How To Make Your Discs Fly Straight - 10 Reasons You're Getting It Wrong

Disc Golf can be an exciting sport. It can also make you feel like ripping all your hair out, especially if you can’t make your discs fly straight. You have to have a good bit of technical know-how if you want to excel at this game.

Just being competent at a number of things isn’t enough to win; you need to be great at everything. However, your ability to fly a disc is straight is the foundation of your disc golf game. And your scores will reflect your inability to throw the disc accurately.

Here I’ll address the reason you’re here and tell you why you can’t throw a straight line with your disc golf disc. Simply put, it’s not easy to throw a disc straight at first. So, why can’t that little piece of plastic just move in a straight line?

Well don’t worry about it. Not yet, even experienced players can struggle, and it also depends on how straight you need to throw it.

Inevitably you’ll find yourself in a  situation were the terrain in front of you in dead-arrow straight. Sooner or later you’ll find yourself in tunnel terrain. If your discs goes to the left or the right it will hit trees and even veer off into the woods, undoubtedly losing you a stroke, or 2, or more!

So if you are on a course with a tunnel fairway, and you will be if you want to turn pro, or if you are in a well organized junior or amateur competition, so you will have to make an extremely straight shot.

That’s not the easiest thing to do in the world.


Even Advanced Players Struggle With Straight Trajectories

Even pro disc golfers on the touring circuit have difficulties with straight throws on occasion. The list of potential problems is long.

A golf disc that flies straight after being thrown is a piece of beauty. Nothing beats the satisfaction of watching your disc move in a straight path, precisely as you planned. The greatest reward of this activity is the sensation of complete mastery over one’s flying.


2 Types Of Straight

There are 2 types of straight:

  1. a straight shot from start to finish
  2. a shot that finishes straight in front of you but can move from left to right during it’s flight

Type 1 refers to a throw that follows a completely straight trajectory – your disc more or less travels a completely straight flight path from the start to the finish of your throw.

Type 2 refers to your disc may veering to the right or even making a s bend motion (right-left-right)  before fading of towards the centre. So from the start position of both types of trajectory your disc can in theory land on the same spot, straight in front of you. Type 2 sways about a bit but gets to the same position at the end of the flight. It’s OK either way. But you undoubtedly want to be able to be able to throw the disc both ways.

The reason you don’t always use the type 1 straight-straight shot is just to the course layout, obstacles in the way, and you want a disc to turn sometimes to get more distance. It all depends of course on the flight characteristics of the disc you are using. Some are dead straight like the BUZZZ, and some have a bit more turn and fade.

We’d all like to improve our straight-arm disc throws. Although most players would like their discs to go in a straight line down the middle of the fairway, the reality is that this seldom happens. As your disc golf skills improve, you’ll be able to manipulate your discs for this purpose. And there are many discs designed just for this type of shot. You will still have to practice them to gain great control and distance with them.

Ultimately it’s your last shot and what’s ahead of you that dictates how you should throw. So along with annys, hyzer flips and thumbers to name just a few of the other disc golf shots, you have to master throwing straight as a rush shots.


Are You Using The Right Disc Type?

There are 3 types of discs you can throw

  • Drivers – thrown off the tee these are thrown for max distance
  • Mid-ranges – can go far but in theory used for medium distance style shots – to get you in shooting range of the basket
  • Putters – designed to get your disc to land in the bucket

Drivers For Straight Shots

The most popular disc to shoot out of the tee is the driver. This is because it has the greatest maximum distance potential. With the narrowest profile of all the discs, this makes them extremely aerodynamic. But it comes with a caveat, in exchange for more distance, drivers are not going to be straight flyers generally. If your objective is to throw straight, you should probably avoid using a driver.

Mid-Ranges For Straight Shots

Mids can be thrown off the tee, and actually this can be a good idea when you are starting out as mid-ranges tend to be a lot straighter, certainly straighter than your average driver. Mids are generally used to line up your next shot for the basket.

A good player can crank out 500 ft with a mid, so it can be used as more than just an approach disc. It’s a bit thicker than a driver, but not as thick as a putter.

Putters For Straight Shots

Putters look similar to frisbees and they are also among the straightest discs made, and generally used to sink into the basket within a close distance. But, if used appropriately, you can use putters for longer distances because their narrow rims allow them to glide.


