One of my favorite things to do on a nice day is disc golf. Meeting a few friends at one of the courses in Ames for a round of frolf (as we call it, or frisbee golf) is a great way to spend a few hours outside. But, it wasn’t the easiest hobby to understand where to begin. The disc golf section of some stores can have hundreds of options and at first I had no clue what I was looking for. Once I got on the course, I couldn’t figure out why none of my throws were going where I wanted them to. Here’s a quick and easy guide to figuring out frolf based on my experiences.
Picking a disc:
There are quite a few brands that make disc golf discs. The most common brand, and the brand that stores stock the most of, is Innova. There are other good options, but selection for other brands can sometimes be lacking. Innova makes a good selection of discs for all types of disc golf players, so they’re generally a pretty good brand to start with. You may be tempted to buy one from each category in the store: putters, mid-range, drivers, etc. My friend, who is a huge disc golfer and has played in tournaments, recommended this to me when I began and advised to get a good driver. A driver will do all the things you want it to do, it just might not do as good of a job in the short range. This is much better than buying a putter and trying to throw it 200 yards.
On Innova discs, there are numbers on the front of every disc. The first number is speed. Speed refers to how fast and far a disc can fly when thrown with the right amount of power. That last part is important because you might be tempted to get the disc with the highest speed rating so you can drive as far as possible. However, high speed discs require a lot of power and proper technique to fly properly. For a beginner, a lower speed disc is almost always going to fly farther than a super high-speed disc. The speed number ranges from 1 – 14. I don’t know anybody that uses a disc with a 14 rating, those are mostly used by professionals.
The rest of the numbers are a little more complicated to understand, so you can learn more by reading Innova’s page explaining the numbers here.
So what disc should you buy?
For a beginner, I recommend a disc with an ‘8’ or ‘9’ speed rating. These will be in a nice sweet spot of having pretty good distance while still be relatively easy to throw. A ‘Thunderbird’ is a great choice. They fly straight and stable, perfect for beginners.
Okay, I picked a disc. How do I throw it?
The first instinct when throwing a disc your first time is to throw it Frisbee style. While that’s okay and a lot of people choose to do it that way, there are a few other methods when it comes to throwing. Try searching on YouTube for ‘backhand’ and ‘tomahawk’ examples and tutorials. Find the throwing style that suits you, and practice.
If you have friends that have “frolfed” before, they can help you out as you learn. If it’s new to you and your friends, enjoy learning together. Even if you aren’t good, you can still have a good time playing and figuring it out together.
If you find yourself really loving disc golf, consider joining the disc golf club at Iowa State!