Discraft has just released a number of amazing new limited edition discs as fundraisers for the 2019 Ledgestone Insurance Open. These beautiful discs include a variety of special stamps and plastic blends that up until now, have not been available. Infinite Discs is happy to be a supporter of and the official vendor of the Ledgestone Insurance Open. The Ledgestone Insurance Open is one of the biggest disc golf tournaments in the world. You can help grow disc golf and support this event by purchasing these fundraiser discs.
This batch of fundraiser discs includes:
Color Glow Buzzz – Mini Stamps
The popular seven bee theme continues. This year you can add to your Buzzz collection with the limited edition Les White mini bee stamps featuring each of the following mini stamps:
Franklin’s Bumble Bee
These discs are all available on ESP Colored Glo Buzzz’s.
This amazing plastic changes color depending on the angle you look at it. These discs may all look like they are black on our website, but hold it at an angle in the sunlight and they will radiate shades of green, blue, and purple!
This isn’t the first time Discraft has released a colorshift Buzzz, but due to their rarity, you will have a hard time finding this plastic blend. Buy your colorshift Buzzz before they are gone.
The Discraft Comet is our third most popular selling Discraft mold. We have never had this disc available in Z Sparkle plastic before. This limited edition comet is in Discraft’s most popular Z blend plastic with a unique stamp and glowing sparkles.
The Mantis and Surge appear in Swirl Glo plastic for the first time as part of this limited edition fundraiser disc batch. Quantities of these discs are extremely limited.
CryZtal plastic was one of Discraft’s original fundraiser blends. With bright colors, a translucent look, and more grip than traditional Z, many players have lusted after Discraft discs in CryZtal plastic.
Two of Discraft’s newer discs are now available in the CryZtal blend (at least for this limited fundraiser release).
The Ledgestone edition Machete features sparkles and vibrant colors as well as a translucent clear look.
Last but not least, this fundraiser release features the Discraft Nuke in full foil. This is the first ever full foil version available on the Discraft Nuke. We have full foil Nuke’s available in three different foil varieties; star, prism, and sparkle. Even if your arm can’t handle a disc as fast as the Nuke, you may want to collect this limited disc just for its visual appeal.
We’re pleased to announce the newest midrange disc in our lineup, the Ra. The stock edition Ra is now available in C-Blend and Metal Flake C-Blend plastic, and to celebrate, we’ve created quite the deal for you!
But first, let’s talk about the Ra: The Infinite Discs Ra is a moderately overstable midrange with a very flat top and comfortable, beaded rim. It feels and flies perfectly for both backhand and forehand players. It is difficult to find a midrange that is so easy to control and so precise under multiple course conditions.
Now here’s the deal:
This weekend (4/5/19 – 4/8/19) we’re putting the entire Infinite Discs lineup on sale. This includes the new Ra, allowing you to try it for a discounted price. But wait, there’s more! If you use the discount code RARARA you’ll get an additional 10% off of your Ra!
If you need a new mid to try, today is the day!
Out of the hand, even when thrown with power (or torque) the Ra is quick and straight. As the Ra begins to slow, the fade kicks in. It is neither dumpy nor gradual…the “sweet spot” of fade. This disc is also great for forehand shots. – BigCountry83
The feel of the Ra is fantastic. I have always wanted to like the Roc family, but I despise the rim on them. Mixing the VRoc bottom on the Rocx3 top made for the perfect feel in this disc. The Ra is one of the best feeling midranges in my hands. – Jordan Miller
This a very controllable, stable mid-range, that can definitely fill a slot in your bag if you need a mid that can combine distance with dependable fade. If you like Roc3-esque discs, this is for you. – BobbyGitr
On the heals of his big win at the Waco Annual Charity Open where he threw a perfect -18 on his 2nd round, Paul McBeth has released his “In The Bag” video for 2019. Now you can see what Paul’s first year throwing Discraft looks like!
Thanks to JOMEZ PRODUCTIONS for producing the video and for capturing that great performance in Waco as well! Here is the video for you, followed by links to the discs that Paul McBeth is bagging this year:
Now, for your enjoyment, watch Paul throw these discs in his -18 round at the Waco Annual Charity Open. Obviously, he did not take long to adapt to his new bag of discs and makes great use of the different flight characteristics of his discs.
Throughout the year, we will try to keep this post up to date with all of the latest discs that have been or will soon be introduced in 2019.
So far, we only know of one new disc that will for sure be released in 2019. In February the Axiom Pyro was PDGA approved. This new disc will also be released in a new plastic blend called Prism plastic.
Pyro – The Pyro is a straight to overstable midrange disc. The disc was released this summer, and is featured in Axiom’s new Prism plastic blend. Prism plastic is an ultra-durable, and features “a beautiful array of multicolor translucent core and rim combinations.” The flight numbers for the Pyro are 5/4/0/2.5.
Delirium – The Delirium was also released during summer. The Delirium is a very overstable distance driver with a thick 24.5mm rim. This is Axiom’s thickest rim and most overstable driver in it’s rim class.
Discmania sent shock waves throughout the disc golf world on February 14. They announced a new manufacturing partnership with Latitude 64 and Yikun. Previously, Discmania’s discs were exclusively manufactured by Innova. Innova will still manufacture discs for Discmania, but they won’t be alone. So now, Discmania will have 3 seperate “series” of discs. All of their previous discs and new molds made by Innova will be considered Discmania Originals. The Discmania discs made by Latitude 64 are part of the Evolution series, and Yikun manufactured Discmania molds are part of the Active series.
