How Do I Know If My Disc Is Overstable Or Understable?

As a newcomer to disc golf I was overwhelmed with all the different slang and lingo that came along with the sport. I often heard the term understable and overstable and had no clue what these guys were talking about. Well lucky for you, I have learned a bit since those days and have figured it out enough to be able to let you in on what you need to know.

Stability is a disc’s tendency to turn over, fade, or fly straight at the beginning of flight. Understable discs generally have -2 or more turn rating with 1 or less fade. Overstable discs typically are rated with 0 turn and 3 or more fade.

If you have no clue what these numbers I am spouting off mean then you should check out our article on flight ratings and what they mean. Flight ratings help to determine what a disc will do and which way it will tend to fly based on it’s flight characteristics.

Stability in disc golf only refers to what the disc will do immediately in its flight pattern once it is released. All discs have the tendency to “fall” in the direction of the spin, meaning that a right handed back hand(RHBH) throw will want to fall left at the end of a throw.

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What Is The Difference Between Overstable And Understable Discs In Disc Golf?

With a right hand backhanded (RHBH) thrower, overstable discs turn to the left at the end of flight. Understable discs turn over to the right at the beginning of flight and ultimately fade left at the end of the flight. 

Knowing if your disc is overstable or understable is actually pretty simple. The 4 numbers located on the disc (the flight ratings) tell the story as to whether or not your disc is over or understable. 

The difference between the two can be put simply as, overstable discs at high speed are going to want to follow a natural arcing pattern to the left.  Understable discs, will do the opposite. Understable discs will fly more to the right at the beginning of the flight path before arcing left at the end.

What Is An Understable Disc?

Understable is a term that describes a disc’s stability throughout its flight pattern. This means that where the disc lands, compared to where it was thrown, is the most stable and should produce the best results.

An Understable disc will spin right with a RHBH thrower and turn right at the beginning during the high speed portion of the flight when it is properly thrown. This means you must throw it flat, straight, and produce sufficient power. It will also tend to turn in the direction of the spin during the first stages of the flight. As they lose speed, understable discs will fall in the opposite direction of their spin. Understable discs are, however, the most resistant to this when compared to overstable discs.

A fast released disc goes in the direction of its spin longer and further before it eventually falls off at the end of its flight while a disc that is released more slowly will not move as much in the direction of the spin and will fly straighter. 

It will fall off more in the opposite direction as it loses speed. Understable discs are the easiest for new players to control, and will provide the most distance for beginning disc golfers.

What is Turn In Disc Golf?

Turn in disc golf is the discs ability to turn over to the right after the disc is first thrown. This assumes you can throw the disc at the right speed to get the disc to act properly according to its flight ratings. Turn refers to the initial part of the flight when a disc has a tendency to turn to the right for right handed backhand (RHBH) throwers, left for LHBH thrower. Ratings are from -5 to +1 and discs with a rating closer to -5 will have more turn.

A disc with a lot of turn is more likely to be understable. Discs that are understable are often good for beginners because they tend to turn one way and then arc back resulting in a throw almost where you aimed. They are also very good for tricky shots around trees and sharp doglegs.

The video below breaks down everything you need to know about turn and is a great watch.

What Is An Overstable Disc?

Overstable is a term that describes a disc’s stability throughout its flight pattern. This means that where the disc lands, compared to where it was thrown, is less stable but should produce the best results depending on the situation.

An overstable disc will turn opposite of the spin with a RHBH thrower and fly straight at the beginning during the high speed portion of the flight when it is properly thrown and fade left at the end of the flight. You must throw it flat, straight, and produce sufficient power to get a disc to fly according to its flight characteristics.

RHBH (right hand back hand) throws will spin right and turn left. This of course is opposite for lefties, meaning it will spin left and turn right. Overstable discs work very well when throwing into the wind and are also good for making shots around trees or doglegs when you need the disc to make a hard left at the end of the flight path.

Overstable discs are better for players that have a little bit more experience due to the nature of their flying, but when mastered can be a great asset to any disc golfer. For players with at least some experience and a strong throw, an overstable disc is a must have in their arsenal. If you have the arm strength and the control to throw the disc flat and straight, the turn on an overstable disc will not be as sharp.

What Is Fade In Disc Golf?

A disc’s fade is its ability to hook left at the end of the throw. Once a disc has made it through the majority of its flight and begins to slow down, the fade usually kicks in and the disc turns to the left for a rhbh thrower.

Turn and Fade Wrapped Up

Turn and Fade are the 3rd and 4th numbers in the flight ratings and those 2 numbers together will give you the overall stability of a disc during flight. Often referred to as high speed turn (the initial part of the flight) and low speed fade (the final portion of the flight), make sure you have a firm grasp on what each does before you go out onto the course so you can project how they will fly when thrown properly. This will elevate your game immensely with time and practice.

Combinations Of Discs

Along with overstable and understable discs, there are variations that combine a bit of both flight characteristics into one disc and are good for many different types of throws.

Discs that have a small amount of turn and a larger amount of fade are what we consider Stable-Overstable.They will turn slightly right and then fade back to the left of where you were aiming during your throw.  These are primarily used as drivers by many professional and amatuer players.These discs are very straight and tend to have a small amount of turn and fade.These discs are great for making it down a long straight hole.These discs offer the most distance potential due to their balance of turn and fade. They normally have somewhere around  -3 turn and -3 fade. They will turn right initially but will make their way back to the left at the end of the flight and be close to the centerline of your throw.
Innova Disc Flight Characteristics Drivers
Innova Disc Flight Characteristics Putt And Approach

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