Innova Wraith Review

Looking for amazing distance on your drives? Looking for a golf disc that feels great coming out of your hand? Well, you may have found what you are searching for in the Innova Wraith Distance Driver (Star Plastic). This baby flat out bombs and provides just enough stability to get you the flight path you crave.

Let's start with the grip on the Innova Wraith (Star Plastic).  It feels nice and grippy in your hand without being soft. I immediately took to the way it came out of my hand, even at full power. It has a nice wide rim which makes for controlled drives.

The Innova Wraith comes in a number of different plastics, but the one I threw was the Star Wraith, Innova's top line plastic. It is super durable. Even after hitting several trees it came out with hardly a blemish. This means that it will stay true to its original flight path longer than cheaper DX plastics.  On the other hand, it will take longer to "beat in" and get that understable flight path that is common of broken in discs.

Now, distance is there the Innova Wraith (Star Plastic) really shines. It is stable enough that it won't immediately turn over, but not too overstable. If thrown correctly it will make a beautiful "S" curve and give you an additional 20'-50' over your current drives. Think of it like an Innova Orc on steroids. I have spoken to several disc golfers that swear by the Innova Wraith to get that extra distance that they have been longing for.

Ready for an upgrade to a more "pro" style distance driver? The Innova Wraith in Star Plastic might be your next purchase. It is grippy, durable, and most importantly LOOOONG. A favorite among pros, this disc will likely give anyone that extra distance on their drives that is so hard to come by.

Discraft Avenger SS Review

If you read through the archives of this blog it become apparent that I am a big fan of Discraft discs.  Just about all the golf discs in my bag are of this make. While I do carry an Innova Roc and a few others, most of my go to discs are indeed Discraft (Surge SS, Buzzz, Rattler, etc.). The other day however, I got my hands on a Discraft Avenger SS and did not enjoy the experience.  No matter how many times I threw it I kept getting the same result:  The Avenger SS was not "super straight" as advertised, rather it faded into a mean hyzer on every drive. This is a disc I definitely wish I left on the shelf.

What's the point of producing a "super straight" disc if you can't throw it straight? That's a great question that i wish Discraft would have answered before putting out the Avenger SS in FLX plastic. I tried...I really tried to get consistently straight drives but I just couldn't do it. Before you become skeptical of my results, keep in mind I do swear by another "SS" disc - the Discraft Surge SS (FLX).  This is why I am so puzzled by my experience with the Avenger SS. On just about every drive (high, low, fast, slow) this disc quickly faded into a nasty hyzer and dive-bombed from right to left. I had almost no success in driving with this disc despite several attempted adjustments to my throwing motion.

If you are looking for a true straight max-distance driver, pick up a Discraft Surge SS. It flies remarkably straight and long. If you would like to read a full review, click on my archives or search for it. Why do these discs fly so differently? The only significant difference I can see are the profiles of the discs themselves. The Avenger SS (which I did not enjoy throwing) has a very low profile, whereas the Sure SS (which I love) has a very "dome-like" appearance. How/why does this alter flight patterns? I am not sure. One thing I do know however, is that from my perspective the Surge SS is vastly superior to the Avenger SS.

Calvert Road Park – Course Review

Just off of the campus of the University of Maryland lies a disc golf course that is ideal for players who are new to the game.  The Calvert Road Park Disc Golf Course offers players a  small, straight forward, no-frills experience. While beginners will like the course for it's playability, more advanced players will become bored with the lack of variety  from hole to hole.

The Calvert Road Park Disc Golf Course in College Park, MD is only miles from the beltway, making it an easy trip for just about anyone in the DC metro area (if traffic holds up).  This theme of convenience comes through in the course design, which is very tight and small.  In fact, the Calvert Road Disc Golf Course is the first one I have been to where you can actually see every hole at once!  The entire course is laid out on a rectangular piece of land, making for some interesting positives and negatives.

On the positive side, a group of four can play an entire round in about 1.5 hours. You and your friends don't need to kill the entire day hiking across an expansive course. Everything is laid out nicely. Along those same lines, there few obstacles to be met besides the occasional cluster of trees.  Because of the lack of shrubbery, dense vegetation, and water hazards, my group spend little to no time searching for lost discs.

