Disc golf is a tough sport. The average player has to be able to throw their disc hundreds of feet, through trees, over and around hazards, and in bounds, before they can sink that disc into the metal basket at the end of each hole. It’s almost overwhelming to a beginner. But after giving it a go, you’ll see that disc golf isn’t as tough as you once thought. Especially after some practice and learning how to throw some advanced throws that many of the best players in the game take advantage of.
And this post will highlight those throws. From learning the forehand as a true beginner, to understanding hyzer and anhyzer angles, to ripping super tough flex shots with advanced discs, this complete walkthrough of every type of disc golf throw will show you a couple of things: an explanation of each shot type, how to throw each shot, and the best disc for each throwing scenario. If you want to improve your disc golf game, start with this post.
What are all the different throws in disc golf?
5. Turnover shot
6. Roller shot
7. S shot
8. Hyzer flip
9. Flex shot
10. Thumbers and Tomahawk shots
Real quick, let’s look at a couple of definitions to help you understand all of the content in this post ⬇️.
Backhand – Where the throwing arm reaches backward towards the opposite side of the body (from the throwing hand) and swings outward/away from the body while releasing the disc from the throwers grip, near the end of the arm swing motion, to complete the movement. (mimics a horizontal motion of pull-starting a lawn mower).
Forehand – Where the throwing arm reaches backwards towards the same side of the body (of the throwing hand) and comes back through with a sidearm throwing motion (mimics the motion of a side arm pitcher or a person skipping rocks on a pond).
RHBH – Short for ‘right-handed backhand’. A type of throw where a person throws with their right hand with a backhand throw. Other throws are RHFH for ‘right-handed forehand’, and the equivalent throws for left-handed players, LHBH and LHFH. When discussing disc flight it is important to make this distinction.
Hyzer – a throw where the top of the disc is angled away from the thrower and the disc’s angle of flight turns to the left for a RHBH thrower.
Anhyzer – a throw where the top of the disc is angled towards the thrower and the disc’s angle of flight turns to the right for a RHBH thrower.
Flat – a throw where the top of the disc is parallel with the ground, or does not have any angle on it like a hyzer or an anhyzer would.
Turn – High-speed turn is a flight characteristic of a disc to turn to the right (for RHBH throwers) during the fastest part of its flight (the early flight.) The degree to which a disc resists high speed turn determines the disc’s stability. Discs that have a lot of high-speed turn are understable. Discs that have a moderate amount of high speed turn are stable, and discs that resist turning right even at high speeds are overstable.
Fade – For RHBH throwers, low-speed fade is the natural characteristic of the spin to turn left as the disc slows down. This fade will happen at the end of the flight as the disc is losing speed. Different discs will fade more or less depending on design, throwing style, power, wind, and other variables.
Why you need to learn all of the throws in this post
Strategy is one of the most important concepts in all of disc golf. Once you are able to learn your throws, being able to implement them into an overall strategy on how you’re going to win can take you from beginner to intermediate to advanced player in a very short period of time. Once you know multiple throwing styles and many different ways of throwing and manipulating your discs, you’ll be able to take each and every situation you’re in and understand how you need to play the next shot. For example:
1. Course/hole layout: the way that courses or individual holes are designed will determine what kind of shots you need to take and how you will get to the basket. A hole that curves to the left can and will be played much differently that a hole that curves to the right.
2. Obstacles: depending on where obstacles are and how many there are can determine how you throw. Trees, bushes, water, mandatories, power lines, backyards, and playgrounds make up just a few of those obstacles. A hole that has a basket straight in front, but with hundreds of trees in the way can be played differently than either of the first two examples.
3. Your toolbag: aside from course layout and obstacles in your way, just generally having these throws available in your toolbag is a good thing. Because you really never know when you’re going to have to bust one of these throws on the course.
4. To teach: these throws are the pinnacle of disc golf – every way you can throw and manipulate a disc to get closer to sinking your disc in the basket. And they’re great to know so that you can teach others and help them improve on the course.
What are all the different throws in disc golf?
