Knowing how to putt well is extremely important. But knowing how far you can putt well is almost equally important. So with that being said, I want to know how far you can putt…
Take a second and think about it.
Measuring from the basket out, how far out can you get and make the majority (9 out of 10) of your putts? 10 feet? 12 feet? 15 feet? 20 feet? I want you to lock in a number in your head. If you don’t how far out you can putt, that’s okay, because that’s what today’s post is all about: learning about the circle of confidence, finding your circle, and expanding it.
Back when I started playing in 2016, my putting was terrible. So I spent a long time improving it. And while I’m still not the best putter, I was able to steadily improve my putting a little bit farther from the basket every few months.
That’s why I wanted to put this post together. So I could show you the circle of confidence, the difference between that circle and the disc golf “circle,” 4 reasons you need to know your circle of confidence, how to find your circle of confidence, 7 ways to improve your putting, and some extra putting resources to take away from today. Alright, let’s get to it!
What is the circle of confidence?
The “circle of confidence” is the distance from the basket in which a disc golfer can confidently make 90% of more of their putts. This circle is unique to each and every individual player and is usually an average of around 10 to 12 feet out from the basket.
Since the circle of confidence is unique to each person, that means the circle of confidence is your personal putting circle. That’s why I asked you earlier, “How far out can you make the majority of your putts?” That distance is your circle of confidence. Again, it’s okay if you don’t know it. But it’s really important that you find out what it is and expand it. If you don’t know your circle of confidence because you’re a newer player, it’s probably around 10 feet. That distance is tough but you could probably get the majority of putts in the basket from that distance. In a later section, I’ll show you how to find your circle of confidence.
So just to be clear, the circle of confidence and the traditional disc golf circle are not the same. Your circle can be the same distance as the disc golf circle but normally the distances are different. The “circle” in disc golf is a long distance and if your circle of confidence is the same distance, you’re probably a REALLY good putter (I’m talking pro level putter). The average player’s circle of confidence is a much shorter distance. My personal circle of confidence is around 12-15 feet depending in how much I play. Still much shorter than the traditional circle in disc golf. Before I go on, though, let me briefly explain what the traditional “circle” in disc golf is.
So then what is the “circle” in disc golf?
Like I’ve already said, your circle and the disc golf circle are not the same, although they can be the same if you’re a really good player. You may have already heard about the “circle” in disc golf if you’ve ever played a tournament or watched any professional disc golf on YouTube. If you don’t know what the “circle” is, let me explain:
The “circle” in disc golf defines a true disc golf putt, according to the PDGA Rulebook, and is an area that measures 10 meters, or 32 feet 9 ¾ inches, out from the base of the basket. This is a literal circle all the way around the basket which establishes a set of rules that a disc golfer must follow is his/her disc is within this area.
So you can see that the disc golf circle is a set circle for putting at just over 32 feet away from the basket in all directions. I would say probably 99% or more of the disc golfers in the world have a personal circle of confidence of less than 32 feet. Most pros don’t even have a circle of confidence at 32 feet. Because that is a long, tough putt. And you have to have a lot of confidence to make it.
4 reasons you need to know your circle of confidence
Knowing and understanding your personal circle of confidence is important for 4 different reasons. Here’s why:
1. This is your money zone: the money zone. The circle of confidence. Whatever you want to call it. But this is where you sink your putts and win the money. Your circle around the basket is important because that is where you need the disc to land after playing the hole.
So for example: your circle is 10 feet out from the basket. That means you can make just about all of your putts in from within 10 feet of the basket. It’s important to know exactly where your circle is because you can then start working on your approach shots a little differently. Instead of trying to approach and get as close to the basket as possible, just try to approach and get your disc within that 10 foot circle of yours. Sure, you can get as close as you want. But as long as you get within 10 feet, you know your next shot is as good as made.
2. Approach practice: once you know your circle, you can continue working on your game and practicing to get better. Now that you know your distance, you can work on your approach shots and have a solid circle to approach into (instead of just randomly throwing at the basket).
3. Putting practice: once you know your circle, you can start putting in the work to practice your putting and expand that distance further from the basket. This will take time, but continuous, consistent practice will produce the results you want and make you into a phenominal putter.
4. Confidence booster: finally, the previous three reasons why you need to know your circle will serve as a brilliant confidence booster as you slowly but surely watch yourself improve your circle of confidence outward, along with your overall putting and approach game.
How to find your circle of confidence
This is going to take some work and practice. Because if you haven’t already determined your circle of confidence, you have to go through a few rounds of practice to figure this out. Again, it’s really important that you know your circle of confidence. So let me show you how to find it.
You need to go through the following practice routine:
1. Get a pen and paper or use your phone to document the following practice rounds.
2. Mark distances of 5 feet, 8 feet, 10 feet, 12 feet, and 15 feet. You can mark more but start with these distances first.
3. The goal is to make 9 out of 10 putts or more from each distance in order to move back. If you can make 9 out of 10 putts, or 90%, your circle of confidence is at least that distance. At this point, you can move back to the next marked distance. Once you fall short of making 9 out of 10 putts, write down the last distance you made 9 out of 10 putts from. That will be your circle of confidence…but stay with me here.
4. Start at 5 feet and throw 10 discs. You should make all 10 at this distance. That means your circle is at least 5 feet. Move back to the 8 foot mark.
5. Throw 10 discs at 8 feet. If you make 9 out of 10 putts, move on. If you didn’t make 9 out of 10, your circle is about 5 feet.
6. Throw 10 discs at 10 feet. If you make 9 out of 10 putts, move on. If you didn’t make 9 out of 10, your circle is about 8 feet.