That's not to say this course doesn't have challenges...they just happen to be few and far between. The various holes do force you to throw a variety of shots including long anhyzers and hyzers. This is done through some large trees and mandatory markers. While you might want to throw your normal straight drive, these obstacles often force you to re-think your shot. This is a touch that I definitely appreciated as far as course design goes.

On the negative side, this course does get frustratingly monotonous. As you can see from my pictures, none of the holes are particularly memorable. They all feature  nicely manicured and marked tee pads,  open fairways,  and lots of trees. ...and that's it. Honestly, I don't really even recall any particular holes in vivid detail.

Finally, this course features the tightest layout I have ever seen.  Generally, there are at least 2 baskets visible from each tee pad. Opposite fairways often touch each other and sometimes even the putting areas are remarkably close to one another.  As you can imagine, this can create quite a bit of  havoc on busy days.

Overall, the Calvert Road Park Disc Golf Course in College Park, MD is a fine place to kill an hour on a round of 18. Beginners might  find the ease of this course comforting,  but anyone who has been playing disc golf for some time will grow quickly frustrated with the lack of imagination at this course. While it is sometimes necessary to throw a hyzer or anhyzer drive, there is far too little challenge here for a seasoned player.

The Good:

  • Nicely marked holes and concrete tee boxes
  • A large group can play this course in a little over an hour
  • Some interesting shots are necessary

The Not-So-Good:

  • Very little variety
  • Few challenges to be had
  • Many holes overlap and intersect

Recommended Discs

  • Discraft Surge SS - Great driver  for any shot here...it can fly straight, hyzer, or anhyzer (click for a review)
  • Innova Roc - Lots of short holes...a good mid will come in handy

-Happy Disc Golf Travels

Discraft Surge SS Review

Description - Understable distance driver with good speed

Pros - Controllable, understable, perfect for beginners and intermediate players

Cons -  Gets a little flippy when beat-in

Compares to - Innova Valkyrie

If you recall from a previous post, my primary driver, the Discraft Surge SS was lost on the 16th hole at Rockburn Disc Golf Course in Howard County, MD. Well...I finally got my new one in the mail a few days ago and I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to write up a formal review.

The Surge SS (super straight) has become my primary distance driver for a reason...it gets great distance without sacrificing control. I can hyzer it, anhyzer it, or throw it straight and far with confidence.

I will be the first to admit that I am no pro when it comes to disc golf.  While my skills are improving every day, I am still working on getting a better snap on my throws and adding more distance to my drives. On a good drive I can get up to about 300-350 feet. However, I am usually around 250', especially on wooded courses where I can't huck a disc with all my might. That's why the Discraft Surge SS is a great disc for me: It has the stability to reach it's target with superior glide to get that extra 50 feet.

On a straight and open hole I usually pull out my Surge SS.  Given a moderate hyzer it will flip up and carry on a nice straight line.  For me this equals maximum distance, especially given the amazing amount of glide that the Surge SS gets.

The Surge SS is also my primary long-distance anhzyer disc, as is the case for many pros (just check testimonials on the Discraft website). When throwing this disc for an anhyzer you really need to give it an extreme low-to-high motion. As mentioned above, the Surge SS does have a tendency to flip over on such shots (the "SS" stands for super straight doesn't it?). However, with some practice you will be rewarded. This disc will hold a beautiful left-to-right line if thrown correctly. It will finish softly and glide towards the basket (hopefully).

In conclusion, the Discraft Surge SS is a versatile distance driver for players of any skill level. A beginner might use it as a hyzer driver. A more experienced disc golfer might use it for long and straight shots, while a more seasoned vet would probably use the Surge SS for long anhyzers. Either way this one is worth a pick-up.

Why is the Surge SS in my bag? Because I can throw it in just about any situation and know I'm getting great distance without sacrificing accuracy. My arm may not be big...but my throws can be with the Surge SS.

 

Discraft Rattler Review – An Old School Putter

If you get the opportunity to pick up a Discraft Rattler Putt and Approach Disc you will quickly realize it is unlike any other golf disc in your bag because it actually feels like an old-fashioned "Frisbee". Its deep groove and thin outer edge will bring back memories of throwing discs at the beach or playing ultimate. Make no mistake though...this disc is designed for long approach putts.

