The Ultimate Guide to Disc Selection: How to Choose the Right Disc for Your Shot
Selecting a golf disc that suits your skill level, shot shape, and course conditions is an essential aspect of disc golf accuracy.
This is especially true for beginner disc golfers, who may become frustrated if they accidentally choose a golf disc that is too advanced for their skill level or poorly suited to a certain shot shape.
The wrong disc can reduce throwing distance, decrease accuracy, and leave you feeling like you just can’t seem to make progress.
Alternatively, the right disc for your skill level and the specific shot will have you automatically seeing results.
We’ve put together the ultimate guide to disc selection to ensure you always have the right disc for your shot and experience level.
In our guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about selecting the right golf disc, including:
What Do the Numbers in Disc Golf Ratings Mean?
To choose the right golf disc, understanding the Flight Ratings System is a must. This system is a guide meant to indicate how a disc is expected to fly, based on right-hand backhand (RHBH) throws.
The Flight Ratings System includes these main categories: Speed. Glide. Turn. Fade.
Numbers: 1 to 14 (1 being the slowest, 14 being the fastest)
Description: Speed is the rate at which a disc is capable of travelling through the air. High-speed discs require more power to fly correctly. This makes high-speed discs better suited to distance shots and advanced players.
Numbers: 1 to 7
Description: Glide refers to how long a disc can stay in the air. Discs with more glide are best for producing maximum distance, and for beginner players.
Numbers: +1 to -5
Description: The tendency of a disc to turn right during the first part of its flight. Discs rated closer to -5 will have more turn while a disc rated +1 will resist turning over.
Numbers: 0 to 5
Description: Low-speed fade refers to the golf disc's tendency to hook left (for right-hand backhand throws) at the end of the flight.
Higher numbers equal more fade. A golf disc with a rating of 0 will fly in the straightest path whereas a disc with a 5 rating will hook left at the end of its flight.
Common Disc Golf Flight Terms
Here are some common disc golf terms based on RHBH throws.
Understable — means a flight that turns right
Stable — A flight that doesn’t turn
Overstable — A flight that turns left
Spike Shot — A shot that lands almost vertically and without any skip
Skip Shot — A shot meant to hit the ground and fly up again
The Four Types of Golf Discs
Here, we’ll look at the four types of golf discs and the different situations and skill levels they are used for.
Here are some of the main aspects of Distance drivers:
- Designed for maximum distance when throwing from the tee
- Offer the most speed of all the disc types
- Not suitable for beginners
- Require a lot of power and spin to throw properly
- Flattest profile of all the discs, making them the most aerodynamic
- Wide rims to increase speed
- Best for advanced players who can throw at least 80 metres or more
Here are the main characteristics of fairway drivers:
- Easier to control than distance drivers
- May be too difficult to throw for disc golf newbies
- Best suited to intermediate or advanced disc golfers
- Require a fair amount of power and speed to throw correctly
- Used for shorter drives
- Typically used for shots that are 50 to 100 metres away from the target
- An excellent multi-use disc suitable for a wide range of situations and all skill levels, from beginner to advanced
- Slight heavier than drivers, decreasing how far they can fly but helping to produce more consistency for intermediate players
- Offer the most control of all the disc types
- Slight wider rim and flatter profile
- Trickier to control than a putter
Here are the main characteristics of putters:
- Used for approach shots as players get close to the basket, or for putting to get the disc into the basket
- Thicker shape
- Fly slower than all the other disc types
- Fly the shortest distance
- Easiest to control of all the disc types
- Most accurate disc type
- Typically fly in a straight path and for shorter distances
How Do I Choose the Right Disc?
“How Do I Know What Disc to Use for Disc Golf?”
This may be the question we hear most… and we love answering it!
Now that we’ve covered the basics of the Flight Ratings System and the type of golf discs, we’ll get into choosing the right golf disc for your experience level, different conditions, and different shots.
When choosing the right disc for a shot, these are the most important considerations:
- What is your skill level? This will dictate the speed, glide, turn, and fade you choose for your disc, as well as its weight.
- How far is the shot? This will determine if you want a distance driver, fairway driver, midrange, or putter.
- What is the shot shape? Is there a gradual left turn? A sharp right turn? Are you throwing downhill, flat, or uphill? Pay attention to these factors to help you select the right disc for a successful shot.
- What is the wind direction? The wind has an immense effect on a disc’s flight path. Wind can slow a disc down and prevent it from flying as far as you hoped, push a disc downward in the air, or carry a disc further than you expected. Discs with less turn, heavier weight, and more speed are generally more accurate in windy conditions.
The Best Golf Discs for Beginners
Beginners typically throw long shots that are under 100 metres, making lightweight, low speed discs the best choice for beginners. Newbies should consider skipping drivers completely as beginners often lack the power needed to throw drivers correctly.
For beginners, it is generally recommended to start with a putter and a mid-range disc. Avoid higher speed discs and drivers as you will likely lack the power needed to generate enough speed to fly the disc properly. This can be disheartening and decrease your motivation to stick with the sport.
Beginners should opt for a disc speed of 6 or less to avoid unnecessary frustration. A disc rated 1 for speed will require the least speed and effort to fly correctly once it is thrown.
If this is your very first time on the course, consider starting with a putter. Putters offer excellent control and accuracy and are a great way to build your disc golf skills.
