Oh, the joys of putting in disc golf. It can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how skilled you are. If you can manage to improve your skills at putting, you can easily cut strokes off your game and dominate on the disc golf course. But if you can’t manage to sink short putts regularly, your game will suffer and you won’t be able to hold a good score through your rounds.
I can’t emphasize the importance of putting enough, as this part of your game can make or break your final score. As I’ve scoured the internet looking for better tips to improve my own putting game, I’ve found very few resources on the subject. After seeing just a couple of short articles, I decided to put together my own resource. A disc golf putting tips resource that I could use for both myself and give to other players to help them with their putting game. I intend to update this article frequently, but so far, this is what I’ve got.
Here are a quick few reasons why you need good putting
1. Good putting can save you: whenever you seem to absolutely just destroy your approach shots, good putting can help you recover from the bad and save your birdie, your par, or even that dreaded bogey.
2. Good putting can help you take strokes off your game: just like we talked about how good putting can save you from bad shots, good putting can also help you take strokes off of your game. Shots that might normally be a two putt situation for average players can become easy one putt chain bangers for those that know how to putt.
3. Good putting will help you win: you want to win, right? I know I do. This is why I practice my putting…a lot. I know that I may not be the best putter in the game, but I get better every round so that one day I can beat other players and win my rounds.
My #1 tip – The handshake
I love the handshake. It’s something that was taught to me on the first day I ever played disc golf. The people who taught me the handshake have been playing for a decade and have won many disc golf tournaments since they first built their own epic disc golf course almost a decade ago.
What is the handshake? It simply refers to how your hand should finish after you toss your disc. When you go to putt, you should keep your arm straight and finish by throwing your disc. After you throw, you should be, “shaking hands,” with the basket. Imagine actually shaking hands with someone. You stick your hands out, with all your five fingers outstretched. That’s about where you should basically end up after you toss your disc.
Now we try it: start with the disc out in front of you. Bring it back toward you like normal and when you go toward the basket for your putt, make sure you keep your arm straight and finish with your arm straight toward the basket and your hand in the “shaking hands” gesture.
I love this tip because it’s so easy and can help you tremendously with your putting game. Remember: this tip is meant to be highly effective and extraordinarily simple. Don’t do anything crazy with your throw other than implementing this simple steps above. This should be an immediate help to your disc golf game.
Tip #2 – love your putter
How you throw and how you feel when you throw are two very important factors to your putting game. In this paragraph, I’m going to address how you feel when you throw, because if you feel good, you play good.
So what affects how we feel when we throw? I’ve narrowed it down to one huge thing – how we like the disc. I’m not going to go too deep into some crazy psychological rant, but I can tell you that if you don’t like how the disc feels, you most likely won’t throw it well. For example, if you use a driver that you don’t normally throw, you probably won’t throw as well with it because you aren’t used to how it feels. This applies to putting, too.
You have to love your putter. This is big for me. I used to throw an Innova Aviar, but my preferences in disc type have led me to other, more firm plastic. I now use a Westside Discs Harp Midrange Putter Putt-and-approach and the Dynamic Discs Prime Judge. Those discs are great for me. They both have a very firm plastic and they’re nice, steady discs. I love the fact that I can use them for mid-range throws as well if I want to.
Those discs feel good to me so I use them. Find a disc that you like to throw and that will definitely help you improve your putting game. Check out some of my favorite putters here in this post!
Tip #3 – Love your stance
The way you stand while you putt is also extremely important. It doesn’t necessarily matter how you stand when you putt, but you need to be able to putt consistently with whatever style you use. With that being said, I’m going to quickly go over the two most popular stances used by professional disc golf players today and show you how they putt.
Offset stance: this stance is very simple and refers to your feet being offset while you stand for your putt. One foot will be behind you a little bit and one foot will be in front a little bit. The foot in front will be the same side foot as the arm you throw with (right foot in front – you putt with your right arm). Your opposite side foot will be diagonally at about a 45° degree angle. You throw by transferring weight from your back leg to your front leg.
Inline stance: this stance is used by a ton of players and refers to you feet being inline with each other. If you take a normal stance with feet apart at about should width apart, if you bend your knees a little bit, you will be in the correct putting stance. You throw this way by bending more at the knees and using your full body to toss the disc.
Pick your stance and play. Make sure you really like the stance you use. Experiment the next time you go out to the course and pick a style. Once you love the stance, you will surely start getting better at putting. For a couple more thoughts on this and a few laughs, check out this Reddit post on choosing your stance.
