If you ever visit a disc golf course you’re bound to see most of the players throwing the same type of throws. There are two main types, forehand and backhand, but there are even more types of disc golf throws that can be effective if done properly.
Having a basic understanding of every shot type will help you to improve your disc golf skills and will lead to better overall scores!
Here are the different disc golf throws, what situation you should throw them, and the benefits of each one!
Backhand throws are the most common type that you’ll see disc golfers do. It’s the most basic of throws and is much easier to learn for most players, especially compared to forehand flicks.
For comparison, it’s important to note that more disc golfers can throw a backhand much further than forehand throws or any other type of utility shot. It doesn’t require as much effort and finesse as a forehand to generate spin and distance.
Because of the popularity of backhands, the majority of holes on courses are designed in a way that makes backhand throws the better option. Most players will throw backhand drives off the tee for maximum distance and control on release. Forehand throws are more common for drives that bend from left to right, or for hitting gap shots in the woods.
The second most used throwing style is a forehand flick or sidearm as many players like to call it. Even though a forehand seems to be the exact opposite of a backhand throw, there are a few differences to note about how the disc will fly.
It’s not uncommon to see disc golfers who have great backhands and not much of a forehand. For most players, the backhand throwing motion and follow-through are easier to learn, and it can take a bit more practice to get any power and distance on a sidearm throw.
Although you can perform well with backhands, having a serviceable forehand can dramatically improve your scores. Some disc golf holes are shaped more towards a forehand throw, so it’s nice to have that option instead of forcing a turnover backhand.
Overhand throws are not used as often and are usually saved for those situations where you don’t have any other option. Most of my overhand throws are when I’m deep in the woods and have no other angle than to go above any obstacles that are in the way.
There are actually two different overhand throws, the Tomahawk and the Thumber. Each overhand throw requires a different grip, although the throwing motions are very similar for both.
The three main uses of tomahawk throws are to get out from behind an obstacle, to get more power on standstill shots, and for low and controller skip shots.
The basic Tomahawk grip is to hold your disc like you would a normal forehand, with either one or two fingers on the inside of the rim and your thumb on the outside.
Then for throwing form, instead of throwing sidearm, you would release the disc up over your head and follow-through high up.
Although it’s not frequently used on the disc golf course, thumbers provide a good amount of flexibility to get out of rough areas, especially when you have to throw a standstill.
It’s easier for disc golfers to throw thumbers further than Tomahawks because it gives better grip and more power behind the throw.
To grip the disc for a thumber release, do the opposite of the Tomahawk grip that we covered above. Instead of placing your thumb on the outside of the disc, place your thumb on the inside of the rim and squeeze the disc between your thumb and index finger.
One of my favorite shots to throw on wide-open drives is the roller. The basic idea behind the roller is to throw an understable disc with enough force and angle so that it will land on the side of the disc and continue to roll down the fairway.
Forehand rollers are a great utility shot for getting out of the woods, especially if you’re stuck behind a tree or other obstacle.
Backhand rollers are the better option if you’re trying to get maximum distance and reach the basket in one throw.
Learning to throw a roller can be difficult since you have to have great angle control on release, otherwise, the disc will slow down and turn before reaching max distance. Also, not every hole has the option to throw rollers, so it’s difficult to put this throw into practice.
Disc Golf Throwing Angles
There are three categories that make up the angle a disc is released on; hyzer, flat, and anhyzer. Understanding and getting the right angle for your shot is key to improving your drives and mastering the game of disc golf.
A hyzer angle is when the lower section of the disc, which isn’t being gripped, is tilted and pointed towards the ground on release. The most common angle for backhand drives is a hyzer since it’s easier to control and gain distance.
The flat release angle is when the disc is parallel to the ground and completely horizontal when it’s thrown. Throwing flat and straight is one of the more difficult skills to achieve in disc golf since the slightest change in angle will alter the flight.
Flat releases are common for tunnel shots in the woods, or approach shots with midranges or putters.
The opposite of hyzer, the anhyzer release is when the gripped side of the disc is pointed towards the ground. For backhand throws, you can force the anhyzer angle by tilting your wrist upwards, causing the closest part of the disc to face downward.
Anhyzers are a great choice for flex shots and can help you throw further once you learn to properly control the release angle.