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Putting technique is a very crucial element of succeeding in the game of disc golf.
Putting seems deceivingly easy because, after all, you only throw a disc over short distances.
Still, any experienced disc golf who has missed a vital putt before can tell you otherwise.
Many factors come into play that could make putting more challenging, e.g., obstacles, windy weather and elevation.
One of the best aspects of disc golf is the abundance of putting styles.
As a disc golfer, you have various techniques to choose from to get your disc from one point to the other.
This abundance of putting styles means that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to putting.
Here are some putting styles you can learn if you are new disc golf or wish to broaden your variety of techniques.
Primary Disc Golf Putting Styles
There are two essential putting techniques in disc golf, i.e., spin and push.
Most disc golf players, particularly when starting out, learn and stick to one of these styles.
Naturally, the more experienced you become at disc golf, the more you learn to synergize the two putting methods.
This is arguably the technique with the most natural feel in disc golf; hence most new players find it easy to adopt.
It involves putting some spin on the disc when throwing it at the basket and is somehow similar to driving off the tee.
As the disc leaves your hand, it flies in an almost perfectly straight path towards the basket.
This putting style is particularly effective when playing in windy weather since the wind will not likely push a disc traveling in a straight path off its trajectory.
Another advantage of using the spin putt is that you hardly need to make adjustments at the point of release regardless of distance.
You will essentially repeat the same motion, whether throwing a disc 10 feet or 50 feet away.
The beauty of this technique is the spinning effect you impart on the disc makes it float in the air much longer hence giving it more glide.
Spin putting is an excellent technique for beginners since it involves a lot of repetitive motion and less consideration when throwing the disc.
However, as good as the spin putt may sound, it still has its fair share of weaknesses.
First, you may get more spit outs when using this technique because the disc hits the basket’s chains at high speeds.
Second, if you are not accurate enough, your disc may fly far from the basket when you miss your shot.
This putting style resembles a toss more than a throw.
For a better perspective, this style is comparable to a free throw in basketball because you essentially toss the disc to the basket in an arcing trajectory.
For most players, this is the go-to technique when throwing the disc within 30 feet or less of the basket because of its high accuracy.
The push putt feels very natural since it resembles casual, every day throws such as tossing a piece of paper in the trash.
If you have some experience in sports like basketball and netball, your shooting skills may carryover to disc golf, especially for this technique since the mechanics are somewhat similar.
The main disadvantage of this style is the need to adjust your shot’s arc depending on the distance of your putt.
Also, it may not be very effective outside the circle.
The effectiveness of the push putt significantly diminishes during windy weather because of the tendency to throw the disc slightly facing up.
Wind easily pushes the disc off its flight path, making it veer away from your intended target.
As mentioned earlier, the more experienced you become at disc golf, the more you learn to combine the mechanics of the spin and push techniques resulting in a hybrid of the two.
This combination is often called a straddle or spush putt.
When performing a spush putt, you can either spin or push the disc.
Rather than standing still and performing a spin putt or bending at your waist and tossing the disc nosing up, straddle your legs and thrust your hips slightly while pushing the disc with some extra spin at the point of release.
This technique minimizes the disc’s side-to-side movements by limiting the number of joints you move during a throw.
While it may reduce the power and distance of your throw, not to mention the time it takes to learn, you can achieve more consistency in your throws by mastering this technique.
Alternative Putting Styles
Besides the two fundamental techniques, there are a few alternative disc golf putting styles.
They primarily supplement the two major styles and are useful for overcoming specific game situations.
This putting style is totally different from the spin and push. It resembles a conventional baseball throw; however, you use your thumb to balance the disc while the other four fingers release it with a spin.
The beauty of this style is that you can release the disc at a significantly higher point than you would with the other styles.
The turbo putt can be a lifesaver when trying to evade an obstacle such as a bush because you can throw the disc over the obstacle and into the basket.
However, with great effectiveness comes an even greater learning curve. Most players find it challenging to get this technique right.
Besides, its accuracy reduces as distance increases. Therefore, the turbo putt is not a good primary style, but instead a secondary technique useful in specific situations.
While this style is a bit controversial, it can extend your average putting distance by jumping moments before releasing the disc.
If you are familiar with basketball, this style is the equivalent of a jump shot.
Essentially, you use a regular putting style, with the only difference being the jumping motion.
Jumping gives you more power to enhance your potential of throwing the disc further.
Note that you can only use this method when you are 10 meters away from the basket.
Besides distance, you will also have to factor the positioning of your feet.
Your plant foot should not leave the ground until you release the disc from the hand.
Lifting your foot off the ground before releasing the disc could lead to a foot fault.
After learning and selecting your favorite putting styles, the next step is to put everything into practice.
Consistently practicing your technique is the only way you will become good at disc golf.
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