Disc golf is tough. But it’s also one of the most fun sports that you could ever play.
Now if you’re looking into playing and learning more about disc golf, you’ve found the right site. I’ve been playing disc golf since 2016. And writing about it since 2018. My 200 plus posts have gotten over 2.4 million pageviews in that time. So you can trust that, if anything, I know disc golf.
But enough about me. You’re here to learn how to play disc golf. So let’s get started!
Step 1 – How to play disc golf
A disc golfer can play disc golf by throwing a small frisbee-like disc golf disc from a teebox into a large, standing disc golf basket that marks the end of each hole. In a similar fashion to ball golf, the goal is to complete each hole in as few shots as possible and end up with the lowest score.
Disc golf is A LOT like ball golf…in that you’re trekking across a course, attempting to complete each hole within a certain number of shots (or throws). For each hole, there is a par number. This number, whether a par 3, par 4, or par 5, is the total number of shots allowed on each hole to equal a zero score.
If you throw more throws on a hole, that’s over par. Every shot over par adds +1 to your score.
If you throw the exact number of throws allowed on each hole, you’ll be at par or even par on each hole. Your score will stay 0.
If you throw fewer shots than the par score, you’ll be under par. Every shot under par adds -1 to your score.
Simple score examples
Let’s just calculate out your score with 3 quick examples:
- Example 1 “over par” – you start out on hole 1. It’s a par 3. You complete the hole in 4 throws. This means your total round score is 4 and you’re +1 throw over par. Your par score is a +1 and your total round score is a 4. The next hole is a par 4 and you complete this hole in 5 throws. You add that +1 par score to your last hole (1 + 1) to equal a +2 par score and a total round score of 9. The next hole is a par 5. You complete this hole in 6 throws. Now add that +1 par score to your last two holes (1 + 1 + 1) to equal a +3 par score and a total round score of 15. See…pretty simple. Let’s use the exact same holes for the next two examples.
- Example 2 “par” – you start out on hole 1. It’s a par 3. You complete the hole in 3 throws. This means your par score is 0, or even par, and your total round score is 3. The next hole is a par 4 and you complete this hole in 4 throws. That par score will add to the previous hole (0 + 0) to equal a 0 par score, or even par, and a total round score of 7. The next hole is a par 5. You complete this hole in 5 throws. Now add that 0 par score to your last two holes (0 + 0 + 0) to equal a 0 par score and a total round score of 12. Hopefully, you’re getting the idea. But here’s one more example.
- Example 3 “under par” – you start out on hole 1. It’s a par 3. You complete the hole in 2 throws. This means your par score is -1, or under par, and your total round score is 2. The next hole is a par 4 and you complete this hole in 3 throws. That -1 par score will add to the previous hole (-1 + -1) to equal a -2 par score, or 2 under par, and a total round score of 5. The next hole is a par 5. You complete this hole in 4 throws. Now add that -1 par score to your last two holes (-1 + -1 + -1) to equal a -3 par score, or 3 under par, and a total round score of 9. Alright, you’ve got it so let’s keep going!
For more on par, check out this post here:What is a Par in Disc Golf?
To learn more about disc golf scoring, check out this post: What’s the Best Way to Keep Score in Disc Golf?
Step 2 – How to get started with disc golf
Alright, so now that you know how to play disc golf, you’ve gotta’ get some gear and supplies. The first thing you need to do is visit a local disc golf store. An actual disc golf store is your best bet, so look up, “disc golf stores near me,” on Google. Find one and go there in person.
If you don’t have any nearby, a local sporting goods store can usually work, too. Most stores like Dicks Sporting Goods, Academy Sports, or Play It Again Sports will have what you need.
I want you to go in person to that store to check out all discs, bags, and other gear. You’re doing this so that you can actually feel each disc in your hands and see what bag works for you. You also need to feel the difference between disc golf discs and regular frisbees. With disc golf, regular frisbees won’t work. They’re bigger, lighter and don’t fly very far.
Disc golf discs are heavier and are designed to fly long distances out on a disc golf course. Some can even fly 500 feet or more! Regular frisbees don’t even come close.
Once you know more about discs and equipment, you can go online to sites like Amazon and InfiniteDiscs.com to grab more gear. But stay in person when you first start. That’s usually the quicker, cheaper option.
You’re going to want to buy at least one set of discs and a disc golf bag. So here’s exactly what you’ll need:
- A beginner set of discs including a putter, mid-range, and a control driver. Check out this post here for the best beginner disc golf disc sets.
- Or you can find individual discs with the recommendations still being a putter, mid-range, and control driver. Check out this post on the 37 best disc golf discs for beginners. Get two of each and see tip #35 on this list!
