Learning the Basics
by Andrew Lovgren
Andrew Lovgren picked up some tips from professional disc-golfer Nikko Locastro. Find the full story and learn more about Nikko's career and love of the game in the June/July issue of Missouri Life on newsstands now.
The rising sport of disc golf is popular from coast to coast with new courses continuously popping up around the country. The game’s success is due in large part to the ease with which anyone can pick up the game. Unlike traditional golf, disc is inexpensive to begin and nearly free to play once you’ve started. All you really need are some discs and a nearby public course.
Though similar in shape and style, discs offer more accuracy, power, and control than the more common Frisbee. There are three main types of discs; drivers, mid-ranges, and putters, with many different brands and varieties of each. “There are a lot different discs just like there are a lot of different clubs,” Nikko says, “but you have your basic designs.”
Drivers have a slimmer edge, designed for speed and to cut through the wind. Drivers are divided into distance and fairway drivers, with fairway drivers offering slower speeds but more control and accuracy, while sacrificing drive distance. Putters, on the other hand, offer a fatter, more rounded edge that is designed to grab hold of the basket’s chains and for accuracy. A mid-range offers a balance between the two for approach shots.
“Everybody needs to start off with a putter. Usually they start off with a driver,” Nikko says, “but instead for a newbie I’d recommend like a 160 gram fairway driver with a max weight putter, 170-175 gram putter.”
Though there are many different ways to throw a disc, the easiest and most common method is called backhand. This means that you are throwing with the back of your hand facing the target. Other more complicated methods include forehand—the opposite of backhand, overhand—throwing vertically, and rolling, throwing so that the disc turns over and rolls toward the target. For beginners, backhand is the only form needed, but most professionals adjust their throwing technique based on the shot they require.
No green fees are required to play the game, as most courses are located in public parks. While many of these are 18 holes, some contain only nine holes for more recreational play. Whatever the course, players of all skill levels are gladly welcomed, with more experienced players happy to offer pointers if asked. With courses all around the state, families and friends can enjoy the joy of the outdoors playing this fun, accessible sport.
“It’s fun, inexpensive, earth friendly, for the whole family, and it helps you get exercise. It’s an all-natural sport, really,” Nikko says. “Disc golf can be for everybody.”