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Many people who are just beginning their disc golf journey wonder “what does turn mean in disc golf?”
There is a rating system on the disc golf discs called the Innova Flight Ratings System that was created to define how the disc is supposed to fly.
There are four main categories including speed, glide, turn, and fade.
Each characteristic has a different rate to describe different aspects of the disc’s flight, creating a unique personality for every disc.
Many companies have created similar systems, but they shouldn’t be compared between brands because each brand uses a different rate.
What does turn mean in disc golf?
Turn is one of the ratings in the Innova Flight Ratings System that describes how much the disc will bank to the right in the beginning of the flight.
The turn ratings go from +1 to -5. When a disc has a +1 rating, it will be incredibly resistant to turning over.
However, when it has a -5 rating, it will turn to the right the most.
Discs that have a -3 or a -5 rating will be perfect for roller shots.
Those with less turn are more likely to have an accurate flight in the wind, but those that have a higher turn rating are easier for beginners to throw.
Turn is rated based on its stability at high-speed. The high-speed is the initial part of the throw when the disc is moving at the highest velocity.
Stability is the turn’s measurement.
When it has a 1 it is an overstable disc and if it has a turn rating of -5 it is considered an understandable disc.
The difference between the two is that an overstable disc tends to follow a natural arc to the left at high speeds while understable discs have a tendency to turnover in the high-speed section of the flight which causes them to bend to the right before fading to the left at the end of the flight path when it enters the slow speed portion of the flight.
Discs can all create overstable or understable flight paths but the difference is how much speed is required with the different disc to create the desired flight path.
Plastic affects the turn
The plastic used by different companies can change the way the discs fly, including the turn ratings.
Brands like Glow Champion and Champion have less high-speed turn than other brands like Driver Pro, GStar, and Star.
How do you choose the right turn rating for you?
It is important to consider two things when considering the right turn for the throw.
The first thing you want to think about is the flight distance you will need to cover on your throw and the second is what your consistent performance is.
It is also important to consider the wind conditions at the time of the game because that can cause a disc to turn over more or less depending on the turn rating.
Personal consistency is also important to know before choosing the proper disc for you as well as what your scoring needs are in that round.
What turn is best for new players?
Most new players need to start with an understable disc because the disc naturally starts fading.
An understable disc begins to turn to the right at the beginning of the flight path before fading to the left.
Overstable discs naturally fade early to the left, which would be a poor choice for a new player because it would go too far to the left.
Flight rating relationships
Turn has an interaction with each of the other flight ratings in the Innova Flight Ratings System.
Those with more fade will typically have less turn while those that have little fade will tend to fly straight.
The discs that have a 0 rating for turn will not have much turn at the beginning of the flight.
Turn also impacts speed.
To get the correct flight pattern that you want, you will need to ensure the disc gets up to the correct speed, otherwise, it will only resemble the flight path instead of completely following it.
Other factors to consider
Disc golf flight ratings aren’t an exact science, which means it is important to try the different discs to determine the flight pattern for you.
Consider the flight rating system and the turn as a guideline.
Once you start getting a baseline of knowledge about the flight rating for a turn, you will be able to determine the basic elements of that disc.
Discs that have higher turn ratings paired with higher fade ratings will actually cause the disc to fly in an “s” pattern.
They don’t tend to fly in straight lines, which can make them great discs for getting around obstacles.
Skill levels for turn
Most people who play the game fall into the category of recreational or beginner.
The beginners are simply casual players who like to head to the disc golf course for a fun time.
They generally haven’t eclipsed the 250-foot throwing range and they typically need some pointers to throw properly.
They tend to be loose cannons when they throw, which means they need to be aware of the turn level on their disc.
Intermediate players might be able to sail their discs closer to the 400-foot mark but they may not have mastered several skills.
However, they are typically developing more accuracy in their throwing while also developing their ability to get out of different situations and obstacles.
They will be more aware of the turn they need on their disc simply because they have a greater frame of reference.
Advanced players and professionals will be able to get the most out of the turn on their discs because they are capable of launching their disc differently.
They will often fly differently compared to the beginner and intermediate players because they have mastered the snap and their techniques, allowing them to turn and fade their discs more precisely.