|We started playing Disc Golf as of Sept. 01, 2007. I was taking a long walk, thru Widefield Park and notice some folks throwing what I thought were "frisbies" along the walking trail. Turned out to be "Disc's", for a sport called, Disc Golf. You play just like the normal golf, there are Disc's that are "Drivers, Mid-Range and Putters". You have to throw the disc into the basket or "hole", in the least throws possible, trying to make "PAR" or better. Some distances from the "tee pad" are 400+ feet so it's not as simple as it looks! Although you don't see many "sand traps", there's plenty of "creeks, trees, high brush, fences, etc. to make this a very challenging recreational activity/sport! Unlike golf clubs, disc's are cheap (around $8.00 each and up to $20.00+, according to the "grade" plastic their made from), you can even start with just 1-all around disc like a "Innova Shark","Discraft Comet", "Millennium Aurora MS" or "DGA Squall", to see if you'd enjoy the game. Our advise, from experiance, is to buy at least, 1-Distance Driver, 1-Mid-Range, 1-Putter! For beginning men, I recommend starting out with the, "160 weight discs". For women and kids, the "150 Class weight" disc's. As you develop a more powerful throw, you can go to the "170+ weight and more OVERSTABLE disc's" in the future. Jo and I are really enjoying it, although it will take us a long time to get decent at it, it's a nice way to spend some time outdoors and if you've got KIDS, they to will like playing!
Here's some basic throwing techniques:
Backhand: - The most common and farthest flying drive. Biggest mistake new players make is curling the disc in towards their body! The ideal method is to reach out 180 degrees away from the basket and straighten your arm that direction. Pull through in a straight line like starting a manual lawn mower. Bring the disc in close to the body during the throw. "Windmilling" will loose you distance! For this throw, you want a firm but not crushing grip. Don't lock your wrist. If you do the mechanics properly, the wrist will flex on it own. A lot of professional players use the "power grip". It's where you curl all your fingers underneath the disc and place the thumb on top. A good approach will allow balance and turn your body so that the 180 degree reach back is accomplished. Trying to run up on on the tee really doesn't gain much speed. Most people will only be running a couple mph - not enough to make a significant difference. However, the loss of balance and disruption to your mechanics will decrease distance. To practice drives, it's ideal to go to a well mowed field with a stack of discs and just practice throwing far. In this way, you are not concerned with getting close to a basket or loosing discs, just distance.
Forearm: - Possibly the second longest drive. Unlike the backhand, the forehand works best bending your wrist to start with. One myth is that you must keep your elbow in close to your body, this is false. You want to lead slightly with the elbow and try to keep the disc level throughout the throw. For grip, place the disc between your thumb and forefinger. This is not the palm of the hand, rather, it's the side/top. Place forefinger and middle on the inside rim with the thumb on top.
Roller: - a great utility throw. Used for both tee shots and upshots. Finding a nice balance of disc to use in rolling is difficult. On one hand, you want something that will flip on edge mostly on it's own. On the other, you want a disc that will hold the line it's rolling on and not flip over on it's top. I find this a compromise. I bring the disc across my body much higher so the outer rim is up in the air. Otherwise the throwing motion is the same as my usual drive. Experiment to see what disc works best for you.
Tomahawk: - a great utility throw. Not often used as a tee shot as it severely limits distance. Best used to go over an obstacle such a bush or tree. Thrown over the shoulder like a baseball pitch. Place two fingers inside rim of the disc and the thumb on top. Top distance I've ever seen was 300'. Most players max out around 170'.
Upshots: - your lay-up next to the basket. Often disc golfers want this to have a chance to go in yet land close enough that the next putt is almost guaranteed in. Beginning players often arc their discs at the basket. While this may seem to work well, often this causes discs to skip or roll away especially with concrete around the basket. Some players tend to put their forefinger along the edge of the disc for this as they try to guide the disc a little more.
Hyzer-Anhyzer: -To throw a left curve, tilt the disc to the left and a right curve tilt disc to the right. Experiment!
Putting: - Balance is very important. Pushing off with the back leg, sort of springing forward/transfer of weight is good. Many players focus on a link in the center of the basket, then if they miss by a little any direction, the putt might still go in. Find a method/stance, that is comfortable and practice, practice, practice!
A Link for Large Versions of the Disc Golf Throwing Charts
For more information on starting in Disc Golf, check out the following topics at:
In the index section under: RESOURCES
Disc Flight Ratings
For more advanced information as you get more knowledgeable:
So grab a disc or two and join us! You can check out our progress on our Disc Golf Blog and our Disc Golf Photo's Album! :)