Throwing a forehand or flick with a golf disc is straight-up weird. The rim is shaped different, the grip is harder, the discs fly weird, and the list goes on. Short range approach shot forehands are pretty easy to figure out. Once you get a straight-flying disc with a decent rim to grip onto you can throw it 150 feet like an Ultimate flick with not too much difficulty. Throwing a forehand with a run-up with distance and consistency is much harder.
So, why throw a forehand? A backhand will give you most of what you need anyways. Here are three good reasons why you should be learning how to throw a forehand:
- It is easier to hit narrow lines. Since your hips and chest are facing the line when you throw its easier to hit it with confidence (like on a tunnel shot).
- It adds versatility to your game. Whether its throwing from a tough lie or having a throw that can fade right (as a right-handed player), forehands add versatility to your game.
- We are Ultimate players. You learned to throw a flick in Ultimate, which means you are 90% of the way there, so why not use it in disc golf.
In this post, I will share how I throw forehands in disc golf and how it compares to my flick in ultimate. First, Justin Allen…
Maybe you know who this is, maybe you don’t. Either way, super cool pulls. He has a big run-up, takes his last step with his left foot (WOAH) and releases a monster flick. The announcers call it unconventional, and I bet most ultimate players wouldn’t even consider pulling like that. But this is exactly what you need to do. Let’s break it down.
The wrist snap and grip are the same, even if they feel unfamiliar at the beginning. Just like learning to throw backhand drives, the biggest adjustments come in going from throwing standstill with a mark to a run-up with nothing in your way.
Where does the power come from?
In Ultimate, on a standstill flick huck the power comes from a big forward step and the arm and wrist snap into the disc. In disc golf we can use that forward momentum, as well as the snap, but we can also incorporate our entire hips and torso to generate power. A disc golf forehand is a lot like swinging a baseball bat or a golf club; you wind up the hips and torso and then swing with your hips then arm then wrists.
Paul’s throw here looks just like he is swinging a tennis racket or baseball bat.
The run-up is the first piece in developing more power on your forehand. A good run-up should put your body in position to load up your hips and then unwind your hips to throw. Some like the 3-step walk up (like Paul does in the video above), or a hop-skip like Nate Sexton, but I prefer a cross step.
As a righty, I take the first step forward with my left foot, then take a small jump up and as I’m jumping up I cross my right foot behind my left and on landing I step into my left foot and begin to unwind and throw. On the last step, it is important to open your foot up a little so it is pointing closer to straight at the target. Here is an example.
What I really like about this approach is that by crossing behind my hips wind up more. Whatever you decide to do, you want to generate forward momentum and put your hips in position to unwind.
A few other tips
- Make it smooth! The Ultimate flick is kind of jolty and quick, but there is no need to “get it off quickly” in this sport.
- Don’t roll your wrist on your follow through. Rolling your wrist will make your throws come out more wobbly. Think back to those flick lessons about following through with your palm facing the sky.
- Move your weight to your front foot as you release your forehand so you don’t throw nose up! No need for floaty hucks here.
- Control the angle with your torso and arm angle. This is a little different from ultimate where there is a lot of sideways lean.
- Stick with straight flying discs to start. My favorite discs to throw forehands with at the beginning were the Buzzz and Buzzz SS.
Another great resource
Big Jerm (Jeremy Koling) is a former Ultimate player who now plays as a Professional Disc Golfer on the Pro Tour. In this video he does a great job demonstrating his forehand form:
- Use your hips and torso to generate power!
- Use a run-up to put your hips in position and to generate forward momentum.
- Maintain good form with your follow-through and release to prevent wobbly throws.
Let us know if you have any questions or if there were other things you found helpful that we didn’t mention in the comments section below!