How To Stop Hitting Trees in Disc Golf

One of the biggest challenges in disc golf is avoiding trees on the course. And don’t forget wild bushes neither, especially the fear of retrieving your disc from the middle of a thicket. Before jumping into that prickly bush hopefully you’ve got a long enough disc retriever or a baseball on you. Don’t risk wasting another disc trying to knock it out!

Trees can obstruct your line to the basket, force you to throw difficult shots, and even cause you to lose your disc if you throw it into the branches.  In this article, we will discuss some strategies for avoiding trees and improving your accuracy on the course.

Here is an important attitude to take in the woods, regardless of form or what type of disc or shots you decide to make. The hallmark of playing in tight, wooded courses and fairways is you have to make accuracy, not distance, the main factor to keeping your score respectable.

Choose the right disc

One of the simplest ways to avoid trees in disc golf is to choose the right disc for the shot. Different discs have different flight characteristics, and some are better suited for tight, wooded courses than others. For example, a stable to overstable disc is more likely to hold its line and resist turning, which can be helpful when you need to throw a shot through a narrow gap between trees.

On the other hand, a less stable, understable disc may turn more easily and be better suited for throwing around trees or fading out of tight spaces.

[So make sure to practice the full range of disc golf shots so you can pull them out when you need them. Flex & S-shots are good in particular for bending your way round trees.]

Don’t be afraid to drop down to a mid-range or even a putter to conquer those difficult forested courses.

Fast discs are designed to travel long but on densely forested courses, that isn’t always the objective. Control is the aim. So for discs that won’t fade as much you can go too far wrong with mids and putters. Their flight path has probably been designed to maintain a more neutral flight.

Additionally, these discs won’t hit trees as hard as drivers. Lower velocity discs are easier to control in the woods and tend to veer less off track when you hit something. High speed discs bounce off trees and keep on flying. Slower discs in contrast typically splat some bark and fall to earth. That’s a better outcome when things come a cropper in the woods. Damage limitation.

Practice good form

Good form is critical to accurate throwing especially on obstacled courses, it’s especially helpful when you are trying to avoid some heavy bark. Make sure to align your body properly with the target, keep your elbow close to your body, and follow through with your throw to help maintain control and accuracy. In addition, pay attention to your grip on the disc and try to keep it consistent from throw to throw.

Visualize your shot

Before you throw, take a moment to visualize the flight of your disc and the path it will take to reach the basket. This can help you plan your shot and identify potential problems or challenges that you may need to overcome. For example, if you see that you need to throw around a tree, you can plan to throw a hyzer or anhyzer shot to curve the disc around that obstacle.

Experiment with different throwing techniques

There are many different throwing techniques that you can use to avoid trees in disc golf. For example, you might try throwing a roller shot to skip the disc along the ground under low-hanging branches, or you might use a thumber or tomahawk throw to surmount tall trees. Experimenting with different techniques can help you develop a wider range of shots and give you more options on the course.

Being able to shape your shots can get you out of tight spots when you are in front of or stuck in the middle of wooded areas and obstacles.

Play safe

If you find yourself in a situation where you are not confident in your ability to throw a shot around or over trees, it is better to play it safe and throw a shot that you know you can make 7 times out of 10. Work the percentages. The game is all about working the percentages to lower your score. This might mean throwing a shot with less power, or laying up to a better position for your next throw. The goal is to avoid taking unnecessary risks and putting yourself in a position where you are likely to hit a tree.

By following these tips and practicing good form, you can improve your accuracy and reduce your chances of hitting trees. With a little bit of practice and some careful planning, you can navigate even the most challenging wooded courses and keep your score low.

Avoid Courses With Trees

This is a no-brainer and not the best advice in the world, because to get better at something you must face it. That aside, this is the easiest way to avoid hitting those immovable intransigent obstacles. Just avoid courses with heavily wooded sections, or  even better – get to courses with no trees at all! The first line of defense is to get away. So get the trees away from you in this case. If they are not there in the first place they can’t be a problem! So don’t go looking for them!!

See I told you, crap advice, but it works.

You will struggle to find courses without trees, as these natural obstacles alongside water hazards provide the fun and frustration in disc golf. Which is kind of what its about, it encourages you to get better. But you can find courses with less mature trees, and that have a lot less amount of trees than others. Look for newly built courses without natural woodlands, ones with freshly planted young trees if you really want to minimize obstacles.

And now to finish up here’s a little nod to those trees. Where would the world be without these beautiful creations that provide us with fresh oxygen and support our wildlife and keep us warm?


Why Are Trees
a poem by Nathan Sexton

If you ask me “What are trees?” I’ll tell you right quick, Woody plants, by the billions, some thin and some thick!

“How are trees?” – you’d retort, and I’d tell you that too, A story of seeds, pollinators and small starts that grew,

“Where are trees?” you’d then query, “that you can’t prove!” Go outside, there are trees, and if not, you should move!!

I sit back and recline having answered your questions, But then a smirk starts to form as you look my direction,

You open your mouth and utter these words: “Why are trees?”

In an instant I’m changed, at a loss, and befuddled, The picture I’d painted so clearly is muddled,
Why is anything here? Why is anything not? How can I answer without weeks of thought?

I must tell you I don’t know, as I fall to my knees, I’m haunted, I’m sleepless, I’m adrift on the seas,
Reality floats off, and up, out, and back, All logic is gone, and each night I’m attacked,
I’m shaking and shivering and starting to freeze, The only thing left now is to scream – “Why are trees?!?”



Hopefully you’ve picked up some tips on what to do to stop hitting trees with your discs once you are in the woods. Use these options to keep you on course and in the course.

Now for some related content check out these throwing tips posts.

Find out how to perfect the hyzer flip

How to improve your game with field work 

Got a big obstacle in front of you? Read my post about perfecting your spike hyzer

Can’t work out the numbers? Here’s my easy to follow breakdown of what the numbers on a disc actually mean.


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