What’s the Difference Between a Disc Golf Disc and a Frisbee?

The disc golf disc and the frisbee. Both very similar to each other in how they fly, yet extremely different when compared in a post like this one.

The frisbee is iconic to an older generation and has recently been adapted into a new sport: ultimate frisbee. And the disc golf disc, representing a new generation of sports professionals on beautiful courses all across the world. Today, we’re going to be looking at both of these types of discs. But before that, let’s see what the main differences are.

What’s the difference between a disc golf disc and a frisbee?

Frisbees are large recreational discs that are very wide, made with light plastic, rounded on the edges, and cant fly very fast or far. Disc golf discs are small and dense, can fly fast, and are designed to travel long distances in order to get to a target basket.

Disc golf discs and frisbees are completely different from one another. And while they have some similarities, and fly in the same fashion, these two types of discs are much more different in a lot of ways. Below, we will go over 7 of the biggest difference between the two. So let’s get started!

Frisbees vs. disc golf discs: 7 big differences

1. Size

The first difference you will notice when comparing a frisbee and a disc golf disc is the size of each. Golf discs are small and dense, often about 8 inches long. Frisbees are much bigger, measuring around 12 inches long and are a much lighter plastic.

2. Shape

If you just look at a golf disc and then at a frisbee, you will quickly be able to tell the difference in shape. Frisbees are really rounded on the lip around the disc. It’s very pronounced and makes the disc fly much differently than a disc golf disc.

Disc golf discs are way more sleek and some discs (drivers) almost come to a point at the outside lip. As you get more toward mid-range discs and putters, the outside lip will get more rounded. Putters look similar to a frisbee but are still designed to fly faster and farther.

3. Drag

The drag of a disc is basically air resistance, kind of like air friction, against an object in flight. Drag acts against a flying object causing it to slow down. Frisbees and disc golf discs fly in a similar fashion, but because of size, shape, and aerodynamics, disc golf discs usually have less drag than frisbees. This helps them fly farther.

4. Aerodynamics

Being aerodynamic means having a shape that reduces the drag of the air moving past an object. The more aerodynamic something is, the faster and farther it can fly. This is why drivers, mid-range discs, and putters differ in disc golf. They all have different shapes, which help them or hurt them according to the principle of aerodynamics.

Disc golf putters are very slow compared to drivers, but similar in shape to regular frisbees. But you can tell by just looking at the frisbee and the disc golf putter that the putter is still more aerodynamically sound and will fly much better.

5. Speed

The speed of frisbees and disc golf discs is exponentially different. Frisbees are slow flyers. And while frisbees can be cranked up to fly somewhat fast, they still don’t come close to comparing to disc golf discs. Golf discs are designed to fly very fast and very far. It’s just the nature of them. Until Ultimate frisbee, the frisbee was made for recreational entertainment purposes like tossing from person to person. So they weren’t really meant to fly super fast.

The invention of the disc golf disc in 1964 really changed the game for frisbees and discs. These discs were intended to fly far, from a teepad to a basket. The speed of disc golf discs is a big part of what sets it apart from a recreational frisbee.

6. Distance

The distance a disc golf disc can travel differentiates it from a frisbee just that much more. Frisbees are designed more for accuracy, not distance. As we saw with the first two bullets, “size” and “shape,” disc golf discs are much smaller in size and are designed to cut through the wind. They are designed to fly as far as possible because of the tremendous amount of distance between most teepads and the basket target you’re throwing at.

So disc golf discs fly far. Frisbees do not. If you’d like to learn some tips for how to get your discs to fly farther on the course, check out our post, “The 27 Best Disc Golf Distance Tips for Beginners,” here on the site.

7. The difference is the difference

The final difference concerns the majority of people (if not everybody) who will start playing disc golf and their ability to throw a frisbee versus that of a disc golf disc.

When picking up a frisbee for the first time, they are generally easy to toss around and throw. Frisbees are accurate. That is probably why they’ve been chosen for Ultimate Frisbee. It’s light, the plastic is less tough making it easy to catch, and it flies where you want it to go.

Almost everybody (like 99% of people), when starting disc golf, will have trouble throwing a disc. They are not easy at all when you first start out. Frisbees are easy to throw. Disc golf discs are really tough. If you can master the throw of a disc golf disc, you can absolutely kill it on the course.

For a great resource on this, check out our article, “Disc Golf is Hard (But Here’s How You Master it).”

Can you use a frisbee for disc golf?

Yes, you can play disc golf with a frisbee. You cannot play competitively, but you can use regular frisbees to practice on the course to improve your accuracy and your distance.

I used to not know the difference between a golf disc and a frisbee. Just a few short years ago, I had only thrown a frisbee in the backyard a couple of times. I had no idea how fun disc golf actually was.

I was recently out on the disc golf course with my buddies. We were trying to crush a quick 18 holes when two guys came cruising through the course behind us. We were on hole 13 so we let them play through. I immediately noticed the frisbees (not discs but actual frisbees). They threw and kept on going. Hmmm, I thought it was either a joke or just some people that had no idea what they were doing. Boy, was I wrong. We got to hole 17 and here they came again.

This time, I stopped them and asked them why they were playing with frisbees. One guy said, “it’s a good way to get better on the course. It’s helped me a lot already so I’m gonna’ keep doing it.” I thought about it and kind of laughed it off. “Who gets better with frisbees?” I thought.

But the gravity of this tip hit me. You can use Ultimate Frisbee discs to improve on the course because they are really hard to throw accurately and for some distance. And while you can’t play competitive disc golf with these frisbees, you can definitely take advantage of them to get better on the course. If you’re interested in this tip to get better, grab an Ultimate Frisbee here for some practice on the disc golf course.

Great job!

If you’ve gotten this far, you must really want to learn more about disc golf and everything about it. If you’re interested in more frequently asked questions, you can check out the resources below or hit up our FAQ page here.

How Much Does it (Actually) Cost to Play Disc Golf?

How Many Discs Do You Need to Play Disc Golf?

What if My Disc Golf Disc Lands in the Water?

What if My Disc Golf Disc Lands on Top of the Basket?

You can also check out our awesome related content

9 Weird Tricks to Improve Your Disc Golf Game (Forever)

Mastering Disc Golf in the Wind: A Beginner’s Guide

The 12 Best Disc Golf Putting Tips for Beginners

Don’t forget to 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. Im telling you, this book is epic. If you want to seriously improve in disc golf, you need this book. So don’t miss out!


I am an avid disc golfer and lover of the sport. My mission with DiscgolfNOW.com is to reach as many people as possible to help them love disc golf, too!

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