Monday, February 24, 2014

Dear Lord, the choices

By: Kyle O'Neill

I’d like to tackle a couple different approaches to building a bag in this post. I’m going to assume that most readers are aware that you should be in the possession of drivers, mids and putters. If you are not, pro DGer Avery Jenkins made a couple videos that will help the novice familiarize themselves with the basics:

Jenkins being a sponsored player, his disc suggestions all tend to lean towards his main benefactor. You can’t blame the guy, as I’m guessing he wants to continue to receive checks, discs and free swag (I know I would, I love all of those things!).

This is an excellent segue into how I got started playing disc golf. My first experience and subsequent love affair started in San Francisco, California, which is right in Innovas backyard. There was exactly one brick and mortar shop where you could physically walk in and buy a brand new disc (shout out to Purple Skunk skate shop). Every disc in their rather limited arsenal was, you guessed it, made by Innova. I had yet to discover the joys of shopping for discs online, so every disc I bought when I first started out was of the Innova ilk. That was fine by me because 1. I didn't know any better. And 2. I absolutely loved going in and fondling the plastic (sorry Purple Skunk).

Then I moved back to Colorado, and the players I met upon arriving threw discs from companies other than Innova. Imagine my surprise! I was able to test out discs from Discraft, Latitude 64, MVP and Vibram.  I was like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory! I couldn't contain my excitement!

That excitement soon turned to anxiety, however, as I realized that there were so many discs on the market that I would never be able to throw them all, no matter how many disc golfing friends I made. After I stopped hyperventilating, I came to the conclusion that I was going to have to build my burgeoning bag based (alliteration!) on need alone.  That was okay, however, because at that point I was starting to become cognizant of the holes in my game. Holes that could be filled with a type of disc, not a specific disc.

During a round, I might discover that I didn't have a disc that covered the “understable enough for big sweeping anzyhers” slot. One school of thought, in this situation, would be to go out and try as many discs as you can in the hopes that one (or more) fills your particular need. Considering I had neither the time nor the necessary funding for this endeavor, I fell into a different camp. With a bit of research, I found a disc that might meet my needs (the MVP Amp in my case), and I purchased said disc. With some field work and putting the disc through its paces during recreational rounds, I discovered that it did in fact perform the way I wanted it to. Admittedly, I was rather lucky to strike gold on the first attempt, but I find this to be the case more often than not.

Where the hell did all this plastic come from?
I know quite a few players who buy a LOT of plastic in order to find the disc(s) that are right for them and their game. And don’t get me wrong, I would never knock another’s process. For me, however, the seemingly impossible task of testing every disc now on the market is not feasible (mostly for my own sanity.) I've gotten to the point in my game where I believe that I've got every shot I need in the bag, although the next new course I play will probably shoot that right out of the water. I’m somewhat comforted by this fact though, and I try to carry that confidence into every round I play. I’ll also be the first to admit I carry more plastic than I really need to, but better to have it and not need it than the opposite, amiright?

All of this being said, would I like to throw the MVP Servo or the DD Renegade (thanks a lot Jason) and see if the reviews are true? Of course I would, but I might be tempted to put them in my bag. I've already got a Leopard and a Saint that fill those spots, respectively, and I don’t want to mess with what’s already working (again, that sanity thing). Sometimes I have to fight with the little voice in my head that says "but what if there's a disc that you'll like even more?!" Occasionally I lose that fight, but I try not to make any new plastic purchases without doing a fair amount of research first. I find this method is the easiest on my fragile Disc Golf psyche, as well as my wallet.

I mentioned an understable disc earlier, and my hard-nosed editor-in-chief wanted me to further explore the necessity and differences between over and understable discs. After giving it some thought, it's a big topic on it's own so I'm going to save that for next time.

Happy throwing campers! 

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