What Do The Numbers On Disc Golf Mean? Find Out Now!

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Disc golf is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, with millions of players taking part every year. If you’re new to disc golf or just getting started, you’ve probably heard a lot of talk about “numbers” and what they mean for your discs.

But what do these numbers really signify? How can you use them to improve your game and make informed decisions when buying new discs?

In this article, we’ll dive into the meaning behind the numbers on disc golf discs and explain how they can help you understand the flight characteristics of each disc.

“Understanding the numbers on your disc golf discs is an essential skill for any serious player. It can give you a strategic advantage on the course and help you select the right discs for your style of play.” -Unknown

So if you’re curious about the numbers on your discs and want to take your game to the next level, then keep reading!

Understanding the Flight Ratings System

What Are Disc Golf Flight Ratings?

If you are new to disc golf, you may be wondering what all those numbers on your discs mean. These numbers are flight ratings and they tell you how a particular disc will fly in different conditions. Each number represents a specific characteristic of the disc’s flight path – speed, glide, turn, and fade.

The first number in the flight rating is the speed rating. This number ranges from 1 to 14 and it tells you how fast the disc needs to be thrown to achieve its optimum flight. A lower number means that the disc can be thrown with less force, while a higher number requires more force to get the best results.

The second number is the glide rating which also ranges from 1 to 7. This number measures how much lift the disc generates as it flies through the air. A higher glide rating indicates that the disc will stay airborne for longer periods and travel farther.

The third number is the turn rating, ranging from -5 to +1. The turn rating describes the degree of high-speed turn or “fade” at the beginning of a disc’s flight. Negative numbers indicate that the disc will turn left (for right-handed throwers) while positive numbers represent turning right.

The fourth and last number in the flight rating is the fade rating. This rating runs from 0 to 5 and it describes the amount of low-speed stability or late-stage hook up of the disc. Higher fade ratings indicate greater resistance to turning, providing for a far straighter finish on shots.

Why Are Flight Ratings Important?

Having knowledge of flight ratings is important because every player has slightly different throwing styles and preferences. By understanding the various flight numbers, you’ll be able to choose the discs that work best for your throwing style. It’ll also help you better understand how each disc in your bag behaves, allowing for more consistency and accuracy on every throw.

Another reason flight ratings are important is because they can give you a roadmap when building up your own set of discs. Generally speaking, beginners should use slower-speed discs with higher glide and lower fade ratings. Advanced players may want faster-speed discs with less glide but greater turn and fade ratings. Flight ratings provide great insight into what types of shots the disc will execute upon release from the hand, giving you an ability to start planning lines, movemenets, fades and advanced shot shapes very early on.

Understanding flight ratings unlocks the potential of every disc golfer’s game. By knowing the numbers written on your discs, it becomes easier and more fun deciding which disc will come next out of the bag.

“Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” – Aaron Levenstein

Breaking Down the Four Numbers

If you’ve ever wandered into a disc golf pro shop or looked at online listings, you’ll have noticed that each disc has four numbers assigned to it. These numbers – speed, glide, turn, and fade – are essential to understanding how a disc will perform in flight.


The first number on a disc’s listing is its speed rating. This is not the same as the miles per hour a disc can travel, but rather refers to how much power or force needs to be applied in order for the disc to fly properly.

A lower-speed disc (less than 7) will require less velocity to achieve its full potential, making it ideal for beginners and those with slower arm speeds. Higher-speed discs (above 11), on the other hand, require more power to throw correctly and are typically used by more experienced players who can generate enough force to make the disc fly as intended.

“The “speed” rating of a disc simply tells us how fast it wants/needs to be thrown in order to maintain its stability.” -discgolfreviewer.com


The second number listed for a disc is its glide rating. Glide refers to a disc’s ability to stay aloft once it’s been thrown. Think of it like a frisbee soaring through the air – a disc with a high glide rating will float longer and cover more distance than one with a low glide rating.

This attribute is crucial when it comes to making long throws or navigating around obstacles on the course. A disc with high glide makes it easier to clear trees, water hazards, or other obstacles while still maintaining its momentum and trajectory.

“Glide…represents the disc’s tendency to gain lift and/or maintain speed.” -thebodhitree.blog


The third number on a disc’s listing is its turn rating. Turn measures how much the disc will curve to the right (for a right-handed backhand throw) during its flight.

A positive turn rating means that the disc will veer off to the right after it’s been thrown, while a negative turn rating indicates that it will curve left instead. If a disc has zero turn, it will fly straight without any lateral movement during its trajectory.