7. Throw 10 discs at 12 feet. If you make 9 out of 10 putts, move on. If you didn’t make 9 out of 10, your circle is about 10 feet.
8. Throw 10 discs at 15 feet. If you make 9 out of 10 putts, move on. If you didn’t make 9 out of 10, your circle is about 12 feet. But it’s probably starting to get tough at this point so you may have already failed.
9. If you can keep going, keep moving back in small increments until you fail to make 9 out of 10 putts. Your circle of confidence will be the last distance you successfully completed 9 put of 10 putts at or better.
10. After you find your distance in the first round, I want you to write that distance down and repeat this process 10 total times. You may find your circle getting just a little bit bigger after the first round because you are actually practicing your putting while your going through this process. But you should be able to confidently identify your circle of confidence through all 10 rounds by taking the distance that you succeeded at the most times out of the 10 rounds.
Here’s an example of my practice rounds:
1st round: circle – 12 feet
2nd round: circle – 12 feet
3rd round: circle – 15 feet
4th round: circle – 12 feet
5th round: circle – 12 feet
6th round: circle – 10 feet
7th round: circle – 15 feet
8th round: circle – 15 feet
9th round: circle – 12 feet
10th round: circle – 12 feet
Now take the distance you completed 9 out of 10 putts at the most and that will be your average. For me, I completed 9 out of 10 putts at 12 feet 6 times, 15 feet 3 times, and 10 feet 1 time (yes, that round sucked). So that means my circle of confidence is 12 feet or about 12 to 15 feet.
Once you’ve found your circle, you can now start practicing to improve and expand it. Below are 7 awesome tips to improve your putting to 99% or better inside your circle of confidence.
7 ways to improve your putting to 99% or better
1. Finding a disc you love: finding a disc that you truly love to putt with is, to me, one of the keys to being a great putter in disc golf. If you don’t like the grip, feel, way it releases, weight, etc, you WILL NOT putt well with that disc. Find a disc that suits you and your putting will undoubtedly improve. If you hate the disc you’re using, find another one. If you really want to improve and expand your circle, find the right putter.
Check out the 3 discs below⬇️. Each one are in my personal disc golf bag right now.
Hands down my favorite putter since the first year I started playing. Been in my bag ever since. Grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
The Rune is one of my new favorite putters by the dudes of Viking Discs. I’ve got a few of their discs that I’m working through and reviewing at the moment and you can expect to see those soon. Until then, check out my review of the Viking Discs Rune here on DiscgolfNOW.com. You can also get one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
The Tomb is one of Infinite Discs’ awesome new putters. Well, it’s been around for a bit now but still new to me. This thing is amazing and dead straight. You can find my review of it here. You can also get one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
2. Everyday practice: okay, let’s be realistic…no one is going to practice putting every day. But let me tell you: pros practice every single day. So if you really want to take your putting to another level, you need to get some practice in. That’s how you make your circle bigger. Check out the next two tips for more on practicing.
3. Putting drills: drills are awesome. I’ve used drills in sports ever since I was a little kid. They can teach you different concepts and skills so implementing different putting drills will absolutely improve your putting game. For a nice list of drills, check out my post, “The 11 Best Disc Golf Putting Drills and Games.” With those drills, your circle of confidence will be bigger in no time.
4. Practice basket: if you don’t have a practice basket, you need to get one. Besides the fact that it will help you improve your putting and expand your circle, having a personal practice basket at home is just freakin’ awesome. If you’re on the fence, check out this list of reasons why you need a basket here on the site. If you’re definitely considering a basket, here’s a list of my top recommendations.
5. Your stance: your stance for putting is extremely important. You need to be comfortable with how you stand before you putt. There are two stances to choose from, the offset stance and the inline stance.
- The offset stance refers to having one leg in front of the other at about a 45° degree angle. This is the stance that I personally like the best.
- The inline stance refers to having both feet inline with each other. If you stand normally with feet shoulder width apart and bend your knees a little bit, you will be in this putting stance.
Both stances are fine to use and both have pros and cons so choose whatever feels best and gets you the best results.
6. Your putting style: this tip refers to how you release the disc from your hand to the basket. There are three different styles currently used in disc golf: spin putting, push putting, and spush putting.
- Spin putting is using more of your wrist to get a good spin on the disc when you putt it toward the basket. The disc is always going to spin when you putt but this style requires more emphasis on the spin.
- Push putting is putting more emphasis on pushing the disc using your arm and body toward the basket.
- Spush putting is a style a lot of players have adapted to that doesn’t put an emphasis on spinning or pushing, but mixing the two styles, along with a players unique style, to try and become the best putter they can be. This is a style a lot of players are trying to modify to because it’s balanced and can allow for a lot of awesome putts.
7. The full body putt: my final tip of the day requires you to stop and think about your overall putting technique. Are you really stiff and inflexible when you putt? Or do you stay loose and comfortable? The key with a good putting technique is to find a good balance between too stiff and too loose, while maintaining mental composure and focus during your throw. A good putt also requires a player to use his or her full body to putt with including your feet, legs, knees, core, shoulders, and arms. If a player uses their full body correctly, they should be able to stay physically balanced after each putt.
Use your full body and your putting confidence will improve tremendously.
Some extra putting post resources
Some extra putting video resources
How to putt with more power and confidence by Latitude 64
6 Easy putting tips from Simon Lizotte
Don’t forget about the book!
Before you go, don’t forget to check out the best beginner disc golf book on the planet, “The Disc Golf Player’s Manual.” This ebook is packed with over 200+ pages of the best tips, tricks, and advice for new players