Disc Golf: Beginner’s Guide



Popularized during the 1960s and 70s, disc golf is an easily accessible sport that shares a lot of similarities with traditional golf. Players throw a disc or Frisbee rather than strike a ball with a club.

Unlike traditional golf, there are many free courses located around the country and no expensive equipment is required to play the game.


How Disc Golf is Played

A course is divided into 9 or 18 holes with each hole having a tee area and a target.

The target is often a metal basket that is elevated on a pole. Players begin each hole at the tee area and then attempt to reach the target with their disc. The player moves to the position where the disc landed after each throw.

The score is kept by tracking the number of throws it takes for a player to reach the target on each hole. Some professional courses will provide each hole with a par number. However, in most cases, the player’s score is represented as strokes which accumulate each time the disc is thrown. The player in the group with the fewest strokes wins.

Strokes may also be added to a player’s score due to specific penalties.

For example, if the disc lands in a tree more than 2 meters above the ground a penalty throw is required. A marking disc is placed beneath the player’s disc in the tree and the disc is carefully removed. An extra stroke is added to the player’s score and they continue playing from the position of the marking disc.

If a course or hole has an area marked as “Out of Bounds”, then landing the disc in that area will add a stroke to the player’s score and require a penalty throw. A marking disc is placed in a straight line with the disc up to 1 meter in the in-bound area.

This also applies to landing the disc in water.


Types of Shots in Disc Golf

Just like with traditional golf, each throw can be categorized as a different shot type.

The basic categories are driving shots, approach shots, and putting (read: Best Disc Golf Starter Kits).

You would likely proceed through each of these categories on every hole beginning with the driving shot.


1. Driving

The first shot from the tee when the target is beyond the maximum reach of your throw is considered a driving shot.

The purpose of the driving shot is to get the disc as close to the target as possible and in a favorable position. There are a number of techniques players use to increase the distance of their throw while maintaining accuracy.

Of course, just throwing the disc as far as you can isn’t enough to win a round of disc golf against serious players. You need to consider carefully where you want the disc to land to set up an ideal second shot. What’s even more difficult is actually landing your driving shot in the target area.


2. Approach Shots

The next shot after driving is considered the approach shot.

Though you may skip this shot if your initial throw landed you close enough to the basket to put. The longest holes always require an approach shot before putting. The goal of the approach shot is to land disc as close to the target as possible and in a favorable position for the put.

Most players agree that putting is one of the most difficult aspects of the game. One of the best ways to make putting easier is by improving the approach shot. The ideal approach shot will set up an easy put to finish the hole.

There are several factors that will influence where the approach shot lands and finally stops. If the ground is slanted near the hole it will affect how the disc lands. It can cause the disc to travel further or to stop abruptly depending on where the incline is facing in relation to the player.

The length of the grass has a serious impact on the travel distance of the approach shot. Taller grass will cause the disc to stop early. Shorter grass will allow the disc to skip further after hitting the ground. The grass near the hole is usually kept very short but there may be tall grass nearby that you will want to avoid.


3. Putting

Putting is often the final shot type used at each hole.

It is a shot made within a very short distance of the target. The ultimate goal is to land the Golf Disc in the metal basket (read: Different Types of Disc Gold Discs).

The two most popular putting styles are the spin putt and the push putt. Each of these has its own strengths and weaknesses that vary according to your position.

A push putt utilizes a throw that is similar to a lob.

The shot begins with the disc below the waste and it gains momentum as the player reaches up and outward before releasing the disc. It doesn’t have the potential for great distances, but that is not necessary when putting.

Adding a small amount of spin on a disc before putting creates the spin putt technique, which is the most commonly used putting technique among new players. It’s a shot that requires precision and focus.

Even the best players can struggle with putting from time to time.



Where To Play Disc Golf

One of the things we, at The Golf Wish, love about disc golf is that it’s easily accessible to people of all ages, genders, and income levels. If you’re interested in playing your first few holes, then you should begin by checking at your local parks.

Many parks include Disc Golf courses with a full 18 holes. You might even have a few different courses to choose from in your local area.

There are also a number of luxury courses around the country designed by golfing professionals. These courses operate similarly to traditional courses and golf clubs. It may not be free like a public park, but there’s a clear difference in the design and quality of the courses. It can be a good investment if you decide that disc golf is for you.

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