If you’ve played any amount of disc golf thus far, you know what difference the proper disc for any given situation can make. There are discs for windy days, curved courses, hot weather, long throws, short throws, and almost any situation you could find yourself in.
But, what about when you need a reliable, controlled disc for a standard straight shot? Those throws are just as important as a complex throw – they count for the same amount of strokes, right?
That’s where a good, reliable control driver comes into play.
In Disc Golf, Control Drivers are Your Right-Hand Man.
Control drivers are used for exactly what their name implies – a controlled throw.
These drivers are useful in standard gameplay but are found to be especially useful in situations where high winds exist like open fields or on an exceptionally windy day. Just like a driver in golf, these are just one of the types of discs you should have to play your top game of disc golf.
Control drivers are typically defined as discs between speed 6 and speed 9, but other aspects of the four number ranking system by Innova discs can come into play. Later, this guide will explain the specifics of using the ranking system to identify control drivers.
If you’re more familiar with the terminology surrounding the different types of discs in disc golf, you may like to know that a control driver fits between midrange drivers and hybrid drivers.
If you were playing ball golf, the control driver would be your equivalent of a fairway driver.
Not All Control Drivers Will Be Explicitly Marked as Such
Identifying which driver discs will perform well as control drivers is sometimes as easy as browsing a website and finding a disc labeled “control driver.” Sometimes, however, it isn’t this simple. Discs are rated on a flight rating system and often those numbers identify more about a disc than the title does.
To perfect your game, you must first perfect your disc selection skills.
Most discs in the present day, are defined by a ranking system called the four number system. The system was developed by Innova, a leading manufacturer of flying discs, but is now used widely by flying disc manufacturers.
The Four Numbers Assigned to Each Disc Can Tell You If It Will Work Well as a Control Driver.
The most important number in identifying control drivers for general is speed – the first number in the four number system.
As was previously mentioned, control discs are typically between 6-9 on the speed scale. Speed is ranked on a scale of 1-9 using this system. You might think that higher numbers indicate a faster flying disc, but that is not how this ranking system is set up. Higher numbers, in regards to speed, indicate that more force is required to make the disc fly the same distance.
This is why control discs are typically on the higher end of the speed scale. A low number regarding the speed of the disc would indicate a disc that flies way outside the realm of control correlated with how hard it was thrown. Imagine trying to complete a 400-foot putt with a disc that took-off thousands of feet with a very light throw. In fact, the slower the disc, by nature the more control it offers.
Other aspects of the four number rating system can also help identify a control driver.
The other four aspects of the flight rating system are glide, turn, and fade. They are the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rankings in the four number system respectively.
Glide affects how long the disc remains in the air after being thrown. A higher glide rating indicates that the disc will remain in the air longer. As for control, that decision will be based on your personal throw. Glide can compensate for where your throw is faulty and add control in that regard.
Turn has very little to do with identifying a flying disc as a control driver but is useful for driving nonetheless. Similarly to glide, it’s best to use turn to compensate for where your throw is lacking or for specialized, complex holes.
Fade, the last number of the four number system has quite a bit to do with control. Fade is the amount of back-track the disc will experience as the speed slows. At the end of a throw, discs tend to “fade” backward just a bit. Less fade always means more control as you are able to more easily predict the final resting point of the disc.
Good Control is Everything
Disc golf is all about controlling your disc – dictating where it should land. As drivers are used to completing the biggest portion of each hole, crossing the large fairway, it is imperative that players are able to precisely control the flight path of their disc.
Modern disc golf has evolved into somewhat of a science that allows you to really hone your skills. If you take advantage of the available resources and put in a good amount of practice, of course, you’ll start to experience serious progress in your disc golf game.