What discs for a beginner thrower?
Reflection, tips, talk about flight values and building your own bag.
Enthusiasts who have just started Frisbee golf often ask a lot about discs and, of course, "Which disc can I use to make long throws or increase length?" The same questions come up very often, e.g. On the Facebook side, in the publications of various frisbee golf groups. The question is relevant, but on the other hand, it is very difficult to answer without information about the throwing technique of the questioner and the average size of the throws.
There are roughly four different discs in Frisbee golf. The division is made based on their flight speed. Listed below are the different disc groups and their characteristics from slowest to fastest. The speeds of the discs are often announced on the seller's website and are between 1-15.
Putters - round and high but thin edge. This means more air resistance during flight, so the puck flies slower and more controlled. Putters almost always fly fairly straight. The speeds of flight values vary between 2-4. Thrown by a professional, the putter is most often used in competitions for opening shots or approach shots up to a good 100m, which you want to stop near the basket or alternatively on a wooded fairway when the line is too tight for a faster puck. With good technique, putter throwing is, in addition to putting, an extremely effective and useful weapon in the putting arsenal.
Midarit - slightly lower than the edge of the putter and disc with a thicker edge. The shape of the edge is still round. The air resistance is slightly lower than the putter, so the puck flies a little faster and possibly further than the putter. These discs are also characterized by a fairly straight flight. Midar speeds are mostly between 4-6. When thrown by professionals, the puck is used for throws of about 80-120 meters and mostly for throws that require tighter lines.
Fairway driver - These discs differ again compared to midars with their slightly sharper edge. Also on the bottom, the rim or rim is thicker and you can initially get a better grip on the disc precisely because of this. Speeds in fairway drivers are between about 7-9. With these discs, professionals throw 100-140m throws, which usually have a little more space on the fairway. In fairway drivers, the end fade, i.e. the turn at the end, is already slightly larger than slower discs.
Driver - Clearly the sharpest-edged pucks of all. Wind resistance is low and the pucks have the potential to fly really far with a hard throw. The edge of the underside, or Rimmi, is also thick/wide. Most drivers require a throw length of 90m+ to be reasonable or efficient to use. Driver speeds vary between 10-14. Professional players use drivers the most for opening shots, which carry 100-180m depending on the fairway. The end fade in drivers is large compared to slower discs. Therefore, they are not always very suitable for tight forest paths.
How do I interpret the disc flight numbers? Overstable / stable / understable puck
The flight numbers can be found on the stamp on some discs. They are a great help for a beginner thrower, but on the other hand, they also always give direction. The flight numbers do not always tell the whole truth about the flights of the pucks, and especially those who have played for a long time already know this for sure. Different editions of the same discs often have shape differences, which sometimes greatly affect the trajectory and stability of the disc. By looking at the puck's profile, an experienced player can already interpret the trajectory of the puck a little in advance. So it is possible that two identical discs have a completely different profile/shape, but still have the same flight numbers.
Instead of using flight numbers, it's worth learning to recognize the disc selection of different manufacturers and possibly asking for help from a shop or a professional in the field. Playing with one brand can also be an advantage because there are many disc manufacturers and it is easy to get a little confused between different discs. Almost every puck manufacturer has pucks for every player's needs.
Reading from left to right, the flight numbers mean the following:
SPEED / NOPEUS - the potential flight speed of the puck. A faster puck requires a harder throw. A good rule of thumb to remember could be to multiply your speed by ten and compare it to your throw length. For example, if your throwing length is 70 meters, it is not necessarily worth throwing discs faster than fairway drivers (6-8 speed).
GLIDE / LIITO - this number tells about the puck's gliding properties. A higher number means a better union. The numbers vary between 1-7. A larger union number sometimes also means that the disc is straight/understable if the last number, or FADE, is small.
TURN/STABILITY - this number indicates the stability of the disc. An over-stable puck always tends to the left very quickly (right hand knuckle throw) and an under-stable one tends to keep the puck straight or turn it over to the right, i.e. the opposite side. The numbers vary between 0 and -5, and a larger negative value indicates greater understability in the disk.
