When I first started playing disc golf, I was pretty freakin’ bad. The funny thing is, a lot of the reason was because I was using discs that were way too fast for me. I figured I needed distance so I immediately went for distance drivers.
My game suffered until I was taught to “disc down.” I started getting better using beginner putters, beginner mid-range discs, and soon after, beginner control drivers.
That’s when I improved. I started from the bottom and worked my way up.
So I’ve put together a list for you. One that I only wish I could’ve looked at before I went out and made myself look like a fool on the course. Today, we’re going to look at that list so that you can pick out the best control drivers for you and your game. So what are the best disc golf control drivers for beginners?
The 17 best disc golf control/fairway drivers for beginners
1. Innova Leopard
2. MVP Relay
3. Latitude 64 Diamond
4. Discraft Sting
5. Westside Discs Underworld
6. Prodigy F7
7. Legacy Patriot
8. Prodigy F5
9. Latitude 64 Maul
10. Axiom Inspire
11. Discraft Zombee
12. Axiom Crave
13. Discmania FD “Jackal”
14. Dynamic Discs Maverick
15. Latitude 64 River
16. Infinite Discs Sphinx
17. Innova Valkyrie
Control and fairway drivers – Is there a difference?
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.
3 reasons control/fairway drivers are important
1. Distance with ease: I love throwing distance drivers, but they have to be thrown hard and you have to have learned to use both power and technique to throw them. With control drivers, you have the ability to get a significant amount of distance with discs that don’t require nearly as much skill and finesse to get it. Control drivers are much easier to throw and will more than likely fly the way you want them to.
2. Distance with control and accuracy: distance drivers do not always offer the control and accuracy that control drivers allow. With these drivers you can not only perfectly place your disc, but get some serious distance as well.
3. Allow you to gradually build up in driver: like I’ve said already, I love throwing distance drivers. But I was bad when I first started because I wasn’t good enough to throw them. So I started with putters, worked my way up to mid-range discs, and then moved on to control drivers. Those control drivers allowed me to take one step further in my disc golf skills and get me closer to throwing distance drivers.
It’s like a fun stepping stone. You have to start from the bottom and work your way up. Because control drivers are not for brand new day one players and distance drivers are not for beginners.
Word of caution!
I highly suggest that you DO NOT start out playing with any drivers as a true day one beginner. If you’re just starting on your #discgolfjourney, and you’ve played less than 10 rounds, you should be skipping the drivers for now. There’s nothing wrong with grabbing a couple today to have ready for when you get a bit better, but I would wait to play with them until you’ve gotten a little bit of experience in disc golf.
If you’re brand new, I always recommend starting with putters to throw with because they’re really easy and they will help you learn.
Check out, “17 Best Disc Golf Putters for Beginners,” for some good beginner putters to play with.
We also suggest playing with mid-range discs before moving up to drivers. Mid-ranges are also easy to throw with and offer a little bit more distance than putters.
Check out, “The 17 Best Disc Golf Mid-range Discs for Beginners,” for some good beginner mid-range discs to play with.
Once you’ve gotten good enough, it’s time move up to control drivers!
How to pick your control/fairway drivers: flight ratings
In disc golf, we choose discs based on flight ratings, or a series of four numbers on a disc golf disc.
The four numbers on a disc golf disc are a flight ratings system that represent the true characteristics of a disc golf disc as it flies through the air, including the speed, glide, turn, and fade of the disc. From left to right, these numbers include:
Speed: how fast the disc must be thrown. The first number. Ranges from 1 to 14 with 14 meaning the disc has to be thrown very fast.
Glide: how the long the disc can stay in the air. The second number. If the disc is thrown at the correct speed, it will glide appropriately. Ranges from 1 to 7 with 7 being the most glide.
Turn: how much the disc turns to the right when first thrown (rhbh thrower). The third number. Ranges from -5 to 1 with -5 being the most turn.
Fade: how much the disc turns to the left at the end of it’s flight (rhbh thrower). The fourth number. Ranges from 0 to 5 with 5 being the most fade.
All of these numbers mean that a disc will fly a certain way if thrown correctly.
So when choosing discs as a new player, you really want to pay attention to the flight ratings and learn how they affect each disc.
