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How to Play Disc Golf

Disc Golf, or Frisbee Golf, is a game played very similar to golf, but with flying discs.  Players take a point for every throw they make before reaching the Disc Golf Basket (or designated goal).  The Player with the lowest point total is the winner. Different Discs are used, based on the type of throw being made. Drivers, Mid-Range Discs, and Putters are used to get the perfect distance or level of accuracy

Basic Disc Golf Rules

The rules for Disc Golf are very similar to those at a Golf Course.  Players Tee Off from a designated area, then count their number of throws until they reach the Disc Golf Basket.  The player who is furthest from the Basket will the the next one to throw their Disc.  Strokes (or throws) are counted after each player has reached the destination basket.  Typical Par for each hole is 3.

The Lie is where your previous throw has come to rest.  Your Lie can be marked with a mini disc, or by simply turning over the previously thrown disc.  You must throw from behind your lie but can follow through and step over your current lie.  Once your lie is within about 30 feet of the basket, you must not step over your lie until the disc comes to rest inside the basket or target.

Generally, Disc Golf is played at an established course, where Disc Golf Baskets have been set up & areas for playing are defined, with Par designated for each hole.  Most courses have a designated Tee Pad or Tee Area that is about 6’x10′.  These Tee Pads are often concrete, but can be left natural to have less impact on the surrounding area.  Players should always make their first throw (or Drive) from inside this Tee Area.

Players continue down the Fairway from the Tee Area.  While hazards may not exist as commonly as in regular Golf, there may be penalty areas or Out of Bounds areas that could cause players to add penatly points to their score.  If a throw goes out of bounds, the Player may usually re-throw or take the next throw from the place where the disc went out of bounds.

Some Disc Golf holes may have obstacles that a disc must pass in a certain way.  These mandatory obstacles can be a part of play, and add additional challenge to a Hole that might otherwise be too easy or simple.

Types of Discs

There are three main types of disc golf discs – a driver, a mid range disc, and a putter.

Drivers

Disc Golf Drivers  are typically used for Teeing Off, or to achieve a distance of over 250ft.  Drivers have a sharp, beveled edge that is great for cutting through the air. The low profile disc is similar to a discuss, more than a Frisbee.  Drivers often require a greater amount of skill than a Mid-range Disc.  A Fairway Driver is a type of Driver that is provides greater control, while still getting a high amount of distance.

Mid-Range

Mid-Range Discs have a beveled edge that is less sharp than the Driver, but not quite as blunt as the Putter, giving a nice balance of distance & accuracy.    As the name would imply, the Mid-Range Discs are commonly used in the middle range between the Tee and Putting Areas.  Throws with this Disc are similar to an approach shot in golf.  A Mid-Range Disc may also be used from the Tee Pad for shorter drives that require a greater level of accuracy.

Putters

Putters are the most accurate discs, but do not travel as far as the Mid-Range Discs.  They have a blunt edge, that causes them to be slower, but very accurate.  Putters usually have a smaller diameter, and more closely resemble a traditional Frisbee than the other shapes.  Putters are an important part of the game, and are by far the best choice for a short range shot.

Disc Throwing styles

There are two basic throwing techniques:  Backhand & Forehand (sidearm).  Each throw many be effective under certain circumstances.  Styles vary from Player to Player, there is not a standard way to throw.

Backhand

This throw is performed by pulling the disc from back to front with either the right or left hand. Because of the potential snap one can put on a disc throwing backhand, this will generally produce more distance than throwing forehand. The secret to this technique is kinetic chaining. Kinetic chaining is used by boxers to give their blows much more force. The momentum starts in the feet and travels up the body and all the energy transfers to the disc, making it fly further. This makes form and follow-through extremely important.

Forehand

This throw is performed by pushing the disc along the side of the body much like a sidearm throw in baseball. Forehand throws usually generate more speed from the start as the disc is pushed forward instead of being pulled forward for a backhand.

Alternative throws

These are used typically to get up and over an obstacle such as bushes or trees, or to perform a roller, which is when the disc is rolled on its edge to gain distance. Some players have mastered the overhand throw and use it as their main driving throwing styles.

  • The Tomahawk which is thrown overhand like a baseball, the tomahawk’s grip is with the fingers on the inside lip of the disc.
  • The Thumber thrown like a tomahawk but with the thumb on the inside lip of the disc.

Other Alternative Styles

  • The Grenade thrown like a backhand throw but with the disc upside-down. This shot is used often to get up and down on a short shot where there is danger of a shot rolling away or going out of bounds if thrown too far. Primarily used on downhill shots but can be used to go up and over. Also due to the quick turn and backspin of this shot it is sometimes used to get out of the woods.
  • The Chicken-wing This is a shot that free-stylers and old ultimate players use if they need to get around an obstacle but need more room then a forearm shot can give. It is thrown in the same manner as the forehand but with hand on top and thumb on bottom with the arm extended away from the body. The snap direction is the same as a backhanded throw but the arm position is that of a fore-handed throw.

Disc Golf Resources

Disc Golf Wikipedia