Disc golf terminology has my head spinning

By P.J. Harmer — RattlingChains.com Staff

Hyzer. Anhyzer. Understable. Overstable. Pancake. Worm burner.

The one thing about disc golf is the amount of terms that are used in the game. From terms describing discs to throws to players. It can be overwhelming to newer players, especially when they are playing with more experienced players who are throwing these terms around like it’s nothing else.

It can be like a foreign language.

Better yet, think of yourself as a parent learning to text. You get one from a teenage son or daughter with something along the lines of…

“OMG like i thought u were goin 2 play frisbee 4 fun. u r way 2 serius. lol”

Um…

Exactly.

The reality is the game of disc golf can be very technical. So when an experienced player — or someone who just knows the terminology — starts talking about how your throw is well if you used an overstable disc and let the hyzer naturally take its course.

Huh?

I’m simple when it comes to terminology – in all aspects of life. I don’t like to use jargon or anything like that in pretty much all I do.

It’s kind of like when I worked in journalism and things like “lede,” “graph,” or “presser” were used. It’s like a secret language or something.

But, in sports, it’s expected.

Besides clichés (like me giving 110 percent in writing this article), lingo pertaining to sports is natural

Football. Baseball. Basketball. Soccer. In every sport, there are certain words that are used just for that sport.

Disc golf is no different.

Regular terms are understandable and seem to follow over from ball golf easily enough – things like driver, an approach shot, a putter and basic things like that.

But last time I checked, there weren’t overstable, understable and stable golf clubs and balls.

In regular golf, you have a slice or a hook. In disc golf, it’s a hyzer or an anhyzer (though one is more apt to do these on purpose, where a slice or a hook is not necessarily done purposely).

As an avid softball player, I’m slowly working on my overhead shots. Whenever I’ve done it around people I don’t play with normally, I’m often asked if I am doing a thumber, a tomahawk or something else.

Usually, it makes me shrug my shoulders and show my grip. The one thing I’ve figured out is that, theoretically, the way the disc back is facing is the way the disc should go.

The best part about disc golf terminology is it seems that terms can mean different things to different people.

I’ve heard at least three different variations of what stable, understable and overstable discs should do. About the only thing that seems to be agreed upon is that stable means the disc should fly straight.

How about a hork?

This one really got me. A while back, I was chatting with professional Chris Sprague and I asked him about terms. I brought up the hork.

“A hork is just like ripping it,” Sprague said. “Like somebody horks it as hard as they can. I would think that was just like somebody is just ripping the disc. I would say ripping it, some one else may say horking it.”

In one online terminology list, it’s listed that a hork is the angle of the disc flight.

Say what?

That makes it even more confusing to me!

I’m thinking I should just head outside and think about throwing a hyzer bomb, but I can throw that far. So I’ll probably just think about throwing a hammer. Knowing my luck, everything I plan will be for naught and my worm burner will barely go 100 feet, meaning I might have to flip a disc on an anhyzer line to get around the mando and have a chance at par.

Right.

How about you all out there? Any crazy terms? Let us know some of your favorites in the comments below!

P.J. Harmer is the lead blogger for Rattling Chains. E-mail him at: pj [at] rattlingchains.com.

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0 thoughts on “Disc golf terminology has my head spinning

  1. My friend talks about throwing a “wicked googly,” but is non-committal about describing the throw. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t follow cricket.

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  2. A term used a lot at our park is “griplock.” If a guy throws his disc and it comes out of the hand late, he’ll tell everyone “Man, I had a bad case of griplock there.”

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  3. My favorite term is “scooby” – a reverse tomohawk the flips to the right at the apex and has backspin when it lands. Great shot to get up and down when you need to throw over a tall obstacl but came straight down on the other side. You throw it like a spike hyzer but disc reversed in your hand.

    MACC – Mid-Air Course Correction – Haven’t heard this one in a long-time but back in the day it was used when your disc ticked off a tree and was corrected torwards the hole or at least on a better line than the original throw was headed.

    A term you didn’t mention that trips up newbies is “RHBH” – Right-Handed, Back-Handed (throw). I know this causes issues for new players when they look up on the web a disc flight characteristics and at the end of the description it says, “assuming RHBH”.

    An interesting term is “taco”, interesting in how the new plastics have caused it to fade away.

    Hyzer Flip – this term can only be described using other jargon:) An understable disc released on a hyzer in such a way that it goes to anyhyzer at a selected point, continuing on it’s anhyzer line until landing.

    Throwing Under – throwing a disc flat with mostly arm speed and very little snap (spin) resulting in a throw that stalls at the end of its flight.

    Grips – whole other post on the various grips and their definitions, open, closed, power, etc.

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    • Scooby, I’ve heard, only because one of my friends uses it. But it’s one I definitely should have mentioned as it’s really out there. And I’ve never heard MACC.

      I didn’t mention something like RHBH because it’s not as out there as some terms. I think if somebody said “right-handed backhand,” people would get it. I was trying to get more about the crazy terms.

      Kind of like, taco! I did see taco when I was writing this story, but saw like three different “definitions” for it!

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  4. Smoothnicity is a term we use for a fluid throw or a “Well written article”. “Griplock” is another term for what we call a “Monkey paw”. “Chained out”, a term used when the disc hits the chains, but does not go in. “Flibble”, When a disc wobbles during flight due to a loose grip. I always love to throw a “Horkin Hyzer”. “O.T.T.” when a disc goes “Over The Top” of a basket. “O.O.C.” Out Of Control. When a player has some attitude, or is throwing better than the rest of us. Thanks P.J. for the “Power Grip” you had on this article. Total Fluidity!!!! “Goat Head and Toss it voneced”. (Amish Country Mini Lingo) Respectfully Submitted, Donnie Brooks

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  5. Talking about hyzers anhyzers, stable, understable, get even more confusing when you’re switching back and forth from forehand to backhand throws. It’s hard enough trying to get people to remember which way is forehand, let alone figure out which direction the disc will fly depending on how you angle it…. Just thinking about explaining it again makes my head spin……

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  6. As for the term Horking I use is when you leave a disc on the previous hole and the group behind you knows it is yours and they keep it.. They horked my disc.

