Basic Rules

The object of disc golf is to have fun and complete the course in the fewest number of throws. The basic rules are as follows:

  1. Start from the teeing area. Throws must be made from behind the front of the teeing area. 
  2. Subsequent shots are played from behind the spot where the previous shot came to rest. This spot is known as the “lie”.
  3. A run-up and follow through are allowed, but you must release the disc before stepping past the lie. 
  4. A putt is a throw from within 10 meters (32.8 ft) of the target. When putting, you may not step past your lie until the disc comes to rest.
  5. The hole is completed when the disc comes to rest in the basket or chains. The hole is not completed if the disc is resting on the top of the target.
  6. If a shot goes out-of-bounds: play from either the last in-bounds location with 1 stroke penalty or re-tee with 1 stroke penalty.
  7. Use common sense and good etiquette. Be respectful to the course, plants, animals, and other people. 
  8. Be safe. Throw only when the throwing and landing area is clear of pedestrians and other players.


Disc Types

 photo PutterRatings_zps0a142a2a.png Putt & Approach: Easy to control. Used for putting, approach shots, and short drives. Typical throwing range is less than 150 feet.
 photo MidrangeRatings_zps36c7d2e9.png Mid-Range: Recommended as a first disc due to its high control, versatility, and forgiving nature. Ideal for wooded courses and short to medium drives. Typical throwing range is 100 - 250 feet.
 photo FairwayDriverRatings_zpsc454eb1c.png Fairway Driver: Designed to offer accuracy without sacrificing too much distance. The ideal choice when keeping the disc on the fairway or green is more important than distance. Typical throwing range is 200 - 350 feet.
 photo DistanceDriverRatings_zps94c0cc80.png Distance Drivers: The pinnacle of golf disc design, designed to offer players more distance off the tee than other type of disc. Typical throwing range is 250 - 450+ feet.


Note: The following ratings, terms, and definitions are based on a right-handed back hand throw (clockwise spin). The opposite flight would be true for a fore-hand throw or a left handed player throwing back hand (counter-clockwise spin).

Flight Rating System

Each INNOVA & Discmania disc has a 4 number flight rating. These 4 numbers measure the Speed, Glide, Turn, and Fade of the disc. Each disc has a distinct "personality"; the flight path that makes the disc unique. 

  • Speed: Speed is the ability of the disc to cut through the air. Speed Ratings are listed from 1 to 13. Discs with high numbers are faster, and can be more difficult to control. Faster discs require more power to attain the optimal flight. High speed drivers, rated 11+, are not recommended for newer players or players with less power. Slower discs have less distance but are easier to control.
  • Glide: Glide describes the discs ability to maintain loft during flight. Discs with more glide are best for new players, and for producing maximum distance (especially downwind). Glide is rated from 1 to 7. Beginners looking for more distance should choose discs with more glide. Discs with less glide will require more power to stay aloft.
  • Turn: High Speed Turn is the tendency of a disc to turn over or bank to the right during the initial, high-speed portion of flight. A disc with a +1 rating is most resistant to turning over, while a -5 rating will turn the most. Discs rated -2 to -5 make good roller discs.
  • Fade: Low Speed Fade is the tendency of a disc to hook left at the end of the flight. Fade is rated from 0 to 5. A disc rated 0 will finish straightest, while a disc rated 5 will hook hard at the end of the flight. Discs with a high fade rating are predictable, even in wind. Discs with less fade are recommended for newer players wanting more control.

Flight ratings are not meant to describe the exact flight of each disc. Rather, ratings provide are useful way to compare discs within the same speed category.

Other Terms:

  • Stable: Describes a disc that flies straight when thrown flat at driving speed.
  • Understable: Describes a disc turns to the right during the high speed portion of flight.
  • Overstable: Describes a disc that has a strong tendency to fade/break to the left, even in the fast part of the flight. Very resistant to spin and torque.


Getting Started

Choosing discs can be overwhelming for a newer player. The Disc Selection Charts below compare the flight ratings all currently available discs. Discs on the left side are for more experienced players, while discs on the right side are easier to control and recommended for newer players or players with less power. These charts also list the recommended uses of each disc, their flight paths, and which plastics they are available in:

Putter & Mid-Range Discs Flight Chart

Fairway & Distance Drivers Flight Chart

  • Start simple: You don't need to start with a full bag of discs. You can start with just 1 and build from there. Less discs will allow you to learn how to become more confident with each one and how to use it for a variety of shots. 
  • Slow and steady: Start with slower discs to establish control. Your arm speed, power, and distance will increase over time.
  • Less is more: Start with lighter weights and adjust gradually until you find your sweet spot.
  • Straight is great: Pick understable discs to achieve longer, straighter flight.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice: Proper throwing form takes time. To improve your technique and accuracy, we recommend throwing in an open field - release the disc flat and straight. Keep the trajectory low to the ground for maximum distance. Try throwing several times to a specific distance.
  • Try different discs: If your throw is fading/breaking sharply and quickly to one side, this could mean:
    • The disc you are throwing may be too fast for your current power level. Use the charts above to compare what you have to other discs. Choose something with less speed and more control. Accuracy is more important than distance.
    • Throw a lighter disc. 1-2 grams won't make much difference.
    • Choose a more understable disc. For a player with less power, these will fly the straightest.
    • Work on your grip, release, and trajectory (how high you throw)

Click here for detailed tips on driving

Or, click here for detailed tips to improve your putting.


Other Flight Characteristics

There are several other factors that can affect how a disc will fly, such as:

  • Grip & Spin: The strength of your grip determines how far you can throw. Your grip also determines how much spin is generated, which is necessary for achieving optimal flight characteristics (rating numbers). When driving, the disc should rip from your hand rather than be released. There are many grip variations. Click here to read more about different grips and their uses.
  • Power: The amount of power needs to be proportionate to the speed rating of the disc in order to achieve the flight indicated by the rating numbers. At lower speeds, all discs will be more stable. When thrown harder than the intended speed, discs can be less stable.
  • Disc Weight: The basic principle is - the more a disc weighs, the more power is needed to throw it the same distance. Lighter discs, 130-164 grams are easier to throw and are recommended for newer players. Heavier discs, 165-180 grams, require more power and are usually preferred by more experienced players. Lighter discs also tend to be less stable. Your ideal disc weight may vary based on your style and throwing power.
  • Disc Condition: A disc becomes "broken-in" with age and use. Wear and tear will make the disc less stable over time. Discs age at different rates depending on the type of plastic. Click here to read more about different plastic types.
  • Wind: Wind applies friction to the disc, which will affect the flight depending on its speed and direction. A head wind will decrease distance and tends to make the disc less stable (understable). A tailwind will improve speed and glide and add more stability to the flight.


Have more questions, or want to get a recommendation of your next disc? Give us a call and we'll be happy to help. 800.476.3968




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