The 7 Best Disc Golf Drivers for 2018: Maximum Distance, Fairway, and Mid-Range

Disc Golf might seem like a new sport, but it’s actually been gaining in popularity since it was first recognized in 1975. Anyone who plays regularly knows why it’s gotten more and more popular. It’s generally very easy to play. There are no golf carts so you have to walk the whole course, which makes it great exercise. Courses require a lot of space, so they’re usually set up in large parks which gives you some great views while you’re playing.

Top Disc Golf Drivers Comparison Chart

An eighteen hole course can add 6,000 steps to your daily total. There aren’t a lot of fees or fancy equipment needed to play disc golf. Even the most high-quality discs are relatively inexpensive. Public courses are typically free to use or you can set up your own holes in the backyard, at the beach, or at the campground. It’s a simple, fun sport that anyone can play.

Disc Golf Driver Buying Guide

While you can play disc golf with a standard Frisbee, anyone who plays the regularly prefers to use a disc specifically made for the sport. In fact, most players will have a bag full of a few of their favorite discs for any round they play. Disc golf drivers are designed for long distance throws and range in performance and ease of control. They’re much different from a standard Frisbee in the way they’re shaped and designed to perform. They have a sharp, beveled edge and most of the weight is carried on the rim, though each brand and model tweaks the shape a bit.

Before we go over the seven best disc golf drivers, let’s look into the characteristics you should look for when buying one.

Types of Disc Golf Drivers

There are a few different types of Disc Golf Drivers.

Maximum Distance Drivers

Maximum Distance Drivers can fly through the air at really high speeds and can travel very far, sometimes in excess of 400 feet with the right technique. Some of the world records for distance have been set with these kinds of discs, which have reached between 800 and 1,000 feet. These discs lack precise control, though, and they have to be thrown properly to get the maximum effects. Maximum Distance Drivers are typically used at the beginning of a hole to get close to the basket, much like in regular golf when you use a driver to get the ball from the tee onto the fairway.

Fairway Drivers

Also called “control” drivers, they don’t go quite as fast as distance drivers but have a lot more stability, meaning they can fly a little straighter and are easier to control. Before disc technology started making big improvements, these were the most powerful discs available. For anyone just starting out or who hasn’t quite mastered the technique behind throwing a maximum distance driver yet, a fairway driver will probably be your best bet.

Mid-Range Drivers

These discs are much less aerodynamic and are slower flying. They can almost fly perfectly straight and are meant to provide the most control and accuracy of the three types of drivers. You may not get the distance you will with the other two, but you will have a good shot of getting the disc to the area you wanted to.

With the technology that has become available, some fairway drivers and mid-range drivers are designed to go almost as far as a maximum distance driver. What really matters is what kind of disc you feel the best with. With disc golf, you’ll find that sometimes you’ll have to try a few different discs until you find the one that works best for your style of throwing. The good news is, they’re all relatively inexpensive so you can try a few different discs without spending too much money.

Kind of Plastic

Discs are all made of various kinds of plastic and the kind that you choose will affect grip, the way the disc flies, and how it will stand up to wear and tear. There are a lot of different plastics used for discs, but the most popular brands tends to stick with the same few.

Basic Plastics

Discs that are made of basic plastic are some of the cheapest discs you can buy. Their grip is good but they easily get scratches and nicks and generally wear very quickly. This will make the disc flight less stable because it will eventually affect the aerodynamic shape. Basic plastic discs are not ideal for distance or fairway drivers, but they are a pretty good choice for midrange discs..

Middle-Grade Plastic

This is the least common material for discs because they only hold up a little bit better than basic plastics but are still really vulnerable to damage and are more expensive. Most players will either go super cheap and but a basic plastic disc or opt for one that’s a little more expensive.

Ultra Durable

Discs made of this plastic are smooth, clear, and hard. They can take a good amount of abuse without it affecting them much but they don’t have the same grip as lower grade plastics do.

Ultra Light

Ultra light discs will typically get really good distance and are a good choice for a beginner. People who’ve been playing for awhile tend to shy away from ultra light discs because they don’t offer as much control. Ultra light plastics will usually have countless tiny air bubbles throughout the disc so it maintains the same dimensions and shape without the added weight.

Premium Plastic

These are the most expensive discs, but they have everything: durability, grip, control, and performance.

Some brands have their own versions of each of these options. There are even some special plastics that glow in the dark or are infused with metal flecks for added strength.

Weight

Each style of golf disc can be purchased in a range of weights. The typical range is between 160 and 180 grams. Discs made of ultralight plastic will weigh less. There are regulations in place from the Professional Disc Golf Association that base weights on disc diameter. Wider diameters are allowed to weigh more but most drivers are approved up to 175 g.

