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When you first start learning the game of disc golf, you practice on clear courses with little to no obstacles.

However, as you continue to develop and advance your skills, you’ll discover courses with heavily wooded sections and rough terrain!

When you’re presented with a tunnel shot, how do you know what disc to use?

No worries–we have you covered.

In this article, we’ll walk you through how to throw a tunnel shot and how to pick the best disc for tunnel shots so that you can continue to crush it out on the course.

What is a tunnel shot?

A tunnel shot in disc golf is exactly what it sounds like–a shot where there are obstacles (typically trees) on either side..

One of the reasons tunnel shots can be annoying when playing disc golf is because you have to try to keep your score as low as possible in order to win.

Sometimes, it can take multiple throws to get through a tunnel shot.

Because of this, the goal is to avoid having your disc land in the trees, as that can require more throws to get you back on track towards the target.

Sometimes, tunnels are not straightforward, but instead curve to either the left or the right.

In this instance, pro disc golf players suggest shooting a straight shot and taking the hit, so that you’re not compromising strategy for distance.

How to throw a tunnel shot in disc golf

Check out this video for more information on how to throw a tunnel shot:

To throw a tunnel shot, focus on your strategy instead of distance. In this video, Avery Jenkins, a 2009 Disc Golf World Champion, suggests taking a tunnel shot one gap at a time.

Instead of focusing on gaps further down the fairway, focus on the first one you have to get your disc through.

Take it a step at a time so that you don’t risk your disc bouncing off a tree and going who knows where.

Grip-wise, Avery suggests using a fan-grip, or a grip you’re comfortable with that will allow you to execute your shot with good control.

What to look for in a good disc for tunnel shots

The best tunnel shot discs are stable or slightly understable discs that fly predictable, straight patterns.

We recommend judging the type of disc you choose by its flight ratings.

Flight ratings in disc golf are divided into four categories: speed, glide, turn, and fade.

Speed defines the disc’s capacity for speed and covering distance. Glide describes the disc’s ability to maintain loft during flight.

Turn describes the disc’s tendency to turn to the right. Fade defines the disc’s tendency to hook left at the end of the flight.

Each of these ratings are measured by numbers. These numbers are useful to gain knowledge about the disc itself, but unfortunately these numbers cannot be compared brand-to-brand. They can only be compared within a brand.

So what flight ratings are you going to want to look for in a disc for tunnel shots?

Well, depending on both your skill level and the type of tunnel shot you’re facing, you’ll want a disc with low to mid-range speed.

We recommend speeds of 4 to 9, only venturing up towards 9 if you’re advanced.

For dedicated players who play frequently, it’s good to have a variety of speeds in your arsenal so you’re prepared for all types of scenarios out on the course.

Mid to high glide is a good choice for tunnel shots, so we recommend staying within the 3 to 4 category on glide.

For tunnel shots, you want an easily controlled, predictable disc with a reliable flight pattern. This is why you’ll want to look for either a stable or slightly understable disc. Look for a turn rating of 0 to -1.

Finally, you’ll want low fade, since low fade helps maintain a predictable, accurate shot. Look for a fade rating of 0 to 1.

You’ll also want to ensure the disc you purchase comes in a heavier weight. We recommend finding one in either the 160 gram category or the 170 gram category.

Although we normally recommend beginners avoid the heaviest weight categories since they can be difficult to throw, in a tunnel shot situation you’ll actually want a heavier disc because that helps maintain wind resistance and ensure greater accuracy.

You’ll want to look for a disc that is made from highly durable plastic.

Almost every mainstream disc golf manufacturer has a multitude of plastic lines, some of which are more durable and resistant to damage than others.

While you may prefer more flexible plastics since they tend to be more comfortable to grip, flexible plastics can actually work against you in a wooded situation.

Heavily wooded and rough terrains are more likely to damage your disc, which is why a hard, sturdy, damage-resistant plastic material is best for anticipated tunnel shots.

What to avoid?

Avoid high-speed drivers and discs that are likely to either roll or bounce off the ground.

Avoid extremely understable discs (discs with a turn rating higher than -1).

