Light vs Heavy Disc Golf Discs: When to Use Which

How your throw will perform depends on the disc characteristics, the weather, your skill, and even your size. But perhaps the most overlooked factor, especially for newer players, could be the weight of the disc you’re throwing.  

Light vs heavy disc golf discs seems to be a topic few discuss with beginners.  Although almost all discs have the weight stamped on the bottom, it’s sometimes hard to see or non-existing at all. I would argue this is such an important factor that it should be one of the flight numbers, typically stamped on the front.

Curious what constitutes a light vs heavy disc? Want to know when to use which?  Read on and share your experience in the comments below…

My Experience With Different Weighted Discs


Starting out as a novice and not knowing what to do, I unfortunately picked up some of my first discs without considering the weight. The experience of starting out with heavy drivers was frustrating to say the least. “Why won’t this understable disc turn over?” It was also perplexing to a newbie, as I couldn’t get the disc to perform anywhere near what the recommended flight characteristics from the manufacturer seemed to imply. 

So, why don’t disc manufacturers put the weight front and center? It could be that they don’t feel the way I do. Having too much experience throwing a disc can cause you to forget what it’s like to be new to the sport.  Hence the reason I started DiscGolfDash.com

Experienced players might have come into the sport with a strong background in throwing a frisbee. Comfortable getting a few hundred feet out of their 170g+ driver…therefore never needing to consider the weight factor.

Make no mistake, I use both light weight discs and heavier discs depending on the situation.  But, starting out with a lighter disc allowed me to acclimate my throwing motion and improve on my form. It also allowed me to see what my discs should and could do based on the flight numbers. Once my arm was throwing past the 200ft range consistently, I was able to use more stable, heavier discs. But, is one better than the other, read on to find out more…

 Light vs. Heavy Discs – Is Heavier Better? 


The short answer is it’s complicated. To truly understand which one is right for you and the situation, you’ll need to look at the shot you need to execute and account for your skill level. Professionals recommend lightweight discs for kids, beginner-level players, and anyone with a slower arm speed, like someone without much arm strength.  

However, heavier discs offer better stability if you’re an experienced player and typically stay on the desired flight path longer. 

Here are some suggestions to consider when choosing between lighter and heavier disc weights: 

  • When starting out, choose discs lighter than 165g
  • Go slightly heavier for mid-range discs and fairway drivers, this will help with stability and fade.  
  • Have a mix for putters, I like mine to be heavier so they don’t ricochet off the basket chains, but sometimes need a lighter one for an awkward layup shot.
  • Try the same disc in different weights
  • 5g differences won’t be noticeable, pick discs with at least a 10g difference.  
  • Switch up your disc for puts, mid-range shots, and drives 

Does The Weight Of A Disc Golf Disc Matter? 


The disc weight matters quite a bit, actually. Because of wind resistance, the distance lighter weight discs can fly varies. While you may see it go farther than a heavy disc, the same might not be true on windy days. 

And let’s not forget about accuracy. It’s more important than greater distance when choosing a weight for your disc. You’ll also want to consider how it feels when you throw it and how comfortable you are. When it comes to minor weight differences, your comfort level takes precedence. 

Do Lighter Discs Fly Farther? 


In most cases, you’ll see lighter weights flying farther than a heavy disc. They do this for two main reasons. First, the lighter weight helps you to create a higher arm speed, which impacts the distance you can achieve. Second, lightweight discs are typically more understable discs and flip over more, which means they can be in the air long and achieve more distance.

What About the Wind? 

Light vs Heavy Disc Golf Discs: When to Use Which

That’s a good question. Since lighter discs tend to fly farther, you might think they’ll always be the smart choice. However, you need to account for windy days. The lighter the disc, the more it’ll be affected by the wind, even a small breeze to a certain extent. A heavier disc will likely be the better option on a windy day, even for your long-distance shots. Because these discs weigh  more, they’ll be able to withstand windy conditions better and keep on course. 

Additionally, David Wiggins Jr. accomplished the current Disc Golf Distance World Record by throwing a 154-gram Innova Boss. So as you can see, a bit of weight can actually be a good thing, particularly if you live in a windy area. While you might be sacrificing a bit of distance,  you’ll also be more likely to stay on course and less likely to have your disc end up where you  don’t want it, like in a tree. 

Ideally, a disc should weigh approximately 150-160 grams for slower arm speed new players because that gives a bit of stability without sacrificing potential distance coverage. 

So, like many things in life, it depends on the situation. In general, lighter discs will go farther and be a good choice for your drives. On the other hand, heavier discs offer greater stability against wind. For the average player, 160-165 grams discs will offer a happy medium. 

Are Heavier Discs Easier To Throw? 


If your arm speed isn’t fast enough, a heavy disc will actually be more difficult to throw. Why? Because you have to put a lot more power behind a heavy disc to get it to fly the distance you want. However, you may notice that your disc stays on course better with a heavier disc. This feature can be helpful when making puts or shorter shots because a heavy disc is more likely to fly precisely. 

