All disc golfers reach that point where they are through with the beginner experimentation with disc golfing. They start to wonder and even get frustrated with why the disc isn’t flying how they want it to. They look online and find the same discs the pros use, yet the discs don’t work the same for them. These rising disc golfers begin to question how they can improve their game. If you’re at that point too, allow me to help you with these 4 essential tips for how to get better at disc golf.
Get the Proper Discs
As I mentioned above, many people will simply google “What discs do the pros use?” and expect to be just as good with them. I can tell you that you can’t expect a world record setting speed 14 driver to fly the same way for you as it did for the record thrower.
I recommend getting to know the disc flight rating system in depth to understand exactly what disc you need. Find places where players give their reviews for discs online and check out discs that are especially recommended for beginners.
When browsing drivers, don’t go right for the highest speed discs. If you don’t have the power to throw it that fast, even an understable disc will act like an overstable disc for you. This leads to a common frustration for newer players who constantly have their driver meathook while not flying as far as they’d like it to.
Additionally, try some different discs out. There’s a disc out there for nearly every imaginable situation. At some point, you will find that perfect disc that flies exactly as you want it to drive and putt. However, what if the wind is blowing strongly or the hole wrap tightly to the left? These situations may call for different discs rather than simply throwing harder or at an angle. Try out different materials or varying weights to help account for changing course variables that you will inevitably face.
Practice is going to be your best friend when trying to get better. The first step in getting better at driving is focusing on your form. Start out simply throwing from a static position. Get at the correct leg placement, upper body rotation, arm bending, and release. Once you develop the basic form, you can begin to add the run-up to get some more power. This is the technique portion of practicing driving.
The conditioning part comes from throwing discs many times in the same session and doing this frequently. This will help to develop those muscles that control your form as well as develop the power for throwing drivers controlled and far.
If you can, purchase several drivers of the same style, material, and weight. Then, throw these discs in fairly rapid succession (with good form). By doing this, you will build muscle memory for how to throw each disc and how it flies through the air.
Similar to driving, the other main part of your game to practice repeatedly is putting. If I am in a practicing mood, I will try to go disc golfing earlier in the day while most everyone else is at work. At every hole there my drive/approach comes within a reasonable range for putting (~50ft for me), I will putt until I make it at least a couple times even if my initial putt goes in. Through this you learn how to putt situationally from an approaching landing spot.
Additionally, once I’m done I will revisit a clear putting area and practice throwing from various locations. I like to start close, while building confidence and form. This helps for your body to learn roughly how you need to throw it from a seemingly “gimme” distance. Then back up 5-10ft at a time, practicing many throws at each interval until you reach a point where you are way outside your reasonable putting distance.
Again, try purchasing a few of the same discs to truly learn how it flies.
Nothing pushes you to do your best like good old competition. I don’t mean that you have to play against other people to be competitive. You can be competitive with yourself. Keep track of your scores each time you play a course and compare afterwards. You will learn what holes you do best on, and what ones you struggle with. Also, keep track of what holes you barely bogeyed or parred, and whether it was because of simply a bad drive, or missed putt that you should have made.
But nothing stops you from competing with others as well. Get together with a group of friends who disc golf and test yourself. Even if they don’t keep track, take mental notes of how they are doing and compare it to yourself. If they do keep track, add a little incentive to play at your best like “loser buys a round of drinks” afterwards.
Have Fun With It And Recognize Improvement
The beauty of disc golf is that the main way to really get better is to play. Practicing driving and putting may get a little boring after a while, but try to have fun with it. Build games or goals for yourself to play, and the better you do time after time will help you realize how much better you are getting. It’s difficult to tell improvement without keeping track of your play. The most fun is finally nailing that line drive 50ft past your previous record, or hearing the chains clink after tossing what used to be a difficult putt.