Disc Review: The Ion

After a year or more of switching from one to another, I've finally found my go to putter…the Ion! Manufactured by MVP Disc Sports, LLC in Michigan, this unique disc is where it’s at. Even though the Ion is my go to putter, I do keep two others in my bag. I tend to prefer to use my XD for drives and longer tosses from the fairway, while I use my JuJu for high arching shots that need to bend around tree limbs and sit soft. The Ion is primarily used for putts that I’m looking to drain as the high arching floaters from the JuJu are rarely high percentage shots. I’m just trying to give myself a chance, all the while having the disc sit soft enough where I’m going to make the come backer. As great as the XD and JuJu are, when I’m trying to bang one in the back of the chains…out comes the Ion.

The Ion is a straight flying putter with a lot of glide. The over-molded, soft edge is great for the chains to receive the disc, while providing unbelievable comfort in the hands of players of all levels. The main difference between this disc and common disc golf discs is the different materials it is comprised of. MVP Disc Sports, LLC has named this GYRO Technology. It is a dual-polymer concept where the flight plate core is constructed of a lighter plastic than the darker, heavier material that comprises the over-mold edge. Th
e juxtaposition between the materials allows for a “stabilized disc flight that keeps it spinning later in flight to produce straighter, longer and more accurate results,” according to the manufacturer’s website.

There are multiple selections in firmness of these discs, but the heavier plastic material on the over-mold edge remains the same super soft, grippy egde that is optimal for grabbing the chains, minimizing kick outs. I see this point, but I also tend to use my Ion through twigs and underbrush like I do my significantly heavier Wolf. It has a great glide to it, but I feel the Ion penetrates through the trees like a mid range. Most putters get kicked directly down by twigs, but my Ion just keeps on trucking so I can confidently use it to get back into position or stroke a birdie.

I would suggest this disc to any fellow disc golfer that is looking for a new putter. Maybe it’s not for you, but what’s the harm in trying? The feel of the disc really works for me. I wouldn’t suggest using the disc off the tee or for longer shots, as I don’t have as much confidence in it as my XD, but when I get up to the basket, the Ion ups my confidence ten fold. The over-mold edge helps the disc “melt” into the chains like the JuJu, but the stability of the disc is so much better. The Ion comes in several colors and is one of the only disc golf discs that are distributed as blanks. The price tag on a new Ion is right around $14.00 and is worth a shot for any disc golfer looking for a new weapon close to the basket.

Source of Images: MVP Disc Sports, LLC website (www.mvpdiscsports.com)

The Jungle DGC {Sanford, Michigan}

-The Jungle is located at Sanford Lake Park in Sanford, Michigan. The daily rate per car is $6, so have your money ready at the gate. When you get inside you’ll want to follow the road left until you see the message board and first tee on your right. Hole #1 was recently moved to provide a better parking situation and give the course a better flow. However, the practice basket is still where it used to be (by old hole #1 or new hole #3). Keep that in mind if you want to get some putts in before teeing off. The practice basket really isn’t TOO far from the start of the course, but I imagine they will eventually move it closer to help avoid confusion.

Hole #3 View

-The overall maintenance here is very good. Not just on the course, but in the park as a whole. I almost always see the employees with their hands full on some project. Along with good maintenance is good course amenities. On all 18 holes there’s concrete tees, descriptive tee signs, and nice baskets with number plates. Benches and trash cans are appropriately scattered throughout the course as well. A couple spots help direct you with “next tee” signs, but for the most part it’s very easy to follow anyway.

-The atmosphere at The Jungle is cool. Being from downstate, I am used to mobs of people at every course. It’s nice to get a break from that and be able to play a full round without having to be held up by anyone but yourself or your own group. I’m serious when I say that I’ve played here about 10 times and never once had to wait for anyone at a hole. It’s also located by a very nice lake and beach. Almost every time I play here, I’ll toss a Buzzz around on the beach before or after the round.

Hole #5 Basket

-As far as the layout and design goes, it’s challenging! If your one of those people who play all par 3’s, you could be in for a long round. The birdies will come far and few. Besides the couple possible ace runs, you will need perfect drive placements and honest putts on mostly every hole to come out with a good score. Surprisingly at a place called “The Jungle”, the great challenge isn’t really even from “pinball” type holes. Even though there are a few pinball runs, a lot of holes have an open cut fairway with scattered guardian trees near the basket. IMO, most of the challenge is incorporated from sharp angles and the un-forgivingness of misplaced drives that go in the rough. This course does not favor one throwing style over the other either, It was made to challenge EVERYONE.

-The fun factor here isn’t anything amazing. Honestly I could see this course making more people mad than happy, lol. But on the flip side, if you do end up throwing well, you would certainly feel like you accomplished something really good. Another thing that might hurt the fun factor is a lack of a signature hole. There are a couple that play down by the lake and make for nice scenery, but nothing that will really stick in your mind as “Your favorite hole of all time”. Don’t let me make it sounds like it’s no fun though, just tough. I do like the way the elevation was utilized here. There might not be any huge hills, but they incorporated what they had the best they could. A few elevated tees and fairways add to the fun factor.

