The sport of disc golf is growing rapidly. That growth has been fueled, in part, by videos of phenomenal shots that have gone viral on Youtube. For example, the Albatross (2 shots on a par 5 hole) thrown by Philo Brathwaite at the 2016 Beaver State Fling made the rounds on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and even mainstream sports television.
More eyes than ever have been on the game of disc golf– some in curiosity, some in fascination, and some in awe. As a result, many people are jumping into the game, looking for a quick, affordable set of discs that can get them started. Disc golf “starter sets” have been a very popular way to take that first step. Let’s take a quick look at the starter sets that are available and the pros and cons of each. If you’re going to drop even a small amount of money on new discs, you will find your experience much more rewarding if you know what you’re getting and you find a set of discs that will truly help you get a feel for the game.
One of the best-selling brands in the disc golf scene is Innova. They sponsor a lot of pros and they also make a lot of great discs for beginners. The most popular of their starter sets is the DX Starter Set.
DX is a plastic type. New players often don’t know that the same disc models are commonly available in several different plastic types, from soft to durable. DX is the basic, most affordable plastic type from Innova. Buying a soft, less expensive plastic is actually fine for beginners. That way you can get a feel for the different discs and how they fly before spending $10, $15, or $18 per disc on the more long-lasting, durable plastics.
The discs included in the Innova DX Starter Set are very basic and friendly for new players. They include the popular Aviar putter, the Leopard short-range driver, and a Shark mid-range disc. Most starter packs will include a putter, mid-range, and driver. That doesn’t mean that you’ll be covered in all possible throwing situations, but it covers the basics. If you can learn to throw with these discs, which also happen to be light-weight, then you’ll be ready to move on to other discs with varied designs and purposes.
If you are willing to pay the extra $10 to get a starter set with the more durable plastic, then this is the Innova set to grab. “Champion” doesn’t necessarily mean that it is designed for experienced players– it is merely the name of their more durable, translucent plastic type. The Champion plastic will last a lot longer than DX, and thus can give you more long-term value since you may find yourself throwing these discs for years to come, even as you add new ones to your collection. The discs included are the Aviar putter, the Panther mid-range, and the Valkyrie distance driver, which is actually a really good driver disc to work on your distance. The Valkyrie has the potential for longer throws than the Leopard, so that may also be a consideration if you are a beginner that feels like you’ve already got a basic grasp on throwing because of past experience with frisbee or Ultimate. It’s a step up in price, but also a step up in quality.
Discraft is another very popular brand in the disc golf market, and this is their basic, affordable starter set. These discs all come in their Pro-D plastic, which is Discraft’s cheapest, soft plastic. Once again, that is not a bad thing for beginners. The discs won’t last forever with regular use, but they are great for attacking the short disc golf learning curve. The discs included in this set often vary, but they always include a basic putter (like a Magnet or Soft APX), a mid-range (usually a Buzzz) and a driver (like an Avenger SS or XL). Though you can get different discs in the set, they are selected with new players in mind, so you won’t get anything that you can’t handle. If you end up liking any of these discs, you can always upgrade later to a more premium plastic type, like Elite X or Elite Z. This set features discs that I started with, and I’ve never regretted starting with discs like the Avenger SS, Buzzz SS, XL, etc.
Discraft also makes a deluxe version of their starter set which adds another driver, like a Stratus, or a Cyclone (both of which are excellent for beginning players) but also throws in a small disc carry bag so that you can easily carry your new disc collection around on the course. The bag has room to fit a few more discs. Basically, you’re paying an extra $20 for the fourth disc and the bag, which is an excellent value since even a basic, Pro-D plastic disc would cost you another $8 and a starter bag can run $15-$20 by itself. I strongly recommend this set for anybody who really wants to give the game a try.
Latitude 64 is a quality disc maker from Scandinavia, and they’ve got some great discs that are designed for beginners. The “Junior” starter set is a perfect set for younger players or for women who need light-weight discs designed for smaller grips. With names like the Ruby putter, the Pearl mid-range, and the Diamond driver, you can tell that the female market was on Latitude 64’s mind when putting this set and these disc models together. I have a teenage daughter that is a new player, and she throws these discs much more easily than some of the heavier, beefier discs that I carry around. But even though it is called a “Junior” set, don’t think it is only for kids. It is great for anybody of any age who doesn’t feel like they have a lot of power and throwing ability.
When I read the word “advanced”, I think of the disc golfer who owns dozens of discs and plays disc golf all the time, but that is not the intention here. The “Advanced” description simply means that it is a set of heavier discs that are still selected for new players, but that are designed for adults, or particularly for men who have more power and throwing experience. It’s a quality set of discs that include the Mercy putter, the Claymore mid-range, and the Fury driver. Some of the other sets mentioned above may be focused more perfectly on new players, but these discs are popular and are not too advanced to get you going if you feel like you already have a grasp on the basics of throwing a disc.
Dynamic Discs is a rapidly growing presence in the disc golf market, and this is their basic introductory set to the game of disc golf. It includes their very popular putter, the Judge, plus the Truth midrange, and the Witness driver. All three discs are excellent for learning and are featured in Dynamic Disc’s Prime plastic, which is their basic, soft plastic. The set also includes a basic disc carry bag that can hold up to eleven discs so you can carry your growing collection around the course.
Dynamic Discs has also recently designed more discs for new players, which includes discs like the Gavel putter, the Proof mid-range, and the Breakout driver. Those were assembled into an easy-to-throw starter set in 2016, which is now available.
If you’d like more information about selecting discs for beginning players, here are a couple very informative articles that you can use as reference: