It’s been a few years since I started playing disc golf, and so far, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. The thrill of crushing that drive, curving the disc perfectly around that ridiculous tree, or sinking the last putt of the day is always so awesome. Through trial and error, I’ve learned that you can quickly improve your disc golf game by using a few weird tips and tricks.
So what can you expect from this post?
Well, this post will help you hack your game, develop your skills, become more competitive, become more confident, and help you start to play the game differently than the other amateur players around you.
It’s safe to say that the following nine disc golf tricks can and will help you take off five or more strokes in your disc golf game. If you’re just starting out, and you follow every single step that I lay out, you will almost definitely become a more competitive disc golfer in just a few short months.
But developing your skills in disc golf take a tremendous amount of effort and practice. So as you read through this post, make sure you start to understand that you have to take action.
I promise you, though, that if you put in the work, you’re going to start crushing every round on the disc golf course. And even those courses with water or a sh*t ton of trees (I know, I hate trees, too) won’t stand a chance.
Our goal is to make you into the best disc golfer possible or good enough to start loving the game as much as I do. It’s time to change your game forever.
9 weird tricks to improve your disc golf game forever
1. You need to get in shape
By this, I’m talking about your physical fitness. I’m talking about getting off the couch and onto the course. In this section, I’ll be looking at what you need to do to get in shape or stay in shape. If you’re already in shape, that’s okay. We’ve got something for you as well in this section.
But first, if you’re not in the best physical condition, starting to develop a fitness routine can be essential for getting you into prime physical shape. It’s extremely important that you take care of yourself and keep yourself at the top of your game.
A general exercise routine is a great way to start getting into shape. This beginner’s exercise plan is the first step toward being healthy and becoming a better disc golfer. Also, here’s a page on some great cardio workouts that will help you get fit for disc golf.
A more ideal way to go, though, is to workout specifically for disc golf. By this, I mean either creating or using a workout designed primarily for hitting the muscles used in disc golf. If you would like to see a great workout routine for hitting these muscles, check out the following posts:
Both of those posts are packed with exercises that will help you start becoming stronger, leaner, and more fit to tackle your rounds.
A dedicated disc golf workout routine can be great at not just getting you in shape, but really developing the muscles used in your game to make you a better, and stronger, player.
Now, if you’re already in good shape, you have a distinct advantage over those who may need a little bit of exercise to become more fit. The good news is you won’t need to work out as much to get into tip-top shape. But you still need to have a plan to stay fit and start becoming even healthier.
Try designing your own plan and start learning about all of the muscles used to throw a disc. You’d be surprised how many muscle groups are used in the process of throwing discs.
It’s a full body process, really, so why not hit a full body workout like this one on myfitnesspal.com. it’s a quick 10 minute, full-body workout with no weights required. Why not give it a try?
Why this will help you get better in disc golf
Okay, so you’ve decided to get in shape or become more fit. In the sport of disc golf, this can benefit you tremendously in a variety of ways. One such way is your ability to perform awkward shots in a difficult spot. Sometimes I find myself behind a tree trying to sling a disc forehand like Paul Mcbeth on uneven terrain. If I wasn’t in good shape, there’s no way I could even think about making some of those weird shots.
Next, you will be able to maneuver the course better or as needed. Most courses are generally pretty flat. But there are a ton of courses with holes that make their way through the woods or uneven terrain. Being in shape helps you with this course factor (especially if you throw your disc out of bounds somewhere).
And then comes the factor of stamina. Stamina is your ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort. This is especially prevalent in competitive play, where you may play multiple rounds in a day. Even if you are only playing one round, you have to be physically prepared to walk and throw discs for 18 holes, which typically takes around an hour to an hour and a half.
Learn more than just the basics. Learn how to play the right way. The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide.
2. Disc the f*ck down
This next concept is really important and took me a long time to really understand it. You need to disc down, or start using one disc down, from whatever your driver is. Essentially, I’m saying you need to start out playing with a mid-range disc or lower.
This isn’t me hating on drivers by any means, but drivers are meant for players who are good and have gotten down speed, acceleration, and good technique so that the disc responds and flies like it was intended to do. As a beginner or new player, you won’t be good with a driver yet. Hell, I’m still not good with most drivers yet. If you get a driver, make sure you get an understable driver like the Innova Leopard or the Innova Vulcan. The Discraft Elite Z Undertaker is a good choice as well. Also, If you’re confused about what an understable disc is, check out this great post on bestdiscgolfdiscs.com.
