Disc Golf Techniques Beginners Crash Course: From Tee to Green

Whether you are new to disc golf or looking to improve your game, looking at disc golf techniques may be just the thing you are looking for. From throwing styles, to form and grip techniques, this all-inclusive guide to throwing the disc will help you jump in or even brush up on all the technical aspects of disc golf. 

For the sake of this article, we are gonna assume that you, as the reader, have a base knowledge of what disc golf is. So let’s jump right into the disc golf throwing styles that you can choose from. 

Disc Golf Throwing Techniques: How to Throw Disc Golf Discs

For me coming into disc golf, getting familiar with throwing styles was very similar to other sports. If using the traditional golf comparison, it can be similar to hitting a punch shot or a cut shot. For me, it made sense from the baseball background to use the fastball. changeup, slider comparison.

The reason this is important is that the throwing style combined with the disc choice will dictate which direction the disc will travel in the air or roll on the ground. This is due to the stability of the disc (which we will talk about later) along with the spin put on the disc.

So what are the different throwing styles in disc golf?  If we look at the throwing styles, we can look at three different main families. Backhand, forehand, and overhand throws.

Backhand: Disc Golf Throwing Style

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The backhand throwing style is probably the most disc golf unique throwing style. Typical form ( which we will talk about later) requires you to be facing perpendicular to the target with your shoulders and the back of your hand leading the throw.

The advantages of learning how to throw a frisbee with a backhand are that with proper form, it can lead to the best distance with the least effort due to its ability to have a strong combination of spin and power. For a right-handed player, the backhand will fly with the end of the flight fading left.

One disadvantage of backhands can be the amount of time it can take to master the timing of the form for it. Backhands can also be scary for tight gap shots because, typically, your eyes will leave the target as opposed to the other styles that do not.  

Disc golf terms that you will hear associated with the backhand will be things like X step, reach back, and pull through.

Forehand Throwing Style

The forehand is the second most common disc golf throw. But as far as form and technique are concerned, it is typically much easier for beginners to succeed since it is closer to a normal throwing motion.

The main advantage of a forehand throw is the ability to look at the target during the throwing motion. For a right-handed player, this shot will start left and move right as it slows down.

Disadvantages of forehands can be arm injury (bad form) as well as shot-shaping ability.

Terms that you will hear associated with the forehand will flex over and flip up along with chop.

Overhand Throwing Style

The overhand is the wildest disc golf throw because it uses pure force over spinning the disc as the primary motion. This throwing style is, in my experience, over or underused by individual players. Not common off of the tee; however, it is often used to scramble in and out of the woods.

The advantages of overhand are predictability and the ability to see the target. Throwing the disc vertically will allow the disc to be limited in its horizontal movement, which can be helpful when trying to land in a specific position.

The disadvantage of overhand throwing is distance potential. Throwing the disc at an overhand height with the amount of spin that the overhand lacks does not allow the disc to travel at an accelerated rate like the other throws. 

Driving School: Learning to Get Off of the Tee

The saying goes, “You drive for show and putt for dough,” and I will say, in my experience, that rings very true in disc golf. As important as putting is, it is way more fun and exciting to let one rip and watch a disc achieve a full flight.

So whether you are starting or struggling off of the tee learning some basic driving skills will help you shoot lower and have more fun.

Lesson 1: Shot selection

So we have made it to the tee, and we are staring down the basket and hunting birdies. But what shot do we throw forehand, backhand, overhand? What shape do we need to throw? 

This is shot selection, and it is by far the most important thing that we do on the tee. Shot selection boils down to three things.

Comfort With Your Ability of the Shot 

Selecting a shot that we either are not comfortable throwing or have not attempted to throw puts us at a severe disadvantage. Instead, even if it is one-shot shape in scoring rounds, we need to stick to what we can execute.

Ideal Landing Spot

This is often underlooked by beginner and intermediate players. If we are playing for par on holes (which I recommend in the beginning), picking a point in the fairway to hit allows us to simplify our game off of the tee.

What Makes Sense

I call this the third thing to say off of the tee whenever possible; we need to do what makes sense and not try to force a shot shape or style.

Once we have established our shot choice, it is time to select our disc and execute the shot. 

Lesson 2: Disc Selection

So the next lesson in our disc golf driving school is disc choice. Because after we have selected our shot, we now need to select our disc to help us execute our desired shot in the best possible fashion. 

So how do we select the correct disc? Disc selection typically centers around familiarity and comfort, but here I break down three methods that I and other experienced players use also to make their disc selection. 

Comfort, Comfort, Comfort!!!

If we stick to throwing our most consistent shot, then we probably have a disc already in mind that we throw that shot best with. However, I can’t count how many times in scoring rounds I have thrown a disc in a situation where I have never tried it.

Weather

The main factor that should influence a disc selection or disc change is the weather. If you are facing a particular wind, it may cause us to have to change whether we have to stable up and throw a bigger disc or even disc down to account for the weather.

Ride the Hot Hand

If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. Sticking to our plan is great when we are on the tee, but if we are throwing a particular disc or a particular shot, well, what is the harm in sticking to it if the hole allows us to? 

Lesson 3: Execution

Now that we have our shot and disc selected, it is time for the final lesson in disc golf driving school. Execution, learning how to throw a disc golf driver This is a very short but important lesson because, if we are following the first two lessons, this should no doubt be a breeze. 

Rhythm

This is one of the things I believe is key to being successful off of the tee in disc golf. A rhythm can allow us to take thinking out of the actual throwing of a shot. 

It makes this list because if you can establish a rhythm, it adds another layer of consistency to our games. 

One Shot at a Time

Mistakes happen; we’re gonna pick the wrong disc, wrong shot, or just have an off throw. However, we can only execute one shot at a time, so it is important for us to focus on that very fact. 