The first two throwing styles on this list are your main ways of throwing in disc golf. Every single throw in disc golf will, in some way or another, be thrown with these two throwing styles. Even overhand Thumbers and Tomahawks are basically just an overhand forehand throw. If you’re looking for the more advanced throws, skip to #5.
**Note: all throws are explained using a RHBH thrower.
The backhand is the most common throwing style in disc golf. If you’re a complete beginner, the backhand is just like a regular frisbee throw. You bring your throwing hand across your body and swings outward/away from the body while releasing the disc from the throwers grip. Take a look back at the four pros in the video above demonstrating the backhand.
You’re probably not a complete newbie so I wont spend too much time on this one. But you can use the backhand for about 90% percent of all shots if you haven’t learned anything else yet. Unless you begin to favor the forehand, you’ll use the backhand for the majority of your drives and approach shots.
The first video below, from eHow Sports and disc golfer Dave Roper, shows you the backhand and a couple of tips to help you throw better.
The second video, from DiscMania Disc Golf and Disc Golf Pro Avery Jenkins, explains the backhand in more detail and can help you learn how to seriously improve your backhand.
3 other ways to improve your backhand
1. Lots and lots of field practice: if you’re new, there’s only one thing that can truly help you improve your backhand disc golf throw – and that’s practicing…over and over and over again. Get out into an open field and throw as many discs as you possibly can. Grab some cheap discs off of InfiniteDiscs.com and get throwing!
2. Learn, understand, and implement technique (at all times): in order to learn technique, check out our post, “7 Steps to the Best Disc Golf Technique and a Perfect Throw,” here on the site. Technique is the key to excellent backhand.
3. Drills: check out our awesome drills post, “The 50 Best Disc Golf Drills to Change Your Game Forever,” and look at drill #23, 24, 33, 37, and 39.
The best (beginner-friendly) backhand disc: Discraft Buzzz
This absolutely amazing, super beginner-friendly mid-range is the pinnacle of where players should start to learn and practice their backhand game. The Buzzz is very straight-stable, reliable, and predictable. It’s also versatile and capable for any skill level. Grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
Forehand is the other type of throwing style when throwing discs in disc golf. It’s basically the opposite of backhand, where the disc spins in the opposite direction. The forehand looks similar to a sidearm pitcher or if you’ve ever tried to skip rocks on a pond. It’s the same motion. But the forehand is something that I constantly struggle with but am actively working on at the moment to improve this.
Check out the two videos below on forehand. They feature Eric Oakley and Danny Lindahl, two disc golf pros sponsored by Dynamic Discs ⬇️.
3 other ways to improve your forehand
1. Start off short and slow: something I’ve learned already is that you need to start off throwing forehand short and slow. There’s no need to start off immediately trying to throw your disc as far as possible. Try a few short approach shots while working to maintain proper form with the forehand.
2. Practice net: grab a practice net, like the one I bought here on Amazon, and start practicing. You can start short and slow like this as well.
3. Use understable discs: DO NOT throw overstable discs when trying to learn forehand. Just like when you started with backhand, easy-to-throw, understable discs can help you learn and improve your forehand throw.
The best (beginner-friendly) forehand disc: Innova Leopard
One of the best discs to start working on your forehand with is the Innova Leopard Control Driver. If you looked at the flight ratings without seeing the actual disc, you’d think it was a mid-range disc. But no, it’s a fantastic beginner disc and one of the most reliable, understable, straight-flying discs in the game today.
The next two shots on this list are the two most common ways of angling your discs. Now you probably already have a good understanding of backhand and forehand. But let’s take a look a look at the two most common ways of angling your discs – I’m talking about hyzer and anhyzer. These two types of throws will determine the angles for the rest of the throws on this list.
Like our definition earlier states, a hyzer is a throw where the top of the disc is angled away from the thrower and the disc’s angle of flight turns to the left for a RHBH thrower. A hyzer is the most basic angle of throw in disc golf because the disc curves, or fades, into the natural flight of the disc. For a RHBH thrower, the disc will naturally fade left at the end of flight. But YOU put an angle on the disc so that it curves left almost immediately after being thrown. Just like our hyzer angle pic above, the disc faces away from you, or is put on a hyzer line.
