If you’re like most disc golf players, increasing the distance on your drive is one of the most sought-after improvements to make to your game. Nothing is better than a solid drive to start a hole.
In this article, I’ll list the 13 best ways to improve the overall distance of your drives. By practicing and implementing these tips and techniques, you should be able to add distance to your disc golf drive.
Here Are The 13 Ways To Improve Your Disc Golf Drive:
- Increase Arm Speed
- Focus on Footwork
- Record Yourself Throwing and Compare to Pros
- Drive With a Putter to Practice Good Form
- Work With a Coach
- Add More Snap to Your Drive
- Use a Disc Suited To Your Skill Level
- Don’t Use a Heavy Disc
- Learn the Power Grip
- Load Your Hips For More Power
- Always Follow Through After the Shot
- Reach Straight Back
- Perfect Your Timing
Some of the tips listed here have to do with technique and mechanical tweaks you can make to your throw to increase distance. Other tips will help with disc choice, form, and understanding the overall motion of throwing the driver for distance.
What is Considered a Good Drive in Disc Golf?
The experience and skill level of the player will dictate the distance of a disc golf drive. For a beginner just starting, an average throw will be between 150 feet to 250 feet.
A disc golf player with some experience and practice can throw anywhere from 200 feet to 350 feet on average. For a professional or very experienced player, a drive of 450 feet or more is considered a good drive.
Women’s drives won’t be as far at the top end, but both will fall into the same range for beginners.
13 Ways To Improve Your Disc Golf Drive
Anyone can step up to the tee and chuck a disc to start a hole of disc golf. But, there is more technique and complexity to a perfect disc golf drive than you think.
Below are the 13 tips and must-know information you can implement to increase and maximize the distance of your drives.
1. Increase Arm Speed
One of the most important factors in adding distance to a drive is to increase arm speed. Most people will believe that adding arm speed means muscling up and throwing the driver as hard as humanly possible.
But, muscling up on the disc will not increase your arm speed or be a substitute for arm speed when throwing a driver on the course.
What I mean by this is arm speed won’t come by throwing the disc harder. Speed will come from full arm extension, rotation of the hips, and timing of these elements coming together.
The key to developing good speed is developing good form.
The best way to work on speed and form is to use the Beto Drill, shown below from start to finish.
2. Focus on Footwork
Beginners who want to drive farther in disc golf will logically think that getting a running start on the tee will provide them with the momentum needed to launch the driver further down the fairway.
The truth is that getting a running start won’t allow you to throw further at all. You’ll need to work on proper footwork if you want to drive further.
The basic footwork move when driving is called the “X Step”. Using the X step will put your feet in the right spot and get your body into a loaded position to create the most power and speed behind the drive.
Your legs and your hips will provide the power when it comes to driving the disc, so footwork is key to maximizing the potential power. Here is how to perform an X step properly.
3. Record Yourself Throwing and Compare to Pros
When you’re in the act of throwing the disc, it’s harder to break down and dissect what you might be doing wrong or where you can improve.
It’s worth it to record yourself throwing your driver to better analyze where you can improve in form and footwork to get more distance on your drives. Compare your throwing motion to disc golf pros to see where your form might differ.
This will give you better feedback and a visual reference of exactly what you’ll need to work on to improve your drives.
4. Drive With a Putter to Practice Good Form
A putter is not designed to fly far or particularly fast, so why would you want to play a round of disc golf using only a putter?
Playing with only a putter is going to force you to dial in your technique, form, and mechanics to make consistent shots and finish each hole.
Playing rounds with the putter will create consistency with your throws that will help your entire game, driving included.
When you’re able to drive 200-300 feet with a putter in hand, you’ll have confidence in your ability to launch a driver further than before.
5. Work With a Coach
Sometimes when you’ve tried everything and have plateaued in your ability to drive past a certain distance, it might be worth it to get a fresh set of eyes for help.
A seasoned coach can give you instant feedback on what you might be doing wrong (or right) and provide insight that can only be gained from experience.
6. Add More Snap to Your Drive
The snap is the culmination of the force generated from your legs and hips and ends at the release point of the disc. Adding spin to the disc as it leaves your hands will increase the spin on the disc.
More spin on the disc is important to a farther drive because for a right-hand backhand thrower when the spin on the disc slows, the disc will then begin to fade to the left.
More sping means the disc will take longer to fade, giving you a farther drive.
So, how do you add more snap to your drive? The snap will come from properly anchoring your front leg and foot on the ground.