- As for a disc golf bag, the choice is yours. Some disc golfers love small bags that can carry 8-10 discs. Other love medium-sized backpack bags that can hold 12-16 discs. And some players want HUGE backpack bags that can hold 20+ plus discs. Check out this awesome post here for a great selection of bag recommendations!
Step 3 – Disc choice by type and weight
Disc choice is extremely important as you’re first starting out. And as a beginner, the first factor in selecting the right discs is the disc type. During your rounds of play, you’ll use three types of discs. Check out the picture below for a quick reference into the different types of discs that you can use in disc golf.
The three different types of discs
- Driver: the disc you will most often use for your tee shot. Drivers equal speed and distance…similar to ball golf. Within this disc type, there are control drivers and distance drivers. As a beginner, try to stay away from distance drivers. From here on out in this post, the drivers I reference will be the slower, easier to throw control drivers.
- Mid-range: the mid-range is similar to an iron in ball golf. These discs are used for approach shots to the basket and for shorter drives on tee shots. The main goal of this disc is accuracy and glide (ability to stay in the air). I’d recommend starting out your first few rounds with a mid-range and the next type of disc on this list.
- Putter: putters are meant to travel short distances and be highly accurate. You will use your putters mostly for short approaches and sinking your disc into the basket chains.
And as you continue to learn about the different types of discs, you also need to understand that not all discs are made the same. Discs are also made into different molds and different weights.
Different molds can refer to different types of plastics used in each disc. Disc companies always make cheap discs in low-quality plastic as well as that same disc more durable, high-quality plastics. The more durable the plastic, the more expensive the disc.
Discs can be made into different weights as well, with most companies using the standard gram weight scale recognized internationally by the Professional Disc Golf Association. So my Innova Leopard might weight 172 grams where as your Innova Leopard might be 160 grams. As a beginner, stick to discs in the 160-172 gram weight range.
Note: to find a disc’s weight, check the bottom of the disc or the inside ring of the disc!
Step 4 – Choosing your discs
As a new player, you might be tempted to just grab some discs and head to the course. But like I said earlier, you need the RIGHT DISCS for BEGINNERS. If you just grab discs, they may be advanced discs and too hard to throw for you.
All companies make different discs for different skill levels. So it’s imperative that you find beginner-level discs before you start playing. We do this by looking at a disc’s flight ratings (a number system that determines how a disc flies or the physics of a disc).
Flight ratings and physics can change how fast discs fly(speed), which way they can turn (turn and fade), and how long they can stay in the air (glide).
Being brand new, you should learn the flight ratings system AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Once you learn this 4-number system, you’ll know exactly how each individual disc flies and whether it’s an easy, intermediate, or advanced-level disc.
Almost all discs have this flight ratings system, which consists of four numbers (example: 10/4/-1/3). Start looking for this every time you look at discs.
Again, this is an extremely important concept that you HAVE to learn as soon as possible in your disc golf journey.
What do these numbers mean?
The flight ratings system is a series of four numbers that display a disc’s speed rating, glide rating, turn rating, and fade rating. All of which give you an individual’s disc’s “personality,” or how it’s supposed to fly after being thrown.
Speed: the first number in the flight ratings system is how fast a disc must be thrown to fly correctly. Speed is judged on a 1-15 scale. 15 speed discs have to be thrown the fastest. So beginners are looking for discs in the 4-9 speed range.
Glide: this flight rating is a disc’s ability to maintain loft, or stay in the air, after it’s thrown. Glide is judged from 1-7, with 7 glide discs being able to stay in the air for a long time! Beginners want a higher loft in the 3-7 range.
Turn: turn, for the average right-handed backhand (rhbh) player, is the disc’s tendency to turn to the right during the initial part of its flight. Turn plays a huge part in a disc’s stability (read more about that here in my disc stability guide). The numbers for turn range from 1 to -5 with -5 being the most turn (basically, you throw the disc and it immediately turns to the right). So beginners want discs in the 0 to -5 turn range.
Fade: a disc’s fade, for the average rhbh thrower, is the disc’s tendency to fade left at the end of its flight. Fade ranges from 0-5, with 5 being a disc that fades hard left shortly after it’s thrown. Fade also plays a huge role in a disc’s stability and must be looked at when selecting discs. So beginners want discs in the 0-2 fade range with a preference toward 0 or 1 fade ratings (easier discs).
If you’d like to read a more in depth post that explains the flight ratings in detail, check out this post here – What Do the Numbers on a Disc Golf Disc Mean?
Best beginner discs
When selecting discs, the best beginner discs to get will have low speed, high glide, high turn, and low fade.
