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PNC Disc Golf Course in Westville Indiana

Played on August 19, 2011 and rated it a 7 out of 10

Pros:

For being a new course they really did a lot of things right at the beginning. Concrete tee pads, excellent Spiderweb baskets, and fantastic hole signs. The course it self was very easy to find on the campus and perfectly manicured. The landscaping there was just phenomenal. The land that they were given wasn’t the most spectacular for disc golf, but the design was very methodical as they made sure to use the elevation and mature trees to create shots. I want to say there were elevation changes on at least 14 of the holes that I would consider a significant amount. There were several baskets that were well guarded by trees making holes that would normally be an easy two ones that required more precise planning. Hole 4 was a nice 415ft downhill shot that had the basket on the other side of a tree line; with some careful landscaping I can see this being the signature hole of the course. Hole 5 was another one of the magnificent holes that requires perfect planning off of the tee. Several holes implemented what I would call decision trees. On the back 9 there were a few holes that were also able to utilize tight fairways. The basket on 18 was placed on a side hill and I have great appreciation for those types of pins.

Cons:

The first con that I really want to state is the flow from hole 9 to 10, there wasn’t any clear signage and it isn’t real obvious where you need to go after finishing hole 9. My second big con was the Pro tee on hole 17, while it was fun it didn’t really seem to fit with the rest of the course. Some other things that I would like to see improved upon is the openness of the course. I was expecting a fairly open course being that it is a college course, but some of the shots felt like field shots. In the instance of hole three the basket is basically right in front of you but you can’t see it, all they really need to do here is add a flag to the top so you have an idea of where to throw. Hole 8 was a little confusing to me at first when I looked at the sign, but after playing the hole it made more sense; just make sure you know where to throw before throwing. Holes 10 and 11 felt like the exact same shot to me; this can also be said about 12, 13 and 14.

Continued thoughts:

The first thing that I need to mention here is the front and back didn’t feel like the same design, they were both good and fun but just didn’t feel the same. The course itself played very well and a lot of skill levels will enjoy the course. I did notice some OB on the course but not an overwhelming amount, it was used in perfect moderation from my point of view. Adding in a few bushes or trees on some holes to force certain types of shots would help the course in the years to come. Hole 12 has some plant life to the right of the tee that will need to be pruned tactfully to maintain the current shot but not inhibit it. I think PNC itself placed some limitations to the actual design of the course and I firmly believe that this course meets those limitations perfectly, however, if they would have allowed free reign on the design I think it could have been even better. The plan is for this course to be the start of another complex here in Indiana and this is a very huge first step to making it happen. Northern Indiana has another beautiful course to be proud of.

MVP Disc Sports Ion and Vector

In this review, I am not going to talk specifically about one disc but rather two from the same company; The Ion and Vector from MVP Disc Sports. To give you some brief background on this company I will let you read it as it has been said by one of the owners Brad Richardson;

“MVP Disc Sports is Co-owned by my brother Chad and I. We have been playing disc golf for over 6 years now. Our father owns a plastic injection company and allowed us to design and produce a golf disc with our overmold concept. The overmold concept primarily originated with my Brother Chad, where he was playing disc golf with a rubber band on his wrist. Out of curiosity, he placed the rubber band around the outer diameter on a conventional putter, which sparked the idea of overmolding a softer material on the outside to give it a chain-grabbing property. It was not far into the engineering process we realized the gyroscopic potential of it and used it to the advancement of our design.”

MVP’s technology is specifically called GYRO™. It works off of the same principles that Gateway and Quest AT have been using in their discs. By moving the weight to the outer edges of the disc, the disc will rotate faster and for longer durations giving it its true flight characteristics longer before falling off.

The first disc that I would like to discuss is the Ion, which was MVP’s first disc released. From a profile view it looks very much like a Gateway Voodoo. It has a rounded nose with a small bead. Both of the ones I tested were flat topped, but that is not to say that all are. Their Proton plastic is similar to Champion style plastic. One thing MVP did do with the Ion though to counteract the grip issue was add a textured surface to the underneath side of the disc. The outer overmold is of a softer plastic that still retains good grip; this should still give it good chain grabbing characteristics.