While working on your stance, why not grab a Discraft Zone to practice with?
Tip #4 – love your style
Your style of putting is just about as important as all of the other things we’ve already talked about so far in this post. But now, we focus on your style. What I mean by style is the way the disc comes out of your hand toward the basket. There are two very simple ways to throw the disc.
Spin: the disc is always going to spin once it comes out of your hands. That’s inevitable, so you could say everyone almost has to use this style. But spinning the disc out relies on a person to use their wrists and the spin of the disc to sink the putt. There’s more emphasis on the spin in trying to make the putt.
Push: like I’ve said, you will always spin the disc when it comes out of your hand, but push refers more to emphasis on pushing the disc towards the basket instead of snapping your wrist and using a lot of spin.
You can pick either style, but make sure you love the style you use. Again, try experimenting the next time you go out to your local course and start to lock down either the spin or the push.
Tip 5 – Your grip
Your grip on the disc is an important part of putting. You may not realize it, but your grip really determines the entire outcome of the shot. If you screw up your grip, your disc may spin entirely out of control or freak out and go exactly where you didn’t want it to go (rolling down the hill, maybe).
The way you want to grip the disc is in a way which I would call, “comfortable.” You have to be comfortable with your grip so that the disc will behave the way you want it to. The Grip should be not too tight or too loose but just right. You want your thumb on top of the disc and either three or four fingers underneath the disc semi-spread out. You can put your index finger on the rim of your disc if you prefer. That’s up to you, just make sure when you go to throw the disc, you feel good about it and are comfortable with the grip.
Just like we discussed with the other physical elements of the game, go to your local course or use your own disc basket to experiment with your grip. Then once you’re comfortable, practice up.
I’m a big fan of the Dynamic Discs Warden when it comes to great putting grip. Grab one here (link to InfiniteDiscs.com)
Tip 6 – Use your whole body
Great job so far. I hope you’re starting to understand the importance of your putting game and how many crucial pieces there are to the puzzle (that is learning how to putt). There’s a lot of attention to detail that must be followed to become a great putter. We’ve already talked about the different parts of of the game you must get better at like your style of throwing, your stance, your grip, and how you like the way the disc feels when you throw it. But there’s more to it than just those things.
The way you truly get good at putting is by using your entire body when you putt. You must learn all of the fine details of putting and put them together. All of the details being what each part of the body does to help you putt. Then you put everything together and start rockin’.
Tip 7 – Practice (over and over and over again)
This tip is probably one of the most overused pieces of advice when it comes to getting better at literally anything. If someone asks you how they can get better at disc golf, your response will be, “practice.” I’d say the secret to success in disc golf is practice, but that’s too easy. It’s practice, plus the previous things we’ve talked about, and a few others we haven’t gotten to yet.
I recommend that you get a good personal practice basket if you really want to improve your putting game. You can grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com. If you’d like to read about why you need a good basket, check out our post, “11 Reasons Why You Need a Disc Golf Basket,” here on the site.
But why is practice important with putting?
Well, you need a good foundation to start getting better at disc golf. That foundation is your putting. Two ways you can achieve this are through repetition and consistency.
When you practice, repetition can help to solidify good habits. Repetition is just doing something over and over again. That repetitive movement, i.e. your putting, starts to get cemented in your mind. You keep practicing and repeating your putts. Repetition helps you to understand how to get the discs into the basket.
Practice also allows you to work on your consistency. Consistency, in regards to disc golf, is doing something the same way over and over again in the same positive way so that you can get better. Consistency in your putting is the key.
More repetition of good habits and more consistency equals not just a great putter, but a great disc golf player. You can practice by heading out to your local disc course, grabbing a really awesome disc golf basket off of InfiniteDiscs.com or Amazon, or by trying out the games in Tip 12.
One last thing: don’t forget to get out onto the course and play a few rounds. Just standing in front of a basket all day and throwing discs will only help you so much. You need to get the full experience by putting in real round situations.
Tip 8 – Don’t rush yourself
We’ve gotten past the physical part of the putting game. As you can see, the physical game is extremely important when it comes to your putting in disc golf. But there’s an even more important part to your game if you really want to get better at putting: the mental stuff.
One of the first elements of your mental game is to not rush yourself when you putt. This has absolutely destroyed some of my rounds so I’m here to tell you that this tip is very important. When you’ve finally made your way to the putting circle or close to it, take your time with your putt. Don’t immediately jump into a shot. Take into account all of the possibilities and things that could mess you up. Do a practice throw with just your hand or simulate the throw with your disc.
