What is Disc Golf Valley?
Disc Golf Valley is a free (freemium) disc golf game for mobile devices. (both Android and iOS) It’s arguably the highest rated disc golf game in the Google Play Store and has been downloaded over 100 000 times. If you love disc golf, or are just curious about how it’s played, download the app from your app store:
Wait. What even is “Disc Golf”?
Disc golf, for the uninitiated, is played the same as traditional golf, only with specially made “discs” (don’t call them frisbees!). Instead of 300 yard fairways, disc golf typically plays 300 foot fairways and instead of a hole in the ground, the target is a metal “basket” set on a pole with an array of chains suspended above it. Whereas traditional ball and club golf is often both expensive and time consuming, disc golf is quite affordable; you only need one or two discs to get started (a disc costs about $15-20 dollars) and most disc golf courses are free to play. As disc golf continues to rise in popularity, new courses are popping up all over the world. In the US, unless you’re in a remote area of Montana, odds are there’s at least one disc golf course within 30 miles of your home. Finally, it’s played as a professional sport in similar fashion as traditional golf, with touring pros competing for ever higher prizes (though nowhere near as large as traditional golf yet).
Disc Golf Valley courses
At the time of this writing, Disc Golf Valley boasts 16 nine-hole courses, including the front and back nine of Emporia Country Club. (a virtual replica of a real, pro-tour course) While only half the number of holes of a real life course, each of these courses has their own unique feel and set of challenges.
The game offers many modes of playing, which provide players ample room to explore and hone their skills. While the game is essentially a sandbox design, new players will always want to start in Challenge the Valley, where they start on the easiest course, and when scoring low enough, unlock increasingly challenging courses. This mode essentially familiarizes players with the courses and gives them a sense of what a “good” score is. It also rewards them with new discs as they reach lower and lower predefined benchmarks.
Challenge the Valley mode is just the tip of the iceberg. Once a player is ready, the other modes offer hours of content to explore. Modes include: “Tournaments,” (play against AI players) Practice, (Putting, Driving Targets, Practice Round) Daily Open (against real players), Pro Tour (4 rated, single-attempt rounds), Multiplayer (rated live against others players), and Play with Friends (send a code to your buddies and play live against each other).
In both Multiplayer and Pro Tour modes, every round is “rated.” In real life, players participating in PDGA sanctioned events get ratings for each round played. While Disc Golf Valley uses a different system than the PDGA to generate ratings, a 1000 rated round is roughly equivalent in both.
In Multiplayer, it’s usually only a few seconds before rounds start – a sharp contrast to many other live multiplayer games that can sometimes take minutes to start. In Disc Golf Valley, Multiplayer rounds start so quickly, there’s hardly time to use the “Cancel” button. No worries there though, as that button hardly ever works! (It’s a known bug the developer hasn’t prioritized)
Disc Golf Valley Events Tab
The newest feature to get “rolled” out is under a new tab labelled, “Events” which is allowing the sole developer Per Wahlstedt and his virtual event organizer Brandon Patrick to host special events with in-game rewards. The rollout culminated in a virtual version of the Dynamic Discs Open (a major real life disc golf event) that was going on concurrently. Per added the first virtual replica of a real life course specifically for this purpose, and players of the game expect more virtual replicas to come in the future.
When it comes to content and available game play, the bottom line is this: as soon as you open the game, you can see it’s quite expansive; just tapping and swiping around the different modes and features will be a bit of an adventure.
The mechanics of Disc Golf Valley are quite simple. Driving is a simple “slingshot” mechanic, similar to Angry Birds. Pull a disc back, veering left or right to “aim” and let go. This mechanic isn’t contingent on a player’s in-game skill set – all players can throw the same distance with the same disc no matter how long they’ve been playing. New and long-time players are on an “equal playing field.” This is one area other games monetize, and it’s noteworthy that Disc Golf Valley went against the conventional game design, favoring fairness over monetization.
In addition to “aiming” a drive with “hyzer” or “anhyzer” pullback, players can change the direction and height of a shot with a joystick style aiming circle and also slide a bit left or right to help get around obstacles. For many people these controls are quite natural and easy to pick up, but mastering them to achieve great scores is quite challenging.