“High-speed drivers with high turn ratings…can help golfers attempting tricky shots around obstacles, especially if they tend to get caught in crosswinds easily.” -sportsrec.com


The final number listed for a disc is its fade rating. Whereas turn affects how a disc moves horizontally, fade determines how it behaves vertically at the end of its flight path.

A disc with a high fade rating (typically above 2) will drop quickly and make an abrupt stop once it lands, making it ideal for accurate approach shots or avoiding overshooting the intended target. Conversely, a disc with low fade (below 1) will keep moving forward and continue to glide before finally coming to rest.

“The blend of turn/fade creates either a more undetectable line, less impacting wind-fattening effect, more notable initial arc, or snappier terminal finish.” -discgolfreviewer.com

Understanding these four numbers can go a long way toward improving your disc golf game. Each attribute plays a crucial role in how a disc travels through the air and interacts with the elements along the course. Keep them in mind when selecting discs for different types of shots and be mindful of how each one functions to elevate your playing style.

How to Use Disc Golf Flight Ratings to Your Advantage

Selecting the Right Disc for Your Skill Level

Disc golf has become increasingly popular worldwide with many players competing at different levels. Understanding how to select the right disc that matches your skill level can significantly improve your game. This is where flight ratings come in handy.

The numbers on a disc represent its various attributes, including speed, glide, turn, and fade. For instance, high-speed discs require more arm strength to throw them straight while low-speed discs are ideal for beginners since they need less power to get good distance.

“Find what works best for you, stick with it, play within yourself, and allow your instincts to prevail.” – Ken Climo (Disc golf Hall of Famer)

What do the numbers on a disc golf mean? When selecting a disc, consider the 4-digit code stamped on the underside rim, which depicts the flight rating system:

  • The first number denotes the disc’s speed – from 1 to 14. A higher number means faster speed.
  • The second number represents glide – from 1 to 7. Glide determines the disc’s ability to maintain height during flight. As such, a disc with a higher glide value will cover more distance than one with lower glide.
  • The third number indicates turn – from -5 to +1. Negative values show the degree of turning during flight while positive values indicate an under-stable or predictable straight shot with minimal fading at the end. Beginners may want to choose discs with negative numbers as they tend to fly straighter and further.
  • The last number displays fade – from 0 to 5; this shows the degree of left hook on a RHBH (Right-Handed Backhand) throw. Fade depends on the disc’s speed and stability, with higher numbers having more pronounced hooks at the end of flight.

Matching Discs to Different Course Layouts

No two courses are identical in disc golf; choosing the right discs for various course conditions is an essential skill players need to master. Some courses may have longer holes, tighter fairways or lower ceilings. Understanding your discs’ strengths lets you tailor your shots to match specific course demands.

“Disc Golf has something unique to offer because it appeals to all ages and ability levels.” – Juliana Korver (5-time Disc Golf World Champion)

An array of discs can cover all shots on the course if selected appropriately. For instance, drivers work best for long distance due to their high-speed and glide ratings, while mid-ranges are ideal for shorter distances than drivers due to their moderate-to-low speed rating. Additionally, select putters based on your confidence level such as firmness and grip size of the plastic. Small weight variations are sometimes critical when managing different types of wind or playing inside wooded areas.

Understanding How a Disc Will Behave in Different Weather Conditions

The weather affects the disc’s flight pattern, making it imperative to understand how weather elements, especially wind, can affect your shot selection. An error margin of even one degree on your release angle will make it challenging to anticipate where the disc will land.

“The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.” – Moliere

Air pressure and humidity variation at high altitudes can also influence the way discs fly. When selecting a disc, consider the effects of environmental conditions on the disc’s performance. High winds demand less stable discs that navigate through the wind better, while calm weather encourages more stable discs to stay true.

Disc golfers may carry extra-stable or extra-understable flight-rated discs depending on whether they want their shots curving left (Overstable) or right (Understable). Practice throwing different types of discs in diverse environmental conditions and learn how your throw varies around these effects.

Comparing Different Discs to Find the Best Option for Your Game

No single best disc exists as players’ personal throwing profile distinctly differs from one another. Therefore, you need to compare different discs relative to your specified throwing technique, which can augment course complexities and external operating environments such as the wind.

“If you’re not having fun, then you’re missing the point” – Steve Rico (Disc Golf Pro)

An excellent way to find a fitting and agreeable selection of flight-rated discs is by making use of online guides or seeking advice from experienced players with good track records. A range of demo models are available, and some shops offer a chance to try before buying.

