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Disc Golf 101 for Los Angeles Families

You may be surprised to know that not many people have played or even heard about Disc Golf. Luckily for us, it isn’t as complicated or confusing as one might think. If you can throw a Frisbee, you can give Disc Golf a try.

Disc Golf only requires three discs, a backpack, and a desire to have fun. As the name suggests, it’s played like golf, in that the goal is to get your disc into the hole in as few throws as possible, while playing around the course.

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Even if you’ve never played disc golf before, you can still play and enjoy this fun game with your family and friends. Let’s learn what disc golf is, how to play it, and why everyone should give it a try.

woman throwing a disc
The goal in Disc Golf is to get the Disc into the Disc basket with the fewest number of throws.

Types of Discs for Disc Golf

The first thing to know about disc golf is the differences among the discs and how each disc works.

Discs for disc golfing come in three basic types: the driver, the fairway driver, and the putter. (affiliate link) Some sets also include a fourth disc — the midrange driver — between the fairway and the putter. Each one functions differently from the others.

The first disc that one will use when beginning each course is the driver. Much like regular golf, the driver’s job is to gain as much distance as possible and attempt to minimize the use of the rest of the discs. Once the distance is gained, and judged accordingly, the decision to use any of the other discs will depend on that gained distance.

The fairway driver operates similarly to the driver, but with more control. The sacrifice of distance will be the primary caveat for this. However, this disc will come in handy for throwing in tight spaces that a regular driver can’t get past safely.

When you use the midrange driver you won’t get the same distance and control as the two previously mentioned discs. But, what it lacks in distance and control, it gains in slowness and accuracy over shorter distances.

Lastly, we have the putter, and similar to regular golf, this should be the last disc you use when trying to sink in a basket (equivalent to holes in golf). Although it’s slower and heavier, this disc is perhaps the most important, second to the initial main driver.

Before moving on it must be said that disc golf discs are NOT recreational frisbees! The size and weight distribution are the primary differences between disc golf discs and recreational frisbees, and they cannot produce the same results. Recreational frisbees are lighter and made with softer materials.

Note: Never play catch with a disc golf disc, or even a frisbee golf frisbee, as these are not their intended use. They are much heavier and can really hurt if they hit someone.

Related: Where (and How) to Play FootGolf in SoCal

Disc Golf Courses in Southern California

There are dozens of places to play Disc Golf in SoCal! We hope you get out there and try this fun game soon!

How to Throw the Discs

If you’ve ever thrown a recreational frisbee with others or played fetch with your dog, then tossing a disc golf disc will follow the same principle, for the most part. Again, the primary differences between disc golf discs and recreational frisbees are the weight and size of the discs.

Although the throwing technique is similar, it’s best to practice, practice, practice. Being familiar with the types of discs for disc golf is the key to enjoying yourself. While throwing the fairway disc or the putter might be more similar to a frisbee, a driver is typically thrown differently. Here’s how to start throwing disc golf discs:

  1. Step back on the launch pad and turn sideways with your dominant, throwing hand side pointed in the direction you need to throw.
  2. Hold the disc across your body.
  3. Make a quick step or two sideways, crossing one leg behind the other.
  4. As you step, pull the disc straight across your chest. Don’t arc the disc with your arm extended as you throw. Doing this will cause the disc to be thrown sideways rather than straight. Instead, pull the disc from one side of your body in a straight line toward the target.
  5. At the end of the shuffle, snap the wrist forward as your arm gets fully extended and release the disc.

It’s a good idea to take some time throwing some discs in a “driving range-like” setting before hitting the disc golf course.

Disc golf isn’t complicated, you just need to get familiar with throwing using a little extra power — as well as patience!

Finally, when throwing, whether on a training or driving range or course, be careful not to throw the disc toward anyone or anything. The natural weight of the disc golf discs can be dangerous so you should always throw with caution.

Related: Where to Play Mini-Golf in Los Angeles

man playing disc golf
Disc golf is fun way to get fresh air and stay physically fit!

Playing Disc Golf with Children

When it comes to spending time with your children for outdoor fun, disc golf is a great option on a sunny day. However, be aware that playing disc golf with children requires prioritized supervision, depending on the age of the child.

People of any age can play disc golf. Again, supervision can vary greatly. For example, an 11-year-old child may not require as much supervision as a 6-year-old would.

When you’re in an actual disc golf session with children, make sure that no children are within the crosshairs of a thrower as they could easily be injured if they get hit by a flying disc. Always teach and demonstrate discipline when on the course, and caution others to mind their throws as well.

If a child is struggling to throw, demonstrate the proper way to throw and always commend them on their efforts. Encourage them to enhance their confidence and inspire them to keep practicing and playing disc golf.

Lastly, much like throwing a disc golf disc itself, develop the patience to go at the child’s pace as it may be a new experience for them.

child throwing a disc golf disc
Kids can learn to play disc golf too!

Are There Professional Disc Golf Leagues?

Disc golf is an amazing casual sport that anyone and everyone should try at least once in their lives, in our opinion. But being a casual sport, one may not think there would be a professional scene, right? Wrong.

The Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) is an organization that features the best of the best in the plethora of events they host. This organization also provides open registration for these events which allows anyone to have the opportunity to compete. In addition, they review and approve the discs for competitive use and help players to understand which discs are allowed for use in competitions.

As an avid, casual disc golfer, I appreciate watching professional competitions and am always entertained by what these professionals can do with their discs regarding speed, distance, and tight turns across beautiful courses. And because competitions are usually held on beautiful courses, even non-disc golfers can enjoy watching the sport.

While a professional league in disc golf may not sound like a big deal, it truly is worth watching or attending an event that the PDGA hosts.

Essential Gear for Disc Golf

Before concluding, let’s briefly talk about the equipment that everyone should have when participating in the hobby of disc golf. Find lots of Disc Golf Gear on Amazon with our Affiliate link.


First, and obviously, the discs. Obviously, you can’t play disc golf without any discs. Nearly any disc golf branded disc would be perfect for beginners and even experienced players. Brands such as Innova, Dynamic Discs, and Discraft all provide the necessary discs needed.


The second piece of equipment you’ll need to play disc golf is a backpack or other type of bag. But there are backpacks specifically designed for the game of disc golf.

In reality, any bag the discs will fit in will probably work for most people. I personally use a regular backpack to carry my four discs. Still, for more avid disc golfers, the disc golf-specific bags are popular as they can hold more than one set of discs simultaneously.

A typical disc golf bag will fit about 18 or more discs in it. Bags such as Dynamic Discs’ Trooper Disc Golf Backpack are an affordable and perfect example of a standard disc golf bag that every avid disc golfer should consider.

If you’re looking for a smaller bag, though, Dynamic Discs has the Cadet Disc Golf Bag, which holds around eight to 10 discs.

Finally, a non-wet and, hopefully, sunny day will help you to enjoy the sport of disc golf whether you’re a beginner or an experienced player.

disc golf discs on a park bench
Disc golf is a great way for everyone in the family to get exercise while doing something fun together!

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