Innova Leopard: a fun disc to play with and the best starter disc golf control driver. Grab a Leopard here on Discgolfunited.com.
Discraft Buzzz: by far, the most popular disc in disc golf. This mid-range can do just about anything you need it to and it flies straight as an arrow. Check out the Buzzz here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
Dynamic Discs Judge: my favorite putter. Great disc. Nice grip and almost always grabs the chains when you need it to. I highly recommend the Judge. Check it out here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
Step 5 – Disc colors
This next step is VERY simple. When choosing discs, the color of each disc you throw is extremely important.
You can’t just pick any color and throw it. Because if you WANT TO LOSE all of your discs, you’ll pick natural colors like green, brown, black, and camo. Dark red, dark blue, and dark purple are also tough to find. Remember: lost discs equal lost money. So steer clear of all of those colors. If you throw them, make sure to watch where they go and have other people watching your shots.
IF YOU DON’T WANT TO LOSE ANY DISCS, choose unnatural colors – light blue, orange, pink, purple, yellow, and white for example. These colors are not normally found in nature, so they will stand out from their surroundings, making them easy to spot or find.
Now it’s inevitable that you’ll lose a few discs. But you should do everything you can to keep from losing them.
My guide here – The Beginner’s Guide to Finding Lost Disc Golf Discs – will help you keep track of, and keep from losing, your discs.
Step 6 – Everything you need to get started
Now up to this point, you might be wondering, how much is all of this going to cost to get started? Well, here you go:
The total amount of money that you’ll spend to start playing disc golf will usually vary, but end up being around $30-100 dollars (depending on discs, equipment, and what bag you get). You can also choose to spend more and your total cost could get up to about $220-250 dollars with premium discs and a luxury bag.
So you see, it’s not really all that expensive. My recommendation is to buy a decent starter set of discs, like the Innova DX starter set here on Amazon and the Infinite Discs Slinger Bag here on Amazon. Besides those needed items, and some equipment I’ll list below, everything else including rounds is free!
Miscellaneous items for your bag
Other things that you might need for the course.
- Mini marker disc: or simply another disc to mark where your disc is at. Grab one here on Amazon.
- Sharpie: to mark your discs with name and phone number or to sign your name with that first ever ace (hole in one)! Get a pack here on Amazon.
- Towel: towels are great to have to wipe off dirt, grime, and any other moisture on your disc. All of that can lead to poor throws and higher scores out on the course. Check out my disc golf towel recommendations here.
- Sunscreen: if you plan on playing more than 9 holes, especially in the heat, I always recommend grabbing some sunscreen to help avoid any sunburns. I carry this in my bag and apply it almost every round. Get some here on Amazon.
- Snacks: if you play a full round, you should always carry some snacks with you. For me, I usually take a protein bar or one of these sweet and salty nut bars (here on Amazon).
- Water (or Gatorade): always make sure that you’re hydrating. It’s important for keeping dehydration away and nourishing your body while you’re playing long, draining rounds on the course.
For more awesome disc golf accessories, check out this post – 37 Best Disc Golf Accessories to Fuel Your Fun on (and off) the Course.
Step 7 – What to wear out on the course
Attire out on the course is super important. As for clothes, just wear whatever is most comfortable. This isn’t a golf country club so there’s no need to dress up in polo shirts or khaki pants. Some disc golf pros do that but you don’t have to. Gym clothes are fine.
Also, make sure you’re accounting for the weather. If it’s cold, layer up. If it’s hot, you don’t need much more than shorts and a t-shirt.
The most important part of your outfit will be your shoes! So make sure you understand that you’ll be walking at least a mile or more during each round.
I personally wear Merrell sport hiking shoes or other trail shoes. These shoes work best for all kinds of rough terrain…which is what you’ll normally experience on a disc golf course. Sneakers are fine on some courses, but I’d highly recommend some good trail shoes.
Check out this post here for all my disc golf shoe recommendations – The 27 Best Disc Golf Shoes: Ranked by Price!
For the ladies reading this, check out this post for disc golf shoes – The 17 Best Disc Golf Shoes for Women!
Step 8 – Choosing a disc golf bag
Out on the course, you’re going to need some kind of bag to hold all your discs, gear, and other miscellaneous items. So having a good bag is essential. But do you have to buy a disc golf bag? Well, no. I survived with a drawstring backsack and six discs for an entire year. It worked but I finally caved and bought a quality disc golf backpack bag for just over $40 bucks. Once I did that, hauling around discs and gear became so much easier.
Today, I’ve got a couple of disc golf bags:
- My quick round bag is the Infinite Discs Slinger Bag. This awesome small bag is fantastic for quick rounds out on the course, can hold about 8-10 discs, and will only cost you about $30 dollars. Get yourself one here on Amazon.
