The 11 Best Disc Golf Distance Drivers For Beginners

by Denis Flaschner, Professional | PDGA #49081

Three Beginner-Friendly Distance Drivers

Beginning disc golfers are often told to stay away from distance drivers. Conventional wisdom states that you should only throw slow discs until a certain power threshold is crossed. While this is sound advice, that kind of broad and universal rule is meant to be broken.

A distance driver will not be a primary option for beginners. Still, it helps to have one in the bag to attack low ceilings, generate big skips, or just grip and rip in an open field. It's simply fun to throw fast discs, and new players shouldn't be deprived of both the utility and pure joy that comes from throwing distance drivers.

Before we dive into the list, let's first answer the question: what makes a distance driver suitable for beginners?

What Makes A Driver Good For Beginners?

The best disc golf distance drivers for beginners will have a few things in common:

  • High turn rating - the more high-speed turn a disc has, the easier it will be to get it to flip up and glide for long distances.
  • Low fade rating - discs with lower fade ratings will have increased glide and less horizontal movement at the end of their flight path.
  • Low rim depth - these discs will have a shallow, easy-to-grip rim that helps beginners develop a clean release.

Manufacturers have designed several understable discs that are solid options for new players looking for instant speed and distance. Let's take a close look at some of our favorites.

You can find all of these understable distance drivers for sale on our online shop!

Innova Roadrunner

Innova Roadrunner Driver

Dimensions

  • Height:`1.4cm
  • Diameter: 21.1cm
  • Rim Depth: 1.2cm
  • Rim Width: 1.8cm

Flight ratings

  • Speed: 9
  • Glide: 5
  • Turn: -4
  • Fade: 1

Popular Plastics

  • Star
  • Champion

The Roadrunner is a beginner-friendly distance driver that effectively bridges the gap between fairway and maximum distance drivers. With a -4 turn, the Roadrunner is one of the most understable discs in the Innova lineup. Slower arms should be able to get this disc to reach cruising velocity and glide towards the basket on long straight shots.

Due to its low fade rating, the Roadrunner is less likely to skip off to the side when it lands. This makes it a safe and reliable option for beginners who just need to keep it in the fairway. The only downside here is that developing players will quickly grow out of the Roadrunner. As you gain more speed and snap, it will soon turn into a roller disc.

We have a durable and eye-catching Metal Flake Champion Roadrunner. This disc is in the bag for a few Innova-sponsored pros, and this version is Callie McMorran's Tour Series edition.

The Roadrunner is one of the best straight flying disc golf drivers on the market!

Innova Sidewinder

Innova Sidewinder

Dimensions

  • Height:`1.4cm
  • Diameter: 21.1cm
  • Rim Depth: 1.2cm
  • Rim Width: 1.8cm

Flight ratings

  • Speed: 9
  • Glide: 5
  • Turn: -3
  • Fade: 1

Popular Plastics

  • Pro
  • G Star
  • Champion
  • Halo Star

With the exact same dimensions and similar flight numbers to the Roadrunner, the Sidewinder is virtually the same disc, just slightly less understable. It can absorb a bit more speed and snap without turning over and crashing to the ground. This makes the Sidewinder a more versatile option that may well turn out to be an all-around workhorse driver.

In premium plastic blends, the Sidewinder has significantly more stable flight characteristics. Champion and Halo Sidewinders have less turn and more fade than other plastics. This makes them solid choices for beginners who need a fast and stable driver for hyzer and flex lines. Over time they will slowly develop the extra turn the flight numbers promise.

We have a variety of Sidewinders available now. The Christine Jennings Tour Series Glow Sidewinder looks great in Innova's Champion Glow plastic.

If you are a beginner and don't know what plastic to buy, I'd recommend the classic Innova Star Sidewinder.

Discraft Heat

Discraft Heat

Dimensions

  • Height:`2.1cm
  • Diameter: 21.1cm
  • Rim Depth: 1.2cm
  • Rim Width: 1.9cm

Flight ratings

  • Speed: 9
  • Glide: 6
  • Turn: -3
  • Fade: 1

Popular Plastics

  • Big Z
  • ESP

With a 2.1 cm height, the Heat is the tallest disc on this list by far. This gives it a distinctive dome top. If you like your discs flat, steer clear of this disc. But if you don't mind a bit of dome, you will be rewarded with extra distance with less effort.

Most beginners can release this disc on hyzer and get it to flatten out to achieve maximum distance. That tall dome helps provide excellent glide that is reflected in the 6 glide rating. Those with slower arm speed will appreciate its generous -3 turn. This makes the Heat great for hyzer flip shots that float straight for a long time.

