Baby Steps Towards Hole 18

I feel I should provide advice concerning the entry into the sport of disc golf. I have a tweaked approach to learning the game than most websites, but if you want more information you should visit “noodle arm disc golf”. They have a good beginner tips article.

Material requirements:

At least one basket, at least one disc, and at least one arm.

Getting a Basket:

Good quality chains are pricy. If you live within ten miles of a course, then I would think you could find time to use a basket there. (Disc golf is free if you hadn’t heard yet.) Having a personal basket is an integral part of becoming a consistent putter, but there is no better practice than “running” (or attempting) putts at a real course. Most people start playing the sport because it is cheap. Only once a person decides to get serious about their play should they think about getting their own basket.

Getting a Disc:

Now, this is what you must understand about discs before you spend money:

There is a difference between frisbees and discs. Discs are smaller and not great for catch. If you like regular frisbees then try a sport called ultimate frisbee.

In disc golf lingo, there are two types of discs. There are overstable discs and understable discs. If a disc is overstable that means when a right-handed person backhands a disc in a straight line the disc will finish its flight to the left. Discs that are understable are supposed to fly to the right or go straight and finish right. The more overstable a disc is, the harder it is to throw.

With this information, you will be wondering how to figure out what disc to purchase and how to purchase it. My first recommendation is DO NOT go into a local sporting goods store. Do not take this lightly. If you go into a store you will see a larger selection of discs than you know what to do with. You will then make about 5 impulse buys and spend money on discs you might not be able to throw. For your first disc, I would suggest going online. The big brands have their own shops and I would suggest Innova because that is the main plastic I throw. (All discs have flight rating systems but Innova’s makes the most sense and helps you understand a disc’s tendencies more pre-throw.)

Lots of consideration will go into the selection of a disc online. First you need to find something with stability that suits you. Here is the simplest way to point you in that direction: Look at the first number on the disc. Innova will tell you the first number stands for the “Speed” of the disc. This is an extremely misleading term because it does not tell you how fast the disc flies or how much it rotates. “Speed” is a complicated way of describing how fast you must release a disc for it to perform its ideal flight. For our case, we are going to re-label the first number. We are going to call it “Stability” instead.

Once at the Innova shop I would say that the best bet for a beginner is anything under a 6 stability. All discs come in multiple hardness of plastic. If you want a durable disc, then try to purchase the disc in champion plastic. If you are trying to conserve resources you can buy a DX plastic disc. The plastic of a disc should not change flights too much.

After the disc and plastic are selected the only thing remaining is the disc weight. Here is a rule of thumb for me that other websites will advise against. ALWAYS buy max weight discs. People suggest beginners throw lighter discs because they will go farther. This is a trap and an excuse companies make so that beginners will still buy their 12 speed drivers. No matter how light of a disc you throw, if you do not build your game up from the ground your incorrect form will take a long time to fix. The whole weight thing is a marketing gimmick. It is essential to purchase max weight discs that are less stable to begin with.

If all this becomes too much or too expensive just remember how much you could be spending on a club and a round of ball golf. That should reassure you.

Getting an Arm:

In the literal sense of a physical appendage, I hope my Lord has blessed you with a healthy body and one arm, minimum.

In the figurative sense of building your arm strength, I have a secret for you. It is all form. As helpful as lifting is to keep in shape it’s nonconsequential to disc throwing. I have not played much ball golf, but I have heard it is similar in how even people who are somewhat out of shape can drive a good distance just because of the swing. A good way to learn form is to look up film of your favorite player and analyze how they throw. Or look up form videos.

I hope I have guided you the way you needed help finding. For those about to throw, we salute you.

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The Case for Six Holes

I have some personal bias towards courses with a small number of holes because my “home course” only consists of six holes. The course by my future university is also just nine holes. If there was an 18-hole setup within three miles of my house, then I might be fonder of them. Today I will attempt to give the positives and negatives of a six-hole course and help you to determine which you would prefer.

Pros:

Less walking.

The fact the course only holds 6 holes means the person in charge didn’t have much land to plan around to start with. We can assume that even if one was to play through three times they still would be walking less than on an actual 18-hole course.

Correct signage.

If the designer was stuck with a small piece of land, then it is probable that the baskets will never get moved. It is doubtful there will be multiple basket placements. This means the baskets should be where the sign says they are. (My father never agrees with distances that are written on signs. From experience, I must agree that the hole distances are never very accurate, even on a short course.)

Less traffic.

Most “serious” disc golfers consider six hole courses jokes. For them six holes is just for practice not for actual scoring. (The funny thing is most of the serious ones still produce amateur scores on full length courses. If they were to try hard on a small course they might realize that it isn’t something to laugh at.) If you are trying to avoid other disc golf snobs or you are looking for a quick round a six-hole is empty most of the time.

Less discs lost.

If a course is shorter then there is less opportunity to lose any of your precious discs. On top of this, there is less traffic so if you do lose a disc you should be able to come back and find it later that week before someone else does.

Cons:

Repetitive.

If you do still want to play eighteen holes, by the third time around the course could get a little boring. This is especially true if the course is wide open and you’ve been cranking drives on every tee.

Less Respect.

I already stated that other disc golfers might not think much of the small course. This is also true if the course is in a public park. Fellow park goers, oblivious to the use of the course, get in the way and don’t worry about getting out of the way. Then you will also worry about some mean kid stealing a disc before you can reach it or some dog chasing it. Also, lots of dog walkers think the property is there as a dog park. The moral is that we must show other people respect even if they don’t care about being respectful.

No Signage.

I know this is a little hypocritical of what I told you earlier. Hear me out. If a designer had less funding for a course, then the holes/tees should be numbered but you might not get a map. That means walking until you find the matching basket. It is not that big of a deal but people (like my dad) get frustrated when they are required to search for a hole.

Less competition.

If there was a higher demand for disc golf in a town then they would have a full 18 built. This means finding casual competition will not be easy and there is most likely not a disc golf club in the town. This means you have a lot of work or driving to do if you want to become very involved in the disc golf community.

Less discs found.

Most of the time disc golfers put their cell number on their discs. That means if their disc is found they’d like to get it back. I have returned two discs in the past and the golfers were very appreciative. If you lose a disc and someone else finds it then they are entitled to call you and return it. If not, they lack something that the rest of us considerate humans have. If you have given up on finding a disc on a six-hole course it is doubtful you’ll ever get called about that disc. Maybe no one will ever find it.

I do enjoy the six-hole course that is in my hometown. I play it, on average, three times a week. If you are a beginner or an amateur, then you will enjoy a small course. I have found it is a great place to play a putter-only round, if you are familiar with those. I would also like to warn all beginners: You will be discouraged if you try eighteen holes right off the bat. I plan on writing a post for new beginners soon so hold tight.

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