While it may not be ideal, the short answer is, “Yes.” In fact, when Frisbee Golf was originally invented “regular frisbees” or “lids” is what everyone used.
However, the game has evolved. Disc manufacturers over the years have been perfecting the art of making discs exclusively for disc golf. There are multiple categories of discs designed for different types of throws like there are multiple types of clubs for different shots in golf. For maximum satisfaction, you will want to use discs designed specifically for disc golf.
Traditional Frisbees are usually lighter weight and have a larger diameter. These discs are designed not only to be thrown but also to be caught. This means they have a much more blunt and comfortable rim. The lighter weight and more gradual aerodynamics don’t allow regular frisbees to handle much power, and they are far more finicky in the wind. Disc golf discs have a smaller diameter and are designed with only one purpose–throwing. A disc golf disc gives you substantially more control, distance potential, and control in the wind.
To be fair, it also depends on what kind of regular Frisbee or disc you are using. Here are some of the more common Frisbees you might have around your house that aren’t disc golf discs.
These are technically called, Ultimate discs. A high quality Frisbee, like a 175g Discraft Ultra Star will work fairly well for beginners and is easy to control, especially if you have an Ultimate background and are used to throwing them. Experienced Ultimate players can generally throw an Ultimate disc up to 300 feet. In fact, many Ultimate Frisbees are actually PDGA Approved, which means these discs are legal to use in disc golf tournament play. The two biggest disadvantages you’ll find by using an Ultimate Frisbee is that it does not have as much distance potential and it is much more difficult to putt with. The larger size and lighter weight to size ratio make it much more difficult to hit a putt on a disc golf basket.
Cheapo Promo Frisbee
If the “Frisbee” you are referring to is a cheapo promo frisbee that you received from a dentist’s office or local parade, you will probably want to leave that disc at home. Inexpensive promo discs are very light weight, typically less than 100 grams, and can only be thrown for about 30 feet before you completely lose control.
With the typical disc golf hole distance at about 300 feet, it will take a lot of frustrating throws to reach the basket, so if you’re using this kind of disc, chances are that you will get frustrated quickly and not enjoy the sport.
Nothing flies farther than an open ring Aerobie disc. It’s possible to throw these for more than 1000 feet on flat ground in calm winds. The aerodynamics of an Aerobie allow for easy distance, so for beginners, an Aerobie may be a good choice IF you are playing on a wide open course without many trees and obstacles.
The biggest problem with using an Aerobie for frisbee golf is that they get stuck in every tree. It’s almost as if the big hole in the middle is a tree magnet. So unless you like climbing trees, you’ll probably want to leave your Aerobie at home. In addition, because Aerobies go so far so easily, they also go very far…in the wrong direction. This can quickly add strokes to your Frisbee golf round. Discs without the hole in the middle made by Aerobie such as the Super Disc or the Squidgie will work well enough for a beginners round of disc golf. These Aerobie discs are not PDGA approved for tournament play, so if you want to get serious about the sport, you’ll want to to get your practice in with a discs actually designed for Frisbee golf.