21 Beginner Disc Golf Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)


As a beginner, I’d like to welcome you to the sport of disc golf! Hopefully you’ve been able to play some rounds already and see how fun the game really is.

Before we get into this list, I want you to know outright that disc golf is really tough. You’ll make mistakes. I did. My friends did. Even the best disc golfers in the world made some mistakes as a new player.

But you can do this!

This list I’ve put together features 21 of the biggest mistakes that you’ll make as a beginner with the hope that you can learn from it all and become a better player much, much faster than I did. So let’s gets started!

21 beginner disc golf mistakes

1. Not starting with the right discs

2. Not marking your bright discs

3. Taking too many discs

4. Not buying a disc golf bag

5. Not buying a decent pair of trail hiking shoes

6. Not stretching (a little) before you play

7. Trying to throw too hard

8. Being too aggressive with shots

9. Not staying hydrated while you play

10. Worrying about distance

11. Not learning how to putt

12. Not learning proper technique

13. Not listening to better players

14. Not going out to play enough

15. Going out to play too much

16. Taking the game too seriously (at first)

17. Not learning flight ratings

18. Not buying practice equipment

19. Not having a goal in mind

20. Not watching professional disc golf on YouTube

21. Not exercising outside of disc golf

Let me elaborate on all this a little further.

21 beginner disc golf mistakes (and how to avoid them)

1. Not starting with the right discs

This, by far, is the biggest beginner mistake in the books. The funny thing is, you might not even know that you’re making it. I can tell you that I sure didn’t know I was making it at first.

You see, beginners need a few discs that are made specifically for beginners. And it’s easy to see why beginners could mistakenly pick out advanced discs. Because there are just SO MANY discs on the market and as a beginner, you may not know how to pick out the right discs.

As a beginner, some disc golf discs have to be off limits to you. You don’t want discs that are too fast for you or discs that are really hard to throw. So, in this regard, you need to cut out all drivers at first.

Next, stick to primarily putters and mid-range discs only. Those discs are slow, easy-to-throw discs that will help you learn the game. You’ll start looking at learning disc golf flight ratings later in this post and pretty soon, you will start to learn which discs are for beginners and which discs are for more advanced players.

Until you learn that, check out our awesome beginner discs post here, “The 37 Best Disc Golf Discs for Beginners (You Need These)”

2. Not marking your bright discs

Once you’ve got an idea of which discs you want to buy, here’s another quick tip: only use highly-visible, marked discs.

By this I mean two things. The first is that you should use bright discs that you can easily distinguish from the natural landscape around you while you play. You are looking for yellow, orange, bright red, pink, purple, light blue, white, or other bright colors that you can see from a distance.

I personally stay away from brown, any kind of green including lime green (the color of my only lost disc), dark blue, dark red, black, or dark multi-colored discs. All of those discs can get lost pretty easily.

After you buy your discs, immediately get a Sharpie and put your name and phone number on the disc. You do this in case that disc gets lost. The bright color should help you almost always find your disc, but putting your information on the disc can help you get the disc back if it ever gets lost and you just can’t find it. Eventually, someone will pick it up and they may return it to you. If you find someone else’s marked disc, always try to return it to them. That’s just the right thing to do.

If you do manage to lose your discs, check out our Lost Discs Guide here to learn some tricks for finding your lost disc out on the course!

3. Taking too many discs

Okay so this can actually be a really huge mistake for new players (and really players of all skill levels). You’re going to really want to buy some discs when you start out. That’s absolutely no problem…but it can become a problem really quick if you buy too many discs. I mean, there are so many awesome discs, right?! Yep, but as newbie, you need to get a few good beginner discs and cap it at that for a while. I would say to buy no more than five or six discs and that’s probably still too many.

You need to keep this number down at first because of one simple reason: you need to learn the game and get good with just a few discs. If you take too many discs, that may all fly differently, you’re going to Jack your game up. One disc might turn more. One might fade more. And another might need to be thrown much harder than the first two. By continuing to throw different discs, you’re never going to learn repetition, muscle memory, and technique because all of your throws may differ and all of the discs will fly differently.

Use the same few discs over and over again and develop your muscle memory with them. Then slowly add new discs in. That’s an easy tip for quick improvement.

4. Not buying a disc golf bag

Now you absolutely do not have to buy a disc golf bag. BUT…you do NEED a good bag. The thing is, though, that there are a ton of really great, budget-friendly bag options available. So why not just get a good bag? To me, it’s a mistake to not get one.

For over a year, I played using an old NFL football backsack. Eventually it just got irritating and so I sprung for the $40 dollar Dynamic Discs Trooper disc golf bag (which I highly recommend by the way) and haven’t looked back. So it’s definitely worth the money.

