Friday, December 19, 2014

Gateway Mystic & Warrior disc review

By: Kyle O'Neill (and a little bit from Jason)

I’m a big fan of Gateways stable of putters (who isn’t?). My main putters are Organic Warlocks, and I’ve got a Magic and Wizard in the bag as well. So when my buddy Jason posted a huge stack of Gateway plastic on Facebook that included a handful of mids and drivers, I was practically salivating. I’d been wanting to check out Gateways other offerings for some time, and the understable Mystic (mid-range) and the overstable Warrior (also a mid) jumped out at me immediately.
We threw a 180g Evolution Plastic
First up, the Mystic. To call it understable is a bit of an understatement. The first time throwing it was off the tee was when I needed a slight turn and then a bit of fade at the end. I released the Mystic flat and with a decent amount of power, and it definitely obliged on the turn. In fact, it turned over and never thought about coming back. I thought to myself "ok, maybe it needs less power and a hyzer release."

So, I tried that on the next launch. On a 250’ or so upshot I powered down and released with a degree of hyzer. The flip up to flat looked promising, but unfortunately it continued to flip and over it went again. Throughout the round I played with it, I had a difficult time dialing it in. I did find myself in a couple situations where I needed to just go right (I’m a RHBH thrower), and it performed admirably there. Jason also took it for a couple spins, and he seemed to have more luck with it (he also may just have better control of his release, as much as I hate to admit that). I throw a Buzzz SS when I need a slower drive to turn over, and a Latitude 64 Fuse when I REALLY need a shot to stay right.

The Mystic seemed to fall even further down the spectrum, at least for the throws I was attempting. I would have loved this disc when I first started my disc golf ‘career’ and didn’t have as much power (I’m not claiming any Herculean arm speed now), and I would recommend it for more novice players.
Jason's input: I had a somewhat different opinion from Kyle. As he mentioned, it's a disc that requires a really clean release on a slight hyzer and then it trucks and glides as far as any mid I've ever thrown. I love throwing hyzer flips and especially on up hill shots, a disc like the mystic is going to float up easier than my traditional go-to mid which is the Truth. I'm bagging the mystic as my turn over / hyzer flip disc especially as I like the way the inside of the rim feels on my fingers. It's rounded and relatively shallow which fits my hand really well.
That said, you really have to make sure you are getting appropriate spin on the disc to stable it out if you want this disc to fly 300-350'. Once you get a solid spin/acceleration it'll travel really nicely.
We tested a 177g Evolution. Pictured above is Sure Grip.
That brings us to the Warrior. After flipping the Mystic over a half dozen times, I was beginning to lose confidence in my ability to properly throw a mid-range disc. The Warrior, however, restored that faith in me once again.

The Warrior is definitely the bigger, more overstable brother in Gateway’s mid lineup. I was able to apply the power I needed to hold the disc on a big hyzer line and then some. Whereas my Roc3 will flip up, hold flat and then fade at the end, the Warrior only flirted with a horizontal position and then went right back to gliding on it’s beautiful and direct path to the basket. Colorado has no shortage of head winds, so when the opportunity presented itself I tested out that scenario as well.

I was able to apply a bit more power and the Warrior held fast, where the aforementioned Roc3 wouldn’t stand a chance. There’s definitely a place for this disc in my bag, for when there’s a sexy hyzer line to navigate or when I’m not quite willing to pull out my Gator. I very much appreciate the opportunity to toss the Mystic and Warrior for a couple rounds, and I’m equally excited to try more Gateway discs (maybe a driver!).

When you throw, throw with gusto Heavy Discers!

