2021 is finally here, y’all! And I’m so thankful for that. 2020 was filled with sickness, quarantine, protests, hate, and cancelled disc golf. So I’m sure you’re probably glad it’s over, too.
But as bad as 2020 was, 2021 is showing promise. Disc golf is back on, we can actually go out and do stuff, and stores are getting huge resupplies of discs and other gear.
So if you clicked on this post, you’re probably looking for a good beginner-level control/fairway driver to take out and crush your rounds with. Don’t worry because this post has you covered. In the next couple paragraphs, we’ll go over a quick word of caution when it comes to control/fairway drivers, why you need one, what the difference is between control and fairway drivers is, and the 7 best control/fairway drivers to check out in 2021. Alright, let’s get to it!
Word of caution
Before you continue on to our disc recommendations in this post, I want to caution you on something: if you’re brand new to the game of disc golf, you should NOT be buying or playing with any drivers in your first 10-15 rounds (or your first 2-3 months of learning the game).
Almost all drivers are way too hard to throw for beginners. You may be thinking, “but theyre all just frisbee discs. How are they too hard to throw?” Well, all discs have a speed rating (you can learn more about that in my post here: “What is Speed in Disc Golf?”). That speed rating is how hard a disc must be thrown by you to fly correctly. Drivers require a lot of speed and beginners normally can’t throw a disc very hard at first. So that’s why I always recommend starting out with a putter and/or a mid-range disc. If you’re brand new, check out the posts below ⬇️.
3 reasons why you need a control/fairway driver
1. Control and distance
Control drivers don’t have to be thrown nearly as hard as distance drivers. With that being said, you can get fantastic distance from a control driver without having to throw it ridiculously hard. These drivers are also easier to control on those somewhat long approach shots or drives. They’re “control” drivers and control over your shots is exactly what they give you.
Control drivers allow you to maintain control and get that distance that you want, all while helping you stay focused on playing with good technique.
3. Distance drivers? Nope, not yet
So you can see that control drivers are easy to throw. And that they’re good for getting good distance while helping you still focus on good technique. But there’s another reason why you need to throw control drivers…
You just may not be ready to throw distance drivers yet. Distance drivers need to be thrown hella fast. You might be a good player, but if you don’t have the arm speed, you won’t do well with distance drivers. So work your way up, starting with control drivers.
What’s the difference between control and fairway drivers? Does it matter for beginners?
So as you see in the title, it says “best control/fairway drivers.” When I first started playing, I was curious why these drivers had multiple names. Well, upon researching a little bit, I came upon a debate in the disc golf community. That debate surrounded whether or not there were two different types of drivers in the control and fairway categories of drivers.
One side of the argument states that control and fairway drivers are different. That fairway drivers are slower and that control drivers are a step up under distance drivers. Fairway drivers are speed 6-8 and control drivers are speed 9-11.
The other side of the argument says that control/fairway drivers are called both names and sometimes just differentiate because of how the disc is labeled (i.e. the disc might say control driver but also be called a fairway driver). Whatever speed the disc is doesn’t matter.
Technically, there are discs called fairway drivers. There are others called control drivers. And then there are a few that are called power drivers. There is a good argument for differences in all of these discs.
But I, personally, am on the side of simplicity. I don’t overthink my game and my discs. I don’t think it matters all that much so I call discs both control and fairway drivers. As a beginner, this is how you should think. You need to learn the game and build your skills up – from putters to mid-range discs to control/fairway drivers. Learn the game and don’t worry about if there’s a difference right now.
When you’re an advanced player, you can look into this. But for now, just play and learn. Now that we’ve got all that squared away, let’s take a look at the 7 best control/fairway drivers in 2021!
The 7 best control/fairway drivers for beginners in 2021
I’ve thrown quite a few control and fairway drivers since I started playing a few years ago. And the Leopard was the first one I had ever thrown. I went through many discs trying to find the control driver that I liked the best. But I just had trouble until I thought about trying the Leopard again. I figured that it was too “beginner” of a disc for me. But I was still pretty bad and that was my mindset. Then I started throwing it again. Yep, that was the disc for me.
The Leopard really is an awesome disc, though. I could even stretch to say that a newer player could probably handle this disc (even with very little experience). It’s only a speed 6, so it doesn’t take a lot of throwing power to get this disc to really fly. It also sports a glide of 5, so it will give you good flight time and stay in the air for quite a bit. It will normally stay pretty straight. It might give you a little turn at first if thrown hard, but it normally fades back just enough to call this a straight-flyer.
I like how versatile it is. It helped me learn how to control drivers better as a decent player. But now that I’ve improved, I’ve been able to use the Leopard for a lot of different shots because it isn’t all that much more than a mid-range with an outer rim shaped like a driver. Check out Ivan Katz’s thorough review of the Leopard in the video below ⬇️.
The Latitude 64 River is a disc that has an insane amount of glide. I mean, this disc flies forever if you get some power behind it. In disc golf, the glide flight rating – or how long a disc can stay in the air – ranges from 1-7. And the River has a 7 glide rating. Latitude 64 really has done something special with this one because I would argue that it is the best gliding disc on the market. There are a couple of distance drivers that can match it but the River just goes. It’s also ridiculously straight. All of that equals a great control driver. Grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
The Underworld is a really fun and super underrated disc in the disc golf world. This disc is an awesome starter control driver because it is set up almost perfect for new players. The 1.9cm rim is easy to hold, providing superior control and distance. For beginners, it excels as a straight driver with just enough turn and minimal fade. Definitely a great starter control driver. You can get yours here (link to InfiniteDiscs).
The FD is brilliant in that it’s designed for beginning players who want to try and keep the disc in the air longer while flying as straight as possible. The FD is awesome for those hard-to-learn “tunnel shots.” You can check current prices for it here (InfiniteDiscs.com).
The Crave is an extremely straight-flying control driver from Axiom. This driver was designed with the beginner in mind. It needs a bit more speed than the Leopard but was built with a similar flight in mind. This disc has the potential to be the go-to control driver you’re looking for because it’s just so reliable and consistent.
Here’s what InfiniteDiscs.com has to say about the Crave: “The Crave is the first driver in the Axiom Line. This moderate speed fairway driver is described as a seasoned MVP Servo. The Crave provides a straight controllable flight path with a comfortable feel and loads of color options.”
The F7 is a really great control driver and a perfect disc if you’re a newer player looking to move up into drivers. Even though the speed is a little bit higher than I’d like for a beginner control driver, it makes up for it with a -3 turn. So you won’t have too much trouble throwing this disc as a beginner. I would recommend getting another disc once you start getting some power behind your throws. But keep this in your bag as it can be a great hyzer flip, anhyzer, or roller disc. Grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
If you’ve had the chance to read any of my other posts up to this point, you’ll know that I love Dynamic Discs. I haven’t yet found any of their discs that I dislike. Of course, my favorite distance driver is the Sheriff. But my favorite control driver is, hands down, the Maverick.
It’s similar to the Prodigy F7 but I like how it feels in the hand just a bit better than the F7. Fantastic starter driver. Grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
The Sphinx just barely makes it onto this list because it’s not really a control driver for beginners. This is more of a step up after you first start throwing control drivers. For example, if you started with the Dynamic Discs Maverick, you could then move up to the Sphinx after you get the hang of slower, easier to throw drivers. The Sphinx is still a great disc, though. Once you get some experience with drivers, grab a Sphinx here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
Check out the book!
Before you go, don’t forget to check out the best beginner disc golf book on the planet, “The Disc Golf Player’s Manual.” This ebook is packed with over 200+ pages of the best tips, tricks, and advice for new players