Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Discraft Only Bag

Discraft is the first disc brand I've thrown where I can confidently say that I'm not really missing anything when my disc choices are limited to only Discraft. Part of it has to do to the fact that several of my normal go to discs, like the Flick, Buzzz, are already part of my normal mixed bag. The Buzzz is just a great midrange, and the super flat top of the Flick makes it my favorite disc for forehand shots.

Discraft is one of the original two "big" disc manufacturers. They have multiple discs of just about every variety and stability in a plethora of plastic options. I'm able to more consistently get a bit more distance with some non Discraft discs, but when it comes to doing a more than adequate job for every shot I've needed on my two test courses, Discraft has filled that need, and my average scores prove it. Thus far, my best average scores on both courses are obtained when throwing only Discraft. 

Because Discraft has so many discs to choose from, and there are only so many slots in my bag, I selected the following discs for my bag:

Distance Drivers:
Z Flick - Big forehand drives that need to finish fading right.
ESP Crank - Long Distance Drives that need to stay stable and fade to the finish at the end of the flight.
X Wildcat - Max Distance shots where I want a little high speed turn action to kick in. 
Z Surge SS - Pretty much the same as the Wildcat. I'm not sure which of the two I liked better.
ESP Avenger SS -  Understable Driver

Control Drivers:
ESP Predator - Shots that needed to hook hard.
Titanium Mantis - Controlled drives with consistent fading finish.
ESP XL - Straight Drives with a little turn.
X Xpress - Understable Driver

Midrange:
Z Buzzz OS: Forehand Approach Shots
Z Buzzz: Workhorse Mid
ESP Meteor: Straight midrange shots.

Putters:
Soft Challenger: Putting Putter
Ringer & Zone: Overstable Drives. Not sure which of the two I liked better.
Banger GT: Approach shots of all varieties. Short Drives.
I also carried a Focus and Magent in my bag, but didn't like these putters nearly as much as I liked the Challenger. 

Not only did throwing only Discraft satisfy my adequate disc needs, but by testing the Discraft only bag, I also discovered a new "must have" disc -- The Banger GT.

I'd originally tried this putter with the unique groove on the top a few years back, but I only ever really used it as a putting putter. When it comes to approach shots and really short drives, I absolutely love the Banger. The thumb groove allows me to get more spin, and have more control when I hold the disc with my fan grip. After my test rounds, I had to use the Banger in my recent tournament. 

Around here locally, Discraft gets a lot of bad rap. There are a lot of disc golfers who feel it is inferior plastic and refuse to throw it. The reality is that most of their discs are at least as good as any other discs out there, and the best thing is that they are actually a little less expensive than most of the other popular brands.  

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Prodigy Only Bag

When I first started throwing Prodigy Only, I thought I figured out why Will Shusterick's PDGA rating had dropped in the last year. For me anyways, there are a lot of missing holes in the Prodigy Lineup for what I like, and am used to.

Nevertheless, my average disc golf scores throwing Prodigy Only, were even better than my MVP only, which is even better than my Mixed bag score at the technical Providence Course.

I'm not going to say that the reason my scores are better is because Prodigy Discs are better, really I think It's because I've just been playing more solidly lately, especially my Putt Game -- which might actually say something about the quality of the Prodigy Putters.

My Prodigy Bag included nearly all of the Prodigy discs with the exception of the D1 and the D4 (which are actually the two originally released Prodigy Drivers, ironic I guess.) Nearly all the discs I have are in 400S plastic with the exception being the X1 (750) the PA-3 (350G)  M5 (300S) the D3 (350RX).

What I like about Prodigy


The number one thing I like about Prodigy is the plastic blends. I think the 400 Serious plastic is great for drivers and midrange discs. It's durable, but grippy enough for a nice release. The 750G plastic feels like a premium blend ought to. It has a few minor scratches and has withstood a beating, but still continues to fly straight.

Where Prodigy Leaves Me Wanting


Most of the drivers I typically throw are in the speed 8-11 range. Prodigy currently has Fairway Drivers that all have a speed of roughly 7, and Distance Drivers with a speed of 13. While I do like the Prodigy fairway drivers, the Distance Drivers are just too much for me. In the 400S plastic, even the D5 is too overstable for me. It rarely turns at all with my backhand throws. Knowing that, I grabbed myself a light weight 148g 350RX D3, which to my surprise is actually a little too understable. Part of it is the weight, but I'm thinking that the RX plastic is substantially more understable. The driver this fast that is this understable for me is the Vibram Lace.