- My favorite disc golf bag is my first bag, the Dynamic Discs Trooper Backpack Bag. It holds about 12-16 discs, has a decent amount of storage, and is super high quality…all for about $40 bucks. Grab one here on Amazon.
- My go-to luxury backpack bag is the Star Frame Bandido Disc Golf Bag. It’s an ultra premium disc golf bag that can hold 16-20 discs (or more if all compartments are used) and has an INSANE amount of gear storage! By far, the best disc golf cooler bag on the market and has been built to compete with the best of the best. Highly recommended. Read my review on it here. You can also get a Bandido Backpack Bag here on Star Frame’s website!
Again, if you’d like to check out some other disc golf bags, head over to this post here – The 27 Best Disc Golf Bags [New and Updated]!
Step 9 – How to play (simplified into three short paragraphs)
When you head out to play disc golf, the rules are really simple: you’re trying to throw your plastic disc golf disc from a designated teepad into a standing metal basket. Each disc golf course has 9 or 18 holes. And each individual hole has a certain number of throws, or strokes, to get your disc into the basket. That’s the “par” of each hole.
If you get your disc into the basket in the correct amount of throws, you’ve “made par” or “parred the hole.” More throws than par adds a +1 to your score for every extra throw after par and is called a bogey, double bogey, triple bogey, and quadruple bogey, respectively. Less throws than par subtracts 1 from your score for each throw fewer than the par score – which is REALLY good – and is called a birdie, eagle, double eagle, albatross, or ace (the classic hole in one)!
When you throw your disc, go to the spot it landed (the lie). Your next throw will be from that spot. Repeat the process until you can get your disc into the standing metal basket to “hole out” or complete that individual hole. Mark that score on your scorecard. Now play the remaining 17 holes and add up your total score. The LOWEST score, or whoever had the fewest amount of throws, wins the round.
Step 10 – A couple of simple disc golf rules to know
While you learn how to play disc golf, there are a couple of simple rules that I’d like you to always think about.
Rule #1 – Golden rule of disc golf: what’s the golden rule of disc golf? Simple – “treat others on the course like you’d like to be treated.” A super simple rule that you’ve probably heard, in some form or fashion, since you were in elementary school. So just be nice when you’re out in the course.
Rule #2 – Just have fun: you don’t always have to go out and play super competitively. Sometimes, you just need to have fun. Disc golf is supposed to be a fun game after all.
What happens if my disc lands on top of the basket? If your disc lands on top of the basket, your throw doesn’t count as completing the hole. The disc has to be in the basket to count as hole completion. Drop your disc under the basket, then throw one more throw from there. You’ll then have to take a stroke and throw again. Check it out in this post – What if My Disc Golf Disc Lands on Top of the Basket?
What happens if my disc goes out of bounds? You’ll have to take a penalty stroke and rethrow your disc from a new spot (that out of bounds spot, a spot just in bounds, or a designated drop spot). Unless you’re playing competitively, though, you don’t really have to play with out of bounds unless there’s a neighboring fence or body of water. For more, check out this post – What if My Disc Golf Disc Goes Out of Bounds?
What happens if my disc lands in the water? You take a penalty stroke and throw again from a drop spot out of the water. Whether I’m playing competitively or not, I will usually still take a stroke if I throw my disc in the water. Read more about this in my post here – What if My Disc Golf Disc Lands in the Water?
I’m playing with others and we’ve all thrown our disc…so who throws next? Easy, whoever is farthest away from the basket always throws next. Once the hole is complete, the person with the least amount of throws on the previous hole throws first on the next hole.
And there are so many more answers to questions you might be looking for. Check out my faq page here for more.
Step 11 – Check out my “101 Disc Golf Tips” post!
If you’d like to learn some more awesome tips and tricks – 101 to be exact – you’ve got to head over to my post, 101 Disc Golf Tips to Take Your Game to the Next Level. This post will take your game to a whole new level and will surely teach you how to play disc golf the right way.
Step 12 – How to NOT lose your discs
I mentioned my “lost disc golf discs” guide a little earlier, but be sure to check out this post – The Beginner’s Guide to Finding Lost Disc Golf Discs. It’s a gold mine of information on how to NOT lose any of your discs ever again. I mean, it’s inevitable that you’ll probably lose a disc or two over the year. But that epic post can really save you a lot of trouble if you read it over.
Pro tip: the day you buy a disc – and I’m talking about THAT day – I want you to take a sharpie and mark your disc. Look at the disc, flip it over, and put at least some initials and a phone number on the bottom of the disc OR the inside ring of the disc. By doing that, you’ll ensure you do everything possible to get your disc back if it does get lost (you can’t help, though, if someone steals your disc…because it happens).