In addition to aiming functions, players can select throwing styles from backhand, forehand, and putt. When throwing either backhand or forehand shots, a roller can be performed by using the pull back and aiming far to one side, essentially just like in real life. It might not seem like that big of deal, but this mechanic isn’t one other disc golf games have captured well, if at all.
While the backhand and forehand options both use the pullback slingshot, the putt mechanic emulates the motion of putting: players drag a disc back, then shoot it toward the basket with an upward swipe. Players can change the style of throw at any time, which opens the door for players to approach the game in their own way.
Disc Golf Valley Graphics
Disc Golf Valley is built on the Unity platform, which provides developers a single, fairly easy way to build games. Many games in the mobile app stores are built on Unity, so the graphics will probably feel “on par” (forgive my puns) with that of other 3D environment games. Users can adjust the quality of the graphics from Low, Standard, and High, to noticeable effect, both visually, and on battery performance. With the exception of Emporia Country Club, the courses lean into fantasy while still capturing the feel of playing disc golf in real life. From courses with water on every hole, to a snow covered scandanavian biome, an urban course at night with glowing baskets, to a desert replete with slot canyons, each course is a new exploration with unique and well crafted fairways that take practice to learn to navigate.
Physics of the game
For those who have never played disc golf in real life, the physics in the game may not be of particular concern. For those that love hucking discs in real life, getting the physics right [enough] is make or break. Disc Golf Valley does a good job overall, and in many aspects, is incredibly realistic.
Let’s start with some of the worst physics in the game:
- “hyzer spike” shots have a tendency to “scoot” forward instead of stop, flip flop, or roll in a circle;
- While winds change power and direction, you can’t flip a disc completely over from a hyzer in the same way you can in real life. To some degree, the game forces you to throw each disc so optimally, you can’t fully execute some shots the same way as in real life. In many ways, this is a blessing, as it makes the game slightly “easier.”;
- How discs do or don’t “skip.” Discs can have up to two attributes out of 10 possible attributes in the game. For example, a disc may have the attributes “Accurate” and “Extra Turn”. One such attribute is “Big Skip” which makes the disc bounce off the ground, almost like a rubber ball. Without that attribute, discs cannot skip high enough to go in the basket without a terrain ramp. Discs without Big Skip instead tend to slide forward after landing.
There’s room for improvement, but overall, the physics are acceptable where they’re roughest.
The best physics in the game:
- A disc can skip off the top of the cage, up into the top of the chain assembly and fall out;
- We can force an overstable driver on a steep anhyzer and watch it flex back out;
- Shots can blast through either side of the chains with too much power;
- We can catch an edge on a hill and roll away;
- We get both dead stops and slight redirects off trees;
- The way the disc will flip and flop on some landings is incredibly realistic.
Disc Golf Valley discs
Every disc in the game exists in real life, which has prompted some players to buy those discs in real life. Others already own some or many discs from Latitude 64. Overall, players report the discs in the game do a good job of mirroring how the discs fly in real life. While all of Latitude 64’s molds aren’t available in the game, players have choices between molds in each class (putter, midrange, fairway, distance driver) that each fly differently. Additionally, in recent updates, a few molds from Latitude’s sister companies Dynamic Discs and Westside Discs have been introduced, leading players to speculate the expansion of those brands’ molds is in the works.
While the virtual discs fly much like their real life counterparts, in one regard they are radically different – they don’t “beat.” That is, in-game discs aren’t damaged when they hit trees or pavement, and they’ll always fly the same given the same wind, etc. Additionally, you can’t lose a disc to water hazards. (but you will get a penalty stroke)
There are only two ways to increase the distance you can throw a disc: elevation drop – all the discs travel farther throwing downhill. (and they all fly shorter thrown uphill) Or – throw a faster disc. Generally speaking, everyone wants to get the farthest flying discs they can – the distance drivers. For new players, the only question they have is: how do I get a distance driver? Players need to level up by playing modes that award XP (experience points); with each level up, they choose 1 disc out of 3 offered. They won’t be offered a distance driver until they reach level 21. Additionally, there’s a “shop” where players can buy discs using in-game currency. In-game currency cannot be bought with real money, but is instead earned in tandem with XP in the same modes. However, for new players, only 3 discs are offered in the shop initially, and they’ll have to level up to expand the shop’s offerings to include distance drivers.