As a disc golf beginner, you’ll also benefit from lighter discs. Lightweight discs will be more understable and easier to throw. A disc with higher glide will help you gain a little distance on your throws and build your confidence.
Disc golf beginners should opt for discs with the lowest amount of fade possible, around 0 to 1. This ensures that the disc flies as straight as possible near the end of its flight.
When choosing the best golf disc for a beginner, opt for an understable, lightweight golf disc with a:
- Low-speed disc (1 to 6)
- High glide (numbers 3 to 7)
- Turn around -1 or -2
- Low fade (0 or 1)
The Best Golf Disc for Younger Players
Golf discs for younger players follow many of the same guidelines as beginner golf discs.
The best golf disc for younger players should be:
- Lightweight (around 150 grams)
- Low speed (1 to 5)
- High glide (3 to 7)
- High turn (-2)
- Low fade (0 or 1)
When in doubt, get in touch with us and we’ll gladly advise you on the best golf discs for your skill level and goals.
The Best Golf Disc for Intermediate Players
Intermediate disc golfers should look for discs with more speed and a bit more weight to practise with.
Start experimenting with higher speed discs rated 6, 7, 8, or more. You can also start using fairway drivers now that you have improved your technique and likely have the power needed to throw a fairway driver properly.
The Right Golf Disc for Advanced Players
Players who throw distances over 100 metres consistently and accurately should start experimenting with higher speed distance drivers and overstable discs.
Speed is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a disc as an advanced player.
Once you’ve become a seasoned pro, you’ll have the speed, power, and spin needed to make high-speed discs fly correctly. As an advanced player, you should be using fairway and distance drivers.
As an advanced disc golfer, you can also start working your way up to higher speed discs of 7 and up. Eventually, you can start experimenting with high-speed discs rated 12, 13, and 14.
The Best Golf Disc for Windy Conditions
Wind direction and speed are crucial to consider when choosing which disc to throw.
Higher speed discs slash through the wind with ease, making them an excellent choice for windy days. However, slower discs may fly more accurately downwind, helping them go further. Heavier discs are generally easier to control than lightweight discs in windy conditions.
Along with opting for a heavier, higher speed disc, here are some guidelines for choosing the best disc for windy conditions:
- Headwind: Headwinds make a disc more understandable, so opt for a more overstable disc than usual
- Tailwind: Disc down as the wind will naturally add some distance to your throw
- Crosswind: Determine if you want the disc pushed down or lifted up to help decide which shot shape you want to try for
The Best Golf Disc for Obstacles
Technical shots or obstacles require extra consideration when choosing the right disc.
Players will need to have a good understanding of The Flight Rating System and extensive experience on the course to be able to accurately assess the best disc for obstacles or tricky weather conditions.
Shots with trees or odd hole shapes may require turning the disc in multiple directions.
Here’s a quick glance at some disc choices for technical shot shapes:
- S-Shots — Choose your most overstable disc and put it on an anhyzer angle to make it fly straight for most of its flight path before fading the opposite way
- Hyzer Flip — Put your most understandable disc on a hyzer angle to make it fly straight, fight out of it, flip up flat, and slowly fade the other way
- Strong Winds — A heavier disc will be generally be more accurate and reliable in wind, but it depends on whether or not it is is a crosswind, tailwind, or headwind
- Spike and Skip shots — Opt for a high fade disc rated 5
The Best Golf Disc for Maximum Distance
The best disc for maximum distance will be a distance driver with:
- High glide (unless you are playing in high wind conditions)
- High speed
- Lighter weight
- More spin
- A wider rim
If you really want to get nerdy about disc distance, check out this extensive guide on The Physics of Disc Flight by The Australian Flying Disc Association (AFDA).
What Weight Golf Disc Is Best for Beginners?
For beginners, remember to choose a lightweight golf disc so it will be easier to throw and control. Typically, a lightweight golf disc should be between 150 to 170 grams.
Are you still feeling overwhelmed by choosing the right golf disc for a beginner? Our disc golf starter sets eliminate the guesswork and can get you all set up for your first rounds on the course.
How Do You Drive Accurately in Disc Golf?
Once you’ve selected the right golf disc for your shot and your skill level, it’s time to get on the course and get to work.
Selecting the right golf disc will automatically go a long way in improving your accuracy.
Try implementing the following tips into your game to improve your disc golf accuracy even further:
- Pay attention to foot placement — Start glancing down at your feet after you throw. Where are your feet planted after a good shot? What is your foot placement like after a bad shot?
- Watch videos featuring your favourite professional disc golf players, such as Climo, McMahon, or McBeth, and pay attention to their technique, footwork, form, and disc selection
- When you can’t get out on the course, watch disc golf tutorials on YouTube
- When throwing, make sure you keep your chin down until after you release your golf disc
- Have a friend record a few of your throws during a round or practise session — this is one of the best ways to analyze your foot placement and throwing technique, and to recognise issues such as picking up your head before your release the disc
Want Personalised Advice on What Disc to Use for Disc Golf?
If you’re trying to figure out what weight disc to use, the best disc for more distance, or which golf disc is best for beginners, our team of disc golf experts is here to help.
Disc golf isn’t just our business, it’s what we live and breathe. So we love it when our customers come to us for advice!
Contact us and we’d be thrilled to chat with you about the right discs for a beginner, where to play disc golf in Perth, breaking through plateaus as an intermediate player, beginner disc golf tips, or advancing your game as a pro.