Driving Range

We've read through and tried literally dozens of tips for increasing driving distance, and we'll bet that you have too.

After much trial (and error) working with players of all skill levels, these are the five tips we've found that deliver the most significant and immediate benefit.

 

Before we begin: watch these 4 pros drive simultaneously.

What common mechanics do they all share?

Source: GFYCat.com 

While there are many, many observations to be made, here are the top five tips (as demonstrated perfectly by these pros) to increasing your drive distance:

 

#1 - Take a big, fast final step

In the video, you can see all four pros take a long, fast final step followed by a huge push forward from their back foot.  As covered in our research on the Science of Distance, release velocity is the primary determining factor of distance, with each one mph of incremental speed yielding an additional 7 feet of distance.

Taking an aggressive final step with a big push can increase your forward momentum by 4-5 mph, ultimately adding around 30 feet to your drive.

#2 - Look Away!

The natural tendency is for players to keep their eyes looking in the direction they want to throw and "on the target", but keeping your head turned forward limits the rotation range of your torso and shoulders during your backswing, robbing your throw of critical rotation power.

All four pros above turn their head at least 90 degrees away from their drive line during the backswing.

#3 - Lead with Your Elbow

Looking again to the pros, the disc is drawn forward with a leading elbow, pulling the disc in an almost perfectly straight-forward path.

This efficient motion eliminates wasted lateral energy while simultaneously generating high initial arm speed that is magnified by the forward whip of the forearm and snap of the wrist.

#4 - Minimize release friction

Grip is primarily maintained by the tips of your fingers pressed against the underside lip of the disc's rim.  This creates a nice, clean, low-friction release.

#5 - Choose the Right Disc (2 Simple Steps)

To maximize distance, you must find a driver that matches your particular release angle and velocity to get the optimal disc turnover and distance flight pattern.

To do this, we have developed a two-step process:

STEP 1: Watch our comprehensive Video Guide on Choosing a Driver for Max Distance:

We can almost GUARANTEE you will learn more about disc selection in the nine minutes it takes to watch this video than you will learn in months of searching around the web:

Step 2: Begin with one of the proven drivers below, then use what you have learned in the above video to make any needed adjustments.

For Drivers, we have three top recommendations based on your current skill level:

  1. Best for Beginner/Intermediate Players
  2. Best For Advanced players who typically throw drives under 400'
  3. Best For Advanced Players who typically throw drives over 400'

Option #1: Best for Beginner / Intermediate Players

  • Mold: Valkyrie
  • Manufacturer: Innova
  • Plastic: GStar
  • Weight Class: 162-172g

The Valkyrie is a real anomaly: while its relatively narrow rim and perfectly balanced Turn and Fade make it the ideal driver for beginners, it also held the world distance record (830′) for an incredible ten years.

Because this combination of “user friendliness” and distance potential make the Valkyrie a disc beginners will never outgrow, to increase longevity and help newer players generate additional turnover we recommend the durable, relatively understable GStar plastic in its lightest available weight classes (165-172g).

Get a Valkyrie with this Exact Specification Here

Option #2: Best for Advanced Players who typically throw drives UNDER 400'

  • Innova Blizzard BossMold: Boss
  • Manufacturer: Innova
  • Plastic: Blizzard
  • Weight Class: (130-139g)

If your form is good, but you still can't get over 400', let technology lend a hand.  Blizzard plastic uses small interior bubbles of air to reduce overall disc weight without sacrificing other physical properties.  Physics calculations of force, mass, and acceleration

Blizzard plastic uses small interior bubbles of air to reduce overall disc weight without sacrificing other physical properties.  Physics calculations of force, mass, and acceleration prove the amount of energy it takes to accelerate a 175g disc to 50mph will also accelerate a 155g disc to 56.5mph.  That six extra MPH could add over 40 feet to you drive!

Get a Boss with this Exact Specification Here

Option #3: Best for Advanced Players who typically throw drives OVER 400'

  • Mold: Destroyer
  • Manufacturer: Innova
  • Plastic: Star
  • Weight Class: 165-169g

The Destroyer is the go-to Disc for 4-time (and current) PDGA Champion, Paul McBeth.  In fact, Paul typically competes with six different Destroyers in his bag.

Paired with the overstable Star plastic and a moderate weight of 165-169g, the Destroyer delivers even more predictable flight in a wide variety of weather and wind conditions while still generating superior distance.

To reiterate, this disc is not for beginners, but advanced players with good release velocity will significantly benefit from the Destroyer's combination of high-distance and consistency.

Get a Destroyer with This Exact Specification Here

Additional Research

To further optimize your game, please watch our Video Guide Series on flight ratings and weight selection.  You'll learn the correct methodology for choosing your next disc based on the flight patterns you are experiencing with your current discs.

Also, If you have any specific thoughts or questions, let us know using our contact page!  We're always happy to help.

Have a great Round!

 

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13 Comments

  1. Jon Kunsal

    Reply

    This is right on! I was using a Nuke but could never get over 375′ on my drives. When I siwtched to a Blizzard Boss they jumped to 425′. The Boss isn’t as good in high wind, but 95% of the time it’s the better choice for me.

