Best Disc Golf Putter of 2020

Pig Putter in Disc Golf Basket

Putters take center stage this week as we post another blog for our series of the best disc golf discs of 2020. With the pandemic forcing many people to stay home for an extended time, many people took the opportunity to use the time to practice putting. Our sales and inventory reflected the surge in purchases, particularly of putters and baskets. We will look at the sales of putters for this year, and compare the top sellers with the top rated putters. We will then turn the voting over to you to help us pick the best putter of 2020.

The Best Disc Golf Putter

Sales Rank Star Rating Fan Vote Average
Discmania P2 3 6 3 4.0
Gateway Wizard 6 4 2 4.0
Discraft Luna 1 10 4 5.0
Discraft Zone 2 1 12 5.0
Axiom Envy 7 2 9 6.0
Dynamic Discs Judge 5 12 1 6.0

In a first for our category of Best Discs of 2020 we had a tie for first, second, and third. The popular P2 and Wizard tied for first place. These two putters didn’t take first in any single category, but still managed to average the best overall rating of any putter.

Two Discraft molds tied for second place, with each one landing in first place for one category of popularity:  the Luna taking first for 2020 sales, and the Zone for the best rated disc of 2020. Although the Zone has been around for more than a decade, the Luna is relatively new to the scene. Even so, when you have the best disc golfers in the world throwing a certain mold, they tend to be more popular.

Two more molds, the Axiom Envy and the DD Judge, rounded out our best disc golf putters category. Notably, the Judge took first place in the fan voting (see results below). The Envy was the second best rated disc for this year.

 

The Putter Approach

In the 8 years that I’ve been playing disc golf, I’ve heard many players say that you should spend the most practice time with your putter. The theory is that you will end up putting on nearly every hole. While that may or may not be the best approach to practicing, it would be hard to deny the importance of feeling confident with your putter. It needs to feel good in your hand, which means that you need to find the best plastic and mold for you. And you need to have the confidence that the putter will end up in the basket, which means practice, practice, practice.

In addition to using a putter to finish a hole, the putter can also be used as a driver and approach disc. Many overstable molds are popular among disc golfers who choose to throw them hard off the tee. With a putter’s ability to be shaped and still land softly, the putter is also a great utility disc. And we’ve seen what a putter can do in the hands of a pro: amazing drives, touch approach shots, and lengthy putts.

Best Selling Putter of 2020

Let’s start by looking at putter sales for the year. Like with the other disc categories, the numbers are affected by Covid-19. However, putters were affected a little more. The pandemic brought a spike in putter sales, and inventory shortages that still continues. It would be nice to see what sales would have looked like in a normal year, but all we can do is check out the numbers we have. Here are the top sellers for 2020:

2020 Sales Rank YTD Disc Mold
1 Discraft Luna
2 Discraft Zone
3 Discmania P2
4 Innova Aviar
5 Dynamic Discs Judge
6 Gateway Wizard
7 Axiom Envy
8 Discraft Fierce
9 Dynamic Discs Warden
10 Discraft Roach
11 Latitude 64 Pure
12 Discraft Banger GT
13 Westside Harp
14 Dynamic Discs Deputy
15 Innova Nova
16 Innova Pig
17 Infinite Discs Tomb
18 MVP Atom
19 Westside Maiden
20 Axiom Proxy

 

With the top two players in the world, Page Pierce and Paul McBeth throwing the Zone and Luna, it’s no surprise that these two molds ended up at the top of the list. With a third of the top 15 molds belonging to Discraft, they definitely dominated the category for 2020. After Discraft’s five molds, the remaining 15 spots in the top 20 were divided up among ten different manufacturers! The putter category doesn’t have the Discraft/Innova dominance like other categories.

Putter Rank and File

Let’s take a look at the top rated putters for 2020.  We took the star rating and the number of reviews to get a weighted score. Then ranked them according to the weighted score. Here are the results:

Rank Mold Star Rating # Reviews in 2020 Weighted score
1 Discraft Zone 4.89 64 5.45
2 Axiom Envy 4.79 31 4.88
3 Infinite Discs Tomb 4.88 22 4.84
4 Gateway Wizard 4.75 31 4.84
5 Innova Pig 4.75 30 4.82
6 Discmania P2 4.74 20 4.67
7 Westside Harp 4.69 22 4.65
8 Westside Maiden 4.77 14 4.61
9 Dynamic Discs Warden 4.75 15 4.61
10 Discraft Luna 4.59 26 4.60

 

The ratings results for the best putter is very unusual compared to other categories of discs. The top seven ranked molds are all from different companies! The Discraft Zone sits at the top of the rankings and sales. This overstable putter is versatile, and can be driven or putted. It was approved by the PDGA in 2008, and is a favorite of many top pros.

Old School, New School

Let’s look at the PDGA approval date for each mold. Here is a list of the top discs and which date they were approved. The elder statesman of the bunch is the Aviar, which was approved back in the ‘80’s, and the newest disc is the Fierce. The average approval year for the top 10 putters is 2009. That year would be several years higher if it weren’t for the Aviar.

Discraft Luna 2018
Discraft Zone 2008
Discmania P2 2007
Innova Aviar 1984
Dynamic Discs Judge 2012
Gateway Wizard 2002
Axiom Envy 2014
Discraft Fierce 2020
Dynamic Discs Warden 2013
Discraft Roach 2015

 

We also wanted to look at the top selling putters for 2020 and see how those same molds rank in top sales of all time. The Luna has only had a couple years of sales, but still comes in at #6 for all-time sales. As we mentioned in another blog, the sales of the Luna have been amazing this year. As has the sales for all putters.

 

2020 Sales Rank Mold All-Time Rank
1 Discraft Luna 6
2 Discraft Zone 4
3 Discmania P2 1
4 Innova Aviar 2
5 Dynamic Discs Judge 3
6 Gateway Wizard 5
7 Axiom Envy 7
8 Discraft Fierce 34
9 Dynamic Discs Warden 8
10 Discraft Roach 18

Fan Voting Results: Best Putter 2020

We asked you to vote for your favorite putter, and hundreds of you responded. We tallied the votes and have the results below. Once again the Above Ground Level (AGL) fans rallied and got one of their putters, the Madrone, on the top ten list. (AGL fans and others interested in different disc golf companies, stay tuned for a blog series introducing the smaller disc golf brands that you might not be familiar with. AGL will be one of the featured companies).

The beaded putter, the Judge, topped the charts with 10% of the votes. The Judge was also one of the top sellers in 2020, making it a solid candidate for the best disc. The mold has been around for eight years, and the straight flying putter. The comments people made about the Judge varied.

User Comments on The Judge

Steven H said, rather succinctly: (The) Judge is the best putter.

Tanner F elaborated, saying: Honestly I’ve been #teamjudge since I picked one up. Love having a bead and this is so versatile. I throw it up to 200’ for flip over shots. The new hybrid Judge is quite the addition to my top pouch.

Two older molds, the Wizard (2002) and the Aviar (1984) made the top five list. Two molds, the Luna (2018) and the aforementioned Madrone (2018) were the newest on the list. The average year of release for the top ten was 2009, while the average for the top five was 2004.

The Innova Aviar made the top five list, but has several different versions. I counted each version separately, since they are commonly known in the sport to have different characteristics. Most have different flights, while others have a different feel because of the plastic and beaded/beadless rim. I’m referring to the Yeti Pro (Jay “Yeti” Reading), the KC Pro (Ken Climo), the Aviar3, and the JK Aviar (Juliana Korver).

Variety is The Spice of Life

There were nine different manufacturers represented in the top ten molds. Only Dynamic Discs had more than one mold (the Judge, and the beadless version of the Judge, the Warden). That shows the variety of tastes we have in the disc golf community. Additionally, there were 65 molds that received at least one vote. Here are the top voted putters and the percentage of votes that they received.

 

1 Dynamic Discs Judge 10.0%
2 Gateway Wizard 7.4%
3 Discmania P2 6.6%
4 Discraft Luna 6.1%
5 Innova Aviar 5.3%
6 Above Ground Level Madrone 4.5%
7 Dynamic Discs Warden 3.9%
8 Latitude 64 Pure 3.7%
9 Axiom Envy 3.4%
10 Streamline Pilot 2.9%

As we promised, we selected a random voter to win a $50 Infinite Gift Card. The random voter was Robbie S. of Illinois. Robbie chose an Aviar as the best putter. Thanks for your votes!

