Disc Golf for Beginners
Disc golf, commonly called Frisbee golf, is a fun way to spend time outdoors with family or friends. It is challenging as well as rewarding.
This series will discuss different aspects of disc golf. This article covers disc selection, equipment, and practicing.
Which Discs to Use
There are many brands of discs available. Within those brands there are many models for every purpose.
There is one thing that is important to point out about discs – many, many, discs have been lost, and then returned to their owners because the owner took the time to write a phone number on the back of the disc. When you get a new disc, write your name on it in permanent marker. If you change phone numbers often (cell phones) you may want to put a friend’s phone number that will likely stay the same for a long time.
Let’s look at the three basics purposes of disc golf.
Just like in regular golf, your first drive from the tee pad will be the longest throw for that hole. On longer holes you can to throw as hard as you can, and you still won’t reach the basket. For holes like this you’ll throw a disc called a ‘driver’.
The profile of a ‘driver’ disc is low, with a sharper edge to cut through the air. As you gain experience and strength you’ll want to look into different types of drivers to suit your style of throw. As a beginner you don’t need to be as picky.
Your biggest concern as a beginner is the weight of the disc. Look for a lighter disc, around 160 grams, to start. Beginner sets usually have three discs, one of which is a driver. It’s a good way to go. Lighter discs don’t require as much strength to throw, and will help you build your confidence and help as you learn your style. If you’re a strong thrower or you have some experience, you could get a little heavier disc, around 170 grams.
Mid-range discs are comparable to your #’s 3-7 iron clubs in regular golf. They have a slightly higher profile than drivers and you don’t usually get the distance that the drivers have. You could use them to drive from the tee pad on a shorter hole, or as a second shot on a longer hole. Typically beginners lack the strength to reach the basket, even on short hole, so you may end up using your driver for a couple throws on a long hole. Learning how far you can throw will be covered later.
The weight of the mid-range is still something that you should consider. Look for a light disc for the mid-range, too. 160-165 grams is a good beginner weight. Just like the drivers, when you increase your strength and skill you can move to a heavier disc, which will give you a longer flight. Mid-range discs are also included in a beginner disc set.
The putter or approach disc is one you will use for short shots. The profile of the putter is taller than the driver or midrange, and the edge it more rounded. Accuracy is the key in the design of the putter. Also, the putter is slightly softer, allowing it to grab on the chains better. A typical disc set will include a putter.
The weight of the putter still affects it’s flight, but not to the extent that the driver or the midrange does. You’ll be fine starting with a heavier putter (around 170 grams). It’s something you’ll likely stick with no matter how good you get. You may want to add a lighter putter to your arsenal as you improve, just for variety, but you’ll still have the heavier one, too.
Many games of golf have been played without a putter. Many games have been played using only one disc for everything! If you can only afford one disc, or if you don’t want to invest too much until you’re sure you like the sport, just get a nice, light driver and use that for everything.
You don’t really need any extra equipment to play disc golf. If you find that you like the sport and want to get serious about it, you could look in to getting a disc golf bag. They hold discs--from a few to a couple dozen, as well as snacks or drinks, and a score card.
If you get very serious about playing, you’ll definitely want to pick up a bag. At that point you’ll start experimenting with different brands, models, and weights. You’ll find discs that you prefer in different situations (which we’ll discuss). Slowly you’ll start to accumulate a variety of discs, and it’s nice to have some way to carry them around.
Until you reach that point, however, you can just carry them around in your hands, or bring a school backpack. The backpack method allows you to bring some sunscreen, bug spray, food, water, scorecards, etc.
Practice your throw
When you first get your disc(s) it’s a good idea to try them out in an open area. A vacant football field works well because you can figure out how far you’re throwing each disc. Then when you get to a course you’ll know which disc to use. As mentioned above, you’ll likely be using your driver for every hole, but it’s good to see what kind of distance you’re getting.
It’s also a good time to practice different throwing techniques. The techniques will be covered in the next article. By practicing these techniques you’ll have a better idea what the disc is going to do on the real course. It will also build your confidence.
It takes time to become really good at disc golf. If you’re going to get serious about it, or take it up on a regular basis, you’re going to want to spend time practicing the various techniques. Get a bunch of used disc online, and throw, throw, throw, throw, throw. It’s no different from heading to the driving range for regular golf.