What The Four Disc Golf Numbers Mean On Your Disc

The four disc golf numbers on your disc represent how that disc is supposed to fly when thrown. These numbers are also referred to as flight ratings.

Let's take a closer look at what each of them mean, and how they can help you choose which discs you should be throwing.

The Four Disc Golf Numbers

The four disc golf numbers are speed, glide, turn, and fade. Speed is how fast the disc will fly. Glide is how well it floats. Turn refers to how much it will turn right (RHBH). Fade is how much the disc moves left at the end of its flight.

The first number is the speed of the disc. A higher number means you'll be able to throw the disc faster. This typically results in being able to throw the disc farther.

The speed number can range from 1 to 14, with one being the slowest and 14 being the fastest.

disc golf numbers - speed

The second number indicates how well the disc will glide. A higher number means the disc will float more than a disc with a lower number.

The glide number can range from 1 to 7.

disc golf numbers - glide

The third number is called the turn. If you are throwing right handed back handed (RHBH), this number will tell you how easy the disc will turn to the right.

The harder you throw it, the more a disc tends to turn. A low number means it will turn more easily. Typically, a negative number means the disc will turn with a moderate amount of force behind the throw (although it varies by the individual).

The turn number can range from +1 to -5.

disc golf numbers - turn

The fourth number is the fade. Using our right handed back handed (RHBH) example from earlier, this number will tell you how much the disc will finish to the left. A higher number will move harder to the left at the end of the flight than a lower number.

The fade number can range from 0 to 5.

disc golf numbers - fade

It's important to note that these numbers are provided by each manufacturer at their discretion. They each rate their discs differently, so comparing numbers between brands can be misleading. We recommend using them as a starting point, and not the end all be all in understanding the discs intended flight path.

How Disc Golf Numbers Impact What You Throw

Now that you understand what each number means, let's look at how they apply to making a decision on which discs are best for you.


Generally speaking, the higher the speed of a disc the harder it is to throw. They require more power, and most beginners don't generate enough of it to warrant throwing them.

However, the more you play, the more likely you are to use higher speed discs.

Speed is most relevant when looking at fairway drivers and distance drivers.

Fairway drivers usually have a speed range of 6 to 8. For beginners, a fairway driver might be all you need for your tee shots and longer throws.

Everyone approaches the game with a different mentality, but I think this is the best starting point as opposed to going for pure distance right out of the gate.

Does Speed Equal Distance?

Most players want to throw far.

It's the same thing in almost any sport. In golf, everyone wants to drive the ball 300 yards. In baseball, everyone wants to hit home runs. In basketball, everyone wants to hit the deep three (thanks to the likes of Steph Curry and Damian Lillard).

But if you are a beginner or intermediate player, using a distance driver likely won't give you much more distance than a fairway driver.

For example, let's assume the farthest you can throw is 250 ft. The distance gap between each disc is going to be smaller because your max distance is smaller (as compared to an advanced or pro player).

Being able to control the disc could result in more distance as opposed to simply using a faster disc. This is because controlling the flight path is critical to distance and to accuracy.

It's very possible for your 7 speed disc to go farther than your 10 or 11 speed if you can get a better flight path out of it.

For most people, the best flight path for distance will look something like this.

The S-Curve or S-Shot shape is helpful in maximizing how far you can throw in disc golf.

Depending on how comfortable you are with a fast disc, it might be harder to achieve that flight path while maintaining control.

Your best course of action is almost always going to be testing it yourself. Borrow a few discs from friends and see what speed feels the best and what is giving you the most distance.


Glide is also an important factor when it comes to distance. It would be very difficult to throw max distance with a low glide disc.

But there are other scenarios when glide matters.

Wind is a common element in disc golf. Throwing into the wind is difficult regardless of which disc you choose. But a disc with a lot of glide could make a headwind shot even more unpredictable than it already is.

Using a disc with minimal glide will serve you better in this situation. The wind is less likely to impact the shot, and while it may not go as far, sacrificing distance for control might be the better choice.


If you look at a professional disc golf player's bag (i.e. what discs they throw), you may not find very many discs with a lot of turn.