When choosing a control driver, if you prefer to find your own (instead of the recommendations below), here are some guidelines that you’ll want to follow:
1. Speed: keep the speed low. I recommend keeping the speed below 9 as a newer player. Every disc on the recommendation list below is a 9 speed or below.
2. Glide: you want as much glide as possible. It will help your disc stay in the air longer. Control drivers with a rating of 4 or more is fine. Every driver on this list is at least a 4 glide or higher.
3. Turn: you want at least a little bit of high-speed turn on your disc when you’re a new player. For right hand back hand throwers (rhbh which is most throwers), the more high-speed turn, the more the disc will turn to the right when first thrown.
The more turn, usually the easier it is to throw at first for brand new players. Remember, turn is -5 to 1, so you want around a 0 to -4 amount of turn (0 is fairly straight and will turn more as you get to -4). Every disc on the list below ranges from 0 to -3.
4. Fade: as a new player, you want as little low-speed fade as possible. For rhbh throwers, low-speed fade means the disc will turn to the left at the end of flight. Remember, fade is 0 to 5, with 5 being the most fade. We recommend you stay around 0 to 3 fade, but try to keep it as minimal as possible. All of the discs on this list range from 1 to 2, as I believe this will help beginners have the best chance of success with their control drivers.
The discs near the beginning of this list are easier to throw. As you progress through it, you’ll notice that the discs get a little bit tougher to throw. As you progress, you’ll be able to take on the discs near the end of this list. Now we’ll go through the recommendations list and I’ll show you the 17 best disc golf control drivers for beginners. Check it out and grab you a couple!
Wait, one more thing…
Once you go from beginner to intermediate player, you might be ready to start experimenting with distance drivers! When you get there, check out our awesome post, “17 Best Disc Golf Distance Drivers: Max Distance!” That post should give you a good idea of some of the best distance drivers in the game.
Until then, let’s get into that list of the best control drivers!
The 17 best disc golf control drivers for beginners
Our #1 pick – Innova Leopard (6, 5, -2, 1)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the Leopard is the best beginner control driver in the game today. I have absolutely loved mine since I got it and it’s been frequently used. The Leopard is easy to throw, most straight-flying, grips well, and works great for advanced throws once you get to that level. The Leopard comes in Innova’s beginner starter pack which you can get here on Amazon. Or you can grab the Leopard by itself here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
2. MVP Relay (6, 5, -3, 1)
The Relay is the driver that MVP released for the 2015 MVP Circuit. And it has been one of the best discs for new disc golfers ever since. The Relay is very understable, making it very easy to throw and a solid starter driver for newbies. Grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
3. Latitude 64 Diamond (8, 6, -3, 1)
The Diamond is an awesome disc for newer players. It’s also part of Latitude 64’s “easy to use” line of discs, making it one of the best for players looking to make the jump into control drivers. If you think you’re ready for a control driver, try the Innova Leopard, the MVP Relay, and this disc as they’re probably the 3 best control drivers on the market for beginners. Grab yourself a Diamond here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
4. Discraft Sting (7, 5, -3, 1)
The Sting is a rock solid option for beginners looking at control drivers. It’s a very straight-stable disc that was introduced for the 2017 Discraft Ace Race. If you want a control driver that will help to change your game for the better, look to the Sting. You can check current prices here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
5. Westside Discs Underworld (7, 6, -3, 1)
The Underworld is a really understable, very fun to throw disc that beginners could benefit from tremendously. It doesn’t require a lot of power to give you a lot of high-speed turn and glide. As a new player, give the Underworld a throw. You can get one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
6. Prodigy F7 (7, 5, -3, 1)
The F7 is the easier control driver to throw out of the two Prodigy discs on this list (the F5 is #8 on this list). The F7 is very understable and uses Prodigy’s “easy release” technology, making it one of the easiest control drivers to throw. Get one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
7. Legacy Patriot (7, 5, -2, 1)
The Patriot is an interesting control driver. Although it can be a beginner disc, it was designed with all players in mind. It doesn’t require a lot of power to get this disc to fly straight, as the feel of this disc and the way it’s made helps it give superior control to newer players. Check this one out on InfiniteDiscs.com.