Essentially, the only edge a player can get is getting the best discs. This is a point of contention for many players as the rewards and shop offerings are random or limited. Some players report going for dozens of hours of play without getting offered the disc they want while others report getting the best discs in a fraction of the time. To some degree, given the structure of the game, this might be seen as a design flaw.
On the one hand, if Per were to give everyone instant and equal access to all the discs, he’d be undermining a primary “drive” players have to keep playing the game. On the other hand, some players have gotten frustrated enough with the game that they play less or quit playing altogether.
Personally, I’m excited to see how Per and Latitude will expand the game going forward and what effects that may have on the way players get discs and use them. If, for example, a new mold got added to the game that matched the current farthest flying disc, how might that enhance or de-stabilize the in-game economy?
DGV Settings, Stats, and Disc Collection
Players have a few good settings to play around with, including lefty/right default, and different volume controls. Players are allowed one name change.
Disc Golf Valley tracks a few stats:
- Longest drive
- Longest putt
- Current rating
- Recent rated rounds
- Achievement badges
- Eagle, Albatross, and Ace counts
Once you get more discs than you can carry in your bag, discs you’re not using are stored in your Collection. The game allows you to sort them by class, mold, and attribute, which makes sorting through big collections much easier. Many players will acquire over 50 discs within a few months of regular play, so the sorting features get a lot of use.
Direction Disc Golf Valley is headed
Disc Golf Valley started as a hobby project, but it turned into something of a dream come true. After about a year of an undisclosed relationship between the sole developer, Per, and Latitude 64, Per was officially hired on full time. At that point, updates to the game became much more frequent and significant, with new courses getting added every 1-2 months along with re-designs and expansions of existing modes.
I’ve played the game for over a year, and in that time, 8 new courses have been added. In an interview with Per a few months back, he was asked if there was any upward limit to how many courses might get added. His eyes twinkled briefly, before he evaded the question, but riddled in his response was the notion the game will likely reach well over 20 courses, and possibly many many more. With the addition of the first real life replica course, there’s almost incomprehensible room for growth.
While other disc golf games have taken queues from traditional golf games, Per went in a different, even surprising direction. Disc Golf Valley isn’t the first disc golf game for mobile and it certainly won’t be the last, but it diverged from the model of the first disc golf game to really make a go of it (Unchained, circa 2015) which was based on timing the release point on a block as it moved left and right across a bar. Similarly, Disc Golf Rival, Disc Golf Valley’s actual rival on the current market, plays as a disc golf variant of the popular golf game, Golf Rival It’s of significant note then, that in both those examples, either ads or locked features require a cash buy-in. Disc Golf Valley does have some options to spend actual money, but none are needed to enjoy the game in full and dominate the game at the highest level. Instead of trying to monetize his hobby project, Per seemingly sought to make his game more accessible to more people.
There are two areas players can spend actual money in the game. The first grants three decent discs, a custom icon frame, and most importantly, an extra slot in your bag. This is the only advantage a player can only gain with actual money.
The other area players can spend real money is the Team Series tab, which is actually super cool: Each of these packs costs $4.99US and the majority of that money goes directly to the touring pro to help them with touring costs. While there are a growing number of people playing disc golf professionally, it’s not an easy living, so this direct support is pretty incredible. I’m guessing it’s the envy of all the touring pros right now.
It was recently announced that Per had started working on adapting the game for VR. There’s currently a beta ‘early access’ release available on steam. Other platforms as far back as the Nintendo Wii have offered some form of disc golf game, but none has enjoyed the success of Disc Golf Valley. It will be very interesting to see if the VR fork of the game can gain traction. I’ve included a link to the steam page below.
Per and Latitude were on the receiving end when it came to the pandemic. With so many people stuck at home, the interest in Disc Golf Valley skyrocketed. Early on, professional disc golfer Simon Lizotte featured Disc Golf Valley on his youtube channel. (I included links at the bottom to all his Disc Golf Valley youtube videos!) An impressive slew of other professional disc golfers made appearances on the recent live stream of the Virtual Dynamic Discs Open. And the popular scoring app UDisc partnered with Latitude and Disc Golf Valley to provide live scoring for the virtual event. It seems Disc Golf Valley has made some powerful partnerships that will make it a major competitor in a narrow but growing field of virtual disc golf.
