A Guide to Choosing Discs for Your Skill Level

Posted by Good Day Disc Golf on Mar 21st 2024

A Guide to Choosing Discs for Your Skill Level

Hey disc golf enthusiasts and disc golf curious newcomers!

If you have ever felt overwhelmed by the vast array of discs, or you are just getting started, you're not alone! Each disc has a unique shape and is labeled by mysterious numbers that you'll likely have no idea what they mean, leaving you wondering: What disc is right for me?

First off, let’s review the 4 numbers on your disc called the Flight Rating System:

SPEED is the disc's potential maximum airspeed. Higher speeds need more power to be thrown effectively. Beginners and those developing their throwing will likely find slower discs easier to control. Speed ratings are between 1 to 14

GLIDE describes a disc's ability to stay airborne during flight. High glide on a disc can really smooth out a throw if you are strong enough. Slower discs with less glide may be more manageable for developing throws. Glide ratings are between 1 to 7

TURN refers to a disc's initial rightward movement for a right-handed backhand throw (RHBH) during the initial part of its flight. Think of it as how much the disc wants to fight against your throw. A negative turn rating indicates less stability and higher likelihood of turning. Turn ratings are between +1 TO -5 with a -5.

FADE is what brings the disc back to the left at the end of its RHBH. A strong fade looks like a "hook" left as the disc decreases in speed. This takes quite a bit of power and speed to achieve. Lower fade discs will continue straighter with less curve at the end. Fade ratings are between 0 to 5.

Secondly, it’s important to know that flight ratings are often based on the disc's performance in a specific plastic blend. Different plastics have varying degrees of firmness, flexibility, and durability, which can subtly or significantly affect how a disc flies. For example, some plastics become more understable (turn more easily) over time as they wear in, while others maintain their flight characteristics for a longer period. Understanding how plastic types impact flight is an important factor for disc golfers to consider when choosing discs.

The third most important note is that the line the disc follows during the entire flight is referred to as FLIGHT PATH and can be described using the terms below.

Stable: A straight flight path with minimal turn or fade, ideal for beginners and controlled throws.

Understable: The disc turns right for RHBH throws during flight. Understable discs are useful for rollers, curving around obstacles, or for those with lower throwing power.

A roller is when the thrower aims to roll their disc across the ground

Overstable: Resists turning and fades more prominently left for RHBH throws at the end of its flight. Overstable discs are valuable for fighting wind or precise approaches with a predictable finish.

While you think about flight, landing can set you up for your next shot. Here are some terms about how certain discs can land if thrown properly.

Spike/Spike Hyzer: This throws the disc with a sharp downward angle for a near-vertical landing with minimal ground skip.

Skip: Lets the disc glance off the ground after landing, creating a slide or skip forward for extra distance or strategic placement.

Finally, let’s review the different types of discs you will use depending on where you are on the course.

Distance Drivers: These discs fly 300+ feet, but they can be tricky to throw because they zoom! Imagine them as the jets of disc golf.

Fairway Drivers: Not quite as far-flying as distance drivers, but way easier to control. These will fly between 250-350 feet and are great for most situations on the course.

Mid-Range Discs: These discs are all about accuracy. They fly nice and straight between 150-250 feet making them perfect for hitting targets and navigating tricky spots.

Putt and Approach (P&A) Discs: These short-game specialists are good up to 150 feet. Putters help you land the disc in the basket, while approach discs help you get close from further away.

Congratulations! You are now an expert!

Head over to gooddaydiscgolf.com/shop and find the perfect disc type using all your new knowledge!

You can also stop by and see us in person at 113 W 4th St. Pueblo, CO 81003 where we can help you decipher flight ratings, plastics stability, landing, type, and your skill level!

And remember, it’s always a Good Day on the disc golf course!