Disc Golf Basics

Disc Golf - A day to learn, a lifetime to master.

A non-contact sport that can be enjoyed by young and old, with competition divisions from age 6 and under to age 80+.  Many people can learn the basics and start having some successful throws within just a few hours.

With courses all around, now is the time to find a course and get started!


Starting from the tee, land your disc in the basket with the fewest throws possible.

Following the same premise as traditional golf, each hole begins from a tee area.  Subsequent shots are made from where the last shot came to rest.  Once you get a disc into the basket, the number of throws you made on that hole is recorded.



Disc Golf rules are governed by the PDGA.  There are many nuances, but the basics are quite simple.

The initial shot for each hole must be made from the tee area.
The following shots are made from the "lie" established by where your disc stops.  A foot or knee must be contacting the ground in the 20cm X 30cm area (about the size of a sheet of paper) behind your lie when releasing the next shot.
When your lie is within 10 meters (about 33 feet) of the basket, then a special rule take effect for putting.  In this area, referred to as "the circle" or "circle one", you must maintain balance behind your lie after the disc is released.  This prevents you from leaping forward to get closer to the basket.


Shot Shapes:

By combining the right throwing technique, disc selection, and release angle, a wide variety of flight paths can be created.  Read below to learn more!

The chart below assumes a clockwise rotation (right hand backhand, left hand forehand).  A counter-clockwise rotation will move in the opposite direction.

Disc Golf flight paths angle and stability chart


There are many throwing techniques that can be utilized to get your disc to the basket more efficiently.
Need your shot to go left?  Or right?  Or fly an S curve?  There's a shot for that; just combine the correct rotation direction and disc stability. (More on that later)


This throwing style involves pointing your throwing shoulder toward the basket.  You reach your throwing arm back across your body, then sharply pull it forward to throw the disc forward.  This technique is how most people can achieve maximum distance.
This results in a clockwise rotation for right handed throws, and counter-clockwise rotation for left handed throws (as seen from above).


This throwing style, also referred to as Sidearm, places your throwing shoulder further from the target.  The disc is brought up near the throwing shoulder, then pushed out toward the target to throw it.
This results in a counter-clockwise rotation for right handed throws, and a clockwise rotation for left handed throws (as seen from above).


There are many nuanced styles of putting, but most share common traits.
The shoulders placed fairly square to the direction of travel, and the disc is pushed from the core of the body straight toward the target.


Flight Characteristics:

Every time a disc is thrown, it shares the same tendencies which are governed by the direction of it's rotation.  While every disc thrown has these same tendencies, different discs are designed to resist or enhance certain aspects of these tendencies.

Disc Rotation

A disc thrown with clockwise rotation (right handed backhand, left handed forehand) will "turn" to the right when it's moving fast and "fade" to the left when it's moving slow.
A disc thrown with counter-clockwise rotation (right handed forehand, left handed backhand) will "turn" to the left when it's moving fast and "fade" to the right when it's moving slow.

Disc Stability

The degree to which a disc resists the tendency to "turn" at high speed is measured as it's Stability.
Some discs will resist the tendency to "turn" at high speeds, while others will enhance that "turn".

Some discs will maintain a straight flight at a lower airspeed, thus resisting their tendency to "fade" as they slow down.  Others will start to "fade" at a higher airspeed, which enhances how much they "fade" at the end of their flight.
A disc that turns easily and fades very little would be considered Under-Stable.
A disc that is very difficult to turn and fades early would be considered Over-Stable.

We can use these tendencies to our advantage to work our way past obstacles and get to the basket in fewer throws.  Learn more about how the manufacturers indicate the discs tendencies with flight numbers.


Release Angle:

Whether backhand or forehand, right handed or left, the release angle is described the same.  It's measured by comparing the far edge of your disc (away from your body) to the near edge of your disc (in your hand) at the time the disc is released.


Hyzer describes having the far edge of the disc lower than the near edge.  This will reduce the effects of high speed turn and exaggerate the effects of low speed fade.


A flat release is just what it sounds like; the far edge and near edge on a level plane.


Sometimes considered a shortened form of "anti-hyzer", Anhyzer describes having the far edge of the disc higher than the near edge.  Throwing with "Anny" exaggerates the high speed turn and delays the effects of low speed fade.
Even with a basic understanding of how to play, the vast options can be intimidating so we've curated a guide to selecting your first discs to build your disc golf bag.