I’ve played disc golf with lots of different people throughout the years, but my favorite people to play with are beginners to the sport. I love to see that spark of enjoyment they get out of learning a brand new sport. And, like many seasoned disc golfers, I also love to share my knowledge with newer players to help them become better.
In this article, I’m going to list my favorite tips to share with those new players. Let’s dive right in! Here are my top disc golf tips for beginners:
Top Disc Golf Tips for Beginners:
- Disc Down For Distance
- Focus on Form
- Start With Just a Few Discs
- Don’t Keep Score
- Don’t Get Frustrated
- Remember to Have Fun
Disc Down For Distance
Probably the number one goal of any beginner in disc golf is to throw farther. Let’s be real, most players regardless of skill, share that goal, but for beginners, it’s especially exciting.
The simple truth is that when you’re a beginner, you won’t be throwing very far. And it can be discouraging to play with friends that can all throw farther than you can. So throwing farther is sort of a badge of pride for beginners. They want to catch up with their friends and throw like they do.
I will say that really good distance comes from really good form, and the only way to get really good form is to practice, practice and practice some more. We’ll talk more about that in the next tip. But there is one thing you can do right now that will help you throw farther, even if you’ve haven’t dialed in your form yet. And that is to disc down.
The term “disc down” refers to the speed of the disc you’re throwing. Most discs have four numbers on the face of the disc which corresponds to the speed, glide, turn and fade ratings of that particular disc. The first number is the speed rating and it’s typically a number between 1 and 14.
Most new players try to find the highest speed rating they can get because they know that the higher the speed rating, the more distance they can get out of the disc. While this is true for seasoned players, beginners don’t have the power for most of the higher speed discs.
To put things simply: To get the best distance, you need a disc with a speed rating that matches up with your arm speed.
When a disc golfer says to disc down, it means that you need to find a disc with a lower speed rating, because what you’re currently throwing is too high for the speed your arm can generate.
There are some really great lower speed discs out there that are designed for beginners. My favorite is the Leopard by Innova. It’s a seven speed understable driver with a really high glide rating, so you should be able to get much more distance out of it than you would with something that’s got a higher speed rating.
Trust me here. If you’re a beginner looking for more distance, try out this disc. Here’s the link to the Leopard on Amazon.com so don’t have to go searching for it.
Focus on Form
Throwing a disc isn’t that tough. When you start, you’ll probably throw it just like you’ve thrown a frisbee your entire life. Just turn your body a little bit, reach it back and let it fly.
If this is how you’re throwing right now and it’s working for you, great. There’s no right or wrong with disc golf. We’re all just out there to have fun. But if you want to get better at the game and start throwing really far and much more accurately, you’re form needs to change a bit from that age-old frisbee toss.
Firstly, I’m going to link a really great video of Nate Sexton and Sarah Hokom, two professional disc golfers, teaching about proper form when you throw. I definitely recommend you watch it. Then, below the video, I’m going to go through the major takeaway tips that you should really try to remember and practice as you hit the course.
Quick note: I’m just going to talk about backhand form here since that’s the throw most beginners use and where they need the most instruction.
Notice they use the term X-Step. This is a very popular set of moves for your feet that puts your body in the perfect position to throw as far as possible. Watch closely as they move through the steps and pay attention to where they place their feet.
It goes like this:
- Left – Initial Step
- Right – Reaching Step
- Left – Step Behind Right Foot
- Right – Driving Step
2. Get Low In Your Stance
Notice how they bend their knees as they move through the X-Step and get lower in their stance. This gives them a better range of motion, in order to put more power into their throw.
3. Turn Your Hips
At the first right footstep in the X-Step, you should start to turn your hips, and by the last right footstep, your hips should be turned almost completely away from your target. This gives you a lot of room to spin back towards the target.
4. Turn Your Heal Away
On your last step in the movement, the heel of your right foot should be elevated and turn outwards
5. Reach Out
As your right foot is reaching out in the last step of the motion, you should be turning away and reaching the disc out and backward. Notice how Nate tells the group not to place the disc back behind the body. This causes rounding which is really back for your form! Remore more on rounding here, including how to fix it.