I did not throw many putts with the Ions but they did seem to fly very straight like a Gateway Voodoo. When throwing however, they are a totally different beast; they just want to keep going forward. This is not something that you see from a lot of discs, but the Ion did it flawlessly. When I threw them on a gentle hyzer they would pop up to flat and never leave that line until they would fall off near the 300ft mark. The Ions were very capable of producing hyzers and anhyzers as well, throw them on the proper release and they would continue to hold that live for a long time. They were an excellent putter to throw, but as a putter to be putted that is something each individual will have to decide on.

The second disc that MVP released was the Vector. It is touted as an overstable disc, but my feelings were not as such. This disc is also in the Proton plastic and posses the same overmold plastic as the Ion. From a profile view it has a similar profile to a Roc or Wasp and is supposed to be around the same stability according to MVP. One thing that MVP did not do on the Vector that I really liked on the Ion was the textured underneath side; the Proton plastic is such a good quality that it can be a little slick at times.

The general flight of this disc was great but nothing what I was expecting. Being described as an overstable disc, this one in particular flew very neutral. Instead of being Roc or Wasp like it often flew like my Elite Z Buzzz. I believe this to be because of the overmold. When I generated enough snap the spin of the disc was so great that it counteracted the overstable characteristics of the disc. When I did throw it a little gentler and on a hyzer the disc looked like a Roc in flight. Another disappointing characteristic of this disc was the fact that it was very sensitive to off-axis-torque; not something I generally associate with an overstable disc. The slightest bit of a roll from your wrist and you would have a turn and burn anhyzer shot.

I think MVP is really developing the disc market in respect to disc characteristics and they will definitely be a company to look out for. The Ion is a great putter when being thrown and many people will find it good for the putting duties as well. The Vector did not meet my expectations but I think that it will still be a great disc for the right people. I am ready to be amazed by the next innovation from MVP that should be coming this summer.

Greg Eberhart

PDGA# 41503

Bowling Green Technical College in Bowling Green Kentucky

Played on April 2, 2011 and rated it a 6 out of 10

Pros:

There are plenty of pros for this course. The first of which is it has all concrete tees. Also this isn’t a traditional par 54. Some things that I really liked about this course were the design of the holes that weren’t straight ahead. On a majority of the hyzer shots, large portions of the trees from the tee blocked the pin so you couldn’t see them. I really appreciated this because it made you rely on pure skill and planning to make the perfect shot. Something great I learned about this course that I didn’t know until playing with a few locals are that there are some amazing alternate routes that can leaved you parked on a lot of holes that would normally be a long 2. HB really did his best with the land he was given; there are plenty of elevation changes, hyzer shots, anhyzer shots and OB.

Cons:

Holes 3-6 were nice holes but in reality they didn’t seem to fit the rest of the course; they are where you need to gain strokes though. The course isn’t finished yet; it has only been in for about a month or so. The sub contractor that was used just cut down all the brush in the fairways and instead of removing it, they just pushed it to the edges of the fairway. This makes it incredibly hard to find and/or get to a disc that has gone off the fairway. The routes aren’t beaten in yet so sometimes you may not know where to really throw it. On a few holes you can actually see a pin from another hole instead of yours and you might find yourself throwing to in on accident.

Continued Thoughts:

I really had to digest this course before I chose to write the review. It isn’t in prime shape yet and I don’t think it will be for at least 5 more years. I can see the greatness it will achieve, but it is far from that at this point. The fairways aren’t very flat (loaded with small rocks and boulders) so there are several tripping hazards, but I think it will work its way into one of the top courses in Bowling Green.

Phil Moore in Bowling Green Kentucky

Played on April 2, 2011 and rated it a 6 out of 10

Pros:

This is a semi-championship course; distance and marked OB make it a challenge in anything other than calm conditions. The signs were very accurate and the tee pads were always easy to spot from the previous basket. Something that really struck me as an excellent use of a relatively plain plot of land was the use of posts to mark OB. I don’t think there were too many holes that didn’t have some sort of OB on them. In general the Pars were marked according to the average amount of throws it should take a person to get to the holes plus 2 putts. There was an elevated basket on hole 8, which was a change to the course; it definitely took a different mentality to play it. Some of the holes played along the river, which added some extra difficulty to the shorter holes where you might think you have some easy deuce runs.

