What are the best golf discs for beginners?
If you look at any major disc review site, like InfiniteDiscs.com or DGCourseReview Forum, the discs that are best for beginners, will likely have poor reviews. The reviews for good beginner discs usually say, “this disc is way too flippy.”
For true disc golf beginners, flippy is exactly what you want. Especially for backhand throws. Because of the way a disc naturally torques with sidearm throws, more stability is often needed for this throwing style. We will delve more into this information later, as the backhand throw is generally the more natural throwing motion for new disc golfers.
When a disc reviewer claims that a disc is “flippy” they mean it is understable, they mean that it will turn to the right when thrown with lots of spin and speed. But who are the people who review discs on sites like this? The super avid experienced, tournament playing disc golfer. Not the beginner. For new disc golfers (and many experienced players who are just never able to develop high speed and snap) this is exactly what you want.
Ultimate Frisbees are understable. Cheapo parade frisbees are even more understables (some of them are just flat out un-throwable for anything more than fifteen feet.) The aerodynamics of golf discs makes them fly very differently than traditional frisbees.
95% of the golf discs on the market will simply fade to the left as soon as they leave your hand on a backhand throw. For someone who is at least remotely familiar with throwing a traditional frisbee, this makes playing disc golf for the first time very frustrating.
Beginning disc golfers need discs that are more similar to traditional Frisbees when they start playing the game. It is rare for a brand new player, someone throwing for the first time to be able to get more than 150 or 200 feet of distance. The mainstream golf discs on the market are designed to fly 400+ feet. More than half of the existing molds available at Infinite Discs are designed for players who can throw more than 400 feet. While every professional disc golfer has this kind of distance, the average player, the rec player, the beginner is not even remotely close. Until a player gets some experience (even with experience, most disc golfers will still never be able to obtain this kind of distance), they ought not even consider these kind of discs.
I’ve taken dozens of beginners to play disc golf for the first time, including numerous players who are avid Ultimate players. A new disc golfer needs a disc that is:
- Very Understable
- Low Speed
- Light Weight
Sporting good and toy companies like to market golf discs as a “set” that includes a Driver, a Midrange, and a Putter as the essential discs needed to play the game. Why do they do this? To sell more discs of course. The reality is that you really need only one disc to learn to play disc golf. A driver can be used for putting, a midrange for driving, and for most beginning disc golfers, the putter will go at least as far as the driver (with a much straighter flight path).
I remember when I got my first Wham-O 3 Disc Frisbee Golf set, I could not figure out what the difference was between the driver and the midrange. I couldn’t get any more distance out of the driver than I could the midrange. After a few rounds, I eventually concluded that even though the driver didn’t give me any more sitance, the midrange flew a little bit straighter and didn’t fade so hard at the end of the flight. Because the flight of the discs was different, it made it that much more difficult to throw the disc where I wanted it to go because I could never remember which disc did what. I only threw the putter for really short putts (like 15 feet or less) because I figured the midrange was supposed to be used for approach shots longer than that. The plastic of these Wham-O discs were just junk (it was not durable at all and wore out extensively after just a few rounds of golf).
If I had only two discs– a putter and a very understable low speed driver, and had I realized that it’s okay to throw a putter (they are the discs of the slowest speed and with a flight most similar to the traditional frisbee that I was familiar with), the disc golf learning curve would have been that much faster.
So what discs should a beginner really use? In my opinion a beginner should carry two discs; a driver that will potentially provide more distance (after all getting distance is one of the most important and most fun aspects of disc golf) and an understable straight flying putt and approach disc that won’t fade hard.
Beginners used to throwing Ultimate Frisbees around, naturally release their discs at a hyzer (inside of the disc pointing down) angle. While a traditional frisbee will flip up to flat, a golf disc usually will not (at least not with a beginners speed power and tourque).
After firsthand experience for myself when I was a beginner and by taking numerous new players to play the game for the first time, these are the discs that I would recommend for brand new players who will be playing the game for the first time:
Recommended Drivers for Beginners
Recommended Putters for Beginners