DD3 – The Discmania DD3 was PDGA approved and released before the new partnerships were announced. The DD3 was initially released as a tour fundraiser disc for Eagle McMahon in Swirly S-Line with the nickname, “Cloud Breaker.” The DD3 is a high speed driver that offers a long stable flight.
Instinct – The Discmania Instinct is the first disc to be released in the Discmania Evolution series. It is a straight/stable fairway driver that is sure to fit in the bags of many.
Method – The Method is the first mid-range in the Evolution series. It’s a fairly overstable mid with flight numbers of 5/5/0/3.
Link – The Link is the first putter disc in the Evolution series, it was released in the summer. The Link is a neutral flying putter that is good for putting inside the circle and approach shots alike.
Enigma – The Enigma is the first distance driver in the Evolution lineup. It is now available, and those looking for big distance will love it. Flying similarly to the Destroyer, the Enigma will be a big hit for Discmania fans.
Sea Serpent – The Sea Serpent is the highest speed driver in the Yikun made Active Line. It’s slightly understable, promising big distance to slower arm speeds.
Fox Spirit – The Fox Spirit is a great fairway driver in the Active Series. It’s an all-purpose fairway that can handle some power and turn, but still finish with consistent fade.
Sun Crow– The Sun Crow is an awesome, understable driver for beginners. This disc is the perfect choice for new disc golfers. It’s also a great disc for roller shots.
Spring Ox – The Spring Ox is a stable mid-range that is made for everybody. You’ll find great reliability in the Spring Ox.
Tiger Warrior– The Tiger Warrior is a low speed, neutral flying, all purpose putter. This disc was in Eagle McMahons bag for some time!
Discraft has also already made waves this year. Paul McBeth joined team Discraft this year, and we are already seeing new molds as a result of that move.
Luna – The Discraft Luna was first released as Paul McBeth’s new prototype putter. It is a beadless and stable putter available in a tacky blend that is a little different than Discraft’s standard Jawbreaker plastic blend.
Zeus– Formerly known as the Kong, the Discraft Zeus is a new Paul McBeth specialty disc. It is a high speed overstable driver, offering big distance to the intermediate/advanced players (and up). The Zeus flies similar to an Innova Destroyer, but seems a tad more understable.
Raptor – The Raptor is an overstable fairway/control driver. It has a flat top and a very reliable overstable flight. This disc is perfect for forehand and backhand alike.
Sol – The Discraft Sol is the stock run of the 2018 Ace Race disc. This disc was a popular midrange disc that is great for disc golfers of all skill levels.
Anax – The Anax is Paul McBeth’s new signature fairway/power driver. The name is actually pronounced “Onyx”. This speed 10 driver offers overstable flight with reliable fade. It can bring surprising distance to those with big arms.
Malta – The Malta is Paul McBeth’s new mid-range. It offers what you’d imagine a Buzzz + a Zone would bring to the table: longer flight than a Zone and more overstability than a Buzzz.
DGA brought one new mold to the table so far in 2019!
Rift – The Rift was released during Pro Worlds as a fundraiser disc, then as a stock disc in September. The Rift is the perfect point-and-shoot midrange, offering a clean smooth flight in whatever direction you let it soar.
So far, we only know about 3 new disc molds that are set to be released by Dynamic Discs.
Raider – The DD Raider is a new high speed distance driver that has recently been PDGA approved. It is rumored to be a little more overstable than the DD Sheriff.
Vandal – The DD Vandal will be the Dynamic Discs disc in the 2019 Trilogy Challenge, which means the stock release will not be available until at least this fall. The Vandal will be a fairway driver that is supposed to be great for all skill levels. It has been described as being a longer flying DD Maverick.
Guard – The new Dynamic Discs Guard is a deep dish putter. It has been described as being a beadless Lat 64 Dagger.
Gateway seems determined to prove that they are more than just a putter manufacturer with two new control drivers recently PDGA approved.
Blade – The Gateway Blade is a new overstable fairway driver. Judging by the flight ratings it looks like it could be similar to an Innova Thunderbird.
Spear – The new Gateway spear is a straight flying fairway driver that offers more stability than the Blade.
Our big news last year was that we began a partnership with Innova to manufacture our own line of discs. In 2018 we released our 8 initial molds, and in 2019 we have at least 7 molds planned for release.
Emperor – The Emperor is our new high speed distance driver. We came out with an initial release in I-blend that was part of the Las Vegas Challenge player packs. Our stock release will come out in the coming weeks. The Emperor is designed to be similar to the Innova Destroyer, which adds a little more stability to our high speed driver line.
Ra– The Infinite Discs Ra is our new overstable midrange. It features a flat top and a beaded rim. It is a great choice for facing the wind and when you need an overstable fade.
Scepter– The Scepter is a flat-top, overstable fairway driver. It’s very similar to a board flat Firebird, which has everyone here at Infinite Discs very excited about it!
Scarab– The Infinite Discs Scarab will be a new putter in our lineup. It is similar to the Infinite Discs Myth, but with a little more glide in the flight.
Cohort– The Cohort is a new putt & approach disc, similar to the Innova XD of old. This is a great, beadless, disc geared towards midrange approach shots, but can still be used as a putter.
