Thursday, July 24, 2014

Disc Golf With an Only MVP Bag

My first brand selected for my brand exclusive bag test was MVP. I have always liked MVP since I first tried the Anode and Axis several years ago, but have only "bagged" the new Inspire Distance driver.  Now that they have the full spectrum of available disc types, I was excited to try "MVP" only.

My MVP bag includes all the MVP discs currently on the market with the exception of the Volt and the Switch.

For the most part, my MVP only experiment has gone very successfully, and I absolutely could survive a disc golf tournament with nothing but MVP. If results from recorded rounds are an indication of good discs, then MVP is already a winner.

At the two courses where I'm testing, my Average MVP score is better than my average mixed bag. While a lot of this might just be do to the fact that I've been playing better golf in the last week, there really might be something to the consistency of the discs made by MVP.

What I Like Best about MVP Discs
The thing I like most about MVP golf discs is that they all have flat tops and are excellent for flicking. My forehand has been substantially more consistent since switching to MVP. The neutron plastic drivers all have consistent flat tops, and not so much grip that they slip out of my hand.

The Motion is perfect for those dog leg right shots. The Tesla is superb for long forehand bombs, and I really like the Resistor too for dog leg right drives that aren't quite as long. The Tensor is also a great disc for forehand approach shots.

Up until now, I thought that the Discraft Flick was the only disc consistent enough for me to like as my "in the bag" flick shot. I have my super old, super beat in Flick for the long drives, and my newer Flick for the strategic fades. The Motion and Tesla work as suitable replacements, right out of the box. This is great news for me, especially if I ever lose my "understable" Flick.

Where MVP Only Leaves Me Wanting
There are a couple of areas where I am left wanting by throwing only MVP. First, I don't like either the Anode or Ion as a driving putter. The rims are too deep on these discs as a driving putter for me and I have problems releasing them on time. Now, if I considered Axiom Discs as part of my MVP bag, then I think this gap would be filled as I am a big fan of the Envy as a driving putter. While I like the Anode most of the time for my approach shots, I do miss my grippy Vibram putters at times. Proton Soft is somewhat soft and grippy, but it doesn't give me that feel I get with my fan grip anhzyer approach shots with my Vibram Summit. Also, for putting purposes, the hard MVP rim really doesn't seem to grip chains quite as well as softer putters.

The other area I struggle with is that none of the discs are, at least in the weights I have and right out of the box are "understable enough." When I'm looking for a right turning drive, I can't get with MVP right now what I get out of my Latitude 64 River and my Discraft Avenger SS. Perhaps as these discs beat in a little more, that problem will be solved. It might also help if I had the Switch to throw as it's supposed to be the most understable of the MVP fairway drivers.

While I love the Inertia for backhand drives, occasionally it slips out of my hand a little to early. I typically like grippier drivers for backhand throws. It's the middle of summer, and really hot right now, but the lack of grip provided by MVP might really have some adverse consequences for cold wet winter play.

MVP Discs I Could Live With Out
During my test rounds, I found all sorts of shots where I wanted to use the different MVP discs. The only disc I found to be pretty worthless is the Vector. For the overstable midrange spot, I just like the Tensor better, and so rarely pulled out the Vector.

Friday, July 18, 2014

If You Can Only Use One Brand of Discs - My Mixed Bag of Discs

Most disc golfers I know have a mixed bag of discs, meaning, they throw discs from more than one manufacturer. Most have their preferences, where the majority of their discs are from that same manufacturer. I'm a little unique among disc golfers having tried nearly every disc on the market. I have a very diverse bag, and throw discs that I find work very well for me. Now, I'm regularly tweaking select discs now and then, but my bag has been pretty set with the keepers for a while now.

My bag includes nine different brands of discs. It is currently used as follows:

Distance Drivers:

Westside King - Opto 171g - I throw the King when I really want to go for it with a full power backhand throw, but want to make sure I fade back at the end of my flight.
Innova Destroyer, Blizzard Champion 147g - The Destroyer is my wide open field backhand distance driver of choice. It's not the most consistent disc for me, but when I throw right this thing goes the distance for me.
Discraft Flick,  Z 167g, My pink Flick super beat up, and not crazy overstable anymore. This is the disc I use for forehand distance. This thing turns a bit on me, but still always fades back. I need discs with super flat tops, like the Flick for my forehand releases. I can get more distance out of other drivers, but don't have nearly the consistency that I do with the Flick.
Discraft Flick, Z 172g - My Orange, newer Flick is substantially more overstable than my old Pink one. This disc is used when I want to make sure my forehand throws don't turn over, and finish hard to the right at the end of the flight.
MVP Inertia, Neutron 171g - The Inertia is my consistent backhand distance driver. When I want distance, but don't want to try and throw as hard as I can, this is the disc I use.
Discraft Avenger SS, ESP, 167g - This disc is super under-stable. It's a utility disc for me that I use when I need to make sure I turn to the right. I also use this disc for very steep up hill throws, or occasionaly if I try a roller.

