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Whenever new disc golf players get started, one of the first things they learn is how elusive the distance driver is for players with a beginner-level skill set.
However, once you become a little more established in the game, it’s time for you to start learning how to throw and manipulate the distance driver so you can advance your game to the next level.
So what’s the best distance driver disc for beginners?
In today’s post we’re going to outline what to look out for in a good beginner distance driver and how to choose the most appropriate product for your skill level.
Types of discs
The four main categories of disc golf discs are:
- The Distance Driver. Typically, we recommend that true beginners avoid this disc, as it is the hardest to throw. However, we understand that maybe if you’re a more “advanced beginner,” it might be time to start you off on a distance driver.
- The Fairway Driver. Fairway drivers are great choices for dual purposes like both drive and approach throws. They also work well for special throws like rollers.
- The Midrange Disc. This is the one we usually recommend for beginners because it is typically the easiest to use and get comfortable with. It’s a versatile disc that can be used to drive longer distances or help you approach the target.
- Putter Discs. Putters are used at the very end of the round when you’re ready to essentially toss (with a lot of focus, precision, and technique) your disc into the basket.
What to look for in a good beginner distance driver disc
Anytime you’re shopping for a new disc, the first thing you’ll want to do is pay attention to a disc’s flight ratings.
Disc golf discs are measured according to four different criteria: speed, glide, turn, and fade.
Speed is measured by the disc’s capability for speed when flying through the air. It is measured on a scale of 1 to 14.
For beginners, it’s recommended to stick with a medium level speed, usually within the 7 to 9 range.
Glide measures how well your disc is able to maintain loft when flying through the air. Glide is measured on a scale of 1 to 7.
Glide can typically help compensate for what your disc lacks in speed in order to help you achieve maximum distance.
For beginner discs we recommend looking for higher glide ratings, usually between a 5 and 7 rating.
Turn describes your disc’s tendency to turn to the right.
Turn is measured on a scale of +1 to -5. Discs that are +1 or close to +1 are overstable discs (which means the disc is more wind-resistant, difficult to manage, and more likely to travel left), while the closer the disc is to -5 the more understable it is (which means it is easier for beginners to manage and more likely to travel right and circle towards your intended target).
Since understable discs are more appropriate for beginners, we recommend looking for a rating of between -2 to -4 for a beginner distance driver.
Fade describes how likely you disc is to hook hard to the left at the end of the flight when the speed lessens. Fade is measured on a scale of 0 to 5.
Overstable discs are more likely to hook left and therefore will have a higher fade rating, while understable discs typically fly a straighter path and have a lower fade rating.
A quick note on these ratings–they are not objective and consistent across brands. The only time you can compare these ratings is within the same brand.
Typically, the weight of the disc does not matter so much when you’re starting out as a beginner. Lighter discs can be easier to throw, but heavier discs can allow for more stability and predictability.
Another thing to pay attention to is the disc’s rim width. The PDGA (Professional DIsc Golf Association) instituted regulations for disc golf disc manufacturers stating that the maximum rim width is 2.6 centimeters.
The wider the rim, the more speed capacity your disc has. Typically, beginner disc golfers are fine to stick with average-sized rim widths of 1.8 to 1.9.
Best Distance Driver Disc for Beginners
If you’re looking for the right distance driver disc to get started with your new disc golf hobby, there are a number of products that may work well. The following products could provide a good place to start your search.
Innova Disc Golf DX Sidewinder Golf Disc (Colors may vary)
The Innova Sidewinder is a safe option for a beginner distance driver disc golf disc. Available in a variety of Innova patented plastics, we recommend the DX line if you’re a beginner.
This is because the Innova DX plastic line’s polymer blend tends to be softer and easier to grip as well as a bit more comfortable.
This will help you manipulate it better than some of the harder discs that are manufactured for professionals, such as Innova’s Champion plastic line.
The DX plastic is durable and can withstand a variety of weather conditions and terrain situations.
The Innova DX Sidewinder’s flight ratings are appropriate for beginners: Speed 9, Glide 5, Turn -3, and Fade 1.
The combination of medium speed and high glide will help you achieve distance even if you don’t have a lot of speed and strength developed just yet to help power the disc.
You’ll also be able to achieve a straighter flight pattern since the fade is so low.
This PDGA approved, understable disc can be purchased in the following weight categories: 140 to 150 gram, 151 to 159 gram, 165 to 169 gram, 170 to 172 gram, and 173 to 175 gram.
Typically, beginners do well with lighter discs, although you may prefer a heavier weight in your hand. If this is true, don’t shy away from a heavier disc.
The Innova Disc Golf DX Sidewinder has a rim width of 1.8 centimeters, which is about average. This will aid the disc to help increase its speed slightly.
View at Amazon for more information on how this product might work with your skill level needs.
- Great beginner distance driver disc
- Grippy, comfortable plastic blend
- Beginner-level flight ratings
- Can serve multiple purposes including distance drive, fairway drive, sidearm, and roller throws
- You cannot choose a specific color to purchase as the colors vary
Latitude 64 Opto Line River Driver
Another solid distance driver choice for beginners, the Latitude 64 River hails from the Opto Line.
Latitude 64’s Opto Line plastic line is a good choice for beginners because, like the Innova DX plastic, it is comfortable, durable, and easy to grip.
It is not the highest quality plastic line and definitely not a professional-level material, but for beginners who need to learn distance drive technique, it’s a great choice.
The Latitude 64 River has a more limited weight range than the Innova Sidewinder. It only comes in two categories: 165 to 170 grams, and 170 to 176 grams.
If you’re wanting a lighter-weight disc, this may not be the best option for you. Its rim width is 1.9 centimeters.
This disc’s flight ratings are: Speed 7, Glide 7, Turn -2, and Fade 1. It is one of the slower distance driver options available which is exactly what makes it ideal for beginners.
Keep in mind, the higher the speed capacity, the more unmanageable the disc.
What the Latitude 64 River cannot achieve in speed it makes up for in glide.
It has a high glide rating which will allow you to still achieve distance in spite of the disc’s medium velocity.
This is an understable disc that will land predictably straight at the end.
View at Amazon for more information on this driver.
- Although categorized as a fairway driver, this makes a great beginner distance driver
- Grippy, comfortable plastic blend
- Beginner-level flight ratings
- Limited weight range options
- Colors may vary, so you may not get your desired color
Millennium JLS Driver Golf Disc [Colors May Vary]
One of the older and more established brands within the disc golf world is Millennium. This JLS driver is created with Millennium’s standard plastic which is durable and midgrade.
This disc’s flight ratings are: Speed 8, Glide 5, Turn -2, and Fade 2. Its rim width is only 1.6 centimeters meaning this disc will be easier to control for beginners.
This disc is understable but will provide a long and straight flight towards your desired target, making it one of the best beginner distance drivers out there.
This disc has quite the variety of weight categories: 140 to 150 grams, 151 to 159 grams, 160 to 164 grams, 165 to 169 grams, 170 to 172 grams, and 173 to 175 grams.
View at Amazon to learn more about this disc driver.
- Excellent beginner flight ratings
- Great choice for a beginner distance driver
- Grippy, mid-grade, durable, comfortable plastic blend
- Colors may vary
Which is the right disc for you?
There’s no certain way to say which disc is the best choice for you. There are so many variables within disc golf manufacturing that it is impossible to say which you’ll definitely prefer one disc over another.
All three discs we reviewed today come from reputable disc golf disc manufacturers within the industry.
Finding the right disc for you will always be a trial-and-error journey that requires purchasing a variety of discs and testing them out with a lot of time and patience.
Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com @jarih