Breaking Down: What Does Fade Mean In Disc Golf

What does fade mean in disc golf? Whether they know it or not, almost all players experience their disc fading quite early in their disc golf career. A low-speed fade is when you throw the disc and it just declines to one side or another instead of heading toward the target. A fading disc doesn’t mean that you are bad at throwing, it means that you have chosen the wrong disc. It is about time that you learn flight rating, disc golf fade vs. turn, disc flight path, and disc drivers.

In this post, we’ll define what disc golf fade is, how it differs from disc golf turn, and provide several examples and tips for using it effectively in your game.

What is Disc Golf Fade?

Fade is the property of a disc golf disc by virtue of which it hooks left (for RHBH throws) at the end of the flight. It is the fourth and final number in the traditional disc flight ratings; fade is measured on a scale of 0 to 5. A disc rated 0 will finish straightest, while a disc rated 5 will hook hard at the end of the flight. The fade happens at the end of the disc flight as the disc is losing speed and rotation; a disc with a high fade is an overstable disc and is mostly used by professionals and more experienced players.

High fade discs are usually good for spike and skip shots, whereas low glide high fade discs are great for overhand shots. More experienced players use high-speed high fade discs for covering a longer distance.

How Fade Affects a Disc’s Flight Path?

Anhyzer Vs Hyzer

Fade along with speed, glide, and turn, make up a flight rating system for a disc. The flight rating predicts the intended flight pattern of your disc, fade flight ratings can be used to your advantage, especially if you don’t have a direct line to the target and need to shape and maneuver your throw around the objects such as trees. At the end of a disc’s flight, the disc tends to turn either left or right instead of continuing a straight flight. For a right-handed player throwing the disc backhanded, the disc will usually turn to the left (RHBH/LHFH), whereas, for a left-handed player, it tends to turn right (LHBH/RHFH). However, this is not a set rule. Most of the players report that the discs usually turn left unless they throw a Hyzer.

Fade and the Shape of the Disc

A couple of factors such as the shape of the disc, and air/wind pressure on it will determine how much the disc will fade. Firstly, it is the shape of the disc.

  • A disc that is overstable and has a high fade will have a higher nose and sharper leading edge.
  • A disc that is shaped more like a dome will be understable and will not fade as much as a higher nose disc.

Secondly, as the disc falls and spins through the air, the air is no longer pushing over the top of the disc, instead, it is exerting an upward force on it. This upward force creates a lift on one side of the disc. If the disc is spinning in a clockwise direction (common for an RHBH thrower) then it will fade to the left. If you’re an LHBH or an FHRH thrower, the opposite is true. The disc is spinning in a counterclockwise direction and the disc will fade to the right.

The Disc Golf Flight Chart

Disc golf charts are estimated flight paths of disc golf discs. These charts are closely related to the flight rating numbers and can be greatly valuable when used to research disc characteristics or to build disc golf strategies.

In order to use a flight chart, you enter disc golf specifications, select your dexterity (right hand or left hand), and your arm speed (slower, normal, fast), and the chart will suggest to you how your disc will change its path. You can also enter the specifications of different discs and compare their flight paths.

What is the Difference Between Disc Golf Fade and Turn?

As a beginner, you need discs with minimum fade. Consequently, you go for the discs with low fade and high turn. Turn in disc golf is defined as a disc’s tendency to turn right when thrown backhand by a right-handed player and vice-versa. Turn and fade are two opposite concepts, with an RHBH high-speed throw, the disc turns sharp right, followed by a low-speed fade declining the disc to the left at the end of the flight.

Both turn and fade determine the stability of a disc. Turn is rated on a scale of -5 to +1, discs with a -5 are the most likely to turn and fade less. Similarly, the discs with a flight rating of +1 are less likely to turn and more to fade. Fade is the last number of the flight rating system, and the third number represents turn.

Types of Disc Golf Fade

Under normal conditions and calm winds, a new disc that is not “beat in” or altered due to overuse, will have the following disc golf fade flying ratings:

Stable Putters (0 to 2 Fade):

Discs with low turn and low fade, and offsetting ratings such as 0,0; -1,1; or -2, 2 are considered stable and will tend to fly very straight. These discs have an equal amount of fade and turn so their net finish is neither to the right nor left, they fly straight at the target.

