Follow this quick step guide to getting started in disc golf. Disc golf can be played for fun or masted for competition. Follow these simple 10 steps to get you and your friends on the course having a blast.
- Get your disc
- Find a course
- Use a map
- Learn the quick basics
- Who goes first
- Throw a drive
- Throw an approach
- Putt into the basket
- Tally your scores
- Repeat often
1. Get your disc
You need disc golf discs to get started. It really doesn’t matter how you obtain a new disc. Through a friend, you found one, the sports thrift store, or your local sports shop. Just get some disc and throw!
That’s easier said than done. If you’re a beginner and need some disc it can be very overwhelming when you see the vast selection available. That’s why I suggest using a starter disc set. Even that can be challenging so I wrote this article Top 3 Beginner Disc Golf Sets to help you get started.
2. Find a course
You need a course to play on. I know that sounds obvious but you can also learn a lot by throwing your discs in a park or field near your house. But we want to play disc golf on a course so let’s find a course.
As mentioned in my article How To Find Disc Golf Courses I love to use the Udisc app. Go read the article for more on discovering new courses or download the app onto your phone.
3. Use a map
You found a course but make sure you also have access to a map of the course. This will help you navigate to find the tee-pads (where you throw from) and where the basket is (where you finish).
You might think this is all easy to discern but some holes are trickier than others and it’s not always so clear where to start or what direction to throw in. Just because you see a basket where you’re standing from doesn’t always mean that’s the basket you’re currently shooting for.
A map will guide your way and also point out important markers like out-of-bounds, hazards, and mandos. While it’s not important to know all these terms as you get started a map with this information will help you learn the rules as you go.
4. Learn the quick basics
Let’s go over the basics of disc golf and get into the specifics later. The goal is to get your disc into the target in the least amount of throws as possible. If it takes you four throws to make it into a basket your score for that hole is 4.
Always start from the tee-pad with the basket being the goal.
Don’t worry about birdies, pars, and bogies, Just keep track of the number of throws for each hole. I wouldn’t even worry about what the par is for each hole. BUT, par means the number of throws it should take to get into the basket. Most holes on most courses are a par 3.
When beginning many choose to not keep score and just have fun throwing the discs and watching them do the complete opposite of what you planned. lol, This is going to happen. It’s okay to not keep score and just to learn and have fun.
A course usually consists of 18 holes and some only have 9. You may even choose to play short rounds at first to save on the amount of time spent. If your course only has 9 holes play it twice to get a full 18 hole round in.
That’s it! Get your disc in as little throws as possible and have fun. Learn the details of the rules later.
5. Who goes first?
If you want to get started quickly and keep the round moving I recommend playing what we call “ready play.” That means you go in no particular order on the tee-pad. If you’re ready, step up and take your turn. Players take their turn. If you need a moment to think or catch your breath let someone else go and keep the throws going.
After all the first drives are taken everyone walks out onto the course to their disc resting spot. The person farthest from the basket goes first. Everyone else should stop walking while they’re still behind this player as to not get into their view. Again, sometimes this player who is further back is slower, busy, or distracted and others may go as they’re ready. Then the next person who is furthest from the basket takes their turn so on and so forth.
Never throw towards someone with their back turned towards you. Always give players ahead of you a heads up that you’re “coming through.”
When all the players are closer to the basket that’s when you slow down. Give the person furthest from the basket room and time to concentrate on their shot. This is simple etiquette when someone is throwing at all times. Make your putts and head to the next hole. The person who got the lowest score on the previous holes would go first on the next hole.
6. Throw your drive
Your first throw off the tee-pad is called a drive. You can throw your driver or choose to throw your mid-range disc and even your putter if you choose.
Many experienced players recommend new players only throw their “mids” and putters to get used to the sport and throwing. I say everyone is different so keep this tip in mind when you’re learning. The mid-range disc and putter will most likely be easier for you to get some good distance and control so take advantage of the fact you have three disc to choose from and ultimately to learn.
TIP: Many advanced players recommend that beginners start with only throwing this mid-range discs and putters. While everyone is different this is a great tip to keep in mind.
7. Throw an Approach Shot
After your first drive is your approach shot. Depending how far you are from the basket you may opt to use your driver again or either one of your other discs. If your drive made it a good distance from the tee-pad you’re in a good spot.
This throw is called an approach shot because your main goal is to get closer to the target setting yourself up for a close “easy” putt. Mid-range discs are a good option as the discs seem to go straighter and finish with a little less fade at the end.
Finally, practice throwing that putter! it’s called a “putt and approach” for a reason. Don’t reserve it for putts only. Putters have a nice flight and predictable finish to help you settle real close to the target.
8. Putt into the basket
Your final throws are into the basket with your putter. Take your time. Keep the target on your eyes and toss that baby in!
Try to set yourself up as close as possible on your approach shots to give yourself an easier putt into the basket. Remove your discs before the next player takes their putt. If the disc is lying flat in the basket sometimes we just leave it there to speed up the playtime. If your disc comes to rest in the chains or leaning against the basket remove as to not cause a distraction to the next player and to free up the chains etc.
9. Tally up your scores
After everyone has finished up their putts you tally up your throws before starting the next hole. On the scorecard mark, the number of throws made including all drives, approaches, and putts.
Continue playing the rest of the course in the same manner. When all holes have been scored, add all your 18 holes up for a grand total score.
The player with the lowest score in the end wins.
10. Repeat often
As with most things the more you do it the more you’ll learn. Take it easy your first couple of rounds and remember to have fun. As you throw those discs you’ll develop form and control in time.