If you really read that post, you’ll thoroughly prepare yourself to not lose any discs during your rounds. But it will happen. As of the writing of this post, I have only lost one disc. I was brand new, throwing a grass green distance driver, and thought I had to throw the disc as hard as possible. Lacking technique, the disc shot in an impossible direction and went on to get lost forever. All of that was my fault…especially when I quit looking after about 10 minutes. Since then, I’ve made sure not to make any of those rookie mistakes again. And I haven’t lost any discs since. Read my guide. It’s insanely helpful!
Lastly, even if you haven’t lost any discs, make sure to check through tall grass out on the course. I’ve found a few discs just by scanning the thick during casual rounds!
Step 13 – How to find a good disc golf course
Alright, so it’s time to get out on the course. But first, we’ve got to find a course near you. Depending on where you live, this might be a challenge. But there are over 9,000 courses in the United States alone. So it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
The easiest way to find a course in your area is by Googling, “disc golf courses near me.” Google is super advanced and will pinpoint all of the great courses near your town or city. I’ve got at least five or six great courses near me. Hopefully, it’s the same for you.
Some other sites to check out:
Step 14 – Your scorecard
Here are four options for keeping score in disc golf:
- In your head: although I don’t recommend it if you’re playing seriously, this can be the most hassle-free option. Simply add up your strokes on each hole and then add them all together. You won’t be able to remember each individual hole, though. So I recommend at least the next option.
- Paper scorecard: pencil and paper scorecard has been done for over a century in ball golf. If you don’t want to mess with your phone, this is a super easy option. It also allows you to look back at how you did on each individual hole. [scorecard pic]
- Smartphone scorecard: this is the cheapest and most high-tech option available. By this, I mean using an app called UDisc. UDisc allows you to do so many different things. But the basic, free version of this app allows you to keep track of your scores on whatever course you may be playing that day. Check out UDisc here on their site.
- Don’t keep score!: if you’re practicing or just working on improving your game, I highly encourage you to play some rounds without keeping score or competing. You need some rounds to simply focus on learning the game and working on good disc golf technique.
Step 15 – Arriving at the course…what do I do?
When you arrive at the course, it’s okay to be completely overwhelmed at first. You haven’t played yet and you might not know what to do, so here’s how to start:
First, check your bag. Make sure you’ve got all your discs and gear ready. Then head toward the standby area near the first hole. Most courses have one of these. It might be a shelter or a picnic area.
Next, find the course rules or park rules. Look at those and make sure you know them. You don’t want to be kicked out for violating one, being stupid, or bringing something illegal/against the rules to the course.
After you read the rules, find hole #1. You’ll head to this hole to start your round. It shouldn’t be too hard to find. And there you go. You’re almost ready to start!
Step 16 – Proper disc golf etiquette and good sportsmanship
Before you start, I want you to understand one SUPER important concept. You’ve already read the rules, but you have to understand proper course etiquette and good sportsmanship.
Good course etiquette starts out with simply reviewing course/park rules. You’ve already done that so you’re good there.
Good etiquette continues with your cleanliness. I want you to make sure you’re not leaving trash out on the course and making sure to pick up after your dog if you take yours out to the course.
Also, try to keep the noise level down. Headphones are recommended for music, but if you take a portable speaker, just keep the volume down to your party only. I don’t mind music out on the course, but if I can hear yours clearly, it’s too loud.
Further, don’t try to mess up others shots, scream or yell during throws, or do things in general to piss people off. It’s okay to have fun but it’s not okay to mess up another player’s round.
If you’re slow, let faster players or parties play through and head to the next holes. It’s just a nice thing to do and it’s been done in disc golf/ball golf for decades.
Weed is also a no-no. It’s still illegal in most places, and while you may love it for disc golf, it just provides a bad experience for everybody else. Look, I don’t hate weed. You can choose to do it as much as you want at home or in your car before you play. But keep weed off the course, period.
Lastly, if you find lost discs, and there’s a name or number clearly written on it, try your best to return it. I always try to return discs because it’s usually good karma for your disc golf game. You’ll either get it back in improved play out on the course or you might find a disc that you can keep on the course. I’ve returned numerous lost discs and have found just as many that I could keep (no name or number on them – if this happens, it’s yours).
So, for more on disc golf etiquette, check out this post – The Complete 27 Step Guide to Disc Golf Etiquette.
Before you hit the course, I want you to think about how you’re going to treat other players. The goal is to avoid bad sportsmanship, or a lack of fair and good behavior while playing disc golf. Just be nice, treat others how you want to be treated, and don’t be a sore loser.
