Playing a round of disc golf by yourself or with friends is an exciting afternoon. The more you play, the more comfortable you become with the game, the rules, scoring, and technique. You will begin to understand how to shape your throws properly and become more efficient at placing the disc on the basket within the putting range.
Yet to get into that range with the fewest number of shots requires that you have at least a fair amount of distance on your drives. Some people will never have a strong driving ability and will learn to adapt their game to accommodate this shortcoming. Generally a strong putter can make shots from farther away than someone who might be an excellent driver and only adequate finisher.
However, there is no reason why you can’t add distance to your drive by keeping a few important tips in mind.
Using the Entire Body for Disc Golf Driving
When you take your drive from the tee, a number of beginner and intermediate disc golfers don’t use their entire body. They may use parts, such as the legs and the arm, but they negate others, such as the abdomen, back, and shoulders. All of these parts of the body are important at creating a great deal of torque, allowing you to generate strong power and sending that disc farther than ever before.
The hips are important to any quality drive. When you turn your hips and then ‘clear’ them out of the way during your throw –in other words turning your hips as you begin to throw-, you will generate more power. Also, your legs are important in generating torque as they offer balance and a force behind your hips.
When your hips ‘clear’ out, this motion pulls on your back and shoulders, which drives out your arm. Combining all of these components together will equal a long and powerful throw. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you will be accurate with your throws; it only means that you will have more distance behind them.
The Effect of More Power
If you have ever tried to throw a disc harder than you are used to, then you probably already understand what the side effects of generating more power can be. You might very well gain twenty or more feet of distance, but that added power changes the timing of your release. This will have a negative impact, at least for a while, on your control. The faster your hips, shoulders, and legs move, the faster your arm moves. When that occurs, then you will need to present a faster release time.
While you may prefer the accuracy to the distance gained in the beginning, the more you practice these added strategies, the more your technique will refine itself. It simply comes down to the concept that you are forcing your body to move faster, which narrows the window of release. Adjusting is merely a matter of fine tuning your hand technique.
When you refine your timing through this process, you will begin to notice that your throws travel greater distances, that wind and other weather effects do not have the same impact on them as they might have before, and that you will be in a better position for your second throw, whether you will be putting for birdie or approaching the basket still 200 feet away.
The more distance that you can gain on your drives, when you are accurate, the more opportunities you will have to post low scores, such as birdies and eagles. Watching the professional regular golfers on tour can offer a great deal of insight into this. The average driving distance twenty years ago was about 260 feet. Today it’s over 300 feet, and the equipment and technique changes, as well as strengthening and conditioning.
A golfer who averages 260 feet today on his drives will not win on tour. Why? When they are taking their second shot from 40 or more feet behind their competitors, they decrease the opportunities for low scoring holes. They may consistently shoot par, but they simply won’t have as many opportunities to score birdies or eagles.
The same holds true in disc golf. The farther you are away from the basket for your second shot, then less chance you have of scoring low. If you want to become more competitive, then you need to gain more distance to at least get within a manageable distance to your playing partners.
The Rip Cord Disc Golf Driving Throw
If you have ever gone skydiving or have seen a video of it, you will know that the ripcord is placed at the front of the shoulder, near the collar bone. In order to effectively pull the rip cord, you would need to extend your arm on that side of your body and pull forward.
Using this technique in disc golf can offer a great deal of power because it is relying on the strongest parts of the arm to generate speed. Ultimately, speed is what determines how far the disc will travel. Power will determine how much you can do with that disc and still achieve the distance you need.
The Rip Cord technique can be quite effective when combined with a running technique. The release of the disc occurs with the disc perpendicular to the ground. The snap comes from the wrist when the arm is at a 45-degree angle. Drawing the disc back to just over the shoulder can generate even more speed.
This technique is not for everyone. It takes time to develop it and become comfortable using it, but it does offer more distance overall than traditional backhanded or even forehand techniques. If you want to maximize the weapons in your arsenal, then you will definitely want to add this rip cording technique to it.
Whenever you begin to add more distance to your drives, you will want to make sure that you don’t sacrifice control for that distance. It doesn’t serve you any good to be playing your second shots from the woods or behind obstacles, no matter how close you got to the basket off the tee.
Image via Steve Ganz on flickr.