Just a couple of years ago, I was tremendously… no, more like hilariously bad at disc golf. I thought I was just going to hit the course and sling some plastic until I got good enough to play competitively. Boy, did those first few months of rounds teach me how dumb I really was at the beginning.
Because disc golf is tough. But once I finally started listening and learning some tips, I started to improve my game. And now, more than 4 years later, I’ve excelled and have made myself into a solid, intermediate player. So let me show you exactly how I got to this level. In this post, I’m going to go over 13 of the best disc golf tips for intermediate disc golfers and show you how to build up from moderate beginner into a solid, well-balanced intermediate player. These are all of the tips that I personally used to get better at disc golf. Hopefully they can help. Alright, let’s get to it!
The difference in beginner tips and intermediate tips
So, like I said, I’m hoping to take you from moderately-good beginner to intermediate disc golfer or better. But you first have to understand the difference in beginner tips and intermediate tips…and yes, there’s a huge difference.
Beginners tips are just that, tips for newer to decent beginner players. These tips are easy to implement and normally just take the beginner player the time to understand and practice them. Here are two quick examples ⬇️.
- Example #1: beginners need to play with the right discs. Simple and easy. Some beginners have no idea which discs are right for them.
- Example #2: beginners need to learn proper technique and begin to try to put it into their game. Still easy to understand but the idea of good technique puts motivation and discipline into play. As a beginner, you have to learn the fundamentals to get better.
Intermediate tips are not super advanced by any means. But they are those tips that start to build off of the simple beginner tips that you once learned. They take beginner tips and start adding new layers or more detail to help you perfect your game.
Intermediate tips are also more complex and are geared toward players who have played for awhile. These players have significantly more playing time, are fairly good so far, and can understand more complex techniques and tips. There also might be minute details added in that can help you to succeed as a intermediate player. Details that are too tough for beginners and are meant to help better players grow their skill. These intermediate tips are for good disc golfers who want to be great, competitive players.
But first, what qualifies you as an intermediate disc golfer?
There are a couple of different statistics and characteristics that make you an intermediate player. This means that you aren’t at the intermediate level until you can successfully say that you’ve acquired the level of skill of the following five categories ⬇️.
- The amount of time put into the sport: to be considered an intermediate player, you have probably invested around 200 hours or more into your game overall. This includes 40-50 complete 18-hole rounds and a significant amount of time practicing the different parts of your game.
- Your distance: to be considered an intermediate player, you should be able to consistently throw your drives 300+ feet. You should also be able to have the majority of these drives hit the line that you are trying to throw the disc on AND feel confident in your driving ability.
- Your putting: to be considered an intermediate player, you should be able to sink your putts, 75% or more of the time, from anywhere inside the circle. You should also feel confident in your putting ability. An above average intermediate player should be able to get up to around 90% from inside the circle.
- Your average round scores: to be considered an intermediate player, you must be able to consistently score par or better during your competitive play rounds. You don’t have to be the best player on the course, but you should be able to hold your own and score par (without 10-12 extra “practice” shots per round).
- Your mindset: to be considered an intermediate player, you must meet the previous four categories and you must know and understand that you are an intermediate player. Be honest about your skill level. My skill level is not even close to advanced but I do consider myself an intermediate player. If you’re a beginner, just say so and keep practicing! You can check out my beginner tips post here. But if you’re close to intermediate or you are an intermediate player, let’s get to those tips!
13 Disc Golf Tips for Intermediate Disc Golfers (That actually work)
1. Consolidate your discs
I call this first tip a “next level” tip because this can really help you step up your game. This tip can help you go from decent beginner to intermediate or better in just a short period of time. Also, if you’re an intermediate player, I highly stress that you take advantage of this to continue your transition toward being an advanced disc golfer.
With this tip, I want you to consolidate your bag down from 15-20 discs down to no more than 8-10 (if you have a few of the same disc, that’s okay, and I won’t count those). But you want no more than 8-10 different discs in your bag that will be used in just about every situation on the course.
The idea is that if you carry around 15-20 different discs, and you’re constantly throwing that many discs, you won’t ever get good with them all. You’ll probably just be a fair disc golfer with all of those discs.
