The Best Disc Golf Discs
if you have recently become an avid disc golf player, you aren’t the only one! It is quickly becoming a popular sport — particularly in the United States. There are already an estimated 500,000 disc golf players across the country and the Pro Disc Golf Association already has over 9,000 members. There are also plenty of places to play disc golf, with new courses springing up every week. There are already more than 1,600 disc golf courses across the country!
If you have decided that you want to become better at disc golf, you will need to invest in some high-quality equipment. The most important investment you make will be high quality disc golf discs. They can greatly improve your success on the course.
This guide will help you choose the perfect disc golf discs. We will discuss the different types of discs, their flight characteristics, the differences in disc materials, and much more. Finally, we’ll share 5 of the best disc golf discs on the market. By the end of this article, you will know everything there is to know about disc golf discs.
Why Do You Need High-quality Disc Golf Discs?
If you are new to disc golf you may be wondering why you need to buy specific discs. After all, couldn’t you just use a couple of frisbees?
You may be surprised to discover that disc golf discs are quite different to a normal frisbee. They feel different in the hand, are shaped differently, and are much more durable. Having a few more reasons why you need to buy disc golf discs:
They fly faster
Many discs have very aerodynamically designs, which are capable of obtaining incredible speeds. The discs with the most aerodynamic designs are called drivers. They are capable of cutting through the air and achieving high velocities.
They fly longer
Well made disc golf driver discs are designed to have a lot of “glide”. That is the disc’s ability to stay in the air at lower velocities. This will give you additional distance when you throw your disc compared to a regular frisbee or cheap disc.
They are more durable
High-quality disc golf discs are a bit tougher than your average frisbee or cheap discs. They are built from strong plastics that can withstand strikes against the metal basket and other solid objects.
They are easier to handle
Premium disc golf discs have a very grippy surface that is easy to handle. This helps you to can apply spin easily and have more control over your disc.
The Different Types Of Disc Golf Discs
Disc golf is similar to golf in a lot of ways. You have to tee off by throwing your disc along a fairway. Your goal is to land the disc into the basket in as few shots as possible. You also have to choose different discs for different kinds of throws — similar to the way you choose different golf clubs for different shots.
Each type of disc has different flight characteristics and a unique trajectory. A driver disc is fast but difficult to control, while a putter is slow but accurate. The four types of disc golf discs that you will be using include:
Putt and Approach Discs
Putt and approach discs are designed to be used when approaching the basket or attempting to land a disc in the basket. They fly very slowly, but deliver exceptional accuracy and handling.
Most putt and approach discs have less glide, which means they quickly fall to the ground when the velocity of the disc drops. This prevents the disc from overshooting the basket. Putt and approach discs are designed to fly in a straight line and should be used when you have a direct shot on the basket. You can also use an approach disc when you require a short range shot between multiple obstacles.
Most putt and approach discs have a very grippy surface, which gives you more control and improves handling. Putt and approach discs also tend to be smaller than other types of discs, because it makes them easier to land in the basket.
Unlike driver discs, it is easy to accurately predict where a putt and approach disc is going to land. Their rounded edge reduces their velocity, but gives the thrower outstanding control. A decent putter and approach disc is essential if you are interested in becoming a better disc golf player!
As the name suggests, a midrange disc is designed for longer throws than a putt and approach disc. They have a more aerodynamic design, with a sharper edge that cuts through the air more efficiently. Think of them as the mid-point between a fast-moving driver disc and a slow-moving putter. They give you more distance, but you still retain a lot of control over the flight path of the disc.
Some of the situations where you might use a midrange disc include:
- You are throwing from the tee pad onto a short fairway
- There are obstacles on the fairway, which means you need more control than a driver disc might provide
- You have an approach shot towards the basket that is slightly too long for an approach disc
Most midrange discs fly fairly straight, however, you can find models that turn a lot (useful when avoiding obstacles or navigating a curved fairway). The discs that we call midrange discs are identical to the older driver discs — before disc golf companies developed super aerodynamic drivers.
Midrange discs have less glide, so there is less risk of sailing past the target or into an obstacle. They are reliable and controllable, unlike maximum distance drivers which can be tricky to throw accurately.
A control driver is a very aerodynamic disc that is designed to be thrown long distances. Control drivers are also called fairway drivers, as they are the commonly used for long throws up a fairway. A control driver is easier to handle than a maximum distance driver, but more difficult to handle than a midrange disc.
Control drivers used to be called “Power Discs” in the early days of disc golf. They have thin rims, but retain a decent level of controllability. Because control drivers can be easier to control than maximum distance drivers, they are a great option for beginners. Once you have spent a few hundred hours on the course, you will feel more comfortable with a maximum distance driver.