If you would really like to get better, though, pull out your mid-range and start playing only with that. You won’t get much better with a driver that’s for expert players. Perfect your mid-range disc(s) first. Check out our post, “Solo Round Guide: Can You Play Disc Golf With One Disc?” That post will give you the ins and outs of discing down to improve your game
Why this will help you get better in disc golf
Most mid-range discs are generally easier to throw because they’re understable discs. This means that you don’t need as much speed and momentum behind the disc to make it perform correctly. Basically, you can throw it slower and it will do what you want it to do. That helps players out because you need to first focus on the proper techniques and making sure your accuracy is spot on. Then you can worry about speed. Most drivers have to be thrown really hard, which hurts players that don’t have accuracy and technique down. Just trying to sling a disc as hard as you can will almost never work out for you.
Drivers are meant for pros, experts, and good players. Leave those discs alone until you improve your speed. Trying to play with those discs will only cause frustration and a general dislike of the game. A lot of players will eventually quit because they say they can’t throw well. Those players could have started out with a more beginner disc and learned the game.
If you stick to the proper techniques, learn the accuracy, and use a mid-range disc or lower, you will be able to learn the game and start taking strokes off of your score. Try it.
Grab a great mid-range or putter from our post, “37 Best Disc Golf Discs for Beginners (You Need These),” for quicker improvement on the course.
3. Forget the trees (and everything else)
So if you’ve played any rounds at all, you probably know that trees and other obstacles suck A LOT. Messing up and throwing your disc right into a tree or right into the water can just completely ruin your chance to par the hole (especially if you hit the tree 20 feet in front of you). All of those out of bounds areas, streams, and forests can cause giant problems for you on the course.
Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s all in your head. Not the trees or any other obstacles, but your fear of hitting the tree or throwing your disc into that tiny pond. You see, disc golf is a mental game in the same way it’s a physical one.
It’s important to think about your shots and strategize, but you can’t let obstacles get to you. You have to say, “f*ck it,” and just play the round. Seriously, that’s the approach you have to take when playing a course with obstacles. I mean you obviously have to get better, use techniques, and strategize, but you must also have a positive mindset in the way you approach holes with trees and other potential difficulties. You have to understand that hitting trees is inevitable. It’s a part of the game. But here is a good forum post full of tips for not hitting trees.
Why this will help you get better in disc golf
First off, there’s something called the law of attraction that I strongly believe in. That law pretty much says, “if you think it, it will happen.”
So basically, if you think about trees, you hit trees. The more you worry about water, the more likely you are to throw your disc into the water. That’s why you have to say, “screw it, I’m just going to play,” and not worry about these obstacles. If an obstacle affects your game, move on and don’t worry about it. Use this approach so that you can take your focus off of the obstacles and onto perfecting your game.
4. Play a few rounds with just a putter
Alright, so you started playing disc golf and it seems like you suck. Don’t worry, because you probably do. The good news is that you will get better. You just have to make some adjustments with the discs you’re throwing. We already suggested discing down, but now I’m going to throw out an idea that will 100% guarantee that you get better: playing a few rounds and practicing with a putter.
Essentially, this is discing down to the extreme. Taking a putter or two and going out on the course. A word of caution, though, is that you should expect not to get a lot of distance and speed on your throws. Putters are designed to go slow, so it may be frustrating trying this approach at first. But no matter what happens, focus on using good technique, good accuracy, and trying to up your distance. Once you go back to throwing your mid-range and then your driver, your should throw those discs much better.
Why this will help you get better in disc golf
As a beginner or a new player, you need to understand all of your discs. This is important because you need to know what discs you throw well and what discs you probably should move on from. It’s a process and it takes some time and patience to figure it all out.
Playing with a putter can also help you focus on the parts of your game that you may not have worked on (such as your techniques when you throw and how accurate you can try to be). If you’re fairly new, you might try to go about playing like I did: trying to throw your disc as hard as possible and as far as the disc will go. Seems like a plan, right? Well, the irony of this situation is that you have to start out slow, smooth and technique-driven. That’s how you build up a solid drive and an immaculate throwing ability. Also, putters don’t really go fast anyways.
For a really awesome mid-range putter to use for improvement, try the Westside Discs Harp (link to InfiniteDiscs.com). I use this disc almost every time I play.
You can also grab a good putter in our “37 Best Disc Golf Discs for Beginners” post.
5. Stop worrying about competition and just have fun
Everybody wants to win. At least that’s the general consensus among players. But there are a lot of players that are absolutely terrible because they may have just started and may be playing against competition that is just a little bit too good. Well, if that’s the case, try changing it up a bit. Head out on the course and play a round with out the score. Go out and just throw.
