Everyone has heard the expression uttered somewhere on the disc golf course by now: “Drive for show, putt for dough”. It’s true that all the scoring on the course comes down to your putting, so of course we all want the best tool in our hand for the job. In this post we will discuss some of the things one can do to dial in which putter might be best for them. Keep in mind: every player is unique, and that what works for some, might not for others.
Bead vs. No Bead vs. Microbead
All putters come in one of these 3 designs, and some of the most popular putters in the world come from each grouping.
Beaded putters have a rounded ridge on the bottom of the rim. Some players swear by resting their index finger on the bead when using a traditional fan grip. Whereas some players rest their finger higher on the edge of the disc and find that a bead feels awkward as it slides over their middle finger on release. It’s all personal preference. Other things to keep in mind are that beaded putters are generally the more stable of the putters, and the bead can also have an effect of reducing any sliding during ground play.
Some of the most popular putters from each of the categories are as follows:
Beaded: Innova Aviar, Gateway Wizard, Latitude 64 Dagger
Beadless: Discmania P2, EV7 Phi, Latitude 64 Pure
Microbead: MVP Nomad, EV7 Penrose, Kastaplast K3 Reko
Soft vs. Firm
It can be said that perhaps the most important factor for players having confidence in their putter is hand feel. This means that characteristic which have little effect on the flight of the disc, may end up being the highest priority for players. For instance, whether a player prefers a softer and flimsier putter plastic vs. a firmer disc. Grip can also be a big deciding factor. Often players who prefer firmer putters, also prefer the more slippery plastics, whereas softer putters are also often more grippy. One great perk regarding the manufacturer EV7, is that being solely dedicated to putters, each of their 4 molds come in 4 great varieties of firmness, and even their firm putters have a very nice tacky grip.
For the majority of players, it is recommended that for discs that are being thrown for accuracy rather than distance, such as putters and midranges, keeping them on the heavier side provides better distance control, and wind resistance. That being said, for children, or lighter throwers, considering a lighter weight putter is an option.
Another weight factor to consider, is that some unique putters such as the Thoughtspace Athletics Muse, or the Dynamic Discs Guard, disperse more of the plastic to the outer rim, making the putter feels chunkier and heavier. This characteristic of feeling heavier is something some putters swear by.
Stability and Glide
For short putts, the flight characteristics of the disc will not really be coming into effect. However, for longer putts, players have been known to find a straighter, or less stable putter useful. If you find on longer putts you are fading out before the basket, or having to aim too far outside the basket in order to bend back in, perhaps switching to a less stable putter could lead to better scoring. Some hyzer putters also swear by significantly understable putters like the Discraft Fierce, the MVP Spin, the Westside Swan, or the Dynamic Discs Deputy.
Many of the most classic putters have a similar rim depth. But then there are putters that vary from the norm, providing options for the many different hands out there. 2 of the most popular putters out there that provide a slimmer, more shallow feel in the hand are the Kastaplast K3 Reko, and the Infinite Discs Tomb. Most recently, Eagle McMahon has created the Rainmaker with Discmania, meant to provide P2 lovers with something a little straighter, and slimmer in the hand.
Putters aren’t just for putting in the basket. Many throws will benefit from the slower speed and controllable distance of a putter. But throwing your nice baseline plastic putter off the tee could result in dings and gouges in your nice putting putter as you hit obstacles. This is why most players will also carry a putter in a harder, more durable premium plastic for throwing off the tee. McBeth throws a premium plastic version of his Luna off the tee, and Simon Lizotte throws his premium plastic putter the Sky God.
Much like throwing putters, nearly every player bags an approach putter. These discs are often overstable, meant for attacking baskets as they fade in from the side, and have less glide for easier short distance control. Popular examples of these discs are the Discraft Zone, the Innova Pig, the Discmania Tactic, the Westside Harp. Kevin Jones’ new Prodigy Distortion feels really nice. One of the hottest approach discs in the game right now is the Kastaplast Berg. It’s stable, but surprisingly straight, and falls out of the air quickly for amazing distance control.
Hopefully some of this information will help you make a more informed decision when picking your next putter. Of course, there is no secret magic putter. Get out there and practice! Be able to throw all the putts: Hyzer, Anhyszer, spin, push, straddle……heck….Turbo! Having a few copies of your favourite putter for your backyard basket is nice, but playing putting catch with your disc golf buddy is also a great way to get reps in and warm up.
Go get some Chains!