Step 17 – Stretching before you play
Before starting, you need to stretch. This is INSANLEY important and can keep you from getting hurt. So with that being said, we’ve got a great stretching post that you can check out here. The goal is to simply warm up a little bit so that you don’t hurt yourself. Dynamic stretching – or stretching by moving around – is super important and will help you be ready to throw on the very first hole. You can also do static stretching as well. Just follow our stretching guide here and see the pic below.
Step 18 – START!
Now you’re ready. We found hole one so it’s time to get going. Grab your buddies and your gear and head to the first teepad. Moment of truth, right?!
Step up and throw! Congratulations, you’re now officially a disc golfer!
You might suck at first, but don’t be discouraged. Every brand new disc golfer is terrible. Me? Oh, yeah. I was the epitome of awful. My only saving grace for a long time was my putting…and that still wasn’t all that great.
Step 19 – The teepad and your drive
When you step up to the teepad, you want to focus in. Don’t worry about other people, throwing poorly, or that giant tree in your way. Just focus on where you have to throw it and getting it toward the basket.
Now take a look toward the hole. Do you see the basket? Find where it is and start thinking about your strategy to get your disc into the basket. You want to plan your shot.
Go ahead and throw if you haven’t already.
Step 20 – How to (actually) throw a disc golf disc
It’s not about distance or power when throwing a disc golf disc. The most important thing to remember when throwing a disc is to have proper disc golf technique. Because poor technique equals poor performance and you don’t want that out on the course.
But to get better at throwing, you’ve got to practice good disc golf technique. Here’s how you do that:
Step 21 – Proper disc golf technique
When throwing your disc golf disc, there are seven steps to great disc golf technique. Here they are quickly:
Step 1 – Grip: grip is super important and will determine your technique. Most players, though, will choose a backhand throw, with a power grip or non-power grip (holding disc with all 4 fingers wrapped under rim or three finger wrapped under ring and 1 finger on the side of the disc).
Step 2 – Good hip rotation: you want as much hip rotation as possible when throwing your disc, while not sacrificing balance in the process. You can keep yourself balanced by bending at the knees, lowering yourself toward the ground, and sticking you butt out just a little bit. And just remember – the more rotation you get, the more overall power and velocity you’ll get on your throw!
Step 3 – The reach back: this step is extremely simple. While rotating your hips, reach back diagonally at approximately a 45 degree angle. The more hip rotation, the more reach back you can get. And the more reach back, the more power, momentum, and velocity you’ll have behind each throw. You want a fully extended arm to avoid rounding, to maximize everything listed above, and to pull your arm through on a straight line toward your target. Then continue toward the next step.
Step 4 – Look away from line of sight: it might seem counterintuitive to look away from your target, but looking away from your line of sight allows for better hip rotation, better reach back, and better balance. All of that will allow for perfect disc golf technique and a much more impactful throw.
Step 5 – Lead with your elbow: as you come out of your reach back into the forward part of your throwing motion, you want to lead your throw with your elbow out. The next motion needs to be a straight line through the throw, not a circular, “rounded,” motion. Use your elbow to push through the throw, while keeping your disc close to your chest. All of that allows for maximum control and velocity when actually throwing, leading into step 6.
Step 6 – Big, strong final step: this step is crucial if you want to be good at throwing a disc golf disc! As you’re coming through with your arm and elbow, make a big, strong step out onto the ball of your foot while pushing off with your back foot.
Step 7 – The follow through: once you’ve completed steps 1-6, step 7 is the key to maintaining good distance and not hurting yourself when throwing harder. It’s simple – as you bring your arm through to complete the throw, allow your arm to “follow through,” which will cause you to fully continue through your motion in the direction of the throw.
And that’s how you throw a disc golf disc. Easy, right?!
After you finish this section, check out the video below. It shows pros using all 7 steps to really perfect their throws and optimize their drives.
For a more in-depth explanation of technique, check out my post here – 7 Steps to the Best Disc Golf Technique and a Perfect Throw.
Step 22 – Wind up and throw your disc
After you’ve looked at disc golf technique, start working on improving your throws. To do that, you have to actually throw your disc!
So wind up and throw! You’ll probably be pretty bad for awhile. But just keep playing and practicing with good throwing technique. Over time, your throws will improve and your distance will increase.
Remember: “slow is smooth and smooth is far.” Don’t just try to heave your disc as hard and as far as you can. A great throw involves good momentum and good throwing technique. Combine those for best results!
Step 23 – After the throw
Right after you throw, watch where your disc went! It’s important and a big part of not ever losing your disc.