Centurion – The Centurion is a very workable fairway driver. It holds any line you put it on, causing it to be called the faster/longer Anubis. So far, the Centurion is available in Splatter S-Blend.
Aztec– The Aztec is coming out later this fall. It’s a speed 10, neutral distance driver. Depending on plastic the Aztec could be slightly overstable to slightly understable, making it a great choice for so many players. It will surprise you with how far it goes as a speed 10 disc.
Ruin – The Ruin is the pending name for a new overstable putt & approach disc. This disc will be the overstable putter that everybody throwing Innova has wanted. It will change the game for the Innova/Infinite throwers.
Innova already has a few new releases in the works for this year, including the new Lion Midrange which was available in a special Las Vegas Challenge edition during that event.
Lion – The new Innova Lion is an overstable and beaded midrange disc that features a flat top. We don’t know a lot about the specifics yet, so we are excited to try this one out when it has a stock release.
Corvette – The Corvette is the newest 14 speed driver in the Innova lineup. It looks like it should be a pretty stable flyer with an impressive glide rating of 6.
Firefly – The new Innova Firefly has already gotten a lot of hype. It is the new signature Nate Sexton putter and it is featured in a brand new plastic blend called Nexus.
Croc– The Croc is a newly approved disc from Innova. Not much is known about it yet.
Latitude 64 has already had a couple of new releases for 2019:
Recoil – The new Recoil is a 12 speed driver that features an overstable flight. Judging from the numbers, it looks like it is designed to be a slightly slower Ballista Pro.
Keystone – The Latitude 64 Keystone will be a beadless understable putt and approach disc. It sounds like it has been designed to be ideal for turnover driving putter shots. This disc will be included in the 2019 Trilogy Challenge
Catch – This one is a bit interesting. Latitude 64 recently announced a new Ultimate Disc called the Catch, but it was recently announced that the Catch was PDGA approved. We will watch for more info on this.
Legacy Discs recently released their new disc the Recluse, but beyond that we are unaware of other discs that will be released in 2019.
Recluse – The long awaited Recluse from Legacy Discs was just released. The Recluse is a very overstable midrange that features a big bead. It is designed to fight the wind.
Mint Discs has been a one disc show for a while now with their very popular fairway driver, the Alpha, but now they offer two new discs and one more on the way.
Bobcat– The new Mint Discs Bobcat will be a slightly overstable beadless midrange disc. We are excited to finally see the second disc in the Mint Discs lineup.
Profit – The Profit is Mint Discs new putter, it features great feeling “velvety” plastic. It has a beaded rim and is an awesome all-purpose putter.
Freetail– The Freetail has been approved, but not announced. It looks to be Mint’s first bigger rim distance driver.
As always, MVP is sure to have a large assortment of new plastic types and limited edition stamps to feed the collector frenzy. The only new mold to come out this year, however, is the Entropy.
Entropy – The MVP Entropy has been in the rumor mill for a while, but it was recently PDGA approved. It is the long awaited overstable putter in the MVP line.
Last year Prodigy saw greate success releasing the “V2” series of their “H” series. It looks like they will take a similar approach in 2019, but this time they are updating their “D” series. Already they have had the D1 Max, D2 Max, D3 Max, D4 Max, and D5 Max PDGA approved. These are designed to add a little more distance to the original D Series.
D1 Max – The D1 Max is the first disc in the new Max lineup to be released. It features a slightly smaller rim than the D1 and a smooth profile.
D2 Max – The D2 Max has a slightly smaller rim than the original. If offers a flight similar to the D2, but perhaps a little longer.
D3 Max- We anticipate this one to be similar to the other Max discs–a slightly smaller rim of the original.
D4 Max- We anticipate this one to be similar to the other Max discs–a slightly smaller rim of the original.
D5 Max- We anticipate this one to be similar to the other Max discs–a slightly smaller rim of the original.
MX-3 – The MX-3 is an alternate edition to the M3. It offers a slightly overstable flight, designed for high level control and performance. It is a beaded mid that many disc golfers will love.
FX-2 – The FX-2 is a newly approved Prodigy mold. Not much is known about this mold, but we suspect it will be a modified version of the F2 and have a similar flight.
Our friends from the Southern Hemisphere continue to produce great discs, and they have already added another disc to their lineup in 2019.
Huia– The new RPM Huia is a stable to overstable fairway driver. We at Infinite Discs were even lucky enough to get our hands on a few with Prototype stamps that are currently still available in Atomic plastic blend.
Westside continues to put out excellent discs in their lineup in fantastic trilogy plastic blends.
Gatekeeper– The Westside Gatekeeper will be the newest Midrange disc in the Westside lineup. It will be a straight to overstable midrange designed to hold whatever line you put it on. It will be included in the 2019 Trilogy Challenge.
While Yikun may not be as well known as some other brands, they have some solid offerings. Last year they introduced their first “Double Overmold” disc, the Twin Swords. This year, they have released two new double overmold discs.
Tomahawk – The Tomahawk is a straight flying, deadly accurate midrange.
Meteor Hammer – The Meteor Hammer is the Tomahawk’s little brother. It’s a dead straight putter, perfect for putting and driving.
Infinite Discs is excited to announce a new partnership with the 2019 Next Generation Tour. The partnership includes:
Multi-brand player pack options
Infinite products in player packages, as chosen by the TD or competitor, for 2019 Next Generation events.
