Teepad. Runup. Drive. Walk. Mark. Approach. Walk. Mark. Putt.
That is the basic series of events on every par three hole in a disc golf round.
Teepad. Runup. Drive. Walk.
Mark. Approach. Walk. Mark. Putt.
The second line is the series for most advanced and pro players. It is probably the case for many players. Take out that second shot on a par three, with your drive parked near the basket and you have two attempts at the putt before going over par. For less skilled players like myself, we may only have one attempt at making par on a given hole from a putting distance.
A disc golf shot that one might think is insignificant in the grand scheme of the round. As with other sports, something that seems so simple can be extremely difficult. Basketball has free throws. The one time when you get to be absolutely still and take a shot to score, yet it is so hard, just ask Shaquille O’Neal. An extra point in football. Originally instituted to prevent ties, became something that was 99% a given for decades. Now, it has more significance after being moved from a 20 yard to a 33 yard attempt.
Arguments could be made that the putt is not a significant as the drive or approach shot since the disc has fewer variables affecting its flight. I would say that the putt is the most significant shot since you have to make it before you can advance to the next hole. The target window you must hit is exponentially smaller than the one you have to make on your drive or approach shot.
What really matters is the putter that you choose.
Take a look at All Things Disc Golf, Mind Body Disc, Disc Golf Putt Heads, or any other disc golf website and you will find oodles of reviews of putters. I don’t remember using any reviews when I was getting a new putter early on. I looked at flight numbers and picked the straightest one I could find. That was an Innova Dart.
For me, it was not the best fitting putter. I already had an Aviar and a Challenger, of which the latter was used more often since it weighed more. The Aviar was a 150g version from the Innova DX Starter Set.
Only when I went to a Prodigy Discs PAR2 event in Memphis, TN in December 2014 did I find a putter that I truly fell head over heels for. Not to mention that Will Schusterick was there, along with some other Prodigy team members. For $25, you got a putter, a hat, and a sticker, plus one round on the short course designed for newer players. In the new 750 plastic, we had to choose either a PA1 or PA4 as our disc.
Stable It Is
As I have related in several previous posts, I chose the PA4 and have used it since that day as my putting putter. After going through several other putters and not being dazzled by their features, the PA4 mesmerized me from the beginning.
Feel is very important for me when holding a disc. If it doesn’t feel good in my hand, then I most likely will not use the disc. The flat edge of the PA4 rests against my palm very comfortably. Out of all of the putters I own, the closest to the PA4 would be the Innova Rhyno, and even it doesn’t have near the flatness of edge.
The Warden, my favorite off the tee and upshot putter, has a rounded edge to it. So does the Judge, but with the added bead to the bottom it is less comfortable in the hand for me. Discraft’s Challenger feels similar to the Warden, and is a very good putter, but the PA4 trumps them all in the feel and fit departments.
On the Fly
As you can see, the PA4 has some turn in it’s flight. Rated at 3/3/-1/1, it is a very stable putter. I love this for any long putt. Jump putts from 50 feet and out don’t have to be released on a giant hyzer. I can put it on a line to the right of the basket and see it fade gently towards the basket. Many a long putt have either hit the band or cage due to its reliable flight.
Several top pros have given the advice to have your throwing putters and your putting putters, and the latter category is where the PA4 sits in my bag. I keep other molds for throwing tee and upshots. The three PA4s I currently have are in very good shape, with just a few scratches and such from cage hits. Everybody has their plastic preferences, and for Prodigy, I prefer the 400 and 750 plastics. The 750 is a stiffer version of the 400, so I tend to use the one in that plastic on long putts.
As stated in a previous post, I had sent a question through Facebook to a few pros asking whether the disc or one’s putting form was more important. Jay Reading said this:
All putters are basically shaped to be a point and shoot type of disc with similar speed and fade. Once you find a putter that FEELS great in your hand, then it boils down to being able to replicate the mechanics of your particular chosen putting style. So with form being ultra important, a particular putters stability may also compliment ones style.
Feel is the key word in his statement. That’s what I have found in the PA4. A putter that feels great in my hand. I’ve worked on the replication of my mechanics with my #100puttsforlunch sessions. That putting practice has vastly improved my putting success.
So do you have a putter that feels great in your hand? If not, it’s time to try out some different plastic. If so, it’s time for practice, because you won’t improve your game until you commit to improvement. The good thing about getting all that practice in is that it will make you feel great about putting when you take your stance.