Contrary to popular belief, it’s not easy to throw the disc into the basket when you’re 15 feet away. Developing and practicing consistent putting form is one of the best things you can do to quickly improve your scores in disc golf. In this post we outline some helpful resources we used when we first began learning how to putt in disc golf!
Choosing the right putter for you!
Before you can start putting, you need to own a putter. Below is a list of the most popular putters from the largest disc golf disc manufactures. This list is adapted from DG Puttheads list of best disc golf putters since they’re the authority when it comes to putters (I mean they run a blog devoted to reviewing putters). You can purchase any of these putters by following the links to Infinite Discs.
There are plenty of other disc golf companies with many putter offerings. At the end of the day, if you’re just starting out it doesn’t really matter which putter you use. Just get one or a few and start working on your form (more below). The only thing I would say is a must is to ensure your putter is in the 170-175 gram range. This weight range is most similar to an Ultrastar’s weight and so throwing a putter that is lighter than this could feel strange for an ultimate player.
Spin Putting vs. Push Putting
Now that you have your putter (hopefully), it’s time to look at some putting form. There seems to be two camps when it comes to putting form. Some people love spin putting, and some people love push putting. However, it doesn’t seem like one is better than the other. Both froms have been used by world champion disc golfers. In fact let’s take a look at two world champions that have different putting forms:
First up is 5x world champion Paige Pierce. Paige is known for having one of the best spin putts in the game and in this video she talks through her form. The video is kind of awkward at times because “The Disc Golf Guy” is awkwardly standing next to Paige and nodding at the camera, but if you can get past that and continue watching Paige, she offers some great spin-putting advice. So don’t pay attention to the “Disc Golf Guy,” pay attention to Paige.
In this next video you can see 2x world champion Ricky Wysocki putt. Ricky uses a push putting technique. Notice how much lower he brings the disc before throwing it and how his follow through is more in the upward direction than Paige’s which is more out towards the basket.
For both of these players, notice how much they use their lower body to generate power on their putts. This is one of the biggest differences I noticed when I started working on my putting. Ideally, you don’t want to rotate your upper body at all because it adds so many extra variables. The power has to come from somewhere if you aren’t rotating your body though, and so that is why using your legs is so important.
Should I Spin Putt or Push Putt?
As an ultimate player I would reccomend spin putting. This is because in ultimate we’re accustomed to using our wrist to put spin on the disc when we throw it. With push putting you don’t really use your wrist all that much to put spin on the disc. Therefore, it might seem awkward for some ultimate players that are accustomed to flicking their wrist.
Whichever type of putting form you do choose, I suggest you stick with it,or else it will take longer for you to develop consistency. As you’ll see below, consistency is very important.
Consistency, Consistency, Consistency
A quick personal anectode!
For anyone who knows me personally, you’ll know that ultimate to disc golf is not my first big sport transition. Before ultimate, I actually played football. One of the positions I played in football was kicker.
I find that developing good putting form is very much like developing good kicking form. I kicked well over a thousand practice field goals in my high school career. For every single field goal, I did the exact same routine. If one of my set-up steps was even a few inches off, it would throw off my whole form and result in a missed field goal try. By my senior year of high school when my kicking form was well developed, I became almost automatic. My form was consistent. The only things that changed when I kicked were not things I controlled, instead it was things like the wind or the distance from which I was kicking. My form was always the same!
How does this all apply to putting?
Disc Golf Putting is similar, except there are more outside factors that can change besides distance and wind. You also have to deal with elevation changes and obstructions like trees and shrubs. So unlike kicking in football, it’s not always possible to do the exact same thing. You will have to adjust your stance, release angle, and focus depending on where you are putting from. But, for the majority of your putts, you’ll find that having one consistent putting form and routine will suffice, and so practicing that form consistently is critical to improving your putting game.
Like I mentioned above, there may be situations in which it’s not possible to follow your usual putting form. This is most often a result of obstructions around you like rocks, tree-branches, or elevation. In these situations you might have to kneel or straddle to have a a clean line to the basket. I find that when I have to make one of these “special putts” I become extra focused since I’m breaking my usual putting technique. The video below below is a great tutorial on how to approach putting in general but also specifically what I described above as special putts!
Another type of putt you might see is a jump putt. Jump putts are most often thrown from circle two (10m – 20m from the basket). In fact, they are illegal from within 10 m. When I first started playing I thought jump putting seemed kind of dumb. Why should I jump putt when I can just float a backhand towards the basket.
The best answer I found to address my skepticism and the reason I started jump putting is that when you putt the disc it flies in a way that reduces the likelihood it goes beyond the basket. It kind of just hits the ground and sticks, unlike a regular throw which slides when it lands. So if you miss a jump putt, chances are you’ll have an easier shot waiting for you, but if you miss a regular throw, your next shot might be from further away. Also, the pros do it so it must work! Below is a great video that discusses jump putting a bit more.
Best Ways to Practice Putting
You now hopefully understand that developing good putting form is imperative if you want to get better at disc golf. Well how do you develop good form? By practicing of course. The more you practice putting, the more muscle memory you will develop, which in turn will make you a better putter.
Invest in a Basket
When I decided I wanted to develop my putting form I went out and invested in a disc golf basket for my practicing in my backyward. Disc Golf baskets are not always cheap. I got mine on Facebook marketplace for $75. If you’re looking to invest in a basket, I recomend you check out craigslist and Facebook marketplace first. If you can’t find anything, then you can buy a new basket on Infinite Discs for ~$100-$200.
If you don’t want to spend money on a basket, or you have no where to put it, then I recomend finding the nearest disc golf course and practicing on the baskets there. Just keep in mind that your practice might be interrupted by someone playing the course.
There are many fun and unique ways to practice putting including playing games. Some putting games you can play include:
- HORSE- you’ll need a partner, but its played like the HORSE you play in basetball (look it up if you don’t know what I’m talking about)
- Knockout- this one requires a few people (again its played like knockout in basketball)
- Around the world- set up a few markers around the basket at various distances. Start at the closest marker. If you make it, then move on to the next one. Keep going until you miss, then start over at the closest one. There are a lot of variations to this and again playing with a partner adds a few more competive elements.
- Create your own game and tell us about it in the comment section below!
- Get yourself a putter! Doesn’t really matter what it is, just make sure its between 170-175 grams.
- Watch some professionals putt and notice the differences between push-putting and spin-putting.
- Choose a putting form and be consistent with it!
- Develop a jump putt as you start playing more
- Practice and have fun with it!
Let us know if you have any questions or if you think we missed something important in the comments section below! To close out, please enjoy this sweet slow motion video of Nald completing a kneeling putt on the last hole of our local course!