Disc Golf Valley Frequently Asked Questions
Disc Golf Valley players have a lot of questions about the game. That’s why I’ve created an entirely separate blog post answering most of the important questions about Disc Golf Valley. Check out the Disc Golf Valley FAQ here – https://discgolffanatic.com/disc-golf-valley-faq/
Best Disc Golf Valley discs in real life
I am assuming that by this point, you are an avid Disc Golf Valley player or probably have played Disc Golf Valley at some point in time, if you haven’t I seriously recommend giving it a try. Just go to the iOS App Store or Google Play store and search for “Disc Golf Valley”, it will blow your mind!
In the game there are plenty of Trilogy discs to choose from, but which ones are the best to try out in real life? Here’s a list of 7 discs you should definitely try out in real life!
My #7 pick – Latitude 64 Ballista Pro
Speed: 14, Glide: 4, Turn: 0, Fade: 3
Aahhh, the infamous and the best distance driver in Disc Golf Valley, Latitude 64 Ballista Pro, bigger and badder brother to the popular distance driver, the Ballista. The Latitude 64 Ballista Pro flies extremely far in the Disc Golf Valley, it’s the farthest flying disc in the game 100% and my farthest drive in the game with the Ballista Pro stands at 850 feet (259 meters) … In addition, this disc is also go to distance driver for Albert Tamm, who is the curent reigning and multiple Estonian National Disc Golf Champion. Albert has thrown a Latitude 64 Ballista Pro to a distance of 626 feet (190.8 meters).
But for rest of us mere mortals, who don’t throw 600 feet or more in real life, the Latitude 64 Ballista pro is an overstable distance driver. Due to it’s overstability you can put all sorts of angles on it and it will fly far, plus it’s extremely handy in windy conditions. Check out Latitude 64 Ballista Pro here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
In Disc Golf Valley there are plenty of Trilogy discs to choose from, but which ones are the best to try out in real life? Click here to check out a list of 7 discs you should definitely try out in real life!
Disc Golf Valley Community
The disc golf community and by extension, the Disc Golf Valley community is a vibrant one. The biggest Disc Golf Valley Facebook group numbers over 12 000 members and is still growing. Within the group, numerous player-hosted ad-hoc tournaments and challenges run throughout the year. And many top players have started successful YouTube channels that continue to gain followers (some links below!). Both the Reddit page and Facebook group are great resources for new and seasoned players alike – just be careful not to ask how to get a distance driver!
Disc Golf Valley Review Conclusion
Disc Golf Valley is the best disc golf game to exist to date on any device. It’s breadth, physics, and overall quality of design are “unrivaled.” Regular updates expand the game for free, even though many other apps would charge. And being under Latitude 64’s “wing” makes this game stand out from the rest. We can’t be sure what new features Per might build into the game in the future, but the future of Disc Golf Valley looks bright. If you love disc golf, this game is a must. And if you get frustrated or stuck, there’s no shame in checking out some of the many online resources to get your game on track. I’ll see you in the Valley!
Disc Golf Valley User Guide Wiki: https://how-do-i-get-a-distance-driver.com/w/index.php?title=Disc_Golf_Valley_User_Guide
Disc Golf Valley Player’s Suggestions Board: https://how-do-i-get-a-distance-driver.com/wp/
Disc Golf Valley Discord Channel: https://discord.gg/zK6srAs7nJ
Disc Golf Valley VR on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1579260/Disc_Golf_Valley_VR/
DGV Players Youtube Channels:
Aro Caitlin: https://www.youtube.com/user/MrJarodCaitlin/
Jonni Korhonen: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQ1Fq1p0khjnYQ6HgGC20Lw
Brandon Patrick, AKA Hops & Hyzer: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz8PYtgpx6MaMhdVl6gOrUg
Simon Lizotte, Eagle McMahon, Jeremy Koling Disc Golf Valley videos:
Disc Golf Valley mobile game app is the property of its developer/inc. I am not affiliated with Disc Golf Valley. Every single thing about Disc Golf Valley application like trademarks, images etc. are the property of the respective owner of Disc Golf Valley.