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At Disc Golf Warrior we want your game to be the best it can be. This means not only perfecting your skills but also making sure you have the right tools to do the job.

Whether you’re an experienced player or just learning the ropes, it’s important to know which type of disc suits your needs in order to get the most out of your power and your technique. 

The perfect disc will vary depending on the distance of the basket, course conditions, the type of throw you plan to use, not to mention your overall experience as a player.

Choosing the right one is a matter of practice, experience, and feel. 

In this article, we’ll be talking about one specific type of disc: fairway drivers.

What exactly do they do, what kind of player are they meant for, and of those on the market, which is the best fairway driver for disc golf overall?

Whether you’re a beginning or intermediate disc golfer looking to up the distance of your drives, or an advanced player looking for a disc that blends the range of a long distance driver with the precision of a mid-range disc, be sure to read on to learn why the fairway driver is one disc that you need to add to your arsenal, and what factors you should consider when deciding which model is right for you.

What is a fairway driver?

Disc golf discs exist on a spectrum that range from putters at one end to distance drivers at the other (read more about the different types of discs here).

Putters tend to be bulkier with rounded edges, and although they fly slower, they have more stability, making them perfect for short range shots and shots requiring finesse (between trees, for instance). 

Distance drivers on the other hand are much more aerodynamic, with a sharp beveled edge to cut the air. In these discs the majority of the weight is distributed close to the outer ring to help increase speed and distance.

When thrown correctly, distances drivers can travel over 500 feet (see this record-breaking throw by Simon Lizotte).

But distance drivers lack the stability of putters, and require a great deal of “snap” from the thrower in order to work effectively.

So where do fairway drivers fall on this spectrum?

Effectively a compromise between distance drivers and mid-range discs, fairway drivers combine properties of aerodynamics and control.

While still designed to travel great distances, they require less force than long distance drivers to fly accurately, making them good drivers for beginners to intermediates.

In practice the exact nature of a fairway driver can vary significantly, with some being easier to control and more reminiscent of mid-range discs, and others more aggressive and requiring more force.

What to look for (and avoid) in a fairway driver

When choosing a fairway driver (or any disc for that matter) it is important to look at four properties: speed, glide, turn, and fade.

  • Speed is rated from 1 to 14, and is a measure of how fast the disc must be thrown to fly correctly. A distance driver, for example, may have a high speed rating of 12 or 13, while a putter would have a much lower rating.
  • Glide is rated from 1 to 7. Glide measures how long the disc will stay in the air when thrown at the appropriate speed. A disc with a higher glide rating will stay aloft longer and therefore travel farther than a comparable disc with a lower glide rating.
  • Turn is the disc’s tendency to turn right (when thrown backhand by a right-handed thrower). It is rated from +1 to -5, where -5 is the greatest amount of turn. 
  • Fade is rated from 0 to 5, and describes how likely the disc is to hook left (for a RHBH thrower) as it loses speed at the end of the throw.

For a fairway driver, you’ll want to look for a disc with a moderate speed rating, anywhere between 6 and 8 depending on your level of experience and the particular application you’re looking for.

The speed rating is the most important property in determining what is or isn’t a fairway driver.

Beginning or intermediate players will want to choose a disc on the lower end of this range, requiring less force for it to fly properly, as well as one with a higher glide rating to maximize the distance of their drives. 

Glide ratings for fairway drivers are typically on the high end, anywhere from 4 all the way up to 7, though experienced players will want to choose a specific disc depending on the distance of the drive, using lower-glide discs for short and mid-range fairway drives. 

Turn should generally be higher, between 0 and -2, and fade ratings moderate to low, especially for less experienced players.

Advanced players however may intentionally choose a disc with high fade for flex shots or for use in strong headwinds.

In our opinion, the main pitfall to avoid when choosing a fairway driver is selecting a speed rating that is too high for your current level.

This is a common mistake among developing players, who think that a disc with a higher speed rating will instantly help them unlock more powerful drives.

In fact, the secret is patience and practice, and a good intermediate disc will be your best friend in developing both range, power, and consistency.

Best Fairway Driver for Disc Golf

With the above advice in mind, we’ve chosen a few models which we think stand out among the rest.

These discs all meet the standards for fairway drivers which we’ve mentioned, but nevertheless vary from one model to another, specifically in terms of glide and stability characteristics.

Below, each model we’ve given individual ratings to help you compare models and decide which of the highlighted products is the best fit for you.

Latitude 64 Opto Line River Fairway Driver Golf Disc

Ratings:

  • Speed: 7
  • Glide: 7
  • Turn: -1
  • Fade: 1

Our number one recommendation if you’re a beginner or early intermediate, or looking for a great all-around disc that you can use for several holes at a time.

This disc doesn’t require too much force to throw and flies reliably with a lot of glide (the highest glide rating among the fairway drivers we’ve recommended), a good amount of turn and a low degree of fade, all of which will be useful to the beginner, providing both distance and control.

The feel of this fairway driver is less like a distance driver than it is a mid-range, all-around disc.

An excellent addition to any disc golfer’s bag.

View at Amazon to learn more about how this disc could work for your game.

Innova DX Teebird Fairway Driver Golf Disc

Ratings:

  • Speed: 7
  • Glide: 5
  • Turn: 0
  • Fade: 2

A similar feel to the River but with a lower glide rating and more overstable flight characteristics, the TeeBird is an extremely accurate and dependable frisbee and perhaps the most popular and well-known of all Fairway drivers.

As a plus, the TeeBird also boasts the endorsement of 12-time world champion Ken Climo.

View at Amazon for more information on how this disc could work for you.

Discmania C-Line FD Jackal Fairway Driver Disc Golf Driver

Ratings:

  • Speed: 7
  • Glide: 6
  • Turn: -1
  • Fade: 1

Good for all skill levels, the FD flies straight, airing on the side of understable (as compared to the TeeBird which is slightly overstable), and its glide rating comes in at an impressive 6 out of 7.

This model has been around for nearly ten years now but recently has been gaining in popularity and is a great choice for players of all levels.

View at Amazon for more information on how this disc could work for you.


Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com