Disc Golf Instruction
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Beginners Guide to Disc Golf
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Disc golf is fun, cheap, and great exercise. This guide will help beginners improve faster and hopefully enjoy the game more.
Disc Golf is played just like regular ball golf. The object is to get the disc into the basket (on top doesn’t count) in the fewest possible number of throws. With some exceptions, par on each hole is considered 3, with 54 being par for 18 holes. Keeping score is optional, having fun is not!!!
Golf discs, not regular “catching” Frisbees, are used for disc golf. You can buy them from many stores (like Quick Stop in Arlington, TX), vendors (like the infamous “MACEMAN”), or from the Arlington Disc Golf Club. At Veteran's Park in Arlington, TX, Quick Stop and the ADGA hold mini-tournaments Sundays at 10 AM, Mondays at 6PM, and Wednesdays at 6 PM. Check out MetroplexDiscGolf.com for articles and information on local disc golf events. Also go to FunkytownDiscGolf.com for schedules on metroplex disc golf tournaments.
Golf discs cut through the wind much better than Frisbees, making them much more controllable and fly much further. Some players can throw a disc over 600 feet! That’s 2 football fields!!! The outdoor world’s record for distance according to WFDF.org is 250 meters by Christian Sandstrom of Sweden set on 4/26/02. The record for women is 162 meters by Niloofar Mosavar Rahmani of Sweden set on 7/5/10!
DO NOT try to catch a golf disc. They can cut deeply and cause blunt force injuries. Be careful of other golfer’s discs while you are on the course.
There are 2 basic types of golf discs. There are discs with sharp edges (drivers) which are made to go far. There are discs with rounded edges (midranges or putters) which are more controllable and which will not go as far. The rounded edge discs will not curve as radically.
The Power Grip
Grip it and rip it. And grip it like this: All four fingers under the disc. Do not curl your index finger around the disc like you do when you hold a Frisbee. You will lose a lot of power that way. Golf discs can handle a lot more power on the throw than a Frisbee can. To get the maximum power you have to learn how to grip the disc with four fingers, not three. It might not feel comfortable at first. Get used to it. The longer you wait to change the grip the harder it will be and the longer before it does feel comfortable. Eventually the other way will feel weird. The correct grip is called the Power Grip. Feel the power!!!
New players will notice their discs curving to the left consistently (if they are right handed-opposite if they are left handed). This is called hyser. Discs that will do this are called stable or over-stable. One of the first things a new player should try to do is make your disc fly flat or s-curve. If you are right handed try to curve the disc fairly drastically to the right…the naturally tendency of the disc will pull it back flat, then hyser (or curve back left). Accomplishing this will maximize flight time and distance. This is one of the first improvements new players make. They figure out how to stop throwing the drastic left curve or hyser shot and start making the disc s-curve or fly flat. Try it. You will see what I mean fairly quickly. You will also see it isn’t easy! But if it was easy, disc golf wouldn’t be so fun!
Beginner Disc Choice Advice
Certain types of discs are more (or a lot more!) stable than others. Beginners should not use very stable discs. When you graduate to throwing harder you will need more stable discs. When that time has arrived you will know! Use understable discs when you are just starting out! Experienced disc golfers can help you pick out the right disc!
When you are a brand new player just one understable disc will do you just fine. Beat up used discs are often a perfect choice. Your choice for a second disc should probably be a rounded edge disc to use for medium to short shots and putting. It doesn’t really matter too much which midrange disc you choose. Just pick one that feels good in your hand.
Why Are The Discs Different Prices?
Discs are made of different kind of plastics which vary in price, durability, and flight characteristics.
Discraft Pro-D and Innova Dx are the cheapest to buy. They will wear over time and their flight characteristics will change.
Innova Pro Line wears less and are more expensive than DX.
Discraft Elite Z and Innova Champion discs are made of highly durable plastic which is more expensive. These discs flight characteristics will virtually never change.
Discraft ESP and Innova Star are the newest and most expensive plastics. These discs are more durable than DX or Pro-Line, but their flight characteristics will change more slowly over time. It is known to be the smoothest flying plastic. It also has a grippy feel as opposed to the slick feel of Champion or Elite Z plastic.
Try The Tournaments!
When I tell new players to try playing in a tournament they usually say, “No way! I’m not good enough!” What you need to know is, you are good enough! The tournaments are divided into divisions. Every player has an appropriate division to play in (in both mini and major tournaments). Rec or novice is where beginners start. Don’t miss out on the competition, camaraderie, and prizes. Playing in mini tournaments is a great way for beginners to build up their disc cache, meet new friends to play with, and learn from the other competitors!
Go to PDGA.com and view the course directory to locate other courses in this area. There are many. Lorch Park in Cedar Hill has 36 holes and Z Boaz in Fort Worth has 18 holes. Both locations are world class.
If you want to learn faster consider hiring a disc golf coach. I offer 2 hour lessons which include professional photographs delivered to you in CD form. You will also receive a computer printout of your strengths, weaknesses, and recommended drills. You can draw on my (more than twenty years of) disc golf experience, which includes competing in six world championships. You can take one lesson or a series of lessons. Please email me at Flydiscs@sbcglobal.net for more information. Lessons are only $25 for a two hour session! Satisfaction is guaranteed.