I’ve heard this problem from more than a few folks.
“I only throw my drivers, like 20 feet further than my putters.”
It’s not just you out there who is throwing everything 250 feet no matter what it is you put in your hands. There’s a few ways to fix this, and I want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your distance drivers that you can. Turning a 45 foot putt into a 30 footer is going to add to a lot more birdies.
My big two-part question is going to be, “How are you throwing your discs, and what are they doing?”
I’m guessing that you’re throwing your putter and it’s getting a very long hang time. It may waver a little bit from side to side, but it’s mostly straight. It’s probably about 25 feet high in the air at its apex.
I’m also guessing that your driver is going out straight, lifting slightly, and then beginning to fade. It may be thrown flat or a little nose up.
If that’s the flight path of your discs currently. I have great news, you don’t have to pay me for a lesson to get you more distance. Just keep reading, and maybe tweak your form or get a new disc from SabattusDiscGolf.com..
Let’s look at the speed of the disc, glide rating, the turn and fade sum, and the height you're throwing the disc at.
Wait, those are just all of the 4 number flight rating system numbers and one other thing. That’s everything!
Flight numbers are all important factors that matter to how your disc is (probably) going to fly. Now I know some folks turn their nose up as soon as I mention flight numbers, but they’re a good starting point to look at a disc.
The higher the glide rating is, the longer the disc will stay airborne. If you’re throwing a disc like a Firebird it’s going to have a glide rating of 3 and it won’t stay in the air for a long time. If you’re throwing a disc like a Shryke it has a rating of 6 and wants to be in the air a long time.
That’s not to say that a Shryke is going to be airborne twice as long, it’s just letting you know on a scale of how slowly that disc is going to get down to the ground. When you’re looking at discs on our website or in the pro shop we always let you know what the flight chart looks like so you know what you can expect out of a disc.
As far as drivers go, a 3-4 glide rating means that this disc is point and shoot. Don’t expect it to lift up at all. I use discs like the TL3 which has a glide rating of 4 to be my aim at the basket disc. I know I won’t sail past it. I like my Wraith with a rating of 5 for glide to be my long distance driver because it hangs in the air. There are different reasons to use discs of differing glides. If you’re interested in learning more about it, I have a great glide blog.
Putters' glides are very different. There is 1 putter with a glide rating above 4 that I know of, and it’s the MVP Glitch. Putters operate on a different scale (in my opinion). Anything that’s a 4 glide for a putter is basically a 6 glide for a driver. Putters are designed to float down instead of cutting through the air like a driver would. A glide rating of 1 or 2 for a putter is quite low. 3 seems to be the most common number, and it’s that normal slow drop you’re used to.
So we’ve established that higher glide rating means more potential distance. Look at your driver that you’re using, it needs to be in the air a long time for it to get distance. Is your glide rating a 5 or 6? If that’s the case you’re using the right glide.
Now let’s talk about what makes a disc flight the furthest.
The S Curve.
It’s called that because it makes a little swoop with some early turn, then forward glide, and a fade back. It looks more like a ?, but I’m going to keep calling it an S curve because that’s what people know.
Here’s Simon Lizotte throwing a 360 drive at the DGPT All Stars 2023. As you can see the disc is turning for most of the flight. This is important for distance, you want something that will turn longer than it fades.
If your disc is not moving from side to side, it’s not a big distance disc for you!
Your longest shots are going to be in the wide open spaces with room for the disc to swing from side to side. At Sabattus the place I practice long distance S curves is on Hole 14 of our Eagle course.
It’s wide open and has a long teepad. If you have a Bushnell rangefinder you can go out to your disc and shoot the laser back at the teesign to find your distance.
If you’re not from around here, I recommend going to a football field to range your discs. If you’re throwing more than 300 feet, try going from corner to corner which should be 393 feet from endzone corner to endzone corner. If you’re ripping 400+ feet, it’s time to ask other disc golfers in your area where they practice their long distance drives.
To get an S curve look at the turn and fade of your disc. Let’s keep talking about the Firebird. It has a rating of 0 for turn. It never wants to turn, it’s a utility disc.
The Shryke has a turn of -2, it wants to flip over during the flight.
Now let’s look at the fade. The fade of a Firebird is 4, it’s always going to fade out hard.
The Shryke will fade at 2, it’s coming back, but not quite as hard.
It’s time to add those discs, turn and fade numbers together. The Firebird has a Turn/Fade combo of +4. That means it’s very overstable.
The Shryke has a Turn/Fade combo of 0. It turns just as much as it comes back and fades.
If you’re throwing a Shryke and the disc isn’t going from side to side, it’s because the disc speed is too high.
Everyone has an arm speed that they’re comfortable throwing at. For me it’s 11, I know that I get the most distance out of my 11 speeds. Many pro players throw 12 speeds for their big distance discs.
If you aren’t sure what speed your arm is, here’s one of my most popular blogs to help you determine your arm speed, and how to improve it. Or you can start with the rule of 35. It’s basically your max distance disc is going to be.
Your consistent distance throw/35 = Speed of max disc
If you are sure of what your arm speed is, here are some Innova discs in the 9-13 speeds that I recommend you try for an S curve.
9 - Valkyrie
10 - Beast
11 - Mystere
12 - Tern
13 - Katana
There are 2 different tips that I want to recommend as well. Pointers that will increase your distance on your distance driver throws.
1. Throw lower weights for more distance. You want that disc to get up to speed and one of the easiest ways to do that is to throw a lower weight than 175g.
2. Give the disc time to fly. Throwing understable discs takes some practice to get the height right. But you’ll want to give your drivers more time to turn and come back. If you throw too high it will stall out and lose distance. If you throw too low it will just turn the whole time and not be able to come back and fade.
Practicing getting the height right is something that pros spend plenty of time doing. It’s going to be different for you than it is for me, so take time in a field and you’ll find that height to aim for.
If you’re finding that all of your discs are maxing out at the same distance. Try examining the discs you’re throwing. Make sure that you’re not throwing something too fast, that is has enough glide, and that it’s able to turn for most of the flight before coming back.
I hope that you find a way to get some more distance out of those throws, and let me know in the comments if these tips helped you.
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397