Choosing the Right Disc
There are four main classifications of discs: Distance Drivers, Fairway Drivers, Mid-Range, and Putt and Approach discs.
- Distance Drivers: Distance Drivers are discs that travel at high speeds through the air. They are recognizable by their sharp edge and most of their weight is concentrated on the outer rim, rather than distributed equally throughout the disc. These discs have the potential to travel at least 400 feet when thrown properly. For inexperienced players, these discs can be more difficult to control. Distance Driver disc speeds can range from 9 to 15, indicated by the first number on its flight rating.
- Fairway Drivers: Fairway drivers, also known as control drivers, are easier to control and tend to fly straighter than distance drivers. However, they don’t fly as fast through the air. Fairway drivers are typically better suited for beginner disc golfers than distance drivers.
- Mid-Range: Mid-Range discs fly slower than distance and fairway drivers, as their edges are more blunt/rounded. In return, they fly much straighter and are easier to control. These discs are best used on the second/subsequent throws.
- Putt and Approach: Putt and Approach discs are the slowest and easiest to control discs. These discs tend to fly the straightest and most predictable of all disc classes. They are normally used for controlled shots near the basket and/or short drives with trees or other obstacles in the area.
Flight ratings are used to determine the path in which a disc will fly. Most disc manufacturers have implemented a rating system with four ratings. These four ratings are classified as Speed, Glide, Turn, and Fade. Discraft discs use all four ratings, in addition to another rating: Stability.
- Speed: Speed is the first number listed on a disc’s rating. The higher number, the faster the disc flies in the air. The fastest discs can range from 12-15, while the slowest range as low as 1. Distance drivers tend to range from a rating of 8-15, fairway drivers range from 6-7, mid-range discs range from 4-5, and putt and approach discs range 3 and below. Speed does not always equal flight distance – higher speed discs tend to be harder to throw accurately, so beginner disc golfers tend to throw farther with a disc speed of 11 versus 14, for example.
- Glide: Glide represents the disc’s ability to stay in the air. Generally, the higher the glide number, the farther the disc will fly. Glide is great whenever you are looking to shoot for distance, but not as much for approach shots or putts. Glide ratings range anywhere from 1-7.
- Turn: Turn is defined as the tendency for a disc to curve to the right early on during the flight. For players new to the sport, understable discs with high numbered turn ratings give maximum distance potential, as they don’t pull to the left as quickly as overstable discs.
- Fade: Fade represents the end of a disc’s flight. Fade is described as the low speed stability. As the disc’s flight begins to end and the disc starts to lose power, the fade will begin. The higher the fade rating, the earlier the fade begins; in contrast, the lower the fade rating, the harder the finish. The more overstable the disc, the harder the fade.