Cons:

The course was pretty bland, lots of open hole throw with no real shot shaping. I can’t think of a single hole that really made me throw something different other than a normal backhand. While there was a lot of OB, which made the course play tighter; at times it really just became boring, repetitive and not really needed. The wooded holes were definitely the deuce holes on the course; unfortunately in some cases they didn’t really have a route. Hole 17 in particular had to direction as to what you needed to do what so ever. It was basically a throw and pray type scenario.

Continued Thoughts:

They tried to do a lot with some pretty lame land, but in the end it really just seemed like a course where all you did was air your arm out. The wooded holes were a nice change of pace, but they were such an extreme difference from the rest of the course I didn’t really feel like they belonged. Most of the posts out there were to mark what I am assuming is a cross-country course, so you may find that it is unplayable during certain portions of the year.

Freaking Awesome Disc Equipment (FADE) Gear Tournament Bag

Many of you have seen these around the course sported by our local players. Now you have the chance to really learn about them. FADE is a company that specializes in disc golf bags; they now also have a line of backpack straps with a built in rain guard as well. This review will specifically focus in on the build, functionality and durability of the Tournament bag. The model I have is a standard production run with the Garden Deli color scheme.

FADE Tournament Bag - Garden Deli color scheme

A View of a loaded (18+2) bag

Let us first focus on the overall build of the bag. Designed to hold a full 22+2 according the manufacturer, I find that it is rather crammed at that amount. Utilizing the dividers I find that 19+2 is about the maximum anyone would want to go. The main compartment utilizes a hard flexible sheet of plastic to act as the internal frame; down the middle and either edge of the sheet is a strip of Velcro for which the two supplied dividers can be attached. The dividers can be adjusted to fit your personal preference and while they are useful I have found them rather flimsy. The putter pocket in front is capable of holding an additional 2 discs for those that choose to take advantage of it. The main compartment is capable of being zippered shut for travel or during rainy rounds, I however found it to be frustrating during a few rainy rounds to have to constantly zip and un-zip it to access my discs. There are two bottle holders on either side of the bag capable of holding up to a 32oz Gatorade bottle. Each holder is insulated and does have a drain at the bottom to stop pooling from spilled drinks or sweating bottles. Each side also has a zippered pocket that is capable of holding several minis, a tower, bottle of Tylenol, keys and some other small items. The main compartment also has a zippered pocket on both sides. The pocket on the left side of the bag also has a Velcro pocket inside of it, which I believe is supposed to be the “cell phone” pocket. There is also a mesh zipper pocket on the main flap.

View of the dividers

Moving on, we will get to the functionality of this bag. From my standpoint, I find it to be very functional, I wanted a bag that could handle 20 discs and not feel like it was a small child riding on my back. Access to my putters is very easy as they are right up front; although I have to be careful when taking them out and placing them back in the putter pocket. Sometimes I will pull the second putter back out, and other times I won’t get my main putter back in all the way. This is not a major issue but something you need to be conscious of. The main compartment itself is simple; the internal frame that it utilizes also acts as a crude locking mechanism. If you have your dividers spaced right, when the bag rolls over it will do a fairly good job at keeping your discs in. The pockets, while they appear small, can actually hold more than you think, which is always nice. There is plenty of room to hold everythingyou would need for a round or maybe two. The bottle holders are right where you need them; they can be accessed while wearing the bag. They are insulated according to FADE but more importantly they are equipped with pull chords to make sure that you bottle does not go anywhere you don’t want it to. This bag does come with a padded shoulder strap, but is equipped to accept a backpack style harness, which really makes it more comfortable and easy to use. Going back the zipper flap on the main compartment, when it is shut it does cover the bag very well. My gripe with it though is that it will constantly cause problems of easy access when being used during a round as rain protection. It is a minor issue but it does become apparent under those circumstances.

Holes on the drink holders

Decisively, the durability of this bag is where most people will hinge their decision. I would personally consider it to be sufficient, not superior or worthless. The reason that I label it this was is because after a year and a half of use, it is showing noticeable wear. The first place that you will notice it is the bottom of the bag. The constant placing of the bag on the ground or other surfaces has begun to chew through the material. The places that I have seen the heaviest wear are the drink holders; on one of mine specifically it has nearly worn all the way through. The zipper and Velcro flaps, however, are still in excellent condition. They are not showing any wear, and as long as you clean the debris from the Velcro it will continue to hold strong. The elastic in the putter pocket is still fairly tight which will prevent your putters from falling out. The anchor points for attaching a backpack style harness are still in good condition, no cracking, tearing or warping as of yet. With the exception of the material wearing on the bottom of the bag, FADE gear has built a decently durable bag.

