A Brief Explanation of Disc Golf
Disc Golf Basics
Disc Golf is a sport that has enjoyed massive growth in recent years. It is played like ball golf except the goal is to throw a golf disc (frisbee) into a basket instead of hitting a ball into a hole. The sport was originally played by throwing a catch frisbee at an object, be it a pole, a tree, or whatever. You score the amount of strokes per hole/round and the lowest score wins. In 1990 there were about 300 courses in the world and now (2014) there are over 5000.
In the 70's the sport was formalized with baskets as targets, designed by Allen Pier of Peru Indiana and Ed Headrick. These pole holes have developed over the years into multi-chained, disc grabbing devices....if you putt it in....The disc technology changed as well. The main impetus for disc design change stems from the fact that you need more distance and do not need to catch a golf disc. Frisbees float in slowly for an easy catch while golf discs are designed for speed and distance. The wing shape and its associated flight characteristics are the main difference between discs. The outer rim of putters are blunt and rounded. Mid range drivers tend to have beveled edges and the distance drivers are thin and sharper edged. The mid-range discs and putters won't fly as far but will fly straighter ('hold the line'). The drivers are harder to control but when you get them to fly straight you will send it real far. Although a lot of discs appear to have the same wing shape, very small design variations dramatically affect the discs performance. The number on the back of the disc is the weight in grams. Drivers max weight is 175 grams, mid-range go to 180 and putters max is 175. The more stability to a wing shape the more likely the disc will hyzer out at the end. This means for a right handed person using a normal backhand throw the disc will go left at the end of its flight (hyzer). The amount of air friction and wing lift determine the performance of the disc in flight. Knowing your discs flight characteristics are as important as throwing the disc correctly. Learn the 4 finger power grip. The thumb is the only finger on top of the disc and the other four are squeezing the wing rim from the bottom. Line up your shot and when you throw (a drive), turn your back to the target and reach real far back with the disc. Use the back of your hand as your aim point and aim the back of your hand at the target. Squeeze the disc and move your arm as fast as possible so the disc rips out of your hand. Throw it so hard that your follow through causes you to spin. Try to throw your drives in low line drives and PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. Remember you have to throw the disc hard to get the aerodynamics of the wing shape to respond correctly.
The best way to learn this throw is to take 3 or 4 of the same style and weight discs to an open field. Throw the same disc and adjust your throw until it works. This small time investment will save you a lot of strokes on the course. Do the same with putting. Use 3 or 4 of the same style and weight putters and practice the same throw while using the same disc. I recommend new players learn the basics with a mid-range driver and a putter. Once you get the hang of it add a long range driver.
Recommended Mid-range disc for beginners
Recommended Putters for beginners
Ready to try a driver? These are my recommendations for newer players in the market to try a long range driver. Go for the lighter weights in these styles:
The wing on drivers leans toward over stability. Most drivers cut hard left (for a right-handed back hand tosser) and will do so until you learn to throw it hard and low. These recommended drivers are less stable and will not cut so hard. This will help you get the distance quicker.
-This is a highly addictive game -- approach with caution.
Check out this video produced by Comcast Sports. They introduce the sport in 2006 to the masses by interviewing members of the Red ROC Disc Golf Club at the Lemon Lake Flight Center including myself (Bart Zandstra) and my son (Zack).