Fairway Drivers:

Westside Stag, Tournament - The Stag is my go to fairway driver. It's used for straight shots with a slight end of flight fade.
Latitude 64 Saint, Opto Line - My current Saint is my overstable driver. This thing is way different than my last Saint and hooks consistently hard. Despite what the flight ratings say, this disc is substantially more overstable than my Stag.
Latitude 64 River - Goldline - When I want a straight shot that's not going to fade at the end of the flight, or a throw that will curve slightly to the right with my backhand throws, the River is the disc I pull out. This thing glides like crazy. It turns a little, and hardly fades at all at the end of the flight.
Innova Banshee, Champion - The Banshee is a utility driver that rarely comes out of my bag. This disc is reserved for very busy days and rare hook shots where I want to curve hard left on a backhand throw.
Axiom Inspire, Neutron - The Inspire is a beautiful 1776 edition that I had to put in the bag because it looks so cool. This disc is a little more overstable than my River, and works great for get out of trouble forehand shots that I want to turn right. Don't throw this too much, but it makes my bag look pretty.

Midrange Discs:

Prodigy M1 - 400S 175g - The M1 is my main driving midrange when I have an open fairway on the right. My moderate throw with this disc consistently goes about 270feet. This thing heads straight line and then fades pretty hard at the end of the flight.
Dynamic Discs Suspect - Dymax Lucid 174g, The Suspect is my primary forehand approach mid. When I need to make a forehand approach shot, the flat top of the Suspect just does it for me. I also drive with this backhand a lot when I don't want to go quite as far as I would with my Buzzz or M1. I use it for fading approach shots once in a while too.
Discraft Buzzz, Elite Z 175g - The Buzz is used for all my stable midrange needs. I use it mostly backhand but occasionally flick it as well.
ABC Mission - My mission is ultra straight. It's like my slower River, this disc goes straight and really doesn't fade at all. When I want to go straight at the basket, this is the mid I throw.

Putt and Approach Discs:

Vibram Ridge, X-Link Medium - The Ridge is my stable driving putter. When I want to drive with a putter, I trust the stability and durability of the Vibram Ridge.
Vibram Summit, X-Link Medium - The Summit is my primary approach disc. I also choose this disc for long putts, and anhyzer shots. I like the feel of Vibram for my fan grip approaches.
ABC Money, Bronze 175g - This is my putting putter. I use it for all putts within about 30 feet. It just feels right to me with the right degree of grip and stiffness, and a good bulky feel that fits my hand. The Money putter stays straight for me out to about 25 feet, so I aim for the middle of the chains, and let the money do the work.  I have a brown one that is a little bit stiffer that I use during the summer, and a blue one that weighs 172g that I used in the winter.

So this is my current bag.

For the rest of the summer I'm going to throw rounds using only discs by each individual company. I'm starting with MVP and will probably go from there. We will see if I can feel fully complete with each brand of discs, or find that there are certain spots that can only be filled by certain discs of a certain brand.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Best Disc Golf Brand

What is the best disc golf brand?

That question is very subjective, and there are a lot of ways you can look at what makes each individual brand good.

The Infinite Discs blog put out a survey that asked different questions like, what brand is the leader in disc golf today, what brand has the best reputation, and what brand is the most innovative. Depending on the questions that were asked, the results varied.

Most Anticipated New Disc Releases
Innova clearly is the leader in disc golf, but looking forward people are more excited about new discs that will be coming out from Latitude 64 and MVP.

For the recreational disc golfer, a good brand is going to make discs that will perform well and help the disc golfer get the best throws and the best score. This is where the disc golf test lab will be measuring results this summer. I'm going to clean out my diverse bag, and place only discs from the same brand in it. Once I have enough scores recorded from my regular courses I'll clean my bag out again with a new brand.