The flight ratings system helps distinct between similar-looking discs so that players can make informed decisions instead of selecting based solely upon appearance.

Using flight ratings will benefit beginners and intermediate players alike. When used wisely, it greatly aids shot consistency, reduces equipment costs, allows players to play more creatively according to the layout and respective obstacles presented on each unique course, and above all else, makes achieving enhanced levels of fun and joy achievable for even beginner level players when playing this highly satisfying and addictively fun sport we call DISC GOLF!

Factors That Impact Disc Flight

Disc golf is a sport that relies on precision and accuracy. When throwing a disc, there are several factors that can impact its flight. Understanding these factors can help players make better throws and improve their overall game.


The wind is one of the biggest factors that can impact disc flight. A strong gust of wind can easily alter the direction of a disc mid-flight, causing it to veer off course. The strength and direction of the wind can also affect how much lift a disc gets.

According to professional disc golfer Paige Pierce, “Wind plays a huge role in disc flight. Headwinds might require an overstable disc, while tailwinds may benefit from an understable driver.” It’s important for players to take into account the wind speed and direction when selecting which disc to use for a throw.

Some tips for playing in windy conditions include adjusting your stance to accommodate for the wind, using more stable discs, and aiming slightly to the side of your target to compensate for any potential wind drift.


The altitude at which you’re playing can also impact disc flight. Higher altitudes will result in less air resistance, allowing discs to travel farther than they would at sea level. However, thinner air also means less lift, so discs won’t stay in the air as long.

Professional disc golfer Paul McBeth notes, “Higher elevation will definitely give you added distance on your drives, but because there’s not as much oxygen and the air is thinner, you’ll have to adjust your shot selection.” Players at higher elevations may need to use heavier or more understable discs to achieve desired results.

Similarly, playing at lower elevations can lead to more air resistance and a shorter disc flight. However, thicker air also means more lift, which can be beneficial for certain shots.

It’s important to take into account the altitude at which you’re playing when selecting which discs to use and how much power to put behind each throw. Adjustments may need to be made depending on the elevation levels.

Popular Discs and Their Flight Ratings

If you are new to disc golf, you may be wondering what the numbers on your frisbee mean. These numbers can help you choose the right disc for different shots and understand how it will fly through the air.

The four numbers associated with a disc represent its flight ratings in the following order: speed, glide, turn, and fade. Each digit is assigned a value from 0 to 14, with higher values indicating better performance in that category.

Let’s take a closer look at two of the most popular discs on the market and their flight ratings:

Discraft Buzzz: 5, 4, -1, 1

The Discraft Buzzz is one of the most versatile mid-range discs available. With a speed rating of 5, it is designed to travel fast but maintain accuracy over longer distances. The high glide rating of 4 allows it to stay in the air longer than other mid-ranges and gives players more control when throwing uphill or into a headwind.

The negative turn rating of -1 means that the Buzzz will resist turning over to the right (for right-handed throwers) during its flight path. This makes it an ideal choice for beginners who struggle with shots veering off course too soon. Finally, the fade rating of 1 indicates that the disc will finish slightly left (for right-handers) at the end of its flight, providing a smooth landing on approach shots near the basket.

Innova Destroyer: 12, 5, -1, 3

The Innova Destroyer is a top-rated driver used by professionals in major tournaments. Its speed rating of 12 makes it extremely fast and able to cover long distances with ease. The glide rating of 5 allows it to maintain an extended flight path while remaining stable in the air.

The negative turn rating of -1 means that the Destroyer can handle a lot of power without turning over to the right too much during its initial throw. This helps players achieve maximum distance and accuracy. Finally, the fade rating of 3 indicates that the disc will finish left (for right-handers) at the end of its flight, making it one of the farthest flying and accurate discs available on the market today.

“Disc golf is all about throwing different shots with different discs.” -Paul McBeth

Understanding the four numbers associated with every disc can help you choose the best ones for your game and improve your performance on the course. Whether you are just starting or looking to take your skills to the next level, investing in the right discs can make all the difference.

How to Choose the Right Disc Based on Flight Numbers

Choosing a Disc Based on Your Throwing Speed and Skill Level

The first thing you need to consider when choosing a disc based on flight numbers is your throwing speed and skill level. A disc’s flight numbers describe its performance characteristics, including its speed, glide, turn, and fade. These numbers are typically printed on the disc using a four-digit system: speed-glide-turn-fade.

