Disc stability is a term that is often used in the world of Disc Golf. You hear about understable and overstable discs, but why wouldn’t you just want one that is perfectly stable? This article will help you demystify the overstable disc, so you can leave knowing exactly what it means when a disc is considered overstable.
What Is Disc Stability?
The stability of a disc golf disc determines the direction it will veer towards when throwing it. If all you want is to shoot as straight as possible, then you’ll want a stable disc. There are a few reasons why you would want to play with a disc that is not stable, though. Or at least have other options to hand, depending on where you are on the course and what obstacles you may have to get around.
How Do You Tell If A Disc Is Overstable?
There is a way to tell whether a disc is overstable before even throwing it once, which is incredibly useful when going online or in a shop to choose which disc to buy. On the front face of most Golf Disc discs, a Flight Rating System will be displayed in the form of four numbers. There are two parameters here that will tell you how stable your disc is—turn, represented by the third number, and Fade, represented by the fourth number.
Turn, or High-Speed Turn, describes what direction the disc will pull towards at the beginning of its flight. The rating will be any number from -5 through to 1. When the disc is rated 0 or 1, it will bank immediately left when throwing right-handed backhand (RHBH) and indicates that the disc is of the overstable variety.
Fade, or Low-Speed Fade, describes the direction the disc will pull towards when at the end of its flight. This will be any number from 0 through to 5. The closer it is to 5, the more the disc will pull towards the left at the end of its flight when throwing RHBH. 5 would indicate an overstable disc
Now, if you add both the Turn and Fade numbers together, you can get a really accurate read on whether your disc is overstable or not. If the number you end up with is between 1 and 5, you can safely bet that the disc is overstable, with 5 being the most overstable and 1 being the least. The more overstable your disc, the more it will veer to the left during its flight.
What Does It Mean When A Disc Is Overstable?
So you’ve added the numbers together and come up with the conclusion that you have an overstable disc. What does this mean? Well, all it really means is you can expect your disc to pull to the left consistently when being thrown RHBH, but let’s dive in a little deeper.
Pay attention to what direction your overstable disc tends to pull towards when you’re aiming straight. If you throw RHBH, the disc will pull towards the left during its trajectory. The results will be akin if you throw a left-handed forehand (LHFH). If you throw left-handed backhand (LHBH), or right-handed forehand (RHBH), your disc will have a habit of pulling to the right.
Getting straight into throwing your disc is another great test to see whether it is overstable. Some discs don’t actually display the Flight Rating System, so in those cases, this method is the tell-all. Just throw a few test shots with your disc when you can. As long as you’re aiming straight and the wind isn’t too strong, you’ll be able to confidently assess whether your disc is overstable or not, by taking note of the hand you’re using, the way you’re shooting, and what direction it tends to pull towards during its trajectory.
For further clarity, RHBH or LHFH throws will see an overstable disc pull towards the left. If it’s understable, it will pull right. LHBH or RHFH throws will see an overstable disc pull towards the right and an understable disc pull left. If it flies pretty straight consistently, you can bet you have yourself a stable disc.
Why Would You Want An Overstable Disc?
Why not just build up your arsenal with stable discs, right? Then you can always shoot straight! If you’re a beginner to the sport of Disc Golf, we’d recommend that you do, in fact, stick with a stable disc at least while you’re learning proper throwing technique and building up arm speed. However, once you feel confident, there are reasons to start adding overstable discs to your arsenal.
Firstly, overstable discs are great when you want to throw a safe shot at high speed. They have much more resistance to turning or flipping over than stable or understable discs. Because of this, they can be deadly accurate even in very windy conditions. Once you become familiar with their flight path, overstable discs are reliable go-tos when you want to travel a good distance safely.
In fact, overstable driver discs are frequently used by advanced players because they have the ability to travel farther than other disc types when thrown correctly. They are a real treat to have at the start of a course where maximum distance is the priority.
Surpassing obstacles is another advantage to using an overstable disc. Either obstacles or even when you just want to follow curve of the course. This is because of their flight path. Think about it, if you know that your disc will veer off to the left when throwing RHBH, and you have a tree stood straight ahead of you, then it’s a much better option to go for than a stable disc that will fly directly into the tree’s branches.
Shoot straight towards the tree in this situation with an overstable disc, however, and you’ll likely find that you’ve missed the tree and made good progress toward the basket. Depending on how far the tree stands away from you, of course.
Finally, advanced players love to use overstable discs for spike hyzers and skip shots. These are trick shots within the sport that can give you the upper hand when performed well and in the right scenario.
So, you can consider a disc overstable when it tends to pull towards the left when throwing RHBH or LHFH and to the right when throwing LHBH or RHFH. It’s also safe to assume that your disc will veer off in these directions if you add the Turn and Fade values and your result is a number between 1 and 5.
Overstable discs are great for throwing high-speed shots, especially in conditions with high wind, as they can travel far and resist turning over. They are also useful when trying to get past an obstacle or when performing trick shots. If you’ve developed your arm speed, they are a superb option to have.
Choosing to use an overstable disc in the right situation could be the difference between par and a birdie, or perhaps even an eagle and an ace!