The 21st and final tip is going to be a shameless plug for the disc golf book that I wrote…I know, I’m going to have some angry disc golfers tell me that this isn’t a real tip and that I should’ve actually put a tip in here. To them I say, “Buy the book, read it, and I guarantee it will help you in some way or another.” It has over 200 pages of content for every disc golfer to use for learning, understanding, and improving their disc golf game. It’s not a tip, it’s an entire book full of tips. So check it out here on the site.
I gotta say up front that goals are extremely important! That’s why I’ve left this tip for next to last. If you want to achieve anything in life, you should have goals. They are fundamental to measuring your success and allow you to keep track of where you are and where you’re going. So you should definitely have goals if you’re trying to improve in disc golf. If you’ve already decided that you want to get more competitive, you should start setting two kinds of goals: long term and short term. Your long term disc golf goals will be a road map of what you want to achieve over a period of time – say 6 to 12 months – in the sport. An example would be: I want to beat that really good friend I have, be able to throw the disc 300+ feet, and play in my first tournament in no more than a year from today. Very achievable, realistic, and specific. Your short term disc golf goals should be a couple of specific things you want to achieve in the next round or two. An example would be: I want to try to par every hole or better in the next round, throw my disc straighter, try to be more accurate, and start to work on my forearm throw. Again, achievable, realistic, and specific. For more on goals, check out my post, “11 Powerful Reasons Why Goals Are Important in Disc Golf.” Also, this article here on SportRec.com is pretty good. It shows all of the possible benefits of setting goals in sports.
Although I believe that putting is the most important part of disc golf, it doesn’t mean that I don’t believe driving and approaching are important. They’re just important in their own way. You still need to be able to get decent distance on your throws to be a good player. Distance is still extremely important because there’s always “distance” from the teepad to the basket. And if you don’t get that distance, you can’t approach and you definitely can’t putt for the win. But just remember: you don’t have to throw distance drivers to get good distance on your throws. As you gradually work up from a putter, your distance should start improving. All the other types of discs can get some good distance, too. So my recommendation for improving your distance is to play with a putter for at least a month or more. I’ve already said that you should do that earlier in this post. It will help you in more ways than just distance. But on top of using only a putter, you should continually work on your throws doing a lot of field work if possible. Your accuracy, technique, form, and distance should all get a good boost from this practice. For more tips on how to improve your distance, check out my post, “The 27 Best Disc Golf Distance Tips for Beginners.”
Your short game, or putting as most call it, is the most important part of your game in disc golf. Now that’s just my opinion, but most of the time, you’re not going to end up with an easy putt. And I know you’ve heard the all-too-valid quote, “drive for show, putt for dough.” Like I said, though, on most holes, you will end up with tough putts for birdies or for par. So your short game has to be on point for when you’re in those putting situations. Just check out a few of the tough putts that pros have in the video below ⬇️. Link to video on YouTube. So you can see that your short game can really make or break your final score. It doesn’t matter how well you throw, because if your short game sucks, your score will suck, too. You could park a beautiful 300 foot shot 30 feet from the basket, miss the putt, and end up with a par on that easy par 3 hole. Or you could be spot on with your putts and make the shot for a sweet birdie. The pros will almost always make that birdie. So you can see that your short game is really going to be what separates you from the rest of the pack. For some drills to improve your putting, check out my putting drills post here. For some tips on improving your putting, check out my putting tips post here.
Once you start developing your skills on the course, you should go all in on learning all of the different types of disc golf shots and throws. Then start learning how to use them on the course. If you’re brand new, you should master the backhand and the forehand first before moving on to the more advanced throws that I’m referring to. The backhand and forehand are basically your two staple shots that can take care of 90% of the needs on the disc golf course. If you have both of those down, you’ll be fine. But to really up your game, you need to learn the throws that help you on the other 10% of shots. Once you can throw backhand and forehand, start working on thumbers, tomahawks, rollers, and any other shot that you would like to learn. This will open up your game and give you multiple ways to play each and every hole. The overall benefit can be a better score. For more, check out our post called, “What Are All the Different Types of Throws in Disc Golf?”
Now this next tip is not for the faint of heart. For this tip, you will need to be part of a disc golf community online like Reddit’s r/discgolf group. Join one if not already apart of one. Next, simply record yourself throwing a backhand, forehand, or whatever other kind of throw you’d like people to critique then post it on there. On top of one-half the community ripping you to shreds for everything you’re doing wrong, you should get some good critical feedback to help you improve your form and technique. Also, don’t forget to watch the video yourself. Even if you didn’t feel yourself doing something wrong, you might be able spot a mistake from a side view or from the outsider’s perspective. All of this can help you find little flaws in your game that can help you to improve in a very short period of time (if you take advantage of it). Check out the Reddit r/discgolf community here.
I love mentors. And I also love the challenge of playing people that are better than you in a certain sport. Mentors in disc golf are usually older, wiser, more experienced players who have been crushing it on the course for years. These players know technique, strategy, and everything else in between. You need a mentor for a lot of reasons but mainly because there’s really only so much you can learn on the internet. You need real life experience with a person who’s made mistakes and can help you learn from them. If you cant find a mentor, just find someone that’s better than you that can teach you the game. That competition will help you improve your game and help you get to the level where you can start to be that better player/mentor for other players. For more, check out my post, “7 Reasons You Need a Mentor in Disc Golf.”
Now that your skills are more refined, it’s time to take it up a notch. You might not feel ready, but you need to start putting some pressure on yourself to improve. It’s time to enter and play your first tournament. This can motivate you and show you the true skill of some players. Plus, players are always willing to help you learn your way on the course. Getting into a tournament can be a great way to improve and get some real competitive experience under your belt. If you’re nervous or you just need some mental motivation for your first tournament, check out my guest post, “Mental Game: Five Tips For Your First Tournament,” on PDGA.com.
From the comfort of your couch, you can watch how the pros play in just about every single professional tournament. By doing this, you’ll be able to watch their strategy, disc selection, and their mindset of how they play each hole and get through each round. You can learn a lot from this and the commentary often gives even more tips and feedback to learn from. YouTube features pretty much all pro disc golf tournaments, including those filmed by the channels below. Check them all out through each respected link: JomezPro Central Coast Disc Golf SpinTV Another way to watch the pros is by going to see a tournament in person. I mean, live tournaments are awesome. If you get a chance to go to one, do it. The atmosphere at the course is electrifying and they really are cool to watch. On top of that, you can get gear for relatively cheap from big name brand and local disc golf suppliers. You can find this year’s pro tour schedule here on PDGA.com.
If you want to really dig in to that last tip, I’ll take it even further and discuss two things that can affect your game – your willingness to stretch and your ability to recover from any workouts or disc golf rounds. Stretching before rounds can have a positive impact on your disc golf game by allowing you to warm up earlier. That could mean a better score. Stretching after rounds can help speed up recovery. Recovery after workouts, tough disc golf rounds, or any time your muscles are significantly used is basically how the body heals itself from damage done by those workouts. Whenever you use and stress your muscles, they get tiny little microtears in them. Your body then recovers and heals those tiny tears to help your muscles get bigger and stronger. Muscle recovery is extremely important. If you don’t allow for recovery or your body doesn’t recover properly, those tiny tears could become bigger and start causing injury. You can read more about why muscle recovery is important here on Verywellfit.com. For an awesome post on stretching for disc golf, check out, “The 17 Best Disc Golf Stretches to Improve Your Game.” For a great post on how to recover quickly for your next round, check out, “The 11 Step Plan to Recover After a Disc Golf Workout.”