There is no perfect disc, despite how I feel about the Wraith and Meteor. You’re going to have to throw lots of different molds, plastics, and hit trees before you find what works best for you.
I think that choosing the right disc is incredibly hard for newer players to figure out. If you’re just beginning to play or in your first couple of years it’s not easy to see what you might need in your game. I don’t know how many people have opened their bag in front of me on our shop counter in the last 3 years, but I bet it’s over 100. They just want to know what disc they could be missing out on.
Disc golf discs come in so many different varieties now. There’s putters, approach discs, mids, fairway drivers, and distance drivers. To be able to play disc golf at a competitive level like your local league you’ll need to be proficient with all of these kinds of discs. If you check out any touring pro they’re going to have a mix of all of those. If you look at who is winning your local tournaments it’s likely you’ll see people using all of these as well.
Then you get to plastics! Some discs are designed to handle better in cold, wet, or rainy weather better than others. I cover all of the Innova plastics in a recent blog. I change out plenty of discs when winter hits here in Maine. In fact, my favorite disc I can’t throw in the fall because it has brown, yellow, and red on it. As the seasons change so will some of your discs.
Weight plays a significant factor in distance. If you’re unfamiliar, I have a great blog about how as a general rule less weight means more distance, at the cost of accuracy. If you’re struggling with distance and think that an extra 30 feet is going to add a lot to your game, try getting a lighter weight disc. If you’re already throwing a lightweight disc, you can try adding some extra turn/glide.
There’s no one disc that does everything. Disc golf discs have varying uses, that’s why I talk about how great it is that we have so many different molds available at Sabattus Disc Golf. You can focus on using discs for their intended purposes and you’ll find more success. Sure I could throw my Wraith on a 150 foot flex shot, but throwing my MD3 on a hyzer is going to be a lot more consistent. And that’s what disc golf really comes down to, being consistent.
My first recommendation is to try out your buddies discs, their disc golf carts, and their disc golf accessories before you buy one. My garage (and plenty of other disc golfers garages) are full of discs that don’t quite work for us. You can check out my recommendations in the blog Buying New Discs Checklist. It's a great way to make sure that you’re not doubling up on something that you already have. Sabattus has a bucket of demo discs behind the counter that you can rent for free, please take advantage of it by trying discs out.
Finding holes in your bag
This takes a little bit of thinking. You can either use an online bag builder tool, or you can use some graph paper, or a scrap piece of paper. Some people say you need an understable, stable, and overstable version of all of the types of discs (driver, mid putter). If you have a forehand and a backhand I’d argue that you don’t need as many discs as you think. For example my Wraith is my primary distance driver for backhand and forehand. I don’t really use an understable distance driver because where I play in the woods it’s often not what I need.
On some paper chart out where your disc is going to land most of the time. See if all your discs finish to one side or the other. Maybe you have a big hole in the middle. If it seems like you don’t have any gaps that’s a good thing.
How do I decide between two similar discs?
This is an excellent question.
The first thing I’m going to do is feel the profile of the disc. Some people love beaded discs like the Wombat3 or the Roc3. I’m not a fan of the bead when I throw a forehand, so I usually leave beaded discs alone.
If you like flat top discs you can kind of look for them in a disc description. I make a point when writing out disc descriptions to include if it’s domey or flat topped. Since discs with domes tend to have more glide I’m more likely to use them for putters than anything else.
I spent a long time trying to identify my approach disc. We all want the same thing out of it, something that flies about 50-150 feet and stops when it gets near the basket.
I tried the Rat, Pig, Harp, Gator, Croc, Zone, Entropy, and Roc3 before I finally found that I liked the Caiman. None of the others really felt right in my hand, but the first time I grabbed a Caiman I felt confident.
The wand chooses the wizard in Harry Potter. This is the same for disc golf, sometimes you just grab a disc on the rack and know that it’s going to be amazing. If that hasn’t happened to you yet, it will one day and it’s awesome.
The next way that I know how to decide what disc is right for me is through testing in a field.
Let’s get to field work.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to learn the flight path of your discs.
Take out the discs you’re looking to learn and warm up a bit. I like to throw my mids at a nice easy 175-200 feet.
Then we get to learning the flight paths of the discs. Throw them flat at first, then on anhyzer, then on hyzer. Sometimes it’s hard to see how much fade a disc really has. Here’s my trick to kind of figure it out.
Throw the disc exactly like you always do, but this time after you release it, put your thumb up in the air and follow the disc as it’s flying straight. The second it starts to hyzer you leave your thumb right where it is to mark the disc flight. Once the disc hits the ground you should lower your thumb so that it’s level with your disc according to your eyesight.
This is going to help you figure out how much fade a disc really has. Maybe you’ll see that your overstable distance driver doesn’t have as much fade as you thought. Or maybe you’ll see that the disc you keep saying is “stable” really isn’t.
The point of field work is to get more consistent with your discs. It also should be fun, so if you’re not having a good time I recommend stopping and trying again.
Consistency is key when you’re practicing in a field. Try to do some things the way you might on a course. If you’re a standstill backhand thrower you’re going to get a very different result if you throw a 360. If you’re always chalking up your hand before you drive, do that. I bring my disc golf accessories out with me. I’m a fan of chalk in the summer, wax in the winter, and towels every day. Throwing like you would normally on the course will improve your consistency out there and should help give you confidence.
If you’re looking to choose the right disc golf disc for your game I recommend following these tips.
- See if there are any glaring holes in your bag, if there are, find a disc that fills that gap.
- Try a bunch of discs, when you find something that works stick with it!
- Focus on hand feel. You’ll never love a disc that does something you like if it doesn’t feel right when it sits in your hand.
These tips tend to work for drivers and mids but not really for putters. For putters I recommend whatever goes in consistently. If you’re still having trouble after following these steps you can always ask an experienced golfer for help or leave me a comment and I’ll try to get back to you.
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397