Learning Disc Golf
Disc Golf Starters Guide

Getting Started in Disc Golf

August 23, 2023

Hello there! I’m Matthew Mellinger. If you're after a sport that's affordable, suitable for all ages, offers a gentle yet rewarding workout, and is absolutely free to play - welcome to disc golf.

The Allure of Disc Golf

Disc golf is the hidden gem of recreational sports. For a small initial investment in discs (less than a dinner out), you're set to play countless rounds in beautiful parks and terrains. It's friendly for young kids, enjoyable for retirees, and everyone in between.

You'll feel the thrill of the game without excessive strain on your body. Plus, the community vibe and the chance to be one with nature? Irresistible.

Getting Your First Disc(s)

If you were to only get one disc, get a solid putter. It will teach you the fundamentals while still giving you a reliable flight. However, I'd recommend starting with a starter set. It will have everything you need.

Here are a couple of my favorite options:

For those willing to invest slightly more for quality, i'd recommend grabbing these:

  • Driver: The Lat64 Diamond. This disc just glides through the air forever. I will say it's best for beginners. If you throw pretty hard, this will just turn over and burn into the ground.
  • Midrange: The Innova Roc in DX plastic. I absolutely love this disc beat in. It's pretty cheap, easy to replace, and throws dead flat after you hit a couple trees with it (which you will). 😉

Finding a Course

The app UDISC is your best friend here. Not only will it point you to the nearest courses, but you can also locate nearby disc golf shops. Just pop in your location, and you're good to go.

Download the app here.

Basic Rules to Know

The premise is clear-cut: Start at the tee and get your disc into the basket in as few throws as possible. Here’s a basic breakdown:

  • Tee Off: Throw from the designated tee area.
  • Fairway Throws: After the tee off, your subsequent throws are made from where the disc lands.
  • Mandatory: Sometimes, the course will have mandatory paths (indicated by arrows) the disc must follow.
  • Out of Bounds (OB): If your disc lands outside the marked areas, it's OB. Typically, you take a one-stroke penalty and play from the previous spot.

Basic Throwing Techniques

Throwing a disc might seem simple at first, but there's a nuanced technique behind every successful toss.

Your Grip

Your disc isn’t a dinner plate. There are multiple grips, but the "power grip" is common for beginners. Wrap all four fingers under the disc with the thumb on top. This gives better control and distance.

Stance and Approach:

For a run-up, start facing sideways to the target. Begin your approach slowly, and accelerate as you release the disc.

Throwing Motion & Release Point:

Remember, it's not just the arm. Engage your core and rotate your hips. It's a fluid motion. Aim to release the disc flat and level with the ground to ensure a straight flight.

Watch this video to get some great tips on overall form put together:

Playing Your First Round

Venturing into your first round of disc golf is an exhilarating experience. Instead of overthinking, the emphasis is on fun and immersion into the game. However, here are some lesser-known tidbits to ensure your first round is as smooth as possible:

  • Use Bright Colored Discs: Especially if you're playing in a wooded area or late in the day, brighter colored discs are easier to spot and less likely to get lost.
  • Take a Few Practice Throws: Before starting, take a moment to warm up. This helps in getting a feel for your discs and adjusting to the environment.
  • Hyzer vs. Anhyzer: As you progress, you'll hear these terms. Simply put, a hyzer throw curves left for right-handed players, while an anhyzer curves right. Being aware of these can help adjust throws based on obstacles.
  • Wind Matters: Disc golf discs are light. Wind can alter their path significantly. Always gauge the wind direction and adjust your throw accordingly.
  • Have a Mini Marker: In official games, players use mini markers to mark where their disc lands (especially important when you need to pick up your disc to measure for the next throw). It's a small item, but good to have in your bag.
  • Stay Hydrated and Protected: Seems basic, but it's crucial. Carry a water bottle and use sunscreen, especially if you're playing in the midday sun.

Scoring Basics

Keep track of your throws - the goal is to have the least by the end. Each hole has a 'par', the average number of throws. UDISC not only helps you find courses but doubles as a handy digital scorecard.

Disc Golf Etiquette

Being respectful elevates everyone's game:

  • Wait Your Turn: Allow the group ahead to finish the hole before you tee off.
  • Stay Quiet: When someone's throwing, maintain silence.
  • Be Speedy: Be mindful of your pace. If a group behind is faster, let them play through.
  • Pick Up After Yourself: Leave no trash behind.
  • Celebrate, Don't Criticize: Everyone's learning. Celebrate good throws and don't dwell on the bad.

Tips for Your First Game

  • Focus on Control: Power comes later. Work on control first.
  • Watch and Learn: If you're playing with experienced players, watch their technique.
  • Stay Relaxed: A tense body affects throws.
  • Use Your Whole Body: It’s not just an arm sport. Your hips and legs play a part too.
  • Practice Putting: Many games are won or lost on the putts.

In short, go out and play!

Now armed with the basics, go out and try it. I truly hope you venture into the world of disc golf. It’s not just about the sport; it’s about the community, the outdoors, and the sheer joy it brings. Here’s to many holes-in-one!