6. Drive Your Heel To The Ground
You’re now in the most optimal position to throw with your max power. Drive your heel to the ground. This starts the chain of power up your body.
7. Rotate Hips Before Upper Boddy
Rotate your hips right after you drive your heel down and begin to spin.
8. Drive With Your Elbow
As your upper body follows your hips, begin to pull the disc through, but lead with your elbow and keep the disc as close to your chest as possible with your hand on the outside of the disc.
9. Follow Through
After you release, remember to continue the movement and follow through as Nate describes with your body rotated all the way around and your chin touching your opposite shoulder.
10. Angle Integrity
As you throw, try to focus on keeping the same angle all the way through. This is important as it allows you to have a dependable hyzer, stable and anhyzer release when you need it.
Start With Just a Few Discs
Most newcomers to disc golf don’t fully realize just how many different types of discs there are. They can all fit into a few basic categories (drivers, mid ranges and putters) but within those broad categories, you have understable, stable and overstable. As well as the disc’s ratings which cover speed, glide, turn and fade which can all vary tremendously… Oh! And the fact that discs fly differently as they get beat in, so newer discs are completely different from older, used discs.
Needless to say that there’s a huge variance in the way all of these different types of discs fly. The one thing you do not want to do is hit the course and try to use a bunch of different discs as you play.
If you think about it, you may realize that one of the most important things for beginners is to get familiar with is how to throw the disc. Essentially, that means working on the correct form. You need to be able to realize that, when you do this, the disc will do that. The problem with using a bunch of different discs is that they will react differently to what you’re doing. One disc may fly great when your release is flat. Another might turn over and fly into the weeds. This can lead you to believe you’re doing something wrong, when in reality, you may be doing it correctly, but are throwing the wrong disc.
So I suggest trying a few discs out, but when you find the ones you like, stick to only those discs. At least for a while. Don’t keep changing discs. This way you can get really good at throwing those discs and when you feel like you are learning the right form with those discs, you can try out other discs and see how those fly.
Don’t Keep Score
Disc golf should be played for fun. If you’re new to the game, I recommend that you focus on throwing well and having fun, and leave off keeping score until you’ve gotten a bit better.
When you’re keeping score, it can be easy to get upset or frustrated at making a mistake. And when you’re a beginner, the chances are that you’ll be making lots and lots of mistakes. This is natural when you’re learning something new and disc golf is no different.
Plan on making lots of mistakes. Laugh about it and move on to the next hole. If you play a lot and continue to learn and practice, you’ll be throwing like a pro in no time. That’s when it’s fun to bring the scoring element back into the game. But, when you’re brand new to disc golf, it’s better to focus on having fun and learning to throw the disc.
Don’t Get Frustrated
This tip ties into why we don’t keep score. Getting frustrated, for any reason when you’re playing disc golf, sucks the fun out of the whole game. Also, if you’re playing with friends, being a Negative Ned can ruin their day as well, which can make it less likely they’ll want to play with you in the future.
Simply put, you should play disc golf to have fun and enjoy some time with your friends. Getting frustrated can ruin that experience. So if you’re playing poorly, or things aren’t going your way, try to shake it off and start fresh on the next hole.
When I’m getting frustrated, I like to think of Jacko’s “good” motivational video and try to see it as an opportunity to rise above it. Give it a watch if you haven’t seen it already.
Remember to Have Fun
This seems like a simple tip, but it may be one of the most valuable tips on this list. It’s easy to get so preoccupied with trying to remember all the nuances of how to throw, or what type of disc should you be using, or worrying about your score, etc., that we sometimes forget to have fun.
And really that’s the whole point of disc golf. Most likely we’re not out there to break world records or win a bunch of money in a tournament. We’re out there to have a good time with our friends Put that above everything else, and you’ll do just fine.
Ready For Something More Advanced?
Thank you so much for reading my article! If you found these tips too beginner-level for you and you consider yourself more of an intermediate player, I highly recommend you jump over to my top tips for intermediate disc golfers article, where I have much more in-depth information about more advanced techniques that will help to push your skills even higher. If you want to throw farther, more accurately and with better shot selection, you should definitely give that article a read!