The power grip for forehand is a grip that maximizes distance potential. Use this grip when you have a wide open shot and need to get the maximum distance out of your disc. Some find this grip to be a little less reliable where accuracy is concerned, so you may need to practice with this grip until you’re able to reliably release the disc but this grip will give you the best distance out of all the forehand grips.
Hold the disc in your dominant hand nestled between your thumb and forefinger. The thumb should be on the top flight plate with your forefinger wrapped around the outside of the disc and resting on the inside lip. The middle finger is completely straight, also resting on the inside lip of the disc. The ring finger and pinky are resting on the outside lip of the disc for support.
Driving Off The Tee
Moderately High Distance
The stacked grip for forehand is a good balance of both power for distance driving and accuracy. With this grip, you can feel confident in putting more power into your swing without loosing much control over the release of the disc.
If you’re looking for a forehand grip that is stable and controllable but also allows you to put more power into your shot, this is a great all around grip that could work for you.
To perform the stacked grip, hold the disc with your thumb on the top flight plate and your forefinger and middle finger stacked atop one another on the bottom of the flight plate and resting on the inside lip of the disc. The ring finger and middle finger stay on the outside lip of the disc for support.
Split grip for forehand is all about accuracy. It’s similar to the fan grip for backhand as it provides more support and control by spreading out the index and middle fingers on the bottom plate of the disc.
I like this grip best for approach shots when I need more control, especially when there’s an obstacle, like a tree or a large clump of bushes that I need to get around. I can trust this grip to give me the control and accuracy I need to perform that shot.
To perform the split grip, hold the disc with your thumb on top of the flight plate, with your forefinger and middle finger spread out on the bottom of the disc making the shape of a peace sign. The middle finger should be resting along the inner lip of the disc. The ring finger and pinky should be resting on the outside lip of the disc for support.
Changing the thumb position can help change the forward angle of your disc. This can be useful if you find that your discs are consistently being released with the nose up. Throwing nose up means that the front of the disc is too high in relation to it’s trajectory or path. In layman’s terms, throwing nose up is less aerodynamic and reduces how far you can throw because there’s more wind resistance on the disc.
To correct this, you should be throwing nose down, which simply means that your disc should be flat in relation to it’s trajectory or path. One good way to do this is to position the thumb closer to the outside of the disc. You’ll notice the angle of the disc starts to point more downwards. As you move your thumb closer to the center, the angle should go up.
Play around with thumb positioning and changing the forward angle of the disc until you are consistently releasing flat, or nose down.
How strongly should you be holding the disc will vary depending on the grip. In most cases you want a firm grip as opposed to a loose grip. A firm grip will result in better control, more spin, more power and a better flight with greater distance and accuracy.
There’s definitely a balance to grip pressure and you’ll figure it out with experience playing the game. The most important tips I can give you are:
- Don’t hold onto the disc so tightly that your fingers hurt.
- Don’t hold onto the disc so loosely that it could be swatted from you grip by someone walking by.
A good rule of thumb is that if the disc is wobbly as it leaves your hand, you need to grip the disc more firmly.
Grip lock is a very common concern for a lot of players and it basically refers to a player who holds onto the disc too long which causes a late release. This late release then causes the disc to fly off in a direction you weren’t intending.
This is incredibly frustrating when it happens to you and there are a few factors that cause grip lock and a few things you can do to mitigate the issue.
The first is humidity or sweat on your hands. If the air is very humid or if you have sweaty palms, the disc could stick to your hand a bit, causing a late release. The best way to fix this is to carry a birdie bag with you. Birdie bags are basically canvas sacks filled with kiln dried wood powder, which soaks up any moister on your hand. Just pat the bag before you throw and you’re good to go.
My favorite is from the Birdie Bag company and you can pick one up for the best price on Amazon. I’ve provided the link so you can get to it easily.
The second and probably most prevalent cause of grip lock and other release timing issues is rounding. Rounding in disc golf if when the disc travels around your body during your throw instead of in a straight line.
If you think about it, it makes sense. When your entire throw follows a straight path, it doesn’t matter when you release the disc along that path, because the it will always follow that straight line. If your throw follows a curved path, the moment you release is much more important as an early or late release would cause the disc to fly way off target.
Rounding is easy to check for. Just go through your swing from start to finish in slow motion and if the disc doesn’t follow a straight path from reach back to release, you’re rounding.
I have a really useful article on how to fix rounding which you can check out here. If you are rounding, I highly recommend you give it a read. Rounding not only decreases accuracy, but it also robs you of distance. I was able to add about 100 feet of extra distance to my throw when I fixed my own rounding issues.
In this article we’ve covered quite a lot! We talked about seven of the main grips in disc golf which can be used for both backhand and forehand shots. We talked about which types of shots those grips are best for and how to use them. We also talked about some of the nuances of disc golf grips like grip pressure, thumb positioning, and grip lock.
I hope you learned a lot from this article and that you’re excited to try a type of grip that you haven’t tried before!