YORKTON - There is little more fun in disc golf than getting out on a course with some new discs to try, and good guys to throw those discs with.
That is especially true when you are going to throw discs from a relatively new company, in this case Obsidian out of Finland, a hotspot country in terms of the sport.
For this particular day we decided to hit the road for some disc golf on a couple of courses we hadn’t played in ages, Shaker City Disc Golf in Benito, Man. for a couple of rounds, then a stop on the way back home to throw Kamsack.
I must mention in between a great take-out burger and homemade fries in Benito, which is on our must get back to this fall list.
But back to disc golf, and the Benito course, one of the oldest in the region it is built on an old bike race course, so is a bit limited, although I’d suggest half the baskets are nicely placed, the remainder a bit too open – they could use some trees. That said one of the first rules of course design is you make due with the space you have, and that the small town of Benito has a basket course is a compliment to the effort there.
Kamsack is also a basket course, and while I had a hand in its design so I may be a tad prejudiced, I think it’s a great course with some longer holes, some nice out-of-bounds areas, and a great tunnel toss to finish the day on. (Note the Kamsack course will host one of the three legs on the Legacy Co-op Disc Golf Tour Sept. 24. Churchbridge (Oct. 8) and Yorkton (Oct. 29) are the other stops.)
Between the two courses there were lots of different shots to make with the Obsidian discs.
So, for this little trip Trevor Lyons was along, a regular running buddy for disc golf, and a lefty ‘tosser’ so he gives new discs a different look too. Then there was my son Adam, young, tall, who throws a forehand drive a lot farther than his ‘old man’ ever has.
The first disc out of the bag was the seven speed fairway driver; the Shard.
At seven speed this disc should be right in my wheelhouse, but the Shard has a slightly domed profile, and my fairway driver selection are all flat tops, and as a result I never got this disc to do much of anything I could point to as a positive.
Perhaps with lots of use I could find a niche, but the truth is, if a disc under performs in comparison to other discs already in a player’s bag, it is hard to justify time into finding what it can do well.
That said my forehand flick is a frustrating thing, so I will always try new discs with that shot. The answer however, was not the Shard.
Trevor on the other hand was satisfied with the Shard.
“This disc is perfect for a beginner or people with slow arm speed,” he suggested. “This disc will turn over and make a nice ‘S’ turn for slower arm speeds. This means that the disc will start out going left for lefty’s or right for righty’s, then fade back the opposite way as the disc slows down. This should put the disc fairly straight out in front of you. This is a disc that I could see putting in my bag as I’m still looking for that 6/7/8 speed fairway driver.”
Given its slow speed, the Shard was not popular with Adam.
“I really have nothing good to say about the driver. I tend to throw a big forehand drive and I could not make the disc work at all,” he said. “Nothing I tried worked and the results were awful. I have played disc golf a long time and I can’t remember a disc giving me as many problems as this one did. This disc is not for me.”
The Magma was next as a five speed midrange.
“This is an overstable midrange disc, but for slower arm speeds like mine, it’s not too bad,” offered Trevor. “This disc flies straight with a predictable fade at the end. I have a disc similar to this in my bag already for shots where I need to fade quickly at the end of its flight.”
This is the one Adam enjoyed throwing.
“The midrange was the best of the bunch. It performed well when thrown and I liked what it did when I tried it,” he said.
“I rarely ever need to throw a midrange disc, but this one felt good to throw. I think when trying new discs, the question you ask yourself is if it’s worth a spot in your bag. The answer for me is yes, it’s a good disc and worth a throw.”
This is where I agree with my son, a new disc is measured by whether it can earn a spot in your bag. In my case I have become so attached to my Kastaplast Kaxe to do anything I need from fairway to putts in the wind, anything new has a tough time gaining lot of traction with me.
That said I do tend to think a lot of midranges do the same thing, and it comes down to thrower confidence in the disc. In that regard the Magma might just be for you.
Putters are similar. Find one you are comfortable with and confident in. and throw it.
I feel confident the Splinter from Obsidian could be that disc for many. It has a nice ‘rubber’ texture top for your thumb – good if it’s wet out, and at 175 grams a nice heft, which I like simply for control. especially in wind.
Trevor struggled with the putter more.
“This is a very overstable putter,” he noted. “It fades so fast for me that I couldn’t get a good read on where it was going.
“For me, it would be a good disc if I had to get quickly around an obstacle to get to the basket. When I used it for approaching, with a glide of 2, I couldn’t get it to go very far and it would fade quickly to the ground.”
Adam liked it well-enough.
“The putter was a decent putter, it did exactly what it was supposed to do,” he said. “I think its biggest drawback is it doesn’t do anything that the putters in my bag already do. I am sure if this was the first putter, I had used I would learn to love it, but it’s not and while I thought the putter was fine, after I had used it, I just wanted to throw the putters that were already in my bag.”
In the end, remember golf discs are deeply personal. We become attached to what we like, and that’s good.
But, don’t be afraid to try new discs either.
And, get out and try all the fine courses out there, then stop have a meal in a local restaurant, maybe root through a used book store, enjoy what communities right here at home have to offer.