Instead, I want you to seriously consider consolidating all of the discs that you use into no more than 8-10. With a select few, you will begin to master those discs and seriously up your game with the few you have selected. Believe me, your game will improve. I challenge you to try this. You don’t need 20 different discs in your bag. Those 8-10 discs should be perfectly adequate to handle almost any driving, approaching, or putting situation on the course.
One easy way to make yourself consolidate your bag is to get a new bag that only holds 10-12 discs. For that, I recommend the Infinite Discs Slinger Bag. This bag is phenominal and currently my go-to on the course. Grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
2. Perfect your technique and continue working on the fundamanetals
Continuing your march into intermediate play, we look a little deeper at the fundamentals and aim to build on them. With this, I’m talking about building off of the beginner tip of learning proper technique.
Now that you’re a skilled player, you already know some about technique because you can’t get better at disc golf without first learning proper technique. But to become a decent intermediate player, you want to perfect the fundamentals and build on them. You want this because as we all start getting better at something, sometimes we’ll forget the fundamentals. So we can take a look at that again today.
At this point, you should know and understand all of the steps to good throwing technique and you should stress continuing to throw and practice with proper form. But you should continue developing your technique by breaking down every part of technique individually. We do this for two reasons: 1) for a reminder of proper technique so that we can stay away from developing bad habits and 2) so we can look for any weaknesses in your technique that need improvement.
Here are the 7 different parts of technique broken down:
- 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 with grip lock.
For superior grip, I recommend getting a pair of Friction disc golf gloves here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
You can also check out my review of the Friction disc golf glove here.
- 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.
Check out Dan Beto’s technique video below where he really emphasizes leading with the elbow ⬇️.
- Big, strong final step: this is step 6 of a good technique but is actually the final part of the X-Step as you’re doing steps 2-6 in one motion.
Check out Seabas22’s crush the can drill to help you master the big, final step of your throwing motion ⬇️.
- 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.”
Throw timing, or you ability to throw your disc perfectly while in motion, can play a huge part in the success of your disc golf game. But here’s the bad: there is no good way to practice timing in and of itself because timing is made up of several parts (i.e. your technique including your reachback and X-Step) that all work together, in a complete sequence, at the same time. But timing is extremely important. So here’s how we need to approach our timing in order to improve it. The best way is to work on this one important thing:
- The reachback: this appears to be the most important element to timing and can make or break how powerful, accurate, and well-timed your throw actually is. Your reachback should peak during your X-Step when your front foot hits the ground. You can work on this by pausing during your reach back to see how your body is lined up or you can film yourself and check for flaws. Check out Danny Lindahl’s video on the reachback below ⬇️.
You can also check out Loopghost’s Windmill Drill in the video below ⬇️. He shows you how to work on timing while showing you that you don’t have to sacrifice power. They state that the “drill is about adjusting timing to create a backhand that’s powerfully driven open by a good down shift and braced up against your front side.” Well put, Loopghost, well put.
4. Fix your rounding issues
Rounding can be a huge cause of concern for intermediate disc golfers. This is more of a beginner issue, so if you’re a fairly decent intermediate disc golfer, but still have some trouble with rounding, you need to work on this immediately. This single flaw in your game could be the difference between you being intermediate and you being an advanced player.
Rounding is when your body comes between the disc and the line of play (or the line that the disc is meant to fly on). The final pull across the chest ends up being rounded and this causes most rounded throws to be terrible. So basically, you want the disc on a straight line. But when your body allows rounding, the disc goes in a half circle around your body into the reachback and then on the same path back until it’s released. Next comes a bad throw. Here’s Danny Lindahl’s explanation of rounding to help you understand just a little bit more ⬇️.
But we can fix this. If the video above didn’t help you, check out the following two drill videos to help you annihilate your rounding issues.
Disc Golf UK Ltd. Richard Hatton’s Drills for backhand
Citysmasher1’s Snap Drill
5. Nose down
Nose down is an important concept in disc golf and can significantly impact your drives.
