Progress and Improvement. That’s what everybody wants. But I want quick progress and improvement on the disc golf course. And you do, too. That’s exactly why you’re reading this post right now. Because you’re trying to go from complete beginner to, well, anything better than the first time you went out. Am I right?
Don’t worry because that was me. The idea for this post popped into my head recently and I thought that it might be an interesting topic to write about. When I first started, I was terrible. And I wanted to improve fast. There were so many tips on how to improve on the web. Hell, I even wrote a post on 101 of the best disc golf tips.
But I wish I would’ve had this post when I first started. A 7 tip quick-read that can show you exactly how to get better in just one round. But I didn’t. So it took me months and months to learn all of this. I got a little bit better but this post would’ve sped all of that up. You’re in luck, though. Because you have it. So take these tips and roll!
Word of caution: I want you to know upfront that you’re not going to be a disc golf pro or an advanced player in just 1 round. Or in one more round. I won’t even try to sell that lie to you. Because disc golf is a lot harder than most people realize. I used to think that it was just throwing a frisbee around…yeah, not true. The game is much more than that. But I can guarantee you, if you take all of the tips in this post and put them in your game the next time you go out, you will significantly improve in just 1 round.
7 ways to improve your disc golf game in just 1 round
1. Throw the right discs
One of the easiest and quickest ways to improve in disc golf is to make sure you’re throwing the correct discs from the jump. I found out very quickly that there are certain discs you shouldn’t be throwing if you’re new or somewhat new to the game. Now let’s put our pride aside for a minute and discuss this…okay, ready? Good. NOW I WANT YOU TO STOP THROWING ANY AND ALL DRIVERS IN YOUR BAG. See? That was easy.
But wait…there’s more! Let’s dig a little deeper into this driver thing. I don’t want you throwing drivers because they are hard to throw and normally require you to put a lot of speed and power into throwing them. Speed and power is something you most likely don’t have yet. You need discs that are easy to throw. You need discs that are made for beginners and are in your skill level.
Now that you know that, I want you to start learning the disc flight ratings system. This system of numbers on a disc golf disc (the four numbers you see that look like 5/5/0/1) represents how a disc is supposed to fly through the air when thrown correctly. If you seriously want to change your game in a short period of time, learn this system today. Discgolf really changed for me once I learned the flight ratings system.
The first number is SPEED. It is NOT how fast a disc will go. Speed is how hard and fast a disc must be thrown for it to fly correctly – the disc requires a lot of spin. Most drivers require a lot of speed in order to fly correctly so that’s why I told you to take them out of your bag. If you can’t throw a driver up to speed, it won’t fly right. Beginners want discs with low a speed number so that they’re easier to throw. This ranges from 1 to 15 with 15 being the most speed. Most discs range from about 1 to 14.
The second number is GLIDE. Glide is a disc’s ability to maintain loft during flight. So basically, Glide is how long a disc golf disc will stay in the air after it’s been thrown. Easy enough. You want easy discs that have A LOT of glide. This ranges from 1 to 7 with 7 being the most glide.
The third number is high-speed TURN. Turn is a disc’s ability to turn over to the right (for right-handed backhand throwers) after it is first thrown. Turn ranges from -5 to 1 with -5 having the most turn. As a beginner, you want discs with more turn as it will help your disc fly a little bit straighter at the beginning of flight. Discs with more turn are usually more understable. Beginners want this understability as discs that are more understable are easier to throw.
The fourth number is low-speed FADE. Fade is a disc’s tendency to hook to the left at the end of flight, which is the opposite of turn (hooks to the right at the beginning of flight). Beginners want discs that have less fade so that discs can continue to stay straighter for longer at the end of flight.
I know… flight ratings are a bit confusing, but check out the picture above again and download that on your phone for any future references.
So now that you know about flight ratings, I need you to do something. I want you to disc the f**k down. You should have already put down the drivers. Discing down means to simply go down in disc from a driver to a mid-range or from a mid-range to a putter. Going down to discs with a little less “oomph” behind them.
Lastly in this first tip, even if you’re throwing the perfect beginner disc golf disc, I still want you to like what you’re throwing. AND I want you to like how it feels to throw your disc. If you hate how a disc feels, Find another. No reason to continue on hating your discs.
Find discs that are in your skill level and that you love to throw. This tip will single-handedly improve your disc golf game super quick. If you don’t learn anything else in this post, this tip will help you get better.
After 1 round: learning to throw the right discs can shave at least 3-4 strokes off of your round the first time you start throwing the right discs for your skill level.
2. Practice how you would compete
My second tip for improving your game in just 1 round is to “practice how you would compete.” Now that might sound weird but I want you to go into your next round with the mindset that you’re competing in a professional disc golf tournament. Practice that round with the mindset that you’re competing in a tournament.
Try to Imagine that you’re playing against better players and work hard to make your next round the best one you’ve ever played. Focus and try to play well. You should also practice like this if you’re doing field work or working on your putting. Practice your skills like you would play with them in real rounds. Now do this from here on out and you will improve tremendously.
After 1 round: your focus and overall will to want to do better can help your competitive game grow.
