As a beginner, disc golf is tough. I remember when I first started and couldn’t hardly throw a disc at all. I’d wind up and either have grip lock and accidentally sling it hard to the right. Or I’d let it fly as hard as I could and it would fade sharply to the left. I had no idea how to play. But I learned the game over a couple of years. And now I consider myself a decent disc golfer.
With any hope, I’m going to help you start improving your game today with this post. Included in it are 11 of the absolute best disc golf beginner tips available today. If you read through this post and really start working on your game, you will be a great player in just a matter of months. Well, I won’t keep you any longer. Let’s get to those tips!
11 Disc Golf Beginner Tips for Serious Improvement
1. Find the right discs
As a new player, you may not realize how many different discs there are on the market. And even if you do, you may have no idea how to pick the right discs for a beginner. Because there are beginner discs…and intermediate discs…and advanced discs. Chances are, if you’re having trouble throwing your new discs, you’re probably throwing those intermediate and advanced discs (i.e. discs that are too hard for you to throw). Those discs are made for better players. You’ll get there.
As a newbie, I highly recommend that you first grab a couple of discs that are meant for beginners. I’ve actually written a post called, “The 7 Best Disc Golf Discs That Fly Straight as an Arrow,” that you can check out.
You can also check out one of my latest posts, “The 3 Best Beginner Disc Golf Discs (Leopard, Buzzz, Judge).” That post has my top 3 recommendations for new disc golfers.
Now after you get a couple of beginner discs, you can start to learn about how to pick out your own discs. This way you can start to understand which discs are for which skill level and which discs you need to step up into. The best way to learn about how discs work is to learn the disc golf flight ratings system.
This flight ratings system is the series of four numbers located on most disc golf discs (like the disc pictured above). This system tells you exactly how a disc should fly if thrown correctly. You can learn about that in this post: “What Do the Numbers on a Disc Golf Disc Mean?”
For picking out discs as a beginner, you want discs that are easy to throw. So you’re looking for low speed (1 to 6) and high glide (3 to 7) to start. You also want discs that are understable, or discs that are less stable. The more stable a disc is, the harder it will be to throw as a beginner. The third and fourth numbers determine how stable a disc is. You want more turn (-1 to -4) and as little fade as possible (0 to 1 but preferably 0).
For another great resources on beginner discs, check out the post below ⬇️:
2. Learn the technique
If you have poor technique, everything else really doesn’t matter. But developing good technique is hard. Below, I’ve outlined the 7 steps to the best disc golf technique:
- Grip: loose grip or grip lock can absolutely kill your shots. Find a balance between too loose and too tight when throwing. Too loose and you’ll release too early. Too tight and you’ll end up like Richard in the video below ⬇️.
- X-Step: an extremely important part of the throwing process. The “X-Step” is a series of 3 steps that you take before you throw your disc. For a RHBH thrower – start out by stepping with your lead foot (same side as the arm you throw with – right-handed throw = first step with right foot). Your next step will be the opposite foot crossing behind your lead leg for the second step. Then the 3rd step will be the big final 3rd step out as you throw. Check out Danny Lindahl’s X-Step video below ⬇️ to help you out with this.
- Good hip rotation and reach back: good hip rotation is essential to get the proper reach back. The more you rotate, the more momentum you can get from the reach back.
- Look away from line of sight: it may seem counterintuitive to look away from your target…but do it anyway. Look away toward the direction of your reach back. That head turn will guarantee the maximum momentum from the reach back to throw.
- Lead with the elbow: As you come out of you reach back, you will start your throwing motion. From here, what you do is crucial to how your throw will come out. When coming around for the throw, you will want to lead the throw with your elbow out. The next motion needs to be more of a straight line through the throw and less of a circular motion. You want the leading elbow to push through the throw. You also want to keep the disc close to your chest. This allows for maximum control and velocity of the disc. You will be able to get a “whipping” motion on the disc.
- Big, strong final step: this is step 6 of a good technique but is actually the final part of the X-Step.