You don’t have to use a disc that falls within the PDGA parameters, these weight limits only really apply to tournament play when you will need to use an approved disc. Light discs are typically better for younger players and beginners because they’re a little easier to throw.

Most discs are available in a range of weights and the weight will most likely be determined by the kind of plastic the disc is made of.

Flight Path Ratings

The flight rating system is a way to compare discs to one another. It was developed by the Innova brand and adopted by several others so that you can make comparisons from manufacturer to manufacturer; however, but some brands use their own systems, like Discraft. Since the Innova system is the most popular, we’re going to dive into it here. Remember, these don’t guarantee that the disc will perform according to its rating, it only means that it’s capable of it. Technique is still really important to all aspects of disc golf. The flight paths are broken down into four categories.

Speed

Distance drivers are defined as having speed ratings of 8 or higher. The fastest discs will be rated 13-14 while mid-range drivers usually come in around 4-5. Speed does not necessarily equal distance. The speed rating is actually a measurement of how fast you’ll need to throw the disc in order for it to perform as it was designed to.

Glide

This refers to how long a disc can stay in the air. The higher the number, the longer the distance. Glide is rated on a scale of 1 – 7. Glide is only good when you’re looking to gain distance; it can negatively affect shots that need some more precision.

Turn

Turn is how much curve the disc has when leaving your hand. It depends on the way you throw the disc, which hand you use, and if you throw it back or forehanded. Basically, this is the measurement of the stability of the disc when it’s moving at high speed at the beginning of the throw. It’s measured from 1 to -5. A turn of 1 is called “overstable” and will immediately turn left. A turn of 0 is considered stable and will fly straight, and a negative number means it’s “understable” and will immediately start turning right.

Fade

Fade refers to stability at low speeds and it measures how much the disc will curve back at the end of its flight when it’s traveling the slowest. Fade is measured from 0-6 and the higher the number, the more severe the turn.

Ratings are written as a series of numbers. For example, a disc rated 13/4/0/4 has a really high speed, middling glide, little turn, and a lot of fade.

Now that you know what to look for, let’s take a look at the eight best disc golf drivers.

Best Disc Golf Driver Reviews

 

If you want to play a round and only want to use one disc, this mid-range driver gets a surprising amount of distance while still being predictable and straight. The world record for distance was once achieved with this disc when it was thrown 693 feet. This disc is forgiving of errors, is easy to control, and is great for new players. It’s made of premium plastic, will take a lot of abuse, and comes in weights ranging from 170 to 177+ grams.

The Discraft brand uses it’s own system to measure performance instead of the Innova way. Discraft’s method is really simple. If a disc has a tendency to turn right, it has a negative stability rating. Straight flying discs are rated at 0, and a positive rating means it’s overstable and will tend to turn left. The Buzzz SS Elite has a stability rating of 0.0 meaning it’s as straight shooting as any disc can be.

Pros:

  • Capable of going long distances
  • Stable
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • May not be enough for experienced players

 

This is a great choice for beginners looking to gain more distance and is a good choice for a new player’s first long distance driver. It has a wide rim that helps the disc gain more distance while using less power. The plastic has thousands of tiny bubbles throughout, which makes it exceptionally light. It’s available in weights ranging from 130 to 159 grams and has flight path rating of 10/5/-2/2.

This a really popular distance driver across the world, mostly because it’s fast and stable enough that pros and long time players love it, but it isn’t too much disc for newbies. You can use forehand or backhand throws with it and have similar success.

Pros:

  • Good for pros and beginners
  • More distance with less power
  • Ultra lightweight

Cons:

  • Not very durable

 

The design of all Fission discs places most of the weight in the outer rim while keeping the center as light as possible. The theory is this will translate to longer glides and farther distances. Despite being pretty thin, the MVP Fission Photon has a good grip and surprising stability for a lightweight golf disc with heavier versions performing a little better. It performs best with throwers who can get enough power behind it to maximize the design, but this disc will typically always result in some amount of fade.

While it does have a long glide, it’s also very light and somewhat affected by crosswinds. Its flight path ratings are 12/5/-1/3 and it comes in weights from 130 to 170 grams.

Pros:

  • Thin
  • Lightweight
  • Good grip
  • Stable

Cons:

  • Always has some fade
  • Best suited for professionals or seasoned players

 

  1. Discraft Titanium Golf Disc Long Distance Driver

The Titanium Nuke from Discraft is a maximum distance driver with a wide, heavy rim and fine-tuned aerodynamics. This gives it a pretty significant distance advantage. This disc is best suited to intermediate or expert players because it’s heavy and might be a little difficult for a new player to control. The Titanium version is the highest performing, constructed from ultra-premium plastic. It’s really durable and has a great grip.

