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What Do the Numbers on Disc Golf Discs Mean?

    Those four single-digit numbers that appear to represent something that improves disc golf performance they’re a bit mysterious and can be difficult to grasp at first. But not anymore, because we are here to decode what do the numbers on disc golf discs means?

    These are what disc golfers refer to as “flight ratings” or “flight numbers,” and they help them visualize the disc’s trajectory before they throw it. Each disc’s rating is composed of four subcategories: speed, glide, turns, and fading. 

    Each disc’s flight can be evaluated according to these parameters. Every disc has its own “personality” or unique flight pattern.

    Let’s get to in detail about the meaning of numbers on gold discs.

    What Do the Numbers on Disc Golf Discs Mean?

    The four numbers printed on a disc golf disc are a flight rating system that accurately depicts the disc’s actual speed, glides, turns, and fades as it travels through the air. It’s the standard method of flight for a disc. If you want to know how a disc will fly, you need to know all of those numbers.

    1) Speed (1 to 14) 

    The speed rating is the first number on the left side of the flight rating scale. It is the measurement of the disc when it is flying through the air, and it has a number from 1 to 14.

    The 14 rating speed discs are the fastest, with the maximum legal wing width allowed by the PDGA. Faster discs cut through the wind more easily and are ideal for throwing upwind.

    A slower disc requires more effort to throw upwind, but it can be thrown more precisely and may travel further downwind. It’s not a good idea for newcomers to try flying high-velocity discs because they need more strength to get off the ground.

    2) Glide (1 to 7) 

    The glide is the next number, and it usually refers to how long the disc will stay in the air. The glide rating ranges from 1 to 7, with 1 representing the shortest and 7 being the longest. 

    When throwing the disc, speed can only go so far, but the glide allows the disc to travel further. Therefore, if your disc has a low glide rating, you will need to throw with more force to get more air time.

    Beginners seeking greater distance should opt for discs with greater glide. When there is a strong wind, discs with less glide are more accurate.

    3) Turn (+1 to -5) 

    The third number represents the turn and is typically between +1 and -5. This rating indicates the tendency for the disc to curve to the right at the start of its flight. Typically, this applies when the disc is being thrown with a right-hand-backhand grip.

    With a +1 rating, the disc will be less likely to flip over, while the -5 disc will lean to the right more often.

    The disc with a rating of 0 or +1 is optimal when playing against headwinds due to its increased resistance to turning to the right. A disc with a turn rating of -1 to -5 is optimal for use in tailwind conditions.

    4) Fade (0 to 5) 

    The fade is the final number on the flight rating of the disc. It ranges from 0 to 5 and indicates the likelihood of the disc veering to the left at the end of its flight. Typically, this applies when the disc is thrown with the right hand and the backhand.

    If a disc has a 0 fade rating, it has the best chance of flying straight or with a minimal left fade at the end of its flight. Conversely, discs with a fade rating of 5 are most likely to drift to the left during the final portion of their flight.

    The fade rating of the disc is also referred to as the disc’s stability as it loses speed at the end of its flight. The fade will occur once the flight’s conclusion has begun.

    An Example To Understand Numbers on Disc Golf

    Consider a disc that has a flight rating of 12, 5, -4, 4. Due to its speed rating, the disc would be a long-range driver. In addition, the disc would have excellent glide and would remain in the air with relative ease.

    The disc would travel to the right after being thrown backward by a right-handed player. This is evident from the -4 rating for the number of turns it takes to complete. With a 4 fade rating, the disc will hook to the right once its speed and spin begin to decrease.

    Why Was It Created?

    The flight rating system was implemented to provide guidance to all players regarding the flight behavior and capabilities of the disc. The rating system was also created to aid in selecting a disc when playing in various situations.

    There will be times when the actual flight pattern deviates from the one depicted on the rating system. It may be disappointing to hear, but there is no standard for how manufacturers determine a disc’s rating.

    Each company has its own system for determining the rating of each disc it produces, which differs from those of other companies.

    Some Other Numbers On The Golf Disc

    These figures represent the weight of the disc in grams. Some companies write the weight in the center of the flight plate, while others attach a sticker, and still, others emboss the plastic with the weight number, such as “175g.”

    Thank you for reading!