Discraft produces the Heat in a wide variety of plastics, with the stiff Z blend being the more durable option. In contrast, the softer ESP plastic will immediately fly according to the flight numbers but is slightly less stable. Check out this excellent review for a closer look at this unique disc:

 

 

MVP Impulse

MVP Impulse

Dimensions

  • Height:`1.4cm
  • Diameter: 21.0cm
  • Rim Depth: 1.2cm
  • Rim Width: 2.0cm

Flight ratings

  • Speed: 9
  • Glide: 5
  • Turn: -3
  • Fade: 1

Popular Plastics

  • Neutron

The Impulse is one of the most beginner-friendly discs in the MVP lineup. This disc combines premier speed with a low profile and relatively thick rim with reliable turn. It shares many flight characteristics with the other discs on this list, but what sets it apart is MVP's plastic and molding techniques.

MVP is well known for their patented "gyro" technology. This unique molding process uses two different plastic blends for the rim and the flight plate. A denser, heavier plastic is used for the rim, concentrating more weight around the disc's perimeter. This gives the disc a more stable flight pattern.

To gain more in-depth knowledge of MVP's patented technology, check out this detailed explanation. We have the Impulse available now in the popular Neutron plastic blend.

Axiom Virus

Axiom Virus

Dimensions

  • Height:`1.4cm
  • Diameter: 21.2cm
  • Rim Depth: 1.1cm
  • Rim Width: 2.0cm

Flight ratings

  • Speed: 9
  • Glide: 5
  • Turn: -3.5
  • Fade: 1

Popular Plastics

  • Neutron

Axiom is a subsidiary company of MVP, so they use the same "gyro" technology in their understable distance driver, the Virus. This disc has similar dimensions to the Impulse but with a notably shallower rim depth. Beginners and players with smaller hands will find it easy to grip and rip.

The Virus' low profile and shallow rim make it especially easy to grip for beginners who throw a lot of forehands. When thrown flat, the Virus will display a subtle anhyzer drift. Put it on a turnover line, and it will keep drifting anhyzer all the way to the ground. Once out of the hand, it gets an easy turn with minimal fade.

Due to their special molding techniques, Axiom can produce this disc in many fantastic color combinations. We have the Virus available now in many bright and attractive color schemes.

Legacy Bandit

Legacy Bandit

Dimensions

  • Height:`1.5cm
  • Diameter: 21.3cm
  • Rim Depth: 1.1cm
  • Rim Width: 2.0cm

Flight ratings

  • Speed: 9
  • Glide: 5
  • Turn: -2
  • Fade: 1

Popular Plastics

  • Icon
  • Pinnacle

For a tad less turn and a bit more stability, the Bandit from Legacy discs is an excellent option. Not quite as understable as some of the others on this list, the Bandit is best for beginners who naturally have a bit more speed and snap. This distance driver's flat top and shallow rim make it easy to grip.

That is not to say this is an overstable disc. It will still get easy hyzer flips and turnovers. It performs exceptionally well on dead straight shots. Its high glide and minimal fade are fantastic for narrow tunnel shots in the woods. True beginners might not get the Bandit the desired flight path right away, but it will develop into a point-and-shoot workhorse in time.

We have the Bandit available in Legacy's Icon plastic. This blend is somewhat soft and flexible, offering superior grip with above-average durability.

Discmania Mentor

Discmania Active Premium Mentor

Dimensions

  • Height:`1.8cm
  • Diameter: 21.2cm
  • Rim Depth: 1.2cm
  • Rim Width: 2.1cm

Flight ratings

  • Speed: 11
  • Glide: 5
  • Turn: -2
  • Fade: 2

Popular Plastics

  • Active Premium

The Mentor is an excellent stable to overstable option for beginners. Intermediate players can utilize the -2 turn to complete hyzer flips and turnovers. Still, the high speed and relatively thick rim will make it difficult for beginners to get any flip from this disc. Instead, it is an excellent option for beginners to learn utility shots like spike hyzers, forced flexes, and skip shots.

Discmania produces the Mentor in ultra-durable Active Premium plastic. This blend will make the disc fly more overstable. As their disc golf skills grow and the disc beats in, it will eventually develop more turn and glide. A new player could use it to fill the overstable distance driver slot.

In this way, it can "mentor" you from beginner to intermediate level. We have the Mentor available now in the 165-170 gram weight range. It's easier to get a lighter disc up to speed, and a 165 gram Mentor is right in the sweet spot for beginners.

