The Different Disc Golf Disc Types
As a newbie or experienced disc golf player, you will be faced with different challenges and situations on the court. Thus, it is important to have a strategic plan as well as the appropriate disc golf discs to work efficiently in various course scenarios.
There are 4 primary discs in disc golf: putters, mid-range discs, fairway drivers, and distance drivers. While these discs can be interchanged and used for most shots, each disc is intended for specific shots.
It is crucial for you to know what disc to use and what not to use in certain situations which can make a difference in your performance and score. Learn the different disc golf disc types and their main uses.
Types of Disc Golf Discs Explained
- Distance Drivers
Distance drivers are the discs used if you are looking to cover the maximum distance on the course. Distance drivers are thin, mostly having flat tops and wider rims, purposely designed for the discs to cut through the air.
Distance drivers have high speed ratings, ranging between 10 and 14, requiring players to have lots of power to get the discs’ full flight. With the right arm power and technique, distance drivers can go farther than 400 feet. But when not thrown properly, as expected, these discs can only cover short distances and lack control. That said, newer disc golf players will find it hard to throw distance drivers considering the lack of arm speed and control.
- Fairway Driver
Fairway drivers or commonly referred to as control drivers are disc golf discs that are closely similar to distance drivers but slightly differ in physical attributes and flight characteristics. Fairway drivers have smaller and thinner rims and less speed compared to distance drivers. In addition, fairway drivers in disc golf can fly straighter, are easier to control, and are more stable
Many disc golf players prefer fairway drivers, particularly when looking for a balance between distance and accuracy. As for me, whenever there is a small gap that I need to get through, my fairway driver never fails me. It is always something I can depend on, a must-have in my bag.
Although fairway drivers have less glide than distance drivers, these discs are more beginner-friendly as they have a slower speed and are easier to throw. If you are new to disc golf but still looking to reach some distance, fairway drivers or control drivers are the discs of choice.
Mid-range discs are disc golf discs that work well in all situations. Mid-range drivers are multi-tool discs that should be in every player’s bag.
As for the physical attributes, mid-range disc golf discs have more rounded tops and wider rim widths making them less aerodynamic. Their bulky physical design makes mid-range discs unable to fly long distances, but the design also helps the discs slow down much quicker during the flight, making them the ultimate discs for accuracy and control.
If you need a disc that won’t sail pass your target or consistent over distance, mid-range drivers are the discs of choice. For throwing through tight woods or an open field approach, you can rely on mid-range drivers.
Putters are the slowest disc golf discs yet are always there to save you after a couple of unlucky shots. Putters are good for landing near the basket, when doing approach shots, or even from the teepad on shorter holes.
Putters are bulky with a more rounded shape, deeper, and the thinnest rims, all influencing their aerodynamic qualities. That said, they are the slowest spinning discs, making them ideal when reaching the basket and staying in the chains. Although putters are the slowest discs they are often the most important. Having a great putter disc or one you feel comfortable with can be the difference between a birdie and a bogey.
If you are looking for a disc that will stick to its flight path without a big end of fade, putters are consistent.
Disc Golf Type Specifications
Each disc golf disc has designated flight numbers to provide a general idea about the disc’s flight characteristics. These are the speed, glide, turn, and fade, all contributing factors to the performance of the disc.
The speed describes a disc’s maximum distance potential. Again, it only indicates the maximum distance potential, not the actual distance. For example, distance drivers, when thrown with proper arm power can fly as far as 400 -500 feet or more.
Generally, putters have 2 to 3 speed, 4 to 6 speed for mid-range discs, 7 to 9 for fairway drivers, and 10 and higher for distance drivers. Faster discs cut through the wind with less effort while the slowest discs work well in terms of accuracy and are easier to throw upwind.
High speed disc golf discs are not recommended for novice players as these require more arm speed to fly properly. In general, speed rating range from 1 to 14.
Glide refers to the disc’s ability to stay aloft during the flight. Discs with higher glide ratings stay in the air longer compared to discs with low glide ratings. Discs with more glide are also best recommended for beginners and are more effective for longer shots. Meanwhile, discs with lower glide ratings work best when doing approach shots and are dependable in terms of accuracy during high wind situations.
Disc golf discs usually have a glide rating from 1 to 7.
Turn describes the disc’s tendency to turn over or turn to the right. For RHBH, turn describes how likely the disc will turn to the right in the early part of the flight.
For example, a disc with a +1 turn rating is most resistant to turning over while a disc with -5 will turn the disc the most. Discs with less turn over are more accurate in the winds.
Turn rating is usually +1 to -5.
Fade is the disc’s tendency to turn left for RHBH throws. The fade happens at the end of the flight, rated from 0 t 5. Discs with 0 fade will fly the straightest while a 5 rating will hit the ground hard.
Discs with higher fade ratings are recommended for spike and skip shots.