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  7. To Kevin King, that may be the coolest trophy I’ve ever seen. Congratulations! To Dean Wickam, I like your context of the word “hork” best. It reminds me of the Canadian Humor I was exposed to as a kid: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086373/. Some of my friends refer to the “double mulligan” out on the course.

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  8. A term I ran across online is Puddle, which means the top of the disc has caved in. I guess the disc would hold water in a puddle, if there was water. Anyway, this happened to my favorite disc, a light blue Pro-D Zone, after hitting too many trees (on two few rounds). I bought a new one and was going to throw the old one out, but once I found out there was a term for it, I figured I probably should keep it (not sure why).

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  9. Dr. Stancil Johnson (PDGA #009) is releasing a Book called the “DISCtionary” in the next few years that will contain ALMOST ever Disc Golf and Frisbee term ever used throughout History, along with explaining technique and how the Frisbee Games are played. I actually had the opportunity to add some insight and terms into the book as I spent months reading through some of the earliest drafts.

    I’m very excited for the release of this publication because it will be available in Major Book Stores throughout the World!!

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  10. “Bricking” or “Chumping” a putt seems to be used a lot as a way to say that you left your putt short, and it just hits the basket.

    “Skying” a disc means that you unintentionally threw the disc high up into the air.

    “Tree Love” is used to describe when a tree helps the flight of your disc by either knocking down when it starts to deviate from its intended path or knocks it closer to the pin.

    “Treesus” is the entity you must pray to to ensure your fair supply of “Tree Love”

    My personal favorite and a creation of my own: “Shankopotomas”- you essentially butcher your shot and any statistically possible chance at birdie. Funny words for bad situations seem to make them not so bad 🙂

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  11. The ball golf terms that equate to intentional hyzer and anhyzer shots are draw and fade. Hook and slice are unintentional shots.

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    • I disagree. A draw is a mild hook, and a fade is a mild slice. Any of the four can be done intentionally or unintentionally.

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  12. There are still some ambiguities, and misuse of terms in disc golf is common, especially among newer players. One example is the phrase “more stable.” If stable=straight, then it follows that more stable=more straight. This is indeed the correct terminology. However, many people say “more stable” when they actually mean “more overstable” which is clearly wrong. For example, proper use of terms means that a Roc is more stable that a Whippet. But many people would (wrongly) state the opposite. It is up to all of us to enforce the proper use of terminology, we need precise and accurate terminology in this sport as much (or perhaps more) as in other sports.

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    • But I don’t think that we need to enforce disc golf terminology. Any language should grow organically, even if it makes a conversation confusing sometimes. Enforcing the sport’s languages would make disc golf less fun for me.

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  13. I always use the term “sniped” or “a sniper” when u have a good throw that ends up hitting a tree in the distance. As “man u just got sniped” or “snipers are out!”

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  14. We like to play rounds with the least amount of “shit discs” named after the o shit muttered after a shanked drive. Another turm Cousen to tree love is “treenied” when your disk is denied from being a good shot by a tree. The way we describe the sound made when you are treenied is ” the loneliest sound in the world”.

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  15. last winter we had an indoor putting league inside a closed department store. it was carpeted with tile walkways. all tile was OB – someone coined the phrase;”Get CARPET!” now we use it on the course we a shot is headed OB.

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  16. Sorry friend, but I’m even more confused after reading your article!

    (also starting with the incomplete thought “the one thing about disc golf…” but not defining it almost made me stop reading right there… Maybe you could edit it to be “The one thing about disc golf that drives me crazy” or some variation.

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  17. Wejget allot of Tombstones around here (soft mud…disk sticks in it standing upright)….We are also fond of..”Call the sheriff”….meaning your putt just went into the basket, and bounced out

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  18. We say “Tree Love”. When the trees help you out with a better path. And of course when they don’t help at all, “Tree Hate”

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  19. Scooby- turn the disc over and throw like a like flick but across the body with opposite rotation I use this shot to get out behind a bush I’ve heard the term “scooby” used with the same shot but only using the top of the disc to slide accross the ground when needing to get from under a bush or something like that… just my 2 cents

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  20. “Elephant’s Ass” – Way high, and it stinks. “Ted Kennedy” – It’s in the water, and I am not going in after it.

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  21. RIGHT UP THERE WITH SHANKAPOTOMUS..WOULD BE OF THE SAME DEFINITION USED AFTER ONE BAD SHOT RIGHT AFTER ANOTHER, GOING BACK TO THE KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE: SIR SHANK-A-LOT

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  22. Yank is a common term in disc golf putting. For me, it is when my shoulder’s boyhood muscle memory for Frisbee tossing seems to take over and I throw the disc off to the right, sometimes causing a tough putt. I yanked it!

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  23. “Parked” when a drive or approach shot lands a few inches from the basket

    “New Yorked” – when you say nice after a good drive, then the disc hits or tree or something— youve been new yorked

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  24. I love using the word plinko when playing in the woods cause my disc always seems to play plinko in the trees on a bad throw. Where it lands, who’s to know, it’s plinko!!! lol

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  25. Everyone’s heard of a star frame (all players birdie the hole) but what about a scar frame!!! (all bogies)
    One of my favorites is “handicapped parking” when you park the disc but it’s parked right under the basket for a drop in putt.

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