How to Play Disc Golf: A Guide for Beginners

Disc golf has proven to be a pandemic-proof sport: from 2019 to 2020, the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) new member growth was nearly 84%. A less formal (and arguably more fun) alternative to golf, plastic discs take the place of awkward golf clubs and balls. If you’ve ever wondered how to play disc golf, we’ve got you covered.

The Basics

For those unfamiliar with golf, the objective is to use a golf club to hit a golf ball into a recessed (buried) cup on each “hole” of a golf course. The person or team with the lowest score at the end of 9 or 18 “holes” wins the game, or in the case of a tournament, the round.

Disc golf is very similar in scoring and objective to “regular” golf, but playing disc golf differs slightly in terms of demographic, terrain, and the necessary gear.

Disc golf gear is focused more on rougher terrain, spin rate, and how comfortable the disc feels upon release like these discraft zone offerings. There are some physical techniques that will ensure proper form, but throwing a disc is a little more about “feel” than the robotic machinations of a golf swing.

How To Play Disc Golf

Once you’ve found a disc golf course that you’d like to play, it’s time to assemble your teams and opponents. Some courses will have equipment available for you to rent, and that is a very important point to check on before going – a regular backyard “frisbee” isn’t going to cut it.

Once you’ve got your squad, course, and your disc golf gear, go play. Like golf, each hole will have a designated area called a “tee.” In disc golf, this is a starting location rather than a physical wooden tee that you would use in golf.

Teams or individuals take turns “teeing off” – attempting to glide their respective discs toward disc golf’s version of the “hole.” More on that in a bit. The player furthest from the hole then takes their second shot, and so on and so forth.

Disc golf “holes” are actually steel and chain baskets that typically stand about 2.5-3 feet out of the ground. The goal is to get your disc to rest in the basket. The total number of turns that it took each player to go from the tee to the hole is their score for the hole.

Usually, disc golf course managers will assign a “par” for each hole on the course, which allows players to track how close they are to the arbitrary “average” number of turns they need.

At the end of the previously agreed-upon amount of holes, players total up their scores, and the player or team with the lowest score wins. Typically disc golf matches last either 9 or 18 holes.

Disc Golf Tips

The most important part of disc golf for beginners is to just go have fun. Enjoy the outdoors and the company of your friends or family – the benefits of disc golf are numerous.

Find disc golf gear that is comfortable to wear and discs that are comfortable to grip. You should also consider the type of terrain and weather situations that you may encounter on the disc golf course, which may affect the type of bag or gear apparatus that you choose.

Get Out There and Play

You’ve got the basics of how to play disc golf now, and you know where to look for gear and the latest in discs – go pitch a round or two!

In the meantime, if you’d like to check out more on this topic, take a look at other articles in our Lifestyle section.