Anyone who’s played disc golf on a cold day knows that discs feel and fly quite differently (normally WORSE) in the winter than they do in the summer.
But what is the cause, and what can you do to prevent the loss of performance?
Choosing Winter Disc Golf Discs
In this Video Guide and supplement, we’ll help you find the best possible winter disc golf discs by providing:
- Detailed analysis of winter disc performance (In the Video)
- Specific cold weather disc selection guidelines (In the Video)
- The #1 Winter plastic selection for each major manufacturer (listed below)
- Supplemental links for additional detail on the research & science (listed below)
Winter Disc Golf Video Guide
Before you read any further, watch this video to learn everything you need to know about winter disc golf discs and flight:
Top Winter Plastic Selections
We’ve combined our testing with specific input from the major disc manufacturers to create the top winter plastic recommendation for every major brand.
The plastics below provide the best options to maintain superior grip, flexibility, and flight performance — even when very cold.
Don’t see your favorite brand? Let us know in the comments below and we will add it!
Links to Resources
Coefficients of Linear Thermal Expansion: Shows the exact degree of shrink/expansion for different materials when heated or cooled.
Thermal Area Change Formula: Calculates the change in total surface area of a material when cooled
NASA Lift Formula: Calculates the change in total lift based on the change in the surface area of the wing (disc)
Air Density Calculator: Calculates air density based on temperature, humidity, and pressure.
Glass Transition Temperatures: Shows the temperature at which different polymers become very brittle.
What are YOUR favorite winter discs and plastics?
We hope you’ll take a minute to share the discs and plastics that you have had success with in the winter!
Please enter any advice/tips you’d like to add in the Comments section below!
Thanks in advance for sharing!
Abridged Video Transcription
(Admin Content Omitted, plus rephrasing to adjust for absence of graphics)
Welcome to Best Disc Golf Discs video guide series. In this episode we’ll be covering the best disc golf discs for winter.
The most often reported winter impacts are the reduced flight distances of the discs, as well as the more overstable flight patterns from the discs.
For example, if you have a disc that normally gives you a relatively balanced flight pattern, in the winter that same disc will most likely give you a shorter flight distance as well as a more overstable flight pattern.
Additionally, in the wintertime discs tend to have less grip, become very stiff, and become more likely to crack and break.
Let’s talk a little bit about the specific causes of each, and what you can do to address them.
Before we get into the direct effects, it’s important to note that bulky clothing, cold muscles, and slippery footing can all lead to a lower release velocity which will, of course, reduce your distance and lead to more stable flights, which can further accentuate your loss of distance.
Anytime you’re playing in the winter, please ensure you are properly warmed up and wearing the right gear.
In the winter, players are dealing with two things: cold air, and a cold disc.
An often misunderstood fact is that cold, dry air is actually more dense than warm humid air.
As a specific example: let’s take a warm, humid day of 90 degrees Fahrenheit with 80% relative humidity, compared to a day where it’s only 30 degrees Fahrenheit with 40% relative humidity. All other factors being the same the air on the cold day will be 12% denser than it was on the warm, humid day.
When discussing cold air and its effect on aerodynamics, people often reference the fact that dense air will increase the amount of drag on the disk. While this is true, what people often overlook is that dense air will increase all aerodynamic effects, including Lift (which should help keep the disc aloft longer, resulting in more distance) and the impact of turbulence across the flight plate which will actually make the disc appear more understable.
The net impact of these often conflicting effects is very difficult to calculate and could vary significantly from disc to disc. For this reason, our focus will be on the management of the cold disc.
There are three primary impacts of the cold on discs.
The first is that they become harder to grip. This problem has the relatively easy solution of choosing a plastic with very-high grip, so as the disc loses grip when chilled it still retains an acceptable grip level.
The second issue is that the discs become more stiff and brittle, and the third is that the plastic shrinks.
The challenge with these last two effects is that they vary significantly by plastic type.
For example, Polypropylene becomes very brittle at the relatively high temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and certain types of Polyethylene can actually experience enough shrinkage when cold to result in a 3% reduction and lift which will definitely be noticed over the course of a 300-foot flight.
With all this variability, the question immediately becomes, “how do I know which plastic to use?”
NOTE: See Plastics Guide Above
Putting everything together into one plan, the first step is to use high-grip plastic.
The second step is to slightly decrease the stability of the discs you use during the winter.
The third step is to give this video a “thumb’s up” and subscribe to our channel — Note: did you to that? 😉
The fourth is fo visit our website for the complete listing of plastics by brand recommended for winter play (above).
The fifth step is to let us know your experience in the comment section below.
Thank you for watching and reading! If you have any questions, please feel free to enter them in the comments below, or by using our contact page.
Have a great winter round!