Favorite Prodigy Discs

My two favorite prodigy discs are the F7 and the M4. The F7 is a slightly understable straight flying fairway driver that glides really well. This disc just feels good to me and flys well. The M4 is an awesome midrange that I've liked since the first round I threw it. I'd say it's a little less stable than the Buzzz, but still plenty stable enough. I also like the M1 and M2 (can't really tell much difference between the two) these are great power driving midranges when you don't want your mid to turn over. I also found myself using the X1 for most of my forehand throws. I may have used the D1 a bit more if I had it. The D2, worked well for my distance throws, until I lost it in a tree.

The Vibram Only Disc Golf Bag

It took me some time to get use to throwing Vibram golf discs. There are some that I really like, where I think the rubber makes the discs better, but some of their discs I would consider below average.

My Vibram disc golf bag includes all the Vibram discs currently on the market, (minus the OLace I lost at the Providence course) two Laces that fly quite differently and three Summits that all have different stabilities.

There are three different blends of X-Link plastic, soft, medium, and hard. My Vibram bag consists almost primarily just of medium. My Ascent fairway driver is the only firm in the lot, and I don't throw any of the soft stuff, which is REALLY soft. In general, I like grippy plastic for backhand drives, and smooth plastic forehand throws. For midrange shots I like a smoother plastic to minimize grip lock, and I've already been using Vibram for my approach discs. Vibram doesn't really have a "smooth" plastic, so that leaves me somewhat lacking.

Distance Drivers 

When it comes to Distance drivers, Vibram really excels.

Lace - The Lace bombs, and I can get as much distance out of this disc as any other golf disc on the market. I have two Laces a max weight 174g that is pretty overstable for me, and a 164g which is slightly understable but overall very straight. It's the 164g Lace that I throw when I'm looking for BIG distance. For as fast and glidey as the Lace is, it is a really straight flying driver.

UnLace - The unLace is one of the most fun discs to throw out there. It's amazing how far this disc will fly with very little power. I love using this disc for 'gentle throws' that where I still want some distance without fading left at the end of the flight. When I throw the unLace hard, it turns over so hard it's unreal. I can release this disc on a hyzer and it still flips over and turns right. For me this is a utility disc, but I highly recommend the unLace for newer players looking for easy distance.

Solace - My biggest problem with Vibram has been that the x-Link compound is too grippy for me to get clean forehand releases with. Even though my medium Solace is very grippy, this disc is Overstable enough that even when I hold on too long and release at an anhyzer angle, it comes back. One interesting thing about the Solace is that it doesn't skip nearly as much as other discs. I'd prefer my Flicks, or an MVP Motion over the Solace, but this disc is adequate for me for my sidearm throws. I think I'd like it even more in X-Link Firm Plastic.

OLace - The OLace never found much use for me, and it got lost anyways. It's a little too overstable for me to throw backhand, but not stable enough to flick -- that's how I lost it, turned over and didn't come back. My heavier Lace and OLace fly very similarily anyways, so I'm not really missing this one after losing it in the woods.

Fairway Drivers 

The Vibram fairway drivers are adequate, but by throwing only Vibram, I do miss having an understable fairway driver. Perhaps a lighter weight beat in Trak would fit that spot, but that's not something I have.

Trak- Ever since I got a Trak in my first Birdie Bash, I've always liked this fairway driver. It's just a good workhourse driver for mostly straight, slightly left hooking shots around 300 feet.

Ascent - My Ascent is in X-Link Firm and it works well enough for my shorter forehand shots when I release it on a hyzer angle. However, this disc isn't quite as overstable as I would like.

Midrange Discs

My biggest complaints with throwing Vibram only, is with the Midrange discs. The Ibex works alright with stable midrange shots, but I don't love the feel or flight. I wish that the Obex were a little more overstable, and really don't like the feel of that disc. I do miss my Buzzz and Suspect when I'm throwing Vibram mids. With the domeyness of the Vibram mids, I'm not comfortable flicking them.

Putt and Approach Discs

I really like the Vibram Putt and Approach discs, especially as approach discs (I do use them in my regular bag). In my normal bag I have both a Ridge and a Summit, but since I've been using Vibram only, I think I like the VP better than the Ridge. For long approach shots and putts, I like to release on an anhyzer angle. The VP is stable enough that it will come back at the end of the flight.

For actual putting, I think the Sole has a great feel and flight. It's firm enough for me, but soft enough that it releases nicely and does a good job sticking to the chains.

While my average disc golf scores are a little higher with Vibram, with just a few additions and some more practice, I'm pretty sure I could score just as well by throwing only Vibram.





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.