Innova Tern

Innova Halo Tern Disc On White Background

Dimensions

  • Height:`1.8cm
  • Diameter: 21.1cm
  • Rim Depth: 1.2cm
  • Rim Width: 2.4cm

Flight ratings

  • Speed: 12
  • Glide: 6
  • Turn: -3
  • Fade: 2

Popular Plastics

  • G Star
  • Halo Star
  • Champion

The Tern is a high-speed and extremely glidey maximum distance driver. While beginners are often advised to avoid discs with this kind of speed, let's be honest: everyone wants some extra velocity out on the course. There's nothing wrong with going against conventional wisdom and putting some fast discs in the bag. It's just fun.

That said, beginners will need that extra turn to make high-speed discs glide at all, and the Tern fits the bill perfectly. It will be an excellent disc for pure hyzers, skinny flexes, and skip shots until it breaks in. Just be aware of the wide 2.4cm rim. It may take some getting used to.

We have the Tern available now in Halo Star plastic. The Tern is more of a stable to overstable disc in this premium plastic. As long as you bag it with that in mind, it could eventually develop into your go-to distance driver.

Prodigy D3 Max

Prodigy D3 Max

Dimensions

  • Height:`1.8cm
  • Diameter: 21.1cm
  • Rim Depth: 1.2cm
  • Rim Width: 2.4cm

Flight ratings

  • Speed: 12
  • Glide: 6
  • Turn: -3
  • Fade: 1.5

Popular Plastics

  • 400

Prodigy has an intuitive alphanumeric disc naming system that makes it easy to predict how their discs fly. The lower the number, the more overstable the disc. The "D" stands for "Distance Driver." 

The "D1" is Prodigy's professional level overstable driver, and the "D3 Max" is their understable and more beginner-friendly maximum distance driver.

While it has a high turn and glide rating, beginners will find the D3 Max to be a stable to overstable option. With a wide rim and a lot of speed, it takes intermediate-level power to get this disc up to cruising velocity, but that doesn't mean it won't be useful for beginners. Start out using the D3 Max for sweeping hyzers and forced flex shots, then as it breaks in, it will develop more and more turn and glide.

We have the D3 Max available now in Prodigy's popular 400 plastic blend. This plastic breaks in well and has a comfortable, grippy hand feel. For a detailed breakdown of the D3 Max, check out this video featuring prominent pro Will Shusterick.

Innova Vulcan

 

 

Dimensions

  • Height:`1.4cm
  • Diameter: 21.2cm
  • Rim Depth: 1.1cm
  • Rim Width: 2.4cm

Flight ratings

  • Speed: 13
  • Glide: 5
  • Turn: -4
  • Fade: 2

Popular Plastics

  • G Star
  • Champion

The Vulcan is a low-profile distance driver with a very shallow and thick rim. This disc combines maximum speed and turn to help beginners throw farther with less effort. As a faster disc, it will be more difficult for beginners to activate the turn. Venture into the 13-speed category at your own risk.

The choice of the plastic blend will have a significant effect on the Vulcan's flight characteristics. In Innova's stiff and durable Champion plastic, the Vulcan will be a bit more difficult to turn over. Conversely, in G Star or Pro plastic, this disc will be very easy to get up to speed. Low power players could benefit from trying the Vulcan out in low weights.

FAQ's

What is the best distance driver for a beginner?

Due to its versatility on the course and easy availability in multiple plastic blends, the Innova Sidewinder is our choice as the best distance driver for a beginner.

Should beginners throw distance drivers?

Yes, they should. Beginners should practice using faster discs with wider rims to develop a well-rounded game. Just remember that if you're trying to build a sound throwing technique, it's essential to make sure you don't rely on distance drivers too heavily.

What is the most understable distance driver?

The Innova Roadrunner and Axiom Virus are both very understable distance drivers for beginners. These two discs' drastic turn and minimal fade make them especially easy for new players to throw.

Will throwing distance drivers ruin my form?

Not necessarily. The key is to use distance drivers in moderation. Don't expect it to be your primary option off the tee, and only use it in situations that call for it.

Summary

Beginners should approach the distance driver category cautiously, but there's no need to disregard them entirely. Pick up a fast and understable driver to round out the bag and experience the joy and utility of high-speed discs.

Check out our online disc golf shop!

More Disc Reviews

The 13 Best Disc Golf Putters For Beginners

The Best Axiom & MVP Understable Drivers

Prodigy M4 vs Buzzz


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published