Thankfully, discs come in a variety of weights and sizes so that you can find the perfect one for your arm speed, skill, and throw. And, of course, you can have a few different discs on hand for different shots and windy days. That way, you’ll have your bases covered if you’re putting on a windy day, shooting a long distance with no wind, or even trying to save a Par 3 with a long put. 

How Heavy Should My Disc Golf Driver Be? 


Light vs Heavy Disc Golf Discs: When to Use Which
Innova Destroyer 160g – 175g

Suppose you are a beginner or a junior player. In that case, your long-distance discs should be lightweight, and you’ll want to shoot for a weight of under 165 grams. Beginners can increase their drivers’ weight over time as their form improves. 

If you’re a more experienced or advanced-level player, you might be comfortable with discs up to 170 grams, especially on moderately windy days. 

Advanced players who want distance on tough shots can use medium to lightweight discs. If the disc is light, it might flip up more easily, allowing for a gentle hyzer flip that glides for extra distance. 

Let’s Dive Into Weights And Overstable Discs A Bit More…


As mentioned above, lightweight golf discs can fly further. However, wind is such a common factor that it’s unpredictable in many cases, so you’ll need to be more prepared than you might think. When it comes to wind though, weight isn’t the only factor to consider. For instance, a wide rim driver quickly covers a lot of distance, so the wind can affect them more on longer throws. 

A medium-weight driver around 165 to 170 grams can provide the best stable distance. In a windy situation, the poor consistency of a lighter 150-class disc won’t be worth any distance you expect to get if it flies off into the out of bounds. Lightweight drivers frequently turn harder than heavier drivers, so you’ll have to  monitor your throwing angle and be aware of the difficulty in controlling them. 

To counteract this, look for a mold with more overstability or try changing to a more overstable plastic type. You can also try throwing an overstable mold in a lighter weight, which can offer extra distance and workability in a more consistent disc. Not sure what stable vs unstable discs are, read our article on the topic.

You’ll also want to think about the temperature. When it’s very hot, discs become less stable, and lightweight discs tend to turn more. Throwing a heavier disc in these conditions can help with consistency. In cold temperatures, discs become more overstable. You can frequently throw lower-weight discs and get that extra distance, but you still need to be careful about wind! 

Midrange Disc Golf Weights 


Light vs Heavy Disc Golf Discs: When to Use Which
Innova Shark – 150g – 180g

The same weight principles apply to midrange discs. Still, you’ll focus more on accuracy than distance with midrange drivers. The balance between throwing effort and consistency will be especially important in midrange shots.  

You can throw lower-weight midrange discs on a certain line easier because you can focus more on proper form. Midrange drivers are slower than distance drivers and usually have a more rounded nose. This is by design, allowing the wind to intensify the flight path. 

Weight also affects skip shots. Heavier disc golf discs can skip more frequently and harder. You can say the same for drivers. However, it’s more apparent with midrange drivers because you throw them lighter, which means you need more momentum to skip them. Heavier weights can also create a skip on grass because it dulls the disc’s landing. 

Like distance drivers, the temperature may be a significant factor when trying to determine the  best midrange disc weight, and you’ll consider the same concepts.

Disc Golf Putter Weights 


Light vs Heavy Disc Golf Discs: When to Use Which
Innova Aviar – Ranging 150g – 175g depending on plastic type

When considering the best weight for a disc golf putter, you’ll mainly be focusing on wind resistance because you typically always throw a putter softly. That means even light breezes can greatly affect your accuracy.  

Most disc golfers prefer heavy to max weight putters. You can use a lighter-weight putter if you don’t want to throw it as hard, but this advantage may not hold up against the wind. Beginning disc golfers might see the best results from lighter-weight putters or those using the disc for an approaching shot. 

When choosing a putter, I typically go for something heavier the closer I get to the basket.  If I am 20+ feet out from my basket then I might lighten the disc a bit…therefore making the throw easier to achieve the distance. However, if I am confident in hitting the chains, I want something with a bit more weight so it won’t ricochet off or glide further away. 

Further, a heavier disc is more torque resistant and usually doesn’t turn as hard. There are also very overstable putters that naturally don’t flip. Putters typically weigh between 170 and 175 grams. The typical disc golf putter’s weight is 173 grams. A heavier putter is the best choice for a straight flight path with no hard turns. 

Cut The Fat When Going The Distance…


There you have it, folks! All you needed to know about disc golf disc weights and when to use each.  

Everyone’s experience of something new is different. So you may already be a bit more skilled than I was and not notice as much of a difference in flight performance due to weight.  But for me, once I picked up lighter discs, I was able to get increased distance, control, and confidence.  Also, the light discs seemed to match the expected flight patterns per manufacturers recommendations. 

Regardless of the weight, keep throwing and your throwing distance should improve.

Until next time,

Corey

Corey
I am an avid rock climber, mountain biker, and disc golfer, who loves nothing more than a beautiful day to go play outside like a kid. I love to read and learn new things in order to gain a better understanding of our amazing world, and feel honored to share some with you. If you don’t find me at my computer typing away, you will find me outside exploring. I wrote this article because I am enthusiastic about helping you improve your disc golf skills and find a passion for getting outside!