Jason's Input: I have always struggeled with headwind mid-range discs. I have a Z-Drone that feels too over-stable even in a pretty strong wind. The Z-Buzzz's that I have can handle up to a certain amount of wind, but then they go nose down hard. The Warrior is right in between those 2 discs and makes for a great option for throwing 250-300' mid range shots in wind with a predictability that I really like. It would also make a nice shorter approach forehand disc and like all Gateway Mids, the rim is the same, it's relatively shallow and rounded for a nice comfortable grip.
Evolution plastic is mandatory. The Sure Grip plastic beats in faster than any plastic I've run into yet. Sure Grip feels good out of the box, but it doesn't seem to stand up to wear and tear like I need discs to.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Long and Short with Brody Miller

Brody Miller putting the disc in the basket.
There was a video that caught my eye a couple months back from the Oregon DGC (what up Alex!?) that highlighted some truly amazing putts and throw-ins from Portland's Brody Miller. I wanted to hunt this fella down and pick his brain for thoughts on his short game. A little cyber-stalking later and he'd agreed to share some knowledge with us. Of course my work schedule (and his) slowed things down a bit, so I had HeavyDisc corespondent / bird lawyer / disc golf buddy Kyle O'Neill step in to ask some questions.

So thanks to Kyle and Brody for the following interview. First though, check out this insanity.

What do your putting practices consist of? Do you have a specific routine you follow, or just go out and start tossing your putters?
Typically when I practice putt I will have a handful of putters all exactly the same. I like to practice different styles from different distances. I straddle putt from 10, 15, 20 feet, etc; and putt standard stance from 10, 15, 20 feet, etc. I usually like to putt from one spot until I make 30 without missing.

Do you practice up shots as much as your putting (or even driving), and if so do you have a routine for that as well?
I'm glad you asked. My approach game is pretty strong. My home courses are very short, I will often "disc down" rather than throw a driver soft. I will throw a midrange or a putter, doing so gives me better control and accuracy. They typically have better control in windy conditions over drivers on short throws.

What types of discs are you using for both shorter approach shots and for putting? Do you change those discs based on the situation you find yourself in, or do you stick with the same few discs regardless? 
Playing for Latitude 64 I have great options for putters. I have a great relationship with my zero hard Pure for the majority of my putting needs inside of 50 feet. Outside of that I will typically use a zero medium Pure. Anytime I am outside of 40 feet I will use a modified jump putt for which a zero medium Pure allows me to apply extra spin. When throwing approaches or putter tee shots I use a zero medium Pure or opto Pure. These are not only very controllable but very durable as well. They all have the exact same feel in the hand, which I find to be very helpful with consistency. To compensate for wind I will typically change the angle of release rather than the disc.

Ridiculous things happening.
In the video I referenced above, you hit some long putts using some very interesting lines. What influences the lines you take during a jump putt? Do you always jump putt, and if not, inside what range are you comfortable with?
The wind, gaps in the trees, trouble or ob around greens, and distance all influence the lines and angles I use during a jump putt. On uphill or longer putts I tend to use a jump putt. On a downhill putt I won’t usually jump at all. On flat ground outside of 40 feet I will use a modified jump putt.

We know that the mental aspect of disc golf, like in all sports, is a huge part of the game. After a missed putt that you feel you should have made, or an errant up shot, how do you go about putting that unsavory shot out of your mind in order to execute the next? What goes through your mind during those instances?
We all miss. It is a game of minimizing our mistakes. If you go into a round knowing you will have misses, hopefully, when you do miss it will not affect your next shot. We would all love to make every shot, but the reality is even the best players in the world miss. Typically it's the recovery of that miss that makes them great. In my mind, when I miss, making the next shot is the most important thing.

What's the best piece of advice about the short game that you've received during your career? While learning the game, was there someone that you tried to emulate in order to improve your skills?
The best advice someone once gave me was about staying positive. If you can stay positive in the worst of situations or bad rounds then you cannot be defeated. You might not win the round or the event but you will have a better chance than the people hanging their heads in defeat. During the Ken Climo era I think everyone wanted to putt the way he did. I would watch videos and try to emulate his style. Growing up with a father that played great disc golf, as well, I certainly picked up some of his style. More than anything I have always tried to do what's most comfortable.