Do Disc Golf Discs Go Bad?

This may sound dramatic, but as soon as you take a new Disc Golf disc out of its packaging it begins its metamorphosis into a totally different disc. How long your disc will last all depends on how much Disc Golf you play and what courses you’re playing on, but most Disc Golf players continue to use their discs for years.

Do Disc Golf Discs Go Bad

But it can be kind of frustrating when you’ve got used to how your disc flies only to find the flight gradually changing, especially when this happens to a once reliable disc.

But once you’ve played with a certain disc for a long time, the plastic starts to change and become worn, altering its flight characteristics. This is considered a broken in disc, and can actually have its upsides.

Another way to refer to a broken in disc, is a ‘seasoned’ disc, and a lot of disc golfers will refuse to play with anything other than a broken in disc.

The more broken in your golf disc is, the more understandable it becomes. If you’re right-handed, a very understandable disc will tend to veer off towards the right not long after it’s taken off. The same rule applies if you’re left-handed.

This breaking in process is akin to breaking in a new pair of shoes. When you first try on a new pair of shoes, they might feel tight, stiff, and a little uncomfortable. But this is because they haven’t molded around your feet yet. But the more you walk in them and the more other activities you wear them for, the more comfortable they’ll feel.

This is exactly what breaking in your discs are like! But below, we’ll delve more into the merits of breaking in your disc, how you can break in your discs quicker, and finally, how you can spot the signs that your discs are ready for retirement.

Should You Break In A Disc?

Whether a broken in disc works for you is all down to preference. It can be a good idea to break in your discs if you’d prefer it to be understable, and you’ll be eager for the disc to be broken in sooner rather than later… but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

While you can buy break in new discs, you might be wondering if it’s better to just buy a second-hand disc that is already broken in and understable. Isn’t it better to use a disc that has been broken in organically rather than trying to artificially break in the disc yourself?

Well, it’s complicated. You may get used to how a certain disc mold feels in your hand, so simply transferring to a more understable disc may leave you with a mold that feels unfamiliar and strange.

You could get used to it, but it may lead to a few frustrating practices and games where you feel just a bit off because you’re playing with a mold that you’re not used to.

A lot of people believe that you shouldn’t use a disc that doesn’t fly exactly how you want it to straight out of the packaging, and there is a compelling case for this. It is certainly easier to use a disc that you like out of the box than have to wait to get used to it. But they say patience is a virtue!

You may come to find that you prefer how a beat in disc feels and that it’s improved your game. So if that is the case, let’s take a look at how you can speed up the breaking in process.

How To Break In Your Discs Faster

It can take about 6 months to organically break in your discs and make them as understable as you would like them to be, and this of course depends on how often you’re using them.

Therefore, when you’re artificially breaking in your disc you need to intensely replicate this usage, and cram in months of use over a much shorter period of time. However, discs made of a higher quality plastic will take longer to break in. So how do you do this? Well, there are a couple of ways.

  • Stick to one disc for an entire round: Instead of switching up your discs depending on where you are in the game, play a whole round with the disc you want to break in. Use it for driving, putting, and everything in between.
  • Lend it to a less experienced player: We know what you’re thinking. Why would I lend a disc I want to break in for somebody else to use? Well, some people ask others to break their shoes in for them, so it’s not that crazy. But when it comes to breaking in discs, lending a disc to a less experienced player will ensure rougher play. Your disc is more likely to hit trees and sustain wear and tear. When the disc is returned to you, it’ll be ever closer to being broken in.
  • Take your disc for a spin: Yes, putting your disc in the dryer can help break it in! Put your disc in for a cycle with the heat turned down low, or turned off completely. To reduce the noise of the disc rattling around, place a blanket inside too. Tread carefully with this method though as it could damage your dryer.
  • Fold the disc: Using both of your hands, fold the disc into a U shape repeatedly. Make sure to rotate the disc, so the disc is bent evenly all over.

Other methods for artificially breaking in your disc include repeatedly throwing your disc into a tree, rubbing it with sandpaper, and throwing rollers and grenade shots into an open field.

Final Thoughts: When To Hang Up Your Discs

Unfortunately, we all have to say farewell to some discs. You may use a disc for so long that it’s broken into the point that it’s unusable.

However, most recreational disc golfers will use their discs for their entire playing career, and the discs will just sustain normal wear and tear over time. But if your disc sustains serious damage like cracks in the flight plate or rim then it will need to be hung up. Not only because it will affect your play, but seriously damaged discs are illegal under PDGA rules.