For newcomers to Disc Golf it may surprise you that the answer is there is no difference. Rather, ‘Frisbee golf’ is a term incorrectly applied to Disc Golf. This often gets the sport confused with Ultimate Frisbee, and people often mix up the discs found in Disc Golf with Frisbees found in Ultimate Frisbee.
But Frisbees and discs are more different than they appear. Frisbees are flying discs that you and a friend throw back and forth between each other. You’re able to catch Frisbees, you can’t catch a golf disc.
While some Disc Golfers are not bothered by the mix-up in terminology, others believe it is important to make a clear distinction that Disc Golf is the correct term.
Not only because it’s confusing for laypeople and newcomers to the sport, but because it can lead to misunderstandings about how the game of Disc Golf is played. Unfortunately, this confusion also leads to some people not taking the sport seriously.
Disc Golf is a budding sport that has exploded in popularity in recent years. Some players are even becoming professional and securing large sponsorship opportunities as well as their tournament winnings.
This is surprising to those who know little about Disc Golf, as many don’t know what the difference is between a Frisbee and a golf disc, and assume the latter is something you could easily toss around your backyard on a nice day.
But as the sport grows, so do the manufacturers producing the equipment needed to play it. Advancements in technology have made it so golf discs look nothing like traditional Frisbees, so hopefully this will clear up confusion soon.
But in the meantime, let’s take a look at some differences, from the origins of golf discs and Frisbees to how they’re designed.
Frisbee vs Golf Discs: The Origins
Have you ever wondered where the name Frisbee came from? It actually comes from the Frisbie Pie Company and their pie tins that people used to throw around for fun in the early 1900s. A few decades later Wham-O developed what we now know today as the Frisbee.
Frisbee fans didn’t take too kindly to golf discs at first, as they were seen to be sportier than the easy, laid-back activity of tossing a Frisbee around with your friends. But a lot of people who enjoy the game of Frisbee have since taken up Disc Golf too.
What’s The Difference Between A Frisbee And A Disc?
Dimensions: One of the biggest differences between a golf disc and a Frisbee is the size. Both come in a range of shapes and sizes but golf discs are generally smaller.
All golf discs have to meet the technical standards created by the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA). For example, one of the requirements is that all golf discs must be 21.2 cm. Other aspects like weight, height, and rim depth vary to accommodate flight characteristics.
Because golf discs are so commonly used in professionally sanctioned events, it’s very rare to find golf discs that don’t meet the requirements of the PDGA. Meanwhile, Frisbees are often used recreationally, meaning you can find them in many shapes and sizes.
Density: Frisbees are generally made of stiff plastic with their weight distributed across a larger surface area. As you would expect, golf discs are being thrown much harder and further (think of traditional golfers hitting a golf ball and you can get an idea of how hard golf discs are thrown).
Therefore, they’re easier to grip and gummier. While all flying discs are made from a wide range of plastic, golf discs tend to be made from a more malleable plastic.
Golf discs are a lot denser than Frisbees, but Frisbees (particularly those used in Ultimate Frisbee) weigh the same as a golf disc. It’s the density that makes golf discs feel heavier than Frisbees.
Golf discs are measured in grams, and usually weigh between 150-180g. However, some discs can weigh as little as 130g and these are usually used by children playing the sport. Meanwhile, Frisbees used in Ultimate Frisbee have to be 175g, and the lighter the Frisbee the harder it is to throw it a long distance.
How Far Can You Throw A Golf Disc vs How Far Can You Throw A Frisbee
We’ll make another golf analogy here. Playing with a Frisbee is like playing mini golf while playing with a golf disc is like playing traditional golf. Why is that?
When playing mini golf players find it relatively easy to get the ball to travel straight and also to get it through whatever obstacles in the way. Meanwhile, those starting off in regular golf have a lot harder time directing the ball where they need it to go.
Playing regular golf requires a lot of practice and there are a lot of factors that determine the ball going the direction you want it to go. Not to mention a lot of techniques to learn! This is also the case with throwing a golf disc.
Most golf discs can travel further than a regular Frisbee, but to really get them to travel far and where you want them to go you need to put in a lot of practice. Accurately and powerfully throwing a golf disc is definitely a skill you need to put time in to master.
Playing with a Frisbee is perhaps more accessible in that it’s easy to pick one up and toss it to a friend who’s stood a short distance away.
Disc Golf is a fun and rewarding sport to play, but if you’re looking for a laid-back afternoon opt for a Frisbee instead. Those who are not used to throwing a golf disc won’t achieve a lot of distance on their first throw.
So how far can you throw a golf disc and how far can you throw a Frisbee? Well, Disc Golfers are usually achieving distances of around 350-400 ft with their discs. But the world record for distance achieved with a golf disc is a staggering 1,100ft!
Meanwhile, a Frisbee is designed to only travel about 50-100 ft when being tossed to another player. However, advanced Ultimate Frisbee players can throw their Frisbees much further than that.