I’ve had lots more lessons this year than last and there’s been plenty with folks who picked up disc golf during the pandemic. It’s been a whirlwind of new players every day. It used to be the same people I’d see each week but now I get faces in the shop that I’ve never seen.
I think it’s awesome to have more folks out there on the course. The only gatekeeping I’ll do will be to make sure that people are following some basic disc golf etiquette. If you’re out there making sure you don’t hit people, you’re not littering, not blasting music across the course, and generally being a good person then I’m pumped to see you.
So you’ve had that Innova/Discraft/Dynamic Discs starter kit for a few months and now you’re starting to get jealous of your friend Greg who is throwing further than you ON EVERY HOLE! So you went out to your local pro shop and bought an orange Champion Boss at 175g. You hid it from your friends until you got out on hole 4 and then everyone admired your new disc as you pulled it from your bag. You then psyched yourself up and threw it as hard as you could. But your Boss went about 120 feet straight, 30 feet high, and 50 feet left. And you would have been better off throwing your Innova DX Shark because that goes further.
Alright, maybe that’s just… someone else’s experience (definitely not mine).
Starter packs are pretty self explanatory, starter means you’re not using it forever. It’s time to branch out and pay a little extra for those premium blends.
By all means please keep your starter pack discs! That putter is probably still good for a while, if not as a primary putter then a great turnover disc. It’s been 11 years of putting with the same starter pack Aviar for my dad. So they do have life. Your DX driver is going to be an excellent roller, maybe it’s something you can throw in the woods when you need a utility disc. There are plenty of uses, including when you’ve stopped throwing them and want your family member or friend to play.
But let’s get onto what I mean about premium plastics being an upgrade. I’m going to use the Leopard as an example because I’m pretty familiar with it.
The DX Leopard is great. I still have the one from my starter pack back in 2011 in my collection. It’s hit hundreds of trees in its time. At this point it’s a little too beat in for me, but I like letting people try it when they’re just getting into the sport.
I have a Champion Wraith and ESP Meteor that I purchased at the same time. Both of them have been in my bag for 10 years. But I took the Leopard out in year 2 or 3 of me playing.
As a disc gets “beaten in”, “seasoned”, or “flippy” it can sometimes become too unreliable in its flight pattern. There’s no real set standard for this, when you find that your disc isn’t doing what you expect, then it’s time to retire it.
So what’s the benefit of discs in Star or Champion plastic?
Discs in Star and Champion plastic keep the same flight pattern longer. Because they’re built from stronger material they won’t take out gouges that are as big when they hit trees/rocks/metal. When that Star Leopard lasts longer with the same flight path you’re going to find that you get better with it. You get more throws, and the flight remains more consistent. So that means more practice for you.
Champion is the same thing, it’s much more durable. It’s even more durable than star plastic.
What you get are discs that take much longer to beat in, and they’re going to be more overstable right away than your DX will be.
Neither plastic is really better than the other. I have discs in both, and all my putters are a baseline plastic because that feels the best and catches the best in the chains for me.
How to not lose your new discs as quickly.
First things first - INK THEM. When someone buys a disc in the shop I direct them to our little table that has Sharpies on it. It’s much harder to get back to you if you don’t put your name and number on it. Make sure you make it legible too please.
Don’t throw that new 12 speed driver on a wooded hole for your first throw. I have plenty of discs that are practically brand new and lost. One of the keys to finding a disc that’s lost in the woods is knowing it’s flight path. If you don’t hear it hit a tree, it continued the full flight. My first throw with a disc is on a wide open hole where I can learn what it’s going to do. I have to wait until Hole 4 here on the Hawk but it’s worth it so I can always find it.
So that’s it? Just buy more expensive versions of the disc I already own? (Skeptical Emoji)
No. Feel free to branch out and try new discs. People often think that just because a disc is a 9 speed that it’s the same. But there are Roadrunners, Firebirds, Thunderbirds and Valkyries as 9 speed drivers. And those discs all do wildly different things when thrown!
Read any of the discs on our website. They’ll explain the flight path and you can try to see what’s out there that sounds fun to you.
I think another great thing is to ask the people around you what they’re throwing. My best friend Cole threw the Sidewinder for years, and my little brother does as well. I kind of just assumed that their forehand throws were forbidden magic or something. Then I tried them out and ended up buying my own.
You’re going to buy discs that don’t work for you. That’s the nature of the game. Others will be amazing and you’ll wonder how you ever played without them. If you’ve outgrown your starter pack and you’re looking for more discs to try then try out other people’s discs, find one in a shop that feels good in your hands, and try something a little bit out of your comfort range (If you’re throwing the Leopard well maybe step up and try the Beast). The tendency is for people to purchase 14 speed drivers because they think higher numbers fly further. This is not the case, here’s a blog about matching discs to arm speeds. You’ll find yours soon.
Starter packs are how many people get started in our sport. But the ability to customize your bag with discs is kind of awesome. If you’re feeling comfortable with the 3 discs you own, or that you’ve kind of reached a plateau in your game then try some discs out.
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397