Blog, Instruction

Tomahawks: Weapons of War or Weapons on the Course

what is tomahawks throw

There are lots of different throws in disc golf. There are traditional throws like the backhand and forehand; there are throws that are a little more unconventional like the roller or the spike hyzer. There are also throws that get even more unconventional, but if mastered can become even more useful than some of the most used throws in disc golf.

Two of these in particular are the turbo putt and the tomahawk. We’ll save the topic of the turbo putt for another day, so today we will go over the tomahawk. What is it? What does it look like? How is it thrown? Why is it thrown? All these questions will be answered today in our little exploration of the tomahawk throw today.

What is the Tomahawk Throw

So, what is the tomahawk and why is it called the tomahawk throw? For those of you who play Ultimate Frisbee you may have heard a different name for this throw altogether: “Blade”.

This particular throw is really pretty simple. It is a straight up and down vertical throw that you throw, much like, a tomahawk. You take your disc, generally a driver for the most distance possible, then you put it behind your head like you were holding a tomahawk, aim with your elbow and then bring your arm forward and let fly!

This throw is not often seen on the course, and some people may even avoid it all costs, but if you have a disc that can stay pretty straight then it isn’t a bad throw to get used to. It may seem like a lost all hope kind of throw or a goofing off with friends kind of throw, however, it can be the throw that saves you round! Say you tee off and your drive goes straight into a bunch of bushes but is still inbounds.

You don’t want to take a drop and a stroke, but there is no way you are going to get a forehand or backhand off in those bushes. When you get into the bushes you realize that you have some room to stand up and pop your head out and an arm out. It’s still not ideal to try some sort of weird high-release backhand or forehand so now you decide to go with the tomahawk. It may seem pretty straightforward what to do here; just wind up and let it rip.

However, you have a couple of choices with your tomahawk and depending on what disc you use and where you’re trying to go making the right decision is crucial! You can either go for a high arcing throw, or you can go for a lower, straighter roller-like throw. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

  • The higher arcing throw will allow you to potentially get more distance, but you could veer off course and end up somewhere totally different from where you intended.
  • The lower roller throw could also work well for distance, but you might hit something on the ground and bounce way out from where you want to be.

The other thing to keep in mind is if you want to risk it all, or if you are just hoping to get into the clear to then make a more comfortable shot. It’s not an easy situation, but do you see how many options you have off of just one throw?

The tomahawk is an extremely useful throw to have in your arsenal and getting used to throwing it on all sorts of heights, speeds and arcs is very good to practice.

Which Disc to Use When Throwing a Tomahawk

how to throw a tomahawk

Now that we have an idea why we might throw the tomahawk and what it might look like when we do throw it we need to answer the question of which disc to use when throwing a tomahawk.

Generally, the most common disc used when throwing a tomahawk is the driver since most people want to get out of a bad situation fast and get as far down the course as they can.

The other option that can be quite useful is a putter! It allows for a nice, controlled arc that can get you straight down the fairway without too much of surprise as to where it might end up once it comes to rest.

I have used many a putter when throwing out of bushes or up a steep hill with a tomahawk. My reasoning was that I didn’t need to get too far out, I just needed to be as accurate as possible to avoid getting into deeper trouble than I was already in.

The other thing to keep in mind is the stability of your disc, or its tendency to turn or fade. Disc golf discs will always have fade to them and even when you throw them straight up and down, they will still try to keep that fade. It will end up looking a bit like a corkscrew before reaching the ground when you throw a tomahawk but depending on the stability of the disc that corkscrew can vary wildly.

The more overstable a disc is the more likely it will having a more swooping corkscrew that will travel a bit farther side to side than an understable disc. This means that when you are considering your shot you need to account for how much side-to-side space you have.

You may be in some bushes, but you are shooting to an open field, so an overstable distance driver will get you lots of range and it doesn’t really matter how far left or right you go so have at it!

Maybe you ended up in the thick branches of a heavily wooded course and now you have a long, narrow corridor that you need to get down to make up ground on your friends. This is going to be a great time to pull out more understable fairway driver. If you don’t have far to go and just need to sort of “chip” up into a clearer area then you should look at just throwing a nice, stable putter.


Summarizing all of what we learned today about the tomahawk, it is great throw to have in your arsenal of throws. It can help elevate your game as well as give you something new to try! It’s never a bad idea to try out new things and that’s what disc golf is all about! That’s one of the reasons it is so exciting to me!

There are no rules on how to throw your disc, you can throw whatever you when and use whatever disc you want in any situation. Maybe you decide to try out a midrange for your tomahawk and it works wonders!

The main thing to remember is to just keep expanding your game at your own pace. Do what you can to always enjoy the sport, and hey, maybe it would just be a lot of fun to do a nothing but tomahawks round with your friends on the course to just get out and have a great time.


About Joshua Christensen

I am an ultimate frisbee player turned disc golfer. I have been playing disc golf for a few years now and have fallen in love with the sport and love to do what I can to further its growth!