A Beginner’s Guide to Choosing Disc Golf Discs


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. MVP/Axiom also offer the overmold discs as well.

Disc Extras

Speed & Glide | DISTANCE


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


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 create 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.


Third in the flight rating system is turn.  Turn is rated from 1 to -5, with -5 being the most understable. The lower the number, 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.


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.