What Do The Numbers On Disc Golf Discs Mean?

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Disc golf is an exciting and challenging sport that involves throwing a disc into a metal basket in as few throws as possible. To become proficient at this game, it’s important to understand the various types of discs available and what their numbers mean.

If you’re new to disc golf, you might be wondering what all those letters and numbers on your disc mean. These values are essential to understanding how a disc will perform when thrown, and they can help you improve your accuracy and distance.

This guide will explain the different numbers found on disc golf discs and what they signify. Knowing these details will allow you to select the right disc for specific shots and conditions, resulting in better scores and more enjoyable play.

“Success in disc golf depends on knowing your strengths and limitations, and choosing the appropriate discs to match.” – Paul McBeth

Whether you’re just starting or have been playing for a while, understanding the numbers on a disc golf disc is crucial if you want to succeed in this sport. By the end of this guide, you’ll be equipped with valuable knowledge to help you choose the best disc for every throw.

Understanding Disc Golf Discs

The Anatomy of a Disc Golf Disc

A disc golf disc has three parts: the rim, flight plate, and bottom. The rim is the outer edge of the disc that provides stability and determines the speed of the disc. The flight plate is the top part of the disc where you grip it. It’s shaped to provide lift when thrown. The bottom of the disc is the underside of the flight plate and can be concave or flat.

In addition to these three parts, there are also additional features on the disc such as the name of the brand, the type of plastic used in manufacturing, and the numbers printed on it.

The Different Types of Discs

There are four different types of disc golf discs: putters, midranges, fairway drivers, and distance drivers. Putters are designed for short-range putting into the basket. Midranges are suitable for longer throws between 150-300 feet. Fairway drivers have long ranges up to 350 feet and are perfect for making smooth turns. Finally, distance drivers have maximum range potential reaching up to 500 feet and require significant power for throws.

“Different shots require different types of discs,” says Paige Pierce, professional disc golfer and five-time World Champion.

The Importance of Disc Weight

Disc weight is an essential factor while selecting a disc golf disc. Typical weights vary from 160g to 175g. A heavier disc will require more energy to throw but offers greater stability and control even in windy conditions, while a lighter disc requires less effort but lacks consistency in challenging weather conditions. Advanced players may opt for heavier discs, which provide better control and predictable flights.

According to Eric McCabe, 2010 disc golf world champion, “Your reach back and follow-through should be the same for any weight of disc you throw. Pick a weight that is comfortable for you.”

Maintaining Your Discs

To maintain your discs and keep them in pristine condition, avoid throwing them on hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt. If such hard-to-avoid throws happen repeatedly, it can cause significant damage to the rim and flight plate and hamper its stability.

Avoid exposing your disc to extreme heat or cold environments like leaving them inside a glove compartment during hot summers or inside car trunk during winters as it may affect its flight characteristics. Additionally, disc cleaning not only keeps it looking new but also affects the aerodynamics of the disc resulting in less friction while airborne.

“After your round, take the time to check the underside of each disc,” advises Andrew Fish, pro disc golfer

Regular cleaning, storage, and proper use are the key factors in determining how long your discs last; by taking steps to keep them in good shape, they’ll provide reliable use that gets the results you want out of your throws.

What Are The Four Numbers?

If you are new to disc golf, you may have noticed that there are four numbers on the bottom of every disc. While these numbers might seem insignificant at first glance, they actually hold valuable information about how the disc will perform during a round.


The first number on a disc is its speed rating. Speed ratings range from 1-14 and indicate the disc’s ability to cut through the air as it flies. Higher speed-rated discs require more power to throw but can travel farther distances. Conversely, lower speed-rated discs are easier to control but have a shorter maximum distance. It is important to choose a speed rating that matches your throwing ability to achieve optimal performance.

“When playing in windy conditions, I opt for a slower-speed disc to maintain better control,” says professional disc golfer Paul McBeth.


The second number represents the disc’s glide rating which measures the amount of lift generated by the disc when thrown. Glide ratings range from 1-7 with higher numbers indicating more lift and hang time. A high glide disc like the Innova Leopard provides long, graceful flights ideal for achieving maximum distance. A low glide disc such as the Dynamic Discs Judge puts less emphasis on hang time and more focus on accuracy for short-range shots.


The third number is known as the turn rating and indicates the degree to which a disc will veer off course during the beginning of its flight path. Turn ratings range from -5 to +1 with negative ratings meaning the disc has the tendency to move away from the throwing hand (for right-handed players) and positive ratings moving towards the hand. A disc with a negative turn rating like the Prodigy D4 makes an ideal choice for long-distance turnovers and creative shots. Conversely, discs with a positive turn rating such as the Latitude 64 Pure are great for short drives that require accuracy.

