Playing Disc Golf With One Disc. Why It Helps You Improve

If you’re just starting out in disc golf, you may have noticed that veteran players carry around dozens of discs in their over-sized bags. But do you really need that many discs? A single disc can cost anywhere from $10 to $20, so it can be intimidating to think that you need to spend hundreds of dollars to keep up with everyone else.

The good news is you don’t have to purchase multiple golf discs to play the game. Playing disc golf with one disc is totally normal and common for newer players.

Disc golf is appealing to a large audience BECAUSE the costs to entry are so low. Specifically, $10 to $20 for just a single disc. And the best part is that most courses you find will be free. If you don’t want to spend $50 on a new set of discs until you’re convinced disc golf is for you, then that’s totally fine. I even suggest doing this for some people.

So, can you play disc golf with one disc? Absolutely. Playing disc golf with a single golf disc is a fantastic way to learn the game and just generally understand how to control the flight of a golf disc.

There are also other reasons to just play with one golf disc. Sometimes there are competitions that are put on which require the use of only one disc. Other times it came be a quick way to learn the flight characteristics of a new disc.

Play With One Disc To Learn The Game

Disc golf isn’t a complicated game. But it is difficult to master. The easiest way to start gaining experience in this game is by simply playing. Getting out there and throwing a disc.

I recommend starting with just a single disc to learn the game. But what disc should you start with? There are hundreds of golf discs in existence. Of those hundreds, there are thousands of combinations that come in different weights, plastic qualities, and colors. It can be easy to pick the wrong disc for your skill level.

There’s a concept in behavioral science known as ‘analysis paralysis’. Essentially, this phrase describes a situation where a person overthinks a specific problem, especially when presented with numerous options. Instead of making an informed decision, paralysis sets in. This can lead to becoming overwhelmed and ultimately making a bad decision.

This happened to me the other day when I was at the grocery store with my family. As we were walking down the cereal aisle my wife asked me to pick out a few boxes for the kids. There must have been literally hundreds of options. I quickly became overwhelmed and just grabbed a few colorful boxes. Later when we got home, my wife was upset that I only picked out very sugary cereals.

Picking a golf disc can feel very similar. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by the hundreds of the disc options out there, I’ll provide a list of just a FEW discs at the end of this article that you can choose from. These are some of the most consistent and controllable discs that any player can use.

All of these discs fall within a few main categories: distance drivers, fairway drivers, mid-ranges, and putters. Each category of disc flies differently for different purposes.

The best option for a first disc is a mid-range. Mid-range discs are low speed, which means they don’t require as arm power or technique to fly straight and moderately far.

Being able to throw a golf disc straight is a huge accomplishment that you can be proud of and can be a quick win early on to help you get better. A common problem players of all skill levels have is not being able to throw a straight. And it can be very discouraging. If you’re having this problem you can read a post I wrote of some common reasons why your golf disc isn’t flying straight (opens in a new tab).

Using only one mid-range disc for a while at the beginning will allow you to become comfortable with playing. You’ll be able to quickly understand how the disc flies when you throw it on certain release angles and how much power you need to throw it with to travel certain distances.

Adding new discs to your collection and using them early on can lead to muscle memory confusion. Allowing time for your body to adapt and react to the throwing motion with a single disc for a moderate amount of time will go a long ways in your development.

Adding a New Disc to Your Arsenal

After throwing a single disc for a while and mastering it, you may decide its time to add another one to your arsenal. But how do you know when you’ve mastered a disc?

Most golf discs are given flight ratings. From these flight ratings, we can infer flight paths that we can expect the disc to take if thrown properly. We’ll take a look at these later on when we review my disc recommendations.

Your goal should be to try to mimic the expected flight path as closely as possible. Once you’ve accomplished this, you’re ready to move on to a new disc.

What you pick as your next disc isn’t as important as how you implement it into your game. When I add a new disc to my bag, I like to play at least an entire round with just that disc.

Similar to learning to play disc golf for the first time with just one disc, you can apply the same strategy with a brand new one. Throwing a disc that you’ve never thrown before can almost feel like an entirely new game. Because of that, I like to treat the situations as if I was brand new to the sport.

After playing with just one new disc for an entire round of disc golf, I’m able to learn almost everything I need to know about the disc. Each disc has pros and cons. Situations where its good and situations where its just bad. You’ll be able to understand the proper time to use a specific disc (and when not to use it) only if you’ve actually experienced it before.

Gaining all of those experiences very quickly is key. If you try to implement too many new discs at the same time, you’ll end up being pretty mediocre with all of them for a while. If you implement one disc at a time and master that disc, you’ll be much better off.