Hyzers are good for many different throwing situations including (but not limited to) obstacles in your path or sharp dogleg left holes on the course. Essentially, hyzers are there so that we can take advantage of the natural angle of the disc for any reason necessary.
In the video below ⬇️, disc golf pro Merle Witvoet shows you both the hyzer and anhyzer disc golf throw. I would suggest just watching the whole video and then moving on to anhyzer in the next section.
3 ways to improve your hyzer
1. Start short and slow: having trouble with your hyzer? Start out from 15-20 feet out from a friend or a basket and just work on trying to hyzer your disc a small amount in that distance. Then slowly start to work your way back. If you’re still lacking hyzer skills, check out Danny Lindahl’s video below on consistent release angles.
2. Obstacle drills: these drills are super simple. Simply place an obstacle in your way and use a hyzer to get around it. You can start off short and slow with this as well and focus on curving the disc around the obstacle. Doing this will lead to easy, quick improvement.
3. General field practice: getting out into an open field and just throwing hyzer after hyzer after hyzer will undoubtedly make you better at the skill. You need repetition and patience. This skill will come.
The best hyzer disc: Innova Destroyer
The Innova Destroyer is hands down one of the best disc golf discs of all-time and has remained a super reliable hyzer disc for some time now. You can get one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
Like our definition earlier states, an anhyzer is a throw where the top of the disc is angled towards the thrower and the disc’s angle of flight turns to the right for a RHBH thrower. An anhyzer is the complete opposite of a hyzer and requires a bit more effort to throw due to this not being the natural flight of a disc. What I mean by that is, for a RHBH thrower, the disc will naturally fade left. And your anhyzer angle would put the disc on an angle turning to the right.
Anhyzers are good for throwing situations similar to those faced with hyzer shots. You can use an anhyzer for sharp dogleg right holes (RHBH thrower) and obstacles in your path (where hyzer shots are either much more difficult or are impossible).
3 ways to improve your anhyzer
1. Lots of practice: yep, here I am again telling you to practice. But seriously, in order to get better at anhyzer throws, you have to work on them over and over again. Do some field work. Throw these back and forth with a friend. Whatever works for you.
2. Keep that elbow up: next, you need to make sure when you’re performing an anhyzer, that you don’t bring your arm back to throw under your shoulder. When you bring your arm back before you sling it forward, keep it above the elbow (instead of bringing it from waist level up). It may feel like you have to do this to perform an anhyzer, but that’s incorrect technique. This is one of the tips from Merle in the video above.
3. Understand which discs are best for anhyzers: alot of players including myself up until recently believed you needed primarily understable discs for anhyzers. This is actually incorrect. You want understable discs for anhyzer turnover shots, which are a bit more extreme and something we’ll talk about in the next section. For you anhyzer shots, you want a neutrally stable disc or even a somewhat overstable disc that will fly straight on whatever line you want to put it on. Most stable discs are capable of holding that anhyzer line and are therefore recommended more so than any understable disc.
The best anhyzer disc: Latitude 64 River
The Latitude 64 River is a really awesome, very easy-to-throw control driver. It has just a bit of turn and fade, making it a strong choice for a reliable anhyzer disc. It will hold your anhyzer line…or hyzer line…or really any line that you want to try and put on it. It’s just a solid choice for almost all players (except true beginners). You can get one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
The More Advanced Disc Golf Throws
The next eight shots are the culmination of all of the best and most advanced shots in disc golf. They’re the hardest shots to perfect but some of the greatest advanced throws in the game. If you can master them all or even just a couple, your overall game will improve tremendously.
5. Turnover shot
I put the turnover shot directly after the anhyzer because I wanted to make sure that you knew the difference between the two shots. And yes, there is a difference even if they are fairly similar.
We saw what the anhyzer was in the last section. You’re using a stable to overstable disc and throwing it with an anhyzer angle. The disc will turn to the right and give you good flight and finish by fading just a bit to the left. Easy anhyzer.
You’ll use the turnover when throwing on what most disc golfers may call a, “lefty hole,” or a hole that curves to the right (dogleg right). Although that term, “lefty hole,” is inaccurate, I’m using it just for describing the hole in general. It’s basically just a hole that curves to the right…that’s where your turnover shot will shine.