“When it comes to choosing a disc based on its turn rating, I always consider the course layout and wind condition,” says professional disc golfer Catrina Allen.


The fourth number represents a disc’s fade rating or ability to change direction at the end of its flight path. Disc with high fades like the Innova Firebird provide dependable fading finishes. These types of discs are ideal for shots requiring a hard landing such as approaches over water hazards. A low fade like the one found in the Prodigy M2 is perfect for straighter shots that require accuracy right up until their final resting place.

“A disc’s fade rating is particularly important when throwing near wooded areas,” adds Allen.

Knowing how to interpret the four numbers on the bottom of a disc can greatly enhance your game and improve your score. Keep in mind that finding the best disc for you takes some trial and error, so don’t be discouraged if your first pick doesn’t meet your expectations.

With practice and repetition, you’ll soon discover which disc golf discs match your playing style and personal preferences perfectly!

How to Use the Four Numbers

If you are new to disc golf, you may have noticed that each disc has four numbers printed on it. These numbers indicate different aspects of the disc’s flight characteristics, and understanding what they mean can help improve your game. Here is a breakdown of what each number represents:

  • The first number indicates the disc’s speed. This ranges from 1 (slowest) to 14 (fastest), with higher numbers indicating faster discs.
  • The second number represents the disc’s glide or how long it stays in the air. The glide ranges from 1 (short) to 7 (long).
  • The third number shows the disc’s stability. This varies between -5 (most understable or turning over easily) to +3 (overstable or resisting turns).
  • The fourth and final number denotes the disc’s fade. This refers to the left-to-right movement at the end of the disc’s flight and ranges from 0 (minimal fade) to 5 (strong fade).

Selecting the Right Disc for Your Shot

Knowing what each number means allows you to choose the right disc for any given shot. For instance, for a straight and narrow shot, you would want a disc with high glide and minimal fade, such as a mid-range or fairway driver. For longer throws where you need more distance, selecting a disc with a higher speed rating will be more advantageous. A good way to test out a disc’s flight path before choosing it for a shot is by throwing it on an open field to see how it glides and fades.

It’s important to keep in mind that everyone’s throw is different, so don’t rely solely on the numbers when picking a disc. It’s always best to test out various types of discs and find the ones that work best for your playing style.

Adjusting Your Throw Based on the Numbers

The numbers can also help adjust your throw based on the shot you are taking or course conditions. For example, if you need a right-hand turn but want the disc to land flat instead of finishing with fade, choose a disc with lower stability. If you are throwing into a headwind, choosing a more overstable disc is recommended as it will resist being pushed down by the wind.

By understanding the numbers on your discs, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions when selecting which one to use for any given shot. Keep in mind that practice makes perfect, so don’t get too hung up on the numbers. Rather, use them as a guide to better your overall game.

“The key to becoming a better disc golfer is finding the right equipment that suits your individual needs.” -Scott Stokely

Flight Path Characteristics

Understanding the Different Flight Paths

When it comes to disc golf, understanding the flight paths of different discs is crucial for improving your game. The numbers on a disc golf disc are used to indicate its flight characteristics and help players choose the right disc for each shot.

The first number on a disc represents its speed, ranging from 1 (slowest) to 14 (fastest). This number indicates how fast the disc needs to be thrown in order to achieve its intended flight path. A high-speed disc requires more power and speed than a low-speed disc, but will travel further if thrown correctly.

The second number on a disc represents its glide, ranging from 1 (least amount of glide) to 7 (most amount of glide). Glide is the ability of a disc to maintain lift and stay in the air longer. A disc with high glide can carry further and provide more opportunities for tricky shots.

The third number on a disc represents its turn, ranging from -5 (strong left curve for a right-handed thrower) to +5 (strong right curve for a right-handed thrower). Turn measures the natural curve or fade of the disc during flight. A negative number means the disc has a tendency to turn left while a positive number means it turns right.

The fourth number on a disc represents its fade, ranging from 0 (straight finish) to 5 (strong finish). Fade determines how much the disc slows down at the end of its flight and falls off to the left or right (depending on whether you’re throwing backhand or forehand).

Factors that Affect Flight Path

A variety of factors can affect a disc’s flight path, including wind conditions, elevation changes, temperature, and humidity. Wind is perhaps the most important factor, as it can dramatically affect a disc’s trajectory and make it difficult to control.

Headwinds tend to keep discs in the air longer and decrease their speed, while tailwinds speed them up and cause them to drop more quickly. Crosswinds have the greatest effect on the turn of a disc and can cause it to veer left or right unexpectedly.

Elevation changes can also have an impact on flight path, especially when throwing uphill or downhill. Uphill throws require more power and will typically result in a shorter flight path, while downhill throws require less effort and can result in a longer flight path.