Also, don’t get upset with your throw. Again, you won’t be very good for at least a few months. So don’t dwell on the negative. Reflect on the positive and try your hardest to improve your throws each and every round.
Step 24 – Your next throws
Once you throw your drive, every throw after that should get you closer to the basket. Use all your focus and technique to try and get to the basket in as few throws as possible. Once you’re about 50-100 feet away, start your approach.
For approach shots, I recommend easy hyzer curves to get you within putting distance. If you do it right, your putts will be from about 30 feet out or less. Once you’re within this range, you can putt and complete the hole.
Step 25 – The disc golf basket and how to complete each hole (or “hole out”)
So you’re heading toward the basket and getting closer with each throw. Now you’ve got to finish that hole. In order to complete the hole, or “hole out,” you have to get your disc into the basket cage or inside of the basket chains inside.
The disc can’t land up against the bottom pole or on top of the basket. Neither of those shots count. But once you get your disc inside the basket or inside the chains, you’ve completed the hole!
Step 26 – Putting
Congratulations on making it to the basket! That’s a challenge by itself and I remember the struggle. It used to take me SO MANY shots to get there. But now that you’ve made it into putting range, it’s time to bang some chains.
Start by grabbing your favorite putter. Next, line up with the basket. As you putt, stay focused and take your time. Because you don’t want to have to putt again. Now push the disc out and let it fly toward the basket. Remember: you’re not frisbee throwing toward the basket. Push the disc toward the basket. You should hear a sweet “ching” sound after you throw. Now go grab your disc and set out toward the next basket!
For a great set of beginner putting tips, check out this post – The 12 Best Disc Golf Putting Tips for Beginners!
Step 27 – Keeping track of ALL your discs
Before you start your rounds, count how many discs are in your bag. That’s how many you need to leave with.
Next, try and do your best to keep track of ALL your throws. Sometimes I go out and throw multiple discs on each hole. You’ve got to keep track of where they go so you don’t lose any. Make sure you have all your discs before moving on to the next hole.
It’s really a buzzkill to forget a disc and have to hike back two or three holes to find it. It also sucks to lose discs, so keep track of them during your rounds. And don’t forget to grab them out of the basket when you finish each hole!!
Step 28 – Trees? Fuhgeddaboudit.
Trees suck. But as much as trees have pissed me off up to this point, I’ve learned the secret to avoiding most trees out on the course: don’t think about the trees. Sometimes, it’s hard to do that. Believe me. I’ve hit enough trees to repopulate the planet.
But I read in a Reddit post one day to stop thinking about the trees. And if you hit one, just move on. No need to get mad or upset. Because trees are just a part of disc golf. It’s inevitable that you’ll hit a few. That advice worked great and my overall game improved after I changed my mindset on the course. Now trees are hardly an issue for me out on the course.
Step 29 – Other types of disc golf throws
Once you’ve mastered the backhand, why not try out other types of disc golf throws! Here are just a couple to start adding into your game:
- Forehand: the standard forearm throw is normally the second throw you’ll learn in disc golf. It’s a bit harder than the backhand, but can really improve your game if you master it. The forehand looks something like the throw of a sidearm baseball pitcher. This shot is great for learning so that you can get the disc to curve in the opposite direction of a normal backhand throw and adding more versatility to your disc golf game.
- Hammer/Thumber (Tomahawk): another common throw in disc golf that doesn’t get used as often as it should. You throw this as either a thumber, with your thumb on the inside ring of the disc, or as a hammer, with your index finger on the inside ring of the disc. Using an overhand motion, the disc will fly up in the air and have a very unique curve to it.
For more types of throws in disc golf, check out this post – What Are All the Different Types of Throws in Disc Golf?
Step 30 – Adding up your score
Continue through your round, throw by throw, and hole by hole until you’re finished. Make sure to focus on your throws, breathe, use good technique, and have fun.
Don’t rush yourself while you’re out on the course. And don’t dwell on all the negatives when you first start. Take each hole one at a time and try not to get frustrated with yourself.
Once you’re finished, add up your score to see how you did.
Step 31 – Comparing scores
Now that you’ve finished, compare your scores with your buddies to see how you did. If you’re alone, try to compare scores with how you played in your last round or how you did compared to the course par score.
Whether you played good or bad, it’s okay. Just reflect on your game, analyze your score, and try to continue improving.
Step 32 – Analyzing and reflecting on your game
After you finish and add up all your scores, you’ll want to reflect back on how you played. Your first few rounds probably won’t be very good. My first few rounds didn’t even have a score. We just played to have fun. We were bad so that score was probably WELL OVER par. However, we played with a few guys who were very good at disc golf. And that gave us the inspiration to keep playing and improve after these first few rounds.