The Discraft Rattler Putter is specifically designed to fly straight and quickly fall to the ground after it hits the peak of its flight. How could this be useful? Well...imagine you are about 100ft away from the basket. Sure...you could throw your mid range (like a Buzz or Meteor) and hope you don't overthrow. You could also throw the same mid range disc at 50% power. However, we all know decreased throwing power can cause your disc to hyzer or anhyzer prematurely.  The Discraft Rattler is designed for long putts such as these. Ideally, the Rattler is supposed to arrive near the basket then drop within feet of the chains.  Where some putters with more glide may overshoot the basket, the Rattler will provide you with an easy 2-putt (assuming you do not make the long putt).

I used my Rattler at the Rockburn Disc Golf Course in Howard County, MD a few days ago.  It flew just as advertised. The disc reminded me of a hovercraft as it floated towards the basket.  The flight was extremely slow, but also very true.  It took some getting used to, but eventually I became very comfortable throwing the Rattler both inside and outside the putting circle. Seeing this disc's unusual flight characteristics might just be worth the price of admission (about $8 MSRP).

Overall, will this disc replace your current favorite putter? Probably not. Could it be a great situational putter? Absolutely. I will definitely find a use for this disc in my bag,  especially on longer putts where overshooting is not an option (around water hazards, dense forest). I recommend that you pick one up and try it out (especially at its inexpensive price tag)...you just might find the Discraft Rattler a useful addition to your bag too.

The Good:

  • Very straight flight path
  • Predicable on long putts
  • Will not overshoot your target

The Not So Good:

  • Can not be given a hyzer or anhyzer easily

Fade Gear Crunch Box Review

If you frequent this blog you have probably noticed I have been purchasing/reviewing a lot of new discs lately. Well...as you can imagine, my Innova starter bag has started to fill up. What better excuse to purchase a new Disc Golf bag?

The first thing you'll probably notice is the gorgeous color of this disc golf bag. Well...Fade Gear calls it "pumpkin" and I promise you it looks even better in person. Not an orange fan? No worries, the Fade Gear Crunch Box is available in a rainbow of exciting hues.

The Fade Gear Crunch Box holds about 15 discs comfortably if you include the nicely-sized putter pocket. It is structured very well and stands on its own nicely, whether filled or empty. The bag features very nice raised pockets. Fade Gear claims that this will prevent the pockets from wearing down. Furthermore, the bottom of the bag has nice little "feet" that prevent the bottom from rubbing against the ground of your local disc golf course. These are really neat ideas. I will let you know how the bag holds up in the future.

The Fade Gear Crunch Box's water bottle holder is very large and has an adjustable cord on top so your bottle stays secure.  The other side pocket is also nicely -sized and will easily fit your wallet, phone, keys, or whatever. items you may not want to carry in your pants pockets.

Some other nice features include a mini-disc holder, towel/key clip, pencil holders, and a few other nice little pockets for miscellaneous items.

My favorite part about the Fade Gear Crunch Box (besides that beautiful color?) was the price. I picked it up for $29.99 online with free shipping. This bag is really nicely priced compared to similar bags on the market. I would definitely recommend one to any fellow disc golf traveler.

If the 10-15 disc capacity isn't enough for you, Fade Gear makes similarly styled larger bags for tournament play. Check one out using one of the links to the left. These bags are carried by most major disc golf online retailers. Am I being paid to plug Fade Gear? No...but I really do like this bag!

Discraft Predator Review

One glaring "hole" in my disc golf bag was the lack of an overstable distance driver.  I found myself sacrificing distance by throwing  hyzers on drives that required  right-to-left movement.  There were even a few occasions where  I had discs land too hard on a hyzer and skip 100ft+ past the basket (very frustrating). An overstable disc would definitely come in handy in such a situation.

After doing on research on various forums and websites I decided to purchase a Discraft Predator driver in ESP plastic. This is a favorite of one of the world's great players - Nate Doss.  He, along with other pros have described it as a dependable overstable driver that is great in the wind and on uphill drives.