“Disc golf is an incredibly technical sport that requires precision, skill, and careful attention to detail. Understanding the flight characteristics of your discs and how they interact with different course conditions is key to success.” -Paul McBeth

In addition to external factors, the way in which you release a disc can also influence its flight path. Clamping down too hard on a disc or releasing it at the wrong angle can cause it to deviate from its intended path.

Practicing proper form and technique can help you develop greater control over your shots and minimize the effect of external factors. Experimenting with different discs and understanding their unique flight characteristics can also help you fine-tune your game and become a more skilled player.

Choosing the Right Disc for Your Level

Beginner Discs

If you’re new to disc golf and are looking for a disc that is forgiving and easy to control, then you should consider using beginner discs. These discs have lower numbers, which means they are designed for shorter throws and provide more glide and less fade.

One of the most popular beginner discs is the Innova Leopard, which has been a staple in many players’ bags for years. This disc is rated at 6,5,-2,1, which means it has a high glide, low fade, and a little bit of turn. It’s great for beginners because it can be thrown straight with ease and will help players learn the fundamentals of the game.

“The Innova Leopard is a great disc for beginners who want to improve their technique and develop their skills.” -Steve Brinster, Professional Disc Golfer

If you’re looking for a putter, then the Dynamic Discs Judge is an excellent choice for beginners. It has a rating of 2,4,0,0, meaning it has a lot of glide, no fade, and flies straight. This makes it perfect for practicing your putting and short-range shots.

Intermediate Discs

Once you’ve gained some experience playing disc golf, you may want to upgrade to intermediate discs. These discs have higher numbers, which means they are faster and require more skill to throw accurately. Intermediate discs also have a wider range of flight patterns, so you’ll need to experiment to find a disc that fits your style of play.

One of the best intermediate drivers is the Discraft Buzzz, which has a rating of 5,4,-1,1. This disc has incredible accuracy both in the mid-range and for long drives. It’s perfect for players who have developed a consistent throw and are ready to take their game to the next level.

“The Discraft Buzzz is a workhorse of a disc that can handle almost any shot you need it to. It’s my go-to disc for both mid-range shots and distance drives.” -Paige Pierce, Professional Disc Golfer

For intermediate putters, the Latitude 64 Pure is an excellent choice. This disc has a rating of 3,3,-1,1, which makes it one of the straightest flying discs on the market. It also has a minimal fade, making it great for longer putts.

Advanced Discs

If you’re a serious disc golfer looking for maximum distance and accuracy, then advanced discs are the way to go. These discs require a high skill level to use effectively and are designed for experienced players with a powerful arm.

The Innova Destroyer is one of the most popular advanced drivers on the market. It has a rating of 12,5,-1,3, making it one of the fastest and most reliable discs out there. It’s perfect for experienced players who want to achieve maximum distance and speed on their drives.

“The Innova Destroyer is a cornerstone of my bag. It’s incredibly versatile and can handle all kinds of throws with ease.” -Nate Sexton, Professional Disc Golfer

For advanced putters, the MVP Anode is an excellent choice. This disc has a rating of 2,3,-0.5,0.5, meaning it has a lot of glide and flies straight with a little bit of turn. It also has a low profile design that fits comfortably in your hand and helps reduce drag on your throws.

Expert Discs

Expert discs are designed for the most skilled and experienced players in the world. These discs require an incredible amount of skill to use effectively, but they can provide unrivaled accuracy and distance when thrown correctly.

The Innova Wraith is one of the best expert drivers out there. It has a rating of 11,5,-1,3, meaning it’s incredibly fast and stable with a slightly overstable finish. This disc requires a powerful throw that releases flat if you want maximum distance and precision.

“The Innova Wraith is a staple in my bag. With its speed and stability, it’s perfect for those long-distance and high-pressure shots.” -Rick Wysocki, Professional Disc Golfer

If you’re looking for an expert putter, then the Prodigy PA-1 is worth checking out. This disc has a rating of 2,3,0,2, which means it’s incredibly overstable and requires an exact release angle to fly accurately. But if you have the skill to throw it correctly, this disc can provide unparalleled accuracy and control.

No matter what level you’re at, using the right disc can make all the difference in your game. So take some time to experiment with different discs to find the ones that fit your style of play. And remember—it takes practice and patience to become great at any sport, so don’t get discouraged if your shots aren’t perfect right away!

Mastering Your Disc Golf Game

Developing Consistency in Your Throws

In disc golf, consistency is key. The better your throws are consistently, the higher your chances of winning a match. When throwing discs, you will notice that different discs have different numbers on them. These numbers help players to choose the right disc for each throw.

