For me, disc golf started as a relaxing afternoon activity with a couple of friends. But when I wanted to step up my game and gain some skills I decided to do a little more research and start learning ways to improve. While I still don’t consider myself an expert (and probably never will), using some of the tips listed, along with other articles you’ll find here on DiscGolfDash.com, I’ve been able to not only improve, but make the entire experience more enjoyable. My goal is to help you get better at disc golf and enjoy your next outing.
The info below will help you go from beginner to intermediate player quickly, and with time, can even help you get to an advanced level. I have been researching and trying these tips myself only to see improvement. While some may be obvious, they are great reminders on how little tweaks can make a huge impact.
So, if you’re ready to know how to improve your disc golf game, read on…
1. Consolidate Your Bag
The first way to become a better golfer is by decluttering your bag. You need to take a look at the number of discs you’re carrying and scale it down to only the ones you need. 15+ is way too many, while 10-12 should be the perfect amount for an advanced golfer. You may carry a few duplicates in order to have multiple tee shots, putters etcetera (for instance you could end up carrying 3-4 of the same Latitude 64 Retro Burst River driver).
Advanced disc golfers recognize that having too many discs doesn’t help progress. Having one or two versatile discs is all you need to amp your game to the next level. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try a lot of different discs, to figure out which are the most comfortable. But once you have a few “go-to’s” the easier it will be to focus on mastering those in your arsenal. Follow the steps bellow to lighten your load and get focused?
First, review your inventory and really look at which discs you use most often. If you have 15 to 20 discs, that’s way too many. You need to cut the number down to no more than 10-12 discs. Remove the discs you rarely use or think you “might use” on the course. When in doubt, pick 3 and eliminate 2…leaving you that 1 “new” or “maybe” disc. Also, consider the fact that you can always throw a few extras in the car for trying at the end of the session.
Next, look for your favorite or “go-to” discs. Focus on getting better with these before adding more to your bag. You want to learn the intricacies of the disc so that you have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t when trying new discs. This step may only decrease your quiver by a couple of discs, but progress is being made, we’re getting there.
Filter by disc type. Beginners typically like a more unstable disc whereas advanced players want something in the stable range. Whichever side you lean towards, consolidated the disc golf bag to accommodate that choice and focus on using those. I have even heard of disc golfers having two bags, one with unstable set of discs and the other with stable. Obviously there is a place for both types and you will probably use some of each. But for practice purposes, getting better, and focused training, try using only one type.
Lastly, equip your bag like a professional. Stock it in such a way that each disc is optimized with regard to specific needs on the course. Advanced disc golfers start to realize that each course has unique qualities, professional players know this and insure they have the disc in their bag for a specific purpose. They make it a point to plan out their bag to avoid any overlap with different sets of discs.
Also, check out this video from Dynamic Discs:
2. Play with only 3 discs
This is my favorite way to play, simple and fast. Taking only what is essential to the course can have a lot of benefits for your disc golf game. Grab one driver, mid-range, and putter each, out of your now organized bag, and see the steps below for how this can improve your skills:
- First, carrying less gear means more practice time. Not every outing is about practice and efficiency, sure, we play for fun and relaxation too, but when trying to improve repetition is key. Advanced players will be able to get in multiple rounds by reducing their load. Lugging around a heavy bag will slow you down and sap your energy. You’ll spend time searching for the perfect disc, talking shop with your partner as to why you chose that one over this one, and ultimately losing precious time honing your craft. Eliminating your options reduces the indecisiveness and allows for a more focused approach.
- Speaking of focus, the second reason is for focusing on only these 3 discs. Using a limited set will help you gain more insight into the discs nuances. Further, having a specific disc for the drive, mid and putt, will let you hone those use cases and improve each portion of the game. This will not only improve your trust in those discs, but will help with tip #1, see above, and consolidate your bag. Take a different set out each round and see which you like the best.
- The final reason is more about strategy. With only 3 discs you’re forced to think through the course in its entirety and strategically decide which discs can give you a good round. In turn, this allows you to eliminate the excuses and over think, “should I have used that other disc”. Without a specific disc for every single shot a little improvisation comes into play, and this creative action can be a big game changer in your abilities.