Nose up happens when the front, or “nose” of the disc, is pointing upward instead of parallel to the ground. If your disc is thrown correctly, parallel to the ground, your disc will fly well and will be considered “nose down.” You want your disc to fly nose down.
Throwing nose up will cause multiple issues in your driving. Here’s what will happen:
- Nose up will cause your drivers and mid-range discs to fly the same distance. You want drivers to fly farther than mid-range discs and mid-range discs to fly farther than putters. Thats why we carry three types of discs, right?!
- Nose up will cause your discs to not fly as far as they should or as far as you can throw. You’re sacrificing distance!
- Nose up will crush your efforts of practicing and increasing your distance. Don’t let this be a hindrance to your distance game.
- Nose up won’t allow you to throw faster discs. Your ability to throw discs above 9 will be limited and you will have a hard time actually throwing these properly. You need nose down to help you move up into intermediate discs like those in tip #6.
- Your discs may finish with an air skip or hyzer out early as the top of the disc is facing you.
Now there are a couple of reasons why nose up happens:
- A muscled throw, or a forced throw, can cause nose up – you want to be smooth.
- Not enough grip pressure on top of the disc from your palm/thumb.
- You’re gripping the disc incorrectly.
- An arch-shaped pull through.
Here’s how to prevent nose up:
- Grip the disc correctly – you want a strong, stable grip. This will solve a lot of the issues with nose up.
- Straight pull through – make sure you’re pulling the disc through on a straight line as you throw.
- Good reach back – reach back fully. Committing to this reach back can actually help tremendously.
If you do those previous three things, your nose up problems will almost completely go away. For more tips, check out Dynamic Discs’ nose down tips video below ⬇️.
6. Start using tougher discs
As you continue to improve your skill on the course, you’ll want to start using tougher discs made for better disc golfers. Discs that are made for better players will have the following characteristics:
- Overstable: discs with more stability will suit better players.
- Speed: discs made for better players generally have to be thrown harder in order to fly correctly.
Here are three discs made for intermediate and advanced disc golfers ⬇️. Check all of those discs out on InfiniteDiscs.com.
7. Anhyzer and hyzer
By this point in your disc golf career, you should know the difference between a hyzer and an anhyzer throw. If you don’t, I highly recommend checking out my post on this called, “What’s the Difference Between a Hyzer and an Anhyzer?”
Understanding both of those concepts is important, but it’s only half the battle. On your journey from intermediate to advanced player, you need to understand how to use hyzer and anhyzer with both your backhand and your forehand throws.
I love this easy-to-understand explanation and how-to video from Rippin Discs on YouTube ⬇️.
8. Master all the shot types
Now that you’re a decent player, you should have a solid understanding of different shot types and throws. For example, you should know and understand hyzer and anhyzer. We went over that in tip #7. You should also know about different shots like the spike hyzer, the hyzer flip, the s-shot, the roller, and all of the other remaining shots. You should understand each and every type of throw that exists. And then the real fun begins.
If you haven’t learned them already, I want you to learn every single shot in disc golf. I would recommend doing some field work and working on each shot individually to master them all. To learn them all, check out my post, “What Are All the Different Types of Throws in Disc Golf?”
9. Don’t sacrifice your par
One of the best tactics that advanced disc golfers use is not sacrificing their par on risky, unreasonable shots that could cost them many more strokes. Often called “laying it up,” this strategy works really well when you’re facing dangerous shots with water or obstacles that could add more strokes in. Instead of trying to sink those precarious shots, you want to take the easiest shot possible and leave the disc as close to the basket as possible. That way you can sink the next shot. It might seem like you’re just adding an extra stroke, but it’s safe and can help you save 2-3 extra strokes (if you were to miss the first shot).
This is also a great tip for your approach game. Instead of trying to sink a shot from 100+ feet out, try laying the disc up, or “parking it,” as close to the basket as possible. That way you’re sure to crush your putt. Check out Avery Jenkins’ approach tips in the video below ⬇️.
10. Daily practice
Your ability to practice and improve will be the true difference in whether you will be a good or a great disc golfer. The amount of time you put in will show when you hit the course. If you practice a lot over time, you’ll be a phenominal player. If you only play a round a week and nothing else, you’ll be nothing more than a mediocre disc golfer. If you want to step up and become an intermediate, advanced, or professional disc golfer, you’ll have to put as much time as possible into improving.
