One of the most defined skills of any professional player is the ability to throw accurate and precise approaches in any situation. These shots are most helpful when playing long holes that are just out of reach off the tee or in certain predicaments following errant drives on wooded holes when a stroke-saving shot is required.
The properly thrown approach shot can ease the tension and stress of having to make a long putt to save par, as well as reduce the number of strokes recorded on the scorecard.
It may be one of the most routine shots in disc golf to execute when compared to drives and putting, but quite possibly the most important shot that you have to perform in order to score well on the golf course.
There are a variety of situations that require different approach shots, but here are some general things to remember in any upshot situation:
Proper alignment – Always face the target or intended flight path (gap) of choice when throwing toward the basket.
Solid stance – Balanced foot placement with lead leg (same side as throwing arm) behind mark or lie. Or when straddling out on a lie the use of either leg is preferred.
Body positioning – Position body with slight turn in stance to ensure smooth and fluent arm swing. Always make enough room to complete a full throwing motion by sometimes straddling out from the mark depending on the lie off the fairway.
Disc selection – Choose a disc depending on the shot (whether stable-left or understable-right for a right-handed thrower) to be a controllable midrange or putter. A driver can be used if thats what the shot calls for in low ceiling or skip shots situations. I prefer putters for shorter range shots because they are easier to control and shape the flight path depending on the shot. They also stay close to the basket when landing due to their slower flight and deeper rim.
Throw and release – A smooth, fluent arm swing toward the target with control and touch appropriate to the shot that is being executed is important. The release should be deliberate and the timing needs to be precise when maneuvering through objects on the way to basket. Remember to either power up or down or the shot depending on elevation changes and always determine the speed at which you want to throw in order to keep the shot close to the target.
Follow through – Ensure the flight of the disc is on line. The follow through may be shortened or obscured in certain situations when trees or other object are near. Use caution and make sure to quickly stop the arm swing after the release of the disc to avoid hitting objects on the follow through.
The ability to throw accurate approaches and upshots will make the difference in everyone’s game and is guaranteed to improve round scores. I recommend playing as much catch as possible to get in lots of repetitions along with learning shot timing and release angles. Practice is key to being great at anything, so get out there and practice throwing those approaches and upshots. Good Luck!
For more Disc Golf Pro Tip go to: flyingdiscmagazine.com