3. Focus on developing your technique
Technique is super important in disc golf. It’s how you improve your accuracy, distance, and your overall score. There are about 7 steps to perfecting your technique. I’m going to briefly outline them here but if you want to read a full, detailed article on how to improve your disc golf technique, check out, “7 Steps to the Best Disc Golf Technique and a Perfect Throw.”
- Grip: your grip on the disc is crucial in getting a nice, smooth, straight throw. Check out that post above to see the differences in grips on the disc. Overall, you don’t want to hold the disc too loose or too tight. Find your “just right.” Otherwise, you’ll end up like our buddy Richard. **warning: video below contains bad language.
- X-step: the x-step is a series of 3 steps that you first take before you throw your disc. This 3-step process. This process is called the X-Step because of the X or criss-cross your legs make to complete your throw. Start out by first stepping with your lead foot (same foot as the arm you throw with – right handed throw = first step with right foot). Your next step will be the opposite step crossing behind your leg for the next step. Then the 3rd step will be the big final 3rd step out as you throw.
- Good hip rotation and reach back: As you’re in the X-Step process, good hip rotation is essential to get the proper reach back. If you’ve got good hip rotation, your reach back should be on point. 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 you throwing motion. From here, what you do is crucial to how your throw will come out. When coming around for the throw, you will want to lead the throw with your elbow out. The next motion needs to be more of a straight line through the throw and less of a circular motion. You want the leading elbow to push through the throw. You also want to keep the disc close to your chest. This allows for maximum control and velocity of the disc. You will be able to get a “whipping” motion on the disc.
- Big, strong final step: this is step 6 of a good technique but is actually the final part of the X-Step. As you come through with your elbow to throw, you want a firm final step. Big but not too big. Take that step and use your back leg to push off as you turn and throw.
- 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. Don’t just throw and abruptly stop your body from turning. This could mess up the shot and could cause injury if you’re not careful.
If you can take all of these 7 steps and implement them, your technique can seriously improve in just 1 round.
After 1 round: learning technique can influence every part of your disc golf growth and can generally improve your ability to get the disc farther and keep it on the fairway.
4. Slow is smooth and smooth is far
This concept is really simple and can make a huge impact the next time you go out to the course. You’ll often hear “slow is smooth and smooth is far.” But what does it mean? Basically, you’ll want to take every single throw by going through every part of the technique process in a slow, controlled, and smooth motion. Go slow and controlled. Ease through the motion. This will guarantee a smooth throw and the result will be almost always a farther throw (AND a more accurate one).
Again, this is another tip that may seem counter-intuitive to you as a beginner. But I promise you that it works. If you try to jerk through the motion and just throw the disc as hard as possible, you won’t get your throws very far. I also injured my shoulder doing this exact stupid thing. I tried to throw the disc as hard as possible…bad idea. I partially tore my rotator cuff. That meant 6 months of no disc golf at all. Instead, I decided to take it slow.
After 1 round: In the very first round I saw farther throws, my technique got better, and my accuracy improved a little bit. Over time, this concept helped me improve dramatically.
5. Don’t worry about distance.
Yet another tip that beginners will find counter-intuitive. Try not to worry about distance while you’re learning and getting better at disc golf. Don’t think about how far you need to try and throw the disc. Use the right discs with good technique in a slow and controlled motion. Just do your best to get the disc toward the basket.
After 1 round: you may gain a bit of distance on this in your first round. Overall, your distance game will start to improve.
6. Your mental game
Your mindset on the disc golf course can make or break your game. I want you to focus on 4 things.
- Don’t rush: remember slow and controlled? Yep, take your time between shots and practice taking slow, smooth shots at the basket.
- Focus: take the time to focus on every throw. You don’t have to over analyze every shot but simply focus on where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.
- Be confident: take every shot like a pro disc golfer and have confidence in all of your abilities (even if you’re not that good).
- Positive mindset: negativity breeds more negativity. That means the more negative you think about your game, the worse you will play. Think about how you’re going to crush this round and you will.
After one round: your game could suffer or you could absolutely destroy this round. YOUR mindset is YOUR choice.
7. Set Goals
Setting goals is one of the most important concepts in all of life. So it only makes sense that you should set goals in disc golf, too.
Now I want you to think about how serious you think you’re going to be with disc golf. You’re going to set short term and long term goals for your time with disc golf. So how serious you are at wanting to improve will determine what kind of goals you will set. Again, you want short term and long term goals. You should at least always have a goal in mind for each round.
If you’re brand new to disc golf, your short term disc golf goals for each round might simply be to get to the basket in close to par, learn the game better, and get better by throwing your disc straighter and with more accuracy.
Your long term disc golf goals might be to beat that really good friend you have, be able to throw the disc 300+ feet, and playing your first tournament in 1 year from when you started playing.
Extra tip: Read the Disc Golf Player’s Manual
My last tip for you is to check out my awesome book for beginner disc golfers and give it a read before your round. All of the information in this post is included in it and written about in much more detail. If you read through it before the next time you go out, your game should improve tenfold!
You can check out “The Disc Golf Player’s Manual: Ultimate Beginner’s Guide” here on the site.