One of the easiest ways to improve quickly is to put a tremendous effort into practice in a short period of time. By that, I mean you should come up with a daily practice schedule to really ramp up your effectiveness in improving your skills. The great thing about disc golf is that there are many different parts to your game that you can practice and improve.
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 an awesome 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 skievel, and always have some kind of goal for your round. Check out my epic field work 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 ⬇️.
You can also check out this awesome article I read here on why practice is so important in sports.
- Get on a schedule with this: in order to effectively practice, you need to practice daily and write out a schedule for all of your work. For example, you can do field work on Monday, putting practice Tuesday, a disc golf workout on Wednesday, approach work on Thursday, learning the game on Friday, a full round on Saturday, and Sunday for whatever you want (or an off day). If you can keep that schedule, you can go from intermediate to advanced in a very short period of time.
11. Double your distance and 10X your putting
We just talked about practice and how to effectively work on your game. Now I’m going to give you some goals. In order to truly take a step up into high-level intermediate play, you want to set two goals: the first is that you want to double your current driving distance and the second is taking your putting skill level up times 10 (or 10X as I like to say).
Doubling your distance: now you might already have a solid distance record of 300+ feet. Even if you do, I want you to set a goal to try and double that distance in the next 12-18 months. You’re going to do that through proper practice including field work with personal record days, drills (in our drills post here), and net practice. Use the last section for reference on how to do all of those. Check out our list of the best distance drivers below ⬇️.
10X your putting: even if you’re already a solid putter, I want you to set a goal to increase your putting skill times 10 in the next 12-18 months. Now I know that seems kind of crazy to think that you can increase your skills times 10 but you need to set a huge goal for this. Why? Well, if you’ve ever heard, “drive for show, putt for dough,” you’ll know that putting is super important. Your putting will win you rounds so I suggest becoming an elite putter. You can do this with a lot of repetition at the course, using discs that you like (check out this best putters post I wrote), using a home basket (here are 11 reasons why you need a personal practice basket), and practicing with the drills in the post below ⬇️:
12. Start playing competitively and play your first tournament
Up to this point, you may have already played somewhat competitively and clocked a tournament or two. If so, that’s fantastic. You’re already ahead of the game and hopefully, you’ve been able to win those rounds or tournaments. But if you haven’t started playing competitively, now is your chance to really up your skills on the course.
There are two ways that I want you to step up your competitive game ⬇️.
- Weekly (competitive) disc golf club: a weekly disc golf club can be a really great way to improve your skills and meet better players that are willing to play with you and give you improvement tips.
- Local tournaments: one of the best way to truly gauge your skills in the course is to enter a local competitive tournament and try your hardest to win. No matter what happens, you will learn a lot about your play (both good and bad)! If you’re looking to play you’re first tournament, check out my post, “Mental Game: Five Tips For Your First Tournament,” on PDGA.com.
Both of these competitive outlets will help you refine your skills, help you play with better players who can mentor you, and hold you accountable to intermediate play (meaning make you play your best, because if you don’t, you’ll lose).
13. Never stop learning the game
Once you take all of the previous 12 tips into account, you’ve just about learned everything possible to become an advanced player, right? Well, no.
Disc golf is an ever growing and expanding sport and there is always something new to learn with it. After you leave this page, I challenge you to continue growing your knowledge of disc golf and finding new ways to learn and improve your game. If you truly love disc golf like I do, never ever stop learning.
Hopefully you will continue coming back to DiscgolfNOW.com for the resources I’ve made over the last few years. I also hope that you scour the r/discgolf reddit forum, YouTube, other disc golf sites, and local courses to pick up even more knowledge of disc golf. However you choose to learn, just keep growing with the sport and you will soon be a really great disc golfer. Good luck!!
Don’t forget about the book!
If you havent quite made it to intermediate play just yet, check out my book, “The Disc Golf Player’s Manual,” to learn everything from picking out discs to some of the best disc golf secrets in the game!