Mastering Flight: The Ultimate Guide to Disc Golf Grips

To be honest, disc golf grips are probably one of the most comprehensively complicated topics I’ve ever covered. 

It has to be that way, simply because everyone is different. 

Some people have long fingers, some short, some large, and some thin. Some have to work within the scope of a disability. 

Proper disc golf grips, or the best compromise you can manage, are essential for success on the course. Some of them seem wild and a little wacky, yet they work. 

Grip affects trajectory, accuracy, and velocity. With all three at stake, it’s a pretty important practice 

The Basics of Disc Golf Grips

Spin is probably the most important aspect of disc flight, and it begins with the proper grip. Without it, the spin might not be sufficient. 

Without the spin, the disc’s flight capabilities rapidly diminish. I’m not going to sit here and tell you there’s some mystical connection between you and the disc, but how it flies is based on how you grip it. 

I don’t make the news; I just report it. 

You need to find a happy medium between your comfort level and the accurate mimicry of a professionally recommended grip. 

The problem is that you can’t go too far into the realm of comfort without sacrificing the entire point of the grip. It’s a work in progress. 

Plus, weather conditions, hand size, sweat, and skill all significantly affect how well you can grip a disc. 

Just as essential is the release, which is obviously a part of the grip as well. Since there is much to cover, I’ll work through the techniques based on the disc, from putter to distance driver. 

While everyone has their own opinion, there are two grip types per disc type, with the addition of a couple more grips for advanced players to work into their style. 

Gripping Techniques for Putters

You might think that disc golf grips are more essential for drivers, but I would argue the opposite. 

Games are won and lost within 30’ of the basket; learning how to putt is critical to improving your frolfing game. 

Putting prowess is essential if you’re looking to up your game. While stance and form matter, the proper grip goes a long way.

Fan Grip

The fan grip works for mid-range, close-approach shots as well, so I’ll revisit this. 

The index finger runs along the disc’s outer rim edge, while the middle, ring, and pinky finger fan out on the bottom of the disc. You can close the gap between the three fingers if you want. Balance is reduced this way, but distance is increased. The thumb rests on top of the disc. 

The Modified Fan Grip

In a regular fan grip, the three fingers under the disc are spread out or closer together. In a modified fan grip, you curl all three fingers inward so the tips of your fingers grip the inside track of the disc. 

This provides you with more power, especially if you are driving with the putter or approaching from a long distance. 

Mid-Range Disc Grips for Control and Accuracy

In my ever-so-humble opinion, the mid-range is your most versatile disc, especially if you play on courses with moderate to heavy tree densities. 

You can drive and approach with a mid-range (FH or BH) and even putt with some of them, like the Sockibomb or The Harp

The Modified Power Grip

This grip applies to control and distance drivers as well. Where a power grip means tucking your fingertips under the rim of the disc, close and tight together, the modified allows for a little more space between each finger. 

You don’t have to pinch with your thumb as hard, either. 

The Fork Grip

Also known as the forehand fan grip, this is a rare type that only a few choose to go for. 

Basically, you’re holding up a peace sign with the middle and index finger underneath the disc. The middle finger rests against the inside rim of the disc, with the index finger pointed towards the center. The thumb rests on top, between the index and middle fingers. 

Fairway/Control Drivers: Finding the Balance

While a lot of new players stick to the simplistic and effective power grip for fairway drivers, some disc golf grips provide a little more finesse. 

The Control Grip

The control grip is often termed something else, but it’s basically a combination of fan and power. The index finger rests against the inside rim of the disc while the thumb runs parallel down the flight plate. The remaining fingers are fanned out, more or less, depending on comfort level. 

The Hybrid Grip

The middle finger runs along the inner rim of the disc, finger slightly bent, while the index finger curls beneath the middle finger, the fingertip resting against the inner rim. The ring and pinky finger just kind of rest off to the side, while the thumb rests on the flight plate, over the index and middle fingers. 

Distance Drivers: Maximizing Your Reach

The distance driver requires more brute force but just enough finesse to keep the disc from crashing off into the woods to the right or the left. Release timing and form are more essential when driving than in any other stance with mid-range, control drivers, and putters. 

The Power Grip

The power grip is like the modified power grip with the mid-range, except all four of your fingers are tight together. You’re almost forming a fist, except your thumb will run along the length of the flight plate, and your hand won’t curl in quite tight enough to form a fist. 

Three-Finger Power Grip

This one is just like the power grip, except the pinky finger is left out of the equation. Some people have difficulty gripping with all four fingers and this grip provides some relief. It also sacrifices pure distance for a little more control. 

Advanced Gripping Techniques

Of course, it doesn’t begin and end with just eight grips. There are far more than is worth covering here, and some grip types will be all your own, so long as they work for you and provide comfort and accuracy. 

Thumber Grip

Also known as a thumber, this grip is for specific disc models and throws, such as the Aerobie Epic, Discraft Pulse, or Innova Firebird. Simply place your thumb along the inside track of the disc and pinch the rim between your thumb and the outside of your index finger, held vertically. 

Tomahawk

A tomahawk throws like a thumber but travels in an opposite flight pattern. Place the pad of your middle fingertip parallel and inside the rim, with the index finger overlapping and reinforcing the index. Again, you throw vertical on this one. It is the best grip for an Innova Eagle, Dynamic Discs Felon, Axiom Fireball, Discraft Machete, and other overstable control drivers. 

Forehand Grips

Whether forehand is your preference or a 50/50 part of your game, there are a few grips worth covering for sidearm throwers. 

Power Grip

It’s not the most accurate grip, but it will maximize your distance. Your index finger should curl around the disc, fingertip resting on the inside track of the rim. The middle finger runs along the rim of the disc, underneath, with the thumb resting on the flight plate, above the second knuckle of the middle finger. 

Split Grip

This is the forehand version of the peace sign grip above. Your index and middle finger form the number two underneath the disc, with the inside of your index finger resting along the inner rim. The thumb sits on top of the disc, running along the rim of the flight plate. 

Stacked Grip

This one is the split grip reverse, with the index finger running along the inside of the rim and the middle finger relaxed and under the flat part of the rim. The thumb rests on the flight plate, running parallel to the rim. 

Grip Maintenance and Adjustments

Grip strength and the practice of strengthening grip conditioning are key to success. Some of the grips on this list feel weird at first. 

I was never able to get comfortable with some of them, though not for lack of trying. 

Form the grips according to the descriptions, and do your best to throw using that grip. If it doesn’t feel right, make slight adjustments until it does. From that point, it’s just a matter of building strength and muscle memory. 

Practice makes perfect? 

If you know a course that has a driving range or a practice basket with plenty of surrounding space, that’s the perfect opportunity to get out there and create the repetition that will help you master the various disc golf grips. 

Final Putt: Disc Golf Grips

Now, there are some other disc golf grips out there, like the scooby, roller, grenade, etc. But those are rare and something that comes along only when you’ve been playing the game for a while and understand the dynamics. 

For now, the above grip types will occupy your time for the foreseeable future. The only thing left to do is find the best discs for you, get out there, and start practicing!

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