What are the different types of discs?

What are the different types of discs?

This sport has grown a lot, with that comes more research and development into new discs for us to throw. From drivers that maximize distance off the tee to putters that provide precision and accuracy on the green there are different types of discs for every shot.


The main categories for discs are distance drivers, fairway drivers, mid range drivers, and putters. However, lets spend a minute talking about the numbers on a disc before we dive into the types of discs. One of the reasons this is important is because not everyone can throw high speed discs correctly. Some people see distance drivers and go “ohh my disc will go further if I throw that”. People with good form and high speed arms can get amazing distances with them, however the average player and certainly beginners will get more distance out of slower discs. This is because slower discs are easier to throw correctly, and are generally more forgiving than high speed discs. 

Let’s take a minute and talk about the numbers on a disc before we dive into the types of discs. There are 4 numbers on a disc – Speed, Glide, Turn and Fade. These numbers apply to all discs, and a good understanding of them will help when trying to pick out the right disc.

Speed: The first number represents the disc's speed rating. It indicates the amount of power or arm speed required to achieve the disc's maximum flight potential. Discs with lower speed ratings (e.g., 1-6) are easier to throw and are typically recommended for beginners, while higher speed ratings (e.g., 7-14) indicate discs designed for more experienced players who can generate greater throwing power.

Glide: The second number represents the disc's glide rating. It signifies the disc's ability to maintain loft and stay in the air during its flight. Discs with higher glide ratings (e.g., 4-7) tend to stay in the air longer, allowing for longer distances and smoother flights.

Turn: The third number indicates the disc's high-speed turn. It describes the disc's tendency to veer to the right (for right-handed backhand throws) during the initial part of the flight. Negative turn ratings (e.g., -5 to -1) suggest that the disc is likely to turn more to the right, while a rating of 0 indicates a stable flight with minimal turn.

Fade: The fourth number represents the disc's fade or low-speed turn. It describes the disc's tendency to hook or fade at the end of its flight, typically to the left (for right-handed backhand throws). Lower fade ratings (e.g., 0-2) suggest a straighter finish, while higher fade ratings (e.g., 3-5) indicate a stronger fade. Discs with a substantial fade are often used for controlled approaches and windy conditions.


Now onto the different types of discs!


Distance drivers

Distance drivers are typically characterized by their high-speed rating, often ranging from 11 to 14. This indicates that these discs require a significant amount of throwing power to achieve their maximum flight potential. The higher the speed rating, the faster the disc can potentially travel through the air.

These discs are engineered to have a streamlined shape with sharp rims, allowing them to cut through the air more efficiently. The aerodynamic design helps reduce drag, enabling the disc to maintain its speed and achieve greater distances.

Distance drivers are designed to maximize distance and are perfect for long throws off the tee. These discs are typically larger and have a sharper edge, allowing them to cut through the air with less resistance. Given their high-speed nature, distance drivers require proper technique, arm speed, and control to maximize their potential. They are commonly used for long drives off the tee or when a player needs to cover substantial distances on the fairway. However, due to their specific flight characteristics and power requirements, distance drivers may not be suitable for beginners or players with limited throwing power.


Fairway drivers

Fairway drivers are a step down in speed ranging from 7 to 10. This means that they require less throwing power compared to distance drivers, making them more accessible for players who are still developing their technique and arm strength. These discs have a slightly smaller rim diameter compared to distance drivers, which makes them more comfortable to grip for players with smaller hands or those who prefer a less pronounced rim. The smaller rim size also promotes better control and accuracy during throws.


Midrange drivers

Midrange drivers, as the name suggests, are discs that excel in mid-range shots on the disc golf course. They typically have a moderate speed rating, ranging from 4 to 6. This means that they require less throwing power compared to fairway or distance drivers, making them accessible to players of various skill levels, including beginners.

Midrange drivers are incredibly versatile and can be used for various shots on the course. They are commonly employed for mid-range drives, accurate approaches to the basket, and controlled shots around obstacles. Their versatility makes them an essential tool for players of all skill levels, from beginners to professionals. Due to their balanced flight characteristics, midrange drivers offer excellent control and accuracy, allowing players to shape shots and hit specific targets on the course. They are particularly valuable when navigating wooded fairways or executing precision shots that require finesse and control.

As a beginner, midrange drivers can be a great addition to your disc golf bag. They provide an opportunity to refine your throwing technique, develop consistency, and enhance your overall understanding of disc flight dynamics. Additionally, midrange drivers can serve as a stepping stone toward exploring other disc types, such as fairway drivers and distance drivers, as you progress in the sport.


When it comes to disc golf putters, there is a wide variety to choose from, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. One of the most important things we always tell people about putters is that it needs to feel good in your hand. So we usually start by seeing if people like the feel of a beaded putter or a beadles putter. What is a bead? A bead is a little lip around the underside of the putter for your finger to rest on. 

Another advantage of putters is their versatility. While primarily used for short-distance throws, putters can also be used for longer approach shots and even some drives. Due to their stability and controllable flight, experienced players can achieve impressive distance with putters, especially in calm conditions. This versatility makes putters a valuable tool in a player's arsenal, allowing them to confidently navigate the green and make strategic shots. Whether it's a delicate upshot or a crucial putt, putters provide the precision and accuracy needed to excel on the green, making them an essential part of any disc golfer's collection.


Here’s to a great round!

The DiscIn Team

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