  2. Dave Moore

    Reply

    I would put the Latitude 64 Bolt right up there with the Blizzard Boss for distance … Like John, I was throwing Nuke’s in the 375-400′ range, and then when I started throwing the Bolt, I was bombing it over 450′ one time in three, and consistently around 420′ or so. Starlite Tern with a hyzer release can go even farther, but that’s a much less reliable throw (for me anyway).

  3. Dave Moore

    Reply

    I should also mention that the Bolt’s I throw are much heavier discs (170+ g) than the Blizzard Boss, so they are less susceptible to bad throws in windy conditions.

  4. Joe Wonsetler

    Reply

    First of all I’d like to thank you for addressing the needs of beginners. So often they get forgotten in articles and blogs where young men with strong arms, while often well meaning give advice unable to understand the issues faced by female, the very young and like myself the older player. I’m 63, only 5’8″ and a variety of joint issues.
    First off many of your recommendations are spot on. Particularly disc choice. Ignorant of the science I originally got a very heavy fast spinning disc and tried sidearm (originally I was RHBH) since it was recommended for older players. That caused all sort of shoulder and elbow pain. Also understanding very little about turn and fade playing a windy course my efforts mostly resulted in rollers.
    I then decided I needed to reduce the weight of my disc and discovered that a multiple female player of the year used the Valkyrie. As you have said it is a forgiving disc but one you’ll keep in your bag even as you improve. Eventually I went to a heavier one to combat wind but the best tactic for less stronger throwers is technique. Learning to keep the disc low is going to be your best compensation, not a heavier, faster spinning disc you won’t be strong enough to handle. Trying to muscle throws will most likely frustrate you with errant throws and if you are an older player like me may even hurt you.
    In my next post I’ll explain my journey further and add some thoughts that may add to this very good article for all levels of players.

    I

  5. Joe Wonsetler

    Reply

    Once I settled on a Valkyrie (as well suggested in this article) in a lighter manageable weight and went back to backhand delivery I tried to study how to throw it “properly”. An article suggested the leading elbow in your throwing motion for distance and accuracy. It said imagine you are pulling a starter rope on a push lawn mower across and close to your chest. After some trial and error I was having increased distance and playing much better save for my putting (still a work in progress).
    Then trouble arose. I’d hurt both my shoulders playing HS football and was becoming aware that doing many activities at and especially above shoulder level increasingly difficult. Late last summer (2014) I was forced to quit playing fearing maybe forever. Luckily by the Spring I felt I could try again. I wondered why not throw it lower? I’d seen examples of forehanders that got exceptionally low with success. I tried throwing much lower, below my waist. No shoulder pain put also no distance. I compensate by becoming more “wristy” in conjunction with the elbow pull. It improved my distance but not to where it was before
    Next issue was my elbow started hurting seriously. It seemed that final “snap” at release was hyper-extending my elbow and causing pain. I found an elbow brace on-line that slowed my arm extension thus reducing but not eliminating my pain. I was still searching for an example of someone with a lower release. That is when I found the video used in this article. In my next post I’ll explain what I discovered in it that has saved my game.

  6. Joe Wonsetler

    Reply

    In this post I will tell you what I found works for me, why I believe it works and the validation that it can be sound. If you study the four pros they all look pretty much the same as the fundamentals explained in this article, which they are but with one subtle, but I believe significant difference. Watch the pro in the lower right corner. That is Dave Feldberg, one of the most decorated disc golfers of all time. Watch the height of his release point compared to the other three. His is near waist level and watching other video he at time releases almost at mid thigh. The other three, all great pros in their own right release much higher in the vicinity of their mid chest to arm pit level.
    Also notice the difference in the amount of elbow bend of the three more conventional throwers versus Mr. Feldberg. This was key to my current nearly pain free progress. He is able to generate the arm speed to throw long enough to compete with his peers successfully and without the more severe elbow bend. His example has given me a throwing model that is saving my shoulders and elbow.
    Why? Well the advice is not incorrect but Dave Feldberg does not violate the fundamental reason behind that advice. Think of a sports analogy. Ever watch figure skaters when they do their final spin at the end of a routine? They start out spinning slowly with one leg and both arms out away from their body. As they begin to pull their arms and legs in they spin much faster almost becoming a blur. Moving their weight closer to their core is why they spin faster.
    That is why leading with the elbow close to the body is recommended. It helps generate the arm speed needed to throw a disc further. But like the skater the key is keeping the extremities close to the body. I’ll finish up in my final post.

