We typically focus on the beginner disc golfer…someone just getting started who would like to get into the sport of throwing discs a bit more. However, how one progresses from beginner to intermediate and then advanced is the ultimate goal for us to achieve. In this article we look at 7 disc golf tips for advanced disc golfers.
With these tips will you become the next Simon Lizotte or Paul Mcbeth? Probably not, but you might see a lower course score average, and should see how a few easy steps can set you on a path to improvement.
1. Increase Your Disc Golf Knowledge
What are you trying to accomplish? Where do you want your game to be in a month or year from now? How can you evolve to be a better player? You might be able to see improvement through constant practice and play, but if “knowing is half the battle”, then perhaps a bit of knowledge is the key to unlocking gains. You’ve come to the right place, discgolfdash.com has plenty of articles to help you improve. Start with some of the topics and related articles below.
Educating yourself will help you not only identify your weaknesses but also help give you insight on how to improve those areas. While I am a big advocate for going back to the basics and practicing the fundamentals, I am always on the lookout for advanced techniques that I can strive to accomplish. Below are a few Disc Golf Topics you should have a basic understanding of, if not be able to explain in detail to a beginner as an advanced player that you are.
- Understable Discs vs Overstable Discs: Read our article on understanding the difference between the two types of discs. Do you know when to use an overstable disc and when to not? If your friend wanted to try disc golf for the first time, which type of disc would you let them borrow? Being able to answer these questions is a clear indicator of someone who is more advanced than a beginner.
- Hyzer, AnHyzer, Overhead Throws: Sure you’re probably familiar with a Hyzer, but do you actively practice your AnHyzer throw? Which overhead is your go-to throw for getting out of a sticky situation, thumber or tomahawk? Also, getting back to the first point, what type of disc is best used for the AnHyzer shot? These types of questions are what set an advanced player apart from the beginner.
- Flight Numbers: One would think that at this point you have a solid understanding of disc flight numbers. But what is Turn again, and how does Fade affect your straight line shots? What speed rating is typical on a putter disc? While this topic may seem obvious, seeing how different people explain flight numbers can sometimes unlock a new way to view it.
- Disc Golf Rules: You might have played the game for a while and in doing so assume you know it all. But the Professional Disc Golf Association continuously updates, tweaks, and adjusts the official rules of the game. It never hurts to brush up on a few of these rules and not get caught with that foot fault violation at your next tournament outing.
The world of disc golf is constantly changing. It’s what keeps the game exciting and the sport growing. While there is an endless list of topics to master, the above four will set apart a beginner to intermediate player…taking you a step closer to being an advanced disc golfer.
2. Understanding A Disc Golf Course
There could be a whole article, youtube channel, or book on reading a course. Understanding how a course flows, and what flight path the designer expects the player to have to make on a certain hole can take your game to the next level. There is a whole science behind course design including metrics such as stroke average, and the fairness of a particular shot.
Play enough courses and you start to see both familiarity and differences in the layout or challenge that lies ahead. Which brings us to a tip within a tip for advanced disc golfers…play more diverse courses.
Try New Challenging Courses
We are creatures of habit, playing the same course over and over. While there is merit to improving your personal record on that home course, it may actually be hurting your overall ability. Getting to see different obstacles, mandos, and basket types will keep you ready for whatever comes next.
Play Pro Level Courses
Ok, maybe don’t try to throw the 450ft over the pond if you’re not able to throw 500ft during field practice on a regular basis. But the point here is to not cut yourself short. You’re no longer a beginner and it’s time to start throwing from the mid or pro level tee pad. Even if it means hurting your ego a bit and having a terrible score. Step up and see where you are so you know where you have to go.
3. Focused Improvement: Tee Drives, Mid-Range discs, Putter Shots
50 shots from the Tee, 50 using fairway drivers, 50 with mid-range discs, and 150 from the putting range. This could be the ultimate key to improving your disc golf game. But you’ll want to keep reading to see our number one tip below that coincides with this one. However, disc golf is a game with three parts…the long shot, the mid shot, and of course the notorious short shot. Focusing on each of these can and will help you improve.
While going from a new player to intermediate might be as easy as playing a few rounds once in a while, with a little field practice in between, getting to the advanced level takes focus.
Look at any pro level player, in any sport, and you see this focused practice approach as a given. Sure they attend the regular team practice and workouts, but often the highest level players are seen working on their weaknesses and each part of the game.
You might try a Monday, Wednesday, Friday approach…where Monday is for driving shots, Wednesday is for mid-range, and Friday is for putting. This allows for the more strenuous throwing to happen at the beginning of the week and taper down to putting on Friday in order to set you up for that weekend tournament. This is also a great way to organize practice for those that are busy. Build out three lineups of each disc type and grab that particular bag on your way out…just be sure to “reload” for the weekend play as you don’t want to show up to the course with a bag of only putters (trust me on this one).
However, other players like to practice putting every day. Building upon the notion that driving is for show and putting is for dough. Once again we see this idea in other sports as well…basketball players focusing on free throw shots, tennis players on volley returns, and of course traditional golf players utilizing the putting practice areas.
Regardless of how you organize and schedule your practice, if you want to gain advanced level playing you’re going to need to take some time and focus on the aspects of the game.