-Not too many negatives about this course that I can really dwell on. To me, the challenge is never a negative, but I could see a lot of people getting frustrated here if they didn't have their game fully down. Besides that, there is a little bit of standing water during the wet season. But it’s nothing you can loose your disc in, or even get soaked trying to play your lie in. And the park has done a great job in making some man made canals for the water to run off in on many of the holes.

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-{}-  I rate this course a 3.75 out of 5  -{}-

-{}-  My rating system is based off a personal preference scale. I mainly determine my ratings from things such as, course amenities, overall design, fun factor, atmosphere, and maintenance. The challenge of the course is considered too, but doesn't always help/hurt the overall rating.  -{}-

 

Innova Dart Review

Perhaps the most innovative characteristic of the Innova Dart is that it is available in bendable and grippy R-Pro plastic.  If you've never held a disc in this material you owe it to yourself to pick one up.  Try to imagine an eraser with a smooth texture...that's kind of what it's like.  The Innova Dart putt and approach golf disc is also available in DX and Star plastics.

Enough about the plastic...let's get to the disc. The Innova Dart is a putter that is designed for long "get-em" shots around 300' or less. When dealing with the Dart, it's probably better to think mid-range than putter.  In fact, you can probably throw the dart just about as long as any of your mid-range discs.  My favorite part about throwing this disc is that it really resists turning over - something other approach discs generally fail at.  As a result, the dart makes an ideal driving putter for holes less than 300ft.

The Dart won't replace your Aviar for every-day putts, but it will hold a spot in your bag for those in-between shots.  The Innova Dart is a specialty disc, but a great one at that. It glides like a dream and holds a line better than most approach discs.

Innova Monarch Review

Description - A super understable driver with almost no fade

Pros - Flies straight as an arrow when given a hyzer

Cons - Will be too flippy unless thrown correctly

Compares to - Faster Roadrunner, same glide as a Wraith

I got the opportunity to visit some family in Tampa, which has some of my favorite disc golf courses in the country. I stopped by the famous Clearwater Disc Golf store to take a look and ended up with a 163 g Innova Monarch. I took it with me to near-by Cliff Stephens Disc Golf Course to throw a round.

I used the Monarch as my primary driver on several holes (until it went straight into a pond...but that's another post).  I was astounded with how understable the disc was right "out of the box". I hyzered it pretty hard and it never faded back. The Monarch flew as straight as an arrow and landed gently about 20 ft. from the first hole. I was sold.

Obviously, the Monarch is also a great turn-0ver disc. Pros will find it to be a very useful roller disc as well.  However, I have never come across a more beginner friendly driver. I would have a hard time imagining anyone who couldn't throw a straight drive with the Monarch.  In fact, as soon as I got home I texted a newbie friend and told him, "Dude, you need to pick up an Innova Monarch!". Let's hope he does.


Gateway Magic Review

Description - Easy to control putter, ideal for beginners

Pros - Super straight right out of the box

Cons - Holds ANY line, not stable at all

Compares to - Polecat w/  little more speed


For a disc golf beginner there is nothing more important than accuracy, especially when it comes to putters.  Gateway Disc Golf has long been known for their expertise when it comes to putting. The Wizard is  favorite among many pros for its dependability and versatility. Often overlooked is the

Magic, a less stable putter from Gateway.

The Magic's "Magic" lies in its ability to hold any line. It's outer edge is a little more blunt than a Wizard, resulting in a more straight flight path.  In fact, the Magic has been compared to a well-worn Wizard...which is a very good thing in my book.

While the Gateway Magic Putter will indeed hold a straight line it is not particularly good in the wind or for longer approach shots. Unfortunately, the Magic's ability to hold a line makes it vulnerable when conditions are not ideal.  As a result the Magic tends to be less popular among seasoned players than Aviars or Wizards.  While the Magic will not replace my go-to putters, it is a really nice choice for beginners or those with trouble putting consistently with more stable discs.

Discraft Meteor Review

Overview:

DescriptionLong, dependable understable mid-range

Pros – Holds an understable line forever

Cons – None

Compares to – Innova Stingray

Full Review:

When you go to disc golf forums (shameless plug) you read a lot of threads about "Underrated Discs". Well, it does not get much more underrated than the Discraft Meteor. This understable mid-range comes from a long line of solid mids from Discraft.

I picked up a Discraft Meteor a while back when I was looking to add an understable mid-range to my arsenal. I had thrown Innova Stingrays with a lot of success, but I wanted to give something else a try. At first throw, you'll notice the Meteor gets amazing distance, even at less than full speed. I would actually feel comfortable throwing mine as a driver on some shorter holes.  Unlike some "understable" mids that fade back to hyzer after a while, I find that the Meteor holds a really nice line for as long as you want it to, making it a clutch disc for difficult shots.