3. Focused practice
While practicing a lot may be the ultimate tip for improving, let’s stay focused (pun +1) on the theme of simplification and consolidation. You can go out everyday and throw a round of golf to your heart’s content. While this will show improvements over time, eventually the dreaded plateau is hit, and frustration seeps in. To avoid plateauing, consider diggin into each aspect of the game.
Pro players spend their time not only moving hole to hole, but focus on each aspect of the game. They may spend one day working only on their approach, and then the next on their short game.
“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.”
Having a plan to focus on one facet of the game has greatly improved my confidence in that skill. Try going out with a plan to focus on one of these main skills instead of playing the entire course. This also goes back to the above tip of taking only 3 discs, except this time, take the 3 discs only associated with the skill you’ll be working on…this way there is no temptation or distractions, and once again you will be able to consolidate your bag down to your favorite disc for that skill. Here are a few skills to focus on during your practice:
Driving: perhaps the most fun, and arguably the most important part of your game is the long shot, known as driving. This will be the skill that everyone puts a lot of time into because who doesn’t want to flick and let it fly. In truth though, no aspect of our game is more important than the other, but this is the skill most people think of first.
You do long shots a lot in this game. On an 18 hole course you’re at a minimum going to drive the disc 18 times, making it crucial to practice with intention and focus. Go out to your local course or open field and practice with a goal in mind. I like to set up a make shift target at the park and see if my accuracy is improving. This simple act can be a quick after work activity coupled with a bit of cardio training…all without the pressure to compete and hit the basket.
Approaching: the approach or upshot is key to practicing because you more than likely aren’t going to hit a hole in one every time. Most advanced players think of the approach shot as pushing the disc with the opposite hand as opposed to flicking or a full stretch drive shot.
I like to associate the approach shot with the word “control”, whereas the drive shot would be “power” and putt shot “finesse”. This shot will determine where you putt from so some would argue it has a bigger impact on the hole than the drive shot. Take a popup basket, such as the The Hive to an open field and practice moving around the basket while taking pulls.
For more drills and details on the approach shot, take a look at this video from Latitude 64:
Putting: finish strong is a mantra for most competitors. In disc golf it’s where you “putt up, or shut-up”, okay bad joke. But seriously, this is the shot that truly defines an advanced disc golfer from beginner. There is more room for error in the other shot types as you can still make up for it. But here, on the green, in what should be your final shot, missing “leads to frustration, frustration leads to anger, and anger leads to the dark side” – Yoda (sort of).
The great thing about putting practice is that it can be done in the backyard or just about anywhere with a bit of space (take it outside kids, your mom will appreciate it). Some pro’s like to shoot for a goal of a certain number of putts per week. But in the spirit of keeping this fun, because that is the best way to learn, I like to come up with various games. These can range from simple how many putts can I do in a minute (ok, maybe not the best for improvement), to trick shots. The key with any of these drills is to think of putting as a finesse shot, guiding the disc from hand to basket without forcing it.
Focusing on these three facets of the game will help you improve quickly and give you motivation for continual practice. It will also let you relax a bit and not worry about taking all of your discs to the course and putting in a full 9-18 hole round. Just go out to an open field, or even your backyard and try working on each skill methodically and with intention.
Once you have some time, and are seeing the benefits of focused practice, consider looking up some different methods of throwing the disc. We have some great resource for each type below:
4. Get some gear
Ok, maybe less of a tip and more of a suggestion…or maybe just a blatant promotion of great gear that we have found to be useful and effective. Either way, the point being that when I started out, I really didn’t know there was much more to this sport than just a disc and a course at the park. While in fact, there are some great tools you can purchase for the home front that will greatly enhance your abilities. Below is a quick list of a few items that come to mind, but check out our other articles for gear reviews.
Practice basket: no matter your location you can pop-up a basket and practice taking aim. Having a basket at home only increases your chances of practice time and will definitely help with the putting game.
Sport Net: a little less expensive than a practice basket is a sport net. This piece of equipment will allow you to hang up in the yard, garage, or wherever necessary and give a wide berth to practice various throws without much worry. I like to use mine for creating different targets with colored tape and make more of a game out of it. This is a really great piece of gear that can also be used for other sports that may be going on in your household.
