We’ve talked about putting practice, fairway drives and working on your approach shot skills. Now, let’s get into the most fun part of disc golf to practice: distance drives! You have to throw a tee shot on each and every hole no matter what disc golf course you are playing. The distances, angles and disc selection may change from hole to hole, but there will always be some sort of drive needed to get off the tee pad.
So, how do you practice drives? There are many methods you may want to try, but here are a few simple tips and drills you can implement:
Fieldwork is Crucial in Your Driving Practice
Fieldwork is exactly what it sounds like. You find an open field in your area or near the disc golf course and you throw. Soccer, football and baseball fields are all great for fieldwork, or sometimes just a relatively open area in a local park or neighborhood. Don't worry about a disc golf basket during this type of practice session. The point is to give yourself plenty of space to let ‘em rip from one end of the field to the other.
Bring out all of your disc golf discs, including distance drivers, fairway drivers and even your mid-ranges and putters to practice full throws without many obstacles. The main goals are to warm up your body, work on your throwing form and learn what your discs will do. Fieldwork is one of the best ways to learn which types of discs you like and which ones you don’t as you try to build your bag.
Warm-Up Before Your Driving Practice Begins
When it comes to fieldwork, you’ll want to avoid the temptation of trying to throw max distance right out of the car. Stretch and warm up a little bit. Start with some softer tosses. Build up to longer throws with your putters and mid-range discs. Then, work your way up to throwing your drivers. Get your body loose and your form dialed in before you start throwing full power shots. This will keep you from injuring yourself or wearing yourself out too early in your practice session.
Mix it Up With Different Throws
We know it’s really fun to go out in an open field and see how far you can throw. Unfortunately, max power is rarely required on the disc golf course. In a real round, you are faced with different lines and gaps. You have to throw on different angles and utilize different discs to achieve specific shot shapes. Don’t forget this when you are doing your fieldwork. Throw all the different discs in your bag from overstable discs to understable discs and try mixing up the speeds and angles as well. Open fields are nice because you won’t hit obstacles and you’ll get to see the full flight of the discs. Practicing drives on a real course can get frustrating if you keep hitting trees!
Take the time to work on your hyzers, hyzer flips, anyhyzers, flex shots, forehands, overhand shots, standstills and anything else you want to practice. Know which discs are best for certain shot shapes and distances. This way, you’ll be able to make smart decisions on the course.
Practice Drives in Different Directions
Going out to practice driving on a fairly windy day can be quite helpful. Just make sure you move to different sides of the field to experience the wind direction at different angles. Practice your shots and learn your discs in headwinds, tailwinds and side/diagonal winds. This is a great way to get better in windy conditions.
Try New Things
Fieldwork is a great time for trying new ideas and tinkering with your form, release points, X-step and other techniques. This is something you never want to do in the middle of a round. Driving practice allows you to work on stuff and develop muscle memory that you can access later. If something isn’t working, don’t stick with it too long or you might develop bad habits. Learning new techniques and changing form takes a lot of time and practice. You won’t become a master in one session. Slowly work on new ideas and figure out what works best for you.
Watch and Learn
There are many tutorials online from top pros who are sharing their best driving tips. Many of them offer consistent advice while some will have a different take on things. You may also have professional players in your area offering lessons or are willing to give you some tips. All will be helpful if you listen and learn what they have to say.
You can watch 100 different professional disc golfers throw distance drives and they will all have slightly different forms. You can learn from what they are doing and pick apart certain aspects of their throwing motions, but ultimately you have to find something that fits you. We can’t all throw as far as Garrett Gurthie and it takes many years to develop forehand consistency and power like Nate Sexton. There is a reason he’s one of the best in the business!
Don’t Wear Yourself Out
You might go out to the field expecting to throw for an hour. Then you find yourself tired and cramped after 15 minutes. That’s okay. Don’t push yourself too hard. It can be exhausting throwing one power drive after another. Build up your stamina and strength as you gradually increase your practice sessions. This will ultimately benefit you when playing in long tournament rounds and two-round days where all the walking and throwing add up.
As always, you want to commit the time to practice different aspects of your disc golf game. Driving practice is fun and can be very effective if you have a strong, consistent practice routine. Figure out what works for you and use the time to work on multiple throwing techniques and to learn your different discs.