What is Your Favorite Putter? Tell Us!

Once again we turn to you for your thoughts on your go-to putter. Let us know your favorite putter mold, and tell us why you like it.

Best Midrange Disc of 2020

Best Mid range golf discs

Our quest to find the most popular discs of 2020 continues this week by examining the data to find the best midrange disc. We’ve looked at the best drivers as a whole, distance drivers, control drivers, and now midrange discs. A usual, we’ll look at the sales for 2020 so far, and compare that to the reviews and ratings for the year. Then, we’ll count your votes by looking at the comments on this blog. We’ll add up all of these categories and declare a winner.

Best Disc Golf Midrange Discs

Sales Rank Star Rating Fan Vote Average
Discraft Buzzz 1 1 1 1
Innova Mako3 2 2 4 2.7
Innova Roc3 4 7 2 4.3
Innova Roc 3 5 7 5
Discraft Buzzz SS 6 3 8 5.7

The Discraft Buzzz Swept all three categories to take the title of the best midrange disc. Discraft also took six of the top ten spots, with Innova sporting three molds in the top ten. Dynamic Discs’ Emac Truth fills the number six spot, and is the lone non-Discraft/Innova manufacturer.

Midrange discs, or mid’s, fill the ‘gap’ between putters and fairway drivers. Not quite as easy to control as putters, their ability to be thrown slower than a fairway driver makes them a great choice for technical shots, shot shaping, and controlling the ground action once they touch down. The rim of a midrange feels slightly more ‘meaty’ in your hand than a putter. The flights, like all categories of discs, range from flippy to very overstable.

Most people have a few different mid’s in their bag for a variety of needs. The midrange disc is probably one of the easier discs to shape. I’ve heard many people say that if they played a one-disc round, they would choose a midrange as their single disc. That shows the versatility of this class of disc.

The Perfect Combination

In addition to choosing a disc for its flight, the feel of the disc can vary from disc to disc. Some are beaded, while others are beadles. Some have a sharper rim, while others are rounded. The depth of the rim can vary a bit, adding to the feel of the disc. And of course, the plastic type affects the feel. All of those factors go into how we choose our discs. One manufacturer has apparently found the best of all of these characteristics to create an amazingly successful mold: the Buzzz.

Top Sellers of 2020

When we look at the top sales for each category (Distance driver, control driver, midrange, and putt/approach) there are molds that are clearly in first place. Meaning, significantly ahead of the next closest competitor. In no other category was this gap between first and second place as big as the midrange disc. The Discraft Buzzz was not only way ahead of the second place Mako3 in sales, it was ahead of the next four molds combined!

Keep in mind, we separated the sibling discs, the Buzzz OS and Buzzz SS, into their own sales numbers. That means the sales domination is held by the Buzzz, and the Buzzz alone. We have sold more Buzzz’s than the bottom half of the top 20 molds! Let’s take a look at the top 20 midrange discs according to sales.

Rank Midrange Brand and Mold
1 Discraft Buzzz
2 Innova Mako3
3 Innova Roc
4 Innova Roc3
5 Discraft Comet
6 Discraft Buzzz SS
7 Discraft Malta
8 Dynamic Discs EMac Truth
9 Discraft Buzzz OS
10 Discraft Meteor
11 Discraft Archer
12 MVP Reactor
13 Discraft SOL
14 Discraft Wasp
15 Innova Shark
16 Prodigy M4
17 Infinite Discs Anubis
18 Kastaplast Kaxe Z
19 Innova Gator
20 Dynamic Discs Truth

The Discraft Domination

Discraft dominates the category, with six of the top ten discs manufactured by them. Innova has a few molds in the mix, with the Dynamic Discs’ EMac Truth the sole mold in the top ten that is not an Innova or Discraft disc. Then next ten spots contains molds by MVP, Prodigy, and Kastaplast, in addition to Innova, Discraft, and Dynamic Discs.

The Buzzz was approved as a mold in 2003, so it has had time to gather a following. Its straight flight makes the Buzzz popular among all skill levels. The gentle turn and equally soft fade make the disc shapeable and able to meet a large variety of shot needs. Throw in a variety of plastic types, with a dash of swirly colors, and mix in the names of a world champion or two to get an undisputed winner of the most midrange sales of 2020.

Rating and Reviews

You, the customer, spoke volumes in voting with your wallet. And you made it equally clear with your reviews and ratings how you felt about the mold. The Buzzz was, again, above the competition in ratings and favorable reviews.  Here are the top molds and their ratings.

Disc Mold Star Rating # of 2020 Reviews Weighted Score
Discraft Buzzz 4.8 70 5.44
Innova Mako3 4.74 40 4.95
Discraft Buzzz SS
4.72 20 4.65
Kastaplast Kaxe Z
4.92 6 4.65
Innova Roc 4.71 19 4.62
Discraft Archer 4.81 9 4.58
Innova Roc3 4.55 27 4.58
Dynamic Discs EMac Truth
4.7 16 4.57
Discraft Buzzz OS
4.68 17 4.57
MVP Reactor 4.83 6 4.56
Discraft Comet 4.63 17 4.52
Prodigy M4 4.77 4 4.47
Discraft Meteor 4.69 9 4.46
Discraft Malta 4.65 10 4.44
Innova Shark 4.46 21 4.40
Infinite Discs Anubis
4.66 6 4.39
Innova Gator 4.55 9 4.32
Dynamic Discs Truth
4.54 7 4.28
Discraft Wasp 4.44 5 4.15
Discraft SOL 4.16 4 3.86

Best Midrange Discs of 2020

Combining the top ten of each list we have the following discs in the running for the best midrange:

This Year Compared to All-Time Sales

I wanted to see how the list of the top sellers for 2020 compared to the top sellers since Infinite started, so I pulled up the sales records for all midrange discs sold by Infinite and compared the two lists. I added the year that the all-time best sellers were approved, so we can see how some of the newer molds compare to some of the older molds. The oldest mold on the top 10 all-time discs is the Roc, which was approved in 1987. The newest discs on the all-time list is a tie between the Roc3 and the Mako3. Both were approved on the same date in 2017. Here is the comparison.

All-Time Sales Rank Mold Year Approved 2020 Sales Rank Mold
1 Discraft Buzzz 2003 1 Discraft Buzzz
2 Innova Roc3 2017 2 Innova Mako3
3 Innova Mako3 2017 3 Innova Roc3
4 Innova Roc 1987 4 Innova Roc
5 Discraft Comet 1995 5 Discraft Comet
6 Dynamic Discs EMac Truth 2016 6 Discraft Buzzz SS
7 Discraft Buzzz SS 2008 7 Discraft Malta
8 Discraft Buzzz OS 2014 8 Dynamic Discs EMac Truth
9 Discmania MD3 2013 9 Discraft Buzzz OS
10 Innova Gator 2000 10 Discraft Meteor

Although the total number of sales for a given mold may not indicate how popular it will continue to be in the future, it does show how big of an impact the older discs have made over time. It also shows how the newer discs have started out in popularity.

Average Yearly Sales

Although it isn’t necessarily an even comparison, I took an average yearly sales number for each mold in the top all-time molds to see how that changed the rankings. Here is what I found.

Rank, Average Yearly Sales Mold Year PDGA Approved
1 Innova Roc3 2017
2 Discraft Buzzz 2003
3 Innova Mako3 2017
4 Dynamic Discs EMac Truth 2016
5 Innova Roc 1987
6 Discraft Comet 1995
7 Discraft Buzzz OS 2014
8 Discmania MD3 2013
9 Discraft Buzzz SS 2008
10 Innova Gator 2000

Fan Voting Results: Best Midrange Disc 2020

Mold Percentage of Votes
Discraft Buzzz 26.1%
Innova Roc3 7.2%
Dynamic Discs EMac Truth 7.2%
Innova Mako3 5.8%
Discraft Comet 4.3%
Westside Tursus 2.9%
Westside Warship 2.9%
Latitude 64 Fuse 2.9%
Discmania MD4 2.9%
Discraft Meteor 2.9%

The fan voting for the best midrange disc was certainly lopsided. Although there were votes that were cast for dozens of different molds, the Discraft Buzzz was easily the fan favorite. The Buzzz flight has a little turn and a soft fade making it a shapeable, controllable, straight flying disc.  A voter with username Tay pretty much summed up the Buzzz:

– The Buzzz “really can do any shot. My new favorite (shot) with it is the forehand flex. Wow!”