- The follow-through: after you throw you want to let your body continue through the motion and allow yourself to follow naturally through the throw.
For more, check out my post, “7 Steps to the Best Disc Golf Technique and a Perfect Throw.”
3. Learn the mental game
Your mental game is an extremely important part of your success as a disc golfer. There are multiple different parts to the mental game as stated below:
- Better physically = better mentally: if you feel good, your mindset will allow you to play better. Check out tip #4 to help you get in shape.
- Confidence: good confidence on the course can help you crush your drives, feel good about how you’re playing, and can just generally improve your game.
- Focus: good, serious focus on each and every shot can help you crush it and avoid distractions on the course.
- Positive mindset: a positive mindset can help you turn bad shots/rounds into good ones. That mindset is also just good to have because you tend to do better on the course if you believe you’re going to.
- Patience: we’ll talk more about this in tip #11.
- Goals: we’ll talk about this more in tip #7.
If you’re interested in the mental side of disc golf, check out my posts below ⬇️.
You can also read my post on the PDGA website, “Mental Game: Five Tips For Your First Tournament,” here on their website.
4. Become an athlete
I like to say that, if you really want to get better in disc golf, you need to become an athlete. If you’re not already, you need to get in excellent shape just like the pro disc golfers that play today. When you start watching them play, look at the excellent physical shape they are in. Most of them are true athletes. I recommend getting on an exercise plan and steadily working out at least three times a week (separate from your disc golf rounds).
For a couple of good disc golf exercises posts, check out the following:
Proper hydration and nutrition is also important. I would make sure you’re also eating a well balanced, healthy selection of food and drinking more than enough water. Check out my post, “7 Ways Drinking Water Can Improve Your Disc Golf Game.”
Stretching and recovery can also be a key component of your health and your disc golf game. My post, “The 17 Best Disc Golf Stretches to Improve Your Game,” can help you before and after your rounds. And my post, “The 11 Step Plan to Recover After a Disc Golf Workout,” can help you understand why allowing your body to heal and recover is so important after your rounds and workouts.
5. Find a mentor
This next tip can be a very important part of your development as a disc golfer. I want you to simply find someone better than you in the disc golf space and get them to mentor you. I’ve always been a strong advocate of mentors in everything that I do but mentors are extremely important in disc golf. They can teach you the ropes, help you learn the strategy and rules of the game, and they can help you to not make the same mistakes that they made when they were starting out.
That’s always been my goal here with my website. Help the beginner disc golfer learn the game completely from my experience on the course. In addition to this site, get a real live person to help you improve on the course. For more, check out my post, “7 Reasons You Need a Mentor in Disc Golf.”
6. Daily practice
you need practice to work on different parts of your overall play. Putting, approaching and driving are all important and you grow those skills by working on them individually. Practice is a key part of your improvement in those areas. Just playing a few rounds here and there won’t help you that much.
Before you say, “I don’t need to practice that much…I’ll just hit the course and that’s all I need,” think of all the greatest athletes in the world. What do they do? They practice and practice and practice some more.
NBA legends Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan were great examples of this. Kobe used to wake up at 4am to get a workout or practice in before breakfast. Then he would eat, get ready, and go practice a second time before his team practice later in the day. MJ was notorious for staying after practice and shooting upwards of 500+ free throws to perfect his game. Kobe would often do the same before his team practices. Their tremendous work ethic and effort in practice made them the greatest to ever play the game of basketball.
Now you may not want to be a disc golf legend, but you have to practice in order to get better. Here are a couple of ways to get the most out of your game by practicing ⬇️.
- Drills: drills are a phenominal way to tweak small details and just generally improve your game. You can make up your own games/drills or you can check out my huge 50 best drills posts here.
- Field work: field work is pretty simple but requires you to find a good open field to throw out into. Find that open field, get a bunch of discs, and get to throwing. Make sure to keep working on good technique, use discs in your skill level, and always have some kind of goal for your round. Check out my epic field wok post here. You can also check out Eric Oakley’s quick tips for field work in the video below ⬇️.