Confidence

The final and most important part of execution is confidence. However, there is not one tip or trick for this one it gets built from shot and disc selection as well as our execution. 

Also, remember we are playing a game, so there is nothing to lose for being confident in one of our tee decisions or shots. It is better to fully commit to a wrong shot than half commit to a good one. 

The Approach: Underused Disc Golf Throwing Styles

As we know, things do not always go according to plan, and disc golf shots are no different. The approach is the shot that puts us on the dance floor as well as helps us get back on the fairway.

Scramble 

So what is the difference between a scramble and an approach? The main difference here is the fairway. If we find ourselves off of the fairway, we are now in scramble mode. 

So next, we’re gonna explore the two main techniques behind scrambling. So when you find yourself off of the fairway, you have a better shot of saving that par.

To the Basket

Scrambling to the basket is my preferred method because it means that par is still attainable, even in some cases a birdie.

The main strategy in scrambling to the basket is not to make a bad situation worse. Much like in our tee strategy, throwing comfortable shots is ideal even when being aggressive; we still want to be realistic with our chances of shot execution.

To the Fairway

Unfortunately, for us, this is the technique that we all need to follow more often when it comes to scrambling. Why?  Because scrambling to the fairway is often how we can save our score on the round.

Scrambling to the fairway is relatively simple. We are just trying to set ourselves up for a better next shot.  So the main tip here is execution over everything. When we are trying to get back in the fairway, always throw the simple shot.

Approaches

So on the good side of the coin is the approach. This being from the fairway or an optimal position that has the potential for us to par or even score with a birdie. 

What are the techniques for approaching this? 

To the Basket

To be clear, approaching the basket does not mean we need to put it underneath the basket. This is where we can have a really good thing go bad often too quickly. Remember, we can putt, so once we find the comfort zone of our putt, we only have to get it that close.

Setting Up (Par 4s)

The second method is using an approach to set up our next shot. These are mainly used on par 4 and par 5 holes but can also be used on longer par 3 holes. This is what I like to call a bridge, and these can be the trickiest of the approach shots. 

Set-up shots give us the opportunity, and it’s often a swing point in the hole, so when doing these, it is important to weigh the risk versus reward. 

Disc Golf Putting Techniques: Getting Down on the Dance Floor

It is time to discuss my mortal enemy when it comes to disc golf. The dance floor is otherwise known as the putting green. This is undoubtedly the make-or-break area for many amateur disc golfers. 

Much like throwing the disc, putting has many different styles, and depending on the individual, it may look like a completely different function. So what are the main styles of putting to try? And what are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

For starters, we have two main types of putting stances, straddle and staggered.

Straddle

This stance involves the belt buckle facing the basket with feet shoulder-width or wider. The straddle allows you to stay centered on the basket and can be used to get around objects like trees or unlevel ground.

Straddle, however, can feel less athletic to individuals since the timing often involves fully squatting as the putting motion begins.

Staggered 

The staggered stance involves the putting hand foot being forward and the trail foot behind. This stance is good for timing because it allows for the body weight to shift back and forth as opposed to up and down.

Staggered, however, can be tough on the unlevel ground as well as getting around objects.

It is important to note that, like throwing, having multiple tools in your toolbox is always good. And if you can develop a putting style that can vary between these stances, you will have the most opportunities to make putts.

Disc Golf Putting Styles 

The two main putting styles that we see in disc golf are push putting and spin putting. Much like the stances, they each have their unique characteristics. As well as longer-range putts such as a step putt and a jump putt.

Push Putts

Push putting is probably the most common putting style, and if you already play probably what you are doing. What characterizes a push putt is it being arm driven and usually involves the arm swinging below the waist.

Push putts usually keep you closer to the basket on misses but can be negatively affected by conditions such as wind,

Spin Putts 

Spin putting is a risk-reward putting style that is characterized by a shorter arm motion but a heavier wrist action. Much like throwing a backhand, the spin putt uses the wrists and the fingers to create a spin on the disc, propelling it toward the basket.

Spin putts are more resistant against the wind but can leave you with longer comeback putts when missed. 

Having some familiarity with both putting styles is an advantage because both serve purposes for you as a disc golfer.

Bonus Birdies: Circle 2 Strategies

Our final discussion will be in circle 2. The reason is that the area extending from 34 feet to 66 feet from the basket can create scoring opportunities and lose strokes just as fast. Most people in circle two will use a putting stroke that will involve the whole body, usually a jump putt or a step putt.

Because the disc is outside of circle one, you are allowed to pick up your feet and land in front of the lie, while in circle one, this would be illegal. This allows for more momentum to be on the disc and gives it more of a chance to get to the basket.

Jump Putts

Jump putts involve using both legs to leave the ground after the putt is released. This allows for all the body momentum to be put into the disc. 

Jump putts are usually out of the straddle since the feet are already in a squatting position. 

Step Putts

Step Putts are a newer thing in disc golf and have been known to cause quite a bit of controversy due to the smoothness of how they are performed. 

Typically out of a staggered position, step putts just allow the forward momentum to follow through into a step (like walking) toward the basket.  

Disc golf putting takes a lot of practicing and toying around with to develop your style; it is more than likely that you will end up with a hybrid multiple.

Final Putt: Disc Golf Techniques

I know you gained something out of this disc golf technique crash course. Disc golf is beautiful in the sense that there is no one way to play the game correctly from a technical standpoint. 

You can throw every shot known to man or only one, and it is all the same game. Get out, throw some plastic, try some of these techniques and strategies, and let us know what you think! 

Get active in those comments by asking any disc golf technique-related questions, and hunt those birdies!

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