David Feldberg has joined the Infinite Discs Team and will be the brand ambassador as well as collaborating on promotions
Infinite products featured at the Next Generation Disc Golf National Championships in November
Infinite profiles and tournament system will be used to record results and manage player standings for the NG tour.
“We are excited to utilize our assets and Infinite Discs, and feel that they can help take the Next Gen Tour to new levels.”
Alan Barker – President, Infinite Discs
“After many years of striving to be best player I could be, the transition of striving to be the best TD and organize the best amateur tour in the world is just as rewarding”
Dave Feldberg – Next Gen Disc Golf, Team Infinite
What is the Next Generation Disc Golf Tour?
The Next Generation Disc Golf Tour is an organized, nationwide, points-based, multi-brand amateur tour run by Next Generation Disc Golf. NextGen Points are earned by competing in Next Gen tournaments and leagues. Top point earners ranked by state, region and nationally earn invitations to the National Championships in November and are eligible for nearly $50K in year-end online payouts by title sponsor, Infinite Discs. NG now offers all PDGA amateur divisions! Competitors will have the opportunity to compete in over 300 tournaments and leagues around the country.
The Next Gen National Championship is the highest quality and most lucrative amateur experience in Disc Golf. With players packs valued over $500, live video coverage, catered meals, world class courses, and the biggest payout per player in the game. Awards have included trips to Europe, trips to compete in Pro Tour Events and two brand new cars!! The 2019 National Championship details have yet to be revealed however, as in past years, it will set new benchmarks in the sport.
Next Gen is partnered with the EDGE charity program, a 501c3 not-for-profit focused on disc golf awareness and education, all NG Exclusive-level events will donate a minimum of $2 per player to EDGE; the Professional Disc Golf Association; and the Disc Golf Professional Tour.
The 2019 Las Vegas Challenge kicks off the 2019 tour, and The MPO and FPO divisions played their first round on the beautiful Infinite Discs Course at the Wildhorse Golf Club on Thursday. One of the feature cards of the MPO division was the “Champions Card” which featured four previous champions of this event–Philo Brathwaite, Paul McBeth, Ricky Wysocki, and Eagle McMahon. This card was filmed by JoMez Productions, and can be watched on their excellent YouTube channel that just reached over 100K subscribers.
This round was highly anticipated in the disc golf world, because it gave us our first chance to see the two best disc golfers in the world play disc golf for the first time on tour with discs from their new sponsors. Just in case you have lived under a rock over the last few months, Paul McBeth and Ricky Wysocki announced that they will be changing up their bags due to new sponsorship agreements. Paul McBeth is now sponsored by Discraft, and Ricky Wysocki is now sponsored by Innova.
So I have decided to collect some of the information that everyone is concerned about–what discs are they throwing now? Below is a breakdown of every disc that both Paul and Ricky threw during their first round on the Infinite Discs course. I personally am not at the event, so as you will see there were a handful of discs that I am not positive about. But if you know which discs they are, please let us know in the comments.
So here is the data!
Paul McBeth’s First Round at LVC on the Infinite Discs Course
Paul had a decent round overall. The disc I felt he was the most accurate with was his Forces. He didn’t have to break it our a ton, but he seems to have really figured that disc out already. The disc he struggled with the most was his putter, the Luna. It is common to see these pros need some time to adjust when they change up their bag, and that’s all I’m going to credit this to. There were several long runs that we’re used to seeing Paul hit or at least draw metal on, and it just wasn’t there this round.
Ricky Wysocki’s First Round at LVC on the Infinite Discs Course
Ricky played a solid round overall. He seemed to be really comfortable with his green Champion Firebird that he was throwing off the tee all day. Similar to Paul, he seemed the most uncomfortable with his putter. He hit a few long putts, but he kept switching back and forth from a white putter to an orange putter. I am almost positive that they are both KC Aviars, but if I get news contrary I will update this post. He also fell victim to a vicious strong side spit out on hole 17 that may have impacted his confidence on an inside the circle putt on hole 18 that he left short.
All in all, it was just fun to watch disc golf again, and it is always fun watching these two professionals go at it on the course. I am excited to see how this event finishes out, and I am very excited to see these two get more accustomed to their new equipment throughout the season. I’m sure we are going to see some memorable moments from these two on this year’s tour.
What did you all take away from watching their first rounds? Did I make a mistake on my disc identifications? Please let me know in the comments!
It’s Valentine’s Day, not April Fools Day, and according to this latest announcement you’ll now be able to throw a “mixed-bag” all under the same Discmania name.
Discmania CEO Jussi Meresmaa has announced that they will offer “more choices to reinvent your game” by partnering with Latitude 64 in Sweden and Yikun Disc Sports in China to create two new sub-brand discs.
Over the past twelve years, Discmania brand discs were manufactured exclusively by Innova Champion Discs. These discs will continue being sold and produced under the name Discmania Originals.
The disc line produced by Yikun will be using the sub brand Discmania Active. It appears that the partnership with Yikun is primarily to get very low-cost plastic, as the Active line discs are only scheduled to be released in a base plastic called, Base Level Plastic. Five discs have been announced for release in the Active Line: Guardian Lion, Spring Ox, Fox Spirit, Sea Serpent, and Sun Crow. All five of these discs are scheduled for release in March. It appears that the Active line is going to keep it really simple with these discs being available in just three colors: pink, white, and blue.
How will this change effect the disc golf industry?