The versatility of the Meteor is a plus too. I've actually started using it about 50/50 with my beloved Buzzz.  The Meteor can be an unbelievably straight flier, much like it's "0" rated counterparts (Comet).  I handed one to Mrs. Disc Golf Traveler (who is what I would call a beginner) last month and she immediately sink a 100 ft shot...she has since stolen the disc from me.

I will definitely be picking up a replacement in ESP plastic as soon as possible...you should too if you demand consistency from the mid-range golf discs in your bag.

Innova Katana Review

Description - A super-fast, ultra-long distance driver

Pros - Unreal distance for intermediate or pro-level arms

Cons - Not for new players

Compares to- More controllable Boss

There was a time when a "13 speed" driver from Innova was groundbreaking...now with the advent of the Boss and Groove most disc golfers are a little more skeptical of what these flashy new drivers have to offer. Another high speed disc for power-challenged disc golfers? Before we give into the hype, let's see what this one has to offer.

Innova says the Katana is designed for the "finesse thrower". (I think we all know what they mean)   The disc is designed to fly nice and straight right out of the box. I've seen others describe it as a sidewinder on steroids. In other words, it flies like a controllable fairway driver with much more speed. It will start out understable enough to forgive release errors, then glide for a long while until it's natural finish to the left (for RHBH players).

In my opinion, the Katana might be able to give lesser arms a slight boost in distance. However, considering the massively wide rim, there will be a big learning curve in throwing this disc ( but isn't that always the case with a new mold?) Either way, you won't be adding 100ft to your drives.

The bottom line is, if you have good technique you might find the new super-fast, super-straight driver to your liking. However, the Katana will not turn a newbie into a pro overnight...no matter how big the hype.  While disc junkies will probably go out and pick one up right away, there is no need to camp out overnight at your local disc shop. This disc is a nice addition to Innova's lineup, but not a game changer.

Innova Starter Bag Review

The Innova Starter Disc Golf Bag is one of the first bags many disc golfers carry for a variety of reasons:

  1. It is very inexpensive ($15 retail)
  2. This disc golf bag is often included in a variety of beginner disc golf sets
  3. The bag is found in many big-box sports retailers

Let's start with some of the features that we like about this disc golf bag.  First of all, it comes in a few nice colors (blue, red, gray).  While this may not be important to some disc golfers, this can be a deal breaker for some.  More importantly this disc golf bag does hold about 10-12 discs, enough to satisfy a beginner or anyone who doesn't want to lug around a tournament set.  Finally, the Innova Starter Disc Golf Bag does have a nice little putter pocket which is big enough to hold one putter comfortably.  This pocket, along with several other compartments makes this a great disc golf bag to carry if you're only looking to carry 10-12 golf discs.

Some features that could use upgrading include the flimsy bottle holder. It is rather small and won't hold a lot of weight. Also, this disc golf bag has little to no structure. Hence, it is prone to falling over when not completely packed with golf discs.

Overall, for $15 a beginning disc golfer can't go wrong with this disc golf bag. It will provide golfers with enough features to keep them happy until it's time to upgrade to a more substantial disc golf bag.

Innova Teebird Review

The Innova Teebird is a slightly overstable fairway driver that delivers big-time glide. While it will not be the furthest flier in your bag, it will definitely deliver a straight flight when accuracy is at a premium.

Think "fairway driver" is just a fancy term for a beginner disc?  You would be wrong. The Innova Tee Bird can deliver crucial accuracy on holes that don't require tons of distance.  I use mine on holes that have long narrow fairways. When I can't bomb a distance driver for a sweet "S" curve (like my Wraith), I reach for my Teebird because I know it will get me straight through would-be obstacles.

As is the case with most high-glide discs, the Teebird will get pushed around a little in the wind. However, on a calm day the Teebird will glide and glide, then glide some more. Did I mention it gets tons of glide?

Are you a fan of the Discraft XL or similar "fairway driver"? If so, the Teebird might be a disc to look into.  It may not break any distance records, but you'll probably be able to put it wherever you need or sneak it down a narrow fairway or two.

Innova Sidewinder Review

In Disc Golf, as in many sports, getting great distance on your throws is all about technique - not power. You don't need to spend hours at the gym, or throw your back out on the course to throw long, accurate drives.Well...having the right disc helps too. If you don't have the world's biggest arm, the Innova Sidewinder Driver might be worth a shot.  I have found that it can give just about anyone great distance with minimal effort.

The Sidewinder has been called the "King" of the Flex-Hyzer shot. In case you are not familiar with this term, the shot is made by throwing an understable disc at a hyzer angle, then letting the disc naturally flip to anhyzer and finish it's flight. The result can be an ultra-long glide. As the Sidewinder's name may suggest, it is great at these "S" shaped flight patterns. Furthermore, because the hyzer is the most natural/easy shot for beginners to throw, it is a great driver for those newer to the game.

I have also seen the sidewinder be used as a roller disc,  so even those with big arms might just have a use for it in their bags.  Either way, the Sidewinder is an understable flier capable of elevating just about anyone's game.