There’s a common argument in disc golf that I hear all the time. It’s an argument that will span the test of time on which there won’t ever be an agreement. Your view may be different than mine. And your friend will tell you something completely different.
That common argument is this: How many discs do you need to play disc golf and how many discs should you carry?
In order to play disc golf, you need at least 3 discs: a driver, a mid-range, and a putter. But you should carry at least 6 discs (2 of each type) with you whenever you go out to play a round.
How many discs should you have in your bag?
This number varies a lot and almost every player in the game will tell you something different. Some players think you should have just three discs, your driver, mid-range, and putter. Other players think you should carry anywhere from 20-40 discs in your bag. Here’s the best answer I can give you on that: carry as many discs as you feel comfortable with. Whatever number that is, that’s the appropriate number.
But a good rule of thumb: you should always carry at least six discs with you. Two drivers, two mid-range, and two putters.
Why? Well, let me ask you this question: have you ever lost a disc during your round? Almost every person I’ve talked to has lost one. I say six discs (and two of each kind) because if you ever lose your disc, you will have a backup ready to go. Nothing is worse than having to borrow a disc to play with because you lost your best driver. If you have lost a disc, check out my lost discs guide here to help you never lose one again.
I personally carry about sixteen to eighteen discs. My one friend carries about 10 discs and my other friend carries about 14. We all like the diversity in our discs and almost always throw multiple discs during each round. We all like to vary it up a bit.
The majority of good players I know carry around 10-20 discs and most professional players that I know carry around 15-25 discs. In the end, it’s all up to you and what you’re most comfortable with.
What kind of discs do you actually need?
In the game of disc golf, there are 3 discs that you actually need in order to play.
1. driver: your initial shot. This disc is good for speed and distance. A driver will most likely be your longest throw of the hole. Try the Innova Leopard DX driver (you can find it here on InfiniteDiscs.com).
2. mid range: good for you second, third, or fourth shot. Mid-range discs glide through the air and help you finesse your shots toward the basket. These discs aren’t as fast as drivers, but can stay in the air for a good length of time. The Innova Wombat is one of my favorite mid-range discs.
3. putter: your final shot(s). You use these discs to complete the hole and get your disc into the basket. These discs are slow and bulky, but are perfect for putting the final 5-40 feet or so. Check out the Dynamic Discs Judge if you need a great putter.
Do the numbers on the disc matter?
All in all, the numbers on the disc don’t matter that much. The numbers that you may see represent a flight ratings system by Innova Discs with four main categories. These categories are used to compare discs and describe what the characteristics of each disc could be. I’ll give you a quick primer here, but if you want to know what exactly to look for in terms of numbers on a disk, check out my article all about the number ratings here.
Now, the numbers don’t mean the disc will fly 100% percent exactly like they’re projected, but instead show what the discs are best used for.
• Speed (1 to 14): this category is simple. Speed is how fast the disc flies through the air. Higher-rated discs are faster and lower-rated are slower. Drivers normally have higher ratings (10-14), mid-range discs are in the middle (4-9), and putters are in the lower numbers (1 to 3).
• Glide (1 to 7): glide is a disc’s ability to maintain loft while in flight, essentially allowing a disc to stay in the air longer. A higher glide rating is better for beginners, so if you need more distance because you can’t throw as far, get a disc with more glide.
• Turn (+1 to -5): turn is the disc’s ability to turn over to the right (when thrown by a right hand backhand thrower). If you’re having trouble trying to keep the disc from turning to the left, try learning good technique and buying a disc with a lower rating (-2 to -5)
• Fade (0 to 5): fade is the disc’s ability to turn over to the left (when thrown by a right hand backhand thrower). These discs are used most for spike or skip shots.
It’s crucial to learn how you throw so you can buy discs that will help you get better. The Flight Ratings Systems is a very important part of disc golf once you get to a more intermediate level. It can help you when you first start out, but the system itself doesn’t make the game. You don’t have to buy discs based on disc ratings if you don’t want to. They can help, but you don’t have to. Instead, when you’re starting out, focus on technique so you can become better. Then use the knowledge you’ve learned to help you buy discs that will make your game even stronger. To learn more about the flight ratings system, check out our post, What Do the Numbers on a Disc Golf Disc Mean?