A few Trilogy molds made the top 10 in fan voting, but were not in the top ten for sales nor star ratings. Westside’s Tursus and Warship made the fan-favorite list. Also, the Latitude 64 Fuse received about 3% of the votes. Numerous smaller manufacturers received one or two votes. Even Vibram received one vote with their Obex.

As promised we chose a random voter to win the $50 gift card. The winner is Janet F! Congrats!

 

What do you think is the Best Midrange Disc of 2020?

We want to hear what you think is the best midrange disc. And we want to hear why you like that disc. What makes your favorite disc so valuable to you? If your favorite mid didn’t make the list, we still want to hear what it is.  Comment below to help our readers select the best midrange disc.

Best Disc Golf Fairway Drivers of 2020

Best Fairway Drivers in Disc Golf

Fairway drivers are arguably the workhorse of the disc golf world. With their slower speeds, the can be handled, shaped, and used by beginners and professionals alike. Their stability range gives us the opportunity to shape shots and avoid obstacles. They are slightly more forgiving than distance driver and require less power to throw, fairway, or ‘control’ can more easily be used for technical shots. So, which is the most popular control driver? Let’s find out.

As usual, we will look at our sales records to see which control driver molds have sold the most this year. Then, we will look at the ratings that readers have contributed, including the star rating and the number of reviews. Then we will turn thing over to you to vote! We will give you a chance to vote on your favorite control driver, whether it’s on our list or not.

Best Disc Golf Fairway Drivers

Sales Rank Star Rating Fan Vote Average
Innova Teebird 2 1 1 1.3
Innova Firebird 1 4 2 2.3
Discraft Undertaker 5 6 3 4.7
Innova Thunderbird 6 2 6 4.7
Innova Valkyrie 3 9 4 5.3

Taking first in both the ratings and fan vote, the Teebird wins the title of the Best Fairway Driver. This mold has been around for a long time and has proven it’s worth. With a flight rating of 7, 5, 0, 2 the Teebird has won the admiration of many voters. Noe C. said that the Teebird is “Great out of the gate and gets better with age”. Click the link above to get yours!

The Evolution of Disc Golf Discs

For those of us relatively new to the sport, from our perspective the distance drivers that we know and love today have always been a part of the game. Ask a seasoned veteran what ‘high speed’ discs they threw in the nineties and they might reel off a list of molds you’ve never heard of, including molds from Wham-O. The discs we call ‘fairway drivers’ were the ‘high-speed drivers of yesteryear. Fairway drivers were the discs used to cover a lot of ground.

For this blog, we will define control drivers as discs with a speed of 6 through 9. As was mentioned in the blog about the best drivers, speed 9 discs are the ‘tweeners, with some people and manufacturers calling them high speed, and some control drivers.

Top Fairway Driver sales for 2020

Let’s start by checking out the best fairway driver in terms of sales. Here is a chart of our sales for fairway drivers for 2020. Innova holds a big chunk of the category, and takes the first four places.

Here is a list of the top 20 molds according to our sales data:

2020 Sales Rank Disc Mold
1 Innova Firebird
2 Innova Teebird
3 Innova Valkyrie
4 Innova Leopard
5 Discraft Undertaker
6 Innova Thunderbird
7 Discraft Heat
8 Discraft Anax
9 Innova Leopard3
10 Innova Roadrunner
11 Innova TeeBird3
12 Innova Sidewinder
13 Infinite Discs Sphinx
14 Discmania FD
15 Discraft Raptor
16 Latitude 64 Diamond
17 Latitude 64 River
18 Discraft Stalker
19 Latitude 64 Explorer
20 MVP Volt

 

The popular overstable mold, the Firebird, leads the way. In second is the straight-flying Teebird. In third and fourth spot are the Valkyrie and Leopard. These last two are very popular discs in starter packs, although starter pack sales were not included in this blog.

Although, once again, Innova and Discraft have the most molds represented, in this category there are three other companies with a mold on the list: Discmania, Latitude 64, and Infinite Discs. One of those three, Discmania, has the FD mold on the list. That molds was PDGA approved in 2011 and has had time to gain a fan base. The other two companies, represented by the Explorer and the Sphinx, are much newer molds, getting approved in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Rating Rankings

And here is the top 10 by ratings and reviews:

Rank Disc Mold Star Rating # of 2020 Reviews Weighted score
1 Innova Teebird 4.78 42 5.02
2 Innova Thunderbird 4.66 43 4.92
3 Infinite Discs Sphinx 4.9 22 4.86
4 Innova Firebird 4.64 38 4.83
5 Latitude 64 Explorer 4.83 22 4.79
6 Discraft Undertaker 4.77 25 4.77
7 Discmania FD 4.73 20 4.66
8 Discraft Raptor 4.76 16 4.63
9 Innova Valkyrie 4.52 31 4.61
10 Innova TeeBird3 4.74 14 4.58

How Old Is The Mold

Although discs in the 6-9 speed range have been around since the early years of disc golf, there have been many discs that have been discontinued or fallen out of favor in the disc golf world.  The list above contains discs whose approval date spans over two decades. From the ‘old school’ Innova Teebird, Leopard, Firebird, and Valkyrie, to the freshly minted Anax. The oldest discs on the list were approved in 1999 and 2000, with the newest member of the group getting approved in 2019. The average approval date is about 2011, the same year the Discmania FD was approved by the PDGA for sanctioned play.

Here is a list of the PDGA approval years:

Innova Teebird 1999
Innova Leopard 1999
Innova Firebird 2000
Innova Valkyrie 2000
Innova Roadrunner 2005
Discmania FD 2011
Innova Thunderbird 2014
Discraft Heat 2014
Discraft Undertaker 2016
Latitude 64 Explorer 2017
Innova Leopard3 2017
Innova Teebird3 2017
Discraft Raptor 2018
Infinite Discs Sphinx 2018
Discraft Anax 2019

2020 VS Last 8 Years

Out of curiosity, I pulled up the all-time sales for the discs on the list to see how the current year sales for the best fairway drivers compared with the sales for each mold since Infinite began in 2012. Here is the all-time top ten fairway drivers, compared with the top ten for 2020:

 

All-Time Sales Rank Mold 2020 Sales Rank Disc Mold
1 Innova Firebird 1 Innova Firebird
2 Innova Teebird 2 Innova Teebird
3 Innova Thunderbird 3 Innova Valkyrie
4 Innova Valkyrie 4 Innova Leopard
5 Innova Leopard 5 Discraft Undertaker
6 Discmania FD 6 Innova Thunderbird
7 Innova Leopard3 7 Discraft Heat
8 Innova Roadrunner 8 Discraft Anax
9 Innova Teebird3 9 Innova Leopard3
10 Discraft Undertaker 10 Innova Roadrunner

Averaging Sales With Age of Disc

Many of the molds on the top control driver list didn’t even exist when Infinite opened its doors. The older molds have had a lot more time to get accepted by disc golfers. That makes the newer mold’s place on the list a little more impressive. In an attempt to account for the age of the best control drivers, I took their total sales and divided it by the number of years that the mold has been around to get a sort-of average number of discs sold per year of existence.

For this list, the advantage goes to the much-hyped newer molds that might have short term boosts in sales, but that might fade after time. However, the fact that one of the oldest discs on the top sales list made this list shows the popularity of the Firebird.

 

Rank of Sales Divided by Age Mold Year Made
1 Discraft Anax 2019
2 Innova Leopard3 2017
3 Innova Thunderbird 2014
4 Innova Teebird3 2017
5 Infinite Discs Sphinx 2018
6 Discraft Undertaker 2016
7 Discraft Raptor 2018
8 Latitude 64 Explorer 2017
9 Discmania FD 2011
10 Innova Firebird 2000

Voting Results: Top Fairway Drivers

What amazing results for the best fairway driver of 2020! There were far and away more different molds chosen as people’s favorite than any other class of disc so far. A whopping 80 different molds received votes! The molds represented all of the larger manufacturers, and many smaller ones. One prototype mold even made the top five. We also received more total votes for this category than any other so far. Let’s jump into the results!

