And I’d like to help newcomers to the sport. I think that attitude is embraced by so many folks who chuck plastic.
This week in the blog, let’s take a look at some of the things that no one tells you outright before you start disc golfing.
1. “It’s so cheap to get into.” Yes, but it can add up quickly.
There’s a lot of discs out there you want to try, and accessories, and then you might want backups of your favorite discs, a practice basket, rangefinder, it can add up. This is the same for any hobby.
What I recommend is really starting out with 5 discs.
Putter & Mid (You Need These To Start), A slow fairway driver, understable distance driver, and then get something that’s a little fast and you can work towards.
Get a towel, or two. Mud, dew, rain, amber colored beverages, discs get into everything.
Get a small bag until you know what you want.
I tell everyone a bag is $20 a year. You can either buy a 20 dollar bag every year, or maybe a $40 bag lasts a couple of years. And when you know you want a big bag that’s about $250 it should be one that lasts a decade.
Buying bags can be expensive, make sure you look at what your friends have, what other players have, and what can hold what you need.
If you’re looking at a bag and a cart, we’re talking somewhere between $300-$500. Take it slow with the newfound hobby.
I talk with people about different bags all day long. If I haven’t seen a bag in 5 summers working here, I want to know why someone would use it.
I recommend snagging one of our inexpensive over the shoulder bags like these while you figure out your bag needs. These bags are $15, hold about 10 discs, and have a zippered pocket (where you need to keep your keys/phone/wallet so you don’t lose them on the course). I’ve kept mine as a spare for 13 years for bringing out people who don’t play.
Try discs before you buy (if you can). We have a FREE demo program in the shop here you can use on our courses. Try your friends' drivers, try their mids and putters too if they’ll let you. This sport takes a lot of fine tuning to find discs that work for you. You don’t need to buy them all at once.
2. Give yourself time to warm up before rounds if you want a good score.
I know you want to get out onto the course and just start hucking. There’s nothing like seeing a piece of plastic fly down the fairway to send endorphins rushing around in your brain after a long day at work.
Take 15 minutes and slowly work up to those longer shots. Get that arm ready for an hour and a half of use.
Think of yourself like a baseball relief pitcher. They get 15-20 pitches per night . You’re going out there for 18 drives and you want them to be the best 18 you have in you. They warm up in the pen and then again on the mound. Your arm deserves a chance to warm up for your best throws.
It helps to warm up so you don’t overthrow and hurt yourself too. I’ve had tennis elbow a number of times and nothing ruins your favorite pastime like your arm hurting and a poor score at the same time because of it.
3. Putting well will take you far.
There’s always jokes about an old disc golfer who throws a beat up Roc on every drive and putts with an Aviar that’s older than you are. But they still beat you at the end of the round.
Putting is hard, we all struggle with it sometimes. The best scores you ever get will likely include making all of your C1 putts that round.
You can overcome a bad drive and make your upshot to give yourself a look and take a 3 with a good putt. But if you have a decent drive and then miss your putt and have a tap in 3 you have the same score.
Spend a lot of time practicing putting. As you get older and your distance starts to fail you, you can rely on your putting to keep you competitive. I think a good putter is a great equalizer when you don’t have 400 feet of power.
Find a fun way to practice your putting, I know it can be repetitive and boring. I like to practice with Disc Dots and some music playing while I’m smoking meats.
Some folks like to use 10 feet, 20 feet, 30 feet, and work on only moving back when they make those putts. Whatever you choose, have fun with it.
4. The reason popular discs are popular is because they work for lots of people.
I understand the desire for uniqueness out on the disc golf course. To me a bag is an expression of creativity and your personal shot selection.
Some players get hung up on not wanting a disc because “everyone uses that one.”
Don’t suffer with a disc, just because no one else uses it and you want to be different.
I don’t throw the Discraft Buzzz. I wish I did, because I think they look great, they are always available in different plastics, they have a variety of weights, and often with cool stamps.
There’s a tradeoff to throwing unpopular discs. Sometimes they go the way of “out of production” (OOP) or become difficult to find. I get excited every time they make another run of Discraft Z Line Predators because I’m not always sure when I’ll find the next one.
Find what works for you, but try out the popular molds. The companies who make them put a lot of work into testing the discs to make sure they’re good.
5. Baseline putters and Mids are excellent, they last awhile too. Don’t be afraid they’ll get “flippy” too fast.
I can’t stress enough that the pros use baseline putters to putt with. I understand the shiny cool looking star plastic discs fly a little better when they’re thrown hard. But a baseline plastic putter (DX, Jawbreaker, D-Line, Electron) these all get nicks and chips in the plastic that catch the chains more effectively. They also change out putters fairly regularly, but you can make a $9 disc last the season.
And baseline plastic mids are great because they offer excellent touch on shorter shots. You want all that grip, all that extra spin from the friction in your hand.
I did an experiment earlier this year where I threw a DX Firebird into a rock. I started by throwing regular backhand drives into a tree but that didn’t have a noticeable effect on the disc. So I started throwing full overhands into a rock from like 15 feet away. It still took 25 throws at full speed directly into a rock to warp the disc enough to dramatically change the flight pattern.
Since you’re not throwing your mids into a rock as hard as you can, I imagine it will take a lot longer for them to get “flippy” or “seasoned” or “understable” whatever word you want to use for a disc that has deviated from its intended flight pattern.
Those are my 5 things that no one tells you when you start disc golfing.
It’s cheap, but you can spend a lot quickly. Don’t get more than you need right away.
Warming up is good for the body, good for the overall score. Don’t dismiss it.
It all comes down to putting for most folks. Find a way to love practicing it and win.
Don’t be different to the detriment of your own game. Popular discs work.
Baseline plastic is fine if you aren’t throwing powerful shots, and it has great grip.
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397