Updated: Jun 25, 2021
With hundreds of discs on the market from dozens of brands and in several weights, plastics, and variations, being new to disc golf can be a bit overwhelming at times.
Which is exactly why we're here to help!
In previous articles, we discussed and gave recommendations for the
as well as the
As a beginner, those are definitely articles you should check out!
But if you already have, or plan to later,
In this article we're going to examine what qualities you should look for in a disc golf driver as a beginner,
followed by our top recommendations for drivers to try out for your next time out on the course.
What disc driver is best for beginners?
There are several important factors to consider when choosing a disc golf driver, especially when just starting out.
The first is learning and identifying the difference between a "distance driver" and "control, or fairway driver"
To answer this, it's as simple as finding the answer in the title:
Distance drivers are drivers that are intended for maximum distance whereas control drivers are meant for more accuracy and shorter "drives".
But if we limit ourselves to just those definitions, we would significantly handicap ourselves when trying to get better at disc golf.
Distance drivers often have speed ratings of AT LEAST 9 or 10 with ranges of 11-13 more common.
Speeds this high are very difficult for beginners to achieve without any type of prior training and if the rated speed is not attained, the desired fight pattern expected from that disc will be very difficult to achieve.
To think of this in other terms, lets compare it to shoes that sprinters wear during a track and field race.
The sprinter will be fastest while wearing footwear designed for sprinting, but chances are those shoes won't help you become faster if it's the first race you have ever ran.
So to bring things back to the disc golf world, although they are called "control" or "fairway" drivers,
Beginners will actually notice that they get maximum distance out of their throws when using these discs when compared to using a distance driver.
This is possible because slower discs are easier to throw for beginners and have flight properties that are very friendly for new players.
Faster discs such as distance drivers will fade more dramatically and more quickly than control drivers, and these effects are magnified when thrown with less speed and power.
This doesn't mean that distance drivers have no place in your bag, but the majority of your bag's real estate when starting out should be dedicated to fairway drivers.
Our recommendations below will reflect this because we believe that you should start with slower speed discs/drivers and slowly work your way up to higher speed discs as your arm speed and strength improves.
An exception to this would be having a distance driver in your bag that can handle forehand throws.
When I was first starting out, I found that I was very good at forehand throws due to my background and experience in sports that require a throwing motion.
Because of this, I threw an Innova Boss very well with forehands, but terribly with backhands because of horrible technique and weak backhand arm strength.
What disc stability is best for beginners?
Once we consider speed, we must take a look at stability.
Understable discs will be easier for beginners to throw than overstable discs
While that is a blanket statement, it tends to be true when speaking in terms of beginners throwing a disc for both accuracy and distance.
When an overstable disc is throw at a slower speed, it will tend to act more overstable than what it really is.
We briefly touched upon this in the previous section when we identified that faster discs will fade more drastically and more quickly than slower discs.
Again, this is magnified by the slower and weaker armed player.
Likewise, an understable disc will not be as understable when throw with less force.
Because of this, an understable disc may still turn initially when thrown with a weaker arm, but is much less likely to "turn over" and finish completely to the right like it would when over powered.
Instead, it will start to the right or straight before softly fading and finishing to the left. This "S" shaped flight pattern is what allows beginners to maximize distance and why they should gravitate towards stable and understable discs when just starting out.
Overstable discs have their place in any player's bag for shots where a hyzer or hard hook to left (for right handed back hand throws) is desired.
But for beginners wanting distance and accuracy, stable and understable discs will suit you the best.
It's worth noting that the wind will affect these characteristics some, which is why we dedicated an entire article on the topic that you can check out by clicking HERE.
What about the plastic?
The type of plastic is something you should also consider as premium plastics will generally "beat in" more slowly than the cheapest plastics.
When discs beat in, they become less stable than what they're rated when new.
So a stable disc that is stable or slightly overstable can actually become understable when it has been played with a lot and taking beating by hitting trees and other objects.
If you want to maintain flight characteristics for a long time, purchase premium. If you want a disc to beat in quickly to be easier to throw as a beginner, choose the cheaper plastics.
What weight disc should I use as a beginner?
Lastly, we must examine disc weight.
When shopping discs, you will see a variety of weights available, everything from 150g up to around 175g.
Simply put, lighter discs will be easier for beginners to handle because they take less effort to throw.
On the flip side, you may grow out of lighter discs quickly and need to replace them with heavier discs at some point as heavier discs do handle the force of a throw and the effects of wind better than lighter discs.
So when shopping and testing discs, try several different weights and see what you like the most.
Now that we have covered the important factors, we come full circle to the original question,
What disc golf driver is best for beginners?
So with all things considered and without further ado, here is our list for the best beginner level disc golf drivers!
Flight Ratings: 8, 6, -3, 1
The Diamond was one of the first discs that was donated to me when I first started playing disc golf years ago.
At the time, I knew I threw it well but I had no idea that I was actually given one of the best and most popular beginner discs ever made.
The Diamond is highly regarded as such because of how far beginners throw this disc and how well they throw it in general from the beginning of their playing careers.
And I must agree.
At the time, I threw the Diamond much further and straighter than my other discs that were faster and more overstable. It would turn slightly upon release but always finished dead straight.
Despite its higher speed of 8, the glide rating of 6, turn rating of -3, and fade rating of 1 makes the disc user friendly and the speed easy to handle.
As my arm strength improved, it would occasionally turn over on me so I actually stopped bagging it temporarily until I realized the value in having an understable control driver in the bag.
I now use it for hyzer flips and when I need to have a disc hold an anhyzer line. Click on the picture below to check it out!
Flight Ratings: 7, 5, 0, 2
The Explorer is a natural progression for many players who begin to over power their Diamonds.
