This is an interesting question that I get from time to time from newer players. They come in and see our walls full of discs and want to know “Are they all different?” and “How many do I really need?” We often tell players who are just starting out to get a starters pack. That’s the best way to get started, but if you want to evolve your game and start seeing lower scores you’ll need more discs. I’d guess no one sets their personal best on a course with 1 disc.
I think it’s going to depend on each individual player, but here’s how I see it. You need to cover each shot you’ll need on a course. I know many folks bring extra discs with them in the back of their car to swap out. For example if I’m playing at a course that’s heavily wooded, I’m putting away some of my distance drivers for upshot or escape discs.
You need to cover the following shots for sure, I’ll post what’s currently in my bag and give a little explanation.
This was made by me on Disc Golf Flight Charts brought to you by DGPuttheads, where you can make your own to see what your bag looks like. If all your discs seem to fly the same way, put them in this tool and make sure you’re not bagging only overstable discs.
As you can see I have discs that are overstable, stable, and understable. I carry 17 molds, with a few backups (I can never have too many Wraiths). I subscribe to the theory that I should have a disc for every different shot. Paul McBeth carries 12 different molds. He has more backups of discs that are varying degrees of beat in. It’s basically the same thing in my opinion. My Firebird and my Predator often overlap in where they could be used, but if I only forehand my Predator. They’re different enough for me to justify keeping both in my bag.
Keep in mind in Maine we play lots of wooded golf. It’s not uncommon for someone on a card to throw a driver while another throws a putter. I carry lots of mids and putters because I find I have to throw touch shots more than powerful shots. If I were to go play somewhere less wooded like a golf course transformed into a disc golf course, I make sure to bring more drivers.
Imagine we’re in an open field with 12 zones, each zone is 100 feet long, and 50 feet wide. If I was standing at the bottom of this table and I had to pick a disc to land in each one, then I have enough of each disc type to get them there.
That’s right, my distance drivers are off the charts! Well that’s because they’re meant to be thrown in excess of 300 feet. There’s no real limit on how far to throw them, other than what you have for arm power. If you’re not throwing 300 feet, I don’t recommend throwing a distance driver.
My recommendation is to throw at least 12 different discs if you want to be able to cover each of these 12 zones. The 13th disc will be your putting putter, which I don’t recommend throwing on drives or upshots. That way they don’t get damaged by hitting a tree with too much force.
If you’re a beginning player and only have a few discs, don’t worry about not having all of these zones covered yet. Ask to try your friends discs, one beautiful thing about this sport is that players often let others try a disc. Remember, just because a disc works for your friend doesn’t mean it works for you. That’s why there’s so many molds out there.
My other piece of advice is don’t try to find the disc that does everything. Each of my discs are great at what they do. I don’t try to make my Leopard3 my distance driver, it’s perfect as my understable fairway driver. And I don’t use my Wraith for upshots, that’s not what it was designed to do and it won’t be as good at it as say my Caiman is. Find discs that fit into these zones for you and see your game continue to improve.
Is there a secret zone that I missed? Is there a disc that you see is glaringly missing from my bag? Let me know in the comments below.
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397
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