I’ve been wondering recently how far the pros can throw, and I know some of you have wondered this in the past. So, I’ve been researching distance stats of professional disc golfers and I’ve found some really interesting things I’d like to share with you all.
So, how far do pro disc golfers throw? Most pros can drive accurately between 350 ft – 450 ft with the top pros able to drive more than 500 ft. This year at Pro Worlds (2018) Kevin Jones won the longest drive competition with a throw of 528 ft with David Wiggins Jr. right behind him throwing 525 ft.
Here’s a list showing the throwing distance of all the pros that took part in the longest drive competition this year at Pro Worlds.
|Kevin Jones||528 ft|
|David Wiggins Jr.||525 ft|
|Drew Gibson||519 ft|
|Garrett Gurthie||489 ft|
|Seppo Paju||489 ft|
|Dylan Horst||474 ft|
|Anthony Barela||468 ft|
|Benjamin Callaway||450 ft|
|Thomas Gilbert||450 ft|
|Zach Longeill||441 ft|
|James Conrad||438 ft|
|Rick Steehler||438 ft|
|Thunder Schultz||432 ft|
|Paige Pierce||393 ft|
|Marshall Blanks||387 ft|
|Brendan Orwig||357 ft|
|Peter Bures||345 ft|
|Hailey King||339 ft|
Data from the PDGA official website.
What’s the longest drive ever?
Pro disc golfer David Wiggins Jr. holds the record for the longest drive ever with an incredible distance of 1,109 ft. He did it throwing an Innova Blizzard Champion Destroyer. It’s actually a really great disc. If you like higher power drivers, I definitely recommend giving this one a shot. Here’s a link to Amazon for the best price.
That is an amazing throw with amazing distance, but don’t think David Wiggins Jr. is throwing comparable distances on the course.
For example, his drive in the Longest Drive competition went 525 ft. Very respectable distance but less than half the distance of his world record throw.
The throw that got him the record was done in the dessert in ideal conditions with the wind pushing behind him at 38-42 miles per hour.
The video below is worth watching. You can see how he performs a 360 drive for maximum power, really getting the most out of the 13 power rating disc.
How can I throw like the pros?
We all want to be able to throw farther. It’s great to be able to step up to a tee and throw a disc 400 ft, but is that a realistic distance for the majority of disc golfers?
The fact for most of us is that a 200 ft drive is actually a pretty decent drive. The average hole distance at any given disc golf course will be right around 200-240 feet. So if you can reliably throw 200+ feet with good accuracy, you’re doing just fine.
But what about those of us that want to throw farther? What about that long 400 foot hole that you would just love to eagle? I firmly believe that with practice, getting the distance you want is attainable.
Here are some tips that, with practice, will help to increase your throwing distance:
Firstly, your grip is very important to a good long drive. I recommend a power grip or slight variation with the thumb on top and all four fingers down below.
Your grip should be firm but flexible. Not so tight that you’re bending the disc, and not so loose that it will come out of your hand too early in your throw.
The key to throwing for more distance is to make sure your fingertips are curled up under the lid of the disc creating as little surface area as possible. If your fingers are fanned out along the bottom of the disc, it creates more friction as the disc leaves your hand which robs you of some of your power.
The power of your drive doesn’t come from your arm or back muscles, it comes from your hips.
Just before your final step, your body should almost be facing in the complete opposite direction of where you want to throw. It sounds silly, but a good rule of thumb is to lead with your right butt cheek.
Then take a big final step as you twist your hips and pull your arm through you swing. The disc should rip out of your hand and be sure to follow through.
Notice the long final step and the rotation of the hips.
THE RIGHT DISC
Pay close attention to the power rating of your disc and make sure you’re using the disc with the correct power for you.
For a long time I was using the highest rated power disc that I could find, which happened to be an Innova Destroyer. I’ve had great luck with that disc but I noticed something when I finally got around to looking at the flight path of the disk.
Take a quick look:
The thick line in the center is how the disc should fly with the correct amount of power applied to it. In my case, my drives were looking closer to the beginner line, which is dotted. You can see how it falls far short of it’s potential.
This is because I don’t have enough power in my throw to properly power this disc. I picked up an 11 power disc instead of a 12, and now that I have a disc that more closely matches the power in my throw, the disc actually goes further than the Destroyer I was using before.
How do I know if I’m using the wrong disc?
If you think you may also be throwing the wrong disc for your power, take a look at the flight path of your disc. You can find the flight path by typing in the name of your disc in Google followed by “flight path”.
If the path of the disc when you throw it looks like the flight path you’ve found on Google, then great! You’ve got the right disc for your power.
If not, then you need to change things up. If the disc is meant to turn right then fade left at the end, but when you throw it, it doesn’t turn right at all and fades left rather quickly, then you’re not putting enough power into the disc and perhaps, you should look for a disc with a lower power rating.
But do I need to throw far to be good at disc golf?
Absolutely not. In most cases, accuracy is far more important than distance. Disc golf is all about throwing to the basket. The closer your throw, the better your eventual score will be and throwing distance is only part of that equation.
In fact, players will usually dial back their max power in order to throw more accurately at their target.
For most players I would recommend practicing accuracy before you start working on your distance. I believe throwing accurately will improve your score far more quickly than throwing farther will. Once you feel comfortable with your accuracy, you can then focus on distance.
On top of that, working on accuracy will help to improve your form, and better form will most likely translate to better distance anyway, so you’re really accomplishing two important goals at once.
Drills for accuracy?
My favorite drill to practice accuracy is simply throwing at a target on the ground. I find that this has helped my game tremendously and I’ve since gone from throwing about 4-5 over par, to being on par or just under using this method. Here’s what I do:
- Practice throwing from a set distance at a target on the ground. This could be a hill, tree stump, bush, anything you find that’s stationary. Throw your discs from that distance until you can consistently land 5 consecutive shots within 10 feet of the target. Then move further away from the target by about 25 feet and start again. Keep moving further back as you find success at each distance. Practice this way for 30-45 minutes about 3 times a week.
Does distance matter in tournaments?
Yes, distance does matter in tournament play. Firstly, there are distance requirements for each division set by the PDGA. I’ll list them here for you:
|Advanced Women||200-300 feet|
|Intermediate Women||125-200 feet|
|Open Women||250-325 feet|
These are just minimum requirements. Of course there are pros that throw much farther than the minimums shows for each division.