Disc golf can be a recreational activity, a highly competitive sport...or just about anything in between. Regardless of your goals, you will want to become familiar with some basic concepts, and strive to keep learning and improving. "NoobSkool" is designed to introduce you to these basic concepts. It is NOT designed to be an in-depth resource on the subjects covered. The videos contained here are "free domain" videos that I have simply organized in one place for your convenience.
The disc selection and terminology sections are good places to start. From there you can go through the topics in no particular order. Each section, including the videos, is designed to be a brief introduction. In-depth tutorials are beyond our scope here, and are available elsewhere.
You will be graduating before you know it, and will no longer need to hang out here. Like most anything else, most of your improvement will come from practice. So in the future......if you encounter a struggling beginner....or someone interested in disc golf who hasn't even started yet....direct them here...to NoobSkool!
If you have suggestions or feedback.....pls let me know.....I would love to hear from you.
Yes! You can easily build a quality 9 hole course for less than $200. No disc golf course in your area? Just want a course to practice on or play at your convenience? Read on..........
You will need 3 baskets: There are many types available of various quality, portability and price . One good option is advertised at the bottom left of the homepage. .It is sturdy, light- weight, regulation size, has double chains(important), has good visibility (orange pole with a flag), and can quickly be partially disassembled. It is a great basket for the price.
You will need tee markers: You will need 3 of one color, and 3 more of a different color. You could use orange cones for one set.....and some large cans painted black for the other. The possibilities are endless.....you can probably find something laying around that costs you nothing at all.
You need some land: Yes, you need to already have some land available on which to design your course....but not nearly as much as you might think. If you have enough space to place 3 baskets far enough away from each other to have a legit "par 3" hole, you are good to go.( There are par 3 holes 200 ft. or less on many public courses). You can also use a park or other public land....but will probably want to get a folding model basket for added portability if you go this route,rather than the model referenced earlier...which is more "semi" portable.
Layout suggestion: Have the baskets form a sort of triange. You will designate your baskets as A,B,and C. Start off with your orange tees and do the following:
*Place orange tee#1 where desired...and throw to basket A.
* Somewhere near basket A place orange tee#2 and throw to basket B.
*Near basket B,place orange tee#3,and play to basket C..
Then......play the course backwards in the following manner:
* Using basket C itself as tee#4,play back to basket B.
*Using basket B itself as tee#5,play back to basket A.
Now ....start all over from square one...playing the course again. But this time you will not be using the orange tees....you will be using your black tees , which of course,will be placed at a different location (and preferably distance) than your orange tees.
*Using black tee#6, play to basket A.
*Using black tee#7 play to basket B.
*Using black tee #8,play to basket C.
*Using basket C itself as tee marker #9....play to basket A.
There you have it! Nine different holes. For an added touch,you might consider using number and letter decals to mark your baskets and tee markers.
There are topics we haven't touched on ....such as various niche throws and grips used for special situations. Straddle putts,thumbers,rollers, tomahawks...there are many that are beyond the scope of this Basic Tutorial. One throwing technique that you should consider becoming proficient with after mastering the basics....is the forehand throw. (Some players throw primarily forehand). The flight pattern of the disc is the opposite of a backhand throw...the disc will normally fade to the right, not the left.....at the end of the fight pattern for instance(assuming RHFH). This can be advantageous in certain situations and adds to your arsenal. In the brief video link below ..the throw is higher than is normally desired....but still will give you a good idea of the grip,footwork, and overall technique for this throw.
A link to a good disc golf glossary is provided below. Some of the terms and concepts you will want to familiarize yourself with fairly quickly include: hyzer, anhyzer(anny), hyzer-flip,turn, turn-over,fade,stable, overstable,understable, fade,falling-putt, &, RHBH,LHBH,RHFH,LHFH.
You will also want to familiarize yourself with the terminology used to describe the flight-rating of a disc. The most common system used to describe the flight rating of a disc involves the use of four numbers. Some disc companies...including Innova (the largest) will often stamp these four numbers directly on the disc. For companies that don't use this system.....or don't stamp the numbers on the disc.....these numbers can often be found on the websites of the disc companies...or websites of various online retailers for golf discs.
For example, a disc might have the following flight rating numbers: 8/4/-1/2. The 8 stands for the speed of the disc. (speed 6 and above is considered a driver....1-3 a putter....4-5 a mid-range) The 4 indicates the degree of glide of the disc...its tendency to stay in the air.(higher numbers=more glide) The -1 indicates the degree of turn the disc has...its tendency to go right for a RHBH player( an understable disc will have more turn than an overstable disc). A -2 indicates more turn than a -1, etc. Finally, the 2 indicates the degree of fade the disc has at the end of its flight path.....for a RHBH player the disc will fade left.....(higher number=more fade).
For example: A disc rated 9/5/0/3...is an overstable driver.
A disc rated 5/4/-3/1 is an understable mid-range disc.
The wind changes everything:( The wind can affect the flight pattern of any disc you happen to be throwing....and learning to effectively adjust for this will be one of your biggest challenges in disc golf.
Headwinds: Throwing into a headwind will make the flight pattern of your disc more understable. As mentioned elsewhere..this means for a right hand backhand (RHBH) throw..the disc will tend to go more to the right. You might also remember that an understable disc will tend to go to the right even without wind. Therefore.......do not throw an understable disc into a headwind! The result will likely be your disc turning severly to the right( again,assuming RHBH throw). The best strategy is generally to throw an overstable disc in this situation.....it will tend to be less overtable in a headwind than it normally would be...ie the headwind will tend to straighten its flight out. As mentioned elsewhere...overstable discs are not generally recommended for new players...but headwind throwing can be an exception.