So again, don’t dwell on the negative. Even if you played poorly, try to start getting better ever round. Try to practice as much as possible and continue working on your disc golf game on and off the course.
Here are a couple of ways that you can work on yourself and your game off the course:
Step 33 – Exercising and staying fit (for disc golf)
If you want to become a top notch disc golfer, you’ve got to exercise. Why? Well, exercise is extremely beneficial for you in many ways including your physical health, your mental health, your sleep, and your stress level. Exercise is just overall great for you.
But exercise can benefit your disc golf game as well in a variety of ways. Let’s look at how:
- By walking, running, and improving your cardio, you’ll improve your stamina and the ability to play disc golf for longer.
- By improving muscle flexibility, you’ll be able to throw better for more distance. You’ll also be able to stretch out more for awkward shots (stretching works for this as well).
- By improving strength you’ll be able to gain more distance on your drives and almost all other shots.
So you can see that regular exercise is most definitely helpful for disc golf. And those three things above are just a handful of ways how improving your fitness can improve your disc golf game.
Hopefully, you work out regularly. If not, start becoming more active and hitting the course more frequently. Hiking the disc golf course is good exercise by itself. But try to start adding more to your exercise routine:
- Cardio: cardio workouts like walking, running, and high intensity training can be great ways to exercise and get fit for disc golf.
- Weightlifting: weightlifting involves lifting weights to get fitter and stronger. Both of those are great for disc golf.
But you don’t have to do cardio or weight-lift. Any form of physical exercise can be beneficial and can help you improve your fitness for disc golf. Even playing disc golf can be good exercise. So get out on the course and get moving!
Step 34 – Learn as much as you can
One thing that can have a huge impact on your disc golf game is simply learning more about the sport. In fact, you’re doing it right now! Rounds out on the course, putting drills, exercising, stretching, and any other physical practice can only get you so far.
I also want you to start working on your mental game. Learn as much as you can about different types of throws and when to use them, how discs fly, disc stability, rules, and any other tip or trick that you come across that can improve your game and expand your disc golf knowledge.
The mental game is super important and you want to have that on point whenever you play. Skills and luck will only get you so far. So keep researching and keep learning!
Step 35 – Buy more discs (rule of six)!
The rule of six is simple – no matter what kind of round you’re playing, you should always carry at least 6 discs (2 drivers, 2 mid-range discs , and 2 putters). Now this tip isn’t going to help you improve all that much, but it will help you make sure that you always have enough discs to play with out on the course.
Because you’re going to lose discs. It’s just a fact. But if you have multiple discs in each disc type, you’ll be able to continue playing and you won’t have to stop to get more discs. As a beginner, I’d encourage you to get at least 6 discs before you start playing.
We already talked about how NOT to lose discs earlier in this post. But if you do lose one, you’ll have more to play with. As you get better, buy more discs and find ones that work best for you.
Pro tip – slim down your bag: you can carry as many as you’d like but try not to carry too many discs. The more discs you play with, the more discs you have to get better at. Once you start improving your skills, slim down to just a few discs and master those fine pieces of plastic. I personally play with about 12-15 discs in my bag. I know which discs I’m good with and I use those to play my rounds. That’s how the pros do it. And that’s part of how you really start improving your disc golf game.
Step 36 – Check out my book!
Before you move on to the last tip in this post, I want you to head over to this page here on my site. It’s important that you do, because I’ve written the best, most detailed disc golf book on the market – The Disc Golf Player’s Manual. This ultimate beginners guide features over 200 pages of disc golf tips and tricks sure to help you improve your disc golf game AND crush it on the course.
Step 37 – Practice!
This may be the last tip on this list, but I put it last so that you’d remember it. Practicing and improving your disc golf game is SO important. But it’s not just about playing a few rounds. You need to understand how to practice AND how often.
If you think 1 round a week and a couple of technique videos on YouTube is going to help you improve quickly, you’re wrong. Disc golf takes YEARS to master and requires daily practice if you want to be great at it. Now you don’t have to play daily. But you need to be doing something daily to improve…whether you’re exercising, learning the rules, working on your putting, distance work and field work, or playing rounds out on the course.
Daily practice and patience are how you truly become a great disc golfer. Know that and understand it. If you can get the concept, your skills will start improving and you’ll be a great disc golfer in no time at all.
So is that it?
Yep. Disc golf is a simple game. It’s easy to learn and easy to play. But very hard to master…much like traditional ball golf. However, disc golf is cheaper, a bit more informal, and way more fun to play. So that’s why you should give it a try TODAY!
If you’ve already started, I highly encourage you to practice as much as possible, work on improving your game, use the right equipment, and make sure that you’re having fun out on the course!