It’s hard to say for sure. What we do know at Infinite Discs is that in terms of sales, the Discmania brand has been our fastest growing brand over the past three years.
The Latitude 64 brand has been struggling in terms of growth/market share, and Yikun sales represent less than 1% of our total sales and are not included on this chart. This partnership will definitely help Yikun discs find a way in more disc golfers hands, and will likely increase the distribution of plastic manufactured by Lat 64.
This partnership also leads to a lot of speculation and questions. How much will this impact Discmania’s already rapidly growing brand? Discmania can now offer versions of the best molds in the best plastics from the two top manufactures in disc golf. They will also be able to offer very inexpensive discs that will likely help them increase their distribution in sporting goods and big box stores that focus primarily on price.
Will the fact that Latitude 64 manufactured discs will no longer be distributed exclusively by Dynamic Discs hurt the Trilogy brands growth? How will this separation impact Innova? We’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions, so please comment below!
This seems like a silly question doesn’t it? Disc golf, like traditional ball golf is generally a one man or one woman show. It’s you against the course. It is an intimate mental battle. You aren’t relying on others to play their part to bring home a team win. Unless we are talking about a unique format like doubles or team match play, disc golf is a competition between individuals. And unlike other singles sports like tennis, the performance of each competitor does not directly influence anyone else’s performance. The golfer before you on your card could throw out of bounds or a hole in one. Either way, you have the exact same shot to throw. The course and elements are not changed. Golf in all forms—disc, ball, foot—is a lonely mental battle.
So why is it that this time of year our social media feeds are filled with news about disc golf “teams” and disc golfers of all skill levels announcing their allegiance to these teams?
This off-season has been especially exciting with big names like Paul McBeth and Ricky Wysocki announcing that they are switching teams. Paul McBeth signed a contract worth a cool $1 mil. to join Team Discraft while Raptor Legs Ricky jumped over to Team Innova and took Paul’s old spot on the stock stamp of the top selling Star Destroyer.
Now the mass response to these moves has been…interesting to say the least. There have even been folks selling their entire Innova stock of discs and searching for “the Discraft equivalent” discs to change their entire bag. While extreme responses like this may not be the majority, we at Infinite Discs have already seen an uptick in Discraft sales as can be seen in our recent top selling Tuesday posts as well as our report on the best selling discs of the fourth quarter of 2018.
So why do we respond this way? And where do our true loyalties lie as fans and players of the sport—with the pros or their disc manufacturers aka “teams?”
Over the last 5 years of working at Infinite Discs, I have spent a lot of time manning our storefront. That has given me the opportunity to watch the spark of joy in new players who first come in buying cheap misprint beginner discs, and then come back again and again over the next few weeks asking me what discs they need to continue to improve. I love being a part of these new players’ start on their disc golf journey. Before long, they build up the courage to come out to the local weekly leagues and make new friends.
And then, there is a common trip to the shop that usually happens a few months after the first visit. These new players walk in with their first putters and favorite drivers and ask me, “Okay, what is the (Insert disc manufacturer here) version of this disc?”
I usually respond with a few similar discs, but I try to explain to them that if they like the disc they are throwing, the disc that is going to be most like it is that exact disc. But usually this is fruitless. They buy the similar disc.
Then on the next visit, they have a list of discs all from that same manufacturer that they got from an “In the Bag” video from their new favorite disc golf pro. And I think you can figure it out from there.
Jokingly, I call this the “Indoctrination Process,” and disc golf companies are getting pretty good at it. I think my journey into the disc golf world was just before the indoctrination and team disc golf culture hit disc golf hard. But how did it become that way?
I’m no expert, but I can share my story. I began playing disc golf in the Spring of 2010 and I was hooked. I bought my first disc—an overpriced DX Innova Aviar from my local Sports Authority. After that I became a frequent shopper at a small shop called Soccer Rockers. Soccer Rockers was a soccer shop that slowly saw disc golf expand from a small wall display to an entire room dedicated to the sport. With the help of my friends and the shop owner, I developed my 4 disc repertoire that I thought I’d never need to change. They were all Innova discs because I found their flight ratings system easier to understand and navigate than the former Discraft one. I also did some research online and discovered a some YouTube tutorials and learned about a few disc golf pros like Ken Climo and Nate Doss. At that time, I thought there were only two disc golf manufacturers in the world—Innova and Discraft.
Then I took off for two years to serve as a missionary for my church. I got the chance to play a round here or there, but for the most part I was disconnected until the start of 2013. I returned to my hometown and returned to Soccer Rockers and began expanding my disc choices. I also began attending local leagues and getting more involved in the community. At Soccer Rockers I learned about new brand names like Latitude 64. There was also this new funky putter and midrange company that made discs with a different outer rim called MVP Discs. And then there was a company that was taking the disc golf world by storm—Prodigy. I stuck with Innova discs until it was time for me to pick a new putter. I remember spending nearly an hour at the shop agonizing over the decision, but the owner helped me decide to give a Gateway Wizard a try. I consider this one of the best and most influential decisions of my young disc golf life. I fell in love with the disc.
That fall I moved to Logan, Utah where I began attending the local league and met the owners of this new online shop called Infinite Discs. I decided to check out their warehouse one day, and I thought I’d walked into heaven. Discs…everywhere. I didn’t start working there for another few months, but I became very close to the operation and learned a ton about discs and decided to try out all sorts of discs, and the rest is history. I have been a mixed bag player ever since. I have my favorite molds and plastic blends, but any sense of loyalty to a specific manufacturer has felt pointless. If I find a disc I love, why should I care who makes it?
