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Looking to improve your physical health and fitness, but tired of the same old routine?
Enjoy the outdoors, but you find just hiking through the hills on the boring side?
What if we told you there is a game that easy to learn and answers both our previous questions?
The game is called disc golf.
While the rules and general principles are similar, it’s different from traditional golf.
Basically, to get started playing disc golf all, you need to do is to be able to throw a Frisbee.
Now, the game is a great deal more interesting than just flinging a disc.
There are a variety of shot strategies, and if you join groups and leagues, disc golf can be your answer to a competitive sport.
Let’s take a look at disc golf tips for beginners to get you started. Pretty soon, you’ll be out hiking the trails looking to score a different kind of birdie.
We won’t spend a lot of time discussing the various nuances of disc golf.
If you’ve every watched or played traditional golf, you’ll have a firm understanding of the general objective.
You guessed it, same scoring principles and strategy as traditional golf. Instead of a hole with a flagpole in it, you have a basket.
Hanging from this ring is a series of chains.
Each chain drops 22-inches into a basket. This basket is where your disc ultimately lands to finish the hole.
It’s about 7-inches deep and slightly more than two-feet in diameter.
This entire section is on a pole.
The bottom of the basket is around two-feet off the ground, and the overall height is roughly 4½-feet.
This is the one true piece of equipment that is inherent to nearly every good disc golf course. The driving areas vary.
Some have pristine grass areas akin to a traditional golf course. Others will use an indoor/outdoor carpet area.
In disc golf, they are called the tee pad. The common attribute is an area that is predominately flat and marked for different player levels.
Disc golf courses become very diverse after these two important areas. You may find a course set up in open fields, or even in a beach-like setting.
You might also find a course that climbs across hills through the woods.
The ability to carve a course into the wilderness is one feature of disc golf that makes it so appealing.
As you navigate from one hole to the next, you will record the number of throws it takes you to finish at the basket.
Each throw counts as a stroke. As in traditional golf, there are boundaries.
Throws outside these designated areas are penalized. There are certain rules that apply to hazards and other unnatural conditions.
Most disc golf courses are 9 or 18-holes. There are also 27-hole layouts. A set number of throws per hole is par.
Every beginner should have at least the basic disc golf gear. Don’t initially fret over having a dozen discs for every unique situation you may find yourself in on the course.
However, you also won’t be very successful with the free Frisbee you snagged at the local high school football game.
Disc golf is a game of calculated strategy, very similar in concept to traditional golf.
Each hole opens with a tee shot.
- Speed – This is how hard you need to throw the disc to generate the estimated distance. Speed ratings range from 1 to 14.
- Glide – Glide estimates how far an accurate throw will glide in the air. Glide ratings range from 1 to 7.
- Turn – This is an important number. It estimates how much the disc will turn to the right in the air when thrown by a right-handed thrower. Turn uses a + or – designation. +1 discs will resist turning, while a -5 disc will be prone to a big bend when in the air.
- Fade – Fade is the opposite of turn. It estimates how much the disc will turn to the left when thrown right-handed. This last number is similar to turn and glide. Fade is rated 0 to 5. It estimates how straight the disc will finish. A 0-rating is a disc that will finish the straightest.
Beginners need to have minimal diversity in their first disc golf disc bag. Ignoring wind resistance, a good beginner’s selection will include one high-speed disc with a glide rating of 7.
This is a good choice off the tee.
Pick 3 to 4 additional discs to help increase your accuracy. Match a lower speed disc with a low fade and low turn rating.
These are excellent choices in and around the basket. Add a balanced disc that is called a putter.
Now that you have a selection of discs, about the only other thing you need is a good pair of shoes.
They make special shoes for advanced disc golfers. A stable pair of cross trainers is a solid choice for beginner footwear.
Next, let’s look at some disc golf strategy to help you as a beginner.
Practice Getting Up-and-Down
In traditional golf, as play nears the putting green the final shots until a golfer holes the final putt is called getting up-and-down.
While there isn’t a hole to bury a little ball, disc golfers still need to finish the hole with a successful shot into the basket.
Like normal golfers, there can be a lot of frustrations and strokes added to the scorecard.
In disc golf, shots near the basket can truly pose a challenge.
Here are some tested theories about how disc golfer beginners can avoid wasting shots around the basket.
- Lay it up – Seasoned disc golfers may have the accuracy to go for the basket as soon as they can visually see the basket, plus it’s within their throw distance. Beginners will find this temptation hard to avoid as well. Overly aggressive mid-range throws can burn up strokes rapidly. However, until you master the control of your throws, be content to stress accuracy over distance. An accurate shot, which lands near the basket, is better than going for the big score and watching it sail yards past your target. Beginners should practice soft throws that lay up near the basket.
- Bury it – The second step in getting up-and-down on a disc golf course holds similarities to traditional golf as well. The putting aspect of the game can tack on strokes unnervingly. These added numbers to your final tally are tremendously frustrating. Beyond spending some time mastering your putting toss, apply a similar strategy as the laying the disc up. As a beginner, you’ll be tempted to make aggressively longer shots in one toss. A better strategy is to maintain self-control and gently toss towards the basket. One gentle toss, albeit short of the basket, can result in an easy final toss. The alternative of the aggressive approach would be a disc that sails past the basket, resulting in a wasted putt just to correct the errant throw. Use the gentler approach and then bury it.
Go the Distance
You might think that we have this part of our disc golf tips for beginners backwards.
The opening shot on every hole is your drive.
Nevertheless, since there are more mid-range shots and up-and-down situations than there are drives, we started there.
However, that doesn’t negate the importance of learning how to get distance out of that first shot, but keeping the disc in the same hemisphere.
Just like traditional golf, you should head out to a practice tee to work on various shots.
Driving in disc golf is one of the most important.
However, unlike traditional golfers, disc golfers can make their own driving range. A good flat, clear field is as good as any manicured golf driving range.
Football fields also make excellent places to practice disc golf throws.
In a practice setting, you can experiment with the different disc golf grips.
The backhand grip is the most common.
You will also find a forehand, two-finger flick grip a nice way to get yourself out of tight spots.
Intermediate to advanced players will practice a hood thumb grip and a thunder grip.
These two grips can help add distance to your all-important tee shot.
The biggest thing people new to disc golf should focus on is keeping their drive straight and then go for the distance.
As you become more experienced at disc golf, you’re going to encounter more situations.
Course layout and design has a huge role in how many odd shots you may benefit from learning.
The best suggestion is to practice new throws before you hit the course.
Besides the all-important drive, you can practice turning your disc in mid-flight.
These are great tools to have in your arsenal for points where the fairway turns.
Beyond the big-distance power shots, there are also a series of lay up strategies.
One type of throw that can come in very handy is a roller. It is a combination of an overhead shot throwing motion that tries to get the disc to roll straight for the basket.
As you can see, there are a number of different disc golf shots you can use.
As a beginner, work on keeping your drive and fairway shots accurate.
When your accuracy improves, you can put more power behind your throws to add distance.
Practice your short throws to help reduce strokes and spend time at the basket working on your putts.
Walter Frederick Morrison could have never envisioned how many diverse games would evolve from the simple popcorn lid he and his future wife would toss around in 1937.
Morrison’s flying disc was called the Frisbee.
Today, disc golfers all across the world use his flying disc concept to play a marvelously entertaining game.
These are some basic tips for you as a beginner. Take some time to practice a few throw types and work on your accuracy.
Use these tips to help you get from tee to basket in fewer shots.
Soon, you’ll be bagging your own disc golf birdie.