  7. Joe Wonsetler

    Reply

    Dave Feldberg by pointing his arm lower is able to generate the speed by keeping his throwing arm closer to the body, simply on a lower plain and what is key for me, with considerably less elbow bend. By more fully adopting his form I have been able to lower my arm reducing the stress on my throwing shoulder and keep my arm near my body without a more severe elbow bend. The result? Less pain (actually nearly none) and greater distance.
    One other thing I’ve never heard mentioned is watch the similarity of all four with their what I would describe as their trailing “silent or quiet” arm. Once they begin the the forward motion of their throwing arm they drop the other arm almost limp at their side. It follows the analogy of the increased speed of that spinning skater by bring their limbs close to their body which allow greater speed with the subsequent turn with the throwing arm. It was key for me. Before I was keeping the trailing arm up which slowed me down an hurt the trailing shoulder as well. Once I started dropping the other arm virtually all my pain was gone an my distance improved dramatically, consistently. I might add that is even with eliminating my walk up for now as I master my release. I am throwing 30 to 50 feet further with no negative results. I not suggesting my newfound way is the best way, simply a less stressful way for other maybe dealing with age issues needing a solution without sacrificing a lot of results. And the validation is there is a successful pro doing so making it not so unorthodox. Hope other struggling newbies and seniors see this and can benefit the way I have.

  8. Ken Harbaugh

    Reply

    With the growing number of golfers getting in the 50’s; I would like to see tips for them to aid in getting or keeping distance

  9. Joe Wonsetler

    Reply

    Just wanted to follow up on my progress. Since my last post in October I have made another leap in my game. I recently turned 64 and being from northern Ohio the window for consistently playing is sadly closing until next Spring. I have made no physical adjustments but did change my disk selection and made what seems to be an important mental adjustment.

    I am now using the Innova Beast as my distance driver, an Teebird for the fairway and some midrange shots and two Skeeters, one for shorter approaches and a heavier one (175g) for putting. I don’t want to sound like an Innova commercial. They are just what is more readily available to me. It is more about their weight and flight characteristics of which I am no experts but they work for me. I am sure others do although I notice it is easier to get lighter discs that I can handle from Innova’s selection of plastics. I have not abandoned my Valkyrie but tend to use it in more specialize situations such down wind shots.

    My mental adjustment is odd to me. Since so much I have read is about arm speed is related to distance just like club head speed in regular golf I started concentrating on getting my arm through the throwing zone quickly rather than “powering” it through. Having played sports like football I have probably conditioned my thinking too much toward power and strength. It appears that simple mind shift from strong to quick is paying dividends. I have made another leap with my distance and it has affected a few areas of my game, scoring, accuracy and coping with windy conditions.

    Anecdotal as it is an example is one particular par three hole on my local course that usually plays into a headwind. In three years I had only parred it once and that was by hitting my final throw from 50-60 feet away. This was on a windless day with unusually long and accurate throws by me at the time and that was two years ago!

    In my two most recent outings one a windless day I was even with the basket 12 feet away to make my par. Two days later into a headwind I was about 8 feet away and six feet PAST the basket. In two consecutive rounds I parred a hole with gimmes that I had never reaches and only parred once two years earlier. That was a rush. Obviously in very strong wind anyone is going to have issues but I am finding it much less of a chore mentally and physically. Into moderate winds I am actually getting more glide and distance than without wind much of the time. I am able to “use” the wind more to my benefit. And how do I know it is from this mental adjustment and not that i am just “mental”. Like I said I was conditioned from other sports to think power. It is a habitual mindset and when i forget and it creeps back into my throws I get the same old less effective results. Next throw when I concentrate again on quick, I get the “new me” results.

    With the better distance, discs more attuned to my style and a new mindset I am scoring 6-9 throw better per round sometimes even under windy conditions, better when I consider who badly I suffered in the wind before. I share this hoping it will help other beginners and senior players. I think it is going to extend how long I can play because I am experiencing far less physical stress, virtually none in fact. That is a real joy and good exercise for mind, body and spirit.

    I have no illusions of catching up with the young pups out on the course. At my age I started this game too late so that ship has already sailed. But I can set reasonable goals for myself and feel the challenge if not always success. I am competing with the course and myself and that never gets old for me. Happy “Frolfing”! (from the online urban dictionary name for disc golf or “Frolf”)

    • zach

      Reply

      Joe,

      I enjoyed your posts and look forward to applying what I read from them very soon. Thank you for taking them time to write. I’ll repost after I hit the course a few times and apply what I read.

    • Brad

      Reply

      Joe, I found that your analysis and posts to be a refreshing look at the techniques of a drive. Thank you for posting.

  10. Ken

    Reply

    So it sounds as if your success is due to slower speed, stable\understable light weight discs? No change in technique?

  11. Barry Fischer

    Reply

    This is a GREAT! video. One that makes a GREAT deal of sense. I would add that taking those discs and reduce the weight you don’t need to move down or less stable. I have recently moved the MVP Tesla similar to the Wraith, and the Photon similar to the Destroyer. However, I purchased both at 136 gm. I have an old guys arm – noodle arm – With some practice the 136 gm Tesla started to fade more right so I am moving up in weight. I now have a 138 gm & 146 gm. One for most throws and one for when the wind is in the face. Same with the Photon. I have just ordered a 138 and am excitedly waiting for it to arrive. OH YEAH! THINGS ARE LOOKING BETTER! #706

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