A Beginner’s Guide to Choosing Disc Golf Discs


DISC TYPES AND USES


Choosing Plastic Type

Basic Plastics:

In addition to the primary plastic blends, there are still more varieties offered, such as ultra soft putters and discs made of rubber.  There are ‘over-mold’ discs that combine two plastics with one on the outer rim and a different one in the inner core.  Overmold discs are made by Innova and include a mid range and a putter at the moment.



Disc Extras

Dyed: 

SDG’s advanced search options allow you choose how the discs offered are sorted.  Look through the ‘color’ section to find dyed discs, including tie-dyed, I-Dye, and other colors. There is an amazing variety of colors, we have taken a picture of each disc so you can choose exactly the color and style you want. Whether you prefer a solid one or two colors, or a tie-dye pattern. The biggest disc manufacturers will often have a wide array of these colorful discs and we've sorted and photographed them for you.

Glow-in-the-Dark:  

A player gearing up for a night round will no doubt have several of these in their bag.  Just be sure to ‘charge’ them up with plenty of light before heading out.  If they’re not charged, best practice is to shine a flash light on them just prior to throwing. Glow in the dark discs are just as useful during day rounds, and it's a great way to charge them up for the night.

Float in Water:  

Many players rely on a floating disc for water hazards.  The wisest players will also consider the type of water and the course layout.  For example, it could be risky to throw one of these discs near a fast-moving stream that could carry it out of reach. These discs tend to be lighter and more susceptible to wind, great for new players and folks who don't want to lose their disc with a risky shot.

Beaded:  

If a disc is beaded, it has a small bump or ‘bead’ on the bottom rim.  These discs are primarily putters and sometimes mid ranges. Beads give players that use them added confidence in their putting accuracy, as they tend to maintain their flight patterns longer after time.  You can also use this as a sort category in our advanced search. A beaded disc will be more overstable than a disc without a bead.

Flight Ratings

Speed & Glide | DISTANCE

SPEED:  

The first number is the speed of the disc. It can range from 1-14. Putters are rated 1-3 and are designed to function at low speeds any player can use. Mid range discs are 4-5 and require more speed when thrown to achieve their desired results. A fairway driver will be speed 6-8, these discs fly mostly straight. Discs that are speed 9 and above are classified as distance drivers. Throwing a distance driver takes a significant amount of power to get up to speed, players are rewarded with additional distance if they learn to control these discs.

New players are cautioned that speed does not equal distance.  Due to the difficulty of controlling higher speed discs, a beginner could find that a light weight disc with a speed of 6 or 7 could fly farther for them than a max distance driver with a speed of 13. In fact most new players should learn by throwing putters only so they can develop the proper form. After a few weeks they'll begin to get reliable results and are ready

GLIDE: 

This second rating is numbered 1 – 6.  Glide describes a disc’s ability to remain in flight.  Discs with higher glide ratings will fly further than discs rated lower in this category.  A high glide rating is good when the goal is distance, but can have the wrong effect for putts and approach shots.  Sometimes overshooting the basket can be worse than not making it far enough. Low glide ratings such as 1 or 2 are popular with upshot putters because they don't fly for distance but for a little extra control.

Glide is different for different kinds of discs as well. A putter with a glide of 4 will stay airborne much longer than distance drivers with a glide of 4.

Turn & Fade | Stability

Disc manufacturers Innova, Discmania, and Discraft all measure a disc’s stability in their ‘turn’ and ‘fade’ ratings.  Stability rates a disc’s capacity for straight flight.  Discs that turn right are called ‘understable;’ discs that fly mostly straight with a slight gradual fade left are ‘stable;’ and discs that quickly fade left are ‘overstable.’This applies to Right-handed backhand throws. If you throw a Left-handed throw then understable would turn left for you and overstable would fly to the right. Our site also has discs classified as ‘very overstable’ with the highest fade ratings – these will have the most distinct fade left.

For a righthanded backhand thrower, most golf discs have the tendency to curve left.  Discs will behave more or less stable depending on the power of the throw.  Newer players should note that until throwing speed is refined, even discs classified as ‘understable’ will usually behave in an ‘overstable’ or at least stable way. The ratings are given when a disc is released flat and at the speed printed on the disc. Putters are often less stable when thrown at high speeds. And when a disc is released on a different angle it can do all sorts of different things.

One way to determine if a disc is going to be overstable or understable before you use it is to add the last 2 numbers (turn and fade) together. If the result is a positive number the disc may be stable or overstable. If the resulting number is 0 or 1 it's stable. If it's 2-5 then the disc is likely to be overstable when thrown flat. If the combined numbers creates a negative number then the disc will be understable.

The term ‘stable’ is used among many disc golfers; referring to overstability, or a disc’s ability to resist high speed turn.  If you hear a disc golfer describe a disc as ‘really stable,’ what is really meant is that the disc is very overstable. You'll figure out which discs feel stable after a throw or two, and be able to tell when one is understable as well.

Turn: 

Third in Innova’s flight rating system is turn.  Turn is rated from 1 to -5?, with -5 being the most understable. The lower the numer, the more striking turn will result.  A newer, slower-throwing disc golfer using an understable disc with a ‘high’ negative turn rating will enjoy great distance, as the disc isn’t going to fade as quickly.  Also, players whose farthest throw is 200 feet or less probably won’t notice any turn in the flightpath.  Once a player gets more speed and power, they will see their understable discs start turning to the right at the beginning of the flight before fading to the left at the end.  Discs rated -4 or -5 are popularly used for rollover or roller throws by experienced players. Some discs have 0 turn which means that they'll start to fade when they run out of speed during the flight and at no point will they turn. It's important to carry at least one disc with a high turn rating in your bag for rounds.


Fade: 

This last rating category ranges from 0 to 5; with a disc rated 0 being the straightest finishing, while a disc rated 5 fading the most during the last portion of the flight.  Even discs rated lowest in turn will still ‘fade’ as the disc slows at the end of the flight.  A disc with a higher fade rating is useful for a hole with a dogleg. Straight finishing discs are great for control, discs with little fade are normal. If you're a Right-hand backhand thrower you'll find that almost every disc wants to fade to the left at the end of your flight. Discs with a 4 or 5 fade rating are excellent in heavy winds. They sacrifice a little of the distance but make sure that the disc won't do anything unexpected. Discs with a low fade are more susceptible to being affected by the wind.