With thousands of disc golf discs on the market it’s important to understand the disc flight ratings system that has widely been adopted by most manufacturers. The numbers are particularly helpful in finding and learning to throw new discs. Learning what each number represents can help you anticipate how you should throw and expect it to fly.
When I first started I pretty much just threw whatever plastic disc was available to me. Friends would throw out words like “overstable,” understable,” “hyzer,” and “anhyzer,” but I had trouble remembering and understanding, what each of those terms meant.
As I progressed in the game, I began to understand that each disc has a different flight path — from the speed, glide, turn, and fade — and knowing what each disc can do well, and not so well, can really propel your game to the next level.
Here’s what each disc flight rating represents:
Speed indicates how fast or slow the disc flies and how much power is needed to perform it’s designed flight path. The rating has a lot to do with the width of the rim of the disc. The wider the rim, the faster typically. If you need distance, then you need speed, but it can be harder to control.
Glide is the ability to stay afloat in the air — which can affect the flight differently in different winds. Glide is a measure of loft. Discs with high glide rating will maintain more time in the air, maximizing the distance of your throw. Low fading discs will drop faster to the ground.
Turn is the stability of the disc. Turn describes how much a disc will “flip,” or go in the opposite the direction of the fade in the early part of the flight. For a right handed backhand throw, a negative turn number would mean the disc goes to the right before the fade naturally makes the disc finish left. The more negative the turn number, the more the disc will “flip” to the right (or left for a left handed backhand throw). A disc with a negative number is also referred to as “understable.”
Fade is the finish of the disc after the inertia slows down — most discs will have natural fade to the left (for a right handed backhand throw) and some will have more than others.
Disc Flight Ratings – Video Playlist (4)
I found a great 4 part video series from Best Disc Golf Discs, breaking down each rating, all are worth a watch: