How Wind and Weather Effect Disc Flight
Having the right specialty discs for specific weather conditions will give you a HUGE advantage on the right days.
But which discs do you need, and when should you use them?
In this guide, we’ll show which specific weather factors you should monitor, the best place to find Disc Golf Weather Analysis, and three critical specialty discs that will ensure you’re prepared for almost any weather condition you encounter!
3 Weather Factors to Always Check
There are three primary weather indicators to check before you play:
- Wind Speed – Wind speed is the primary indicator of how aggressive (or conservative) you’ll want to be with your disc selections.
- Temperature – Almost everyone understands that warm air is less dense than cold air. What players often forget is that less dense air provides less lift for your discs and can reduce total time in flight.
- Humidity – Counterintuitively, humid air is much less dense than dry air. As with high temperatures above, when playing on very humid days disc lift will be reduced.
Note: Barometric pressure also impacts disc flight, but this is primarily driven by the relationships amongst pressure, temperature, and humidity, so as long as you are checking the Temp and Humidity % you’ll have the crucial information you need.
How Wind Effects Disc Flight
credit: Ultiworld Disc Golf
There are a lot of disc golf players that avoid those pesky windy days whenever possible. What a lot of them do not realize is that you can have a lot of fun on a windy disc golf course if you know what you are doing. This article will discuss three types of winds that you will encounter during a game, which are side winds, tail winds, and back winds. We will include some handy tips in regards to right handed players, so if you are a lefty, just remember that everything is opposite.
Disc Golf in Tail Winds
With back winds, golf discs tend to make the disc fall short of its trajectory by beating it down. You have to compensate by throwing your discs higher than usual because they will eventually drop to the ground at a rapid rate.
This can be most challenging with putting, but with practice, you will be able to get it down. When putting, depending on the strength of the wind, throw your putter disc above your intended target and it should drop down.
Most discs will also act more over stable in back winds, producing a stronger backhanded hyzer.
Disc Golf in head Winds
Front winds or wind blowing in your face has a tendency to lift a golf disc up during its flight trajectory. You can adjust your throw by throwing at a lower angle on your release. Again, it will take practice with the arsenal in your disc golf bag to learn what angle to throw at with the different strengths of wind currents. Golf discs will be less stable in front winds, so a lot of players throw extremely over stable discs.
Disc Golf in Crosswinds
Crosswinds can go from left to right or the opposite direction. If possible, you should avoid hyzers and anhyzers, and throw your golf disc straight and hard to cut through the wind. If all disc golf courses had wide open, straight fairways, this would be a very easy to rule to follow. However, that would be too easy!
Winds blowing in the direction from left to right will make a disc drop on a hyzer release. An anhyzer release will actually lift and carry to the right. Right to left winds produce the opposite effects for a right handed player. They will make anhyzers drop to the ground very hard, and hyzer will lift and carried more than usual. Based on these characteristics you have to find out what works best for you out on the disc golf course.
Before every throw, you have to pay close attention to what direction the wind is going to improve your accuracy. This can be done easily by throwing a few blades of grass in the air to judge the direction.
Also pay attention to the ground layout. If there are any hills or depressions, try to imagine how those course features will manipulate the wind as well.
3 Critical Specialty Weather Discs
Despite the nearly infinite number of possible weather combinations, there are only three discs you really need to ensure you take advantage of (or prevent problems from) the current weather.
#1 Low-Wind Distance Driver
Primary Use: Max-distance driver when course winds are below 5mph.
It has been proven that the light-weight version of a disc will fly farther than the heavy-weight version. In fact, every recorded throw over 1000 feet has been made with a disc under 157g, including the current world distance record.
Because their flight paths can be significantly affected by wind, we do not recommend drivers under 160g as primary drivers for most players. However, when winds are below 5mph, players have an excellent opportunity to increase their drive distance by using a light-weight driver, ideally between 130g-160g, often adding as much as 50 feet to their drive distance.
Our Top Low-Wind Pick: Innova Blizzard Wraith
- Lighter weights = More distance with less effort and Blizzard Champion offers Superior durability in light weight plastic
- A long and fast distance driver; A stable flyer that performs predictably into the wind
- Colors may vary
- Blizzard technology incorporates thousands of microbubbles into our durable Champion plastic
- Speed 11, Glide 5, Turn -1 and Fade 3
#2 High-Wind Control Driver
Primary Use: Distance driver when course winds are above 18mph.
Combatting high-winds requires three things:
- Heavy gram-weight
- Reduced Glide
- High Overstability (Turn)
When facing high winds, driving distance becomes secondary to driving control. A 450′ drive doesn’t help anyone if it flies 100′ into the treeline.
While using a very overstable disc in the +170g weight class will almost certainly reduce your drive distance, it will also provide very consistent overstable flight lines, even when thrown into a headwind or through strong cross-winds.
Also, selecting a disc with relatively low Glide will sharply to reduce the sudden and unpredictable disc elevation changes seen in high winds.
Our Top High-Wind Pick: Discmania C-Line PD2
- FLIGHT RATINGS - Speed 10, Glide 4, Turn 0, Fade 3
- POWER DRIVER - The PD is a power driver, designed to offer control and a reliable flight path in all conditions. It’s possibly the best all-around driver for more advanced players. Newer players will also find use for the PD as a trusty overstable disc for headwind throws and flex shots. The PD is a fantastic choice for both backhand and forehand throws when extra accuracy is called for!
- SIMON SAYS – “The PD is overstable and perfect for controlled fairway shots, but you don't have to worry about putting too much power on it and it running away from you. For players with a low armspeed it will make a great controllable sidearm disc or a fast and over-stable fairway driver.” – Simon Lizotte
- C-LINE PLASTIC – A stunning, Italian-made blend that produces unmatched grip, flight performance, and great durability
- Colors Will Vary
#3 High-Temperature Driver
Primary Use: Distance Driver on hot, humid days
Hot, moist air provides notably less lift than cold, dry air. In fact, some aircraft are even prohibited from taking-off if the heat and humidity are above certain levels.
To compensate for the ambient air’s reduced lift, players need a high-Glide (high lift) disc to help keep the disc in flight for a more extended period.
Using the standard 4-point scale we recommend discs with a Glide rating of 6.
Our Top High Glide Pick: Innova Star Shryke
- Colors may vary
- Star Plastic
- Flight Ratings: Speed 13, Glide 6, Turn -2, Fade 2
Understanding the way weather affects disc flight is important. Keep these tips in mind next time you are on the course during a windy day. Knowing how the wind will affect your disc will give you an advantage to lower your score.