Avoid flexible plastics and lightweight discs (discs in the 140 to 150 gram categories).

Best disc for tunnel shots

There are a number of tunnel shot-worthy disc options that can keep you competitive out on the course. The following options may prove a good place to start.

Innova Disc Golf Champion Material Panther Golf Disc

This mid-range disc by Innova is a great choice for wooded courses riddled with tunnel shots.

It is slightly understable and is appropriate for almost all skill levels, from beginner to advanced.

This disc is good for:

  • Medium and short distance shots
  • Slow and controlled turnover shots
  • Mid and long range roller shots
  • Sidearm (or forehand) shots

It’s a good all-around, multi-purpose disc. For beginners learning how to play, this disc will anhyzer before hooking left.

For more advanced players, it will anhyzer slightly but will finish straight. These descriptions are according to right-hand backhand throws.

Its ratings are: Speed 5, Glide 4, Turn -2, Fade 1. It is available in 165 to 169 grams, 170 to 172 grams, and 173 to 175 grams.

It is a low speed, mid-glide, slightly understable disc that will fly mostly straight, making it a good choice for tunnel shots.

It’s predictable and reliable, and because it falls into a heavier weight category, it’s less likely to bounce off the ground and disappear into the trees.

The Innova Champion plastic line was designed to be firmer and more stable than some of the other plastic lines.

Champion plastic is ideal for wooded and rugged courses because it performs predictably and is less likely to sustain damage from the terrain.

It’s been approved by the PDGA since 1993, and is a classic multi-purpose disc.

View at Amazon to learn more about the use of this disc for a tunnel shot.

Discraft Stalker Elite Z Golf Disc

For more advanced players, the Discraft Stalker is a great choice for long-distance tunnel shots. This disc has one of the straightest flying flight patterns of any driver on the market.

It’s ratings are: Speed 8, Glide 5, Turn -1, and Fade 1. Because it is higher in speed, we recommend this disc for intermediate to advanced players, and suggest beginners stick with the Innova Panther.

This disc is available in 164 to 166 grams, 167 to 169 grams, 170 to 172 grams, 173 to 174 grams, and 175 to 176 grams. These heavier weights allow this disc to be more wind resistant.

This disc will fly long and straight with a predictable fade. We recommend only using this disc if you have a clear, long tunnel shot, as opposed to a shorter choppier one.

Because of its slight understability, it will anhyzer sightly before finishing straight, so be wary of this if there are a lot of right-line trees and obstacles.

Discraft’s Z plastic line is a pro-material blend with extremely good durability and decent grip.

It is not a very flexible plastic which means it is going to be more resistant to damage from rough terrain.

View at Amazon for more information on how this product could work for you.

Discraft Buzzz Elite Z Golf Disc

Another mid-range choice that is great for beginners and advanced players alike is the Discraft Buzzz mid-range disc. This is made from the same plastic line as the stalker, which means it’s inflexible and durable.

Its flight numbers are: Speed 5, Glide 4, Turn -1, and Fade 1. While its ratings seem very close to the Innova Panther disc, keep in mind that you cannot compare ratings from brand to brand, only within a brand.

This disc is similar to the Stalker, but it is more appropriate for shorter distances and beginner-level skills.

It will fly primarily straight, drift towards the right only slightly, and then fade gradually back to the left towards the end of the shot, resulting in a fairly straight shot.

This disc is stable and reliable, which is why we recommend it for tunnel shots.

This disc comes in a heavier weight category: 167 to 169 grams, 170 to 172 grams, 173 to 174 grams, 176 to 176 grams, and 177+ grams.

These heavier weights help make the disc more resistant to wind, resulting in better control and a straighter shot.

View at Amazon for more information on how this product could work for you.

Which is right for you?

It’s difficult to compare the Buzzz and the Panther since they’re from separate manufacturers, but suffice to say that both are great choices for all skill levels who are endeavoring to make it through wooded tunnel shots.

Either one will be a sufficient choice for a mid-range disc.

The Stalker is one of the best drivers for tunnel shots on the market, and is recommended for intermediate to advanced players since it is a higher speed disc.

Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com @jarih