10 Pieces of Disc Golf Advice I Wish I Had Listened To

Life Can Be Cruel

One of life’s cruel tricks is that the tools and perspective you need to make the most of life often don’t come to you until well after you need them.  How many times have we said things like…  “If I could go back to high school knowing what I know now.” or “If I could go back to college knowing what I know now.” or “I wish I could go back and date that person again knowing what I know now.”  It seems like we are never fully equipped with the knowledge we need at the time we actually need it. This is especially true for me when it comes to disc golf advice.

Going back in time to pick up some disc golf advice
Sometimes I wish there really was such a thing as the wayback machine.

I just realized that I have now been playing disc golf seriously for 12 years. Two of them I spent injured, but that’s still a long time to do anything.  Especially considering how much of my life is dedicated to the sport that I love.  If I’m not at work, eating, or sleeping, you can be pretty sure I’m doing something disc golf related.

Years Later

As I look back, I realize just what an incredible community of people I’ve become involved with through disc golf.  I’m filled with gratitude for finding something I truly love this much.  Happiness fills me as I recall memory after memory from the past 12 years.  Along with all the warm fuzzies I get, my human nature kicks in and throws in some regrets too.  If I could only go back in time 12 years and start playing again knowing what I know now.

[tweetthis]I wish that I had discovered #discgolf long before I actually did.[/tweetthis]

After playing for 12 years, I should be better than I am.  A big part of that is that I’m a stubborn S.O.B. that really doesn’t like to listen.  I’m a lot better at listening now than I was 12 years ago, but that quality has really held me back.  I’m guessing some of you can relate.

I’ve had the good fortune to play with some very skilled players over the years.  They have all been more than willing to help coach me and give me advice.  Eventually, I’ve taken most of it.  But again, if I could only go back in time and take it all in the first year I played.  I could be so much better than I am right now.

It makes me sad when I see that same trait in younger players out on the course.  They all know better.  They’ve all spent hours on DGCR so they “know what they are doing”.

If they would only listen to a couple of basic things.  If they would only try playing with the right discs for them.  If they would only stop being so stubborn and unwilling to listen.  I can’t really judge too badly, I was that person 12 years ago.

Flip the Switch

listen to disc golf advice, don't ignore it
It took a long time to flip my switch to “listen”.

A big part of why I write this blog is to share the things I’ve learned (mostly the hard way) over time so that others can have an easier and more enjoyable time playing this incredible sport.  As I look back over the last 11 years, I can think of at least 10 things that I was told right when I started playing that I ignored or failed to act on until much further on my path.  If I had only listened!

So here, my dear readers, is that list.  I’m sure it’s nothing you haven’t heard before, but my challenge to you is have you acted on these things?  Have you made them habits?  Have you admitted, like I needed to, that you don’t know a better way than the generations that came before you?  Have you given them an honest try instead of brushing them off?

Disc Golf Advice I Wish I’d Listened To…

10.  Putting is about confidence more than anything else.  Your technique, form, putter, and style are almost insignificant compared to confidence when it comes to sinking putts. (More on this here, here, and here). And if you want to know what the best disc golf putter is, check out this article!

9.  It’s the archer, not the arrow.  “Ken Climo could beat you with a Pringles lid.” is something I’ve heard over and over.  And it’s true.  Spend your time honing your skill with the discs you have, not looking for the magic disc that doesn’t actually exist. (We address this in a full post here)

8.  Practice how you play.  Make your field work and putting practice as close as possible to what happens when you play.  If you don’t, your practice is doing a lot less good than it could.

7.  Actually spend time practicing in the first place.  As fun as going out and playing rounds is, nothing will help you improve as much as field work.  (Check here for more on this subject)

6.  Throw discs that match your arm speed.  Most of us have no business with high speed drivers in our bags.  Going all the way down to speed 8 and 9 drivers would do wonders for most people’s games. (I wrote an entire post about this a few months ago.)

5.  Sometimes you have to take one step back to take two steps forward.  Be willing to take a short term hit in your performance knowing that it will pay off with a long term gain.

4.  Learn to throw from a stand still.  Not just approach shots, full on drives.  There’s no reason to add more moving parts if you can’t get the most important part down cold first.  Most players destroy anything good about their form with their run up. (More on that here)

3.  Start loose and slow, then accelerate and grip down late in the throw.  Do it smoothly.  Throwing “hard” is not the answer and will only frustrate you. (Being smooth should be a goal!)