Rank Mold Percentage of Votes
1 Innova Teebird 8.6%
2 Innova Firebird 8.1%
3 Discraft Undertaker 6.5%
4 Innova Valkyrie 5.4%
5 AGL Locust 4.3%
6 Innova Thunderbird 3.8%
Latitude 64 River 3.8%
7 Dynamic Discs Explorer 3.6%
8 Infinite Discs Sphinx 3.4%
9 Discmania FD 3.2%
Innova Leopard3 3.2%
10 Innova Eagle 2.5%
Innova Sidewinder 2.5%
11 AGL Sycamore 2.3%
12 Innova Leopard 2.0%
13 Axiom Crave 1.8%
Discraft Heat 1.8%
MVP Volt 1.8%
14 Dynamic Discs Escape 1.6%
Innova Teebird3 1.6%
Dynamic Discs Getaway 1.6%

Voting Highlights

In some close voting the Teebird just edged out the Firebird as the favorite disc among voters. Many voters explained their choice for the Teebird:

  • Bryant V: I throw forehand 90% of the time and it is my most predictable disc. I can get it to go wherever I want it to go especially right to left.
  • David P: Does everything I need it to!
  • Colby: Best disc there is. Period.

Most of the top molds on the list also made the list for the top sales of 2020. A couple of notable exceptions are Above Ground Level’s Locust and Sycamore. The Sycamore has a flight rating that is slightly less overstable than a Teebird. While the prototype Locust sports a flight rating of 9, 4, -1, 3. The Locust even broke the top 5 for votes tallied. The disc was released as a prototype, but Infinite has ordered the disc and they will be available soon. Many voters heaped praise on the disc.

  • David D: The Locust from AGL Discs has been an absolute go to disc. Since getting my first one it has opened up my game so much. Definitely a disc that will always be in my bag.

Although Innova made up nearly have of the top voted molds, there was a total of nine different manufacturers that made the top 20 list. Quite a diverse bit of voting. In addition to the high number of different molds that were selected as people’s top choice, 56 molds received multiple votes.

As promised, we randomly selected a winner for the $50 gift card, and the winner is Drew P!

 

Let Us Know Your Favorite Fairway Driver

 

Now it’s your turn to let us know about your favorite fairway driver. Even if your disc didn’t make the list, let us know what it is, and why it is the best disc for you. Only comments with explanations of “why” will be eligible for the gift card. We will add the votes to our criteria for selecting the best fairway driver for 2020. This blog post will be updated next week with the final list of the top molds.

Best Distance Drivers of 2020

Best Distance Drivers of 2020

This week we will continue to examine the sales numbers and ratings to determine the best distance drivers for 2020. Last week we looked at all drivers, (check out those results here) but this week we will narrow the criteria and limit the candidates to speed 10 and higher discs. And like last week we will look at the sales numbers and the user submitted ratings to determine which distance driver is the best. Then we will consider your votes for a week, and declare the winner.

Best Disc Golf Distance Drivers

Sales Rank Star Rating Fan Vote Average
Innova Destroyer 1 1 2 1.3
Innova Wraith 2 2 1 1.7
Discraft Hades 3 6 4 4.3
Discraft Zeus 4 4 7 5.0
Innova Beast 5 12 3 6.7
Innova Shryke 7 8 5 6.7

Despite taking the number 2 spot in the fan voting, the Destroyer maintained the number one spot, taking first in sales and ratings. According to O’Connor G., “Destroyer is number 1 for a good reason! I love the variation in the flight patterns of the different molds. You can bag 5 destroyers that all feel the same in the hand (a good size for my hand as well) but have drastically different flights.”

How We Chose the Best Disc Golf Driver For 2020?

There are several different components to our rating system that we used to determine the best disc golf distance drivers for 2020:

  • First, we counted the sales volume and made a list of the top sellers of 2020.
  • Second we look at both how you have rated the discs, and how many reviews you have made for the top drivers to date on Infinite Discs website. A high rating and a lot of reviews translates into a desirable disc.
  • And finally, we considered what you our blog readers and social media followers said when asked the question: What do you think is the best disc golf driver?

In The Beginning

When I started playing disc golf, I did what so many of us did before we understood the flight numbers on the discs, I went for the high speed discs. “Super Long Distance Driver”? Yes, please! “High Speed Driver”? Of course I want my disc to fly fast! It was as if we expected our drivers to jump out of our hands the moment we quit holding them tight.

Most of us have since come to understand that higher speeds mean that we have to be able to throw faster in order for them to fly the way they were designed. Although that may limit the speed of the disc that we choose, with a variety of lighter weight plastic types available today, even less experienced players can generate enough speed to be able to throw the faster discs. That creates a much larger audience for higher speed discs. Today we are going to take a look at how that audience fills their bags with those long distance drivers.

Best Disc Golf Distance Drivers by Sales

We already know from last week’s blog about several of the top high speed drivers. Since they made the list for the best overall drivers, obviously they are going to make the list for the best high speed drivers. Those include the Innova Destroyer and Wraith, the Discraft Zeus and Hades, and the Infinite Discs Emperor and Pharaoh.

 

Also like last week, there are a few discs that made the list for top sales, but not for the top ten in reviews. And a couple that made the top ten for reviews, but not the top ten for sales. Let’s start by looking at the top selling distance drivers for 2020:

2020 Sales Rank Disc Mold
1 Innova Destroyer
2 Innova Wraith
3 Discraft Hades
4 Discraft Zeus
5 Innova Beast
6 Discraft Force
7 Innova Shryke
8 Infinite Discs Pharaoh
9 Discraft Avenger SS
10 Infinite Discs Emperor
11 Discraft Thrasher
12 Innova Boss
13 Innova Mamba
14 Innova Tern
15 Discraft Nuke
16 Infinite Discs Aztec
17 Innova Katana
18 Inova Corvette
19 Discraft Crank
20 Nuke SS

 

The Best Distance Drivers According to Star Ratings

These are the rankings based on reviews and ratings submitted by users on Infinitediscs.com

Rank Disc Mold Star Rating # of 2020 Reviews Weighted score
1 Innova Destroyer 4.8 70 5.44
2 Innova Wraith 4.61 53 5.01
3 Infinite Discs Aztec 4.83 21 4.77
4 Discraft Zeus 4.69 22 4.65
5 Infinite Discs Pharaoh 4.72 18 4.62
6 Discraft Hades 4.77 14 4.61
7 Infinite Discs Emperor 4.7 16 4.57
8 Innova Shryke 4.58 19 4.49
9 Discraft Thrasher 4.65 13 4.48
10 Innova Tern 4.63 13 4.46

 

List of Top Distance Drivers

Click the links below to see check out the details of the mold.

Top Distance Drivers of 2020: Fan Choice!

We’ve shown you the total sales and reviews for the top drivers of 2020. Now it’s time to look at what YOU chose as your top distance driver. We added up the hundreds of votes and here is the top choices.

1 Innova Wraith 15.4%
2 Innova Destroyer 13.8%
3 Innova Beast 5.0%
4 Discraft Hades 5.0%
5 Innova Shryke 5.0%
6 Dynamic Discs Trespass 3.5%
7 Discraft Zeus 3.1%
8 Infinite Discs Pharaoh 3.1%
9 Discraft Thrasher 2.7%
10 MVP Wave 2.7%

Several companies crashed the Innova-Discraft party with this list. Although those two companies still dominated the top ten, and owned the top five, the fan vote showed interest in several other brands.

The Dynamic Discs Trespass just missed the top five by one place, and a percent-and-a-half. This distance driver has the same flight ratings as the Destroyer and Zeus. Infinite Discs made the list with their popular driver that has a ton of glide, the Pharaoh. And MVP made the list with the Wave.