I must admit that after throwing so many "beginner" drivers (Surge SS, Avenger SS, Innova Leopard) the Pred at first felt a little bit difficult to manage. Just as advertised, it is extremely overstable. However, once I began to let it out of my hand on a  bit of an anhyzer I was able to control my drives with much more ease. In fact, it has begun to replace my Surge SS on many shots where I need to make a long shot on a narrow fairway. With the Predator, I can pick my spot and place it there on a consistent basis. What more could you ask for from a distance driver?

I am still blown away by the predictability of the Predator.  When beginners think "overstable" they tend to think unpredictable. This could not be further from the truth with the Pred. In actuality, once you get used to throwing such an understable disc, it becomes easy to spot. The lines it takes are very consistent and it just won't turn over! No wonder so many pros rely on this disc out of the tee box.

As far as distance goes I was very pleased with the Predator. I don't have a particularly big arm, but I can get this one up to about 300-350 feet without maximum effort. Obviously, it finishes with an extreme right-to-left .  However, when thrown correctly this will not detract too much from the length of your drive.

To sum things up, this disc will definitely have a spot in my bag. While it won't replace my more stable drivers, having a driver that can handle a dogleg left or get around a tricky hazard on a drive will prove invaluable down the road. You owe it to yourself to throw this disc. No matter what your style of play, you will likely find a place in your bag for the Discraft Predator.

The Good:

- Very predictable flights

- Will not turn over!

- Gets consistent distance compared to less stable drivers

The Not-So-Good:

- Beginners will have trouble adjusting to the extremely overstable flight

- It probably won't replace your more moderately stable distance drivers

Cliff Stephens Disc Golf Course Review- Clearwater, FL

Hey, if it's good enough for Ken Climo...

The Cliff Stephens Disc Golf Course in Clearwater, FL is located about 20 minutes away from the Tampa, FL airport, making it an ideal destination for fellow disc golf travelers headed to the Sunshine State. This beautifully maintained disc golf course features well-marked concrete tee boxes, a number of water hazards, and some quirky surprises along the way. While this may not be the most challenging course in the country, it is certainly one of the best experiences I have had in my travels so far...just watch out for the lightning!

If you recall the Word Of Life Disc Golf Course review, you remember I spent some time down in Tampa, Fl. My next disc golf travel brought me about 45 minutes south of my Parents' new home in Pasco County. The Cliff Stephens Disc Golf course in Clearwater was certainly worth the trip. In fact, I ended up going back two more times during my stay in Florida.

The Experience:

At first glance you will realize that this is an extremely tight course. Holes are placed very close to one another. As a result there is not a whole lot of walking during your round. Depending on your perspective this could be a positive or a negative (if you spend as much time online as I do maybe its the latter).  Each hole has two concrete tee boxes with excellent signage pointing out the general hole location.  Most holes as Cliff Stephens Disc Golf Course are straight shots that should be an easy 3 for experiences players. Distances are mostly short...in the 300' - 350' range (except for the long 18th). A good stable driver (such as my newly purchased Discraft XL...click here for a review)) could be your best friend here.

Naturally,  the Cliff Stephens Disc Golf Course in Clearwater, FL  is not a breeze to play. Just about every hole features either a thick grouping of trees or a water hazard.  A bad drive could leave you making the decision to lay up onto the fairway, or try to cut through several hazards. Hole number 5 is a good example of how important the placement of your drive can be. You could easily waste two strokes trying to cut through trees if you don't land in a favorable spot.  As far as challenging water hazards go, look no further than hole #16 which features an island green. It can easily be reached with a medium distance drive. However, it will definitely test your mettle (I would not want to lost a brand new disc).

*On a related note, my Mom, Girlfriend, and I struck up a conversation with a young man who was snorkeling for lost discs in the various ponds. The Clearwater resident did not seem to mind the posted "DANGER: ALLIGATOR" signs (yes...I'm serious). I can only hope he was getting hazard pay on his ebay postings.

As previously mentioned, the course ends on a high note, allowing you to let loose a cannon of a drive on #18. The fairway is WIDE OPEN and forgiving. You will definitely have fun letting loose and pulling out your longest, least accurate driver. It might even take you a couple long drives to get within putting range.

