If you’re brand new to disc golf, you already know that the struggle is real. While the sport might be super fun, there’s a lot of choices, a lot of learning, and a serious need for quick improvement. Disc golf is tough.
But in order to start improving, you’ve got to pick out the right discs. And you do that by learning about a few simple numbers that show up on every disc golf disc.
Disc golf flight ratings. Disc golf flight numbers. Numbers on a disc golf disc. Disc numbers. It all sounds complicated at first, but after a quick look at this post, you should have it down in just 10 minutes. Because it’s SO simple!
So let’s look at disc golf flight ratings, or the numbers on a disc golf disc, and figure out what they are and why they matter to you as a new disc golfer. So what are disc golf flight ratings?
What are disc golf flight ratings?
Disc golf flight ratings are the 4 numbers on a disc golf disc that represent how a disc is supposed to fly through the air. These numbers are determined by the Speed, Glide, Turn, and Fade of each disc, helping disc golfers understand how each individual disc performs in flight.
The disc golf flight ratings, in general, are a little bit more detailed than that, and we’ll show you more in the next few sections. But the two things I want you to understand are:
- Flight ratings tell you how a disc is supposed to fly through the air and…
- They’re determined by the Speed, Glide, Turn, and Fade of every single disc.
If you’re still confused, simply re-read the first section and then jump on down to the first flight rating – Speed.
The Speed of a disc, ranging from 1-15, is the first number on each disc, which shows a player how fast a disc must be thrown to fly correctly. Speed is NOT how fast a disc will fly, but how hard it must be thrown.
The lower the number, the less speed is needed on your throw. The higher the number, the more speed is needed on each throw.
Again, Speed is how hard you need to throw it, not how fast that disc will go, so that it will fly correctly or according to the rest of those flight ratings. So if you don’t throw a disc hard enough, the rest of the numbers won’t really matter.
As a new disc golfer, you want discs with LESS Speed. Somewhere around 1-6.
For more on speed, check out my post here – What is Speed in Disc Golf?
The Glide of a disc golf disc is a disc’s ability to stay in the air after it’s thrown. Glide is the 2nd number on each disc, which ranges from 1-7, with a lower number indicating less glide and a higher number indicating more glide.
Glide is SO simple. Less glide equals less flight. More glide, more flight. You get the concept.
As a new disc golfer, you want discs with MORE glide. Somewhere in the 3-7 range.
For more on glide, check out my post here – What is Glide in Disc Golf?
Turn (high-speed turn)
The high-speed Turn of a disc is how much a disc turns to the right after it’s first thrown (from a rhbh thrower). Turn ranges from -5 to 1 and helps to determine the stability of a disc as it flies through the air.
This might seem complicated, but I promise you, it’s really not. High-speed Turn is what happens to the disc right after it’s thrown. How much that disc turns immediately to the right.
More turn equals more turn to the right after you throw. The more negative a number, the more turn (-2 to -5). Less turn equals less turn to the right after you throw (-1 to 1).
As a new disc golfer, you want MORE turn on your disc. Somewhere in the range of about -1 to -3. The -4 to -5 discs are a bit extreme and the 0 to 1 discs tend to be a little tougher to throw.
For more on Turn, check out my post here – What is Turn in Disc Golf?
Fade (low-speed fade)
The low-speed Fade of a disc is how much the disc turns to the left at the end of flight, once it starts to slow down. Fade ranges from 0 to 5 and helps to determine the stability of the disc as it flies through the air.
Fade is fairly simple as well. After you throw, your disc will turn to the right because of high-speed turn and continue flying through the air (with rhbh throwers). Once your disc starts slowing down, low-speed fade will kick in and start making your disc fade to the left as it falls and lands on the ground.
For the majority of right-handed backhand throwers, Turn goes right, fade goes left.
Turn and fade also determine disc stability. If you want to read more about disc stability, check out this post here – The Complete Disc Golf Stability Guide!
So as a new disc golfer, you want LESS fade on your disc. I would say between 0-2. Discs start fading very heavily once you get in the 3-5 fade range, making it very tough for new players to throw these discs. If you stay under 2, though, you’ll be alright.
For more on Fade, check out my post here – What is Fade in Disc Golf?
Quick note for beginners
So as you’ve seen, flight ratings are super important. And the quicker you learn them, the faster you’ll improve and make progress on the disc golf course. So here’s a quick rundown of what you learned today.
Speed: how fast a disc needs to be thrown. Ranges from 1-15. The higher the speed, the faster you need to throw a disc.
Glide: how long a disc can stay in the air. Ranges from 1-7. The higher the glide, the longer the disc stays in the air.
Turn: how much a disc turns to the right after it’s first thrown (with a rhbh thrower). Ranges from -5 to 1. The more negative the number, the higher the turn, and the more the disc will turn to the right. Turn helps determine stability.
Fade: how much a disc turns the left at the end of flight. Ranges from 0 to 5. The higher the number, the higher the fade, and the more the disc will fade to the left at the end of flight. Fade also helps determine stability.
And lastly, as a beginner: you should be looking for discs with LESS speed (1-6), MORE glide (3-7), MORE turn (-1 to -3), and LESS fade (0-2). If you follow those recommendations, you’ll find a bunch of great discs and you’ll be able to learn the game much quicker.
InfiniteDiscs.com has a great disc selection tool here that allows you to find discs with your preferences – like type of disc, brand, and which flight ratings. Simply type in the flight rating ranges I’ve given you above and you’ll find hundreds of great discs. Check that out here or in the link above.
If you’re looking for a couple of good recommendations instead, check out the 3 awesome discs below ⬇️.
The 3 best disc golf discs for beginners
1. Dynamic Discs Judge (2, 4, 0, 1)
If you want a great putter, look no further than the Dynamic Discs Judge. I’ve played with this disc for years and it’s never disappointed. Easy to throw, easy to putt with, and an overall fantastic disc for most shorter throwing situations on the disc golf course.
If you’d like to try it, grab a Judge here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
2. Discraft Buzzz (5, 4, -1, 1)
At this point in my disc golf career, I’m convinced that the Buzzz is one of the best disc golf discs ever made. It’s a phenomenal disc that works for every level of disc golfer and almost every situation on the disc golf course.
If that’s what you need, grab a Buzzz here on InfiniteDiscs.com.
3. Innova Leopard (6, 5, -2, 1)
Now I normally don’t recommend drivers to new players, but the Leopard is such an easy disc to throw, that even day 1 beginners shouldn’t have trouble. I mean, if I didn’t tell you that this was a driver, you might actually guess that it was a mid-range or something else. Awesome control driver that almost any player can benefit from.
If you want to give the Leopard a shot, check it out here on Discgolfunited.com.
So thats it
Understanding the disc golf flight ratings is easy. You’ve got 4 numbers – speed, glide, turn, and fade – that determine how a disc flies. And if you can learn those numbers well, you’ll understand exactly how each and every disc flies.
Now that I know these numbers well, I can look at a disc and know everything about it within about 10 seconds – whether it’s a disc that I normally like to throw, whether it has a lot of turn or a lot of fade, how hard is it to throw, and whatever kinds of shots I can throw with it.
So learn the numbers well. Once you do that, you’ll improve quickly. But the numbers are key. So look them over a couple more times until you’ve got the disc golf flight ratings locked down. Once you do that, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an elite disc golfer!
Don’t forget to check out the book!
If you’re looking for more tips and tricks on how to play disc golf, check out my book, “The Disc Golf Player’s Manual.” This ultimate beginner’s guide is loaded with over 200 pages of content, helping you to improve your game AND lower score on the disc golf course. Check it out here on my site.