Tailwinds: Tailwinds tend to make the flight of your disc more overstable. Obviously then....a disc that is already an overstable disc will fly even more overstable( for a RHBH player it will go left). Therefore...you might consider throwing an understable or neutral disc in this situation...unless the shot calls for you to go hard left on purpose.
Crosswinds: There are differing opinions on how to best play crosswinds. It especially gets tricky when it is not a pure crosswind.....but rather coming from an angle. Generally speaking...try to avoid exposing the flight plate to the crosswind in a manner that causes your disc to be carried in an undesired direction. For example: If there is a right to left crosswind, and you(RHBH player assumed) throw an overstable disc....when the disc begins to fade left(as it is designed to do) ..the crosswind is going to carry it even further left. Plan your strategy accordingly.
You will also hear these called upshots or approach shots. They are obviously longer than a putt, but shorter than a drive. You will generally want to use a mid-range disc....or even a putter depending on the distance you need. You will normally want to throw from a stand-still (no x-step) for this shot.
Release angle: This is probably a good time to discuss release angle. Depending on various factors like trees and other obstacles, "dog-leg" shaped fairways,etc...it is not always desirable to throw a straight shot. For a right handed backhand thrower(RHBH) wanting the disc to turn to the right( called an anhyzer..or "anny")....this can be accomplished by altering the release angle of the disc. The stability of the disc being thrown also factors heavily...this shot will generally be easier to accomplish with an understable disc.
For a hyzer shot...the release angle is opposite. The disc is released at an angle that causes the disc to go left for the RHBH player. A more overstable disc is often used. Click links below for examples of straight, hyzer, and anyhyzer shots.
It has been said that in disc golf, like ball golf...that you "drive for show and putt for dough". Putting is very important and can make a huge impact in your score out on the course! There are various stances and techniques that can be used. As you progress in your game, you will want to become familiar with them all. For our purposes here....we will concentrate on the basics.
Two of the most common techniques you will hear mentioned are the push- putt and the spin-putt. The basic difference is that in the push-putt, the elbow and wrist remain straight...and the disc is launched forward by using the legs/ hips and "reaching" towards the basket as the disc "springs" out of the hand. In the spin-putt....the wrist and elbow are bent(cocked)..and the player spins the disc towards the basket. This is an over-simplification..but you get the idea.
Bottom line: Don't get caught up in the semantics and finer details at this point. The fact is many players, even some professionals...in actuality use a sort of hybrid technique that they have tweeked to their liking. With time and practice you will settle on a style that suits you. For starters...see the short video demonstrating a basic putt.
Virtually all experienced disc golfers use what is called the x-step. This allows the player to throw the disc with the entire body, rather than just the arm. Different players have their own nuances and tweeks..but the basics remain the same. Some players do just the x-step, others add 1 or more steps before the x-step. Also...as you will see in the video links provided...some players face forward before beginning the step....some are sideways.
Common mistakes: One common mistake is holding the disc out too far away from the body. Keep your arm fairly close to your trunk as you throw. Another mistake is rotating only the shoulders during the x-step..rather than rotating the hips,shoulders,and entire trunk as one unit.
In the links below,notice the male player starts out facing forward, and takes steps before the x-step. The female starts out facing sideways, and only does the x-step.
There are various grips that are commonly used. This is largely a matter of personal preference. One common method is to use a "power" grip for drives....and a "fan" grip for mid-range shots and putts. Some prefer the "fork" grip....similar to the "Climo" grip shown in the video ..... and use it for all shots......possibly tweaking it by fanning the fingers somewhat for mid-range shots and putts. See both the link above and video below......stick with what works for you!
There are discs for all situations. Drivers, putters, and mid-range discs are available in various plastic grades....the higher the grade, the greater the durability. These discs are also classified according to stability. For instance....for a right handed player who throws the disc backhand (RHBH).....an overstable disc will fade to the left. An understable disc is designed to turn to the right. A neutral disc is designed to fly with minimal turn or fade....it should fly relatively straight. To complicate matters....you will often hear a player refer to a disc as "stable" . This means different things to different people. To some(including the disc golf glossaries I have seen) it means neutral. Others will insist it means overstable. As a disc is used more (beat in) it becomes more understable..... this process happens more quickly with cheaper plastic grades.
FOR NEW PLAYERS(ASSUMING RHBH) THE DISC OFTEN TENDS TO FLY "HARD LEFT" UPON RELEASE.
Therefore, overstable discs are not often recommended for new players. Understabe discs actually tend to fly straighter for the new player who has not yet developed power.....wheras an understable disc would "turn".. (go right) for a player with power. As the new players throwing power increases, more overstable discs can be used when needed.. Experienced players will often use overstable discs because of their predictable flight patterns. When thrown with optimal power,even these discs can sometimes be made to turn...then fade later....resulting in a long "s-shaped" flight pattern.These discs also perform better in headwinds. .....which is discussed in another section.
Bottom line: The new player can start with just a few discs...or even just one. Some quality "starter packs" are available that have a putter,mid-range disc,and driver, in a suitable stability for newer players. If you prefer to start with just one disc....here are some decent choices:
Innova: Mako 3(mid-range)
Discraft: BuzzSS or Buzz(mid-ranges)
MVP:Axis or Tanget(mid-ranges)
Lttitude 64: Pure(technically a putter,but used as a multi-purpose disc by many)
If you want to try a driver.....The Innova "Leopard" or Lattitude 64 "River" are solid choices as good first drivers. As you can imagine,opinions will vary on which discs are best for new players.....but most will generally agree to not start with discs that are heavily "overstable".
Big box sporting goods stores often carry discs(often only Innova brand). Other brands can be found at retailers(including online) that specialize in disc golf...."Play It Again Sports" often has an extensive section of both used and new discs. Many discs are available on Amazon. ( Search function at bottom of homepage ).