The next ten spots include molds from seven different brands:

11 Mamba 2.3%
12 DD3 2.3%
13 Tern 2.3%
14 Boss 2.3%
15 AvengerSS 1.9%
16 Destiny 1.9%
17 Raider 1.5%
18 Ballista Pro 1.5%
19 Trace 1.2%
20 Mayhem 1.2%

Infinite Discs Aztec

The Aztec isn’t even a year old, but it already has the best star rating of any of the distance drivers. The only thing keeping the Aztec out of first place is the number of reviews. With a 10, 5, -1, 2 flight rating, the Aztec delivers surprisingly long drives, with a stable flight and a solid finish. The Aztec is available Metal Flake Glow C-Blend, which is more stable than the I-Blend or G-Blend plastics.

various infinite discs

Innova Shryke, Tern, and Beast

This high-speed distance driver has enough turn and fade to give you amazing s-curved distance drives. Once it is beat in, it becomes a shapeable disc while maintaining its long glide. Despite its speed 13 rating, the mold can still be used by less experienced players. However, with the right arm speed and room to throw, the Shryke can bomb down the fairway.

The Innova Tern has the same flight rating as the Shryke, only one speed slower. That combination makes the disc popular for throwing big flex shots. The Beast also has that flight rating, only it is a speed 10 disc. Also, the Beast takes the title of oldest disc in this group. It was approved in 2002

Discraft Thrasher

The Discraft Thrasher joins the Hades and Avenger SS as the most understable molds of our distance drivers. Those three molds edged out the Shryke, Tern, and Beast for the title of most flippy disc. Unlike our overall driver top ten list, there are a lot more understable discs on this list. Maybe the higher speeds allow a wider variety of skilled players to throw those molds, where the slower speed understable discs might be too flippy for the big arms.

Discraft Force

At the opposite end of the stability spectrum from the Hades is the Discraft Force. This overstable driver is popular among stronger players due its turn resistance and strong fade. It is a little too much disc for newer players. But, its brisk sales this year indicates that there are a lot of players skilled enough to handle the overstability.

Discraft Avenger SS

I’ve been bagging a near-max weight Avenger SS for a few months, and I love it. It is a shapeable mold that delivers nice s-curve shots when thrown fairly flat. Despite the flight numbers, the Avenger SS rarely gets away from me by turning too much.  I get long drives, with slightly more fade than the flight numbers indicate. As an intermediate player, the Avenger SS has served me well. Although the Avenger SS is already a popular mold, having the disc released with touring pro’s stamps on them, like so many of the top selling discs do, definitely boosts sales.

Average Flight Ratings of the Top Distance Drivers of 2020

Taking a look at the average flight of the discs on the list, we find the flight numbers round to the flight of the Tern, 12, 5, -2, 2. Naturally, the average speed will be higher than the overall driver average, since overall includes control drivers, but the turn and fade are different, too. The average turn for distance drivers on the list is flippier than the overall drivers, -2 vs -1. And there is less fade than the overall average, 2 vs 3.

With the Beast being the oldest disc, getting approved in 2002, the Hades is the newest disc, with a 2020 approval. Being only a couple of months old, the Hades came out with a bang. Five of the 13 discs on the list were approved in 2008 or before. The average approval year is 2013.

McBeth Prototype discs

A Small, Elite Group

One of the obvious facts that jumps out at us when we look at the top selling and top rated discs is that there is not a variety of brands represented. Three companies make up the list of 13 molds that made it to the top. It’s rarely a surprise to see Innova and Discraft battle it out for the most molds at the top of any list. Each company had five molds on our list. What may be more surprising is the new kid on the block, Infinite Discs, claiming three spots on the list. Infinite’s oldest mold is still only a couple of years old. With its lineup of desirable flights and unique plastic blends, Infinite may be sitting at the top of the sales and ratings lists for a long time.

Covid-19 and Sales

Since the Covid shutdowns that have occurred around the world have affected supply chains at all levels, it would be crazy to say that it didn’t affect the sales numbers. While different manufacturers were affected to varying degrees, our list would most certainly look slightly different had the pandemic not occurred. In addition to supply lines being affected, sales were also affected, with people snapping up discs in unprecedented numbers. However, rather than try to dissect how each brand was affected and whether or not they were hurt or helped by the pandemic, we just presented the sales numbers for the year and made our top selections from the those numbers.

Tell Us What You Think.

Now it’s time for you to tell us about your favorite distance driver. Which is your top choice? Are the older, classic molds going to continue to stay at the top? Are the newer discs just hype, eventually fading into obscurity while the latest, greatest discs move up the sales charts? What about the smaller brands that are fighting for their share of the disc golf pie? Please take a few minutes to let us know which distance driver is number one for you. If your go-to distance driver is not on the list, let us know what it is.

The winner of the random drawing among voters is Matt H. A $50 gift card code is on your Infinite Profile.

Best Disc Golf Drivers of 2020

Bag of Disc drivers

In this unprecedented year of pandemic, unrest, and shutdowns, we’ve seen people buying discs faster than suppliers can get them made and shipped. People are still playing disc golf.  What better activity for either staying home, with putting and upshot practice, or maintaining social distancing out on the course. Since people are still playing, and buying discs, we wanted to see what kind of impact the world situation might have had on our disc selections. For the next few weeks, we will look at the best discs of 2020, broken down by disc type. This week, we will look at the best disc golf drivers of 2020.

2020: What An Interesting Year

Since a bulk of the year was during the pandemic, we will see if our disc selections have been different than in years past. There would likely have to be something bigger than a global pandemic to get us to change our favorite discs. But, there are factors that do get us to change.

For example, if our favorite disc golf pro, who happens to be a world champion, puts out a new disc. Or puts out a new version of an old disc. Those kinds of things affect disc golf sales, as we’ve seen in the past. Let’s start by jumping right in and see who is the King (no pun intended) of drivers for 2020.

Best Disc Golf Drivers

Rank Disc Mold Sales Rank Star Rating Fan Vote Average
1 Innova Destroyer 1 1 1 1.0
2 Innova Wraith 2 2 2 2.0
3 Innova Teebird 4 3 7 4.7
4 Innova Thunderbird 9 5 3 5.7
5 Discraft Hades 7 9 3 6.3

 

How We Chose the Best Disc Golf Driver For 2020?

There are several different components to our rating system that we used to determine the best disc golf distance drivers for 2020:

  • First, we counted the sales volume. That makes sense. The mold that sells the most is certainly a contender for the number one disc.
  • Second we look at both how you have rated the discs, and how many reviews you have made for the top drivers to date on Infinite Discs website. A high rating and a lot of reviews translates into a desirable disc.
  • And finally, we will considered what you our blog readers and social media followers say when asked the question: What do you think is the best disc golf driver?

Best Disc Golf Drivers by Sales

According to online disc sales at InfiniteDiscs.com, the following are the top drivers in disc golf for 2020:

2020 Sales Rank Disc Mold
1 Innova Destroyer
2 Innova Wraith
3 Innova Firebird
4 Innova Teebird
5 Innova Valkyrie
6 Innova Leopard
7 Discraft Hades
8 Discraft Undertaker
9 Innova Thunderbird
10 Discraft Zeus
11 Discraft Heat
12 Innova Beast
13 Discraft Force
14 Innova Shryke
15 Infinite Discs Pharaoh
16 Discraft Avenger SS
17 Discraft Anax
18 Innova Leopard3
19 Infinite Discs Emperor
20 Discraft Thrasher

Innova Wraith - #2 Rated Distance Driver

Best Discs According to Star Ratings

Based on user submitted reviews and star ratings, these are the top 10 rated drivers of 2020:

Rank Disc Star Rating # Of 2020 Reviews Weighted Score
1 Innova Destroyer 4.8 70 5.44
2 Innova Wraith 4.61 53 5.01
3 Innova Teebird 4.77 41 5.00
4 Innova Firebird 4.57 49 4.91
5 Innova Thunderbird 4.67 35 4.81
6 Discraft Undertaker 4.78 23 4.75
7 Discraft Zeus 4.69 22 4.65
8 Infinite Discs Pharaoh 4.72 18 4.62
9 Discraft Hades 4.77 14 4.61
10 Infinite Discs Emperor 4.7 16 4.57

While most of the top discs appear in both lists, two understable Innova fairway drivers — the Valkyrie and Leopard made the top 10 sales list but not the top rated discs list. Interestingly, the two discs that replaced them — the Pharaoh and Emperor are high speed distance drivers. It appears that website visitors are more likely to buy easy to throw fairway drivers, but more excited to review discs that provide maximum distance.

