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The beginner tip to disc golfers of “throw down” can be applied in multiple facets, yet is focused on two specific areas in the game. While many initially think “throw down” means the opposite of throwing up; it’s ultimately intended to help players with their disc selection. One of the worst beginner misconceptions in disc golf is that drivers go further because they are drivers. While this is true in most scenarios, it is not the case for beginners! How many beginners do you know that tried disc golf, loved it and then bought a Wraith, Beast or some kind of driver? After several weeks of playing they are continually frustrated because “the disc just breaks to the left” instead of a 500’ laser beam like the envisioned. Our beginner tip to them? Throw down!
Our “throw down” tip is simple — throw one step less than whatever you think you need to throw. If you want to throw a driver, throw a mid range. If you think a mid range will do the trick, throw a putter. Not only will “throwing down” initially give you more control, but it will give you more distance as well! It all goes back to elementary school math — the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. While “shortest distance” and “more distance” don’t seem to go together, think of the flight of the disc. What disc is going to go further — the disc that is thrown straight or the disc that breaks violently to the left right off the tee? Most likely, the straight disc. What’s going to be more enjoyable? Most likely, the straight disc…again.
Without playing the game of disc golf before, “throwing down” is a hard concept for beginners to wrap their mind around. When we vend The Mobile Disc Golf Experience, many beginners look right for big drivers like the Star Vulcan or I-Dye Champion Mamba. While these discs are all well and good, would they enjoy the game immediately with them? Absolutely not. We try to persuade them back to the beginner discs — typically DX plastic, lighter in weight and something along the lines of a Leopard, Shark, Aviar or maybe even a Valkyrie for flickers. Some people think we are joking or don’t have their best interest at heart, while it couldn’t be more of the opposite. DX Sharks have great glide, yet are straight flyers — as are the XD and Aviar putters that we carry. While throwing a driver seems like the best idea, I promise that any beginner could throw a putter further than any driver they chose. Perfect example: my 10 year old step-daughter can throw a Valkyrie 70 feet while she can throw an XD almost 200 feet. 200 feet? I’m serious — she can rip that XD putter, turn it over to the right and watch it glide forever. That straight line is much more enjoyable to see and the disc model enables her to focus on the technique required for immediate enjoyment, while the distance is typically the only end product that a beginning player remembers anyway.
“Throwing down” may not apply to every scenario, but give it a try in your next round. If you think you should throw a Valkyrie, throw a Mako and watch it fly. If you think you can sneak a Roc all the way to the basket and not have it skip out, try throwing a nice straight putter that sits soft. I, personally, still use this advice in a lot of my shot making rounds as I can still throw a Roc or Buzz further than many of my drivers due to the fact that it has incredible glide and doesn’t lose a lot of distance breaking to the left when the disc rotation starts to slow down at the end of the flight.
The other specific area that “throw down” applies to is physically throwing down. While the proper technique for disc golfers is a straight pull across their chest, I encourage players to “throw down” as their typical miss is by throwing up. If you constantly throw up, the disc is released much slower, breaking hard left, and eventually coming backwards if the disc goes high enough. If you “throw down” you are at least giving yourself a chance for success. “Throwing down” also gives you the ability to “miss right” which is another piece of advice I give beginners, but that will be covered in another blog post.
We hope that our tip of “throwing down” is helpful to you beginners! If someone really cares about your success and enjoyment of this wonderful sport, they will give you a putter or a mid range right off the bat. I promise you that if you focus on throwing a Roc as far and straight as you can, you will soon be able to throw a fairway driver A LOT further simply because you have the technique down and understand what flight of the disc it is that you need to achieve. Focus on getting your technique with easier throwing discs like mid ranges and putters and then step up to a Leopard (fairway driver) before going straight to a Valkyrie (distance driver) and beyond. These discs are a bit easier to handle, and will enable you to test out the world of drivers before jumping into the big bombers like a Vulcan, Katana or Destroyer. Best of luck!