I am a beginner at disc golf, and am just beginning to understand all the different things you need to know. I thought I’d write some of them down in order to clarify them in my mind.
While I’m new to disc golf, I have been throwing Frisbees since I was in high school. Most of the time we free-styled, where you try to do tricks with your catches and throw with different styles. Here’s a photo of me in college with a disc:
My younger son Dan has been playing disc golf, and gotten pretty good at it. He came to visit us the past January, and took me out to play a few rounds. Disc golf uses very different discs than Frisbees, and they come with all sorts of different characteristics that affect how they fly. Dan gave me a crash course, but it was a lot to keep straight! He let me use some of his discs, but once he went back home I needed some of my own.
I went to a sporting goods store that carried some discs, and more or less blindly picked a couple. I knew that there were drivers for getting distance, and putters for accuracy on the short shots. I bought the Innova Destroyer driver, and the Innova Colt putter.
There is a disc golf course not too far from my house: Pearsall Park. Besides being close by, it’s very hilly, and is a good workout just walking the course! The first hole is pretty open, so I threw my driver. It did not fly like I thought it would; it just turned over quickly to one side and crashed to the ground without going very far. The Colt, though, flew just fine. In fact, it flew straighter and longer than the Destroyer! This made no sense to me: why would a putter fly further than a driver?
Afterwards I texted Dan about this, and he explained that the Speed rating of the Destroyer was too high for me. I didn’t understand: wouldn’t the speed rating mean that it would fly faster?
No, it turns out. It doesn’t mean that at all. What it means is the speed at which the disc must be thrown in order to achieve the flight it was designed for. The Destroyer is Speed: 12, and I’m just not able to throw that hard yet. So when I threw it, it never got into the flight it was designed for. The Colt, though is Speed: 3, which I’m certainly capable of throwing. So I was able to get a good throw (albeit a relatively short one) with the Colt, and couldn’t throw the Destroyer reliably.
Guess I had some reading up to do! I found many good sources online, and soon felt confident enough to order new discs. I say “order” because by now the pandemic had forced businesses to close, so online was the only way to go. They’ve worked out much better for me, and slowly but surely I’m improving.
I’ll try to summarize what I’ve learned about disc flight characteristics in a future post. But for now I’m taking advantage of my unemployed state to practice disc golf as often as I can.