Oh, and this is when I really learned about the pro game. After my mission was when Paul McBeth mania was just getting started, and it was hard to not be a fan. I have since made friends with several professional disc golfers, so choosing a favorite is a little more difficult, but just as a pure fan of the sport, there was nothing like watching Paul McBeth do work at that time. However, I think I was in the game enough before watching McBeth that it didn’t really change what I was throwing. But I could tell that the culture of disc golf and the relationship with disc manufacturers had changed since before my mission.
How Did We Get Here?
I think that the extreme brand loyalty that we see in today’s disc golf culture can be traced back to three main events in disc golf history.
First, the launch of Prodigy Disc was huge. Prodigy hit the shelves in 2012, and at that time there still were really only 2 big names in the game, especially in sponsoring professional disc golfers. But what Prodigy Disc did was a game changer. They didn’t just offer cash sponsorships for their players, but they offered them stock in the company. So the players who joined the new Team Prodigy weren’t just getting support on tour, but they were personally invested in the company. Naturally, these players were pushing their brand with more motivation than ever before because their own money was at stake.
And these weren’t just small name regional pros. Some of the biggest names in the sport at the time jumped on board. The original Team Prodigy featured touring pros like Will Schusterick, Paul Ulibarri, Catrina Allen, Paige Pierce, Nikko Locastro, Jeremy Koling, Garrett Gurthie, and a little known up and comer named Ricky Wysocki.
Another event that happened around the same time (we can call this event one and a half) was former World Champion and long time Innova team member Dave Feldberg joined team Latitude 64 to help promote the growing Swedish company. Also in 2012, Jeremy Rusco and the Dynamic Discs team joined forces with Latitude 64 to begin manufacturing discs under the popular Dynamic Discs name. So around this time we have all these moving parts helping to dismantle the two horse race between Innova and Discraft that had dominated disc golf sales for years. And most noteworthy for our purposes was Prodigy Disc getting professional disc golfers literally invested in disc sales as well as their own performance on tour which they were already invested in.
Our second event that has led us to our brand loyalty and team culture is Paul McBeth’s extremely dominant 2015 season. This was the Grand Slam year, meaning McBeth won all five of the PDGA Majors held in 2015 including the one that had gotten away from him every previous year—the United States Disc Golf Championship. Before this season, we all knew Paul McBeth was a special talent winning two straight World Championships and recording the highest PDGA rated round ever, but 2015 propelled him into a class of his own. As a fan and spectator of the sport, it was truly amazing to witness.
So how did such a dominant season contribute to brand loyalty? Well you have to look at the framework of what happened leading up to this season. Paul McBeth won the 2014 PDGA World Championships in a playoff against Ricky Wysocki, who was having a breakout year for himself.
This leads us to our third event—Ricky Wysocki left Prodigy Disc to join team Latitude 64. This was one of many moves in the world of professional disc golf endorsements that Latitude 64 made during this time including adding several former Prodigy Disc players, but Ricky Wysocki was the most influential. Almost instantly Wysocki became the darling of the Trilogy family (Latitude 64, Westside Discs, and Dynamic Discs for those unfamiliar with that term).
So a rivalry that was developing on the course between two competitors on the disc golf turned into a rivalry between brands. I believe 2015 was the season that we started to look at wins for individuals as also wins for their sponsors. When Paul McBeth and Ricky Wysocki faced off, for some fans it was the same as Innova facing off against Trilogy. And in a lot of ways the narrative fit. McBeth was the established champion and Wysocki was the newcomer trying to prove that he could compete on the same level as the reigning champion. Innova was the established disc golf powerhouse, and the Trilogy brands were trying to challenge the establishment. But as McBeth dominated on the course showing Wysocki and the world that he wasn’t backing down, so did Innova send such a message to the smaller brands that were growing over the previous few years.
And then, of course, if 2015 was the year of McBeth, 2016 was the year of Wysocki with Ricky winning his first ever PDGA World Championship putting a stop to McBeth’s 4 year reign as the world champ. If we want to stick with this brand vs. brand narrative, this was also a win for Latitude 64 and the collective rest of the disc golf world.
All of this was setting the stage for years dominated by products featuring signatures and tour series fundraiser discs. These were especially popular from Innova and their Factory Store including discs made with “McPro” plastic—a plastic blend literally named after a sponsored player. This wasn’t necessarily groundbreaking for Innova (see the KC, JK, and Yeti Aviar), but it again shows the efforts being made by the disc manufacturers to assimilate the identities of their pros with their brand identity.
A Look Outward
For those of us who work in the industry and those who eat sleep and breathe disc golf, it’s easy to just kind of go with it. The comparisons aren’t perfect, but still if we take a look outward, the disc golf community’s relationship between disc manufacturers, professional players, and consumers is a bit of an enigma.
First let’s look at one of the oldest industries in American sports to navigate the professional endorsement game—basketball sneakers. It is a dream for many young ballers to one day have a shoe made with their name on it, but the bigger dream is sustained success at the professional level and taking home championships. On this level, the disc golf world is similar. Signature discs are great, but success on the course comes first.
Now when we add the third element of the consumer is where things get interesting. For our purposes, we will look at two loyalties of the consumer. There is the consumer loyalty which is the side that purchases sneakers and other products, and there is the fan loyalty which is the side that cheers for the athletes and teams.