4. Keep It Fun: Casual Disc Golf Rounds
While most of the tips on this list seem to imply getting serious about your practice, and there is some truth in that, be sure to keep your practice fun. Not every outing to the disc golf course needs to be about playing your best. In fact, experimenting with your throws, discs, angles, grips, etc. might result in new found abilities and confidence…but might also result in some lost discs and high scores.
Without failure there can’t be growth. A casual round can be great for experimentation. If you go solo you can play on your own time, don’t need to hear from your buddy how you’re doing it wrong, and ultimately give yourself the freedom to fail. So consider this a friendly reminder that it’s just a game. Go without intention to achieve or expectations…and just go play.
Got young one’s wanting to play with you…this is one of our number one tips for playing with the family. Read are 7 tips for playing disc golf with your family for more ways to keep it fun.
5. Measure Your Skill Level
If you don’t measure how far you’re throwing or how accurate your short shots are, how do you know if you’re improving? At this point in the game I would assume you have the Udisc app on your phone. If not, get it! But what you may not realize is that it has a “measure your throw tool” built in. While this may not be as accurate as a laser guided range finder, it suffices to help you understand distance.
Distance isn’t everything but it is perhaps the easiest measurement of skill level. Another method I see used is to calculate accuracy. While accuracy at various distances is the typical format, there is also accuracy at various angles, throw types and even discs…here is an example of accuracy measurements to get you started:
Directions: using the same disc or at least discs with similar characteristics (i.e. all putters with similar flight numbers), find a consistent distance and angle on your local course or at home. Shoot 50-100 shots from said spot and note how accurate you are over time.
Beginners typically have an average accuracy of 50%. Intermediate players jump up into the 60% range. Advanced players will exceed past a 70% accuracy and professional players…well they aren’t pros if they are missing much.
Take the above numbers with a grain of salt as I scoured the internet and inquired with friends to come up with said numbers. You should, of course, determine your accuracy from a series of trials to give you a baseline and hopefully see improvement over time. Also, realize that depending on the distance, angle, disc type, etc. as mentioned above, these numbers will vary…greatly!
6. Upgrade Your Disc Golf Discs
This past week I had several of my students try discs with higher end plastic types than the entry level versions. The irony is that I didn’t tell them. I let them throw both for a few shots and waited. I asked them which discs they liked the best and the response was unanimous.
All of my Star and Opto level plastics were chosen over the entry level DX and Retro versions of the same discs. Further, when I asked why, the consensus came down to “feel”. Words used to describe the “feel” included quality, confidence, and control. All adjectives worthy of advanced players.
While you more than likely have a mixed bag of quality discs at this stage in your disc golf journey. It’s important to start narrowing it down and building out various lineups.
Some players focus on one brand, having a bag with only Innova discs and another with all MVP for example. These lineups though are typically used for field practice so you can have some type of consistency in your practice sessions. Of course sponsored players use discs from their sponsor, but for us mere mortals it can be valuable to focus on a brand and learn their disc inventory before adding different options.
Other players like to build out bags from a speed and stability standpoint with a cheaper plastic version and higher end plastic version for each disc. This allows you to take a practice shot with the lower end plastic first, getting a feel for the hole…then use your higher end for the actual scoring shot. Obviously this method is only used during practice, but it’s a great way to achieve improvement and confidence. It’s also a nice method for reducing costs.
However, if you’ve been playing awhile or recently hit the lottery, there is no reason to not have a tournament bag loaded and ready. This lineup would consist of the tried and true discs in higher grade plastics that “feel” good to grip and rip down the fairway. And while better plastic doesn’t immediately translate to better player, it should allow experienced disc golfers some additional confidence.
7. Our Number One Tip For Becoming An Advanced Disc Golfer
Time and time again I see two tips that every disc golfer recommends to improve your game. First, consistent practice…i.e. Practice everyday for “x” amount of time. Second, get a portable basket and practice putting at home…everyday.
While I wouldn’t claim you should listen to the masses, I would argue that every great athlete in any sport adheres to these two methods for improvement. At the very least, going outside for 15 minutes a day and tossing a few discs will help. But that might just take you from a beginner to intermediate. If you’re wanting to get to an advanced level of disc golf you need some techniques that will be methodical and measurable.
Enter the portable basket or target net. Both of these tools give several advantages to the player. First, they can be moved around for variety and new challenges, the basket being superior in this instance. Second, they can be placed where you know the distance from said target and therefore can get some degree of consistency in accuracy. Finally, ease of access, being in your very own backyard, garage, or local park, will greatly improve your desire to practice.
Perhaps the best way to improve your ability is to play more often. A portable disc golf basket should allow you to do so. If you want to read up more on some of the best portable baskets available, check out our article below:
Best Portable Disc Golf Basket
We Accept Tips…
I wouldn’t say I am an advanced player. So for me, these 7 Disc Golf Tips for Advanced Disc Golfers resonate because I am also working in that direction. This article makes for a good reminder of what one needs to do to stay the course and seek improvement. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other methods out there to accelerate your level of play. If you have suggestions or ideas about key methods that helped you gain some ground on your disc golf game, put it in the comments and share with the community.
Until Next Time…