Disc Golf Basics: Discs

Steve —  6.21.2012 — 1 Comment

So, you’ve decided to give disc golf a shot, but you’re not sure where to start. Keep reading and let’s see if we can change that.

Obviously, the first place to start is discs since you can’t play disc golf without discs. If you happen to catch any video of disc golf or know someone who has been playing a while, you’ll notice something very quickly – they all carry a bag full of discs. The natural question is, “Why would they need so many?” or “Do I need to go get twenty discs for my first round?”

Let’s tackle that second question and in the process, we’ll probably answer the first.

Disc golf is a sport unlike anything else out there and the distinction comes from the equipment used to play the game. Golf discs are meant to be thrown, not caught and when you put one in your hands, you’ll understand why.

DISC CLASSIFICATION
Discs come in three major classifications: driver, mid-range and putter. The shape of the disc (leading edge and dome height) affect the flight characteristics and the material the disc is made from affect how it feels in your hands and what it will do when it hits the target. Here’s a visual that might make it easier to understand.

Golf Disc Profile Cross Sections

When I started playing disc golf back in 1994, I played with only one disc (an Innova Cobra) for about 4 months before I started carrying multiples. As a beginner, your throwing style will say a lot about what discs are going to work for you and you’ll need time to discover what that style is.

Additionally, throwing a disc is much different than throwing a Frisbee. Your power, spin and accuracy as well as your understanding of the game and flight characteristics of golf discs comprise the major areas of skill and experience needed to be good at this sport, which takes time.

RECOMMENDATIONS
Having said all of this, I recommend for people wanting to experience the game for the first time choose three discs – one from each classification I mentioned above. If I were putting together your first bag, this is what I’d put in it:

Innova Aviar – this is a great putter and approach disc. It comes in several different plastics (I have the Yeti Pro) and slightly different rim configurations. I personally like the grippy feel of the Yeti as it will tend to grab the chains a bit better than a Star version.
Discraft Buzzz-SS – a competent mid-range that is fast and easy to throw. It can be used as a driver on shorter holes and I use it to fly right to the hole on longer fairway shots.
Discraft Glide – this is an understable long-range driver and should prove to be a disc that you can get some real distance from as you develop your throw.

Here’s another option for a kit offered by Amazon: Ching JamPack Deluxe Disc Golf Starter Kit (5 Discs/Bag/Towel, etc.)

Here’s a video about choosing your first discs by Discraft:


DISC WEIGHT
One of the things mentioned in the video is weight. This is measured in grams and is either written or printed on the underside of each disc. The lighter the weight, the easier it will be to throw for beginners. So, when picking out your first discs, find the lightest one possible and you’ll get the more distance with minimal effort.

There are also a ton of instructional videos on YouTube from the top professionals to help you get in your mind some of the basics. One other place is a new resource called Disc Mania by Avery Jenkins – top touring professional.

RESEARCH
Finally, here are the charts for the major manufacturers, which can aid in your disc research:

Innova Mid-Range & Putter
Innova Distance & Fairway
Discraft Flight Guide
Latitude 64 Flight Chart

There are a ton of discs and as you continue to evolve as a player, you’ll be able to understand what characteristics you want to see in your disc selection. Then you can use the manufacturer’s charts to help in the selection process. Over time, you’ll accumulate a variety of discs that all fly differently so you can handle any shot you might find on the course, which is why people carry around those bags.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
One final piece of advice – when you get your discs, head to a local soccer/football field and practice throwing them to get a feel for how they fly. Try different release angles and power and mimic some of the techniques you see in the videos.

Now, go get your discs, get to know them in a wide open space and then hit the local course. Here’s a great site to discover the closest course.

Again, if you are in Central AR and want to grab a round, let me know.

One response to Disc Golf Basics: Discs

  1. Thanks for the write up. I picked up some info that I did not know.

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