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Ok, this one is going to chap a lot of people, but if we can have a civil discussuion and just present the facts we can get through it. I really want to know, so don't think I'm just being an idiot, although I will be playing the antagonist in this disccission.


Here it is: Why is it that so many people recommend to new players that they use Putters and Mids to learn with? We have all heard some form of the statement, "Go learn to throw your putter 300 feet and then you'll understand how to throw", or some varieant on this.


I call BULLSH*T!

I think what you'll learn is how to throw your putter 300 feet.


I think a more well rounded approach to the game, learning to throw all discs and understanding the numbers and controlling your plastic purchases is a better way to go. Learning the different grips, reach back, runup, keeping things flat and straight is a better approach.



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I am not a fan of discing down (to putters and mids) and I don't teach the game that way.  I did not learn the game that way and I don't know of a single good player who did.  However, I am not offended by players who believe in it or teach it.  I do think that concentrated practice with one type of disc is very useful and discing down is sort of moving in this  direction.

Eventually a good player should experiment with every kind of disc and every kind of shot and I see nothing wrong with starting out that way.  We all have natural tendencies and the only way to find out if you have an affinity for overheads or forehands or drivers is to try them out.

The key to controlling any disc is to be able to throw it dead nuts flat during the central portion of its flight.  To do this we manipulate the speed and angle of release of discs.  These adjustments are required whether the disc is a putter, mid or driver and no matter how stable the disc is.  Learning to make adjustments is a critical part of the game.

Controlling the flight of a driver is more difficult than the flight of a mid or a putter.  Controlling a mid is more difficult than a putter.  The faster and farther a disc goes the more precision it takes to control it.  The disc which most reveals flaws is a wide rimmed driver and is of course the most difficult to control.  I don't see this as any reason to put off the lesson.  You gotta learn it sometime.  Today is a good day to start.  The best place to start is on the practice field, not the course.

Of course there are players who are incapable of throwing discs flat and straight.  These are either beginners or poorly skilled players.  Complicating the ability to throw flat and straight, even for a good player is trying to throw too hard.  It is difficult to keep clean form and balance when throwing as hard as you possibly can.  And this is the problem I see with discing down.

Consider a player whose normal power range is 150' for a putter, 250' for a mid and 350' for a driver.  Take the driver away let this player step up to a 325' hole.  Normally he could throw a driver smooth and clean to reach the basket.  Now he has to overcrank a mid or make no attempt to reach the basket.  What skill have we taught here?  To lay up for pars on easy holes?  That shanking builds character? To try to throw as hard as you can as a primary strategy?


Thank you Mr. Ellis.

Mr. Ellis, you are the man.

The thing about true beginners is that they just don't have a clue. They think that they just go to the store, buy a disc and then throw it and all will be well. They know nothing about snap, follow through, X-step or anything else. What they need is a patient teacher, someone that will take the time to explain things. I have played rounds with first day beginners and seen vast improvement with a few simple tips. It won't always settle in immediately but if you are patient you will see progress. And Mark nailed the important things to work on.

Different people are going to like the feel of different discs as well. When I first started out my friend would say to use a Roc. I tried it and didn't like it because it just didn't fit my hand right. I naturally gravitated towards drivers like the XL and XS and learned how to throw them. My best lesson of all was when a local pro took a few minutes to show me the X-step. That alone changed my game for the better. One simple tip and a couple of someone's time can mean all the difference sometimes. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with a Roc. Lots of great players use them. You just won't find it in my bag (although I do now own a DGA Aftershock).

Well,  while I am far from an expert, I am still learning and learning more each time I go out. I have to agree with your statement. You should learn to throw all discs. I think the problem is that everyone wants to go out and throw 300 ft. or more. I'm not there yet, and may never get there, but by working with all discs, I am learning more about what grips to use and when, how to shape my shots, and improve my putting. Is the drive the most important shot? Maybe. I would argue that the second shot is more important, especially if you drive does not go where you expect it to. So, in my humble opinion, work on all of your shots and your scores will improve, and you will have more fun.

If learning to throw your putter 300' is all your getting then your missing the point. Alot on new players dont pick up a putter or a mid range until they are inside 35' and sometimes not even then. It has to do with learning to throw different shots and gaining confidence with their putter and  mid ranges. (Alot of people dont even know they can throw there putter as far as they can.) The main thing I learn from it is course management. You learn to look at the course and evaluate your options. Course management can win you more tournaments more than just throwing your driver as far as you can every time. Learning to avoid bogeys is sometimes more important than trying to birdie every hole. I have taken guys out just after a round and watched them shoot better with just their putter than with the whole bag the previous round. Why is that? its because of good course management. Sometimes getting a par is more important than risking it for a birdie.

This is still the best point made on this discussion. It's the only comment that no one will contend. THE MOST EMPOWERING skill to improve your game is manipulating "understable" discs. basically jedi skills

this is the truth behind the "old-wives-tale" that claims that throwing mids and putters will make you a pro. the rest of the debate is disc golfers making fair points but they are all missing the point of the actual discussion

That is not all that I personally got out of throwing putters and mids. I learned how much height putters and mids need to go far. I became more surgical with them than I already was.I developed a better practice routine for them. I learned some new lines that I can shape with them and how to forehand them much smoother.


It didn't help me drive any further with my fairway or distance drivers, but it did improve my options in my short game. I thought I had a pretty complete game already, so it just kind of reinforced that aspect of my game. I won't disc down on a complete basis again, it hurt my distance game, but I will continue to work them.

Yes Mark,

Thank for providing at least one good argument for not learning on mid-rangers/putters:

"...Normally he could throw a driver smooth and clean to reach the basket..."

Both you and Dookville have great advice and points mixed up with massive long-windedness, narrow-mindedness, personal preferences, and strange corks that detract hugely from the points you are trying to make. You guys are probably smarter than me at this sport, but you try so hard to make everything systematic. Do you not realize that your efforts are making the game ugly. Do you not realize that the game is still primitive?

Certainly the game is primitive in nature, i.e. throwing stuff. That doesn't mean that the learning to do it well part has to be. Though I think the methond that we are promoting is a more complete learning process than starting with putters and mids only; that is even more ugly and narrow minded. I'm all for playing and learning however you want, I just got tired of people putting others off by telling them to learn with mids and putters only, it's just silly.


If we are done with the subject and the point has been made, I'll be happy to blow this thread up.


Seen Guys Putt with a Distance Driver !!!  I guess whatever floats your boat !


Just learn Proper Technique.  Go on Tour !!!!  Play Open at the World's !!!!

the one regret i have about the above post is my my choice of words in the 2nd to last sentence. "your EFFORTS are making the game ugly"- is what i said. I am wrong because I am confidant that both Dookville and Mark have put tons of EFFORT into growing the game and making it better for others. I may have a different opinion about how to approach the excellent game of disc golf, but I am out of line discrediting good intention and unselfish service.


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