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Putting ability is one of the most crucial elements in the game of golf, including the disc variety.
When it comes to putting in disc golf, especially at an advanced level, there are two major schools of thought — the push putt vs. spin putt.
Both the push putt and spin putt have their share of strengths and drawbacks.
As you gain more experience in disc golf, you will probably develop a preference for one of these techniques.
However, as in most other sports, you can be a more proficient player if you choose to stay versatile.
Remember, there are no rules that limit you to using the same putting technique on every hole.
Push Putt vs. Spin Putt: How do they compare?
Perhaps a more accurate description of the push putt is a “lob shot” because of how the disc looks floating in the air.
When performing a push putt, you typically gather forward momentum by initiating the movement from the waist or below, and releasing your disc nose up to achieve an arc.
If you are familiar with basketball, then the push putt is equivalent to a free throw.
Many disc golfers find it easier to shoot accurately inside the circle using this putting style.
However, the accuracy of this technique significantly diminishes the farther you have to throw the disc.
- Consistency — This technique does not involve too many moving parts, hence minimizing your likelihood of getting it wrong. If you perform it correctly, you will line up your body with the basket and make your throw a matter of pointing and shooting. Add proper judgement of distance and accuracy to this technique, and you will be on your way to landing most of your throws.
- Accuracy inside the circle — Many disc golf players find this technique very effective when throwing the disc over distances of 30 feet or less. Its high accuracy over short distances is perhaps attributable to its natural feel since its mechanics are somewhat similar to regular throws, e.g. tossing a crumpled piece of paper into a bin. The accuracy you could potentially achieve using this technique could easily make it your go-to putting style when shooting inside the circle.
- Less severe consequences for missing the basket — If you misjudge your putt while using this technique, the worst that will probably happen is missing short or hitting the basket, leaving you a simple tap-in putt.
- Greatly affected by winds — Since the push putt favors accuracy over power, the wind is more likely to affect the flight path of the disc. By releasing your disc nose up; you make it easier for the wind to blow your disc off its path.
- Ineffective outside the circle — While the push putt can be very accurate inside the circle, its minimal use of power significantly limits your potential reach. This makes it almost impossible to come close to the basket when shooting outside the circle.
- Not ideal for low ceilings — Using the push putt when facing low ceiling obstacles is very challenging. As mentioned earlier, the push putt is equivalent to a free throw in basketball, meaning the disc forms an arc in flight. This arching motion could be a major hindrance when facing low ceiling obstacles.
The name of this putting style concisely explains it. You putt by adding extra spin to the disc at the point of release, in a similar fashion to driving off the tee.
The spin putt looks more deliberate compared to the push putt due to the more linear flight path of the disc.
It is also a lot easier for beginners to learn compared to its counterpart.
- Beginner Friendly — The spin putt is an excellent technique for anyone new to disc golf because adding spin to a disc feels more intuitive. Spin putting involves a throwing motion, which is relatively easier to perform compared to the pitch motion involved in the push putt.
- Less Affected by Winds — If you have ever had your disc veered off-target or floated past the basket, then you know how frustrating playing in the wind can be. Your disc’s flight in the wind can make all the difference between having extra strokes in your final score or not. A properly executed spin putt can significantly mitigate the wind’s effect on your disc while in the air. The spinning motion of the disc makes it fly straighter and reduces the likelihood of wind pushing the disc upwards and off its flight path. Therefore, even if you learn the push putt to achieve higher accuracy, learning the spin putt can pay off on windy days.
- Ideal for Low Ceilings — Having your putt blocked by low ceilings, e.g. low hanging branches can be very frustrating. As mentioned earlier, the arc that results from releasing the disc nose up during a push putt makes it very difficult to overcome low ceilings. The spin putt, however, involves the disc flying in a linear path towards the basket, thus making it suitable for overcoming low ceilings.
- Effective outside the Circle — Unlike the push putt, the spin putt favors power over accuracy, making it an excellent choice for throwing the disc over long distances. If you have good aim, you will find this technique useful for reaching the basket outside the circle.
- Spit outs — Due to the power involved in the spin putt, the disc travels towards the basket at high speeds. Hitting the basket’s chains at such high speeds heightens the chances of getting more spit outs.
- More severe consequences for missing the basket — While spin putting is an excellent technique for achieving incredibly long throws, this ability could be troublesome when aiming for the basket, especially if you miss. If your aim is not good enough, your disc may fly past the basket and land farther than anticipated. This can unnecessarily increase your strokes, which is bad for your final score.
- Less accurate inside the circle — The mechanics of spin putting involve many moving parts, making it a great technique for putting power into a throw, however, at the expense of accuracy. You will probably find it harder to nestle the disc inside the basket using the spin putt when throwing inside the circle.