Once you know the details of how your shot is going to play out, then you can take the shot. But always take at least a few seconds to compose yourself before taking a shot that could’ve started out bad. You don’t ever have to miss that easy shot if you can just take a little bit of time to get yourself ready.
Tip 9 – Focus
No matter what happens during your round, in order to crush your putting, you have to have a tremendous amount focus. Focus is very crucial to your disc golf putting success. It goes hand in hand with the last tip, don’t rush yourself. Sometimes it’s really tough to focus on those putts, especially after hitting seven trees in a row. I know because I’ve done it. But you have to bring yourself into that moment and putt. Holding your focus on just the basket, the chains, and your throw, will help you start really getting good at putting.
Tip 10 – Be confident in yourself
Confidence is tough to muster sometimes. Other times, maybe after a couple of drinks, confidence comes in the form of idiocracy. But on the disc golf course, confidence is a tool that can help you dominate. Confidence can be a gateway for you to absolutely smash your opponents (no mercy for your buddies).
In order to putt well, though, you need to control your confidence. You have to be confident in yourself if you want to sink putts. It’s not a hard thing to do. Just imagine every time you go to shoot that you sink the putt and get an applause. Or you can just imagine yourself making it every time and how happy you’ll feel. Be confident in the way you carry yourself and the way you putt. From now on, I want you to think about how awesome you are at putting. Let that positive energy and insane confidence help you miss less and make more.
Tip 11 – don’t sacrifice your par
We all know the hole – a ridiculously hard par 4. You throw your disc and it lands about 50 feet away from the basket…awesome! But this hole is special for some reason. It might be the 40 foot drop-off behind the basket or the pond that almost completely surrounds the putting circle. Whatever the situation may be, you don’t have a lot of room for error on the hole.
So, you’re 50 feet out and you’ve decided that you know how to putt well enough by now to try and hit a spectacular second shot. This is it. It’s putt up or shut up (see what I did there?). Even though it’s risky you take the shot anyway. One out of 100 times you’re going to make that shot and become the hero of the day. Your friends might pick you up on their shoulders and parade you around like you just won the Superbowl. But 99 times out of 100 you’ll miss and become depressed with daydreams of what could’ve been.
All of that BS leads to this: when putting, don’t sacrifice your par. If you know for sure that you can par the hole, but also see the horrors of what could be, try to play the hole conservatively so that you can play yourself up for your par shot. It’s not worth screwing up your round. Just take the conservative shot and put yourself in a good position for the next shot.
Tip 12 – It’s all fun and games until someone misses a putt…
You have to remember to have some fun when you play disc golf. Relaxing a little bit and just throwing some can help you get better. But remember how you feel when you miss what you thought was an easy putt. It sucks. So, you still have to practice.
But seriously, dude, you just said relax and now you’re telling me to not relax. Which is it?
Both! I know that sounds confusing, but you have to find a way to have fun and practice at the same time. And I know just the way to do that: putting games. Here are a couple of easy games to play to improve your disc golf putting skills.
1. Two in a row: you can play this one by yourself or with a friend. start with two discs in hand. Now find a place close to the basket – maybe five to seven feet away. Throw both discs and try to sink both putts. If you get both in, move back about five feet. As long as you make both putts, continue moving back five feet at a time. If you miss, you have to start over. Try to get as far back as you can. Make sure you try to mark where you last made both putts so you can try to best that mark next time.
2. Putting competition: you have to have a friend for this one. It’s a one versus one game. It’s similar to the first game, but you only throw one disc. Start about five feet out from the basket. You throw then your friend throws. As long as you both make it, you keep moving back about 5 feet at a time. First person to miss their putt loses the game. As I’ve experienced, this can be a super competitive game and a great way to get better at putting.
We also have more putting games in our post, “The 50 Best Disc Golf Drills to Change Your Game Forever.” You can check them out through that link.
As you can see, there’s a ton of detail and thought that goes into becoming a great disc golf putter. But that’s why I brought this post to you today. I wanted you to really get an idea of what you must do to be great. It’s not just about picking out a disc or practicing a few times. Getting better at putting is about being physically and mentally prepared to putt. The game of disc golf can be really fun, but if you don’t master the short game, your rounds will continue to suffer. So get out there and go practice your putting!
Check out some more awesome content here on our site. These posts should help you with what you need.