10 Reasons Why You Can’t Shoot Straight

1You are using the wrong type of disc

See above for details, if you can’t shoot straight with a driver, switch to a mid-range or putter.

2You do not understand the flight number ratings system

Basically when you are starting out you want a disc with 0 Turn and 0 Fade. That means the disc will have very little to no turn during its mid flight and it wont tail of to the left or the right at the end of its flight. I have explained the flight numbers ratings fully in this post here.

3You are inexperienced or just new

Hang in there, throwing straight shots are tricky, the wind can throw you off, you may be using the wrong type of discs, you may just not have your form down yet. Keep practicing, watching tutorials, and if you can play with experienced players who critique your form even better. Don’t be afraid to ask some of the seasoned players on your regular circuit if everyone in your group is relative new. I like to advise new players to use a lot of mid-ranges to shoot straight. Nothing like struggling to get your disc to fly straight, it knocks your confidence. So check out my post here – The Best mid-range Discs for beginners

4You are using the wrong plastic

Cheap plastic is easier on the pocket but it comes with a drawback, it beats in a lot quicker, and that means its flight characteristics will be different from when you bought it, as the weeks go buy the trajectory can change. The disc can fade more or turn more. So how are you as a beginner going to figure out how to throw a straight shot when you discs flight path is going to change as the weeks go buy?

To avoid this pay for a premium plastic.

Basically these are the 4 plastic types:

  1. Budget Plastic – is less expensive, will wear in quicker, is grippier, and can break more easily. Ideal for short range throws like putters and mid-range.
  2. Mid Grade Plastic –you’ll pay higher than the budget plastic, but you’ll get good grip and a more durable tougher disc.
  3. High Grade Plastic – this type of plastic is slick so it has the least grip, but it is the most durable
  4. Premium Plastic – The most costly of all the plastics. Premium Plastic has the best grip and has the most longevity of all the plastics.

5 –  You’re developing bad habits or not getting enough practice

You don’t need to get out to a course to practice straight shots. You can do it in your backyard, but if you don’t have the space, you can hit a park, a field or a beach. If you want to really challenge your self go to a wooded area or a forest. Be prepared to lose or damage a few discs, and watch out for hikers, ramblers or passers-by. You could also bring your own portable disc golf basket, or just use something to mark where you want your discs to land. Grab some disc markers for cheap on Amazon, they are only a few bucks. And check out my post here that has some tips on field work practice sessions and how to structure them for the most benefit.

6You are not gripping the disc right

A golf disc can be gripped in a variety of ways. I don’t believe there is a single grip that should be used by everyone. It’s a matter of personal choice, but there are some general guidelines.

Power grips and control grips are the two most common types of grips you will encounter, and there are variations of these, and chances are you will adopt or even invent your own grip based around these two.

When you want to throw max distance a power grip is ideal. For a more accurate shot that you want to land on a dime, a control grip is the order of the day. Sacrificing distance for accuracy is sometimes the best solution. Disc Golf can certainly raise your I.Q.

When you want to throw your disc straight, you can opt for a power grip, but it will be much harder to perform. When you have a narrow gap to navigate, power grips can be overkill and less accurate.

Control grips can elevate your odds of releasing the disc flat and straight, and if you have a disc with little to no fade and turn it will keep going straight right until it finishes its flight. A fan grip is a good type of control grip to use for accurate stable flight trajectories.

To perform a fan grip, place your thumb on top of the flight plate and fan your fingers underneath across the rim, in between the thumb track.

Don’t lock your grip too hard neither, find a balance between being too lose and too hard.

