Mastering a diverse range of throws is essential to take your game to the next level. With every course offering various obstacles, terrain, and wind conditions, having an arsenal of throws at your disposal can give you a significant edge. Here are 5 essential throws every disc golfer needs to master to improve their game and tackle any challenge on the course.
The Touch Layup:
The touch layup is a crucial throw for getting yourself into a good position to par or birdie (on longer holes). This throw requires finesse and control, as the goal is to place the disc gently near the basket with minimal risk of overshooting or rolling away. To execute a touch layup, you’ll most often use a putter, but sometimes a mid-range, disc with a stable or slightly understable flight path. Focus on your grip, release angle, and follow-through to ensure a smooth, controlled throw that lands softly near the basket.
Stand 100 ft out from a basket with a stack of putters. Try and get your disc as close to the basket as possible by trying different release angles (hyzer, flat, anhyzer). Don’t try and make it, just try and get consistently within 10 ft. Do this for 20 minutes. For bonus practice, try and make the the last 20 or so. Notice the difference in putting distances from your misses.
Forehand Flick Approach Shot
The forehand flick approach is a versatile throw that allows you to navigate around obstacles and if you typically throw backhand, gives you a tool to throw opposite side on shot approach shots. Typically the forehand flick approach shot can be nailed down quicker than a forehand drive, because you’re not also trying to time your lower body as much and generate power. So even if you don’t have a forehand practice the touch approach! It is particularly useful when a backhand throw is not viable due to obstructions or when you need to achieve a right-to-left curve (for right-handed players), or when you’re at putting distance but obstructed on a backhand.
To perform a forehand flick, use a sidearm grip with your thumb on top of the disc and your index and middle fingers pressed firmly against the inside rim. The remaining fingers should rest on the outside of the disc, providing additional support and stability. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your body facing perpendicular to your target. Shift your weight to your back foot, and as you step forward, begin to rotate your hips and shoulders in sync. Snap your wrist forward and release the disc with a smooth, flicking motion. Keep your palm facing upwards throughout the throw to ensure a clean release and a controlled flight path. As you gain experience, experiment with different release angles and disc stability to achieve your desired shot shape and distance.
Use putters and midranges. I prefer overstable approach discs for anything between 50-150 ft. Particularly the Toro, Zone, Entropy, Malta, etc. I like to line up with an obstacle in the way that I have to get around, but that is not necessary. Try different angles of release, always focusing on the whip of the disc. Aim with your eyes. Even with overstable I tend to aim right because I know my Toro will flip slightly before the reliable finish.
A spike hyzer is a high-arcing throw that descends sharply towards the ground, making it an excellent choice for tackling obstacles like trees or getting over barriers. It’s a reliable shot when you need to control the disc’s landing position and minimize skips or rolls. To execute a spike hyzer, use an overstable disc and throw it with a strong hyzer angle. Generate enough power and height during the throw, allowing the disc to follow its natural flight path and land vertically on the ground.
You can throw spike hyzers from a lot of different distances. I recommend starting on a flat area, where the basket is at the same elevation as you. Use an overstable distance or fairway driver (something with a high fade number and no turn). It’s okay to use different molds for this as you’ll be working on feel and release angle more than aim. Get reps in, practicing getting that disc high in the air.
Flat Tunnel Shot
The flat tunnel shot is a must-have throw for navigating narrow fairways and tight corridors. This throw requires accuracy and control, as the goal is to keep the disc flying straight and level for the duration of its flight. To perform a flat tunnel shot, choose a stable to slightly understable disc that has a low-speed fade. Focus on a smooth release with a level nose angle, while maintaining a flat and straight flight path. Practice and repetition are crucial for mastering this essential throw. Disc selection matters a lot here. I like a MVP Axis, MD3, or even a Mint Lobster for longer touch shot shaping.
The tunnel can get in your head quickly if you let it. Start aggressive and get the jitters out of your head if you’re dealing with that. Lining up your shot and your footwork is extra important here. Line it up so you can get a nice flat accurate release and line. Repeat and try different angles.
There are several factors to consider when throwing an escape roller. First you have the angle and release point of the disc, then you have the direction you need to go (aka where the disc will finish), and finally the disc selection (stability and type). I recommend trying several variations (perhaps starting with an approach disc) to get the feel down and make adjustments as you see fit. Hold the disc like you would for a forehand shot. Angle the disc so that the edge closest to you is pointing downwards, and throw it with a slight anhyzer release. As the disc hits the ground, it should transition into a rolling motion. Experiment with different angles and release velocities to find the optimal combination for the roller’s trajectory and distance.
Repetition and adjustments is key here. You don’t always need an obstacle when practicing. Sometimes when I’m in a practice round, as I’m approaching my regular drive, or walking to the next hole, I’ll throw a few in the direction that I’m walking.
Mastering these five essential disc golf throws will significantly improve your game and equip you with the skills necessary to tackle a wide range of situations on the course. Practice each throw diligently, focusing on proper technique, disc selection, and execution. As you become more proficient in these throws, you’ll find yourself better prepared to face any challenge the course throws your way. Happy disc golfing!