The easiest way to analyze this for me is to look in the mirror a bit. I am a huge fan of LeBron James. I am also a huge fan of the Utah Jazz. Whenever LeBron is playing, I cheer for him and the team he is playing for unless he is playing against the Utah Jazz. My loyalty to my favorite team is stronger than my loyalty to my favorite player which I’d imagine is common in the basketball world as well as in other team sports.
On the consumer side, LeBron is sponsored by Nike. I’m no sneakerhead, but overall I have had good experiences with Nike and would consider them a favorite brand. However, I am not one to purchase a product just because of a professional endorsement. That doesn’t mean those endorsements don’t work—in fact they do work. Nike just signed LeBron James to a lifetime contract, and Under Armour has had a lot of success breaking into the market since partnering up a few years ago with an undersized up and coming guard in the league you may have heard of, Steph Curry.
But this is where disc golf steps it up a notch. Do fans of basketball watch in hopes that the Nike sponsored athletes will outperform the Adidas athletes? Are Steph Curry fans happy when Joel Embiid has a good game because he is also sponsored by Under Armour?
Now a common explanation I have been given when bringing this up to other disc golfers is simply, basketball is a team sport, so of course we will cheer for the teams. I have also been told that the disc golf manufacturing team support is often fueled by sports fans’ desire to bring that team element that they like in other sports to a singles sport. I think these explanations are fair, but it doesn’t check out when we look at other singles sports like tennis or our closest relative, golf.
I grew up during the heart of Tiger-mania. I have lots of memories of watching Tiger Woods on Sunday afternoons with my family. The world of professional golf has evolved over the last few years without Tiger, but with Tiger winning the tour championship in 2018, we are already seeing that he may still have a few more years left.
For our purposes, Tiger Woods is a perfect case study because Nike Golf was a brand built entirely around Nike’s relationship with Woods. Nike began manufacturing clubs after they signed on Tiger when he first turned pro in 1996. But as Tiger fell, so did Nike Golf who discontinued their club and ball manufacturing in 2016. Nike still sponsors Tiger as an apparel sponsor, but he now is endorsed by Taylor Made for clubs and Bridgestone for golf balls. Obviously the story of the success and failures of Nike’s endeavors in the golf industry is more complex than just Tiger Woods, but it does illustrate the influence these endorsements can have for companies.
And we see a lot of the same elements in the golf endorsement game as we do in basketball and disc golf. Consumers will buy products with signatures, custom logos, and names that feature their favorite athletes. Some may even develop an allegiance to the brands that sponsor their favorite athletes. But how far do they take that brand loyalty with them when they are watching the pros compete? When watching the Master’s this year, will the hardcore Tiger Woods fans who have developed a brand loyalty to Nike also cheer for Rory McIlroy or Jason Day just because they also wear Nike Golf apparel? You really don’t see that very much in golf.
To be fair, another element that does bring in a team aspect to golf is country. I remember as a kid my dad who was a casual fan of the sport would often cheer for the American and Spanish golfers over all the others. He was an American obviously, and he lived in Spain for two years as a missionary. It is common in golf media coverage to see the flag of a golfers home country next to his or her name on a scoreboard.
But here is where it comes full circle again. Where that home country’s flag is in golf coverage, the disc golf manufacturing sponsor’s logo has been showing up in recent disc golf coverage.
A Personal Experience
I am going to keep this pretty general to protect the identities of everyone involved, but I was watching the final round of a bigger disc golf tournament a few years ago. I was following along in the gallery with a few people including a friend of mine who was a newer fan of the sport. This young fan fit the mold I described earlier about newer disc golfers who would jump all in on a disc golf brand of their choice. Also in our group of people watching the end of the tournament happened to be a touring pro who was sponsored by the same brand my friend had allegiances to.
This final round we were watching ended in a tie between two competitors and went to a playoff. The first competitor was sponsored by the same brand while the second was sponsored by a different company. In the end, the first of these two won the tournament.
As we were walking back to tournament central, the sponsored pro who was in our group made a comment that they were happy that the first competitor won.
My friend responded, “Yeah, go team (blank)!”
The sponsored pro immediately said, “Oh, no! I don’t care about that at all,” and explained how the first pro was just a friend, and it had nothing to do with their common endorsement.
I have always found this experience interesting because it shows that the team sport culture and mentality that we see and develop as fans doesn’t necessarily carry over to those who compete in the sport at the highest level. Friendships and support for one another are not formed just because you throw the same brand of discs. And this should be obvious right? Even in team sports, just because you are on the same team doesn’t mean you automatically get along and are best buds. I think the current state of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL is enough to prove that point.
In simple enough terms, we have created a team sport culture in a sport that has no teams. Is there anything wrong with that? What’s the big deal?
Well, I think that depends on who you ask and in what context we are talking about. Obviously for the disc golf manufacturers, they are never going to complain about brand loyalty, and if the team loyalty that fans experience in other sports are being assigned to their brands, that has to be a dream come true.
Think about that one for a second. I think team loyalty is one of the strongest bonds in sports. You may love an athlete, but if they do something controversial or under-perform, as a fan you can just cut ties, and we do cut ties to athletes who break the law or cheat like Tom Brady…well, I guess not all of us, but you get my drift.