It’s also important to remember something that a lot of people don’t think about:
Don’t forget about the obvious!
If you start thinking too hard about what kind of discs you should have or need, you’ll forget about this: how does the disc actually feel when you throw and how well do you play with it? Why worry about disc numbers at first? Those disc numbers are for expert players that know how they throw and which discs will help them throw better. The numbers can help, but if you’re not that good just yet, those numbers don’t mean a thing.
So, with that being said, why not keep it simple?
Make sure you continue to throw discs that feel good in your hands and you throw well (or throw better). It’s all about how well you do in the end.
Oh, and another thing, it’s okay to take advice of better players. BUT, only throw the discs that you can throw well and that you actually like. It doesn’t really matter what a better player recommends if you hate how the disc throws or you throw it poorly. It may not be your fault if you don’t throw it well. That disc just might be for a more advanced player. Find the discs that you like so you can get better. It always helps to try out new discs, but only use those that you play best with.
What kind of bag do you need for your discs?
When you’re trying to find a good disc golf bag, there are a lot of options that you have as a player. Every person I know that has a bag specifically made for disc golf really likes what they’ve bought.
In order to really keep your discs in good condition, you need a disc golf bag.
You see, the problem with regular bags is that they aren’t designed to hold discs. A regular bag has an empty space for you to throw discs in and then it’s like a guessing game trying to fumble through all of your discs for the right one. Why not get it right on the first try?
Disc golf bags are designed so that your discs stack neatly side by side. Most nicer bags allow an open area in the from where your discs stack neatly and then have an open area where you can place other stuff (drinks, snacks, and miscellaneous items).
I have the Dynamic Discs Trooper Backpack. It’s a fantastic bag for all players and the price is decent you can get it for around $40 bucks on InfiniteDiscs.com or Amazon.com
Do you have to have a bag?
No, you don’t have to have a bag for your discs. But should you have one? I would say absolutely yes. Here’s why:
1. Keep track of your discs: having a bag helps you keep track of all of your discs, especially while you’re throwing. If you don’t have a bag, you’ll have to put your discs down every single time you throw.
2. You can carry a lot of discs: If you don’t have a bag, carrying more than three or four discs is just not practical. A lot of good players and professional players carry bags with 20 to 30 discs at a time. That many isn’t necessary, but some people just like to have a bunch of discs to throw every round.
If you can’t afford a bag…
Don’t worry about a thing. If you need a good bag, you can either use a bag you already have (like a bookbag or backsack) or borrow a bag from a friend or family member.
What the heck is a disc golf cart?
A disc cart isn’t anything new. It also may not be what you think it is. When I hear, “disc golf cart,” I imagine what would be an ordinary golf cart that you drive around.
That’s not it.
Now you can use a cart like this for disc golf but it may be hard with how the terrain on most courses is.
But a disc golf cart is essentially a rolling disc golf bag. Nothing too off the wall. These disc golf carts, though, are made to be very cool. Some of them offer extra space for drinks or snacks, a cooler, and even a seat to rest for a minute before your next throw. I know, awesome, right?!
Most of these carts cost anywhere from $50-200 bucks and can be found on Amazon and most of the major Disc Golf suppliers’ websites.
So, what have we learned? Well, discs golf carts are really cool. Do you need em? Not really (but seriously, you should get one).
Disc golf bags are a great way to keep yourself from fumbling through discs in a regular bookbag or backpack, but either one of those two other types of bags will work in a pinch. If you can afford it, go for a disc golf bag because they’re worth it.
And when it comes to discs, you need to have at least three discs with you in order to play: your driver, mid-range, and putter. You have to have at least those. But remember our rule of thumb that we said earlier – you should carry at least six discs with you at all times (two of each type), so if you lose your discs, you will have a spare to work with.
So grab your discs, get out there, and go throw!
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 related content, you can check it out below.
You can also grab a copy of my book, The Disc Golf Player’s Manual, here on the site. It’s packed full of extremely practical tips and tricks to help you immediately start improving on the course!