Understable (Distance Drivers) 2 to 4 Fade:

Discs with high fade are typically considered understable distance drivers, where a high turn is offset by a high fade to maximize distance. For example, A disc that has a turn of -3 and fade of 2 can be turned over if desired, but because of its fade of 2, when thrown on a hyzer, it will flip to flat, turn to the right, and fade back to the center for an incredibly long flight pattern. Discs with high turn and low fade are considered understable and will tend to have a flight pattern that finishes to the right (RHBH throw). They start off straight for a short distance before turning to the right and ending with a soft and subtle fade to the left.


Discs with low turn and high fade are considered overstable and will tend to have a flight pattern that finishes to the left (RHBH throw). They will fly very straight out of the hand with little to no turn to the right before fading strongly to the left.

  • Fade rating of 4:  The disc will angle down severely at the end of the flight, causing a sharp hook as the disc slows down and approaches the ground.
  • Fade 0 to 1: These are used for tunnel shots where a lot of hook at the end could send your disc deep into the woods.

Example of Disc Golf Fade: How to Use Disc Golf Fade Effectively in Your Game

Disc golf is a fun sport no matter what, but it is more amusing and enjoyable if you can control the disc the way you want. Let us have a look at how we can effectively use disc golf fade in our game.

Driver Fade:

If you have a strong form with an amazing throw and you are not afraid of using overstable discs, then distance driver discs are the best option. These discs aim at covering maximum distance, the main target is not to achieve putt, but instead to cover as much distance as possible. Some of the discs such as Discmania Tilt, Innova Max, and Innova Monster are known to be the best driver discs out there. Most of these discs have a turn rating of 0 to -1, and a 3 to 5 fade. There are two ways to throw a driver fade:

1.     Release the stable flat disc straight toward the target.

2.     Release the understable disc at a Hyzer angle.

Midrange Fade

Midrange discs are used for a variety of shots such as flex host and short drive approaches. These are designed to provide accuracy and control and that’s why they are effective in many situations. The midrange discs will fade at the end of the flight; however, the accuracy is always at par with the putters. This is the reason why these discs are considered to be bridging the gap between putters and drivers. Here is how you can throw a midrange fade.

Tuck your finger slightly into and underneath the rim, once you have a firm and correctly placed grip, proceed by throwing with 60% to 70% power making a flat release out of the hand.

Fairway Fade

Fairway fading discs are perfect for beginners as well as for those who want their discs to fade slightly as it approaches the target. It is mainly used when controlled distance is a factor, but covering maximum distance is not the goal. Generally, a power grip is used to throw a fairway fade. Take all four fingers onto the bottom side, thumb on the top, and throw the disc with maximum power.

Fairway throws must be made from directly behind the lie. A run-up and normal follow-through, after release, is allowed, unless the lie is within 10 meters of the target. Any shot within 10 meters of the target requires that the player maintain balance and not move past the lie until the disc comes to rest.

Tips to Get the Most Out of Disc Golf Fade

disc golf fade after teeing off

Sometimes despite our best efforts we just cannot get the disc to fade right. Here are a few useful tips that can help you get the most out of your disc golf fade.

  • Choose the right disc. This might be the most cliched and most repeated phrase, but the importance of choosing the right disc cannot be stressed enough. The flight rating displayed on the disc will give you the fade of the disc. If you are a beginner, choose the disc with a 0 to 3 fade. For medium-level players, a 4 to 1 fade is recommended. For tips on increasing your disc golf distance, have a look at this informative post
  • Work on your throw. The way your disc will fade is generally determined by the grip and motion of your hand. For more information on disc golf throwing techniques, you can check out this amazing post.
  • Since no or very few discs will naturally fade right, you can achieve a right-hand fade by working on your forehand throw. You can try the Hyzer flip to make your disc rotate toward the left side which will in turn make your disc fade toward the right. 
  • Some of the discs that go right are Innova Stingray (in a straight line), and Innova Cobra. A beat Innova cobra always goes right, initially, you can play Hyzer flip on it to manipulate its fade toward the right.

In disc golf, as you throw the disc after completing its flying trajectory and at the time when it is about to lose motion and stability, the disc will fade to the right or left side instead of going in a straight line. This fading property of a disc is denoted by a rating system printed on all disc golf discs; on a scale of 0 to 5, the more stable disc with the least fade will have a 0 to 1 fade. A disc close to 4 to 5 fade is more unstable and likely to fade strongly. As you progress in your game, you can use fade to place the most technical throws, for instance, a midrange fade could be your best shot at getting a putter.

In this post, we have extensively covered fade and what does fade means in disc golf however, if you want to know more feel free to explore other disc golf guides on the website. 

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