By Steve Hill, Jack Trageser and P.J. Harmer — Rattling Chains staff
I’ll be the first to admit that I was skeptical about Salient Discs.
The company was first announced on the discussion forums at DGCourseReview.com, with no proper website or social media account in existence. The tone of the company’s representatives was exuberant, boasting unseen consistency and quality, but also referred to the manufacturing style of other, more established brands as “hippie engineering.”
Needless to say, without a product to hang its hat on, Salient didn’t make a great first impression.
However, it is difficult to judge a company based on forum posts without a product, so I was excited to finally receive the Prometheus, Salient’s first disc offering, and see if the hype was legit.
At Rattling Chains, we each received two Prometheus discs, both in Salient’s “Liquid” plastic line. A transparent blend with some gummy flex to it, the plastic feels excellent and, to me, a lot like Discraft’s Z FLX. It is a bit malleable, and doesn’t deflect too far off of trees, which is a very nice quality.
The other striking quality about the Prometheus, though, is its size. This thing is massive with a capital M, as Salient struck out to produce something different with a large diameter, wide-rimmed driver. With a diameter of 22.6 cm and a rim width of 2.6 cm, the disc feels like nothing else in the hand. It’s almost a dinner plate.
As a result, it is a disc that requires a bit of a learning curve. If you are looking for a disc that you will immediately click with, this probably isn’t it.
However, if you give it some time and some patience, you’ll be rewarded with some nice lines and pretty tremendous glide.
The two discs I threw varied in weight by almost 20 grams, the lighter of which is a result of Salient’s “Helium” process, which is akin to Blizzard/Air/whatever other companies call the air bubbles they inject in discs to make them lighter. This lighter one, obviously, was easier to get up to speed, but didn’t fly noticeably different than the heavier Prometheus.
Thrown flat and hard, the Prometheus will display great high speed stability and a long, glidey forward fade. Keeping it lower, I really worked it for some big skips at the end of its flight. I actually found, though, that the non-Helium version of the disc skipped better, as it was not as flexible as the light variety.
Put on an anhyzer line, the Prometheus will hold the anny for a bit, then flex back nicely and still have the fade, making it a nice disc for tight S-curves.
It’s not always easy to get these kinds of flights, though, as the large diameter of the disc makes it more subject to nose angle issues. Get the nose up a touch too high, and it exposes the huge flight plate, making it more susceptible to sailing high and hyzering out quickly. As a result, keeping the disc on a low line is key to making it go.
I will also dispute Salient’s website claim that the Prometheus has the “fade of a mid-range.” I took this initially to mean that the disc would have very minimal ending fade, much like many straight, easy to throw mids (and the initial offering on the inbounds Flight chart echoed this sentiment, painting a long, straight flight path). In fact, the disc more resembles something like a Discraft Hornet in flight. It definitely has a big hook at the end.
Is this a disc for everyone? Certainly not. Lower-powered players need not apply, as this disc will likely frustrate with its desire to crash out quickly.
At the end of the day, though, I feel that Salient has delivered on its promise of something different. I’ll be intrigued to see what else the brand does to push the dimensions of golf discs, as it should be interesting to follow.
In an ever-expanding market of disc companies and models, new entrant Salient stands apart from the crowd. That much can be said for sure.
In a typical disc golf bag, where the discs are laying down in a neat column, the Salient Prometheus will stand out from the rest of the discs as its diameter is noticeably larger than all other discs. It’s almost too big to fit in the disc compartment of my bag — but not quite.
If one of Salient’s objectives was to create a sharp-edged driver that was different from all others in order to get noticed, mission accomplished. The Prometheus will definitely draw attention because of its size. But its popularity over the long haul will be determined by performance and usefulness to at least one segment of players. The market, as always, will have the final say. My guess is, for reasons listed below, it won’t be popular with players who can throw with average or above-average power, but could very well find a niche among new players and those who can’t generate much power.
On it’s website Salient claims the large rim width and increased diameter help to “improve in hand grip and ergonomics over similar rim widths.” I personally didn’t notice a big difference one way or the other in regard to how the disc felt in my hand — except for the wide rim, which some people will have an issue with.
The site also noted the “larger diameter of Prometheus allows players whom (sic) have had difficulty throwing fast-wide rim discs the ability to throw a distance driver more easily than ever before.” While I do not have issues with wide-rim discs, my testing found that to be most probably true.
The first prototype I received was a whopping 185 grams (it is PDGA-approved up to 189 grams). As I normally throw nothing heavier than 170 because of arm issues, I was very cautious in testing this behemoth, and that led me to confirm what will likely be its sweet spot in the market. I launched it smoothly and with about 75 percent power on a slightly uphill hole of about 300 feet, and a slightly downhill hole about 350 feet.
In both cases the distance was impressive for the amount of power I applied. Thrown flat at that moderate speed, the flight path was a gradual S-turn and the distance was more than I expected. Pretty consistent with the claims on their website.
When I tried to up the ante, though, giving it more power in hopes of getting more distance and trying my tall anhyzer shot, I learned that at least for me Prometheus won’t be a new secret weapon. It turns over with no fade back when thrown at my full power, low and flat, and on that tall anhyzer line. It does seem to hold a hyzer line at full speed, though, which is good for predictability but also means that there is really no way to turn more power into more distance.
The company also sent me a 169-gram model that I was told is accomplished through some type of bubble process (akin to Innova Blizzard Champion). Interestingly, despite the 16-gram difference, I didn’t notice any significant alteration in performance.
So, if you are a player with low-to-moderate power who tries all the new discs that promise superior distance and glide at slower speeds, you’ll definitely want to give the Prometheus a try. More advanced players (or to be more specific, anyone with a big arm) can skip it and maybe out of curiosity ask to try it if you see it in someone else’s bag.
Given that the Prometheus for the most part delivers on the claims on its website, I will certainly take notice when Salient releases additional models. As a general rule, if it’s PDGA approved and it’s better than what I use now, I’ll find room in my bag — even if I have to make it fit.
As Steve noted in his part of this review, lower-power players need not apply. Though, later, Jack took a different stance by saying it’s good for lower-powered players.
I’m agreeing with Steve on this one.
I’m still not good at shaping lines. I need discs that will fly straight a bit longer than most. If I can figure the predictability, then fine. If not, I’m in trouble.
Taking both of the discs Salient sent, I had similar results. I didn’t have the power to make them do much more than turn hard — and fast. I didn’t get the distance I was hoping for, especially with the heavier one. Still, as somebody who throws lighter discs, I looked forward to the second one.
When it arrived, I went to throw it right away. The results were the same. I knew that if this was going to be a disc I added to my bag, I needed to get a stronger throw and that likely won’t come for some time. I had a stronger-armed player try the original disc and he got it to do more thing, though as Jack noted, throwing at full power didn’t necessarily add distance from throwing at about 75 percent.
That being said, I like to touch on other things when it comes to discs as Steve and Jack cover a lot of the technical aspects extremely well.
The one thing I truly loved? The size and feel of the disc. This is the type of disc that may be able to draw a few old-school Frisbee throwers into the game. It also had a comfortable feel. The rim wasn’t too wide, and the plastic is somewhat soft so you can get a good grip.
Feel is important to a player like me. I can’t always garner the power, distance or finesse other players do, so I like to know something feels comfortable in my hand. For that reason alone, I’ll give this disc a few more chances, though I’ll likely stick with the lighter one as it fits me more. I hope it works out as it is a pretty cool disc.
I’ll also be interested to hear what others have to say about this disc, from the size, feel and how it flies.
Release note: The Prometheus is available for purchase.