Difference Between Disc Types in Disc Golf You Must Know

Difference Between Disc Types in Disc Golf
Difference Between Disc Types in Disc Golf

Disc golf is a rapidly growing sport that combines the rules and objectives of traditional golf with the fun and skill of throwing a frisbee. One of the most crucial aspects of disc golf is understanding the different types of discs and their unique characteristics. This guide will provide a detailed overview of the various disc types, including drivers, mid-range discs, putters, and specialty discs, as well as the factors that influence their performance. By the end of this article, you’ll have a thorough understanding of how to choose the right disc for your game, helping you improve your performance on the course.

What’s Disc Golf

Disc golf, also known as frisbee golf, is played with discs instead of balls and clubs. The objective is to throw a disc from a tee area to a target, usually a metal basket, in as few throws as possible. The sport requires precision, control, and an understanding of the different disc types to navigate various terrains and obstacles effectively.

Overview of Disc Types

Disc golf discs are categorized into three primary types: drivers, mid-range discs, and putters. Each type has specific characteristics and uses on the course.


Drivers are designed for long-distance throws. They have a sharp edge and a streamlined shape to cut through the air efficiently. Drivers can be further divided into distance drivers and fairway drivers.

  • Distance Drivers: These discs have a wide rim and are designed for maximum distance. They are typically used for tee shots and long fairway throws. Distance drivers require significant arm speed and skill to control effectively.
  • Fairway Drivers: Fairway drivers have a slightly narrower rim than distance drivers and offer more control. They are used for accurate drives on shorter holes and navigating tight fairways. Fairway drivers are suitable for players of all skill levels.

Mid-Range Discs

Mid-range discs are versatile and can be used for a variety of shots, including drives, approach shots, and shorter throws. They have a more rounded edge than drivers, providing a balance between distance and control. Mid-range discs are ideal for players who need a disc that can perform well in various situations.


Putters are designed for short-distance throws and putting. They have a blunt edge and a thicker profile, making them easier to control and less likely to skip or roll away after landing. Putters are essential for accurate putting and making short approach shots.

Key Characteristics of Disc Types

Several factors influence the performance of disc golf discs, including speed, glide, turn, and fade. Understanding these characteristics will help you choose the right disc for your needs.


Speed is a measure of how fast a disc can travel through the air. It ranges from 1 to 14, with higher numbers indicating faster discs. Drivers typically have the highest speed ratings, while putters have the lowest. It’s important to choose a disc with a speed rating that matches your throwing ability.


Glide refers to a disc’s ability to maintain lift and stay in the air. It is rated on a scale of 1 to 7, with higher numbers indicating more glide. Discs with high glide are useful for achieving maximum distance with minimal effort. Mid-range discs often have good glide, making them suitable for controlled, longer throws.


Turn measures the tendency of a disc to curve to the right (for right-handed backhand throws) during the initial part of its flight. It is rated on a scale from -5 to 1, with negative numbers indicating more turn. High-turn discs are suitable for beginners and players with slower arm speeds, as they are easier to control.


Fade is the tendency of a disc to hook left (for right-handed backhand throws) at the end of its flight. It is rated on a scale of 0 to 5, with higher numbers indicating more fade. Discs with high fade are useful for making sharp left turns or for hyzer shots.

Difference Between Disc Types in Disc Golf 1

Specialty Discs

In addition to the main types of discs, there are also specialty discs designed for specific purposes. These include overstable and understable discs, utility discs, and rollers.

Overstable and Understable Discs

  • Overstable Discs: These discs have a strong tendency to fade left at the end of their flight. They are useful for throwing into headwinds and for making sharp left turns. Overstable discs are typically rated with a high fade and low turn.
  • Understable Discs: Understable discs have a tendency to turn right during the initial part of their flight. They are easier to control for beginners and are useful for making long, right-turning throws. Understable discs are typically rated with a high turn and low fade.

Utility Discs

Utility discs are designed for specific situations, such as getting out of trouble spots or making precision throws. These discs often have unique flight characteristics that make them ideal for specialized shots.


Roller discs are designed to be thrown in a way that causes them to roll on the ground for a significant distance. These discs have unique profiles and stability ratings that make them suitable for roller shots.

Choosing the Right Disc for Your Game

Selecting the right disc for your game depends on several factors, including your skill level, throwing style, and the specific shot you need to make.

Skill Level

  • Beginners: Beginners should start with understable discs with high glide and low speed ratings. These discs are easier to control and require less arm speed to achieve good distance.
  • Intermediate Players: Intermediate players can start experimenting with faster discs and a variety of stability ratings. This will help them develop their throwing technique and improve their control.
  • Advanced Players: Advanced players can use a wide range of discs, including overstable and understable discs, to execute a variety of shots. They should choose discs that match their throwing power and the specific needs of each shot.

Throwing Style

Your throwing style also influences the type of disc you should choose. Players with a powerful throw may prefer overstable discs, while those with a slower arm speed may benefit from understable discs. It’s important to experiment with different discs to find the ones that best suit your throwing style.

Specific Shots

Different shots require different types of discs. For example:

  • Tee Shots: Use distance drivers for long, open holes and fairway drivers for shorter, more controlled drives.
  • Approach Shots: Mid-range discs are ideal for approach shots, as they provide a balance of distance and control.
  • Putting: Putters are essential for accurate putting and short approach shots.
  • Specialty Shots: Use specialty discs for specific situations, such as overstable discs for headwind shots or roller discs for rolling on the ground.

Latest Trends in Disc Golf Discs

The disc golf industry is constantly evolving, with manufacturers introducing new technologies and materials to improve disc performance. Some of the latest trends include:

High-Tech Plastics

Manufacturers are developing high-tech plastics that offer better durability, grip, and flight characteristics. These new materials are designed to withstand wear and tear while providing consistent performance.

Custom Molds

Custom molds allow players to fine-tune their discs to their specific needs. This includes adjusting the weight, rim width, and stability to create a disc that matches their throwing style and preferences.

Environmental Sustainability

Many disc manufacturers are focusing on environmental sustainability by using recycled materials and eco-friendly production processes. This helps reduce the environmental impact of disc golf and promotes a more sustainable sport.

Digital Tools

Digital tools, such as flight simulators and disc selection apps, are becoming more popular among players. These tools help players analyze their throws, choose the right discs, and improve their game.


Understanding the different types of discs and their characteristics is essential for improving your disc golf game. By choosing the right disc for your skill level, throwing style, and specific shots, you can enhance your performance on the course. Stay updated with the latest trends and technologies in disc golf to continue evolving as a player. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced player, the right disc can make all the difference in your game.

Disc golf is a sport that combines skill, strategy, and a love for the outdoors. With the right knowledge and equipment, you can enjoy a rewarding and exciting experience on the course. Happy disc golfing!