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Disc golf is a wonderfully entertaining sport. It’s great exercise, plus a unique way to experience nature while having fun.
However, experiencing nature by hiking off into the dense woods to hunt for an errantly thrown disc isn’t fun.
We all make poor throws, watching our discs hurl off in a direction other than the one we had intended.
However, there are ways to help keep your throws straight. You need to keep in mind that some discs are made not to fly perfectly straight.
There are also some basic techniques that are an inherent part of throwing a disc golf disc on a true line.
We’re going to talk about the rating numbers for disc golf discs and why they’re important.
Finally, we’ll share some tips on things you can control to help you keep your throws straighter.
Understanding disc numbers
The first problem disc golf beginners’ encounter when trying to keep throws straight is throwing the wrong disc in the wrong situation.
There are four numbers on a disc golf disc that account for four different flight characteristics.
These numbers are based on the disc’s normal flight pattern out of the hand of a right-handed thrower using a backhand throwing motion.
Two of the ratings address the speed and glide distance of the disc.
While these aren’t as critical when discussing how to throw a disc straight in disc golf, they do matter.
Windy conditions can make a long glide disc veer off course.
However, the other two out of the four numbers on your disc golf discs address two critical factors in the disc’s flight pattern.
Two of the ratings numbers on your discs rate the stability or instability of the disc.
A stable disc will fly straighter. The two numbers are referred to as “Turn” and “Fade”.
Understanding fade and turn ratings can help prevent you from throwing the wrong disc at the wrong time.
Turn is the flight rating for how prone the disc is to turnover or bank to the right.
All ratings are based on a right-handed thrower using the standard backhand motion.
The Turn rating numbers go from +1 to -5. A “+1” rating is the most stable disc that is the least likely to turn.
Fade indicates the opposite flight characteristic of your disc.
This rating goes from 0 to 5. Fade is the tendency of a disc to curve to the left.
A disc with a “0” Fade rating will finish the straightest.
A “5” rating is a disc that will have a dramatic hook at the end of its flight.
Frequently, a disc golf beginner will be baffled by why their throws are always curving one way or another.
To their surprise, they discover they’re throwing a disc that is supposed to curve.
Picking the right Turn and Fade flight rating for the disc is key number one to keeping the disc straighter.
Now that you understand flight ratings as they relate to curve, let’s talk about other factors that will cause your disc not to fly straight.
What causes a disc golf disc not to fly straight?
Before we provide you with tips on how to throw a disc straight in disc golf that you can physically control, let’s discuss things that cause the disc not to fly straight.
Of course, we discussed the two flight ratings and how they affect disc straightness.
As a beginner, it’s suggested that you learn to throw your discs true and straight.
If you master correct throwing techniques, you will be able to let the structural differences between discs respond like they are supposed to respond.
This will allow you to pick the correct Fade or Turn rating for any angles or turns on the course.
The first key is to understand problems in your throwing motion that cause a disc designed to travel straight to turn because of the throw, not the disc’s stability rating.
How to throw a disc straight in disc golf
How do you make a disc golf disc fly straight?
While the rating numbers on your discs indicate how straight they will fly, your technique can help improve your disc’s flight straightness.
Using basic grips, stances and motions is advisable for beginners.
Let’s talk about three parts of your throw that you can control.
The first aspect of your throwing form to practice is keeping your hand level.
You may want to consider using the standard right-handed backhand disc golf throwing motion.
Advanced throwing motions will be something you can consider as you gain experience.
We’ll also use the standard four-finger and thumb grip. Your four fingers are under the rim with your thumb curled on top of the disc.
Feel the disc gently in your fingers, don’t squeeze it tightly. Altering this grip, even slightly, can make a disc turn.
Save specialized grip deviations until you master the basics. One thing that can make a disc curve almost immediately on release is too tight a grip.
Master the right finger and thumb pressure, starting with short accurate tosses.
You will soon discover that thumb pressure creates more of an effect on disc flight than your four fingers.
Practice getting a feel for the perfect amount of thumb pressure to keep the disc leaving your hand on a flat trajectory.
Another thing that can immediately send a disc flying off in an errant direction is poor body balance.
Spread your feet about shoulder width apart. There are advanced throwing motions where you step into the throw.
As a beginner looking to avoid wild, inconsistent throws, use a fixed and stable stance.
Practice lowering your body closer to the ground while remaining comfortable.
The lower you can bring your center of balance to the ground, the more stable your throwing motion will be.
The basic straddle stance is best for beginners. You should face your target direction, with your feet at a 90-degree angle.
Draw an imaginary line through your shoulders to the target. Shift your back foot a couple of inches forward.
You should now have a good stable base to throw.
As you begin to bring the disc backwards to prepare for release, gently bend down out the knees to further stabilize your body.
Gradually, as you become more comfortable throwing your disc, you can add more elaborate windup throws.
With a good grip and stable base, you’re now ready to practice the most toughest part of a disc golf throw to master.
All the best preparations won’t help unless you master the release.
The slightest problem with a release could cost you dozens of yards on every throw.
The perfect release point is when your arm reaches a point of full extension.
Your bodyweight will have shifted to your forward foot, and you extend your fingers towards the target on release.
You can practice your release easily.
Any heavy tarp or blanket will work. Draw a target on the tarp and hang it. Step back about 10-feet from the target.
Set your stance and grip as if you were on the course.
You should keep your hand flat, aiming to hit the bulls-eye on your target.
These tips on grip, stance and release can help you remove the human error factor out of throwing your discs straight.
You will then be able to use the different disc characteristics to cause your discs to turn when and in the direction you want them to turn.
These tips will help you throw your discs straighter and cut dozens of yards off your advance to the basic.
The straighter you throw, the fewer throws it will take you to complete each hole.
The next thing you know, you’ll be watching your scorecard numbers drop as well.