2.  Learn to throw a putter for distance.  In fact, dedicate a month or more to playing only with putters.  Yeah, that’s right, a month or more.  Don’t believe me?  Well, if you won’t take that advice from me, how about taking it from the current distance world record holder? (also check out this post for more)

1.  The most important thing you can do on every shot, with every disc, in every situation, is to follow through.  I can look back on 75%+ of my bad shots and the primary cause was lack of follow through.  If you do nothing else on this list, do this religiously.

Well, there you have it.  I’ve expanded on most of these points in other posts (see links above), but I think those bullet points drive the ideas home.  Being great at something is almost never the result of complexity or hard to understand principles.  Being great at something, including disc golf, is about doing the simple, boring basics better than anyone else and doing them more consistently.

[tweetthis]Being great at #discgolf is about perfecting the basics.[/tweetthis]

What pieces of advice do you wish you had listened to? Let us know in the comments below. If it would have helped you, it might help someone else!


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12 thoughts on “10 Pieces of Disc Golf Advice I Wish I Had Listened To”

  1. Awesome list. I’m sending this to all my friends. #2 is my nemesis in this game. Still working on that, and still trying to convince my DG buddies that field work is necessary, that we don’t have to play rounds every time we go out to throw.

    One thing I really wish I would’ve known to do the very first time I bought a disc and played is to get a mid like a Buzzz and use that and a putter and nothing else till I can get that Buzzz out to 300′.

    • Hey Brad,

      Yeah, throwing putters far without burning them is elusive at first. Once you get it, though, everything else just ratchets up a notch. Not to mention it’s always fun to step up to a hole your buddies all threw driver on and park it with a putter!

      Keep practicing, it’ll pay off! Thanks for reading the blog!

    • Just wanted to add something here. I’ve been playing for a long time, but only recently consistently. Play with positive people. Stay away from the rift raft and knuckleheads. If they’re not helping you and don’t make you feel great about a round regardless of your score, I truly believe that can hinder you.

  2. Pingback: 10 Pieces of Disc Golf Advice I Wish I Had Listened To | Disc Golf News
  3. Great write up. This is my first year playing and I’m glad I have access to your blog. After watching 14 yrs old out drive me, I knew it was form over strength. I played 2 months with mids and putters only and the leap in ability was very noticeable. Baby steps right?

    • Hey Victor,

      Yep baby steps is right. Unfortunately for me, sometimes it’s steps backwards! That’s awesome that you had the self control to play with mids and putters only. My drivers all look at me and say, “throw me instead!” when I do that.

      Keep up the work, it’ll for sure pay off! Thanks for reading the blog!

  4. Great tips, I wanna find the right disc for me and I know you say it’s the archer, not the disc, and I do agree because I’m doing fine, but no one has ever shown me what would be a good disc for me. I’m a female and I throw a katana 159-162 but I always wonder what other females like me throw.. Been playing for about five years now. Thanks for any suggestions

    • First, I love that you signed your name Artemis. Being that she was an archer makes it very appropriate. If that, in fact, is your actual name, you had some super cool parents.

      I also like it because she is from a mythology that placed women and men on a very even playing field. Goddesses were not seen as any less powerful or capable than Gods.

      What disc you throw has a lot less to do with what sex you are than it does with your arm speed. So my first question would be how far are you throwing that katana? My second is is it accurate/consistent for you? If you are getting a nice S flight out of that disc, then your arm speed probably matches it pretty well. If it is not turning at all and only hyzering out, it may be too fast of a disc for you. If it goes way right, then you might be able to step up to something a little more stable.

      Knowing what that disc does now along with how you want to improve will help you in selecting the right disc.

      The inbounds flight guide is a really good tool to check out too.

      Thanks for reading and commenting! I’m always happy to help if I can.

    • Ook thank you I do go by Artemis and it was given to me through my Qabalah teacher. 🙂 um ok I’m gunna check out the flight guide and contemplate this info. Thank you <3

    • I tried the Judge, and the Warden. Pure was better by far for me. There’s nothing quite like finding a putter you love, though. Looks like you’ve found yours, congrats! Some people look for years and never find one.

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