The topic today seems like it should be pretty straight forward, right? It’s pretty obvious that disc golf discs are made of plastic and so it should be a pretty open and shut type of discussion.
However, we’re going to go over a little bit more in depth the types of plastics that disc golf discs are made of. We will see why there are different choices for the same disc and how the plastic types can affect flight as well as overall performance of the disc.
Disc golf Plastic Comparison
Starting off, each manufacturer of discs in the disc golf world usually has a few different lines of discs or plastics available. They generally range from economy style plastics to a premium line of plastic.
Going with a very well-known brand I will list out their line of plastic most often found in stores across the world: Innova. They have plastics ranging from economic to premium as follows: DX, Pro, R-Pro, XT, Champion, and Star.
There are variations on each of these plastics such as metal flake champion, GStar and DXGlo, but going with the most basic list we see that it is kept fairly simplistic as far as options for plastic types. This gives the player a simple decision when trying to decide what disc to get and what plastic to go with so that they’re not overwhelmed with so many decisions.
Not all companies are necessarily as clean cut as Innova, some companies have a large variety of plastics, but they do their best to simplify what each plastic is and not have a big, long explanation of what the plastic does or what it is about.
The best example of this kind of system is Prodigy Disc Golf. They have each of their plastics listed out in numbers ranging from 300 to 750 and slight variations in between such as 400G or 750G. This allows for a potential prodigy player to feel like they have much more information on what plastic they are getting without making things too overly complicated.
So why all the different plastics?
Why do companies feel the need to make see-through or opaque or even something sort of in between? Why do discs need to be floppy or more rigid? These are all questions I had at the start of my disc golf journey and admittedly I didn’t really care what plastic the disc was made out of so long as it felt good in my hands or looked cool.
In fact, even though I didn’t have the answer in the beginning my answer had always been staring me in the face! That is almost the exact reason why manufacturers do have tacky plastics or smooth or sparkly or even see-through! It’s all so that players can learn what is their preferred feel in a disc and hopefully come back for more.
Some players prefer a more rubbery, tacky feel to their discs and so they will exclusively buy discs that match that plastic profile. Some people really enjoy sparkly and flashy discs that look really cool as they fly through the air. There are others who like to get down to the nitty gritty of each plastics pros and cons which we will do here in just a bit.
Choosing Disc Plastic Type
First, I would like to have you know that when you decide to go get your first discs, or even if you have them and have decided you want to try something new that you keep in mind the most important thing when deciding is how you the disc feels to you.
If you like the feel of it and you like how it looks, go for it! There are no wrong answers when it comes to your personal preferences, so many times it takes a while to figure out what those preferences are.
Now, getting into a little more of the nitty gritty concerning plastic types. Each plastic has a different feel of more smooth or tackier to it; more rubbery or more solid and one of the main reasons behind this is how much the disc will stick to a surface.
Unfortunately, there are no crazy spider discs that stick immediately when they hit something and you will still have discs that will hit chains and fall right out, but with discs that are rubberier they are meant to flex when they hit so that they have less chance of bouncing around. This can be useful in drivers and midranges as well.
The reason being is that if you are playing a course with some really hard, dry ground then more solid and smooth discs have a higher chance of skipping wildly and going where you didn’t intend for them to go. The rubberier the disc the more likely it is that it will flex and stop when it hits the ground allowing for added accuracy.
However, you may decide you enjoy the big skip because although it may go not quite in the direction you want it to it will still get you some more range! That could be something you decide you are happy with and so you should choose that kind of disc to put in your bag.
The other important thing to keep in mind is that the more solid and rigid the disc the more likely it is that it will be overstable and fade faster. It won’t be a massive difference and it won’t change your flight path so drastically that it feels like a completely new disc, but it could mean the difference between landing 10 feet to the right or 10 feet to the left of where you aim.
Durability is the only other thing to keep in mind when you are trying out new discs. If you are still in a little bit of a learning phase, or you just want to try out some new discs then you should always go for something more economic first. It means that it will get dinged up a lot faster than a more premium plastic, but it won’t ding your wallet nearly as much!
All in all, plastic types are meant to give the player a little more variety in their bag. It helps players define their play just a little bit more and helps them to really take charge of their throws in the way they want to.
For you, it is all about what feels most comfortable and then you can start to sweat the small stuff if you really want to get serious about it.
Just remember, disc golf is a sport that can be as enjoyable as you want it to be. If you decide to get as technical as you can then so be it, but if it’s something you just want as time to enjoy being outdoors or with friends, then make it so!
Get out there and have fun, experiment with new discs, and splurge every once in a while on something that looks cool! Make the game everything you want to be!