While driving in disc golf isn’t the most important aspect of the game, it is essential to building all of your other shots and allowing you to get the opportunity to post low scores. Developing a solid driving technique and style and even gaining long distances doesn’t mean that you will post low scores, however. It’s important to remember that putting and approach shots are just as important in bringing your score down, which is the goal in any golf game.
Yet driving can set up the entire hole, determining whether you are successful in achieving par, scoring birdies, or struggling to get your disc into the basket before you find yourself with a double-digit score. When you set up on the tee, there are a number of things that you need to keep in mind that will determine whether you have a great shot or one that you wish you could take back.
Know What You Want to Accomplish
How far do you want your drive to go? After you have played for a fair amount of time, you will know how far you can throw your discs. This doesn’t mean that at every hole you should be aiming for the maximum distance. Sometimes it is better and more prudent to throw a shorter shot, leaving yourself with a more manageable approach than trying to thread the needle through a narrow gap in the fairway and ending up in a thicket or other hazard that will cost you more shots.
Many of the best golfers regularly hit their drives far less than some more inexperienced ones would even attempt. Is there a small brook that cuts through the fairway right around your normal driving distance range? If so, then you will want to hold back a bit on your distance to make sure you don’t flirt with that brook and possibly incur a penalty. Plenty of disc golfers before you have attempted to clear that hazard because they figured that if they did, they might have a legitimate shot at getting an eagle. Most of them struggled for much higher scores.
If the hole curves to the right or the left, then you will need to shape your drive to accommodate, which means that you will lose some of that distance you have become accustomed to. When you don’t take into account this factor, if your landing or target area is where the fairway begins to curve, then you will tend to find yourself coming up short and facing a challenging second shot having to shape it around the bend you initially planned on clearing.
Knowing Your Factors
Speed, strength, and technique all play an important role in your drives. While you want to focus on all of them, of course, there will be times when you need to rely on speed more than strength, technique more than speed, and so on. When to concentrate on which aspect will depend on a great number of factors.
Speed – The speed of your technique and the disc will be important when you are attempting to drive it farther or the wind is behind you. Speed of your release will also be important for windy conditions because when you get a lull in the wind, taking too long with your approach and release will invite that wind to build back up. Lighter discs will allow you the opportunity to drive your shots farther, but will be more susceptible to shifts in your release or technique, or the wind.
Strength – When you are playing in tough weather conditions, whether it’s raining or windy, and you’re facing a stiff cross wind, for example, then you will likely want to focus on strength for your driving strategy. Strength will allow you to throw into these tougher conditions, plowing through them, even though you know the disc will not travel as far as it might on other days. Heavier discs will be ideal when you need strength to play an important role.
Technique – As you develop your disc golf skills, you will learn a number of different techniques, depending on the type of shot you have to make and where you are. A putting technique, for example, may not be ideal for long drives on long holes, but then again, it could be beneficial on a shorter hole when the wind is howling and you have little control over shaping the toss.
Technique will vary from one disc golfer to the next, and there will not be any single right or wrong solution to technique that you will find when playing a round of golf. However, there are some amazing things that you can accomplish with a disc by simply altering your release point, moving your shoulders out quicker, or a number of other strategies.
When you pull a disc drive, the disc will begin to take off quicker toward the direction of your throwing arm. For example, if you are right handed, then a pull will result in the disc driving toward the right. This can be an ideal situation if you are shaping the throw to come back left, but want to clear an obstacle by pulling it first.
Imagine that the hole turns toward the left about 100 feet from the tee box. A major tree with thick limbs hangs out on the left side, just before the turn. While you want your disc to go left, ultimately, you don’t want to flirt with the tree limbs, so you will pull it to your right upon release and then allow it to curve and drift left once it has cleared that annoying tree.
Your drives can be altered by simply changing your release point. Releasing early will cause you to push the shot and releasing late will cause it to pull. Experiment with these techniques when you are at the range learning new throwing styles. The more you experiment with them, the more accomplished you will become and when that happens, the better you will be at disc golf.
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