For a list of our top bag recommendations, check out the two posts below:

“The 13 Best Disc Golf Bags Under $50 (Ranked by Price!)”

“27 Best Disc Golf Bags (Yes, You Need One of These)”

5. Not buying a decent pair of trail hiking shoes

Another equipment related mistake that new players make is not getting a decent pair of trail-hiking sport boots or tennis shoes for when they play. This is one mistake that I did not make. But I’ve seen a lot of players around me have issues with slipping and other general traction-related issues on the course. And this problem is so easily solved!

All you need is a good pair of sport hiking shoes and you’re good to go. Most shoes aren’t too expensive either. For some really good options, check out our post, “The 27 Best Disc Golf Shoes: Ranked by Price!”

6. Not stretching (a little) before you play

Now that you’ve got all of your discs and gear, it’s time to play! You’re at the course, ready to go, but there’s still one thing left to do: stretch.

As much as you just want to get throwing to start your round, not stretching beforehand can be a huge mistake and can hurt you in more ways than one.

If you get a few stretches in before your round, you’ll be more loose than of you dont stretch. Instead of being tight and not warmed up, your muscles will be flexible and loose. You’ll be ready to go from the jump and this normally will help you play better (and help you lower your score)!

Stretching is also really important because it helps keep you from getting injured. Now you probably wouldn’t think you can get injured from disc golf….but I did. And it sucked. I didn’t stretch and I was trying to throw the disc way too hard (something we’ll talk about in #7).

I felt some pain in my rear shoulder and later found out that i had partially torn my rotator cuff. It took me a long time to recover and I had to take off a few months from playing. So I learned that stretching before your rounds was really important. PLEASE make sure that you stretch. For a good warmup stretch routine made for disc golfers, check out our post, “The 17 Best Disc Golf Stretches to Improve Your Game”

7. Trying to throw too hard

This is a mistake that I made often when I first started out. It seems like it might make sense – the harder you throw that little disc, the farther it will go, right? Wrong. The harder you throw, the better chance you have of hurting yourself. Take everything slow, smooth, and steady. Trying to throw the disc hard will do nothing for your disc golf game but hurt your score.

8. Being too aggressive with shots

My buddy Hunter normally makes this mistake when putting. He could lay the disc up a few feet away but ALWAYS tries to make his tough putts. He will try to throw around a tree, through two more, over a bush, and into the basket surrounded by a lake. He could just lay it up if he threw it over the bush to the right and hit an easy next shot. But he goes for it and, well, he’s got some cajones for always trying.

But when you’re new, dont try to be too aggressive with your shots. Just make easy, balanced, smooth throws and be cautious whenever you need to be cautious. Once you get better, you can try to make the more aggressive shots.

9. Not staying hydrated while you play

Staying hydrated while you play is extremely important. With this, you can drink Gatorade and other drinks, but I say stick with plain old water.

Not drinking water and staying hydrated is a mistake for multiple reasons. The first is that when your body gets dehydrated, you can get overheated and possibly develop heat stroke. That means no disc golf. Also, dehydration can lead to injury if you’re not careful. Your body needs water to stay healthy. And if you get hurt, no more disc golf.

Moral of this tip: drink more water. For a great post on water, check out, “7 Ways Drinking Water Can Improve Your Disc Golf Game.”

10. Worrying about distance

One huge mistake that I know I made when I was starting out was worrying too much about distance. Yes, it takes distance to get from teepad to basket. And yes, it’s normally pretty far from point A to point B. But you shouldn’t be overly concerned about distance. You’ve got at least three or more shots to try to get to the basket.

You want to learn how to throw smooth, controlled shots that can fly a reasonable distance at first. As you get better, distance will naturally develop for you. As you get better, you’ll move up to harder-to-throw discs and then your distance will improve. Once you can consistently throw over 250+ feet, then you can start focusing on improving your distance.

For some distance tips, check out our post here called,“The 27 Best Disc Golf Distance Tips for Beginners”

11. Not learning how to putt

Not knowing how to putt can be a huge flaw in your game. Why? Well, because putting is probably the most important part of your game. In disc golf, we’ve got a quote:

“Drive for show, putt for dough.”

That quote means that we drive long distances for the excitement and to put on a show, but putting helps us to win and to get that money for winning. So if you really want to shave strokes off your game, learn how to putt. Check out our post, “The 12 Best Disc Golf Putting Tips for Beginners.”

12. Not learning proper technique

Not learning proper technique might be the biggest beginner mistake on this list (behind selecting the right discs). It’s absolutely imperative that you start off right.