With turnover shots, your overall throw and strategy is going to be more deliberate. With turnover shots, you’re trying to get the disc to curve in the direction opposite of that which it naturally wants to fade. If most discs fade to the left, you want your turnover shot to curve completely to the right.
How to throw the turnover shot: a couple of steps to remember
Step1 is lining up for your shot. In order to throw, when you start out, you’ll come at the teepad (your run up and x-step) from the right side of it.
Step 2 is footwork. As you come through to throw, make sure in your last step that your front foot doesn’t open up toward the target. On that last step, lead with your heel and plant that heel down with out turning it. This will keep your body from opening up too much and putting too much turn on the disc.
Step 3 is wrist angle and nose angle of the disc. Most players will throw a turnover by throwing their disc with an upward angle which generates too much lift. Tweak your wrist and the nose of the disc to make it more of a downward angle where the disc will lean a little bit to the right. That will help you throw the turnover better and not get too much turn on your shots.
Step 4 is the follow through. Complete a normal follow through and you will be able to throw a perfect turnover shot.
Check out the video below ⬇️ where disc golf pro Kyle Webster of Team Westside Discs gives you this explanation and shows you how to throw a perfect turnover shot.
The video below that one is disc golf pro Eric Oakley of Team Dynamic Discs with just a few more tips on the Turnover shot.
You can also check out Allthingsdiscgolf.com’s post, “Mastering the turnover shot: equal parts art and science,” for a few more things to remember when you’re throwing your turnovers.
The best disc for Turnover shots: Discraft Thrasher
I’ve loved the Thrasher ever since I found mine on the course awhile back. The Thrasher is pretty understable but not too much for nice turnover shots on the course. This is a pretty tough disc to throw, so make sure you’re able to get enough speed and power on your disc before you throw one of these. If you can handle it, grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
6. Roller shot
The Roller shot is another great advanced disc golf throw and is a really cool way to try and get distance while attempting to maneuver through multiple obstacles like trees. Basically, this is an extreme turnover shot using a very understable disc. The disc will completely turn on its side and fall to the ground. Once it hits the ground, the disc should be on its side and will start rolling and hopefully slicing through any obstacles you may be up against.
How to throw a roller: three key things to remember
When you’re throwing a roller shot, you’re not doing anything outrageous or anything that requires you to learn a bunch of new techniques. The Roller is thrown by either a backhand or forehand, with some small tweaks to get the disc to turn over and roll on its side.
Now there are two kinds of rollers: finesse and high-tech. We’ll focus on finesse rollers because they’re the easiest to throw and to learn. High-tech rollers use stable to overstable discs and are tougher to learn. Finesse rollers, on the other hand, are easy. Here are three things to remember when throwing them:
1. Grab an understable disc: your basic roller will require an understable disc that will be easy to turn over and roll after being thrown.
2. Tweak the technique: instead of throwing your disc like an anhyzer or turnover shot, you want to raise your release point so that you’ll get an extreme angle on your disc. You want your back somewhat arched and the disc high – almost over your head – before your release it into its flight.
3. Your landing spot: before you throw, you’re going to want to pick a spot where you want the disc to land and start rolling. At first, this may be difficult. But over time, with practice, you’ll be able to absolutely nail the perfect roller.
To learn how to throw this, check out Eric Oakley’s video on Rollers below ⬇️.
And once you start getting good with rollers, you’ll be able to really crush tough shots on the course. Check out JomezPro’s video, “The NASTIEST Rollers of 2019,” below ⬇️.
The best roller disc: Innova Mamba
If ever there was the perfect roller disc, the Mamba from Innova would be it. It is ridiculously understable, with a -5 turn, and can get you a ton of distance if you know how to tweak the flight of this disc. This disc is also awesome for hyzer flips as it will turn over on you no matter how much hyzer you out on it. Grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
7. S shot
The S Shot can be very similar to, or can turn into, a roller if thrown with too much speed and power. So make sure you practice this with a couple of your discs to make sure they won’t turn into a roller on you. You don’t want a roller in an S shot scenario. You want an S shot.