Throughout your experience at Cliff Stephens Disc Golf Course the one feature you will probably notice most is the diversity that is found from hole to hole. No two holes are exactly the same. Each features a memorable hole location, hazard, or quirk. Hole #9 for example has you drive over a wooded retaining wall that is about waist high.  My girlfriend Sherri had the shot of the day on this hole, bouncing her Discraft Avenger SS driver right off the top of the wall and inches away from the basket.

To sum things up...if you are ever in the Tampa/Clearwater area you need to check out the Cliff Stephens Disc Golf Course. Check that...you NEED to visit the Tampa/Clearwater area to come play this course. It is absolutey beautifully maintained, expertly designed, and a whole lot of fun. Oh yeah...did I mention it is Ken Climo's home course?

The Good:

- Well planned/maintained

- Nice concrete tee boxes

- Fun and challenging for any level player

- A wide array of hazards

- Beautiful scenery

The Not-So-Good:

- Watch the gators!

- Watch the lightning...we had to leave the course after 9 because of storms. They roll in almost every evening in Clearwater/Tampa, FL

- Some holes intersect each other (ex: #10, #18)

Memorable Holes:

#9 - A waist-high retaining wall just below the basket can make for some interesting putts

#16 - Island Green...need i say more?

#18 - Long and wide-open... grip it and rip it

Recommended Discs:

- You can find a situation for just about every disc in your bag (hat tip - course design)

- Long throwers should definitely bring some stable fairway drivers...such as an Innova Leopard for the shortest holes

- Of course...you can't go wrong with a good old fashioned Discraft BUZZZ-d (Click for Review)

As always...happy disc golf traveling.

Discraft XL Review

Up in the northeast most of our disc golf courses are loaded with trees, low lying limbs, and narrow fairway corridors. Many of my long-distance drivers would snag a tree or get caught up in a bush at the slightest misfire. Even my "SS" (super straight) drivers would end up making a nice easy hyzer...right into  thick brush. While these over stable and under stable discs have their place up here in Maryland, my frustrations with some of the holes up here led me to pursue a dependable driver that I can throw straight and steady...even down the tightest fairway.

While the Discraft XL Driver will certainly not be your farthest flying driver, it could end up being your most reliable when accuracy is a must. After all...there's no shame in taking the easy 3 (well...sometimes).

I picked this disc up while I was down in Clearwater, FL and tried it out at the Cliff Stephens Disc Golf Course (which I later found out was Ken Climo's home course). It ended up being an extremely useful driver on just about half the holes I played.  I have to admit I am a little gun shy when it comes to water hazards. From shot #1 this disc gave me so much confidence  that I ended up using it whenever water came into play (which if quite a bit at Cliff Stephens). I even ended up using it on an island green hole on the back 9 (how's that for confidence in a new disc?).

The Discraft XL Elite X driver holds just about any line you give it. It will fly straight as an arrow when released completely level, then finish ever to slightly to a hyzer. When given a little anhyzer action on a throw it will gently hold its position until it settles slowly on the ground. This brings me to my next point about the XL...it is one of the slower flying drivers I have thrown. This works well on your shorter drives where a mid-range just won't go long enough. It almost reminds me of a Buzzz or Roc on steriods. All the control with just a little extra distance.

Obviously the Discraft XL Driver will not replace your long-flying drivers such as a Surge, Wraith, Pred, or whatever your primary driver is. However, you just might find yourself reaching for one when you need to get through a narrow fairway, patch of trees, or precarious water hazard.  The Discraft XL Driver is quickly becoming my go-to disc for situations where I NEED a straight shot and don't feel bad about sacrificing distance.  Beginners will like it for its predictability and control on any drive. Pros will love it for use as a utility disc in specific situations.

 

The Good:

- Flies straight as an arrow

- Holds just about any line you give it

- Flies to a slow and easy glide

 

The Not-So-Good:

- Will not fly as far as most distance drivers (but hey...you don't always need it do)

 

Recommended?

- Absolutely...for all skill levels.

- A MUST have for beginners