OK, it’s time to get a little personal.
What’s your go-to disc? What disc can you not live without? If you’re playing on a cold winter day and your favorite disc hits a tree and cracks into small pieces, which disc would leave you devastated over your loss? More importantly — what kind of discs are the go-to ones in your bag?
In the beginning I only knew of a limited number of places to go and purchase discs and, as a female golfer, I didn’t really know what to purchase. So I would try a wide variety and, eventually, the ones that qualified made it to my bag. Then I’d play another amateur tournament, do well, and bring home more plastic. The dilemma would return yet again. Do I make new friends with these discs, but keep the old? Mix them up? Or stash the new ones in my back up bag?
It seems like the brand that made it to my bag first and most often (because of accessibility) was Innova with a peppering of Discraft. I do wish, however, that with all of the friends I made when I first started playing, that one of them would have spoken up about the plastic I was throwing. That’s not to say I couldn’t figure out for myself that, as a new player with slower arm speed and less snap, I shouldn’t be throwing an Orc.
It would have saved me not only from the aggravation of trying to get the disc to fly straight but it also would have saved me from forming bad habits. Such as forcing the disc into an anhyzer in order to compensate for less snap and finally make it land ahead of me on the fairway, instead of it quickly crashing down left into the woods.
Oh how I wish I would have taken the time to educate myself on disc selection and what might be more suitable, specifically for me, and not for all the males I would play rounds with. They were able to work the discs that I couldn’t. Was it due to better form? Or more muscle being put into the disc? My guess is a little bit of both, depending on the player.
Back then, I really didn’t care to learn about good form and proper disc selection for my throwing style. I just loved to play.
When I finally started paying attention to the details, I began focusing on the weight of the discs I threw. I found my 150-gram Teebird would mind better than my 167g. I gave the heavier one several months to get beat in, but it never seemed to reach the sweet point where it flew like the 150. Now, I use the heavier one when there’s a little headwind, or if there’s the need for it to cut faster to the left. Otherwise, I rely on the beat-up 150, as well as a newer 150.
Three years ago that new Teebird would be too overstable for me. Nowadays, I have learned how to generate more snap on my throw so even the newest of new Teebirds fly great for me, even right out of the box. But 150g discs aren’t the only ones I throw. My discs vary from a 167 Wildcat to a 175 CE Valkyrie, which are both musts for my bag.
Weight isn’t the only thing I focused on for drivers. I also looked at the speed and stability. It’s not that I’ve mastered understable plastic, although a flip-up hyzer shot is one of my favorites to throw, but I now need to start working with discs that have more glide.
Throwing 300-plus feet for me isn’t an issue, but I know throwing different discs will allow me to gain at least another 50 or so feet on my drives. It’s just a matter of purchasing some new plastic and getting out to a field for some practice.
Some disc golfers stick with what they know. They find a few brands they love to throw and don’t care to see what else is out there. There’s nothing wrong with that, but when you find something you love, buy plenty of backups. That way, once a disc is too beat in, you’ll have another in your bag on its way to flying the way you want it to.
Plus, you never know when the manufacturer will decide to change the fun of said disc. This leads to a frantic search for more because you don’t know how much longer they will be around. And, of course, some of those discs often become collector discs.
As disc golfers, we constantly grow as players, learning new strategies on how to stay in the fairway or throw farther. That means there might be a day when the Buzzz you once relied upon no longer performs the way you want it to. Maybe that means you’ll have to seek the Rocs you have in storage. Maybe they were too unpredictable once for you, but now could be a time to give them a whirl. You might be pleasantly surprised.
When I first started, I never would have guessed there is so much to be learned about this sport. From disc selection to the rules to improving form and even course design, there’s so much.
In the end, do your homework and ask around, because no matter what it is, education comes first.
Jenny Cook is a women’s Open-division player based in Illinois. She can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can see some of her disc golf photography at her website.