When building your bag from the ground up, it is often advocated that you include a variety of discs for a variety of shots and situations.
Each disc should have a very distinct use or 2, with some overlap of course, but this strategy of bag building is crucial when fine tuning your game and making the most of the space your bag can hold.
If done correctly, you'll likely end up with a mixed bag of stable, overstable, and understable disc options.
Some will be used more than others, but knowing when to use each one is key to throwing as few strokes as possible consistently out on the disc golf course.
As a quick reminder, understable discs have more turn (the third number in the flight rating system) than stable or overstable discs, meaning that they have a higher likelihood of finishing to the right on a RHBH throw when thrown with a flat release.
They're generally user and beginner friendly because of this!
In this article, we're going to zoom in on understable discs, and talk you through the 5 most common situations where you will want to grab an understable option from your bag.
If you don't have any understable discs, or very few options, hopefully this article will help reinforce their importance and be the motivation needed to add one to your game as soon as possible.
Let's dive in!
1. Maximum Distance Drives for Slower Arm Speeds
Probably the most popular use for understable discs is helping newer or slower armed players get as far down the fairway as possible, regardless if that is from the tee, or the fairway itself.
Not everyone starting out is going to have the arm speed to handle 10+ speed rated discs, especially overstable discs.
So a high turn rating helps offset this, and prevents the disc from fading to the left on a RHBH throw prematurely, effectively limiting a player's overall distance.
If you are trying to slowly bridge the gap from mid-range discs to fairway drivers, or fairway drivers to distance drivers, selecting understable discs with high turn ratings will help you control the disc for maximum distance until you can slowly start choosing more stable or overstable options such as the Discraft Zeus or Innova Destroyer.
Faster arms can definitely use understable discs to their advantage for maximum distance as well, but they'll often need to throw them with more hyzer than usual to get the desired flight path they want.
If you are interested in some understable discs but aren't sure which ones to grab, be sure to check out any of these 3 articles to get going in the right direction!
2. Uphill shots
The next use for an understable disc is for the dreaded uphill shot.
I'm not sure I've met a single disc golfer who likes uphill shots.
I mean who doesn't enjoy throwing on nice flat ground or even better, watching our disc soar downhill seemingly forever?
The problem is most disc golf courses are not all flat, and you will often be faced with uphill shots.
To make these shots more manageable and less intimidating, choose an understable mid-range or fairway driver to help offset the negative aspects of throwing against gravity, you'll definitely see the improvement.
If you want to learn more about this topic, we covered it all in THIS ARTICLE!
3. Flex Shots and Utility Shots!
Third on our list are Flex Shots and Utility Shots!
These types of shots are unique in that they use the characteristics of any understable or overstable disc to achieve a flight path that is unique compared to your typical disc golf throw.
Because an understable disc wants to naturally finish to the right when thrown flat and with enough power, by adding some hyzer to it, it will fight this flight pattern, and instead "flip" to flat, turn a little to the right, and actually fade back to the left because of the hyzer release.
This type of throw is known as a Hyzer Flip (learn how to do it HERE), and is one example of a flex shot.
Hyzer flips are great for achieving maximum distance, and because of their S shaped flight pattern, are also good for throwing through tight corridors and gaps, such as tunnel shots.
Utility shots are often most useful for getting yourself out of trouble when you land off the fairway in the thick, and will commonly use flex shots as well.
Because an understable disc will hold an anny line very well, you could throw one forehand on some anhyzer to get around an obstruction or a bend, or you could throw it on some hyzer when you want it to get out of the brush but flip to flat and continue straight or even to the right.
These are two instances of where utility shots can get you out of dicey situations, and where understable discs can come into play.
A third utility shot option for an understable disc is the Roller.
For this shot, a player uses an understable disc and throws it on anhyzer. This causes the disc to go to the ground on its edge and roll down the fairway, hence the name Roller.
4. Turnover Shots
At times, you'll find yourself in a situation where you need your disc to go the right and you'll have two plays to choose from: a forehand with an overstable disc, or a backhand with an understable disc (aka, a Turnover Shot).
While either play is very important to have in your game, a turnover shot is the one you'll want to grab an understable disc for.
For this situation, a right handed player will want their disc to finish to the right, so they grab an understable option and release it flat, or with just a touch of hyzer.
When done correctly, the disc will flip to flat, and slowly turn as it flies down the fairway, landing softly to the right. You would choose this option over a forehand shot depending on how much you need to get the disc to go right, whether or not you want the disc to skip, or even depending on the angle of the terrain the disc is going to land on.
If you need help choosing between throwing a forehand or back hand turnover, we cover that topic in THIS ARTICLE if you want to check it out!
Last on our list of "When to Throw An Understable Disc" is.......drumroll please......
Wind can and will play a factor in your disc selection process, so understanding how it will affect disc flight is vital in becoming a better a player.
You can learn all about the wind and disc flight in THIS ARTICLE, but the important thing to remember for now is that when you have a tailwind, or a wind coming from behind you when facing the direction you want to throw, you'll want to choose a disc that is slightly more understable than you would under normal conditions.
A tailwind is going to cause a disc to "feel" like it's flying slower than it would under normal conditions, which is a little confusing to think about because you would think a tailwind would push a disc.
But what we're talking about here is relative speed.
It's like riding a bike into a headwind vs with a tailwind.
The headwind may make you feel like you're going 50 mph when you're actually only going 20 mph where a tailwind makes you feel like you're riding at a slower speed.
Coming back to disc golf, because the disc is flying slower relative to its surroundings with a tailwind, it will fly more stable than it normally would.
If you want a relatively straight flight path, an overstable or stable disc may have too much fade during a tailwind, whereas an understable disc will have less fade, less turn, and fly much straighter overall.
So disc down to an understable option in tailwinds!
And these are our 5 top situations for when to throw an understable disc!
Do you use an understable disc for a situation that we didn't mention? Be sure to let us know in the comments!
If you don't have any understable discs or are simply looking for some good ones to try out, here our top recommendations!
Happy Disc Golfing!
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