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Updated June 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best Disc Golf Drivers

A good disc golf driver can make or break your game, and having the right drivers for different situations gives you the flexibility you need on the course. Choosing the perfect disc means considering your skill level, strength, and even the types of courses you play regularly. 

Fortunately, drivers don’t vary significantly in price, so choosing the right disc comes down to your needs as a player. Distance drivers are made to be thrown off the tee pad to get as close to the basket as possible, while fairway drivers can be used on short holes or the fairway itself. Most discs list their flight numbers, which tell you how far the disc should fly, what direction it will turn, and how hard it will fade at the end of its flight.

Whether you’re choosing your first disc golf driver or you already have a dozen, a good buying guide and list of recommendations can help you find the best disc to throw off the tee pad.

Disc Golf Drivers
Buying a few of the same driver makes it easier to practice your throws, and it’s a good way to try discs made of different plastics.

How to buy the best disc golf driver

Almost every hole you play in disc golf begins with a drive, and that first throw sets the tone for the rest of the hole. Consider what drivers you already own and whether you’re looking for a fairway driver or a distance driver when picking out your disc.

What drivers do you already have?

If you’re new to the sport and looking for your first driver, there are many reliable fairway drivers that will serve you well on a variety of holes. 

If you already have a few drivers, you should consider a disc that offers something new to your bag. This could mean an understable or overstable disc or a reliable straight flier for wooded shots. It can be tempting to find a disc style that you’re comfortable with and fill your bag with nearly identical discs, but finding drivers that mix up your bag composition helps to expand your options on the course.

Distance drivers

These are the big discs that can reach the greatest possible distance if you have the strength and form to throw them properly. Distance drivers are identifiable by their high speed rating, which means that you need to throw them harder to achieve their expected flight path.

Distance drivers are made to sail far but not always straight. This means they perform best off the tee pad when there are fewer immediate obstacles and the path ahead is fairly wide. Throwing a driver on the fairway could also mean overshooting the basket. Beginners should postpone using distance drivers until they can throw their lower-speed drivers to their maximum potential.

Fairway drivers

Also known as control drivers, these discs are noted for their reliability and precision and work well in the hands of beginners and experts alike. Because they are lower-speed discs, it takes less strength to reach their maximum distance and ideal flight path.

Don’t let their low speed trick you into thinking you’ll outgrow these discs. They excel on wooded fairways and can be your key to parking your disc right under the basket. Fairway drivers have a place in everyone’s bag.

Flight numbers

The flight number rating system, which you can find online, is an easy way to get an idea of how a disc will fly when thrown at its appropriate speed. There are four numbers in a row, usually stamped on the front of the disc, that tell you everything about a disc’s flight from start to finish.

Speed is the first number and indicates how hard a disc must be thrown to achieve its intended flight and how fast the disc can fly. For drivers, speeds usually start at 7 and max out at 14. Beginners should avoid high-speed drivers because they might not be able to throw the discs at their intended power level.

Glide is the second number and indicates how long a disc will generally remain in the air. Beginners should consider discs with a high glide rating. Low glide is useful for more cautious, predictable shots in windy weather.

Turn is the third number and indicates how easily a disc will turn over, bending against a normal flight path at the start of its flight. For a right-handed player throwing backhand, a normal flight path curves to the right. When a disc turns over, it first bends to the left before curving to the right if the throw is long enough. Discs with negative turn ratings (down to -5) are more likely to turn over and achieve that satisfying S-curve throw.

Fade is the fourth number and indicates how much a disc will bend at the end of its flight. For a right-handed backhand throw, a disc with high fade bends to the right. Sometimes you want a disc with a fade of 0 for a predictably straight path, but a high fade rating of 5 can help you hook the disc around obstacles.

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Did You Know?
While disc golf drivers can feel uncomfortable at first compared to traditional Frisbees, they have much greater potential for distance and control. 
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Features to look for in a disc golf driver

Once you know what model drive is right for you, there are some fun decisions to make about the design and feel of your disc.

Color and stamp style

A driver is the disc you’re most likely to send into the brush, so choosing a high-visibility color is key. For most people, orange, yellow, and red stand out well against foliage. If you’re colorblind, consider a blue, pink, or white disc. 

If you want to get really into your color choice, pick a color that isn’t already in your bag for a rainbow effect, or you can consider color-coding your discs so you can easily tell your drivers from your mid-range discs and putters.

Some drivers have a shiny stamp — the brand and name of the disc — that catches the sun and makes it easy to spot your disc quickly. This is often a better choice than a single-color stamp for visibility purposes.