8. Prodigy F5 (7, 5, -2, 1)
The F5 is another great control driver option from Prodigy. This disc, though, is a little bit tougher to throw than the F7 listed earlier. But I wouldn’t sweat that too much because it’s still pretty easy to throw due to the understability. If you’re a newer player, I’d recommend the F7 first and work up a bit to the F5. You can get an F5 here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
9. Latitude 64 Maul (7, 7, -2, 1)
The Maul is a disc that sports a really high glide rating, similar to the Latitude 64 River, and backs it up. The Maul flies forever when thrown with enough speed (though not much is required). Both of those factors, along with a fairly understable flight, makes the Maul a very good, underrated option for your control driver game. Check it out here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
10. Axiom Inspire (6, 5, -1.5, 1)
The Inspire is an easy, understable driver for low power throwers. It can help the beginner hold straight lines in tighter fairways, air it out for max distance, or be controlled for shot shaping. Grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
11. Discraft Zombee (6, 5, -1, 1)
The Zombie is here to eat some brains…uh, I mean chains. Definitely a medium range fairway control driver as this disc was made for the 2012 Ace Race. The flight ratings are moderate, and for the majority who have used this disc, the disc flies straight with a predictable fade at the end. This disc is similar to a Buzzz mid-range, meaning beginners should definitely grab one of these discs for the bag. You can get it here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
12. Axiom Crave (6, 5, -1, 1)
The Crave is an extremely straight-flying control driver from Axiom. This driver was designed with the beginner in mind. Check it out here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
13. Discmania FD “Jackal” (7, 6, -1, 1)
As a very straight-flying driver with a lot of glide, the Discmania FD is similar in a lot of ways to the Latitude 64 River (the disc at #15 on this list). It is extremely popular, and for good reason, because this is an easy, fun, and extremely accurate control driver. As one of the highest rated drivers on this list, the FD is a really good choice for those transitioning to control drivers. Grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
14. Dynamic Discs Maverick (7, 4, -1.5, 2)
The Maverick is a good, understable control driver for your arsenal made by Dynamic Discs. This disc’s smaller grip allows for superior control and accuracy. This, in turn, makes the Maverick a popular choice for newer disc golfers familiarizing themselves with drivers. You can get the Maverick here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
15. Latitude 64 River (7, 7, -1, 1)
I love the River. With this disc, Latitude 64 has done something special: they’ve created a disc that glides better than almost every other disc on the market. It has a 7 glide rating, which not many other discs sport. The River also flies ridiculously straight, allowing for some great overall distance. You can check the River out here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
16. Infinite Discs Sphinx (9, 6, -3, 1)
Now before I get people all riled up with this disc, i just want to put forth a disclaimer: this disc says, “distance driver,” on it. But InfiniteDiscs.com states that, “The Sphinx is the perfect disc for new players who want a distance driver / control driver crossover that won’t fade too soon while covering as much distance as possible. With an understable release and manageable speed rating, the Sphinx can fly with accuracy and ease.”
This disc is a really great crossover disc that both new and experienced players can really benefit tremendously from. Grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
17. Innova Valkyrie (9, 4, -2, 2)
(**NOTE: I know the Valk is technically a distance driver, but it is a great crossover control disc for beginners.)
The Innova Valkyrie is an exceptional control driver and super popular disc in the #discgolfcommunity. The Valk once held the world distance record for over a decade set by disc golf pro Christian Sandstrom at an astounding 820 feet (he threw a DX Valkyrie)
The Valkyrie is a bit too much of a disc for a brand new player, so get to know some of the other discs on this list first before you take it on. It does fly really well, though. You can get a Valkyrie here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
Once you’re able to work your way up to using control drivers, your game should improve dramatically. With this list, hopefully we’ve been able to show you some of the best beginner discs to help you choose a couple that are right for you. Good luck out there disc golfers! 👍 Now get out there and go throw! 🥏⛓
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Check Out The Book!
Before you hit the course, don’t forget to grab a copy of our beginner ebook, “The Disc Golf Player’s Manual.” It is absolutely packed with over 200+ pages of tips, tricks, and advice for the beginner disc golfer. If that’s you, pick up a copy of this now and watch your game go from zero to hero in no time.
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