But if your favorite team hires a terrible head coach and makes a foolish trade and finishes the season worst in the league, are they still your team? In Cleveland, team loyalty had them burning LeBron’s jersey after “the decision,” and some of us in Utah are still pretty hurt after Gordon Hayward left because we are loyal to our team. Like I mentioned earlier, I love LeBron, but I always cheer for my team when they play, and that can be said for any of my favorite players and teams in any sport. The team comes first.
So if disc golf brands can get fans of the sport to develop that team mentality and loyalty to their “teams,” then that’s a huge win for them.
Ironically enough though, the team culture may not be so positive for the professional disc golfers. They are the ones who are doing the work that the disc manufacturers try to reap the benefits from. Don’t misunderstand, professional disc golfers benefit financially from endorsements as well, but money from disc sales go first to the disc manufacturers, and how much of that gets kicked back to the pro depends on the exact terms of their contract. There have been some rocky relationships between companies and disc golfers in recent years resulting in endorsement changes. Paul McBeth has made it clear that his main reason for leaving Innova was money.
During free agency periods in team sports, we often see players make moves from one team to another because of money, but I think this is especially pertinent in disc golf because it is still a small sport with less money. Also, in singles sports, your success is not predicated by which team you are on, so equipment endorsements–which is really all these “teams” are for the players–come down to the financial benefit and viability for the players.
And if you think that it has anything to do with the actual products available from each manufacturer, you are wrong…mostly. If they feel like they have a full repertoire of discs available to them, disc golfers will follow the money. Again, there still isn’t a lot of money in disc golf, and that includes tournament payouts.
So for these professionals who are trying to make disc golf their full time job and pursuit, they have to jump at the opportunities to make more money. Those who hope or expect these professionals to make their decisions based on “team” loyalties are going to be disappointed as the sport grows.
Which brings us to my personal number one concern for the sport. How does a team sport culture in disc golf influence the growth of the sport? Let me grab my soapbox really quick…
In my opinion, disc golf needs to and will outgrow this “team” phase that it has been in for nearly ten years. Does that mean I want to be rid of manufacturing sponsors? No, of course not. I believe that disc manufacturers will always have their personal “team” of players. But as we grow we will also see apparel and other equipment endorsements make their mark on the sport. We have already seen this sporadically with companies like Adidas, Keen, and Oakley. So in the next few years we could see professional disc golfers become members of a variety of big name “teams.” These additional endorsements will help make the current team structure irrelevant to the fans of the sport.
Personally, when the news broke that Ricky Wysocki would no longer be sponsored by Latitude 64, I was so hopeful that he would be joining Paul McBeth at Discraft. How would the fans have responded to the two biggest rivals in our sport now competing for the same “team?” Well, the ironic thing is that they wouldn’t be competing for the same team. Disc golf is not a team sport. They would be competing for the same team, themselves. They would just be using discs manufactured by the same company.
But that didn’t happen. Ricky Wysocki will be throwing Innova and Paul McBeth will be throwing Discraft this season. I think one of the most interesting demographics in the sport to take a look at are Paul McBeth fans who chose to throw only Innova discs when they play disc golf because of that fandom. What do they do now? Do they stick with Innova because they truly believe they are the superior manufacturer? Or do they jump ship and change their entire collection of discs because their favorite pro is now using different discs?
Again, a quick jump to golf—do you think fans of Tiger Woods who bought Nike Golf golf clubs a few years ago would get rid of their perfectly functional clubs just so they could get Taylor Made golf clubs to match what Tiger is now using on tour?
The Ricky Wysocki fans are also facing an interesting predicament because Ricky has joined the “team” his rival was on. So do they stick with their trusted Trilogy plastic, or start throwing discs from a company they had viewed as being “the dark side?”
To those who may be struggling with these or similar dilemmas, here is my advice—just do you. Throw the discs that you have the most confidence in, and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. I’d also recommend deciding who you cheer for on the tour based on something more than what discs they are throwing. There are a lot of great guys and gals out on the tour right now who deserve support regardless of who they are sponsored by.
The Times They Are a Changing
Some of the sentiment expressed in that last paragraph was also expressed by Dave Feldberg in the video we just released announcing him as a member of Team Infinite this year. Part of the agreement with Dave joining Infinite Discs is that he can throw any disc he wants regardless of manufacturer. This is a crucial part of the agreement with the direction he is taking the Next Generation Tour, and it works well with us and our standing policy for members of Team Infinite.
I also think in some ways Paul McBeth joining Discraft helps in moving disc golf away from team allegiances. I mentioned that the two big names for a long time were Innova and Discraft, but in recent years Discraft sales took a hit as Trilogy, Prodigy, and other manufacturers got into the market. They also had a relatively quiet team presence in the disc golf world, but as they make waves again with new stamps and of course new endorsements, their sales numbers have already seen an increase.
In a lot of ways, I think all of the moves this off-season gives us a chance to reevaluate our disc golf culture. As we collectively think about our identity as disc golfers, are we divided into many tribes within the culture, or are we one big family focused on growing the sport as a whole? There has been a lot of talk about the perils of tribalism in our society today, and I hope that we can choose to come together as a disc golf family. Of course, we will always be individuals with our personal preferences, and I think rivalries and competition are great for the sport. But that shouldn’t change our common goal to grow the sport together.
So, is disc golf a team sport? No, of course not. A few years down the road we may look back and remember how much we used to care about the “teams” we were a part of or that we supported. But I believe disc golf as a whole will be on to bigger and better things.