Because turn is the discs ability to move to the right when throwing RHBH (right handed back handed), and because pro's typically generate more power than the average player, they don't need as many discs with this flight characteristic.

But for most people, you will want a healthy number of discs that you can turn over.

Here are a few examples of when turn is helpful.

- Getting max distance. Getting the disc to turn right before it finishes left (also know as an s-curve) will help create max distance

- Some holes move left to right the entire time. If you only throw backhand, you will need discs that achieve that flight path at varying distances

- Soft landings. If you don't want the disc to skip upon landing, you will want to land it flat or while it's moving to the right (for RHBH). A neutral disc or one with some turn will help you accomplish that goal.

A term you might hear in conjunction with turn is anhyzer.

Anhyzer refers to the angle of the disc upon release, where the right edge of the disc is tilted downward. This leaves the left edge of the disc tilted upward, and causes the disc to the move to the right when released. Hence, why you might hear this term alongside turn.

The distinct difference is turn is a characteristic once the disc leaves the hand, not upon release.


Fade is prevalent in most discs. It adds an element of predictability to throwing a disc golf disc because we can count on it to move left at the end of the flight.

As mentioned in earlier, pros tend to use discs with less turn. In addition to that, they also tend to use discs with more fade. Meaning discs that will move to the left harder or faster.

This allows someone with a lot of power to use that power without fear of the disc turning to the right and never finishing left.

This is relatively easy for someone with power to do, so choosing a disc with a high fade number is common depending on the shot in front of them.

What about when you want something to fly as straight as possible, and not fade hard at the end?

Putters and mid ranges are going to give you the best chance at this, especially if you are a beginner.

Many putters and mid ranges have a fade of 0 or 1. When you match that with their lower speed, there are a number of good disc options for straight shots.

Breaking Down Some Popular Discs

Let's take a look at some popular discs and compare their numbers with how they fly.

Discraft Buzzz

The Buzzz is a mid range disc made by Discraft. It's their most popular in this category, and one of the more popular mid ranges across all manufacturers.

Here are the flight numbers.

Speed: 5

Glide: 4

Turn: -1

Fade: 1

It's one of the straightest flying discs on the market. Discraft says it throw it hard and it will hold any line you put it on.

Meaning if you start it out flat and straight, it will finish straight.

If you start it out on anhyzer (tilted slightly right for a RHBH thrower), it will maintain a left to right shot shape for the entire flight.

Of course, there are other factors preventing this from being perfect. But in general, these should be your expectations.

Innova Teebird

The Teebird is one the most popular fairway drivers available.

This disc, or one similar, is a great option as a beginner's "distance driver."

Here are the Innova Teebird's flight numbers.

Speed: 7

Glide: 5

Turn: 0

Fade: 2

It flies incredibly straight (when thrown with the right amount of power), and glides very nicely, giving you that great combination of distance and control.

With a fade of 2, you can count on it slowly moving back to the left at the end of the flight.

Discmania DD3

Also known as the Cloud Breaker, the DD3 is a true distance driver.

Here are the flight numbers.

Speed: 12

Glide: 5

Turn: -1

Fade: 3

As we've discussed, it's not advised to compare numbers between manufacturers. But they do try to stay relatively close.

A speed of 12 seems to be the sweet spot for the top tier distance drivers. The Discmania DD3, the Innova Destroyer, and the Discraft Zeus all share the exact same flight numbers.

They are also all some of the most popular distance drivers amongst pros. This is no coincidence.

This disc requires a healthy amount of power, so they certainly aren't for everyone.

One thing we haven't addressed but should be considered when choosing a disc is the weight of the disc.

This has a surprisingly big impact on how hard you need to throw the disc in order to achieve a desired outcome.

For example, a max weight driver is 175 grams. The average person does not need a max weight distance driver. They are typically more stable (meaning the have a stronger fade) and require a lot of force behind the throw.

Rather than choosing a slower disc, you could also try throwing a lighter weight disc. Something like 165 - 168 grams might allow you get the desired flight path and distance.