When you first start looking into buying some new discs, you will notice a set on four numbers printed on the front of the disc (pictured). There are a few brands that are exceptions to the rule (ex: Prodigy), but for the most part, manufacturers will put these numbers on their discs to help the customer have a general understanding of how they are designed to fly when thrown flat in ideal conditions.
What do these numbers mean?
Ranges from 1 to 15 : Speed is the rate at which a disc can travel through the air. Speed 14 Distance Drivers are the fastest, having the PDGA maximum legal wing width. Faster discs cut into the wind with less effort and are best when throwing up wind. Slower discs take more power to throw upwind, but they’re easier to throw more accurately and may actually go farther downwind. High speed discs are not recommended for beginners as they require more power to fly properly.
Ranges from 1 to 7 : Glide describes the discs ability to maintain loft during flight. Discs with more glide are best for new players, and for producing maximum distance. Beginners wanting more distance should choose discs with more glide. Discs with less glide are more accurate in high wind situations. As is the case in many area of disc golf, you will often have to sacrifice distance for accuracy (or vice versa). With a slower arm speed, you will rarely be able to achieve distance and accuracy effectively.
Ranges from +1 to -5 : High Speed Turn is the tendency of a disc to turn over or bank to the right (for RHBH throws) during the initial part of the flight. A disc with a +1 rating is most resistant to turning over, while a -5 rating will turn the most. Discs rated -3 to -5 make good roller discs. Discs with less turn are more accurate in the wind. Discs with more turn are easier to throw for beginners. A headwind will make a disc fly more understable than the numbers represent because the disc is moving faster relative to the air around it, causing it to "turn" more.
Ranges from 0 to 5 : Low Speed Fade is the discs tendency to hook left (for RHBH throws) at the end of the flight. Fade is rated from 0 to 5. A disc rated 0 will finish straightest, while a disc rated 5 will hook hard at the end of the flight. High fade discs are usually used for Spike and Skip shots. Generally, when you use a disc with a higher fade, you will be more accurate but achieve less distance. Higher fade discs are usually recommended for throwing into headwinds, since the higher fade will fight the wind and resist turning over.