The four numbers assigned to the discs represent speed, glide, turn, and fade respectively. Speed represents how fast the disc can fly when thrown at full power. Glide depicts the ability of the disc to stay aloft and sustain flight. Turn shows whether the disc moves left or right after release depending on the player’s throwing arm angle; while Fade highlights its tendency to sharply drop at the end of the flight path (hyzer).

To develop consistency in your throws, it is advisable to practice using one type of disc until you become an expert with it. Some professionals swear by using putters alone during their training sessions. Others prefer mid-range discs because they offer decent speed without being too difficult to control.

Regardless of which option suits you best, what matters most is practicing regularly so that you can master the feel and weight of your chosen disc. This way, you’ll gain confidence in your throws and increase your accuracy rate.

Learning Different Throws and Techniques

Aside from mastering one particular disc, it is essential to learn various throwing techniques as well. Depending on the situation you’re facing, knowing how to execute different shots gives you more options to win a game.

For instance, if you need to make a long-distance shot, you may want to use a backhand drive technique. Or, you might try implementing a forehand flick if you need to navigate around obstacles. There are also other types of shots such as rollers, tomahawks, and sky hyzers that can work wonders for skilled players.

Once again, practice is key when it comes to learning new techniques. It takes time, patience, and physical coordination skills to master them. But with enough determination and consistency, you’ll gradually expand your repertoire of shots and open up new possibilities for improving your gameplay.

Keeping a Positive Mindset on the Course

Every disc golf player has experienced moments of frustration or disappointment while playing. Whether missing an easy putt or throwing an errant shot, it’s easy to get discouraged and lose focus on the game.

To maintain a positive mindset on the course, it’s crucial to keep things in perspective and strive for efficiency rather than perfection. Instead of dwelling on mistakes, try to channel your energy into finding ways to correct them.

You might also try practicing mindfulness meditation or visualization exercises before hitting the course. These techniques help to clear your mind from distractions and focus your attention on the task at hand. Breathing deeply, relaxing your muscles, and repeating positive affirmations can all contribute to boosting your mental fortitude and resilience throughout your games.

Continuing Your Education and Improvement

Finally, becoming a true disciple of disc golf means embracing continuous learning and improvement over time. Even seasoned professionals continue perfecting their craft through regular practices and studying the latest trends and techniques used by other top players in the game.

This might mean attending clinics, watching instructional videos online, reading books about disc golf strategies, and joining local leagues or clubs where you can meet and network with other enthusiasts.

The more you learn, the more tools you’ll have at your disposal to enhance your performance on the course. Plus, staying engaged and motivated with this exciting and challenging sport can bring many benefits to your physical health, mental well-being, and social life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do the numbers on disc golf discs represent?

The numbers on disc golf discs represent four key flight characteristics of the disc: speed, glide, turn, and fade. The first number represents the speed of the disc, with higher numbers indicating faster speeds. The second number represents the glide of the disc, with higher numbers indicating more glide. The third number represents the turn of the disc, with negative numbers indicating left turns and positive numbers indicating right turns. The fourth number represents the fade of the disc, with higher numbers indicating more fade at the end of the flight.

How do the numbers on disc golf discs affect the flight of the disc?

The numbers on disc golf discs have a significant impact on the flight of the disc. The speed and glide numbers determine how far the disc will fly, while the turn and fade numbers determine the shape of the flight path. Higher speed and glide numbers result in longer flights, while negative turn numbers cause the disc to turn left and positive turn numbers cause the disc to turn right. Higher fade numbers cause the disc to finish left (for right-handed throwers) at the end of the flight.

What is the significance of the weight on disc golf discs?

The weight of a disc golf disc affects its flight characteristics and can impact a player’s performance. Lighter discs are typically easier to throw and require less power, but can be affected by wind more easily. Heavier discs are more stable and can handle windy conditions better, but require more power to throw. It’s important for players to find the right weight for their skill level and playing conditions to optimize their performance on the course.

What do the different plastic types of disc golf discs mean?

Disc golf discs come in a variety of plastic types, each with its own unique characteristics. Premium plastics like Champion and Star offer durability and stability, while softer plastics like DX and Pro offer more grip and flexibility. Some plastics also change the flight characteristics of the disc, with some offering more glide or more stability. Players should experiment with different plastic types to find the one that best suits their playing style and course conditions.

How can understanding the numbers on disc golf discs improve my game?

Understanding the numbers on disc golf discs can help players make more informed decisions on the course. By choosing discs with the right speed, glide, turn, and fade for their skill level and playing conditions, players can optimize their performance and achieve more accurate shots. Additionally, understanding the flight characteristics of different discs can help players make strategic decisions on the course, such as choosing a disc that will turn left or right to navigate around obstacles.

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