It is a slower disc with less glide than a Diamond, but it is more stable and allows for long straight shots on the fairway with just a gentle fade at the end.
Players often say that the Explorer is their go to disc for "tunnel" shots where they need a disc that can fly long and straight, which is what I use this disc for as well.
Try this disc out by clicking on the picture below, you won't be disappointed!
Flight Ratings: 9, 6, -3, 1
The next couple of discs are all rated as Speed 9 discs and are on the border of distance drivers and fairway/control drivers.
For this reason, they are excellent "bridge" discs that will cover the gap when you start making the leap from control drivers to distance drivers but aren't quite ready to handle speed 10, 11, 12, and 13 discs.
The first in our lineup is the popular Sphinx by Infinite Discs.
It's an understable fairway driver that may be slightly more understable than other options but not enough to turn over on a regular basis.
One feature that players seem to really love is the amount of glide that this disc offers, which will allow you to get downrange further than some of the other options on our list.
Check it out at Infinite Discs website by clicking on the picture below!
Flight Ratings: 9, 5, -1.5, 2
Similar to the Maverick, but slightly faster with a speed of 9 (versus a speed 7) is the Vandal by Dynamic Discs.
I actually picked this disc up in a Trilogy Challenge years ago and it quickly became a disc I bagged regularly.
I mentioned earlier that I use an Explorer for long, straight shots that require just a touch of fade at the end. With this disc however, it is my go to for shots that need a little more distance than the Explorer and with a dead straight finish.
When thrown flat, the Vandal does turn just ever so slightly before gliding and fading back to the line I throw it on, but will hold any line it's thrown on well.
Even as a beginner, I loved throwing this disc and was pleased with the flight consistency I could get out of it. For this reason, it is still a disc I bag to this day.
Click on the picture to check it out!
Flight Ratings: 9, 6, -3, 1
Another excellent driver option that is popular among disc golfers of all skills is the understable, Discraft Heat.
Similar to the Sphinx, the Heat offers excellent glide for a control driver but in my experience it is a little more understable.
Because of this it is an excellent option for tailwinds where you need that extra understability to keep the disc straight on the fairway.
As a beginner, you should see excellent flight distance with the Heat.
When your skill improves, it is an excellent choice for anhyzer lines where a little bit of extra glide is needed. It's also great for hyzer flip shots!
Check it out by clicking on the picture below!
Flight Ratings: 9, 4, -2, 2
The Valkyrie is one of my personal favorite discs that has had a long time place in my bag and it is perhaps the most versatile disc on our list.
It is a Speed 9 driver with a relatively low glide rating of 4. Where this disc really shines in my opinion however is it's stability and fade/turn characteristics.
The "Valk" is considered an understable driver but I tend to feel it leans more stable than understable, especially in champion or star plastics.
Due to it's turn rating of -2 and fade of 2, I can get this disc to do just about anything I want it to!
When thrown flat it turns gently before fading back to straight, and it will hold a hyzer or anhyzer line very well with a medium strength arm like myself. It's also a great disc for forehand shots from the fairway.
Check it out today by clicking on the picture of me with my Valkyrie!
Flight Ratings: 6, 5, -1, 1
For our next recommendation, we're going to slow things down, way down, to a Speed 6 Zombee.
This Discraft fairway driver is slow enough to be considered a mid-range by many but with its glide rating of 5, you'll still be able to achieve great distance with this unique disc.
The Zombee will hold any line I put it on very nicely with both forehand and backhand shots alike, but when thrown flat it has a very subtle turn to fade flight pattern and will consistently finish more to the left than right.
I like to use this disc where I need a bit more distance than my mid-ranges but don't want my disc skipping past the target on approach shots.
The low speed allows for very nice lay ups to the basket where many faster driver options would skip on past and make for a difficult putt.
Because it is so slow, beginners will find it easy to throw and easy to bag, click on the picture to check it out!
Flight Ratings: 9, 6, -2, 1
Thought Space what?
That's right! The Mantra by Thought Space Athletics, although not by an extremely well known company, is an extremely popular control driver that is very straight flying and a great option for beginners looking to expand their bag.
Despite being understable, this disc will want to fade at the end of its flight for slower arms but will ultimately fly very straight for most of its flight path.
Try it today!
Flight Ratings: 10, 5, -2, 1.5
Next up is the fast rated disc on our list, the Prodigy H4 V2.
This speed 10 control driver may look intimidating, but makes for a great disc that a beginner can transition to once they get used to slower control drivers.
With slower arm speed, this disc fly as if it is rather overstable, but once you learn to control it and release angle, it will become an extremely straight flying option for you to bag for a long time!
Check it out if you get the chance!
10. Innova Destroyer
Flight Ratings: 12, 5, -1, 3
In our opening section, we briefly discussed why you don't need to have a distance driver as a beginner, unless you have one for forehand shots.
The Innova Destroyer is just that, and an excellent disc in it's own right for backhand throws from more advanced players.
But for this article, its a great option to be used by beginners for maximizing distance with a forehand if you have the arm strength to throw with some oomph behind it.
The overstability of this disc can easily handle the force from a forehand throw and when you learn to throw proficiently back hand you will continue to find a place for it in your bag.
There's a reason it's one of the top selling discs on Infinite Discs, so be sure to check it out by clicking on the picture below!
I noted earlier that I started playing with an Innova Boss, which I threw well but I would have preferred the Destroyer due to its slightly slower speed rating.
And that completes our list!
As always, there are several options out there that will work for you as you improve disc golf skills but we firmly believe that you cannot go wrong with any of the discs on this list.
If you feel that we left out an awesome driver option for beginners, be sure to let us know in the comments!
Lastly, to shop all of the top rated fairway drivers on the market,
be sure to click on the banner below to check them out at Infinite Discs!
Happy Disc Golfing!
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