YORKTON - There is a veritable boat load of companies manufacturing golf discs in countries around the world all hoping to capture a piece of the growing market as the sport of disc golf continues to grow.
A decade ago the sport in Saskatchewan, for example was confined to only a handful of courses, and today there are dozens of courses in communities right across the province.
The reasons for the rather rapid growth are many, but to start with the relatively low cost to a municipal government to install a course to provide a recreational opportunity to residents.
So we see courses pop up from Saskatoon to Springside with communities of all sizes in between creating courses.
Of course you won’t see the course busy overnight, but with some effort to promote the course, hold how-to-play clinics and hosting beginner nights, players will come.
As disc golf pro Nikko Locastro noted in the Sports This Week column in this week’s Yorkton This Week the sport is a low cost one for people to get into, and once you toss a few discs you tend to be hooked.
“Once you start playing, people rarely stop and give it up,” he said, adding for most it’s “disc golf for life.”
And therein lies another reason for its growth, the low cost to players with discs still around $30 each, so a starter set will be generally less than $100.
Which brings me back to all the companies creating discs, which are the best for a beginner?
That really comes down to a lot of factors, in particular arm strength, and how much you will play. The more you play, the more you will learn what works best.
So, most players will end up with at least a few discs searching for the driver which gives you a few extra feet off the tee, or the putter that you never miss with – a hint – that disc is a unicorn. It does not exist.
But, like ball golf, putting is a huge part of the sport, and players will often find a putter they like, then one day you will throw it and miss every basket you see, and suddenly you are looking for another option.
The Judge from Dynamic Discs, the Beaver or Polar Bear from Canadian manufacturer Daredevil, or the Berg from Kastaplast all have had play time out of my bag – when one goes cold I grab a different one.
The Popcorn from Clash Discs is a new putter that left a good impression from the first day out, a windy spring day, my first round in more than six months, and I was putting surprisingly well.
But, for a better trial I absconded my ‘leftie’ throwing buddy Trevor Lyons and we headed to Sandy Beach on Good Spirit Lake to give the Popcorn and its sister discs the Mint and the Berry some added testing.
As Locastro noted, the Popcorn “has lots of glide . . . that’s extremely controllable.”
What I noted was it flew dead straight and that included the windy first day.
Trevor found it a straight flier too.
“It felt like a max weight disc. Flight was straight out the hand. That being said, it was like throwing the Dynamic Discs Judge.
“If this was your first putter, it would be good, but it’s not good enough to convince me to change.”
I might argue, and Trev and I occasionally do. I love my Judge but the Popcorn just feels like it wants to hit the chains. So far, I am leaning toward using it regularly.
The Mint is an approach disc that the company website states, “is an overstable throwing putter that keeps its line even with a hard pull. Thanks to the low profile, it is also ideal for forehand.”
“It is a fast putter or a slow midrange,” simplified Trevor, who noted “it flies similar to the Westside Harp.”
Trevor also noted “for a slower arm, like mine, this disc fades fast as it slows down creating a predictable flight that hooks around obstacles. Since I already have a disc that flies similar, it won’t be making it into my bag.”
In my case my game has more holes than Swiss cheese, having learned it far too late to have a great technique and at 62 it will not get better, and one of my biggest holes is my wonky forehand. That said the Mint is a disc that has potential, but as an approach disc it’s learning where to use it.
Approach discs are not exactly a putter, so within say 30-feet, you are likely to go with, in the case of Clash Discs, the Popcorn.
Get farther from the basket a midrange, like Clash’s Berry, is likely the first choice.
So the Mint might take some rounds to get comfortable with what the disc does best for you, although it seems like it wants to perform a lot of different things with some practice.
As for the Berry, it is a midrange that the website notes, “is a straight multi-purpose midrange that holds its throwing angle well. At high speed arms it turns slightly over and glides far.”
This is the one disc in the Clash trio that may not make my bag for the summer.
The Kaxe from Kastaplast has been my ‘do everything’ middie for a while, saving me on hundreds of throws, and it’s unlikely the Berry will push the Kaxe out of use.
Trevor liked it more.
“I liked the way the disc felt in hand and it threw great,” he said. “Whatever line I threw it on it stayed, hyzer or anhyzer. To me, it felt like a Dynamic Discs EMAC Truth, but held the line I threw a little better. This disc may find its way into my bag.”
So there you have it from a couple of guys far from pros but who have thrown a lot of discs the last near decade.
Clash is a new company, but the three discs we tried are certainly solid offerings a lot of players will find useful.