5 Things I Wish I Knew Starting Out
Written by club member Grant Stanley at Disc Golf Station
So, a friend introduced you to disc golf. You borrowed his discs at first but now you’ve got one or two of your own. You’re starting to catch the fever but want to know how you can stop sucking as soon as possible. Don’t worry! I’m going to share with you the top 5 things I wish I knew about disc golf before I started playing. Maybe you can scale the learning curve faster than I did!
Throw Understable Discs
This is so important. When I first started playing, I went out and bought the most overstable (Predator, Flick, Force), cool sounding disc out there, especially if it was a cool color or featured a sweet design. Surely, this disc will do great for me…I mean, I saw an advanced player using it and he was awesome, therefore…Ok, you get the picture. The beginning player tends to hyzer their discs far too much. Releasing a max overstable disc at 45 degrees will get you nowhere fast. Well, to be exact it will get you up, down and left really fast. An understable disc will turn more to the right (for Right Hand BackHand Throwers) than an overstable one. If you work on releasing the disc closer and closer to flat or zero degrees you will start seeing the “S” flight pattern which will give you extra distance without extra effort or ability. Here are 5 great understable choices: Discraft Avenger SS, Discraft XL, Discraft Impact, Lightning Slice #1, Lightning Slice #2
Use Lighter Weights
This works hand in hand with using understable discs. Don’t throw a max weight 175g Discraft Predator when you first start playing (unless you are just THAT good). Lighter weights can give you a leg up early on because they are easier to throw. You can achieve the same arm speed with less effort. Later you will probably want to throw heavier discs because many players find them to be more accurate especially in adverse wind conditions. Disc Golf Station has tons of lightweight Lightning Discs.
At first, I thought that throwing a mid-range disc was stupid because….hello…you want to throw far. I used to throw my distance drivers on every throw until I was within 30 feet of the basket. I would throw it 250ft. this way, then that way, then finally get near the basket. You could try this to start. Throw a driver on your first throw, a mid on your second, and a putter on your third, fourth, fifth, or Heaven forbid sixth shot. This is simple but at least gets you thinking in the right direction. An even better strategy is to throw the slowest, most controllable disc for the given shot. That means that SOMETIMES your best option may be to throw a putter off of the tee. More often than you would think, it is appropriate and SMART to throw a mid off the tee because, as you will soon find, you can throw mids farther than you think. A mid-range will not cut left as much as your similarly stable drivers. They also will not “come back” left if you shank it to the right. Generally, with mids you need to throw directly at the basket or one click to the right. Here are some great mids to try: Discraft Buzzz, Discraft Meteor, Discraft Hawk.
Buy a Basket & Practice Putting
Buy a basket (such as the Lightning DB-5) and put it in your backyard. This sounds crazy at first, you’ll think-who does that!? I’ll tell you who, people that are mopping the floor with you because they can actually putt worth a darn. Unless you plan on going up to the course and putting on a basket for 30 minutes a day, you just won’t get better at putting. Compare it to basketball. If you want your kid to get good at the game what’s the first thing you do….buy a goal for your house. But that’s crazy to spend that much money when I can just go to the park everyday and hog the goal for half an hour. Besides, I’ll just work on my free throws during the game. I told myself that first…I’ll work on my putts during rounds of disc golf…that’s not going to cut it! Practice, practice, practice!
Play with Good Players
Find one and be their friend. Seriously! You don’t have to be a goober but it’s ok to ask them what to do or what to throw or “how did you do that!” When you play with an advanced player, pro level or not, you learn different shots, better form, and possibly shot ideas for specific holes. They can also watch what your goofy self is doing wrong and help you get your form under control. Advanced players can also offer you advice on disc selection.
No matter what you do, just keep on playing. Don’t lose hope! Practice as much as possible and play all the time. See ya on the course!