My conclusion of this bag is simple. For roughly $60 you won’t find too many bags at this price that offer as much as the FADE Tournament bag. People who will most benefit from buying this bag are casual players needing enough room to hold 15-20 discs, newer players looking to move into their first tournament sized bag, and tournament players that don’t need to carry a lot of extra bulk. I would recommend this bag to players, but only those players that meet any of the three criteria I listed previously.

Greg Eberhart

PDGA# 41503

Discs in bag: 18+2

Discraft Buzzz SS

For this review I am going to talk about the new standard production run Buzzz SS from Discraft. At this point in time the Buzzz SS is only offered in Z plastic with the EMac 2010 Stamp. This disc comes in at an even 0 on the Discraft stability scale, which is why it is the SS (super straight) version. This means when the disc is thrown properly and no other outside forces are acting on it, it will fly perfectly neutral with no fade. It also seems that the Buzzz SS has a pearly Z blend to it, this is not a special blend, but it does have a certain appeal to it that just makes you want to hold it. As far the durability goes, these discs are just as durable as any other Elite Z or Champion disc out there. The Buzzz SS was achieved by taking a standard Buzzz and removing the concave milling in the wing, so now it has a flat beveled surface. This is what produces that extra bit of understability in the disc allowing it to achieve the 0 on the Discraft scale. These come in a fairly average weight range but I have yet to see one exceed 180g on any scale whether they are marked that or not.

Emac Buzzz SS

With the Buzzz SS being rated as a 0 on the Discraft scale, many would think that it is just another Comet. That is far from the truth; Discraft’s scale has a major flaw in it, it doesn’t give you any information. I often look at their number in terms of “how hard I need to throw it to make it go straight.” What that 0 doesn’t tell you is the importance of this disc and how it differs from the 0.5 rated Buzzz. A normal Buzzz will fly the line you put it on, and then gently fade off to the left at the end. You will often hear people say that a seasoned Z Buzzz is their most useful disc. Well the Buzzz SS is that seasoned Z Buzzz; there is no waiting now to get that disc everyone talks about. This disc just finished so smooth and straight. I wouldn’t recommend it as a forehand disc because it is understable, but this disc has that perfect shallower rim for those precise backhand shots. It is a truly easy-to-grip disc and will fly the line you tell it to.

Trying to describe the flight of this disc is both easy and hard. I say that because it flies straight, but that is all relative to how you release it. If you were to choose to throw this disc on a hyzer it would follow that hyzer perfectly to the very end of its flight, never straying from the line you released it on. If you throw it straight it will go dead straight and finish forward on that exact line. If you put this disc on an anhyzer, the same goes for it; this disc just doesn’t budge from the line you put it on. Some of the shots I really like with this disc are what I call an elevator anhyzer; it is a high anhyzer shot that when it begins to slow a significant amount will drop almost straight down. I have found that I can only do it with understable discs, and the only two in my bag that can do it are this disc and Magics. Something that I really appreciate about discs such as this one other than its great versatility is its built in teaching mechanism. Discs such as the Buzzz SS, Comet, and Meteor will exploit any and all form issues that you may have. This is a great thing to know when you are trying or testing a disc. A lot of times people will just chalk it up to the “disc is junk” excuse. In reality this disc is just letting you know that your form is not correct and you are losing valuable distance and control because of it. I didn’t find that this was a great forehand disc, unless you needed a very specific touch shot. Something that did surprise me about this disc is the way it skips; it always takes a low hovering skip that just keeps gliding. This of course only happens on slopes versus flat ground.