How to throw an S shot in 3 easy steps
The S Shot is a shot that starts out flat and is accomplished by using an understable disc with a bit of fade on the end.
Step 1 is disc selection. You’re going to want an understable disc that has a decent amount of high-speed turn (-2 to -3) and just a bit of low-speed fade (1 to 2). That will allow your disc to fly correctly and help you achieve that S shot.
Step 2 is angle of the disc (or lack thereof). In order to get an S shot out of your disc, it should be thrown flat or without any angle on the disc. Try to get your throw as flat and straight as possible.
Step 3 is throwing power. For an S shot, you don’t want to throw the disc as hard as you possibly can. If you throw it too hard, your disc may turn over too much and become a roller. We don’t want that. We want a good turn and a decent fade on the end of flight. All three of those steps will eventually allow you to perform a perfect S shot.
For a bit more explanation on the S shot, check out Bestdiscgolfdiscs.com’s post, “Hyzer Flip vs. S-Shot vs. Flex Shot: The Ultimate Guide.”
The best S shot disc: Prodigy D4
The D4, to me, is an absolutely perfect S shot disc. It has a great mix of turn and fade (-3 turn and 2 fade) and is fairly easy to throw, even for newer players. If you can correctly throw your S Shot, this baby will absolutely sail. Grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
8. Hyzer flip
The hyzer flip is another really awesome, advanced disc golf throw that you can add to your toolbag for disc golf mastery. The great thing is that it’s really not a whole lot different than the last shot we talked about, the S shot. The hyzer flip is simply just throwing your disc on a hyzer angle, whereas the S shot was thrown flat with no angle. Here’s a demonstration of the hyzer flip in the video below ⬇️.
How to throw a hyzer flip in one quick paragraph
In order to throw a hyzer flip, you’ll first need a good understable disc…we’ve got you covered below. After you’ve selected your disc, you need to make sure that you do one thing: trust your hyzer. Don’t overdo it, but put a good amount of hyzer angle on your disc when you first throw. After the disc is thrown, it will start with the hyzer, flip over or turn over the other direction, and then fade back at the end. It’s fairly tough to perfect the hyzer flip but it can be a really valuable asset for your game.
For a bit more explanation on the hyzer flip, check out Bestdiscgolfdiscs.com’s post, “Hyzer Flip vs. S-Shot vs. Flex Shot: The Ultimate Guide.”
For more, check out Eric Oakley’s video on hyzer flips ⬇️.
The best hyzer flip disc: Discraft Avenger SS
The Discraft Avenger SS is a very popular understable distance driver from Discraft. It can make a great crossover driver if you’re looking to get into distance drivers and is reliable, controllable, and predictable for less skilled disc golfers. The Avenger SS can be one of the best discs for hyzer flips as it will always give you good turnover at first flight. Grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
9. Flex shot
The flex shot is one of the toughest shots in all of disc golf but the benefits of learning it are tremendous. With the flex shot, you’re using an overstable disc with a decent amount of fade and getting a similar flight path to the S shot (but with a different stability of disc and different way of throwing the disc).
How to throw a flex shot
With this shot, you want a really hard throw in order for this disc to follow your anhyzer for a bit of distance before fading at the end.
I wouldn’t throw this shot, or any of the more advanced shots, as a beginner disc golfer. Once you’ve developed some skill, grab yourself an overstable disc to throw the flex shot with. We’ve got a recommendation below.
Next, it’s all about angles on this one. The flex shot is a common shot used by pros, because if you can perfect your anhyzer, your flex will be tremendous. Throw your disc with an anhyzer angle to start. Try to keep this throw, with disc on an angle, straight and flat. That will help you with a good turning anhyzer (**note: the disc will not be thrown flat). You want to keep the throw in general straight and flat with our anhyzer-angled disc.
Once you get the right angle, focus on speed and power. If you can’t throw your discs very hard yet, I wouldn’t even try this shot. You need a high release velocity for the flex shot to work. An overstable disc that’s released too slow will end up fading way too much initially and end up completely wrecking any attempt at completing a proper flex shot.
If you use a good overstable disc with a good anhyzer and enough speed, your flex shot will be gnarly. For a couple more tips, check out Eric Oakley’s video on flex shots ⬇️.
