There is nothing like going up to a tee, in front of your buddies, and sailing your disc all the way to the hole on your first shot. There is also nothing more humiliating than having your first shot only travel 100 feet, hit a tree or travel way off the course.
How do you go from retrieving discs in a pond to nearly sinking the disc in on your first try? Let us help you out with some vital disc golf driving tips.
1. Think about your next shot
Although we all would like to rip the disc for hundreds and hundreds of yards each time we hit the tee, sometimes the shorter shot is better than throwing the disc as far as you can.
Giving yourself the best opportunity to make the second shot is what you should be primarily concerned with. You should also consider how your disc will land, and how it may roll or bounce due to uneven grounds. This article does a good job of arguing why sometimes the shorter shot is best.
2. Drive further
We aren't naive. We know some of you came here to read this so you can out throw your buddies. And we understand.
There are many components to creating a further drive distance, but some key things to focus on are the following: Run-up, grip and balance. Watch this video with 11-year pro Marty Peters, who claims that just by watching the video, you can increase your drive by 50-75 feet.
3. Run or walk
There is a great debate between whether disc golf players should utilize a walk-up or a run-up technique. Honestly, it comes to personal preference. The 3 step run-up, also known as the X-step, has pros and cons.
This technique can help build momentum, power and speed, allowing your disc to sail further. However, when first trying this technique out, you may notice a sacrifice in accuracy. It takes lots of practice to develop the correct timing and balance to create an accurate throw with this form. The walk-up technique allows you to remain accurate, while it may not travel as far as those who utilize a run-up correctly.
Here's a video showing the X step and how it helps your driving distance:
4. Loosey Goosey
While trying to incorporate all these different moving parts into your drive, you may find yourself tensing up due to information overload. The goal is to practice all of these little things so much, that they all become second-nature to you.
Once that is achieved, you need to breathe and relax. Tense muscles and a tense throw will affect the distance on the drive. Loose and relaxed throws are much more beneficial.
5. Grip and Rip
The way you are holding the disc has a huge impact on what kind of production you will see on each shot. The best grip for driving a disc is referred to as the "power grip." This grip requires the placement of your four fingers (pointer, middle, ring and pinky) on the inside of the brim under the disc.
Your thumb then will rest on top of the disc, allowing you to rip the disc easier using the brim. You should not grip the disc too tight, and just like your muscles, the grip should be relaxed.
Here is a much more detailed look at grips if you are interested.
6. Flat as a pancake
We can have a perfect run-up, a great grip and are loose, but all of this energy can be wasted if we do not throw the disc at the correct angle.
For beginners who have not thrown a disc much and want to throw it as far as their buddies, they will often launch the disc into the air, letting the wind take it away. Before you can heave the disc tremendously far, make sure you are keeping the disc parallel to the ground.
This allows your disc to utilize all of the force, momentum and energy you put into the throw, and won't be wasted by it being taken away in a breeze.
7. Quality over quantity
In order to make the whole machine work, you better be driving in the right car (or throwing the right disc, in this case). Getting a high-quality driver is instrumental to your success.
The Innova "Destroyer" was the no. 1 sold driver in 2016, and here is the list of the rest of the best-sellers. Buying one of these drivers will set you up to be successful.
8. Need for speed
Those numbers on your disc are not some secret code, and you should pay close attention to them. The four categories of numbers you should pay attention when buying a driver are these: Speed, glide, turn and fade.
One of the most important is speed.
Rated on a 1 to 14 scale, the higher the rating of the speed, the more power required in order for it to be utilized correctly. So, if you are just starting out disc golf, try to steer away from higher rated speeds. Look at this article for more information on the other ratings.
9. Prepare for wind
One obstacle that can really alter a day of disc golf is the wind factor. Although sometimes you can avoid it by simply waiting in between breezes, there are certain days that it seems like it won't relent. For those days, try using a heavier disc and aim low on your drives. This will make you less vulnerable to the wind after you have let go of your drive.
Take a look at this article for more details on how to throw in various types of winds from different directions.
10. Treacherous obstacles
That was the sound of your perfectly driven disk colliding into the unforgiving trunk of a tree.
As we perfect our drives step by step, we must be careful to not let all of our practice go to waste by colliding into different course obstacles. If a drive is enclosed by the wilderness, be cautious and ease up on the power, so that your disk can move further up the course, and not bounce 20 feet in front of you.
Reading these disc golf driving tips will not make you a better driver; You have to go out there and make it happen yourself. Being comfortable with your throw is step one to become a better driver. Once you can establish what fits you best, then you can move onto more advanced steps and other skills like putting. Patience is vital, and practice is a must!