Disc golf can be one of the most fun sports on the planet. It can also be one of the most challenging and aggravating sports that you could ever play. There are just so many different parts to the game that you have to be good at a lot of different things to master it. But overall, throwing a disc is at the core of your disc golf game. And if you can’t throw your disc very well, or very straight, your scores will suffer.
In this post, I’m going to answer the question that you came here for and explain exactly why you can’t throw your disc golf disc straight. Because throwing a disc straight is really tough…especially when you’re brand new. So why does that small hunk of plastic just refuse to go straight?
Why Can’t I Throw My Disc Golf Disc Straight?
Your disc golf disc won’t fly straight for the following reasons: you’re brand new and haven’t mastered the disc yet, you’re throwing the wrong discs, you haven’t practiced enough, your technique is bad, you’re trying to throw too hard, and you may be thinking too much while you throw.
Each and every one of those reasons can cause issues with accuracy and your ability to throw straight. So I’m going to define what “straight” is in regards to disc golf and then break down each and every reason why you may not be throwing straight.
Let’s define what straight is in disc golf
In terms of flight, a straight throw can be two different things: a disc that flies perfectly straight or a disc that ends up straight in front of you after it flies and hits the ground. In the first scenario, your disc just flies on a straight line. In the second scenario, your disc may fly some to the right or left and then curve back around to fall straight in front of you. Both are fine. But you’re probably asking your original question of “why can’t I throw my disc golf disc straight?” because you want to be able to actually throw the disc on a straight line from point A to point B.
But straight is relative in disc golf. Because disc golf courses twist and turn through the landscape. Discs like to do the same. So whether or not you can throw your disc straight just depends on a lot of the factors we will talk about in the sections following this one.
We all want to throw the disc straight. But the fact of the matter is that most discs do not fly perfectly straight, on a line, down the middle of the fairway. You can get a few discs to do that once you perfect your game and get better at disc golf. Take a look at the following section to find out why you may not be able to throw straight and accurate. Take the steps to improve yourself in the following 7 areas so that your game will improve and you can tackle straight flight like a boss.
Here are 7 reasons why you can’t throw your disc golf disc straight
1. You’re brand new
I first just want to start with comething blunt. You may not like hearing this but I’m here to be honest with you so I can help you. The primary reason why you’re not able to throw a disc straight is because you’re a new player. Let’s just be honest for a minute. You’re brand new and disc golf is hard. Even though it’s just throwing a disc, the entirety of that motion is actually more complex than you might think. We’ll talk more about technique and how to throw a disc better in number 4 on this list.
But because you’re new, you’ll have a lot of trouble at first throwing a disc straight. It’s not just you, though. I mean, every single disc golfer that’s ever played has most likely had trouble throwing a disc straight (unless you came from years of Ultimate Frisbee like Disc Dolf pro and former Ultimate Frisbee pro Brodie Smith). I had a lot of trouble at first with this and still do occasionally if I don’t watch my technique on every throw.
But don’t let that demotivate you. Disc golf simply takes a lot of practice and patience. How much time you put in and how patient you are will determine your level of success months and years down the road. 4 years in this sport (as of the end of 2020) has taught me a lot but I’m still nowhere close to an advanced disc golfer on the course. I would consider myself an expert in knowledge off the course. Put in the work and over time, you’ll improve and your throws will develop nicely.
If you want to read about why patience is important in disc golf, check out my post on that here.
2. You’re throwing the wrong discs
The next reason why you’re not able to throw your discs straight can be because you’re throwing the wrong discs. As a new player, you may not realize how many different discs there are on the market. And even if you do, you may have no idea how to pick the right discs for a beginner. Because there are beginner discs…and intermediate discs…and advanced discs. Chances are, if you can’t get your discs to fly straight, you’re probably throwing those intermediate and advanced discs (i.e. discs that are too hard for you to throw). Those discs are made for better players. You’ll get there.
As a newbie, I highly recommend that you first grab a couple of discs that are meant for beginners. I’ve actually written a post called, “The 7 Best Disc Golf Discs That Fly Straight as an Arrow,” that you can check out.
You can also check out one of my latest posts, “The 3 Best Beginner Disc Golf Discs (Leopard, Buzzz, Judge).” That post has my top 3 recommendations for new disc golfers.