A control driver is a fantastic choice if you require a medium to long throw but have obstacles nearby. You can maintain enough control to safely navigate your way up the fairway.
Maximum distance drivers
As the name suggests, a maximum distance driver is designed for maximum distance! Maximum distance drivers have the narrowest edge of any disc golf disc. They have incredible speed thanks to this extremely aerodynamic design and are capable of traveling over 400 feet in a single throw. A maximum distance driver will also have exceptional glide time, which increases the distance traveled per throw.
Maximum distance drivers have the narrowest edge of any disc golf disc. This helps them cut through the air, which can be useful if you are facing a headwind.
The downside of using this type of disc is that it can be difficult to control. If you cannot throw your maximum distance driver correctly, you may actually get less distance or hit an obstacle. It can be a frustrating experience for beginners, so wait until you have a few games under your belt before using these kinds of discs.
The Materials Used To Make Disc Golf Discs
All disc golf discs are make from plastic, because it is strong, lightweight and quite affordable. However, there are many types of plastics available, with each material changing how the disc performs.
The material has an impact over the flight trajectory of the disc, including how long it glides as velocity decreases. The type of plastic used will also change how durable a disc is. Cheaper plastics tend to deform faster, which impacts their trajectory and reliability. More expensive plastics can sometimes be more resistant to impacts and ultra violet light, which helps them maintain their performance longer.
The disc’s material will also affect how it feels in your hand. Some plastics have a particularly grippy surface, which changes how easy it is to release the disc when throwing. Some discs will have more flex in the disc, while others are hard. This can also change how the disc feels in your hand. Some players prefer soft and grippy discs for playing in wet conditions.
Most manufacturers create categories to describe the plastics used in their discs. For example, Innova has thirteen different types of plastics to choose from! You can loosely place all of the plastics available into one of the following categories:
Most manufacturers have a series of “affordable” discs that are made from low grade plastics. These low grade plastics are not very durable and can deform quickly. One powerful collision could alter the shape of the disc, affecting its flight trajectory for subsequent throws.
Low grade plastics do have good grip though, which makes them easy to use. Because they can be damaged easily, it is best to only use cheap plastics for discs that are thrown slowly, like putters and approach discs or midrange discs. These types of discs will only collide with objects at slower velocities. However, some people carry cheap driver discs when throwing around water hazards. That way, they don’t lose an expensive disc if it lands in the lake!
Ultra durable plastics
Manufacturers also offer discs that are made from very durable plastics. These discs are very hard and will easily survive a collision with an obstacle. The plastic used for these discs tends to be clear and extremely smooth — which means you have less grip on the disc. Having less grip may affect your control over the disc, particularly in wet weather.
Ultra durable plastics are very reliable and don’t deform very easily. They take the hits and keep getting back up! They are a great choice for courses that are packed with obstacles like trees and rocks.
Ultra light plastics
Ultra light plastics are a recent innovation from disc manufacturers. These super light weight plastics are a great choice for young players who don’t have the strength to throw a normal disc long distances. They also work well for new players who haven’t developed the right technique to achieve long distances yet.
Most experienced players don’t like ultra light plastics because they aren’t as easy to control in some circumstances. If you are playing in windy conditions, an ultra light disc is more likely to veer off course. The world record for the longest disc golf disc throw was achieved with an ultra light disc called the Innova Blizzard Champion Boss. Other great discs made from ultra light materials include the Millennium Quantum Zero-G Quasar Driver and the Latitude 64 Opto AIR River Fairway Driver.
Ultra soft plastics
Some manufacturers have started making disc golf discs made from very soft plastics or rubber. These discs offer incredible grip and can be very useful in wet conditions. Most of these discs use a hard inner core surrounded by the soft core to improve their stability.
Middle Grade Plastics
These plastics are halfway between the more affordable basic plastics and the more expensive premium plastics. They offer more durability than basic plastics but can still be damaged and will deform faster than a premium plastic. These discs are a great choice if you want a product with more longevity than basic plastic, but you aren’t willing to purchase expensive premium discs.
Most keen disc golf players will use discs made of premium plastics. These products offer excellent grip and a high level of durability. They can survive most collisions without deforming and are capable of delivering reliable performance for years. Some manufacturers have subcategories of premium plastics. For example, Innova sells discs that are marked CH (championship plastic) and PL (pro plastics). Both categories could be considered premium plastics. Discraft brands their premium discs as ELITE 2, FLX, and ELITE-X.
