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In my time in the Pro Shop here at Sabattus Disc Golf, there are two questions that I get from customers more often than any others. The first is the obvious “what disc goes the farthest?” to which there is no real answer. The second, and more approachable is “how do I know what disc to buy next?”.
Throughout the years I have seen a lot of different approaches to answering this, but only one that really made sense to me. I’ve used it to help the friends of mine, that I have gotten into the sport in building their bags, as well as my own. It just works, and it goes like this:
Lay your current straightest flying discs out, in a straight line by speed. So first your straightest putter, ending with your straightest, longest flying driver. Begin to arrange discs of the same speed and distance as those straight flyers, next to them in relation to how they fly differently. Ex: If you have a McPro Aviar as your straightest putter (and you should!) you could put a Rhyno (overstable) on it’s right, and a Classic Aviar (Less stable) on it’s left. Continue this process, taking the repeat discs out so that what you end up with is a line of discs 3-wide showing you exactly what shots you have in your bag. Note where you have gaps and look to fill them. If you’ve got a Teebird3 as your straight disc at the 275’-300’ range, and a Thunderbird on it’s right, but nothing on the left, it may be time for something a little more flippy with the same distance. I’d recommend either a Leopard3 or a Discmania FD. If you had some disc end up in the same spot decide which one you can’t go without, and bag it. Stash the other. Once your bag is built you can make the call about putting some of those doubles back in if they have some subtle nuances that you think will help your game.
Disc selection can be really overwhelming but, there is an easier approach to have a variety of shots without bagging every mold that comes out, on the off-chance it’s going to be some sort of plastic Excalibur that shaves 8 strokes off of your game. Take a look at an “In the Bag” video for some of the more consistent Pros. I like to use Philo Brathwaite. Philo carried 5 molds, that’s it. Classic Aviar, Roc, Firebird, Teebird, Destroyer for a total of 21 discs in his bag.
So, the modified version that I’ve found, which is just as easy to keep up with, and doesn’t require years of seasoning discs to shape different shots, is to get discs that are in the same mold families. If you like Teebirds; get a Teebird3 or a Thunderbird to achieve the same feel with a different flight. Orcs, Wraiths, Destroyers, and Bosses are essentially the same mold in different speeds.
There are a ton of different ways to succeed in building a great bag. There are also a couple of really common mistakes I see players make. 1) Don’t buy discs based on how they fly when (Insert your favorite Pro here) throws them. It’s not a question of skill level or experience, it’s that they have a different style, hand, and set of body-mechanics than you do. 2) Don’t throw high speed discs until you have a high-speed arm. Someone a little less powerful is going to get more distance out of a 9-speed driver, like a Valkyrie than they will out of something like a Colossus (14 Speed) because those discs were designed to be moving insanely fast to achieve their flight characteristics.
The most important thing here is to have fun, guys. Share out sport with others and be encouraging.
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