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Disc golf shots

Updated on October 15, 2014

New to disc golf and want to know the basic ways of throwing?

Disc golf is a disc game in which individual players throw a flying disc into a basket. According to the Professional Disc Golf Association, "The object of the game is to traverse a course from beginning to end in the fewest number of throws of the disc."

Here is a brief guide to the basic shots of disc gold, and links to other resources, by someone who has just discovered the sport and is learning himself!

The putt shown in the photo went in by the way, much to my amazement and my 6 year old sons relief, as he was standing behind the basket taking the photo.

Backhand Drive chart
Backhand Drive chart


Most peoples basic throw

This is the way most people naturally throw a disc if handed one.

Gripping the disc in their hand of preference and throwing it in front of their body.

Click on the pic to get the full pdf explanation.

Any disc thrown backhand (right handed) will naturally turn left as it slows down.

I have real difficulty with doing backhands, its just not natural to me, but I am trying to work at it. What I've been advised to do is start close up to the basket, and work backwards, so rather than expecting to get a long shot straight off, and failing as I have been, I build up my technique a bit at a time. A really good backhand throw seems quite technical, with lots of different parts of the body used - arms (obviously!) but also to get a lot of power legs and hips, all properly synchronised. But that's something to worry about if you get addicted like me!

I've just come across a great 'building blocks of backhand' article on rattlingchains, the links below..

The 'Deep in the game' videos from discmania are worth a watch as well.

Backhand video - "Deep in the game" from Discmania

Discmanis's deep in the game series of videos continues with Avery Jenkins talking about the backhand throw.

Forehand drive chart
Forehand drive chart

Sidearm, or Forehand

My preferred throwing style.

The other basic throw.

Grip the disc in your hand of choice and throw it forehand, around the outside of your body.

Click on the picture to get a detailed pdf of the Forehand or Sidearm throw.

Any disc thrown sidearm (right handed) will naturally turn right as it slows down.

This is naturally my throwing technique for distance, but makes learning from other peoples shots difficult, as hardly anyone on my local course plays sidearm shots, and most holes are biased toward backhand drives (e.g. they turn left). So I'm making it up as I go along!

correct disc orientation.
correct disc orientation.


Its really really important!

There are numerous ways to grip the disc, but however you do it there is one thing you have to get right for good consistent and if required long shots, and that's nose angle - whether the front of the disc is flat, slightly down (nose down - generally better), or slightly up (nose up - almost always bad). Having been trauling the forums for tips on this I finally found this article on the discgolfreview website (not the forum) It's a good read, so go have a look and sort out that grip!

an anhyzer gone very wrong
an anhyzer gone very wrong

Hyzer and Anhyzer

Hyzer - Releasing the disc with the outer edge at an angle lower than parallel to the ground. This will cause the most discs to curve away from your body (left for backhand shots, right for sidearm shots)

Anhyzer - Releasing the disc with the outer edge at a higher than parallel to the ground. This will cause the most discs to curve across your body. (Right for backhand shots, left for sidearm shots)

or in other words..

Inside-out (i-o) throws occur when the thrower releases the disc in such a way that it initially comes towards the throwing axis (inside-). However, the disc is tilted with the side closest to the body highest, which causes the disc to curve away from the thrower (-out).

Outside-in (o-i) throws follow the opposite path. The thrower releases the disc moving away from the throwing axis (outside-), but with the side of the disc closest to the body lowest. This tilt causes the disc to bend back towards the thrower (-in).

In disc golf, inside-out throws are referred to as "hyzer" throws and outside-in throws are known as "anhyzer." "Hyzer" is a reference to H. R. "Fling" Hyzer and the etymology can be traced back at least as far as 1975.

Why would you do either of these?

Well you might want to s curve around some trees, or go a bit left before turning right, or just not fancy a straight line!

An S curving disc is the most fantastic sight.

Or you might want to throw the disc way out to the right, and have it curve back round to the left, or vica versa.

the difficulty here is allowing for the disc you are usings natural flight pattern (see "why so many discs" module below) as you can only interfere with what the disc wants to do so much...

backhand roller chart
backhand roller chart


deliberately getting length by making the disc roll beyond its landing point

Click on the pic to get the full pdf explanation.

A good way of getting distance, but without accuracy - who knows which way it will decide to turn as it slows down, or hits bumps or roots or whatever... unless you're good at it of course.

My new roller info is that putters roll straighter, drivers turn quicker, midranges are in-between...