- Practice equipment: in order to really be able to practice as much as possible, you need some practice equipment. For this, you need a good practice basket, a net for throwing discs into and a ProPull Disc Golf Trainer. You can read more about this in our post, “The #1 Way to Improve Your Disc Golf Game This Year.” That post will explain more about all three of those pieces of equipment. You can also get each on in the respected links below ⬇️.
Grab a personal practice basket here on Amazon.com.
Grab the practice net I got here on Amazon.
Grab the ProPull Disc Golf Trainer here on Amazon.com.
You can also check out this awesome article I read here on why practice is so important in sports.
7. Set Goals
Goals are extremely important in every facet of your life. In disc golf, they can make or break your improvement and your future in the sport. This short section won’t really do this tip justice, so I recommend checking out my detailed goals post here. This post will explain the goals you need to set and how to set them. Check it out ⬇️:
8. Consolidate your bag
Now this is more of an intermediate disc golf tip but I added it in for those that really want to step up their game. This is a “next level” tip because you can really take your game to the next level with this one. With that being said, we all love a lot of discs. I mean, they’re awesome, right?! I’ve got 50+ discs on each of my garage shelves at any given time and I’d love to use every disc that I’ve ever played with.
But if you want to really get good, I want you to consolidate the amount of discs in your bag to no more than 8-10 discs total. If you have less than that as a new player, I would build up to no more than 8-10 discs. This is a total number as in all of the discs needed to play with in a given round. You want to master these 8-10 discs and truly learn them all. The idea is that if you play with 20 or more discs, you won’t ever get good with them all. Master a small amount of discs and your game will improve dramatically.
9. Watch pro disc golf on YouTube
Watching professional disc golf on YouTube is one way to really help you learn the game of disc golf on another level. Besides that, watching the pros play at some of the best courses in the world is actually pretty entertaining. I’m not a fan of watching ball golf and so I thought it would be much if the same. But I actually love watching disc golf.
This can be both entertaining and educational, so check out the following channels on YouTube:
Another way to watch the pros is by going to see a tournament in person. I mean, live tournaments are awesome. If you get a chance to go to one, do it. The atmosphere at the course is electrifying and they really are cool to watch. On top of that, you can get gear for relatively cheap from big name brand and local dg suppliers.
You can find this year’s pro tour schedule here on PDGA.com.
10. Learn the technical side of disc golf
Up to this point, you’ve learned quite a bit including some of the technical side of disc golf. You should’ve already mastered the technique part of this and now it’s time to learn the rest.
The second part of the technical side of disc golf is the rules and competitive play side. I want you to start learning the competitive rules of disc golf so that you can start getting a deeper understanding of the game. Just understanding how to play isn’t good enough once you start improving and once you start looking toward playing competitively.
Learning and understanding all of the rules of disc golf is tough, but worthwhile as you really can start to get into the competitive side of disc golf. To learn all of the rules, check out the Professional Disc Golf Association’s “Official Rules of Disc Golf,” here on their site.
11. Go play, have fun, and be patient
This last tip is basically going to be me saying, “dude, chill out and go play.” Because disc golf is awesome and you will improve. But I want you to quit trying to learn everything you can all the time and just go play. Have fun with it while you’re at it. Fun with friends and family is most likely why you started playing in the first place so don’t sweat yourself so much. Get out, have fun, work on your game, and be patient with yourself and the sport. In the end, you’ll get better and have a ton of fun while you’re doing it.
Disc golf is pretty tough when you first start playing it. But if you want to really improve, stick with it, use the 11 tips in this post to get better, and check out the following posts to help you improve ⬇️:
Don’t forget about the book!!
Before you leave, grab a copy of the best disc golf book on the planet, “The Disc Golf Player’s Manual.” You can read more about it here to see what’s inside! If you’re new to disc golf, you need this book!