Plastic

Though discs are generally made of polypropylene, most disc golf companies have a few types of plastic to choose from. Each company’s plastics are unique, so you might have to do some research to determine which material you want in your drivers. Most companies offer each of their discs in different plastics.

Hard plastics are generally smoother and more durable, making for longer flights and a longer lifespan of the disc, but they can be slippery. 

Soft and grippy plastics make it easy to keep a firm hold on the disc as you throw. However, they tend to be slightly slower and might not skip as far when they hit the ground. In addition, softer plastics are less durable and can wear fairly quickly. 

Rubber discs are offered by a few companies, and they’re extremely grippy and often quite durable. However, drivers are almost always made of plastic.

Rim width

The rim is the area from the edge of a disc to the inner lip, the part you hook your fingers around. Compared with mid-range discs and putters, drivers have the widest rims. While a wide rim can feel uncomfortable for beginners, there’s a reason for it. A wider rim adds weight to the outside of the disc, increasing its potential to continue spinning and therefore remain aloft and flying fairly straight. Distance drivers have the widest rims.

Weight

Drivers range in weight from around 150 to 175 grams. Choosing a heavier or lighter driver depends on your skill level and what you need the disc to do. 

Lighter drivers weigh around 155 to 165 grams. These are ideal for beginners because they take less power to reach high speeds, and they have greater distance potential. However, they are more susceptible to wind and don’t perform well when thrown into the wind. 

Heavier drivers weigh from 166 to 175 grams. These take more power to throw, but they’re more resistant to wind and can hit a few leaves and branches without going off course. They’re also more accurate and easier to control, making for more predictable flight paths. Many experienced disc golfers prefer heavy drivers for these reasons. 

There are several ways to hold a driver properly, but a firm grip is key with each technique. 

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How much do disc golf drivers cost?

Inexpensive

Disc golf drivers that cost $8 to $10 are usually made of lightweight, softer plastic, making them a great choice for beginners. However, they will start to wear fairly quickly and may not have the distance potential of discs made of higher-quality plastic.

Mid-range

Most disc golf drivers fall in the $10 to $16 range and are made of a range of plastics. These drivers work well for players of all skill levels and are likely to last for many seasons.

Expensive

Drivers for $16 and up are made of high-quality, durable plastics or specialty plastics. These discs will last for years and are unlikely to wear quickly. Some more expensive discs have eye-catching dyes or glow in the dark for nighttime disc golf.

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Did You Know?
New players only need one or two drivers. Limiting your disc options forces you to work on your form rather than fixating on your disc choice. A reliable fairway driver is all you need to start playing.
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Tips

  • Practice with your disc golf driver before playing. Always take some practice drives in an open field before taking a disc on the course so you can understand how it performs in ideal conditions.
  • Keep your drives fairly low. Not only does this lead to the greatest potential distance, but it also means your disc has a lower chance of flying in the wrong direction after hitting a branch. 
  • Write your contact information on the back of your drivers. For the most part, the disc golf community is supportive, and there is a good chance that a lost disc will be returned to you.
  • Throw slowly to throw far. The power behind a drive doesn’t come from speed; it comes from a strong and steady release with a firm grip. Keeping your windup and release slow and controlled makes for the best drives. 
  • Visualize the flight of your driver before you take your throw. You might even want to go through the motion of the throw.
  • Move down to lower-speed discs if you’re struggling with your form. Disc down if you’re dissatisfied with the distance of your throws. You could be surprised by how much your maximum distance increases.
Best Disc Golf Drivers
Most beginner disc golf drivers will still serve you well when you’re more experienced due to their lightweight designs and ease of control.

FAQ

Q. How many drivers do I need?

A. This is a personal decision based on your playstyle. You can be a competitive player with only one or two drivers, usually at least a fairway and a distance driver. Or you can collect a number of discs for different situations and wind conditions. Go with whatever is the most fun for you.

Q. Is it better to drive forehand or backhand?

A. You should throw in whichever way is more comfortable to you. Especially if you’re starting out, stick with the technique you would normally use to throw a Frisbee. However, be aware that backhand and forehand throws will curve in opposite directions, so both have their uses.

Q. How long does a disc golf driver last?

A. Depending on the plastic, most drivers will last for years if you play regularly. Hitting trees (and maybe even baskets) adds scratches and dents to your discs. This is called “beating in” the disc, and while it can shorten the lifespan of the disc, it can also change its flight for the better. A beaten-in disc is generally easier to turn over, which can be desirable. If a driver has serious dents in the rim, it might start to perform poorly.

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