By P.J. Harmer and Jack Trageser — Rattling Chains staff
Vibram has taken its next step in the disc golf market.
After months of anticipation, the Lace — Vibram’s first long-distance driver — was released to the public Nov. 23, or Black Friday as many refer to the day after Thanksgiving in the United States.
Reviews from around the Internet seem to be extremely positive for the new disc, which Vibram says is a stable driver.
When you get to Jack Trageser’s part of this review, you’ll get a more in-depth feel about the disc and what it can do for somebody with a stronger arm and with more ability to do what he wants with the disc.
My part is going to talk about the disc from the vantage point of a light-armed thrower and one who doesn’t have a lot of control over a disc.
Allow me to note I’m a Vibram user. The Ibex is one of my best discs as I can actually get it to (usually) do what I want. I also putt with a Summit and, in the past, I’ve carried and used a Trak, V.P. and Ascent. So it’s safe to say I like Vibram’s products.
Still, I’m not much of a long-distance driver person. Mainly because I don’t feel my strength, throwing style and power is enough for that kind of a disc. The only true driver I carry is an Innova Blizzard Katana (132g), and that’s because it’s extremely light and I can actually get decent distance out of it if there’s not a strong wind.
But, being a fan of Vibram, I was extremely excited to get my hands on a Lace.
First, the feel of the Lace I received is awesome. It’s pretty soft to touch and it felt right in my hand. That’s usually the first thing I notice when I throw a disc — whether or not it actually feels right.
I used the Lace several times over a couple of rounds and also did some throwing in a field. Besides that, I also had three or four others, including a couple of much higher-level players.
For me, honestly, it seemed like a little too much disc. I don’t feel my style or power truly matches up with the capability of the disc. Though a stable disc, it didn’t hold a line long enough for me. Instead, it tended to fly out with a stronger bend to the left (I’m a right-handed thrower).
In my field tests, I couldn’t get a ton of distance out of it. I still couldn’t get over how good the disc felt in my hand in throwing, however. So I kept trying. I had a few throws that really took flight. My best throws came when I kept the disc a bit lower, giving it a chance to basically cut through the wind.
If I tried to really get into a throw, it would take off and quickly cut left. Other Vibrams — such as the Ibex, Trak, or even an Obex — held lines a little stronger for me.
Another area amateur, who is quite a bit better than I am, had a couple of really nice throws that had distance in a round I played with him. The two top-level players who threw the disc agreed it was stable and each of them got some awesome distance out of the disc.
For those of you who can wing it or have really good control over throws and discs, I’d highly encourage you to try the disc. However, if you’re someone like me and doesn’t usually throw more than 250 feet (on a good day), you might want to ease yourself into the Lace by throwing the Trak or something like that in the Vibram line.
I do love the feel, though. And I plan on getting another Lace or two and working on them so I can hopefully, one day, really use the disc to its full capacity.
See below Jack’s part of the review on how to win the disc I reviewed.
Is there anything Vibram’s X-Link Rubber Compound disc’s can’t do?
For two years now, I’ve touted the durability, the grip, and even the consistent flight path. But I always assumed distance was the one area where the tackier rubber material would not be able to match the sleekness and superior aerodynamics of plastic.
After testing the Lace, Vibram’s first true long-distance disc, I think I may have been wrong. Very wrong.
When I give it some thought, though, I should have seen this coming. After all, the Obex and Ibex can produce incredible distance for mid-range discs, and the Trek and Ascent both fly pretty far for being supposed fairway drivers. The Lace takes things to a whole new level. I’ll do my best to explain, but after a couple fieldwork sessions and a stellar round at DeLaveaga (6-under par, thanks in part to the Lace) I haven’t quite figured out how the disc flies so fast and long, so effortlessly.
Those who have read my reviews in the past know I’m not big on the technical aspects of discs. If you need to know that stuff it’s on Vibram’s site. And while you’re there you might read their description of the disc, which says, in part, that it’s “like a faster Trak with a ton more glide thrown in as a bonus.” I don’t totally agree with that assessment.
While it is indeed much faster and goes way farther than a Trak, this disc is way more stable. In fact, I think it’ll act like most other super-fast discs do for players without a surplus of power. I grudgingly let me friend throw it once, and he’s an accomplished player. Even after telling him it could handle all the power he wanted to give, he still underestimated it and let it hyzer out way too soon. It’s happened to me a bunch of times, too. But even when I didn’t get the gradual S-turn I plan for when going for maximum distance, I still ended up longer than expected, time and time again.
A couple of times at DeLaveaga, I even discovered new possibilities — and I’ve been playing that course for almost 20 years! It’s hard to put into the right words, but when I watch the flight of my Lace, I expect to find it in one place and I end up finding it somewhere else, usually farther down the fairway and closer to the hole.
Case in point was hole No. 20, a dogleg right, which goes over and around tall trees. It was my first hole of the day with the Lace and I didn’t expect it to be so stable. It hyzered way sooner than I wanted, and I started plunging into the trees thinking it went in short, and maybe even trickled down into the canyon. Nope. It was on the right fringe, but barely, and only 40 feet short of the hole. A good throw would have blasted past the basket. It’s that glide that Vibram touts.
As far as feel is concerned, the Lace has that superior grip that just makes you feel like you’re in control. Some power discs feel uncontrollable in my hand, but not this disc. It fit into my hand comfortably and came out smoothly.
Another thing related to the rubber compound that I like, as with the other Vibram discs, it tends to stop pretty soon after touching down, which I consider a bonus with a long-range driver in certain cases. There are times when you need to get 400-plus feet, yet you need the disc to stop quickly. Until now, that really hasn’t been an option. If you wanted distance, you had to be willing to risk the possibility of skipping and/or sliding at the end of the flight. Now, with the Lace, you can have your cake and eat it, too.
I don’t hide the fact that I love Vibram’s rubber discs, and I’m mildly surprised that the rest of the disc golf world hasn’t yet gone ga-ga for rubber. I guess these things take time. But I have a prediction. In golf there is the well-known saying — “drive for show, putt for dough.” Distance and power get the most attention, and now with the Lace here, expect Vibram to start getting a lot more attention.
Win the disc
Though the Lace is now readily available, the disc used by P.J. Harmer in reviewing is available to win!
The disc is lightly used with no noticeable wear. Note that it did hit a few trees in testing, though! The weight is 173 grams.
Winning the disc is simple enough — comment on this story about your thoughts on the Vibram Lace or Vibram in general.
We’ll even give you a second entry by sending out a tweet (exactly as below) so others can find out about this disc giveaway.
Visit @rattlingchains to see how you can win a Vibram Lace! http://rattlingchains.com/?p=2229 #discgolf
We’ll select a random person sometime Sunday (Dec. 2) night and do a quick post announcing the winner.