Beginners Guide to Disc Golf
What is Disc golf?
Disc Golf is a sport that has exploded in popularity over the last decade.
Disc Golf resembles regular ball Golf in a lot of ways, the scoring system and layout are almost identical.
In Disc Golf you use different types of discs (Frisbees) for different types of tasks depending on what stage you are in the game (Putters, Mid-range, Rollers, and Drivers)
These different types of discs will also have their own unique specs which dictate how the disc will glide through the air (Speed, glide, turn and fade)
The scoring system
In Disc Golf, the goal is to have the lowest score possible.
On each hole you have a set “Par” this varies depending on how demanding the hole is.
Par 3 is most common for most holes and is the lowest Par, it can also go up to Par 4, 5, and so on.
Par on the hole tells you how many throws you have in each hole to get Par.
On par 3 you have 3 throws to get 0 points, every throw over the set Par gives you +1 point and every throw under par gives you -1 point. The fewer throws you have the better (lower) your score will be.
That means on a par 3 hole you have 3 throws to get par, which is 0.
If you use 4 throws on that hole, you’ll get one over par, which is +1.
And if you manage to do it in only 2 throws, then your 1 under par, which is -1.
A Disc Golf tee is the starting position of every hole on the course. The tee box is a pad that can be made out of several different materials, like artificial grass/turf, concrete, asphalt, rubber, gravel and so on.
The PDGA recommends that the tee box be no smaller than 1.2 meters wide by 3 meters long.
A mandatory is where you have one or more trees/poles in the fairway that must be passed to the correct side as indicated by an arrow.
If you fail to hit the Mando on the correct side you will receive a penalty throw (+1) and have to throw from the last Lie or from a designated Drop Zone
Out of Bounds (OB)
The Out of Bounds rule is where you get a penalty throw (+1) if your disc goes OB.
The OB is a marked line(s) (Often sideroads, water, marked up lines, etc.) that exist throughout the course. If you go OB you have to throw your next shot from where the disc went Out of Bounds or throw from a designated Drop Zone.
Par is when you use the number of throws you are expected to make to score on a single hole (if it’s a par 3 hole, using 3 throws gives you a par)
Ace is when you hit the hole (Basket) with one single throw from the Tee
Where a player is one throw under par (-1) on a single hole.
Where a player is two throws under par (-2) on a single hole.
Where a player is one throw over par (+1) on a single hole.
– Double Bogey
Where a player is two throws over par (+2) on a single hole.
– Triple Bogey
Where a player is three throws over par (+3) on a single hole.
Types of Disc golf discs
Distance drivers is the disc with the greatest potential to travel the longest distance of all the discs.
These types of discs require you to throw them at high speed for the discs to have the intended flight characteristics.
The distant driver is great off the tee where you have an open field ahead and can go a long distance if thrown with the right speed.
The Fairway driver as the Distance driver has the potential to travel a great distance.
The Fairway Driver is on the other hand much easier to control because it travels at a slower speed compared to the Distance Driver.
The Fairway Driver is a good choice where there are obstacles in the path.
The Midrange discs are a great choice for a lot of situations. The Midrange will not punish you as hard as the Distance Driver and Fairway driver will if thrown wrong and they are easy to control.
Great for getting through tight obstacles and getting a good landing for a put. The Midrange discs usually have smaller rims that feel more comfortable to most people.
Getting good at putting is probably the most crucial part of the game.
Putters are by far the deepest and slowest discs and are used to throw short but precise throws when you approach the Basket or when you are going to stick the landing.
Choosing a putter that feels comfortable throwing is very important as your putting skills will greatly impact your overall score.
Speed, Glide, Turn and Fade
When you look at most discs you will see numbers on the discs for example | 10 | 4 | 0 | 3 |
These numbers tell you about how the disc will glide through the air.
The numbers are always in this order. 1st Speed – 2nd Glide – 3rd Turn – 4th Fade
Speed is as you would think, the speed of the disc. The speed rating will go from 1 to 14 and tells you how good the disc is at cutting through the air.
1 is the slowest while 14 is the fastest disc. While the faster disc will go further with less effort the slower discs can also go far with a power throw without the risk of it going too far past the target.
The glide of the disc describes how well the disc is able to maintain loft during the flight.
The more Glide you have the easier it is to throw the disc a long distance. The Glide rating goes from 1 – 7.
Going for a disc with a high Glide rating is the best choice for beginners as it is easier to make the disc travel a great distance.
The Turn rating tells you about the tendency of a disc to turn over to the right during the initial part of the flight.
This is the case if the disc is thrown with an RHBH (Right-hand backhand) throw. The discs with +1 have a lower chance of the disc turning over, while the discs with -1 to -5 will turn over easily. Discs with -2 to -5 are therefore a good choice if you want to throw a “roller”.
A roller is where you flip the disc over intentionally so it lands vertically and starts rolling. Very good in situations where there is a low “ceiling”.
The Fade of the disc tells you how aggressively the disc will hook (fade) to the left at the end of its flight (Thrown with a RHBH).
Some discs have very little fade at the end of the flight, these discs are rated 0 and some discs have a much greater fade being rated upwards to 5.
The discs with low fade are great for the straightest throws where you want to keep it controlled while the discs with a higher fade can be used for getting past obstacles at the end of the flight.
If you want more information about the official rules in disc golf, you can find everything at PDGA.COM (Professional Disc golf association)