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Distance drivers, to be direct and succinct, give you the distance to get close to the basket on a longer shot. Among all the disc types, these deliver the greatest amount of speed due to their design, including a wider rim and sharper nose, and flight characteristics.
Of the speed ratings given to all disc golf discs, distance drivers fall from 11 through 15, based on over- to understable flight paths.
While distance drivers seem impressive when advanced and pro disc golf players use them, realize that more skill and arm strength are needed to achieve these distances and speeds, and therefore, they're not recommended for beginner players.
The range a distance driver can go, based on these factors, simply isn't achievable by other disc types. In general, a distance driver can reach up to 300 to 400 feet, depending upon the player's skills. However, keep in mind that arm speed and technique influence how well and far the disc flies. As well, because distance drivers have potential to travel far, they're not recommended for shorter shots out on the course.
To achieve this distinction, distance drivers have a sharper edge designed for superior aerodynamic qualities. The disc stays in the air for longer, can travel at a faster speed, and can continue its flight path even in the face of wind. Due to these factors, once your driver hits the ground, it may skip more than another type of disc, and may continue gliding farther.
In considering these characteristics, someone who hasn't built up their skills and arm speed will likely under-throw a distance driver, resulting in an overstable flight that falls far from the basket. Instead, at this level, a midrange or a fairway driver is preferred for its characteristics in relation to the player's skills and still-developing technique.
Once you can reach a greater distance with a fairway, it may be time to try out a distance driver.
Beyond this scenario, distance drivers tend to offer more fade and handle curved and overstable shots better than fairway drivers as a result. The power and flight characteristics they bring better maneuver winds by offering a more consistent flight path. As well, if you're looking to include a skip in your shot, a distance driver is more suitable for this action than a fairway or midrange.
Fairway and distance drivers are grouped together based on classification, but as you'll find, they have some fairly distinguishable characteristics.
A distance driver is wider and features a sharper rim. A fairway driver, by contrast, isn't as wide and may have a lightly rounder edge. In considering these distances, fairway drivers give you speed but can manage shorter distances, and in turn, tend to offer easier handling for beginner and intermediate players.
A distance driver, meanwhile, travels farther and faster, but requires more force from the player to attain these characteristics. Generally, once an intermediate player gains more control in their game, it may be time to start experimenting with distance drivers.