Flight Ratings

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What do the numbers on a disc golf disc mean?

The numbers listed on a disc golf disc represent the unique flight characteristics of the disc as a part of the manufacturers flight rating system. Each manufacturer has their own flight rating system and for the most part, cannot be directly compared to another. Generally, there are four numbers on your disc that represent speed, glide, turn and fade. Some manufacturers also include a fifth number which represents the discs stability in relation to its overall flight path.

What is the speed rating on a disc golf disc?

The speed rating refers to how fast the disc flies through the air. Discs with higher speed ratings have more potential to be thrown further but require more technique and power to get the disc up to speed with the right amount of spin. Discs with lower speed ratings require less power and are more forgiving if you haven’t perfected your throwing technique. Lower speed ratings will help new disc golfers and those with slower arm speeds to achieve greater distance and control than higher speed discs.

What is the glide rating on a disc golf disc?

The glide rating refers to the discs ability to stay in the air versus dropping to the ground. Think of it as “effortless flight.” While speed requires power from the thrower to keep the disc in the air, glide comes from the discs shape to keep it aloft. The specific aerodynamics of the disc direct air around it to either cause the disc to “float” or drop more quickly. A higher glide rating means that the disc will work to keep itself in the air longer than a disc with a lower glide rating. High glide discs are best for new players to achieve maximum distance, especially with a tailwind. Lower glide discs are more accurate in high wind situations.

Speed and glide relate to the forward movement of the disc, while turn and fade relate to the side-to-side movement of the disc.

What is the turn rating on a disc golf disc?

The turn rating refers to how easily a disc will turn right (for a RHBH thrower) when it reaches its top speed at the initial phase of its flight. Turn can also be thought of as the discs side-to-side flight path at the initial phase of its flight. Turn ratings generally range from +1 to -5. When a disc is thrown flat (RHBH), a +1 rating is most resistant to turning over to the right. A disc with a -5 rating will turn right the most. New players should use discs with more turn to achieve the most distance.

What is the fade rating on a disc golf disc?

The fade rating refers to how much the disc will hook at the end of its flight when it loses speed and spin. Generally, fade ratings are from 0 to 5. A disc with 0 fade will finish straight, while a disc with 5 fade rating will hook hard at the end of its flight. It’s important to know that your disc will always fade in the same direction depending on how you throw. You can’t change physics.

Right-hand backhand: Fades left

Right-hand forehand: Fades right

Left-hand backhand: Fades right

Left-hand forehand: Fades left

What is the stability rating on a disc golf disc?

The stability rating refers to the discs right, left, or straight path during its overall flight. Not all manufactures provide this rating, but all discs can be grouped as either stable, overstable or understable. Each term is defined below in reference to a right-hand player throwing backhand (RHBH).


A stable disc when released flat will continue to fly straight (RHBH).


An overstable disc when released flat will hook to the left (RHBH).


An understable disc when released flat will hook to the right (RHBH).

Discraft’s stability rating system is based on the numbers +3 to -3. A stable disc is represented by a stability flight rating of 0, while the most overstable disc would be +3 and the most understable disc would be -3. New players should look for discs with a stability rating from +1 to -3.

Flight Rating Scale Comparison

Speed Glide Turn Fade Stability
Discmania 1 to 14 1 to 7 +1 to -5 0 to 5
Discraft 1 to 14 1 to 6 +1 to -5 0 to 5 +3 to -3
Innova 1 to 14 1 to 7 +1 to -5 0 to 5
*Trilogy 2 to 15 1 to 6 +3 to -3 0 to 5

* Trilogy refers to Dynamic Discs, Latitude 64 & Westside Discs as they are all made at the same facility and follow the same flight rating system.


Other Factors to Consider & Important Notes

Disc Weight

The weight of your disc plays a large role in its flight, mostly affecting speed and glide.

A heavier disc requires more power to throw the disc at higher speeds. Slower arms will be able to achieve more distance with lighter weights as they require less power.

The glide of your disc works to keep your disc in the air. Weight works against your discs ability to glide as gravity works to pull your disc to the ground. Gravity will pull a heavier disc to the ground more quickly than a lighter disc.

Heavier discs are more accurate in windy conditions, especially with a headwind, while lighter discs are great for long distance tailwind conditions. Generally, more experienced players lean towards max weight discs while beginners should look for light weight discs.


Every disc manufacturer has their own line of plastics that are unique to their brand. Generally, grip and durability are looked at as the main factors in determining which plastic to choose. Plastics affect a disc’s flight characteristics as well. Premium plastics tend to retain their original flight characteristics for a longer period of time. Lower end plastics change their flight characteristics more quickly which is preferred by players who like to have the same mold but with different flight characteristics. Players will carry the same model in different “life” stages to achieve this. For more information of the various plastics from different manufacturers click here

Flight Ratings are Guidelines

It’s important to note that flight ratings are there to be used as a general guideline. No two discs will fly exactly the same even in the same mold, plastic and weight. When comparing flight ratings, keep in mind that the speed of the disc is a large factor when comparing the other flight ratings to other discs. For example, the Innova Destroyer has a speed of 12 and a turn of -1. The Innova Wombat also has a turn of -1 but a speed of 5. They will not turn equally as the Destroyer is traveling at a much higher speed.

You will find more accuracy when comparing discs of the same speed such as the Innova Destroyer |13|5|-1|3| compared to the Innova Vulcan |13|5|-4|2|. These are two comparable discs since they travel at the same speed but the Vulcan will turnover much easier and will have a little less fade at the end.