In the Beginning…
Over the next several months, I’ll be conducting a deep dive into disc selection. I want to dissect how, in my opinion, to put together the perfect bag for you. One of the biggest weaknesses I see with most amateur and casual players is that their bag is in a constant state of flux.
If you head over to our in the bag section and look at some of the top pros (check out Steve Brinster, Ken Climo, and Barry Schultz for great examples), you’ll see that they have been playing with the same discs for years. Every once in a great while you might see them add a new mold. Unless they have switched sponsors, though, they tend to stick to the same tried and true discs that have served them well for years.
Before we can get into the actual selection process, there is some ground work that needs laying. There are a fair number of topics that need addressing before we can begin to talk about the act of picking discs.
To start with, there is one topic fundamental to all the others… Your throw.
Your Throw Matters…
A while ago there was an article posted on the Disc Golf Answer Man website. It claimed that the flight numbers of discs don’t matter. I whole heartedly agree and flight numbers will not be a part of this series of bag building articles.
One of the biggest reasons I think people shouldn’t use flight numbers is that everyone’s throw varies wildly. Head out to your local course and you will see as many different types of throws as you see players throwing.[tweetthis]#discgolf flight numbers don’t matter. [/tweetthis]
While there are a lot of ways to throw a disc well, there are also a lot of ways to throw a disc poorly. They all impact how discs fly. This creates a problem for those with a less than optimal throw. They often select their discs to mask or compensate for their throwing technique. These folks rarely end up with discs that will help their games in the long term. Instead they want to offset either their lack of ability or their refusal to work towards cleaner form. There are a wide spectrum of possibilities here.
For the most part, these players have one thing in common. Regardless of where the opportunity with their throw lies, none of them can throw a stable putter off the tee. At least not with finesse and for a reasonable amount of distance.
The Putter Shall Set You Free…
I harp on this skill all the time. That’s because it’s one of my core disc golf beliefs. I believe that everything good that can happen with a disc golf throw starts with being able to throw a putter for more than just putts. This is the true test of whether your throw is on the right track or not. People often make excuses about how they don’t need or want to do this. That’s usually because they haven’t tried, can’t, or don’t want to put in the effort to learn.
And that’s fine. I can’t make anyone work on this skill. I can’t even make them agree with me. What I can say is this… Nothing I write over the next few months will help someone who doesn’t at least understand the importance of this skill. It would be even more helpful if they took a little bit of time and started working on it.
You see, building the perfect bag for you requires that you can throw discs as they are intended. They are intended to be thrown with no flutter, no off axis torque, and no wrist roll. One of the first few discs I’m going to recommend for your bag is a midrange you can throw in a straight line that finishes straight. That disc doesn’t exist for people that can’t throw a putter well off the tee.
It’s Not That Hard, I Promise…
Let’s back up a step before anyone gets discouraged. First, throwing a putter off the tee well isn’t all that hard. I’ve taught a ton of people to do it. The technique I teach is identical to the stand still technique that Will Shusterick teaches in this video.
If you were to dedicate just one week to learning this skill, you would most likely be able to approach doing it well. Just 3-5 sessions of dedicated field work should have you in great shape. You simply have to commit to making a few changes to your throw.
Second, let’s make sure you are learning this with the right putter. You need something stable. A Swan or a Magnet are not the right discs for this. You need something like a Judge, KC Pro Aviar, Shield, Challenger, Wizard, etc. Check the Inbounds flight charts for discs that fly like these. You are looking for a flight that shows as straight with a little fade, like this:
Third, you don’t need to be perfect. You don’t need to be launching your putters 500 feet like Simon Lizotte. You don’t even need to be able to get them to 300 feet (although that is a completely attainable goal if you work at it). If you can throw a putter straight with no flutter and get it to go 150-200 feet, you are in great shape. You are in even better shape if you can do that with no run up.
Like I said before, this is not that hard. Will’s video and that week of field work should get you there. Commit to working on your throw. I promise it will be one of the single best things you have ever done for your game.
If someone doesn’t want to learn this skill, they shouldn’t. A new skill can only be acquired with an open mind. Besides, it won’t hurt my game or my feelings at all. I know that there is a group of disc golfers out there that will fight this idea to the death. We will never see eye to eye. But everyone is entitled to their opinion. Of course there isn’t a single pro in the world that agrees with them, but hey, some people like to be different. I wish them the best of luck.
I am really looking forward to the upcoming in depth articles on plastic selection and bag building. Probably more than any other articles I’ve written. It’s something we are all passionate about. It’s something we all spend a lot of money pursuing. And it’s something that when done right, will pay you great dividends over your time playing this great sport.
So until the next article, get out there with your putters and start exorcising the wounded duck out of your throw. If you start now, you’ll be ready just in time for our next post! Make sure and let us know how you are progressing in the comments below!
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