Anchoring the front foot transfers that momentum up through your hips, to the arm, and creates the snap with the wrists through the fingers as the disc is launched.
Adding snap to your throw is directing the momentum in a controlled way through your body to the release point of the disc. Below is a great video for explaining why anchoring the front foot creates more snap at the point of release.
7. Use a Disc Suited To Your Skill Level
Not every disc is made equal, and certainly not ever drivers made equal. Many specialty discs emphasize different flight characteristics of the disc.
This can mean a disc with high speed, overstable, understable, etc. If you aren’t sure what these names mean for your throw, you won’t be ready to use that disc.
As a beginner, instead of trying to throw a disc a more advanced player would use, throw a driver that is a lower speed rating, high glide rating, and understable.
These disc flight ratings are perfect for a beginner attempting to practice and perfect their drive.
8. Don’t Use a Heavy Disc
Using a heavier driver won’t generate more power when it’s been thrown. The opposite can happen. The heavier disc can create more drag through the air, and won’t stay in the air as long as a lighter disc would.
An ideal weight for a driver will be 170 grams or less. This is a perfect disc weight for a beginner or amateur to use for their drivers.
Even competitive disc golf players can’t use a disc heavier than 200 grams in PDGA sanctioned competition according to published guidelines and technical standards for disc golf discs.
So, don’t let your ego get the best of you and grab a disc you can handle. Then really impress your friends with a monster drive!
9. Learn the Power Grip
If you’re a backhand driver, chances are you’re already using the power grip or something similar to it. But for the sake of covering all bases to drive further, the power grip is a basic grip for backhand throwers.
The power grip is done by simply placing all four fingers under the rim of the disc using your right hand, and your thumb on the top of the disc where the flat plate meets the rim.
The edge of the disc rim should be resting on your palm and your fingers will be curled underneath the rim of the disc.
Using this grip will create more rotations on the disc when thrown, which is key to maximum distance on your drive. Remember from tip #6 adding more snap, that the faster the disc is rotating the further it will fly in a straight line before it starts to fade.
Pro Tip: Keep the heel of the palm from resting on the flight plate or the rim of the disc. This will eliminate unnecessary drag on release.
10. Rotate Your Hips For More Power
Similar to a baseball player loading their hips before swinging the bat, a disc golf player will load the hips as the front foot is anchored. The same goes for a ball golf player swinging a club.
Loading the hips as it’s called is using your legs and rotating the hips to generate the power required for a drive you can be proud of.
When the hips are “loaded” is the moment right before starting your rotation to throw the disc. At this point, your arm and the disc will be extended straight out behind your body. The hips are now loaded and ready to provide power.
This is why anyone with a long disc drive will tell you that power is not generated from the arm or shoulder but the hips and the legs.
11. Always Follow Through After the Shot
A smooth follow-through after the shot will ensure that the power from your legs and hips are fully transferred through your hips and to your front leg that’s anchored at the front of the tee box.
Without a full follow-through, your throw will not get the full force that your lower body is providing. Stopping your body after throwing can also put undue stress on the knees and lead to injuries.
Your momentum should lead to a smooth and balanced follow-through.
12. Reach Straight Back
A common mistake when throwing a drive is to either not extend the arm and wrist out far enough or to overreach across the body with the disc before it’s thrown.
Reaching across the body will naturally curl the wrist and cause the drive to fly in a “C” shape instead of a straight line. Pull the arm back straight out, then bring the disc back through your body on a straight line to release.
This ensures that you’re not fighting your own body’s mechanics to make the disc fly straight.
Players will often overreach to add extra spin or snap to the disc. This will have the opposite effect on the drive and will shorten the distance you’re able to drive.
13. Perfect Your Timing
This is where technique and form meet to bring everything together for the drive. Practice the X step, reach back, load the hips, and lead with the hips to the drive and the follow-through.
If part of the timing is not right, or you’re over-eager on one aspect of the technique, everything can be out of whack. Getting the timing down takes time and practice.
With you’re timing right using these tips will ensure that your drive reaches its full potential.
Final Thoughts | Improving Your Disc Golf Drive
It’s clear that perfecting your disc golf drive and increasing the overall distance takes patience, practice, and dedication to get every movement down. One wrong move could be the difference between a great throw and a disappointing drive.
But, don’t let this scare you away from practicing. Once you have your form, footwork, and technique down pat, our body will commit these movements to muscle memory. So, practice, practice, practice and don’t get discouraged. You will see results!