Instead of keeping score through the whole round, or even score of each individual hole, start working on the fundamentals and techniques that will make you better. Make every shot count. Stop worrying about competing all the time and simply allow yourself to throw. Competition can be good, but too much competition doesn’t really allow you to learn. It can damage your pride from the jump.
If you can take away all or some of the competition, you can start to get a good feel for the game of disc golf. The better you play, the happier you will be. And if you stay happy with the game and how you are playing, you will definitely learn and improve. You can also throw a couple of discs on each hole and not really worry about the exact score. Check out our video on YouTube called, “Stop Keeping Score in Disc Golf!”
6. Don’t run up on your shots to get momentum
For this trick, you’ll have to completely defy the illogical: don’t ever run up before you throw. It might seem obvious to a new player, as I thought the same thing. I used to believe that because I had to throw the disc so far, I had to get as much momentum as possible and try to throw the disc as far as I could. This couldn’t be any further from the truth.
It might seem logical. Run up on your shot to try and get momentum. This momentum will help you as you try to throw the disc as hard as possible. Makes sense, right? Yes, but this isn’t how you get better. This isn’t the correct way to throw. As a matter of fact, I tore my rotator cuff trying to throw like this. You can hurt yourself if you continue to throw this way.
Running up before you throw also makes your throws erratic. This causes the disc to go almost everywhere other than where you want it to go. The correct way to throw involves a more smooth, disciplined approach.
Slow is smooth and smooth is fast
If you’ve ever heard the term, “less is more,” that’s kind of what I’m talking about about here. A lot of disc golfers like to use the term, “slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” That’s a testament to those who have become great at disc golf. If you watch the pros, you will see that they don’t try to always sling the disc as hard as possible. They use a slow, smooth approach to make sure that proper form is used every time they have to throw. They go slow and smooth through each throw. This smooth technique allows them to throw the disc very hard and very far.
If you want to get better, this is probably the one trick you have to understand.
You get more force out of your throw from other factors. Factors that can be tweaked, practiced, and developed. I’m talking about proper footwork, good hip rotation, big step, and a good throw across the body. Our post, “7 Steps to the Best Disc Golf Technique and a Perfect Throw.”
Check out these great videos about throwing technique.
If you would like to learn about how to approach the initial throw and how to use the tee pad correctly, check out DiscGolfKyle’s video below for quick tips on tee pad work.
Also, Scott Papa’s video below on throwing basics is a really good one to watch if you want to improve your throw.
7. Try playing rounds with single doubles or doubles scoring
First off, what exactly is single doubles or doubles scoring? Also called party golf, doubles disc golf allows you and a friend (or multiple friends) to all throw a disc on every shot. After everybody throws, the party evaluates all the throws and finds the best shot out of all the throws. Then the next shot towards the basket comes from that best shot.
You can also play by alternating shots or by best score. If you alternate shots, the succession is like this: you throw, your partner throws, you throw, your partner throws, etc. Best score allows both players to play the entire hole. Whatever score is the best score of the hole is recorded for your team
Single doubles is almost the same thing, except for if you’re playing by yourself. You can throw two or three shots every hole and then throw your next shot from the best thrown disc. With single doubles, you can’t play alternating or best score because nobody would be playing with you.
It’s really a no pressure way to play disc golf that allows you to be somewhat competitive and keep score all while helping you improve and get better.
Why this will help you get better in disc golf
So, as I said just a second ago, it’s a no pressure way to play. I like that, especially for newer players. Its helps a person get out of their own head and just throw. If you’re playing with someone else, you can kind of rely on them to hit a good shot when your throw just nailed the first tree 20 feet ahead of you. If you play by yourself, even if your first shot sucked, you have another shot to save you.
Pro tip: if you play this by yourself, and your first throw was awesome, don’t throw a second disc. The second shot is almost always bad.
I mean, really, this is the way to play.
Here are a couple of tips for doubles: Make sure you take a couple of discs out with you so that you can play a few shots per hole. Also, on every hole, make sure you know every single shot you took so that you can track your throws and your disc. You don’t want to accidentally leave your discs out on the disc golf course! That would be terrible.
For more information on this, here’s a good article on how to play doubles disc golf and the video below shows a few good tips on how to make doubles play better for you and your partner.
Also, check out the doubles rules here on PDGA.com.
8. Improve your long game and your short game with these 2 drills
Long game: your ability to throw your disc far and accurate.
Drill #1: find a local park football field with field goal posts. You need the field goals posts as a target. Now, go to the middle of the field, or the 50 yard line. This is where you will be throwing from. It’s about 150-180 feet to the field goal posts. The goal of this is to work on your accuracy and throw your disc over the horizontal bottom bar and in-between the two vertical uprights. If you repeatedly practice this, your distance and accuracy should improve dramatically. You can also play on a soccer field with a goal or in a park with two trees about 300 feet apart.
