I have had trouble with this in my own game recently, so I decided to write a blog post about it. Let us start by defining the topic. I think there are 2 different ways to look at throwing straight and we will talk about both of them.
How to Throw on a Straight Line in Disc Golf
The first type of throwing straight is probably what you assume it is: releasing the disc and having the flight of the disc have little to no variance, i.e. throwing on a straight line. This type of throw is one that many pros execute on a routine basis with great consistency. Many of the courses designed for amateurs require short straight throws of 300’ or less. I prefer to throw very neutral discs for straight throws of this kind.
How to Throw Straight Under 300 Feet in Disc Golf
For straight throws up to 300’ I usually throw a neutral stability putter, like the Axiom Envy, the Prodigy PA-3, the Dynamic Discs Warden, the Discraft Challenger, or the Innova Colt. I prefer to use the baseline plastics as they tend to be easy to work into a desired stability with enough use. These discs are assuming a backhand drive.
How to Throw Straight 300-350 Feet in Disc Golf
For longer holes such as 300-350’ I use the same thought as with putters, I like to throw neutral stable discs. A couple notable mentions are the Innova Roc, Discraft Comet, Dynamic Discs Escape, MVP Servo, or a Prodigy M4. You’ll notice that the discs in this category are neutral to slightly understable.
How to Throw Straight Over 350 Feet in Disc Golf
For any tunnel shot over 350’ I recommend just playing safe. If you are going to go for it than make sure you trust your form and disc choice. As you start to push your limit of controllable distance I would encourage to always throw the higher percentage shot. For most people it will be a slower disc that can be thrown at 70-80%. If you choose to throw harder than that, you’re choosing to have a higher chance of missing your release point or angle.
Now that we have some idea of the discs we want to throw we should talk about the throw itself. For today we are talking specifically about backhand throws.
How to Throw a Straight Backhand Throw in Disc Golf
The run up is something that tends to throw people off when they miss throwing straight shots. The key to any good run up is to start slow, establish your momentum and balance, and to keep your body on a line to release the disc straight in front of you. If you find your feet moving fast and feeling like you’re starting a sprint with your run up, you are robbing yourself of power and accuracy. Faster run ups are not more powerful for 90% of players. Until your balance and timing to use that extra momentum is perfected a moderate or slow pace in your run up will be much more beneficial.
It’s all in the hips
The next part of the throw we need to focus on is making sure our lower body guides us to a straight and confident release point. The key here is to remember that you should be turning your hips, not your shoulders. Your hips will lead your shoulders both away from the target, and back towards the target. My recommendation is to walk the path of your run up before you throw. This will help you execute your plan.
The next major part to focus on is the release point. Your release point should be in front of your body. I tend to visualize a release point that is a comfortable distance in front of my body, and before my arm would wrap around my chest (so for me, a right hand back hand dominant thrower, that means in front of me and slightly left of my body). Imagining this release point really helps me not suffer from rounding, and will help to prevent grip lock.
The last part is release angle. This is where you need to follow your own advice, but I’ll give you my point of view, and what works for me. I am a hyzer dominant thrower, which means my natural release point and body angle is most fluid and repeatable on a hyzer. So I tend to throw my straight throws as a hyzer flip to flat shot. All that means is my release angle is a hyzer, but the disc will show a hyzer angle out of the hand and then go to a flat or neutral angle for the remainder of the flight. Some people naturally are flat or anhyzer dominant throwers, and as such may need to throw a slightly more stable discs than the ones I recommended to achieve the same straight flight.
Choose a neutral stability disc.
Walk the path of the run up, and remember to start your run up slow and to stay balanced.
Use your lower body to guide your upper body. Your hips are the only part of the body you need to be actively turning.
Keep your momentum moving towards your release point. Make sure your release point is in front of you, not around you.
Keep your disc on the intended release point. For me this is a slight hyzer angle.
How to Throw Straight with a Wide Hyzer Shot in Disc Golf
The second type of throwing straight is more about the net finish being straight from the tee, and relying on more curve or angles to achieve a desired finish.
Throwing on a Hyzer Angle in Disc Golf
If a hole is wide open, and the basket is straight in front of the tee pad, I will always throw a wide hyzer shot. The reason for this is that the most consistent flight and landing of any disc will always be achieved when thrown at a hyzer angle. The only time on an open throw where I will not choose a hyzer shot is when I am trying to gain distance over accuracy. If the throw is under 400’ I am going to release on a hyzer angle.
A very common shot for beginners is to achieve a straight finish by throwing an “S” curve. Most beginners first learn how to manipulate the flight of a disc by throwing on an anhyzer, rolling their wrist, or throwing understable discs, if not all of the above. The effect this has is to generally help keep the nose angle down for a disc, and it tends to push the flight to the right (for a right handed backhand thrower). Once a disc starts to lose speed and spin, it will then push to the left before reaching the ground.
This type of throw can be very useful, and if executed properly through a very narrow corridor. The difficult part of relying on an “S” curve is that wind conditions will exaggerate at least one part of the flight, and as such it can be difficult to count on when you need a shot that works in all playing conditions.
Let me know in the comments below if you try any of these tips and how they work for you!