So, here we go with the breakdown of some of the top contenders for best disc golf driver of 2020 based on sales, reviews, and ratings. After we hear back from you in the comment section at the bottom of the page, we will update the blog to declare an ultimate winner of the best disc golf driver of 2020.

Infinite Discs Pharaoh - Best Infinite Driver

Top Drivers of 2020: Fan Choice!

For our third and final criteria we reached out to our fans in this post and on social media to let them have their say on what they think the best disc golf driver truly is. The results of the fan vote are as follows:

Fan Vote

Rank Disc Model Percent of Vote
1 Innova Destroyer 20.0%
2 Innova Wraith 19.0%
3 Innova Thunderbird 6.3%
4 Discraft Hades 6.3%
5 Discraft Zeus 5.3%
6 Discraft Undertaker 3.0%
7 Innova Teebird 3.0%
8 Streamline Trace 2.4%
9 Innova Katana 2.4%
10 Innova Valkyrie 2.4%

We’ve tallied your votes to determine the fan winner. We counted 127 votes on the blog and on Facebook. Garnering just over 20% of the votes is the Innova Destroyer. In a very close second place is the popular, and similarly flying Innova Wraith. The Wraith got just under 19% of the votes. In a tie for second place, with 6.3% of the votes is the Innova Thunderbird and the Discraft Hades. Just one percentage point behind those two molds is the Discraft Zeus.

The next few spots are occupied by the Undertaker and TeeBird at 3%, and coming in a 2.4% is the Trace, Katana and Valkyrie. Although the Streamline Trace is the only non-Innova or Discraft mold up to this point in the tally, there were 29 different molds that only received one or two votes. Those include molds from Discmania, Prodigy, Westside, Latitude 64, Dynamic Discs, MVP, Infinite Discs, Axiom, and Vibram.

Discraft Zeus Disc Golf Driver

A Summary of some of the Top Drivers

The Innova Destroyer

This perennial powerhouse made a splash when it was released over a decade ago, and has pretty much dominated the category ever since. Its popular flight numbers, giving a little turn with a reliable fade, has made this disc a winner from the beginning. The Destroyer’s availability in lighter plastics makes it a hit with people of all skill levels.

Innova Teebird

The only thin rim control driver in the top five of the best disc golf drivers of 2020 category, this reliable workhorse has a spot in the bag of many pro and amateur alike. It has been around for two decades, and clearly has a popular flight number. It has become a signature disc for a couple of pros, which might contribute to its popularity.

Innova Firebird and Thunderbird, Discraft Undertaker

These three molds are ‘tweener’ drivers, with thicker rims than traditional fairway drivers but not thick enough to be considered distance drivers. Whatever you call them, all of these molds are popular with people of all skill levels, helping them make the list of best drivers for the year.

The Thunderbird is a straight-flying disc that still has a decent fade at the end. It is the definition of ‘control driver’.

The Firebird could be called a more stable Thunderbird. Its ability to fight headwinds and deliver a solid fade has made the Firebird one of the most in-demand drivers for many years. Certain Firebirds, such as the Sexton Glow Firebirds, are popular for their added overstability, making them even more in demand.

The Undertaker has a little more turn than the Firebird or Thunderbird, but still has a good fade at the end. With a hyzer flip, the Undertaker can be shaped for some long throws.

Discraft Zeus and Infinite Discs Emperor

While the Destroyer has been the #1 rated disc for years, it’s no surprise that similar discs by other brands are also very popular.

It wasn’t long after McBeth moved to Discraft that they announced the newest disc to the Discraft line-up, the Kong. The name was later changed to the Zeus. With a flight number similar to the popular Destroyer and the Infinite Discs Emperor, the Zeus was an immediate hit. With its desirable flight, beautiful swirly plastic, and its endorsement by a world champ, the Zeus fought for the number one spot last year. And, it remains a contender this year.

With its Destroyer-like flight and popularity among professional disc golfers like Garrett Gurthie, Dave Feldberg, and Kona Panis, it’s no surprise that the Emperor achieved top 10 status for ratings this year.

Infinite Discs Pharaoh

This high-speed driver has been one of Infinite’s most popular drivers since it was released. It has a slight turn and a reliable, but not too harsh, fade. Available in several plastic blends, the Pharaoh’s distance is its strength. Fortunately, the mold comes in lighter weights, too, giving the novice player and touring pro alike and option for long-distance throws. Making its top-ten appearance for three years in a row, the Pharaoh is here to stay!

Discraft Hades

New to the Discraft lineup this year is the understable, but controllable, speed 12 Hades. With lots of glide and flight numbers that fill the needs of a variety of skill levels, the Hades has been a hit for Discraft. Introducing a disc with the name of a repeat world champion on it surely helps with sales. Then, mix in some popular flight numbers and you have a winning combination.  The Hades has flight numbers that are similar to the widely used Innova Tern. If you want a flip-to-straight flight with a solid fade, or a big turnover shot, the Hades would fill that slot in your bag. Of all the drivers in the top 10, the Hades has the most high speed turn by far.

Innova Valkyrie and Leopard

The Valkyrie and Leopard are known as Innova’s “easy to throw” drivers. These are the very drivers that are included in most Innova three disc starter sets. In their base DX plastic, these popular beginner discs can be very understable. With the huge growth of disc golf during the pandemic it is no surprise that these popular beginner discs made the top sales list. But do the Valkyrie and Leopard have what it takes to be considered the best disc golf driver of 2020?

Innova Thunderbird Photo

What Makes a Top Ten Disc Golf Driver

So, why do we like those discs? If we break down the flight ratings of all of the top ten discs, we can come up with an average flight, and see if that helps us understand why these discs are popular. The ‘average’ flight rating of these ten discs, using the common flight rating of speed, glide, turn, and fade, is 10.6, -5, -.9, 2.6. If we round those numbers, we pretty much get the flight of the Wraith, which is the second most popular disc on the list. The Innova Wraith is one speed slower than the Destroyer, which occupies the number 1 spot. As was mentioned, the Destroyer shares the same flight rating as the Zeus and the Emperor, as well as other popular molds that didn’t make the top ten, like the Trespass, Outlaw, and DD3. Apparently, we like that general flight.

The average flight is similar to the flight of 6 out of the 10 best discs. We like discs that give us a little turn, but also give us a reliable fade. We like wide rims, but not too wide. Other than the Hades, we don’t want a lot of turn. (Discs in the 11-20 most popular range have more flip, or turn, to them, such as the Beast, Valkyrie, Shryke, Heat, and Avenger SS) We also like some of our discs to have all fade and little to no turn, for utility shots.

In With the Old, In With the New

The first four molds on the list, Destroyer, Wraith, Teebird, and Firebird, were all released prior to 2008. They’ve been around for a while and have proven their value to the disc golf community. The last four discs on the list, Zeus, Pharaoh, Hades, and Emperor, were all released in the last couple of years. Only time will tell is they remain as popular in years to come. Probably so, since three out of four of them have the popular flight characteristics mentioned above. For the record, the average PDGA approval year for the top ten drivers is 2012.

Paul McBeth 5 claws best driver

Feel Free to watch this video which summarizes the results in a minute and thirty seconds:

Your Opinion: What is the best driver for you?

We want your opinion. What do you think the best disc golf driver is and why?  What weight and plastic do you like it in. How long have you been playing disc golf, how far can you throw? Please comment below.

More Injury-Related Survey Results

In my last blog post about the 2019 survey, where I talked about injuries and exercise (HERE), I was surprised to learn that people were more likely to be injured if their exercise regimen was specifically tailored to disc golf. I wanted to see if we could learn what other factors might be driving that counter intuitive (to me) statistic. That is what I will talk about today. I’ll look at a couple of other survey questions to see how they relate to the injury rate.

More Opportunities For Injury

My initial thought was that if a person is so dedicated to disc golf that they would adopt an exercise program specifically for the sport, they would also be attending leagues, tournaments, and throwing more practice rounds than the average disc golfer. Therefore, more opportunities for injury. Let’s see if we can test that hypothesis. First, let’s look again at the general injury rate among all survey participants. That rate is about 19.4%.