Most new players, like I did when I first started, think that throwing a disc is just a simple frisbee toss. But it’s not. Throwing a disc golf disc takes a very specific throwing motion. That motion can be learned but takes patience. If you’re new, check out our post called, “7 Steps to the Best Disc Golf Technique and a Perfect Throw.”

13. Not listening to better players

This mistake is a really huge one that new players always make…me included. When I first started, I was told how to play and shown a few things, but I mostly DID NOT listen. My game suffered for months because of this. Once I started listening to what better players had to say, my game improved tenfold.

Another thing that new players don’t really take advantage of is finding those experienced players and making them their mentors on the course. A mentor player can be a huge benefit and your improvement can happen a helluva lot faster this way. Check out our post, “7 Reasons You Need a Mentor in Disc Golf,” to learn more about why mentors are so important to have in disc golf.

14. Not going out to play enough

Yep, I definitely made this mistake as a new player. Just staying at home learning about disc golf can only get you so far. You have to get out on the course in order to improve. You need to be able to work on every facet of the physical game in order to get better. Practicing and playing enough helps you to work on that muscle memory that you’ll hear about throughout this post.

I will say, though, that it’s tough to find the time to play. But you should try to play at least a round a month if you want to get any better. If you can’t get out on the course enough, check out #18 on this list.

15. Going out to play too much

You might ask, “can there really be too much disc golf?” And believe me…the answer to that question is YES. I made this mistake and was burnt out on playing for months. Now granted, I played almost every day for weeks. And then I didn’t play at all for over 3 months. And it was because I just played too much and wanted to enjoy some other hobbies.

Eventually I got back into it and found my personal number of rounds per month at around two to four. That number is perfect for me. It keeps me sharp and I still have fun up to this point in my disc golf career. Find your number and stick with it. If it feels like it’s too much, don’t play as much. Playing too much is just as bad as not playing enough.

One other quick reason that I say to not play too often is because your body needs to rest and recover. If you don’t allow your body to do so, you can get injured pretty easily. The great thing is that your body tells you when you should rest. If any of your disc golf muscles (shoulder, abs, legs) are sore the next day after your round, you need to rest for at least a couple days before your next round.

For a great post on resting and recovering for disc golf, check out, “The 11 Step Plan to Recover After a Disc Golf Workout.”

16. Taking the game too seriously (at first)

Before I say anything else, I just want to say that disc golf is, first and foremost, a game. So you have to treat it like one. This mistake is kind of similar to #15 and you can kind of see the similarities. Going out to play too much. Taking the game too seriously. Hopefully you can see that theme sinking in. Don’t go extreme with disc golf as a beginner.

If you take the game too seriously at first, you will no doubt burn out. Why? Because you probably still suck at disc golf. I mean, it’s okay. We all sucked in the beginning. But if you take the game ridiculously serious when you’re not very good, you may soon become disappointed in your improvement and that could cause you to burn out. Disc golf takes a lot of time and patience to get better.

Once you start improving, then you can take the game more serious. Once you know that you want to play more competitively, you can start looking at disc golf in a different, more serious light. Until then, just have fun and try to get better.

17. Not learning flight ratings

This mistake is something that hit me before I even played a round of disc golf. I went to buy some discs without a clue about flight ratings (those four little numbers on most discs) and I ended up buying a couple of advanced distance drivers.

We already talked about choosing the right beginner discs. So now you need to start learning flight ratings immediately so that you understand completely how discs fly. Not understanding flight ratings is bad because you’ll need different discs for different situations.

Some discs fade a lot while others turn a lot, some discs can handle headwinds while others can’t, and you’re going to want to find discs that fit your throwing style. As you continue to get better, you’ll want to tweak the discs in your bag based on how they fly and understanding the differences in flight ratings will help you do that.

For more information on flight ratings, check out our post, “What Do the Numbers on a Disc Golf Disc Mean?”

18. Not buying practice equipment

As a new player, you might not even have realized that you can buy much more than just discs to help you improve. But there are a couple of great practice tools or pieces of equipment that I recommend that you buy. Now you don’t have to get any of this stuff. But I believe that that’s a mistake because you can’t always get to the course. You need some practice gear at home.

The first and most important is a portable disc golf basket. You can get a fold-up basket or a metal basket and then you’re immediately off to get better at putting/approaching. If you want to know why you should buy a basket, here are 11 reasons why you need one. If you’re going to go ahead and get a basket, check out our post, “The 17 Best Disc Golf Baskets (Get One and Win).”