7 –  Bad Balance

Losing your balance as you are about to release the disc or at any other stage of your run up is going to mess up the flight of your disc. If you have trouble keeping your balance as you rotate your hips or plant your leading foot, you need to break down your movement chain and find out what’s causing the damage. It could be a flexibility issue, you could have a tight back, knee or shoulders. You could have balance issues. If you can’t iron the issue out with practice, try some single leg hamstring balance exercises. Go to YouTube and find some flexibility stretches, but be careful not to go overboard and actually injury yourself. Make sure to warm up your arm before throwing, as throwing cold can injure you and mess up your accuracy. You can purchase a throwing resistance band kit that can improve your technique and power away from the course.


disc golf resistance trainer




8You Don’t Have the Correct Release Angle

Straight shots require flat releases. But just like dart players can get the ‘yips’ where they want to release the dart but can’t, or they get involuntary wrist spasms and they release it all wrong. The same kinda thing can happen in disc golf, only it doesn’t usually involve you holding onto the disc, but forcing the disc out of your hand or holding onto it too long, and not getting the angle right.


When you are new to the sport, it is easy for you to think you are releasing your disc flat, when in actuality you can flick your wrist out too much just as you are releasing the disc. That’s gonna put a slight angle on the disc and that can lead to a big sway in direction. Try and keep your wrist locked in towards your chest to counteract this problem. It’s gonna feel freaky at first but you’ll get used to it.


9 –  You’re Discs have Too Much Speed

Another rookie error is using high speed discs. High speed discs need a lot of arm whip. That requires speed and power. And if you compound this by using an overstable driver you’ll have to compensate by throwing complicated flex lines and the such, which will mess with your head when you try to throw a stable to understable disc flat.

that players can make (and one that I’ve made) is using drivers that are too overstable and fast. If you don’t have the arm power for a high speed disc you’ll tend to release the disc on an sharp anhyzer angle (wrist turned outward) in order to get the disc to go any distance.

Stick to throwing a mid-range or putter before trying to throw a big speed driver, especially an overstable driver.


10You’re Having Difficulties With The Wind

Throwing straight lines is tough, but adding wind into the mix certainly doesn’t do you much favors. Even a slight gust during your throw can propel your disc of course. Sickening, or is it.

You can use the wind as an advantage, instead of it always being a disadvantage.

Let’s start with the fundamentals and then go through how they effect the way your disc is going to fly. I’ll describe it from the standpoint of a RHBH’d player, throwing on a level plane. The wind can originate from one of four broad directions:

  1. straight at you – headwind
  2. from behind you – tailwind
  3. blowing across you –  left to right wind
  4. blowing across you – right to left wind

So you have to either just roll with the direction the wind is blowing or counteract it.

In headwinds – Headwinds push the disc up into the air since the wind is blowing straight in front of you, which limits forward distance as the wind is pushing back on your disc

In tailwinds – your disc will go longer but hit the ground sooner

In Right to left Wind– if you’re throwing RHBH your disc will be spinning clockwise into, it will lift upwards and move slightly to the left

There are loads of discs you can use for throwing in the wind, the Prodigy D1 for example is known to be good in headwinds. But here are some general tips for throwing in windy conditions.

Don’t aim for perfection in the wind it’s impossible to get your disc to fly completely straight. You can make a few tweaks to your release and nose angle to counteract or work with the wind.

In headwinds – Headwind adjustment: at release, tilt your disc in and point the nose down a bit more than usual- you’ll have to just tilt it slightly and hope for the best. The more you get used to throwing your signature discs in headwinds the better you will get at judging the release angle.

In tailwinds – Tailwind adjustment: When you release your disc, slant it outward with the nose slightly angled up.

For right to left wind – treat this as a headwind, point your disc in a and angle the nose down a  more nose than you would for a headwind.

For left to right wind – treat this as a tailwind, but turn your disc out and a apply a bit more upwards lift on the nose.

Its all about experimentation though as the wind can be so unpredictable so practice with loads of release and nose angles and you’ll get a feel for how your disc flies in all types of wind. Just lose the perfection, as that usually goes out in the window, that, and all predictable flight paths in the wind.


That’s all for now. If you liked this post check out these articles.

Forehand Shots – Disc Golf Throwing Analysis with 18 Power Form Tips

The Step-by-Step Guide to Hitting a Forehand Flex Shot in Disc Golf

The Best Disc Golf Courses To Play At In The United States

The Best Sling Bags For Disc Golf

Innova Teebird – The Gold Standard Fairway Driver



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Thanks for stopping by, don’t stress if you find straight shots a difficult taskmaster. Hang in there and you’ll get better with time. Or just go and grab a ESP BUZZZZ and let it do the work for you. Laters.