 

Round And Round We Go

Now we can look at other statistics. In the survey we asked how many rounds you threw in a month. According to the results, people who averaged 1-4 rounds per month have an injury rate of 6.5%. That percentage increases with each increase in the number of rounds played, until a slight dip occurs in the 25-30 round/month category. Then, it reaches the highest level with 31+ rounds played. If you play 31+ rounds per month, congratulations on getting so many rounds in! And, statistically speaking, you have an approximately 1 in 4 chance of getting injured. Your chances of getting injured are greater than the average if you play 10 or more rounds per month, . The results are graphed below.

Injuries And Tournament Attendance

Let’s see if tournament attendance follows the same pattern. I’ll present the data in the same format as with the injury rate in the graph above, breaking the category down into the number of tournaments we participated in, versus how many people who played that number of tournaments were injured. That doesn’t mean people were necessarily injured while playing in a tournament. Just that they played in a tournament some time in 2019, and were injured come time that year. I also broke it down into sanctioned and unsanctioned tournaments. Here are those survey results.

According to the survey, tournament attendees don’t increase their chances of getting hurt significantly as they increase the number of tournaments they play. And as an average, the injury rate is 23% for those people who play tournaments, versus 19.4% for all disc golfers. Slightly higher, but not too significant.

 

Exercise and Injury

Although there are many factors to show why we would get injured more often when using a fitness routine tailored for disc golf, these survey results at least partially validate the idea that playing more often gives us more opportunities for injury. Countering is the notion that if we are playing more often, we should be in better shape, thus reducing our chances for injury. Despite the survey results in the last blog, I still recommend a fitness and stretching routine that is specifically for disc golf. Since we use such a variety of muscles in our sport, getting in shape for disc golf would make someone in good condition overall.

 

In addition to examining these statistics about injuries and disc golf, I wanted to reach out to an expert. Seth Munsey of Disc Golf Strong works with the top disc golfers in the world. He has a few thoughts about why we would have a higher injury rate among those of us who exercise specifically for disc golf. His comments lead me to believe that the issue is that people’s definition of ‘exercising specifically for disc golf’. I think when people say that, they are really saying that they exercise with a general fitness routine. If they are in good overalls shape, that will help for disc golf. But, the overall fitness isn’t the same as preparing specifically for disc golf.

Words From a Pro

Seth Munsey said, “There is a big difference in “exercising” and “training.”  Many people that exercise do so with the intent of burning calories, feeling the burn, sweating, etc. While it is always a good thing that people are moving and strengthening their bodies, it is entirely different than training for disc golf. Training is exercising with purposeful intent.  Exercises are selected and programmed specifically for the demands placed on the disc golfer’s body.”

He concluded by saying, “There are likely other factors at play that we could investigate and discuss, but following a general exercise program and not exercises that are best for disc golf could definitely lead to a higher injury risk.”

One More Thing I Was Curious About

In addition to the things I’ve covered, I thought it might be interesting to see if cart and backpack bag use affecting the injury rate. Do we get injured more often when we continually have to pick up our bags? I would expect a lower injury rate for cart users, and a higher rate among backpack users.

As the charts below show, using a cart doesn’t significantly decrease your chances of getting injured. Interestingly, the survey shows that backpack type bag users are even less likely to get injured. That is not what I would have guessed. Whether or not we get injured depends on many factors. Despite the survey results mentioned in my last blog post, I still recommend a fitness and stretching routine. One specifically for disc golf as the best prevention of injury. Getting in shape for disc golf would make someone in good condition overall.

 

 

 

Check out some exercises for disc golf at Disc Golf Strong, HERE

 

 

Disc Golf Exercise and Injury

 

In my last blog post about disc golf practice, I alluded to the need for fitness and stretching to improve our performance in disc golf. In this blog, I will look at our health as it relates to disc golf by looking at our exercise habits and the injuries we received last year. I’ll cover the numbers and types of injuries we received, and our approach to exercise as it relates to disc golf. I have experienced, and seen firsthand the issues that arise due to injuries relating to disc golf. It’s so frustrating to miss a tournament from an injury, much less an entire season. But, in any sport or activity that requires such a heavy use of body mechanics, there will be injuries, regardless of the level of fitness of its participants. Let’s see how we did last year.

Getting Injured

To start, let’s see how many of us indicated that we sustained an injury last year. According to the survey, about one in five of us were injured in 2019. Of those people, about a third of us received more than one injury.

Disc Golf Injuries in 2019 Yes - 19%, No - 81%

 

Number of Injuries 1- 70%, 2 or more - 30%

What Gets Injured The Most

Before adding up the numbers for each type of injury to see which ones are the most common, I reached out to Seth Munsey of Disc Golf Strong. Seth works with disc golfers at all levels, and said there are two injury types that he sees the most, shoulder and elbow. He said, “We see many different injuries in disc golf, but two that stand out prominently are injuries to the shoulder and elbow. The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body.  It’s important to build stability and strength in the shoulder to keep it safely in its socket and limit injury risk.  The elbow takes a beating when throwing forehand, so building strength in the tendons and surrounding tissues is crucial for long-term elbow health.”

The data from the survey had pretty much the same result. Shoulder and elbow injuries came in first and third for specific injuries. Here is the breakdown.

Injures, shoulder 416, other 339, back 291, elbow 269, knee 242, ankle 220, neck 73

 

How Bad Are Our Injuries

The severity of the injuries surprised me. There are a lot more serious injuries occurring while playing disc golf than I thought. In the survey we had participants list the severity of their injury on a scale from 1, which is a minor injury that didn’t affect their play more than a week, to 5, meaning they required surgery and was out for months. I considered anything rated 4 or 5 as very severe. In 2019 nearly 15% of us that had injuries, had very severe injuries. To put that in the bigger picture, about 3% of respondents had severe injuries. Not a huge percent. But, when you consider how many of us play disc golf, it is quite a few injuries.

On the other end of the spectrum, over half of our injuries (59%) kept up out of play for little to no time. That represents about 11% of all disc golfers. Here is the severity ratings.

 

How severe? 1 319, 2 444, 3 347, 4 151, 5 43

Our sport requires extensive use of a variety of muscles. As Seth Munsey puts it, “As disc golfers, we are throwing athletes.  The rotational power and force we generate when throwing a disc places a high amount of stress on our tissues.” We’ve seen how many of us are getting hurt playing disc golf. Now let’s look at what we are doing to prevent injury.

Exercise and Stretching

To improve our game and simultaneously reduce our risk of injury, we can use exercise and stretching routines to strengthen our tissue, and prepare it for use. In the survey we asked about people’s exercise and stretching habits. I’ll start with stretching.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that nearly half of us will always stretch before we play. I’m one of those who stretches before playing, and I know it makes a difference in my play. Conversely, there are about 10% of us who never stretch. An even smaller percent of us will stretch, but only before tournaments or leagues. Here is how you responded.

stretch before playing? every time 3240, occasionally 2547, never 692, tournaments or leagues 133, only tournaments 81

 

The other component of fitness that we covered in the survey was exercise. We asked if you regularly exercise, if you exercise specifically for disc golf, or if you exercise, but would do so even without disc golf. Half of us said we exercise regularly, but would do so even if we didn’t play disc golf. Nearly a third of us said that disc golf is basically the only exercise we get. About 18% of us exercise specifically for disc golf. These are our exercise habits.

 

exercise for disc golf? No, but do exercise 3362, rarely 2142, yes 1193

 

Conclusion? Wait For It…

 

Normally, I like to summarize the statistics and draw a conclusion based on the numbers. In this case, I would like to encourage everyone to set up a regular exercise regiment, which includes stretches, and warm up before you play or practice, because those things reduce your chances of getting injured. However, I decided to look at a couple more survey results to make sure they fell in line with the narrative that I was encouraging. The results didn’t fall in line.

I looked at how people responded to the question, “Do you exercise specifically for disc golf?”, and compared those answers with the question about whether or not they were injured in 2019. Certainly, the people who exercise specifically for disc golf would have the fewest injuries, right?

Exercise=Injury?

Of the 6711 people who answered the question, 2142 people said they rarely exercise, other than disc golf. Of those 2142 people, 434 of them suffered an injury. That’s 20.3%.