If you’re a beginner or have a slower throwing speed, you’ll want to look for discs with lower speed ratings (usually 6 or below) and higher glide ratings (typically 4 or above). These discs will help you achieve maximum distance without requiring as much power. For more experienced players or those with faster throwing speeds, look for higher speed ratings (above 9) and lower glide ratings (below 4) to achieve greater control and accuracy.

You should also take into account your overall skill level when selecting a disc. If you struggle with overstable shots (left-hand fades for right-handed throwers), look for discs with less fade such as those with negative numbers (-1 or below) in that category. Conversely, if you want to maximize left-hand fades, select one with a higher rating (3 or above onward, depending on how hard you wish them to hook).

Understanding the Course Layout and Selecting the Right Disc for Each Hole

Selecting the right disc goes beyond just understanding your own abilities. You must also consider the course layout, especially in relation to hole length, obstacles, and elevation changes. The right benefit of knowing what do the numbers mean can come into play by identifying which type of shot a particular hole requires – this ensures selecting a disc with the correct flight properties.

When playing a longer hole, consider using a driver with higher speed and glide ratings to achieve maximum distance. For shorter holes or ones with more obstacles, select Midrange and Putter discs instead as these have lower speed requirements and better accuracy.

If there are trees or other obstacles in the way, you might want to opt for a disc with greater turn – which means it’s more likely to curve left if thrown by right-handed players (and opposite if thrown by lefties). The discs that produce this flight path typically show negative numbers(-1 or so) on their Turn rating.

Matching the Disc to Weather Conditions and Wind Speeds

The final factor in choosing the right disc is considering weather conditions and wind speeds. As air density changes with different temperatures (cold dense; hot less, for the top 10 science fans out there), and wind varies from flat calm to gusty, selecting the appropriate disc will help optimize your throwing game under these changing conditions during gameplay.

For headwinds or high winds, consider opting for an overstable disc as these can provide better stability even when fighting against the wind resistance. On the other hand, tailwind or low wind days allow players to fling lightweight understable discs further distances than usual.

To sum up: To choose the perfect golf disc based on its designated Flight Numbers follow these steps:

  • Determine your skill level and required shot type;
  • Identify course layout factors such as length, elevation, and obstruction;
  • Select discs tailored for specific conditions such as wind or temperature change;
  • Experiment & Monitor what works best for yourself!
“In ball golf, elaborate club selection is a badge of honor, but in disc golf, only one tool’s needed.” – Ken Climo

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the significance of the numbers on a disc golf disc?

The numbers on a disc golf disc represent its flight characteristics. They give players an idea of how the disc will fly and help them choose the right disc for the shot. The numbers are also used to classify discs into different categories based on their speed, glide, turn, and fade.

How do the numbers on a disc golf disc affect its flight pattern?

The numbers on a disc golf disc affect its flight pattern by indicating its speed, glide, turn, and fade. Higher numbers indicate more speed, glide, and turn, while lower numbers indicate less of these characteristics. Fade is indicated by a negative number. Understanding these numbers can help players select the right disc for the shot and achieve the desired flight path.

What do the four numbers on a disc golf disc represent?

The four numbers on a disc golf disc represent its flight characteristics. The first number is speed, which indicates how fast the disc needs to be thrown to achieve its maximum distance. The second number is glide, which indicates how much lift the disc will generate in flight. The third number is turn, which indicates the disc’s tendency to drift to the right (for right-handed backhand throws) or left (for left-handed backhand throws). The final number is fade, which indicates the disc’s tendency to finish left (for right-handed backhand throws) or right (for left-handed backhand throws).

What is the difference between high and low numbers on a disc golf disc?

The difference between high and low numbers on a disc golf disc is the amount of each flight characteristic that the disc has. Higher numbers indicate more speed, glide, and turn, while lower numbers indicate less of these characteristics. Fade is indicated by a negative number. Understanding these numbers can help players select the right disc for the shot and achieve the desired flight path.

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

Understanding the numbers on a disc golf disc can improve your game by helping you select the right disc for the shot and achieve the desired flight path. It can also help you identify areas of your game that need improvement, such as throwing with more or less power, adjusting your release angle, or using different discs for different shots. By mastering the numbers game, you can become a more versatile and effective disc golfer.

Are the numbers on a disc golf disc the only factor in determining its flight path?

No, the numbers on a disc golf disc are not the only factor in determining its flight path. Other factors such as wind, elevation, temperature, humidity, and the player’s throwing technique can also affect the disc’s flight. However, understanding the numbers can help players make better decisions and adjustments in these other areas to achieve the desired flight path. The numbers provide a baseline for how the disc will fly and can be used as a starting point for making adjustments based on the other factors involved.

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