Disc Golf for Beginners: The Basics
Whether you call it frolf, disc golf, or frisbee golf, this guide will help any beginner learn how to play the game that has been around for years. In this blog, Disc Golf for Beginners: The Basics, you will learn about the basics from picking your first disc to finishing your first round. While this is a guide, we believe at FrolfHQ that most of the learning will come from experience, but we want to put you on a path to becoming the best possible disc golfer you can be!
What is Frolf/Disc Golf/Frisbee Golf?
Disc golf is a game where players attempt to throw a disc/frisbee from a tee platform into a chain net basket (often referred as holes) in the least number of throws. Like golf, the objective of each round is to have the lowest possible score or throws. A typical round is 18 holes, but some smaller courses have 9 holes.
You may be asking yourself, “Why don’t I just play regular golf vs learning how to throw a disc golf?” Well one main reason… MONEY! Disc golf courses are typically free to go to and use or have a small day park fee that is associated with using the course, while golf is typically much higher. I have not spent more than $20 to go frolfing, but I have spent more than $250 just to play one round of golf! Not to mention discs to go disc golfing can range from $20 to $100 while a set of clubs can be up to $1,500. If you are looking for a fun, inexpensive hobby, you are in the right place to learn about the sport.
What do I need to play a round as a beginner?
As a new player, the first thing that you will need to play disc golf are discs. Discs can range from $20 to $200 depending on what kind of disc you get. There are three main types of disc when playing disc golf.
- Drivers-These are the first discs that are thrown from the tee box since they are meant for distance
- Mid-Range-These are used to as the approach shot to the chain link baskets. These are typically used because of accuracy and distance
- Putters-These are meant for short throws to get the disc into the basket to complete the hole.
As a beginner, we recommend that all beginners should start with a mid-range disc. These discs are typically more forgiving and a lot easier to throw. When you first start playing disc golf, it is vital to just learn how to throw. Mid-range discs are more accurate and can get a fair amount of distance. Since they are accurate, they can be used as a putter, and since they get a fair amount of distance, they can be used as a driver. As a beginner in disc golf this will be easier to get a feel for the game without overbearing yourself with too many new discs. A mid-range we recommend for beginners is the Discraft Buzzz. If you want to learn more about other discs, we recommend beginners check out our blog Best Discs for Beginners.
If you decide not to get the beginner’s set, here are a few discs that we recommend for beginners.
QUICK TIP: Remember when selecting your disc that colors matter! You most likely will be playing disc golf in a park so to reduce the number of discs lost, make sure that you pick bright and vibrant colors that will stand out. Sometimes parks do not complete the proper upkeep so when you go looking for an errant throw you are going to want to look for a bright color in a field of grass rather than a green that will blend in the long grass.
As you buy discs you are going to want to have a backpack or bag to store them as you play. As a beginner it is not necessary to get a backpack dedicated to disc golf since you will only have a few, but it is something to consider as your collection grows. Overall, we recommend you get a backpack since you will be carrying around your wallet, phone, keys, discs, disc markers, towels, sharpie, and score cards.
What does each number mean on the discs?
Here is a brief look at each number, and the recommendations we have for beginners, but if you want to learn more check out our other blog. What do the numbers mean? If you want a more in depth look at the numbers check out our content Do the numbers matter on discs?
Speed: The first number on a disc is how fast the disc must be thrown for the correct flight path to occur. This is on a scale of 1-14 with 14 being the fastest. As a beginner, you should look for a disc that has a speed between 1-7.
Glide: The second number on a disc is the disc’s ability to stay in the air. This scale is between 1-7, with 7 having the most glide. As a beginner you should look for a disc with a higher glide between 5-7.
Stability: The third number on a disc is the turn the disc has. This is judged from 1 to -5. For a right-handed backhand throw a 1 will be the most resistant to turning to the right while a -5 will turn the most at the beginning the throw. As a beginner you will want to have a lower rating for this -1 to -5 since higher ratings have more possibility to roll after they have hit the ground.
Fade: The last number on a disc is the fade on a throw. This has a score from 0-5. For a right-handed backhand throw a 0 will finish the straightest, while a 5 will hook hard left towards the end of the flight of the throw. Beginners should aim to have a lower score between 0-3 for this number.
To learn more about the flight ratings check out this article from Innova. Click here to check it out!
How to play Disc Golf?
The premise of the game is simple, get the disc into the upright chain link basket in the least number of throws from a designated tee area. You start at the designated tee area and wherever the discs land is where you must throw the next throw. Continue until you can get the disc in the chain link basket.
The winner of the round is whoever has the lowest number of throws. Like golf the scoring system is based on par. Each hole will have a designated throw that you will have to take to score par. If you can throw in the disc before par, you get negative points and if you take more throws than par, you will get positive points. For example, if par for a hole is 4 and you can get the disc into the basket in 3 throws you will get -1 for the hole. If the par for a hole is 4 and you throw the disc into the basket in 6 throws you will get +2 for the hole. If you get the disc in the basket from the tee in one throw that is called an ace. If you want to learn more about an ace, check out our blog What is an Ace in Disc Golf? The lowest score at the end of 18 holes is declared the winner.
QUICK TIP: We recommend using the app Udisc to find your local courses and keep score. It is a great app that saves your scores, so that you can play against yourself to see your own improvement
Disc Golf Ettiquette
There are a few golf etiquette rules that you should remember when going out on your first run.
1. Wait for a group to finish the hole before your group starts.
When you go up to a hole there may be a group in front of you that is finishing up or starting to play. Your group will have two options, you either wait for the group to finish the hole or you can skip ahead of the group ahead of you and come back to the hole when they are finished. As a beginner, I recommend that you just wait patiently for the group ahead of you.
2. If going alone ask groups to join them while they are throwing.
If you are going alone, and just want to continue your momentum it is acceptable to ask the group ahead of you to join throwing in the hole. Larger groups take longer at each hole and will let you pass them, especially if they are more experienced. If you are in the larger group, it is acceptable to offer to let the single individual go ahead so they do not have to wait for you. The basics of this etiquette is to let others not be affected by your own decisions. It is supposed to be fun, but there really is no reason for anyone to ever wait.
3. Yell when someone can potentially be hit.
Not every throw you have will be perfect. If there is a chance for you to hit someone after you throw the disc, please make sure that you yell or scream something. It could be a simple “Heads up!” or the typical golf term “Four!”. These discs hurt when you hit someone, so just make sure you do everything you can to prevent anyone from being hurt.
4. If you find a disc, return it to the owner.
When you find a disc, please do the right thing and return it to its rightful owner. Discs can be expensive, and if you find one that is not your disc it usually will have a name and number. Be courteous, reach out, and give the disc back. What goes around, comes around, so anyone will be excited to get there disc back.
Ready to Play!
Now the most important part of frolf. Have Fun! It is easy to get lost in the competition but realize the main part about disc golf when you first start is to beat your last score. If you continue to consistently go and practice, you will get better. Consistency and perseverance is key when going disc golfing. It is all about your progress to become the best disc golfer, frisbee golfer, or frolfer you can be. Trust the process!
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