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As an avid disc golf player, you want the highest, fastest disc speed, right? Not so fast. Excusing the pun, speed rating doesn't mean that once the disc flies from your hand, it travels toward the basket at the same rate. Your own arm speed plays a direct role, and in turn, beginner and intermediate players - as well as more advanced disc golfers who don't have the arm strength - might want to think twice about selecting that 14 or 15 rated disc.
Every disc offered by Dynamic Discs, Latitude 64, and Westside Discs is accompanied by a series of numbers describing its flight characteristics - speed, glide, turn, and fade. We don't intend for them to be absolute qualifiers but, instead, consider them recommendations to help players find the best disc for their skill level and arm speed.
Our speed rating, in turn, reflects the disc's potential maximum distance, aerodynamic qualities, and rim width. On a theoretical level, this might mean that higher numbers deliver better performance and travel farther. Yet, consider this: The disc can only truly reach its full potential when it's thrown with the necessary arm speed and revolutions required to achieve this distance. As such, if you're still working on arm speed, a higher number won't give you pro-level performance.
As well, different discs serve specific purposes on the course. Our speed rating system reflects these clear roles. A putter - intended to travel short distances and help you make that shot - typically has a 2 or 3 speed rating. The next level up, midranges fall within the 4 to 6 spectrum. Fairway and distance drivers, which require a greater degree of control and skill, are rated higher: Fairway drivers have a 7 to 9 rating, and distance drivers, true to their name, are rated at a 10 or higher.
As a third factor, your disc's speed should match your playing skill. As such, based on speed ratings, beginners should ideally start with a midrange option. A player who has built up arm speed and gains a greater degree of control is then ready to try out different drivers. Added to this, a player who has acquired a greater degree of skill but hasn't quite achieved the arm speed needed for a 14 or 15 disc golf disc may benefit from a lower number.