Stay tuned for updates on my experiences throwing only specific brands at a time.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Three New Drivers Great for Beginners

It's kind of funny, nearly all of the newly released golf discs this year are similar. Moderate speed understable drivers targeted at the beginner disc golfer.

I had the opportunity yesterday to test out three of these new disc: the Legacy Mongoose, the Westside Hatchet, and the Dynamic Discs Witness.

All three of them had similar flight paths, and were all pretty awesome. It's really pretty rare that we see a bad golf disc these days, and there are getting to be so many similar flying discs from the many different manufacturers that it's really all about your preference of brand, plastic blend, and disc look.

Of the three new discs, the Hatchet was the least understable. When I threw that one with about 70% power it didn't turn at all but held its line nicely with a nice end of flight fade. When I threw it with a full power run up it had a nice big glidey turn followed by a come back end of flight fade. I was able to get the Hatchet out past 350 feet, which is a very good drive for me. This distance was further to the right than what I was actually aiming, but it really wasn't that far off.

Both the Mongoose and the Witness are nice and understable, but not so flippy that they crashed into the ground without getting any distance. I was able to get good distance out of these discs as well, and exceeded 330 feet with both of them. A few of my throws during my round with the Witness flipped up and held their Anhyzer line without really coming back at all. I didn't have any Mongoose throws that didn't come back with low speed fade at least a little bit.

All in all, these discs are all great for newer disc golfers. Their flight ratings are right on and they fly similarly to the Innova Sidewinder or Roadrunner.

If you're looking for a cool looking new driver that gets easy distance, you may as well try out the new Witness, Hatchet, or Mongoose. Just figure out the stamp you like best, and you'll have a winner.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Finding The Best Driver for Beginners

I'm not exactly a disc golf beginner any more. And, while I can recommend discs that seem like they should work well for beginners, there really might be something better.

We put it to the test by giving a beginner more than 50 different discs to throw, to determine which ones he could consistently throw farthest with a backhand drive.

While the standard Innova beginner set includes the understable Innova Leopard (which is a good beginner disc). Adam was able to throw the lower speed distance drivers (8-10) farther. Ultra high speed drivers, even the very understable ones, did not perform well. In terms of pure distance, fairway drivers in general didn't get nearly as much distance as did the moderate distance drivers.

With hundreds of throws included from the top 13 discs, Adam's average throwing distance was 195 feet with a median of 187. His max distance of 270 feet was achieved with both the Innova Sidewinder and Valkyrie. For the test we threw out any throws that were completely shanked.  Here are the results.

After several qualifying rounds, the top five drivers for beginners were:
 Interestingly enough, these diss are all manufactured by Innova (Innova manufacturers Millennium discs too). The top NON Innova discs were the:

Now not everybody is going to throw like Adam does, and the weight of a disc can make a big difference in how far it will travel for a beginner, but it's a pretty safe bet that most beginners will see improved distance with the drivers that performed best four our beginner.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Straightest Flying Midrange

Our current project here at the disc golf test lab is to find the straightest flying midrange disc. We're looking for the best discs for tunnel shots.

Currently we are testing understable mid-range discs by all the manufacturers that make understable mids. I'm thinking that an understable mid will perform best in our tests as they are the least likely to have significant end of flight fade. We will also test out discs from the many stable mids manufactured.

From our first few rounds of testing, the Innova Wolf has performed very well for me, despite the fact that I have already given this disc a very poor review.

This picture shows the tunnel shot we're using for our tests.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Finding the Most Durable Disc Plastic

There are substantial differences between the different plastic grades used for golf disc manufacturing.

But how do these plastics really compare between the different brands? Is Discraft Pro-D better than Innova DX? What about Latitude 64 Opto versus Innova Champion or Discraft Z?

To answer this question we've started a series of tests aimed at finding the most durable plastic. We have test discs consisting of nearly every plastic type and are throwing all the discs an equal amount.

We have both mid range discs and fairway drivers set aside for this experiment. After approximately 50 throws on rocky/wooded terrain, there are a few plastics that have stuck out as inferior thus far. Prodiscus Basic and Latitude 64 Zero Line are clearly not very durable. These plastics are soft and grippy, but if you're looking for a disc that is going to hold its flight path over time, these are not the plastics to choose.

It will take a lot more time to weed out the most durable discs, but after the first 50 throws, it clearly looks like Vibram Rubber holds its form best. The Obex we are testing has almost no noticeable dings or nicks. Stay tuned for more results testing disc durability.