Playing With and Cycling One Golf Disc

If you find a disc that you really like, I would encourage you to stick with it. However, over time golf discs can take a lot of damage from high impact throws into trees and other hard objects. As discs get beat in, you’ll find that the flight characteristics being to change.

A disc that once threw straight for you may start to wander to the right after being heavily used. And if you’re just using a single disc for a while, you can expect that disc to get beat up very quickly.

I ran some tests on a few discs to see how long it would take for the flight characteristics to change. You can check out that article here for the results (opens in a new tab).

My solution for this is to buy multiples of the same disc. Same model, plastic type, and weight. Instead of pulling out the exact same disc every time I go to play, I’ll pull out one of the extras. Every a few weeks, I’ll cycle through all the the versions I have of that same disc.

What is great about this strategy is over time you can end up with multiple discs that all FEEL the same way in your hand, but all fly slightly differently when thrown. This can be a powerful tool out on a disc golf course.

One Disc Challenge With Friends

A very fun game variation in disc golf is to challenge your friends to play an entire round with just a single disc. You can either pick a specific disc that everyone has to use or allow everyone to pick their disc. In my experience, those that pick a mid-range always do the best.

Disc Golf Discs Most Aced With

If you’re only going to be playing with one disc, you need to decide which disc you’re going to use. As we established before, there are numerous disc to choose from. And it is absolutely essential that you get this part right.

Let me provide you with two options that I think you’ll like. I use a pretty simple method for finding those on Infinite Discs.

One of the things I like about the Infinite Discs online store is they provide a full list of all the disc golf discs that have produced the most Aces over time. An Ace in disc golf is when a player completes a hole in one throw. It doesn’t happen very often.

They are able to compile this list through an app they developed for players to keep track of their scores and disc golf statistics. What’s great about this for us is it provides valuable information about which discs provide the most consistent results and, therefore, should be the disc we try to master first.

You can check out the list here on the Infinite Discs website.

As you are looking through that list, scroll down to the mid-range section. At the time of this writing, the first two discs on the list are the Buzzz and Roc3, in that order. As more Ace results are reported, that list will fluctuate, but I’m willing to bet those two disc will remain near the top for a while.

I own each and can vouch that these are both fantastic discs you should consider. If you are going to play with just a single disc, you should choose one of these.

Discraft Buzzz

The Buzzz is an incredibly popular disc. If you’re just starting out, this is your pick. It has a speed of 5 out of 14, meaning it will not take as much arm power to throw this on the correct line. With a turn of -1 and fade of 1, the disc produces a neutral flight, meaning it will land at the spot down the fairway that you threw at. Even though it zigs and zags, it comes back to neutral.

Starting off with a disc that can produce a straight flight with low speed is critical. The Buzzz is very easy to control. Whatever line you put this disc on, it will hold it throughout the duration of its flight.

A common problem that newer players have is throwing discs with the nose of the disc pointed up. This causes a disc to fly upwards and then quickly fade off to the side. The Buzzz is very forgiving of this error. Even when thrown with the nose up, it has a way of fighting back to a level flight unless most discs out there.

It has some of the best ratings out of any disc that you can check out here on Infinite Discs.

Innova Roc3

The Roc3 is an overstable mid-range, meaning it will hook to the left at the end of its flight. Discs with this characteristic are typically used by intermediate to advanced players. I would recommend mastering the Buzzz first and then moving up to this one next.

Players that use this disc all agree that it performs exactly how it is designed. It will fly straight for most of its flight and then quickly fade to the left (when throwing a right hand backhand). It is more reliable in windy conditions and can easily access tough to reach baskets around corners.

You can check out the current price here at Infinite Discs.

When To Get Multiple Golf Discs

At a certain point of mastering new discs in all of the disc categories, you’ll get pretty good at picking up a brand new disc and learning it quickly. You may not even need to use it for an entire solo round, since it will likely be similar to a disc you’ve already mastered.

If you are really serious about getting better at disc golf, you’ll need to graduate up to more advanced discs and you’ll certainly need more than just a few.

This is especially important in competitive and tournament play. If you show up to a tournament with just one or two discs, you’re chances of winning are very low. I have seen a few players show up with just a few discs and do great. However, the players at the top are the ones that have numerous tools in their disc arsenal. When you get to this point, be sure to check out my other disc recommendations here (opens in a new tab).

Scott Heywood

I'm Scott Heywood, the guy behind Disc Golf Report Report. I've been playing disc golf over the last several years and have become obsessed with it. At least a few times a week you'll find me out on a course playing, but when I'm not, I'm writing about the sport here on Disc Golf Report.

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