Some of the most popular discs made from premium plastics include: Millennium Sirius, DD Fuzion, Latitude 64 Gold Line, Westside Tournament, Discraft Titanium, Discraft FLX, Discmania S-Line, Discraft ESP, and Innova Star.
The Flight Characteristics Of Disc Golf Discs
There are many factors that can affect the flight characteristics of a disc. The disc’s weight, materials, design, and grip will all make a difference. Some disc manufacturers have decided to create flight ratings to help consumers pick the right disc for their requirements.
Innova’s flight ratings system is perhaps the most widely used. It lists four primary characteristics for each disc — Speed, Glide, Turn, and Fade. When purchasing a disc that uses this system, you will see the numbers written in that order. So a disc with the characteristics 8/4/0/3 will have 8 speed, 0 glide, 0 turn and 3 fade. Let’s check out what each characteristic means.
Speed and Glide
Speed and glide affect how far a disc travels.
Speed (1 to 14)
When using the Innova system, the slowest discs have a rating of 1 and the fastest have a rating of 14. Only the most lightweight and aerodynamic discs have a speed rating higher than 10.
In general terms, discs with a rating of 8 and above are usually maximum distance drivers, which are designed to travel very . Any discs between 6-7 are drivers, mirage discs are 4-5 and anything below 3 is a putters or approach disc.
While your first impulse will be to get the fastest disc you can find, it may not be a good idea. Having a fast disc does not necessarily mean you will obtain a lot of distance. Beginners often find it difficult to control fast discs and they often go of course. You might obtain a better result when using a driver with a speed rating of 6 or 7.
A disc’s glide is its ability to stay in the air as its velocity declines. Innova rates glide between 1 and 7, with the higher numbers indicating a disc has more glide. Having a high glide disc is fantastic when you are driving up a fairway and going for distance. However, it can be bad if you are throwing an approach shot or going for a basket — which is why most putters usually have less glide.
Turn and Fade
When people discuss disc golf discs, they often mention the word stability. It refers to the disc’s ability to fly in a straight line after you throw it. If the disc curves to the left, it is called over-stable. Most discs are designed to be slightly over-stable so they fly straight when a right handed person uses them. If the disc curves to the right when thrown, it is called under-stable. The terms turn and fade are also used to indicate how a disc turns when thrown.
Turn (+1 to -5)
The turn of a disc is how much it turns right during the early portion of its trajectory. A disc with a positive turn rating is resistant to turning right, while a negative rating means it is more likely to turn right. Discs with a negative turn rating can be easier for right handed beginners to throw because they won’t curve left as easily (which can result in a loss of distance). You can really notice a disc’s turn when you are performing long throws — at this point, the disc will often start turning right, then fade back to the left.
Fade (0 to 5)
Fade is the disc’s tendency to hook to the left near the end of the flight. A disc with a disc with a 5 rating will hook to the left a lot. Discs with a lot of fade can be useful in situations where you are attempting to avoid an obstacle. You can find discs that have a high turn and a high fade, which results in an unusual flight pattern, but the disc will eventually landing where you aim!
Discraft Disc Characteristics
Discraft is another major manufacturer of disc golf discs. They use a slightly different system to Innova. They devised a scale of between -3 and 3 to represent how much a disc changes direction. A disc with a rating of 0 is very stable. A disc with a rating of 3 is over-stable and likely to turn left. A disc with a rating of -3 is under-stable and likely to turn right.
The Main Considerations When Buying A Disc Golf Disc
Before you rush out and start buying discs, here are a few other aspects to consider:
Consider the disc’s weight
Most discs weight between 150 to 180 grams, with the maximum allowable weight for competitive games being 175 grams.=======================[The weight of a disc impacts how far you throw it, how easy it is to handle, and how stable it is. A heavy disc is more likely to be over-stable and curve to the left. Heavier discs tend to have more reliable flight trajectories for this reason. For most beginners and younger players, light discs are usually easier to throw.
What color is the disc?
Some players like to buy discs that are specific colors. You could use red or orange discs because they are easier to see in the grass. Or you might like to keep your disc bag organized by color, with the faster discs being red and the slower discs blue.
Your skill level
You disc golf skills can dictate which types of discs you can use effectively. Most players who are new to the game benefit from using a medium-weight disc with a high level of stability. Extremely experienced players can use discs of any weight and speed.
5 Of The Best Disc Golf Discs
Here are five of the best disc golf discs on the market. They are well-made and produced by reputable manufacturers.
Discraft Avenger SS Elite Z Golf Disc
This is a super fast maximum distance dis golf driver designed for long fairways. It is best suited to players who have been playing disc golf for a few years and have good technique. With a Discraft stability rating of 0.5, this disc is perfect for long distance turnover drives.