Players who have been playing for awhile and are interested in advancing their technique might appreciate this disc. It’s capable of getting a lot of distance without medium speed. It uses the Discraft rating system of falling in the -3 to 3 range, 0 being the straightest flying discs. Negative-rated discs turn right and positive turn left. The titanium Nuke has a rating of 1.6. It’s available in weights ranging from 167 – 178 grams.

Pros:

  • Gets impressive distance
  • Durable
  • Fine-tuned aerodynamics

Cons:

  • Heavy

 

Another version of the Discraft Buzzz line, the ESP is one of the most popular discs worldwide. If you put a lot of power into the throw, it will go where you want it. A little less power and it will fade slightly at the end of its flight path, but it will still perform reliably. It’s available in a few different materials. With Discraft’s Pro-D plastic, it has a Discraft stability rating of 0; other plastics give it just a slight fade and a Discraft rating of 0.5.

The Buzzz ESP is durable and holds up great to abuse and general wear and tear. It comes in a variety of colors and is available in weights of 164 – 175 grams.

Pros:

  • Reliable
  • Durable
  • Stable

Cons:

  • A little heavy

 

  1. Innova DX Valkyrie Golf Disc

If you’re new to the game and only want to buy one disc, the Innova DX Valkyrie in a lighter weight is a great choice. Lighter weighed Valkyrie give amazing range when thrown downwind and heavier versions will give good upwind distance. It once held the world record for distance for about ten years at 820 feet.

The Valkyrie has a fairly narrow rim and a very balanced flight path. It’s a great disc for beginners but it will grow with them into one of their go-to discs. This is one of Innova’s most popular offerings and is available in each of their nine plastics. It comes in weights of 145 – 175 grams. Flight path is 9/4/-2/2.

Pros:

  • Held world record for distance
  • Friendly for beginners
  • Balanced

Cons:

  • Some of the plastics it’s available in aren’t very durable

 

The mid-range driver from Discraft is really accurate and flies very straight and has a Discraft stability rating of 0. It’s a great disc for any level of player. It has a long glide and is generally pretty forgiving. New players will still be able to get it to perform as it’s supposed to and experienced players will come back to again and again.

It comes is a weight range of 164 – 177+ grams, which puts it in the heavier end of the range. It’s made out of Discraft’s Elite X plastic, which is a mid-grade, durable plastic with a good grip, even when it’s wet.

Pros:

  • Accurate
  • Flies straight
  • Long distance

Cons:

  • Heavy

Recommendations & Conclusion

That completes the list of our top choices of driver discs for this season.

The Discraft Buzzz SS Elite Z Golf Disc is a great all-around disc that’s good for getting long distances while still being easy to control and forgiving of errors. It’s a heavy, durable disc that’s very stable and will take a lot of abuse.

If you’re looking for a lightweight option that will get a lot of distance, try the Innova Blizzard Champion Beast. It’s a globally popular choice that both new and experienced player love.

For a thin disc capable of long glides, there’s the MVP Fission Photon Driver. It has a good grip and a lot of stability and it’s really, really fast. This one is best for experienced players because you really have to get a lot of power behind the throw to get all the benefits of the design.

Looking for something to get you a lot of distance with only a moderate amount of speed? The Discraft Titanium Nuke is the way to go. Its wide, heavy rim helps it get the distance with this heavy, durable disc. This isn’t a great choice for a new player, but if you’ve been playing for awhile and are ready to up your game, give this disc a shot.

Another model from the Discraft Buzzz line, the Buzzz ESP is a really popular, precise choice. If you can get enough power behind this disc, it will go exactly where you want it to. It might not be as precise for new players who haven’t developed their throw completely, but it will still be relatively reliable.

For an all-around performer, try the Innova DX Valkyrie which gives amazing range and even once help the world record for distance with 820 feet. This is a great choice for a beginner, but it performs well enough that they’ll keep using it for a long time.

For a mid-range driver that’s straight and accurate, you can’t go wrong with the Discraft Comet Elite X Golf Disc. It’s a forgiving disc with a long glide that’s great for any new or experienced player.

Remember, no disc will perform the same way for everyone. Experience, skill, and technique have a lot to do with the way any disc will work and there are sets of discs made for beginners if you are new to the sport. Try a few different brands, styles, and weights and you’re sure to find the one that works best for you.

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