In 2020 due to Covid concerns many sports were halted, even disc golf for a brief time. One of those sports was Ultimate Frisbee. Last year I saw that dozens of ultimate players had made the temporary transition to disc golf. One of the teams formed a disc golf league, where they would go and compete on different courses each week in Maine. I love that they started their own mini tour for a season.
Ultimate players and disc golfers are different folks, but we all love throwing plastic.
I saw some people with a full backpack, others with the starter pack, and some had just the Ultrastar tucked underneath their arm for the round.
Since then I’ve been tempted to see how I would do. Can I make par on the disc golf course with a Discraft Ultrastar?
I mean that’s what courses were originally designed for (decades ago). I’ve probably linked this video in a previous blog, but it’s worth watching again. The 1977 World Championships are what our sport started out as. Imagine a 200 foot wide open hyzer shot at worlds now. The closest I can think of is Hole 6 at Smugglers Notch, a 270 foot wide open hyzer where 75% of players birdied and 9% managed to get a bogey.
Am I good at frisbee?
I played frisbee with my dad in the church parking lot, on the beach, in the backyard. Played pickup ultimate with friends, and I’ve been banned from Polish horseshoes with friends for being too accurate. So I’m at least okay with a frisbee. I’m sure any ultimate players reading this are laughing at what I would consider “okay” with a frisbee.
I played a round with only the Discraft Ultrastar to see if I could make par. The Hawk seemed like the logical choice to me. So Thursday morning I played a round with just one disc, the Ultrastar.
What did I learn?
Just because you throw an Ultrastar on a hyzer, doesn’t mean it will hyzer. In fact it flipped to flat and then proceeded to turn the rest of the way on almost every throw. I had to aim to the left of my landing zone. As a RHBH thrower this was basically the opposite of what I’ve done the last 11 years.
Forehand I learned quickly wasn’t much of an option. Both times I threw it, I turned it right over. It felt like I was relearning disc golf all over again.
If I was to give flight numbers to this disc it would be 2/4/-3/0. When thrown slow and flat it goes straight. But add any power whatsoever and you had to throw a hyzer flip or you’d end up pretty far to the right.
Putting was hard, it’s just so straight and without hyzer. It was basically push it at the basket and hope that it didn’t glide too far away. I’m so amazed at how those early players in the sport didn’t tear their gorgeous hair out with the number of spit outs they had.
Was the Ultrastar useful?
Not really... At least not more useful than any discs I’ve thrown. Don’t @Me Ultimate players. The frisbee is excellent at being thrown and caught on the field. Disc golf has clearly moved past the need for such a disc. The Rattler is a much more effective version of the Ultrastar if I ever needed something with that much glide. And I can manipulate the Meteor much more effectively, and for another 100+ feet.
I can get more distance with any disc in my bag. I didn’t measure my drives but I’d bet 250-270 was my max drive. I can’t feel that bad about my distance though. I’d say I was right up there with Simon and Paul for frisbee distance, and they were throwing downhill.
For putting, it was difficult. I managed to hit a couple 30 footers but I had 10 footers bounce out hitting the ring. It’s too big to be caught by the chains and land in the basket. Smaller discs are much better and they catch the chains so much better.
I think in closing, I’m salty that I didn’t get par. I know that it’s doable, in fact I had a 60 foot look at an eagle on the last hole and almost put it in to make par.
I usually shoot in the mid/high 50’s on this course. So I was almost a stroke per hole worse with the Ultrastar.
The sport has come a long way since the Ultrastar hit the disc golf scene.
If you’re a disc golfer have you tried the Ultrastar on your local course? Or if you’re an ultimate player I’d love to hear if you break par with an Ultrastar.
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397
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We’re reaching an interesting time in disc golf. Where we’ve got a massive crop of talent at the top. Plenty of other touring pros cash frequently enough without scratching the top 25 in talent and can tour with their winnings and sponsorships.
So let’s take a step back from calling anything other than a win a failure. Improvements from year to year on a course could be a win for some of these players. Finishing top 10 should be considered good for young players. The days of players dominating and winning every single weekend are basically over. Competition is tight at the top, and it’s only getting better.