Now after you get a couple of beginner discs, now you can start to learn about how to pick out your own discs. This way you can start to understand which discs are for which skill level and which discs you need to step up into. The best way to learn about how discs work is to learn the disc golf flight ratings system.
The first number is Speed. The second is Glide. The third is Turn. And the fourth is Fade.
This flight ratings system is the series of four numbers located on most disc golf discs (like the disc pictured above). This system tells you exactly how a disc should fly if thrown correctly. You can learn about that in this post: What Do the Numbers on a Disc Golf Disc Mean?
For picking out discs as a beginner, you want discs that are easy to throw. So you’re looking for low speed (1 to 6) and high glide (3 to 7) to start. You also want discs that are understable, or discs that are less stable. The more stable a disc is, the harder it will be to throw as a beginner. The third and fourth numbers determine how stable a disc is. You want more turn (-1 to -4) and as little fade as possible (0 to 1 but preferably 0).
For another great resource on beginner discs, check out the post below ⬇️:
3. You haven’t practiced enough
The third reason you can’t throw your discs straight is because you simply haven’t practiced enough. This is somewhat in line with #1 because I mentioned having to put in the work to see results on the course. With that being said, you need to start practicing your driving and actually throwing straight. Eventually, your throws will straighten out.
But it does suck to practice. I mean, I get it. We would all rather just be good at something. But practice is SO important in disc golf because there are so many different parts to your disc golf game. You have to practice driving, approaching, putting and other small parts of the game like learning different shots and putting.
Even though practice may be boring sometimes, I believe in daily practice. Driving practice/field work is what will help you improve your accuracy and your consistency with straight flight over time.
For a great resource on practicing with field work, check out my post, “The Ultimate Guide to Disc Golf Field Work: 7 Tips to Use Today!”
4. Your technique is bad
Next up is your technique. Yep, this can be a huge reason why your discs won’t fly straight for you. Why? Because there are a lot of different parts to perfect within your throwing motion. It seems simple, though, at first. I mean, you’re just throwing a disc, right? Wrong. Throwing a disc golf disc correctly takes good technique and a lot of practice. But practice is worthless without good technique. That’s why you have to learn it correctly. So here are the 7 steps you need to know for the best technique and a perfect throw⬇️:
- Step 1 – Grip: loose grip or grip lock can absolutely kill your shots. Find a balance between too loose and too tight when throwing. Too loose and you’ll release too early. Too tight and you’ll end up like Richard in the video below ⬇️.
- Step 2 – X-Step: an extremely important part of the throwing process. The “X-Step” is a series of 3 steps that you take before you throw your disc. For a RHBH thrower – start out by stepping with your lead foot (same side as the arm you throw with – right-handed throw = first step with right foot). Your next step will be the opposite foot crossing behind your lead leg for the second step. Then the 3rd step will be the big final 3rd step out as you throw. Check out Danny Lindahl’s X-Step video below ⬇️ to help you out with this.
- Step 3 – Good hip rotation and reach back: good hip rotation is essential to get the proper reach back. The more you rotate, the more momentum you can get from the reach back.
- Step 4 – 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.
- Step 5 – Lead with the elbow: As you come out of you reach back, you will start your throwing motion. From here, what you do is crucial to how your throw will come out. When coming around for the throw, you will want to lead the throw with your elbow out. The next motion needs to be more of a straight line through the throw and less of a circular motion. You want the leading elbow to push through the throw. You also want to keep the disc close to your chest. This allows for maximum control and velocity of the disc. You will be able to get a “whipping” motion on the disc.
- Step 6 – Big, strong final step: this is step 6 of a good technique but is actually the final part of the X-Step.
- Step 7 – The follow-through: after you throw you want to let your body continue through the motion and allow yourself to follow naturally through the throw.
For more, check out my post, “7 Steps to the Best Disc Golf Technique and a Perfect Throw.”
5. You’re trying to throw too hard
One huge problem that new disc golfers always have is trying to throw a disc WAY too hard. I was for sure guilty of this when I first started. The reasoning behind this is that you want to try to throw a disc as hard and far as possible. It kind of makes sense at first but it’s not correct. I continued to do this until I physically injured my rotator cuff during a round. Yep, there went 6 months of disc golf while I tried to heal a partially torn rotator cuff. When I finally healed up, I learned how to throw correctly for two reasons:
- Injuries: I wanted to prevent hurting myself from getting injured and I wanted to stay healthy.