Short game: your ability to successfully putt, or throw, the disc into the basket to complete each hole.
Drill #2: because I do believe in some competition, this drill is more like a little bit of friendly competition. Find a basket you and a friend can putt into. Start about 10 feet away from the basket. Both players throw. If you and your friend make the shot, move back about 5 feet and throw again. As long as both players keep making the putt into the basket, you keep moving back. First one to miss loses the game. You can also play against yourself if you don’t have anybody to play with.
Why this will help you get better in disc golf
So, it’s safe to say that your drive is extremely important. But so are second, third, and fourth shots (if applicable). These shots help you set up your final putt. If you can’t pinpoint your shots and get some distance out of them, you won’t ever be a good player. The accuracy and distance is what drill #1 teaches. Repetition on this drill will help you start crushing those drives so you can be a better golfer.
Drill #2 helps you understand how much force you need behind your throws when you are putting. As you keep backing up, the throws get harder. This drill also puts a little bit of pressure on you just like what would happen in a real tournament or a real round of disc golf. If you can win with this drill, you can win on the course.
We’ve got a couple of really great posts below to help you keep improving your long and short game:
- Long game – “The 27 Best Disc Golf Distance Tips for Beginners”
- Short game – “The 12 Best Disc Golf Putting Tips for Beginners”
- Some awesome drills – “The 50 Best Disc Golf Drills to Change Your Game Forever”
9. Find a professional mentor
Finding a good mentor to teach you the game of disc golf is probably the best way you can learn on the disc golf course. All of the 9 tricks listed are great and every single one can help you improve your game, but the previous 8 are nowhere near as important as number 9 on this list.
What is a disc golf professional mentor?
A disc golf professional mentor is a person who has played the game of disc golf for quite some time, has reached a skill level that is beyond the level of your above-average beginner, has decided to take the sport more seriously, and has started playing in disc golf tournaments with the goal of winning and starting a professional career or has already started a semi-professional or professional career. Essentially, a person that is good enough to be a pro or already is one.
Okay, so I use the term, “professional mentor,” loosely because you probably won’t get Paul Mcbeth or Ricky Wysocki to teach you the game of disc golf in person. They’re busy, but may accept payment if you really wanted their guidance.
When I say, “professional mentor,” I’m talking about being taught the game by someone with a lot of skill. Someone who has years of experience or possibly someone who has won a few tournaments. But If you can’t get any pros to teach you the game, try at least finding someone with years of experience and who knows the game.
Why do I need a pro mentor?
That’s simple: you need a great mentor to not just teach you the game, but to show you the best techniques, all of the fundamentals, and the best tips and tricks to take your game to another level. I, myself, know the game pretty well, but still have a couple of professional mentors that often correct me during our rounds.
You also need a good mentor because there’s only so much you can learn on the internet
Seriously, I thought I would learn everything on Google or YouTube. Well. That’s not the case. That’s actually part of the reason I started this disc golf site. I was getting frustrated because I couldn’t find a lot of the answers to questions I had. That, or it took some in-depth research to locate said information. When you’re with a really good player, most of the time, that person can tell you exactly what you need to know. Any questions, comments, or concerns can be directed to your mentor for an appropriate response.
How do I find a mentor? You can do 3 things
1. YouTube: There is an ever-growing collection of YouTube videos with all of the pros teaching disc golf. While I do think you should watch these videos, always understand that you will get better, more fine-tuned knowledge if you have a personal disc golf mentor.
2. Go play: hit the course and interact with everybody on the course. You probably won’t find many friends to play with by sitting at home. Every time you hit the course, you’ll most likely run into some players. Socialize with them and ask if they want to play a round. Then seek out those better players. Even if they aren’t a professional, a player that can putt really well or drive the disc straight for 300 feet can probably give you some good tips on how they do it.
3. Let the pros find you: once you get good enough, why not enter a tournament or two. If you can show some potential, there are pros who seek out players to try and mold into someone great. Always try to play to the best of your abilities and look for opportunities to show people you’ve gotten better.
Check out our awesome post on this, “7 Reasons Why You Need a Mentor in Disc Golf.”
So what do I do now?
That’s it. You’ve got 9 of the best tricks to start improving your disc golf score. They may be a little unorthodox, but if you start implementing all of what I’ve laid out for you, you will definitely start getting better at disc golf. There may be a lot of learning and watching involved in this sport, but you wont get better if you don’t practice. So take another look at the list, then grab your discs and hit the course!