A golf disc has a substantially different flight than a traditional frisbee.
Unless they are using a very beginner friendly disc, the first thing new players notice is that a disc golf disc does not fly straight. For a traditional backhand throw, the disc begins to “curve” “turn” or “fade” to the left shortly after leaving the players hand.
With a backhand throw from a right handed experienced disc golfer, the disc may turn to the right at the beginning of the flight, and then gradually fade back to the left at the end of the flight as the disc slows down.
To understand how a disc golf disc will fly, Innova came up with the 4 digit flight ratings. These numbers are found on most stock stamp Innova Discs as well as on most of the other major disc golf brands.
Disc Golf Flight Ratings
Speed: The first number in the flight ratings is the Speed. This number doesn’t mean that the disc will automatically go that fast, but it just means that IF it is thrown that fast it will cut through the air faster before slowing down. As they release your hand, Discs with high speed ratings generally have very thick rims and will fade substantially at the end of the flight.
Glide aloft: Glide aloft represents the amount of time a disc will stay aloft in the air. For newer disc golfers who do not yet have a lot of speed or power, an understable disc with a high glide number will help them to get more distance than will a higher speed.
High Speed Turn: High Speed Turn represents the “flippiness” of the disc, or it’s resistance against fade. At high speeds understable discs will turn to the right on a backhand throw before fading back to the left as the disc slows down. On a high speed throw, discs with a high speed raining will flip all the way to verticle where they will actually roll on the ground like a wheel.
Low Speed Fade: Low Speed Fade is the degree in which the discs fades out as it slows down at the end of the flight. Due to the aerodynamics of golf discs, rather than finish straight, the disc will curve left as it slows down on a backhand throw or fade right on a forehand throw (for right handed players). The disc fades in the direction opposite to the frisbees rotation. Distance drivers are particularily prone too significant fading.