For a bit more explanation on the flex shot, check out Bestdiscgolfdiscs.com’s post, “Hyzer Flip vs. S-Shot vs. Flex Shot: The Ultimate Guide.”
The best flex shot disc: Infinite Discs Slab
The Slab is Infinite Discs’ best overstable distance driver. This disc is very overstable but isn’t difficult to keep straight for the first part of flight if you can get just a little bit of power on your throw. If you want a really great disc for flex shots, the Slab should be your go to. Grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
10. Thumbers and Tomahawk shots
Before we get into these two shots, I just want to go over one quick definition.
Pan – with thumbers and tomahawks, this is the way the disc moves, curves, or corkscrews in a particular direction while in flight. These two shots have a very particular way of curving since they will essentially be flying upside down at one point in flight. And the top of the disc will be facing the ground.
Now Instead of separating them, I decided to keep these two throws together since they’re so similar in how you throw them. I originally had the thumber at #10 and the tomahawk at #11 but I just crunched them together to kind of show you that they’re very similar.
These two shots are really awesome and can be used in a variety of different situations including when you absolutely need a straight shot, tunnel shots, shots out of the rough, shots around out of bounds or around hazards, shots over trees, or any other scenario you can think of that could benefit from these use of these shots. It’s really up to you when you use them. Hell, you can drive and approach with these if you really want to. I do this sometimes.
If you want to remember what a thumber is, think of it like this: the thumb goes on the inside ring of the disc. You’re “thumbing” the disc. This is, by far, my favorite of the two overhand throws. And it normally helps me out on those holes that curve right (dogleg right) because my forehand isn’t very good yet. Below is a quick demonstration of the thumber ⬇️.
How to throw a thumber
Every thumber starts out with how you hold it. You want your thumb on the inside ring of the disc.
Next, you will approach your tee shot as if you were throwing a forehand shot. Instead of sidearm, you will throw overhand.
Once you get into the throwing motion, you DO NOT want to bring your arm straight up and straight down. That’s going to put too much stress on the rotator cuff, which could cause pain and injury. That’s what we want to avoid.
Instead, bring the disc behind you, up, and over like a baseball throw.
I like to angle the disc just a little bit to my right for Thumbers so I can get the disc to pan out.
Two things you want to make sure of – Release velocity and height. You want to get as much velocity behind the disc as possible. You also need a good amount of height under the disc. Get that thing up in the air! That will guarantee both distance and accuracy.
For more on overhand shots, check out Discraft’s overhand shot clinic in the video below ⬇️. That video will show you both the thumber and the tomahawk.
The best thumber disc: Innova Firebird
The firebird is a really versatile, overstable option for your overhand game. It’s mix of over stability and minimal glide make it perfect for either a thumber or a tomahawk. If you’re looking for a great overhand disc, grab a Firebird here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
Tomahawks (and how to throw them)
Tomahawks are thrown in a similar fashion to Thumbers but will pan out in the opposite direction. With these, you’ll grab the disc with thumb on the top of the disc and your index and middle fingers on the inside ring of the disc (similar to a forehand hold). Use similar mechanics to the thumber we explained earlier but don’t angle the disc out to the right. Just keep it straight and throw it with the same motion.
The best tomahawk disc: Legacy XXX
The XXX has a special place in disc golf. Although it’s not one of the most popular discs, it’s currently a world record holder. In 2014, Jason Cortella threw a 177 gram Latitude 64 Opto XXX 483 feet with an overhand tomahawk.
Record broken: Longest Overhand / “Upside-Down” Flight Distance
Besides the record, there’s more to this disc. A swiss army knife of discs, the XXX will be your go-to for getting out of trouble, precision flex shots, and for hyper straight rollers squeezed though tight gaps. But this disc shines for overhand tomahawks. So grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
If you want more awesome related content and discs posts, check out the articles below!
Thanks for reading disc golfers!
Before you go, don’t forget to check out the best beginner disc golf book on the planet, “The Disc Golf Player’s Manual.” This ebook is packed with over 200+ pages of the best tips, tricks, and advice for new players