- Throwing as hard as you can doesn’t work: it doesn’t help you gain more distance on the course or help you throw your disc straight. It’s just unnecessarily trying to throw hard to try and throw far. But that’s not how you throw far.
Here’s the trick ➡️ in order to gain more distance on your throws, you need to practice slower, smoother, more controlled throws. Slow it down and remember that slow is smooth and smooth is far. Over time, you will perfect your technique and build up your distance and ability to throw a perfectly straight shot.
6. You’re thinking too much
The sixth reason you’re struggling to throw your discs straight is because you may be thinking too much while you throw.
Here are a couple of common thoughts that I had when I was new to disc golf. The following always caused me to have issues with my throws ⬇️:
• “What if I mess this shot up?”
• “Man, these guys are watching me and I’ve got to throw this well.”
• “Wow, this is a really intimidating shot.”
• “Technique. Think about technique. Do step 1, 2, 3, etc.”
And there are 100 more thoughts just like that and I’m sure you’ve had a few. Yes, you need to throw well for good scores and you need to use good technique. But sometimes you need to just get out and throw. Try to keep the best form possible and just throw your discs/play your round.
Sometimes, even if you’ve learned everything technical, you just need to get out and throw. Too much technical knowledge can really stifle your ability to practice and play better. The best way that I know how to do this is with solo disc rounds. Use one disc to play with.
7. You haven’t tried these accuracy drills
The seventh and final reason why you still may be having trouble throwing straight is because you haven’t tried any of the following three accuracy drills. Check them out and you’re ability to throw straight will improve.
Drill #1 – “Field Goals/Laces Out Drill”
In this drill, you should strive to make all of your field goals. For those who don’t know, a field goal is simply a set of upright posts on a football field. Normally, a kicker will try to kick a football through them. For you, though, they will be used to develop both accuracy and distance. For this drill, only use putters and mid-range discs. Drivers can be thrown too far for the field you will be on.
Grab your discs and start on the 50 yard line (60 yards or 180 feet away from the field goal). The goal is to throw your discs from the middle of the field through the field goal posts. Once you can consistently do this, move back 10 yards to the other side’s 40 yard line (210 feet away). Continue moving back until you are on the complete opposite field goal post. This post is roughly about 360 feet from the post on the other end of the field. If you get good at nailing these throws, your game will improve tremendously.
You can check out the drill by Shoot Lowe in the video below.
Drill #2 – “Don’t Hit the Marker!” or “Wormburners Drill”
This is a really great drill to work on your accuracy if you’re somewhat new to disc golf. Shoot Lowe explains it very well in the video below.
Take a marker cone or target and set it out on the flat ground about 30 to 50 feet in front of you. The name of the drill spells out what you’re trying not do – hit the marker. Aim and throw your disc with some force at the marker. Try to get as close to the marker as you can without hitting it. The goal is to be able to get all of your throws really close without touching the marker, thus continually improving your accuracy. For newer players, this will help you learn how to reach back and throw a straight shot. Not something that will fly straight up into the sky (like what happens with most brand new players).
Drill #3 – “Net Drill” or “Target Practice Drill”
The net drill requires some creativity. You’re going to need a net and a hula hoop. You need to be able to hang the net up so that you can throw discs at it. But you also need to hang up the hula hoop right in the middle of the net. You can also grab some duct tape and do this or use some bungie cords.
Once you do this, grab some drivers and mid-range discs to throw. The goal is to work on your accuracy by continuing to try and throw the disc through the hula hoop. This drill will help with your accuracy, form, and consistency.
Grab the net I bought here on Amazon.
So all in all
Throwing a disc straight is really hard. You already know that but I just want to say it again. Because it’s not just you. Every new player has trouble with this. So be patient, find the right discs, and put in the work to practice and get better. If you do all that, not only will your throws improve but your scores will, too!
Check out the book
Before you go, check out my book, “The Disc Golf Player’s Manual.” It is the best beginner disc golf book on the planet. If you’re new to the game, I highly recommend that you grab a copy of this book and learn everything you can so that you can improve your disc golf game tenfold.