Grab yourself the practice net I bought here on Amazon!
Update: I recently purchased one of these nets as it is self standing and not that expensive: GoSport Golf Practice Net. Full review coming soon.
5. Physical and Mental Training
For me, disc golf is a passion I use to unwind. But it’s also a great excuse to get outside and stay active. I have always found the idea of working out, purely for the purpose of working out, to be boring. Having a reason, such as challenging one of my friends to a game, and knowing that I can perform well makes it all worth it.
If you want to improve your game a bit more, consider doing a little physical workout on the side. This will not only improve your performance on the course but should give you a mental boost as well. Below are some ways you can train for a better game.
Strength training: lifting weights can help your body handle sporting activity. Building strength will allow you to throw further, and make you generally fitter. I advocate for this as a way to improve your overall fitness and strength. While lifting weights will not only help you improve your disc golf game, studies have shown it has a great positive affect on mental health as well.
Playing disc golf can work a number of muscle groups. One important thing you can do to get stronger is focus on acceleration in coordinated movements . To help with that, try working out specifically for disc golf.
Pro Pull Disc Golf Trainer:
For something a little more specific to Disc Golfing check out the Pro Pull trainer system. Hoping to pick one of these units up soon. The reviews on it make it seem like a game changer. Up here in the mountains we don’t always have the most consistent weather. Having something like this I can use whenever mother nature doesn’t cooperate will make me fell like I am being proactive.
Fitness cardio: If you want to get stronger, not only is it necessary to lift weights, but you also need to do some cardio a few times per week. In order to be healthy, cardio will help with your heart rate and increase your cardiovascular fitness. It can include anything from running or cycling to other forms of movement with the goal being raising the rate of one’s heart.I often compete in quick rounds of golf where I just jog through the course while I swing. Jog to the disc. If you get tired after only half a round, this can and will affect your play for the rest of that round. So get your cardio in check.
Abs: abs are very important because they form the middle of your body. If you have a strong core, it can help maintain a healthy balance in your life.The core is important because it helps you stay balanced and can help it with power during your throws. Check out my disc golf abs workout below
Stretching: it’s tough to even explain how important stretching is. It not just helps your body get stronger, but can also help with recovery after long rounds or workouts. It can even promote a healthy mindset by helping to ease stress.Stretching is awesome.
Nutrition: When it comes to nutrition for disc golf activities, I would say there are two aspects to focus on. First, the food…be sure to include nutrient dense foods such as fruit to get a boost of high quality carb intake before playing. Now, I am no nutritionist, but this should give you some long lasting energy throughout the game and insure you don’t boink. I always take a bar of some sort with me in case I need a boost during the game. After any activity (even a 9 hole course), I like to drink a protein shake to quickly refuel my body. Which leads me to the second aspect of nutrition for disc golf…
Hydration…Drinking enough and the right fluids will make a huge difference in both your game and life overall. Be sure to get plenty of water the night before playing and obviously during the game. Don’t get me wrong, I have been known to enjoy an adult beverage or two after a game (ok, maybe during as well, at the local course). But, I follow a 1 for 1 rule…for every beer, I drink one water.
Sleep: can by far have the biggest impact on your performance over anything else. This is the time your body resets and helps with recovery. Don’t sleep on sleep, the negative effects will sneak up on you like a bad nightmare (ok, enough of the sleeping puns). If you haven’t checked out an Oura ring yet I highly recommend it. Mine helps give me an idea of how well I slept and provides a readiness score. It’s uncanny how well the better scores relate to my performance. The other product I have found recently to improve my sleep is a silk pillowcase. I got one for my wife over Christmas and eventually had to have one too. It stays cool at night (a big problem for me) and supposedly helps with your skin/hair and such. Check it out here…Silk Pillowcase
There you go…
All 5 tips on how to improve your disc golf game are things you can do today to get better! No matter what level your game is at, everyone can try these tips out and improve your game a few notches. If you’re looking to enhance your game and become a better disc golfer or competitive player, take these tips and start practicing. Practicing is crucial if you want to get better. Keep learning and don’t give up – the rewards are there. Thanks for reading, disc golfers!