A beginners’ guide to nailing your first round of disc golf
Disc Golf is a sport that was invented in the USA, that combines the skills of golf and frisbee. The result of this unusual pairing is a highly active, highly addictive sport that is impossible to have a bad time playing.
Beginners often worry about their first game of Disc Golf. It’s so unlike other sports that they don’t even know where to start when learning to play. They don’t know how to hold the disc, or which way they should face when they throw it.
They often worry that they will embarrass themselves during their first round of disc golf.
If you’re in this position, don’t worry! By the time you finish this article, you will know everything you need to in order to nail your first round of Disc Golf.
There are two main throws a Disc Golf beginner has to perfect: the backhand throw and the forehand throw. Both are useful tools in a Disc Golfer’s arsenal.
Throwing a backhand
Step 1 – How to stand
Stand with your throwing shoulder facing the target and your throwing arm crossed over your body.
Your feet should be slightly more than shoulder width apart. Let your back leg support the majority of your body weight and use your front foot to keep your body pointing towards the target.
Step 2 – Holding the disc
Pinch the disc between your thumb and index finger. With your thumb resting on the top of the disc.
You can use your middle finger to spread the weight of the disc more evenly across your hand by resting it on the inner rim.
Step 3 – Position your arm
Your throwing arm should be reaching across your body. If possible you should be able to get it past your non throwing shoulder. As you do this you will be twisting away from the target.
The more you practice, the further back you will be able to get your arm.
Step 4 – Position the disc
It is important that you hold the disc flat while you throw it. This will create the least air resistance and allow the disc to travel a greater distance. It will also prevent the disc from flying too high or low, where it will lose accuracy.
The nets in a game of Disc Golf are roughly at head shoulder height. So, you want to keep your disc at shoulder height whenever possible during the game. Discs tend to veer off course if they fly too high and then start to drop.
Step 5 – Throwing the disc
Swing your arm around you towards the target. Keep the disc flat in your hand, and release it when your wrist is pointing directly at the target. If you release too early or too late the disc will fly off course.
Keep the disc at shoulder level to prevent it from losing too much momentum and don’t take your eyes off the target until the disc has left your hand.
Step 6 – Shift your weight
Putting your weight behind your throw will drastically increase the distance your disc will travel. To do this successfully, as you throw, push your body weight from your back foot to your front foot.
This action comes naturally to most people, as our body compensates for the quick arm movements we are performing.
Step 7 – Follow through
You should allow your arm to keep swinging, even after you have released the disc.
Firstly, allowing your arm to move naturally will increase the distance your disc travels when you throw it. Second, stopping your arm abruptly will put tension on your wrist, elbow, and shoulder. If you want your Disc Golf career to be a long and happy one, don’t forget to follow through.
The forehand throw
Step 1 – How to hold the disc
Pinch the disc between your middle finger and thumb. Your middle finger should be flat against the underside of the disc, touching the inner rim. Lay your thumb on top of the disc, pushing it into your middle finger.
Cup the outer rim with your index finger, this will make aiming easier for you.
This position may feel uncomfortable when you start to play, but as you put in more practice it will become more natural.
Step 2 – How to stand
Stand with your feet hip width apart. You should have your non throwing shoulder pointing in the direction of the target. Bend your knees slightly to make your throwing base more secure.
Plant your front foot firmly on the ground, you will use this to pivot yourself.
Step 3 – Forearm positioning
Your forearm should be horizontal and parallel to the ground. The underside of your forearm should be pointing toward the sky and your hand should be flat.
The forearm is kept flat to encourage the disc to fly straight. A straight flying disc is generally more accurate in its direction and flies further. Flat forearms and wrists will make your throws more efficient.
You will want to pull your arm back as far as you can, this will create more room to throw your disc. Getting your arm into this position while keeping your arm straight will take practice, but it is worth the time investment.
Step 4 – The Throw
Now, it is time to throw.
The majority of the throwing action is in the wrist and the forearm, rather than the shoulder.
You will want to sweep (or flick) your arm forward and release the disc at the apex of your throw. Wait until your wrist is pointing in the direction of the target before releasing your throw.
You can pivot your hips as you throw. Use your front as support while doing this. It will help to keep the movement smooth. If the action is too jerky it may knock your throw off target.
You want to aim to put as much weight and power behind your throw as possible.