There were 3362 people who said they do exercise, but they would even without disc golf. They had 540 injuries in their group, for a total of 16.1%. I would have thought they would have had a much lower percent compared to the non-exercisers. But, at least there were fewer, percentage-wise.disc golf tee pad

Then I looked at the group that one would assume would have the lowest injury rate of the three. There were 1193 people who indicated that they do exercises specifically for disc. Yet they had 322 injuries, for a total of 27%! That’s about one in four people who train for disc golf, yet end up with injuries.

I have a couple theories about why that would be the case. I will need to look at a few more statistics to see if they support my ideas. I’ll run the numbers and post in another blog. Until then, stay safe and happy hucking!

Other survey results:

Tournaments

Seth Munsey’s website has great information about exercises and stretches for disc golf. It can be found here:

Disc Golf Strong

 

 

Getting Better at Disc Golf Through Practicing

Getting Better at Disc Golf

 

Few people who play this sport don’t care if they improve their skills. Most of us would love to add a few more feet to our drive or increase our putting percentage. For those of us who play in leagues and tournaments, we would love to place higher and win more competitions. In fact, in a recent blog post, we learned that the number one thing that would motivate someone who doesn’t play tournaments to sign up for one, is if they were a better player. (Survey Results: Tournaments) One of the best ways to get better is with disc golf practicing. Whether we are improving enough to feel confident about playing in a tournament, or watching our PDGA rating climb high enough to step up to the next division, one of the more satisfying aspects of disc golf is to see improvement in our game.

Practice makes perfect?

To be clear, playing a round of disc golf is still practicing. The more you play, the better you will get. However, for this blog, when I say ‘disc golf practicing’ I am referring to field work and putting. From what I’ve seen and experienced, those will give your game the most rapid improvement. They take a little more discipline, because they aren’t as fun as playing a round. But, you will definitely see the most improvement with field work and putting practice.

 

Preparing to Practice

In this blog, I will talk about the best way to carve up your limited disc golf practice time, a couple of practice methods, and one aspect of practicing that I don’t feel is covered sufficiently, warming up. Most people, at the very least, try to get some practice throws and putts in before a league or tournament, if not some stretches. But, how many of us take the time to stretch before ripping some drives in a field or putting inside the circle? I believe that even before putting we should do some stretches. Although the risk for injury is practically nonexistent with putting, it is the consistency we are striving for.

Professional disc golfers suggest that we keep our routine consistent in practice and competition.  Do the same pre-throw or pre-putt routine. Have the same mental thoughts and affirmations run through our head. Try to get the same motion in practice that we use on the course. The point of practice is to get that consistency. And if that is our goal, our muscles should be stretched and warmed up for practice the same as when we compete. That isn’t always easy. Most of us have to squeeze in some practice time in our busy schedule. Who wants to use that time stretching?

Seth Munsey of disc golf strong commented on warming up before practicing. He said, “It is very important to warm your body up properly before engaging in any athletic movement.  This includes fieldwork and time spent around the practice basket. Warming up will help lower your risk of injury and allow you to tap into more of your athletic potential.”

5-10 Minutes

Seth also indicated that warm-up/stretching routines don’t need to be extensive. He said, “You can complete a warm-up in as little as 5 mins, although giving yourself up to 10 mins will help ensure you don’t feel rushed or stressed to speed it up or end up skipping exercises due to time constraints.” I will talk more about stretching and exercise in an upcoming blog.

 

Drive for Show?

Hopefully we can make time to properly warm up before practicing. But, then what? What is the best use of our limited practice time? I asked touring pro Dave Feldberg about the best way to split up your practice times. He recommends spending the most time practicing your drives. He says, “If you don’t get a look (at the basket), it doesn’t matter how well you putt”.

At home, he likes to work on his driving form with his ProPull trainer. Then he likes to take a bunch of drivers to a field to test their flight and prepare his bag for upcoming tournaments. He will choose his discs based on the flights he will need. For example, if he is facing a 400-foot hyzer shot, “I know that I should (use) my pink Emperor”. Throwing a variety of discs helps him keep his shaping ability honed.

To increase power and distance, Dave said he likes to, “throw 80 times, as hard as I can”. Throwing at max power repeatedly is something you would want to warm up for. And for most of us, that many repetitions is something we would need to work up to.

When I work on my driving, I really try to throw at fields I’m familiar with. Then I have landmarks such as trees or light poles to mark the distances and note my progress. It feels great when your disc finally lands beyond a tree that you’ve struggled to reach in the past!

Putt for Dough!

The next most important aspect of the game to work on, according to Dave, is putting. He said, “Driving and putting are much more important to scoring and they are something you can practice exactly what you will be facing.” In other words, with the exception of large elevation gains, the putting you do in practice translates very well to game play. You can practice straddle putts, turbo putts, and jump putts, and you will be seeing the same basic shot in a tournament.

There are many theories and techniques as to the most efficient ways to practice putting. The ones that resonate with me have a few things that I’m looking for in a practice routine. First, they need to include many, many opportunities for you to experience success. For most of us, if we picked a point 40 feet from the basket and let 10 discs fly, we would likely have more misses that hits. I think there are great psychological benefits to having a lot more hits than misses. Therefore, starting your practice closer to the basket, then slowly working your way out, will ensure that we end up with a lot more in the basket. The starting distance varies from person to person.

Starting at the 12-15 foot range and putting 3-4 discs until I can get all of them in the basket is a great place for me to start. Then I will move back a little and try again. If I miss, I move back up to the short position and start again. It can be frustrating to have to move to the closer spot, but I think that motivates me to focus more. Which brings me to the second thing I look for in a practice routine, replicating the pressure of playing in a tournament.

 

Practice Like You Compete

If you take a handful of putters in practice and just start putting from anywhere, you really don’t have much incentive to ‘try’ to make the shot. In a tournament, you have lots of incentive. Therefore, if you can create that feeling of pressure in your putting practice, it will feel familiar in a tournament setting. If you know that a miss in practice means having to start over, you are somewhat recreating the pressure of a tournament setting.

The third thing I like to do for disc golf putting practice is to work on the routine that you will use during an actual round of disc golf. Marking your lie. Either holding an extra disc or not, depending on what you do during a tournament. Taking the same amount of time that you would in a tournament to do your entire putting routine. You could even carry a bag around during this porting of your practice time. I don’t do that the entire putting practice time. Instead, I make a little time at the end of disc golf practice to focus on my entire routine.

For me, I like to scatter a dozen or so putters around the basket at a variety of lengths. Then, I’ll pick one at random and go through my entire putting routine. I’ll mark my lie if I am further than 6-8 feet from the basket, take my usual stance, check the grip on my putter, pick a link, and let the putter fly. Then, I’ll retrieve the disc and go to the disc that is furthest from where I started, and putt again.

Upshot Practice

For up-shot or approach practice, let’s look at the practices of Dave Feldberg. He said that the look at the basket you get in a tournament can vary greatly from hole to hole, depending on where you land. To prepare for that, he likes to choose a mold, then get a variety of flights for that mold. Dave said, “I carry multiple Sinus’s, one that goes left no matter what , one that goes somewhat left at the end, one that goes straight , and one that turns over.” Then, no matter the situation, he has a disc that has the flight he is looking for.

Dave also has four midrange discs and four fairway drivers with the same variety of flights. He said, “This way no matter what position I am in I have a disc that can make that shot. Sometimes I take a full run up and throw a Sinus, other times I stand still and softly throw a fairway driver. It depends on the condition, terrain, run up, and weather. ”

To practice, he recommends taking those discs to a field and keep throwing them until you are comfortable with how they fly. Then you have a variety of tools to cover the wide range of upshots you might face.

One other effective and productive way to practice approach shots is to play catch with someone using a putter. You get a lot of throws without having to retrieve discs. It’s a great way to get ready for leagues or tournaments.

Time to Practice Disc Golf!

Although field work and putting practice are not as fun as a round of disc golf, they are the mundane tools you need to improve your skills. So, get warmed up with some stretches, grab those discs, and hit the field/basket. Let us know about YOUR disc golf practicing routines in the comments.

Support Dave Feldberg by checking out his Stash on the Infinite Discs Site:

Dave’s Stash

Also, be sure to check out some good disc golf fitness routines and stretches from Seth Munsey’s site, Disc Golf Strong:

Disc Golf Strong

 

 

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