FADE - Fade means how much or easily the puck starts to curve left or right at the end, depending on the throw/throwing hand. A bigger fade means a bigger final flip. The width is also important for the stability of the puck, because a puck with a larger width also behaves more stably and more reliably, especially in windy weather
As an example, let's take a look at Prodigy's three different drivers, starting with the most stable:
D1, D3, D5
D1 - 13 / 5 / 0 / 3
Basically the most stable of Prodigy's D series drivers. Good connection, stability and a large Lopufeidi guarantee that this puck won't tip over very easily even in a headwind. D1 is most often not a beginner's puck and requires about 110+ throw length to start functioning in a reasonable way.
D3 - 13 / 6 / -2 / 2
Compared to the D1, this disc is already considerably straighter and can no longer be called an overstable disc. Like almost all discs in this series, the D3 requires a throw length of 100+ to be a reasonable choice. Compared to the D1, this is a straighter disc with better glide, less stability and less end fade. When thrown hard, the D3 works well for long throws because it tends to turn a little over during the throw, but returns and fights at the end. During aerial flight, a small S-line is thus obtained, with which even the longest throws can often be made.
D5 - 13 / 6 / -4 / 2
As you can see from the flight numbers, they are quite similar compared to the D3 puck. However, the difference is -4 in terms of stability, which means that the disc is already quite unstable. For a 100m thrower, the D5 would probably be such an understable puck that it would turn well over all the way to a roller. Understable pucks are often used precisely for roller throws or for straightening/overturning throws from a large hyzer angle.
What discs for a beginner thrower?
Speed does not make the puck fly far, but a faster puck always requires a harder throw to fly. This is one of the biggest mistakes among those who are new to the sport, because choosing a disc that is too fast at the beginning often does not bring good results in terms of throw length and controllability. Too often on the tracks, you see beginner throwers throw 20-30m arcs with fast drivers, which turn left/right very quickly. In addition to the throwing technique, the statement "There is no equipment sport" in frisbee golf is completely nonsense. As a beginner thrower, there is no need to have many pucks, but they must be suitable.
The throwing lengths of a player starting a sport vary a lot due to, among other things, age, sport background and physical condition. However, it is assumed that most of them can throw a 20-60m arc when they start. At this throw length, the best options for discs are slower putters and midars. A faster driver may be easier to hold in the hand and throw in the right direction at first, but in terms of trajectory and direct throw, the obvious choice for these lengths is to choose a slower disc. They fly longer straight with a light throw and don't curve hugely at the end. Fortunately, those who play the sport often already advise beginner throwers to get started. The throw and the length of the throw often develop very quickly at first, and when approaching 80-100m, you can even grab a slightly faster puck. 6-10 speed fairway drivers are a good addition to the bag at this point.
Examples of how to build your own bag with Prodigy's products
Plastic grades go from softer to harder between 200 (soft) and 750 (hard)
The numbers on the pucks tell about stability. 1 being the most stable and from then on the trajectory of the puck straightens/understabilizes.
Throw length 40-60m
Putters: basic plastic, i.e. 200/300 Pa4 and/or Pa3
Midars: 300 or 400 plastic M4 and/or M3
(Approach disc - 300 or 400 A4)
Throw length 60-80m
Putters: 200-350 Pa3 and/or Pa4, for throwing putters 400 Pa3 or Pa4
Midars: 300 or 400 plastic M3 and/or M4
Approach puck 300 or 400 A4
(Fairaway driver 300, 400 tai 750 F7 & F5)
Throw length 80-100m
Putters: I put one of the basic plastic Pa discs. For putting putter Pa4 (straight) & Pa1/Pa3 (stable)
Midarit: M4 (suora), M3/MX-3
Approach puck: A3 and/or A2
Fairways: F3 (straight), F5/F7 (overturning), F1/F2 (stable)
Hybrid drivers: H3v2 and possible FX-2 (super stable)
Throw length 100m+
Putters: basic plastic putter. Throwing putters according to your taste with either basic or premium plastic
Approach puck: A2 & A3
Fairway: F1/F2, F3, F5
Hybrids: FX-2, H3v2
Drivers: 2-4 D1, D2 or D3 discs of different flight/shape.