It’s finally 2021 disc golfers! Hooray for that. Because 2020 was pretty crazy. Last year was a year of sickness, quarantine, protests, politics, hate, and even cancelled disc golf! We didn’t have much control in 2020. But this year I think things are going to be a little different. Disc golf is back on, stores are getting restocked with more discs, and everything is slowly getting back to normal.
2021 is shaping up to be something much better than the year we just had. And I’m definitely going to play more disc golf. But we need some new discs this year. I know I’m going to get at least a couple new discs and I need a good control driver. So I’ve put in quite a bit of research to find the best new control driver of 2021. I settled on one, actually already got two of these on this list, and I’m working on getting at least one more. Hopefully I can help you find one for your bag this year!
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?
While there are arguments for the differences between control, fairways, and even power drivers, there is no difference. They are all medium-range drivers in between mid-range discs and distance drivers and are called fairway drivers or control drivers based on a person’s preference or what a company wants to call the disc.
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 or hybrid drivers. There is a good argument for differences in all of these discs.
But the two sources for my belief that there is no difference between control and fairway drivers are two of the biggest disc golf companies in the world. Let’s check them out really quick:
Dynamic Discs: if you look at their Beginner’s Guide to Disc Golf post here, you’ll see that they only list “Fairway Drivers” under “Distance Drivers” and above “Mid-range.” There is no separate category for Control Drivers.
InfiniteDiscs.com: if you go to their site and perform a disc search on their “advanced disc search” tool, you’ll see that the only option listed for this category is “Control Driver.”
So you can see, there really isn’t a difference between control and fairway drivers. It’s just a preference on what you want to call them.
But I, personally, am just on the side of simplicity. I don’t overthink my game and my discs. I don’t think it matters all that much anyways 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 and distance drivers.
When you’re an advanced player, you can look into this more. 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 Disc Golf Control/Fairway Drivers in 2021
Our #1 Pick – Infinite Discs Sphinx (9, 6, -3, 1)
The Infinite Discs Sphinx is a phenomenal new addition to the Infinite line. I’ve made it the #1 best control driver of 2021 because of many different factors. But I seriously just like this disc.
The Sphinx is a 9 speed control driver so it’s not a hard disc to throw. Obviously I wouldn’t recommend this disc for a beginner but it could be a great driver to step up into after learning how to throw your first control driver. I’ve actually added it in to my best control drivers for beginners 2021 list as an Honorable Mention and as a step up disc after playing with a more beginner level control driver.
The Sphinx has phenomenal glide. Just throw it once and you’ll easily understand why Infinite Discs gave it a 6 glide rating. If you get it up to speed, it will fly a LONG way. I’m talking about an easy 300+ feet.
With a far bit of turn (-3) and a decent amount of fade (1), this disc will flip over just a little bit but always has a predictable fade to straighten it out at the end of flight. I would say that this could be a great disc for hyzer flips and for anhyzer shots. Another thing that I like about the Sphinx is that It’s highly controllable, reliable, and consistent on every shot. It will go where you want it to go. Thats nice to have in a disc.
Here’s what InfiniteDiscs.com has to say about the Sphinx: “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. For experienced players the Sphinx is a wonderful, understable utility disc for hyzer-flips, long anhyzer throws, or power rollers. The Sphinx will stand the test of time as a disc that earns a spot in any bag.”
For more information, check out InfiniteDiscs.com’s video review below ⬇️.
Grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
2. Mint Discs Freetail (10, 6, -3, 2)
The Freetail is a brand new control driver from Mint Discs. I’ve only got the opportunity to throw it a couple of times, but so far, I’ve really liked it. This will definitely be the next control driver I buy once it comes back in stock at Infinite. It should be by the time you’re reading this.
The Freetail is, first and foremost, an awesome hyzer flip disc. Besides that, it has the potential to be the go-to driver in your bag. It doesn’t take a lot of power to get this disc up to speed, which is awesome, because this disc will REALLY fly. The couple of times I threw this disc showed me the highlights. My first throw was a nice looking hyzer flip. The next throw was an absolute distance bomb across an open field. I noticed it had great turn and a good fade back into a slight meathook at the end. It’s not too meaty but just enough to wrap back around at the end of its flight. I threw it a few more times and I noticed the consistency and the disc’s ability to hold every line I put it on. Overall, in that short period, I felt that it was a really nice control driver and I’m excited to get my hands on it again!
Grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
3. Discmania Essence (8, 6, -2, 1)
The Essence is a brand new control driver from Discmania that shows their intended departure from double letter discs like the DD3 and the FD3. Although I believe that those discs just mentioned will be brought back for their 4th versions, it looks like all of the other discs in the Discmania line will now feature actual names like the Essence, Maestro, Tactic, etc.
The Essence is an interesting disc, though. I would say it’s probably the easiest disc to throw on this list.
Discmania states that this is the “do-it-all farway driver.” They also state that, “given the understable nature of the Essence, this disc is best suited for players looking for their first distance driver, backhand or smooth forehand throws, tailwinds, and excellent roller shots. Although beginner and novice throwers are recommended, we expect many pros out there will take a liking to this disc quickly. The rounded semi-blunt nose of the disc allows for fantastic roller shots and controlled backhand or forehand throws when you need it most. If you find yourself on a technical hole out on the links, you’ll reach for the Essence!”
If all that is what you’re looking for, grab an Essence here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
4. Discraft Anax (10, 6, 0, 3)
The Paul McBeth Anax has been a much welcomed edition to the Discraft lineup of awesome new discs. This control driver has many disc golfers thinking that this could be a great Thunderbird replacement or just the go-to control driver in your bag. The disc can cruise for days if you get it going and can even be easily shaped when it is beat in.
Distance potential is probably the thing I like the most about the Anax. This disc’s ability to glide and hold itself up is phenomenal. It really doesn’t have to be thrown very hard in order to match or max out your personal distance record. I never really thought I would be saying that with a control driver, but here we are with the Anax. Discraft has made a special disc in this one.
My final opinion on the Anax is an all around solid fairway driver (more like a hybrid control distance driver) that will be able to do a lot for you once you have it beat in. Grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
5. Kastaplast LOTS (9, 5, -1, 2)
The LOTS has been a really great new disc from Kastaplast that has made fans of this brand really happy. First off, the origin of the name is pretty cool. “Lots” in Swedish is a pilot who leads their ship through troubled waters and narrow passages. Interesting.
The LOTS is designed as a straight flying, highly workable, fairway driver and It will hold any line you put it on. The flight ratings suggest that this isn’t an overly hard disc to throw. A speed rating of 9 and a glide rating of 5 puts this disc right in the middle of most control/fairway drivers. It has a little bit of turn and a little bit more predictable fade on the end of its flight.
Overall with the LOTS, I’d say that if you’ve never thrown a Kastaplast disc, you’re definitely missing out. Kastaplast tends to be spot on with their flight ratings and making discs that fly exactly how you want them too.
If you want to try an interesting new control driver, check out the LOTS here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
6. RPM Discs Huia (7, 5, 0, 2)
The Huia was a disc that was given to me to review by Infinite Discs. Upon receiving it, along with some European and Asian discs, I really didn’t know how I was going to like it. After testing it out a bit, I found myself coming back to this disc quite a bit. I haven’t conducted the full review yet, but this had the potential to be a great control driver. The review should be done by the time you read this. You’ll be able to find that here.
Here’s what RPM has to say: the “Huia will fast become a favourite in your bag providing consistent medium to long range straight shots with a gentle fade.”
Infinite Discs calls this disc a, “trustworthy, stable fairway driver.”
If you want to try out an awesome new disc from New Zealand, check out the Huia here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
7. Innova Teebird3 (8, 4, 0, 2)
Oh, the Teebird. What a great disc. One that is loved wholeheartedly by the #discgolfcommunity and has solidified a legacy as one of the greatest discs of all time.
But the Teebird3 takes that love to a whole new level. This disc feels very similar to an original Teebird but gives you a little bit more stability and a little bit less glide. I’d say it was a bit more controllable but you would have to decide that for yourself. I like it, though.
Grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
Honorable Mention – Innova Leopard (6, 5, -2, 1)
The Leopard is one of the best control drivers of all time because of how reliable it is for all skill levels. While I normally don’t recommend any kind of driver to new players, this is the one driver that beginner disc golfers could probably play with after a few rounds of practice. Why is that? Well, because it’s just so dang easy to throw. I’ve said it in other posts, but the Leopard, to me, is a mid-range shaped like a driver. I wouldn’t give this disc to a day one beginner, but this disc works for almost any skill level and will fly perfectly on any line you put it on. Grab one here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
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Don’t forget to check out the book!
Before you go, make sure you check out my awesome Beginner’s Guide, “The Disc Golf Player’s Manual.” It’s a jam-packed, 200+ page guide filled with the best disc golf tips to take you from beginner to winner on the course. Check it out then go get out on the course!