In the end this disc was exactly what I was looking for, I needed something that was a Buzzz but finished straight. I feel more comfortable throwing this disc on shot shaping shots than my regular Buzzz, but there are still times when the little fade of the Buzzz is needed. I have heard of some old ESP ones being out there but for now the Elite Z Buzzz SS is plenty solid. I can reach this disc out to 350ft with no problem and know it will go exactly where I want it to go. In the first few months of throwing this disc I had several ace runs that resulted in metal hits. This is a perfect disc for all calibers of players, anyone from a first time Rec player that needed a consistent thrower, to professional players like Eric McCabe himself that can throw the crap out of his discs.

Innova Wedge (EDGE Program Disc)

Innova Proto Star Wedge

For this review, I am going to discuss the new putter/mid hybrid that was released by Innova as their EDGE program disc called the Wedge. This disc is actually a combination of two of Innova’s other molds, their😄 and Stingray. I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a tasty Proto Star First Run Star Wedge at 175g. Most people do not know much about these discs because Innova released them very quietly and it was probably one of the smallest runs of Proto Stars Innova has ever done. Any current runs that you find will now be in the standard DX line and marked as their EDGE disc. Innova describes their disc with their standard numbers system as follows: 3.5 / 3 / -3 / 1. The 3.5 was rather confusing to me, I don’t understand why they couldn’t do 4 or 3. Looking at the numbers though this disc is set up to be a fairly understable mid to a straight flying putter; to me that is the perfect EDGE program disc. It offers the ability of an easy throwing mid-range driver with a consistent straight putter from one single disc. In the Star blend this disc just feels great in the hand, it is slightly soft while still retaining its rigid qualities. In the DX plastic I imagine that it is much more rigid which would be easier for a newer player to handle.

The Rim of the Wedge

With is speed 3.5 and very understable rating, this disc sticks itself right there in the mix with other Innova molds that have been successful for years, the two most popular being the😄 and Stingray in which this disc was born from. It has some similar characteristics to both but in the end, this disc will never encroach on the sales of those discs. Why you might ask? It is because Innova needed a single disc that was truly dedicated to the development of the sport of Disc Golf and teaching new players how to throw and put. The disc itself has a more shallow rim depth, for some this will be exactly what they need. Many people at first struggle to put with putters that have a deep rim depth. Other people will like it for throwing because it will want to come off of the hand naturally.

One of the main reasons that I was eager to pick this disc up was I needed a good understable flyer right out of the box to replace my beat 165g Champion Panther. I loved the Panther for its understability, but my problem with it was the fact that it had just a hair too much Low Speed Stability; unless I really ripped it, it would sometimes fight back. The Wedge on the other hand, when thrown for an anhyzer will continue that line, it does it flawlessly and never leaves you questioning whether or not it will come back at the end. My favorite way to throw this disc is to really give it a hard throw on a flat line and let it flip and ride the anhyzer line all the way until it landed. Despite the puny 3.5 speed rating this disc just seemed like it flew fast for a mid-range. When I needed a shorter anhyzer shot I would just power down on the disc and release it on an anhyzer to begin with and it would stick that line the whole way.

As a putter this disc really surprised me, being that it is larger than what I would consider a normal size putter it flew amazingly well. It has a very neutral flight when push putted, as that is my putting style of choice. I putt Magics by Gateway Disc Sports and it really felt like I was using a large diameter Magic with a shallow rim. Some things that I really found interesting from this disc as a putter is it really showed you how you were missing the putts. If you missed right it went right, if you went high it stayed high. Since it has glide and is a neutral flier when putting it didn’t have the crazy overstability that some putters have to mask your mistakes. If I had to do a two disc round I really could use this disc as a mid-range and putter effectively which would essentially give me a third disc while really only carrying two.

When I bought this disc, I caught some flak for being a power thrower getting a “trainer” disc from my friends. To be honest it is so much more, it is a disc that will do what you tell it to. Granted you won’t see your top level pro players throwing these, as many of them have several discs that they have played with for years that are beat to death and perform like this disc. Even still, when it does come out of my bag to be replaced by a beat Buzzz SS it will still find itself back in the bag when I get to courses that I know need an easily controlled anhyzer shot. Innova did an awesome job in making this disc and releasing it for the EDGE program; it really is one disc that can perform two tasks very well. Weaker arms will appreciate it as a straight flying mid-range and a neutral putter, bigger arms like myself will find usefulness in it at shorter courses that require technical anhyzer shots. I definitely think very highly of this disc and its capabilities, but it will not be “THE” disc for everyone.

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