I use rollers quite a lot now, especially in the woods where the invisible overhanging branches tend to get in the way of 'air' shots.

thumber grip
thumber grip

Tomahawk and Thumber

The Tomahawk is thrown overhand like a baseball, the tomahawk's grip is with the fingers on the inside lip of the disc.

The Thumber thrown like a tomahawk but with the thumb on the inside lip of the disc.

These are both useful for getting over obstacles, bushes, trees or whatever the course blocks your progress with. If going around it is tricky, go over instead.

They are also a really good way of getting out of the bushes even if there is no way up, if there is no space to throw through you can bounce the disc out at ground level.

there's a nice post on alternate disc golf shots at


At first I didn't really see putting as a different kind of shot, but I now see that it is, and need to get better at them!

Whilst It could be argued that a putt is any shot that goes in the chains, I think technically any shot within 10 meters of the basket has to be a putt, and when putting you mustn't move forward from your throw until you have demonstrated balance... so no throwing and stepping straight forward, or throwing yourself at the basket and putting the disc in!

The Deep in the Game video is below, talking about putting technique.

Putting Video - "Deep in the game" from discmania.

A great introduction to putting in disc golf, presented by Avery Jenkins.

Wind Direction

what effect headwinds tailwinds and sidewinds have on your throw

The wind direction really does affect your shot, and after a year of playing I am only just getting the hang of it.

A brief summary would be...

Tailwinds make the disc more overstable, or at least accentuate the discs natural low speed fade.

Headwinds make it more understable, or at least accentuate the discs natural high speed turn.

side winds will blow your disc off and up if the wind gets under the disc, and push it down if the disc is angled toward the wind.

A headwind effectively increases the discs airspeed - so you can get away with throwing faster discs than normal.

Whereas a tailwind reduces the discs airspeed, making overstable discs more overstable, and understable discs more useful.

Snow Golf - tips for playing in the white stuff!

Its been snowy here in the UK for the last couple of weeks, which is unusual. So for the first time I've been playing in the Snow.

Having looked around online I found some good tips for playing in the snow, the best of which was how to help avoid losing discs. Ribbons! simply attach a 2-3 ft length of thin, brightly coloured ribbon to the top centre of your discs with waterproof tape (I used clear duct tape).

It might shorten your throws a bit - I couldn't really tell - but it certainly makes them easier to find.

They look fantastic in flight as well, with the ribbon trailing behind!

The photo shows 2 approach shots by the basket of hole 1 at Quarry Park - one with and one without ribbons attached - a red gator with ribbon, and a day-glo orange soft magnet. I think the photo shows exactly why ribbons are a good idea!

Instructional disc golf Videos on youtube

Here are some instructional videos for disc golf, about the sport and how to play. As well as a round of my local course, Quarry Park near Leamington Spa, UK.

innova flight paths
innova flight paths

Why are there so many discs?

and what is the difference between them?

There are an ever increasing number of disc golf disc, with new manufacturers appearing, and all of the makers producing a steady stream of new models. But why are there so many? are they really that different to each other?

Good questions, and as a beginner myself I am only starting to get a grasp of what the differences are, so here is my ill informed take on discs....

Basically discs are either understable, overstable or stable.

Understable discs will 'turn' away from their direction of spin when travelling fast at the start of a throw, then level out, then 'fade' back in the direction of the spin.

e.g Right hand Backhand the disc will 'turn' right, then 'fade' left. Reverse this for a Sidearm Right handed throw.

Overstable discs will not 'turn' but go straight until they slow down when they will 'fade' a lot in the direction of the spin.

e.g. Right hand Backhand the disc will 'fade' left. Reverse this for a Sidearm Right handed throw.

Stable disc will do a bit of both, but not much. A disc will always fade a bit at the end of its flight, in the direction of its spin.

There is a really good visual of how Innova discs fly on the above .pdf - click to download a copy.

The discs with a question mark shape flight path are understable, those with a more crook shape are stable or overstable, depending on the size of the crook!

You're hooked and you want to practice.. - either at home or in the park.

What you need to do is build yourself a basket, then practice away to your hearts content...

Any comments Or suggestions for this lens? - Suggestions for links or articles?

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love discin, I do it everyday. Great overview I'd say.

    • GoAceNate LM profile image

      GoAceNate LM 

      6 years ago

      Great lens. I looooove disc golf.

    • AG 1984 profile image

      AG 1984 

      6 years ago

      great lens!!!

    • profile image


      7 years ago



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