Disc Golf Flight Paths

Innova set up a system of flight ratings to help consumers determine how discs fly relative to other discs. Several disc manufacturers have adopted this rating system, for those that haven’t, we’ve implemented these numbers to help you better compare discs from different manufacturers. The Innova Flight rating system breaks the flight path into four categories, written in this order: SpeedGlideTurn, & Fade.

 

Distance – Speed & Glide

  • Speed: Speed is the first rating discs are given in the Innova rating system. The fastest flying discs have speed ratings of 13-14, while slow, blunt edge discs have a rating of 1-2. Innova classifies distance drivers as discs with a speed rating of 8 and above, fairway drivers speed 6-7, midrange 4-5, and putters less than 3.

For new disc golfers, speed does not equal distance. A lightweight speed 6 disc will likely fly farther than a speed 13 power driver. Higher speed discs have thicker rims and are harder to throw accurately.

  • Glide: Glide is a discs ability to stay in the air. Discs with higher glide numbers will generally fly farther than discs with lower numbers. Glide is good when you’re going for distance, but  can be a bad thing for putts and approach shots. Overshooting the basket is often worse than not throwing far enough.  Glide ratings are between 1 and 7; discs with a glide ratings of seven will maintain loft longer.

Stability – Turn and Fade

Stability is the ability discs have to fly straight. Most golf discs have the tendency to curve to the left for right hand backhanded throws. Depending on how hard you throw, discs behave more or less stable. For new disc golfers, even discs classified as “understable” will still tend to be “overstable” until throwing speed is improved.

Discs that curve to the right are known as “Understable,” discs that fly mostly straight with a minimal gradual fade are”Stable“, discs that fade to the left are “Overstable.” On our site we have also classified discs that have very high fade rates, meaning they have a monster fade way left,  as “Very Overstable.

  • Turn: The third rating is known as turn. Turn is the tendency for discs to curve to the right in the early portion of the flight. For new disc golfers, understable discs with high (negative) turn ratings provide maximum distance as they aren’t pulled left as quickly as overstable drivers. Players whose maximum throwing distance is less than 200 feet, likely won’t notice any turn or “understableness” in the flight paths of these discs, as all throws will fade to the left.
    Once players get more speed and power in their throws, understable discs “turn” or start curving to the right at the beginning of the flight before fading to the left at the end. On powerful throws, this turn is so hard that discs actually turn over and crash into the ground without fading back.
  • Fade: Innova, Discmania, Latitude, Legacy, DGA, and Westside indicate a discs stability in their “turn” and “fade” ratings. Turn is rated from 1 to -5, with -5 being the most understable rating. While these discs turn to the right when traveling at high speeds, they still “fade” to the left at the end of the flight when the disc slows down. This rating is known as “fade.”Fade is the last number in the flight ratings. A disc rated 11/4/0/4 would have a very high degree of fade. This disc would fade to the left approximately 80%.

Some discs have very high turn ratings and significant fade. These discs actually fly in an “S” pattern, and while they aren’t stable and don’t fly in a straight line, the net effect is that they land approximately where you aim. The most “stable” discs have ratings like 4/5/0/0. The 0’s indicate that the discs won’t turn or fade much.

Many disc golfers use the term “stable” to refer to overstability, or a discs ability to resist high speed turn. When they say, “that disc is really stable” they are saying the disc is very overstable.

The flight ratings on our site are entered as determined by the manufacturer and/or Inbounds Flight Paths. With each disc review, our reviewers rate what they think the flight ratings are which then factors in the displayed flight ratings.

Discraft Stability Ratings

Discrafts ratings are a bit more simple. Discs that have a tendency to turn to the right have a “-” (negative) stable rating. Discraft-Flight-RatingsStraight flying discs are rated at “0,” and highly overstable discs have positive ratings between .5 and 3.

While overstable discs are designed for ultra power throwers, they do have a place for beginners for shots that need a very sharp curve around trees or other obstacles.

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