The second piece of equipment you should buy is a throwing net. That is something that can help you tremendously when you’re new. Why? One word: repetition. A practice net allows you to throw A LOT. All you do is buy a net and put it up in your garage or backyard. I put up two hooks and bought this 10×10 baseball backstop net. Now I can throw whenever I want. I got these hooks to screw into the wall and some bungie cords to hook the net to those hooks. Simple, easy, and effective.

The third and final piece of equipment that you should add to your practice arsenal is the Pro-Pull Disc Golf Resistance Trainer.

The pro-pull resistance band trainer is an awesome way to improve your form and strength while at home. This system involves a set of resistance bands, with different weights and an attached disc, that allows you to train your disc golf muscles to hopefully help you improve yourself on the course. The system itself is fairly inexpensive, coming in at around $30-35 dollars, and can benefit you greatly. Grab the pro-pull system here on InfiniteDiscs.com. If you can’t find it on there, check it out here on Amazon.

19. Not having a goal in mind

One huge mistake that even I made as new player was not having a goal for disc golf. Now your goals don’t have to be crazy, but you should definitely set at least some kind of specific goal for your game.

If you like disc golf and you have aspirations of becoming a professional, I say go for it. Set some specific short term and long term goals for yourself that will help you achieve whatever you wa t to achieve. If your goal is to throw 400+ feet, set goals for gaining distance.

My disc golf goals are simply to improve at the sport, teach as many people as I can with my site, and to build a legitimate disc golf business. I’m working on all three as you read this.

So go set some goals. If you don’t have any goals, you’re not going to get better. You could just simply say my goal is to have fun every time I go out on the course. Boom. Sounds good to me.

For a more in depth post about disc golf goals and how to set them, check out, “11 Powerful Reasons Why Goals Are Important in Disc Golf.”

20. Not watching professional disc golf on YouTube

After you’ve played a few rounds and have gotten the hang of disc golf, you probably will be looking for out of the box ways to improve (you know, something more than just practice and more practice).

One huge thing that not a lot of new players do is watch professional disc golf on YouTube or anywhere online. That is a huge mistake. Besides being pretty entertaining, when you watch the pros play, you will see exactly how they play. You see strategy, shot placement, and how pros approach each and every shot situation. You’ll learn a lot from just watching. Then you can implement that stuff in your own game.

YouTube features pretty much all pro disc golf tournaments, including those filmed by the channels below. Check them all out through each respected link:

JomezPro

Central Coast Disc Golf

SpinTV

21. Not exercising outside of disc golf

Last but definitely not least comes exercising. Now you don’t have to workout outside of disc golf. If you just want to go hiking a couple of miles per week while playing disc golf, that alone is a decent workout and I’m okay with that. No problem.

But if you really like disc golf and you want to get better, you need to do a couple of workouts per week off the course. Getting your body in shape and getting fit plays a big part in getting better at the game. Whether it’s by running or doing other cardio, core work like abs, weightlifting, or working out disc golf muscles in the gym, you need to get a few extra workouts in.

Below, there are a couple of workout posts that can help you get your body in shape for disc golf:

The 12 Best Disc Golf Exercises to Keep You Fit

The Only Disc Golf Core Workout You’ll Ever Need

Our Tips Post

So you’ve just went over 21 of the biggest mistakes that new players make. You might have even made some of these yourself.

Now, you probably want to better yourself.

We’ve got a fantastic post for you to check out called, “101 Disc Golf Tips to Take Your Game to the Next Level.” That post will help you really improve your beginner disc golf skills.

Overall

You’re going to make mistakes. Seriously…mistakes happen all the time. Even professional disc golfers still make disc golf mistakes. But hopefully you’ve been able to make it through the list above and pick out a couple of things that will help you improve in both your practice and out on the course. Disc golf is a game that takes a lot of dedication, patience, and skill to really get good at. So keep working at it and you’ll eventually come out on top!

Related Content

But wait…there’s more! Looking for answers to common disc golf questions? Check out our FAQ page here. If you’re looking for some more awesome content, we’ve got you covered below.

9 Weird Tricks to Improve Your Disc Golf Game (Forever)

How to Improve Your Disc Golf Game and Dominate on the Course

The 50 Best Disc Golf Drills to Change Your Game Forever

Thanks for reading, disc golfers! Now get out there and go throw!

Check Out The Book

Before you go, don’t forget to check out the best beginner disc golf book on the planet! Grab a copy of, “The Disc Golf Player’s Manual,” here on the site. This ebook is jam packed with the best tips, tricks, and advice for new disc golfers like yourself!


Also, be sure to smash those share buttons below!!

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I am an avid disc golfer and lover of the sport. My mission with DiscgolfNOW.com is to reach as many people as possible to help them love disc golf, too!

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