Soft vs. hard and grippy vs. slick putters

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Soft vs. hard and grippy vs. slick putters

Postby Blake_T » Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:12 pm

figured i'd post this on its own topic.

Mark Ellis wrote:Ok, I have an unrelated questions (unrelated to the topic although related to my joke) for Blake T, seeing as he is a scientific sort of guy. Does any kind of plastic (or hardness of plastic) actually stick to the chains better? And does a soft or hard putter have a greater chance of bouncing off the post and out of the basket?


well, my philosophy on it is this:
i don't want a putter that will "grip" chain. i don't want a putter that behaves viscous against chain.

if you rate softness on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being a blowfly and 1 being one of those as hard as porcelain firm wizards, i would favor putters in the 4-6 range.

if you rate grippiness on a scale of 1 to 10, with a 10 being a blowfly and 1 being one of the old vinylish elite z putt'rs, i would favor putters in the 4-6 range.

putters that are soft/grippy will pick up an extra 2" or so on the high right side but at the same time, anything above 6" above the basket that hits even 1/4" left of the center of the pole will have a tendency to grip and spin out.

putters that are too stiff/slick will have a great tendency to cut through and/or riccochet/redirect on chain contact.

ideally, the putters that will have the greatest makeable surface area on a basket are ones that are of a softness and grippiness that will slow down upon chain contact but will simply "spin in place" against the chains while the friction against the chains will slow down the spin without having the spin cause the putter to move laterally against the chains. with these types of putters, fairly extreme left/right putts within 6" of the top of the basket will kick downards and tend to stay in. putts that miss slightly left will tend to drop down rather than spin out. you lose a bit on the high right but pick up enough around the pole to more than cancel that out.

in terms of bouncing off the pole, a super stiff putter has a higher chance of bouncing off pole than a less stiff putter. but a super soft putter has a higher chance of spinning off the pole when it hits. i recommend a happy medium.

i made a picture contrasting a medium stiffness medium grip putter on the left vs. a really soft high grip putter on the right. the color represents an approximation of the makeable surface area.

basically, you can think of it being like a kc aviar vs. jk aviar, hard magnet vs. soft magnet, hard soft wizard vs. soft sss wizard, etc.

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Re: Soft vs. hard and grippy vs. slick putters

Postby Blake_T » Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:12 pm

JHern wrote:
Blake_T wrote:
Ok, I have an unrelated questions (unrelated to the topic although related to my joke) for Blake T, seeing as he is a scientific sort of guy. Does any kind of plastic (or hardness of plastic) actually stick to the chains better? And does a soft or hard putter have a greater chance of bouncing off the post and out of the basket?

well, my philosophy on it is this...


I agree entirely with everything Blake said. If you want to add a little more science-yness to it, here goes...

You initially have a putter traveling with speed v and mass m. Also, the disc has a moment of inertia I and spin rate w. The kinetic energy of the putter is:

Ek=1/2(m*v*v + I*w*w)

After the disc comes to rest in the basket, and all of the chains have stopped moving, v=w=0. According to the law of conservation of energy, Ek is transformed into another kind of energy, because the disc no longer has any kinetic energy. Where does the energy go? It goes into what we like to call "dissipation." Dissipation turns mechanical energy into heat energy by raising the temperature of the substances involved in the interactions with the body that had kinetic energy to begin. If all these bodies (basket+chains+disc+surrounding air) have a collective heat capacity C, then the average temperature of these things after the disc comes to rest is increased by Ek/C.

Friction, like that between a chain and a disc, can be a form of dissipation. But only if it is the right kind of friction. There is static friction, which is when two object's contact areas are stuck together. And then there is dynamic friction, when there is relative motion at the contact interface. Friction dissipation only happens when there is relative motion (i.e., sliding) between the two contact areas, i.e., for dynamic friction. If they are stuck together, with no sliding (static friction), then there is no dissipation.

Plastic that is overly grippy tends to promote static friction, without sliding. This isn't good, because it will not dissipate the disc's kinetic energy. Plastic that is overly smooth will slide at the interface, but there will be little resistance force between it and the chains, so that even though there will be dissipation it will be small. The "sweet spot" is right in the middle: grippy enough to exert resistance to sliding, but not so grippy that there is no sliding whatsoever. I.e., 4-6 on Blake's putter grippiness scale.

The most important form of friction in a chain basket is the friction between the links of the chains. This is why it is a great disc stopper. It is admittedly crude (other threads can be perused for more info on why that is the case), but the contacts between links of a chain seem to provide enough dissipation to catch a well-thrown disc. If you want a basket to catch discs better, then figure out a way to get more friction dissipation between the links.
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Re: Soft vs. hard and grippy vs. slick putters

Postby Blake_T » Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:13 pm

JHern wrote:
Blake_T wrote:cool. any mr. wizard-esque comments on soft putter (with lots of flex on impact) vs. stiffer putter?

it would be interesting to see which dominates, the grippiness of the plastic failing to dissipate or the bending on impact of a soft disc...

personally i prefer discs that flex a tiny bit but not much because i find floppier discs tend to flex and recoil before they leave my hand... which i figure cancels out any benefit in terms of chain interaction because it's harder to get a consistent release.


When a continuous body deforms, there are two kinds of response: elastic and plastic. Elastic deformation is recoverable, i.e., if you bend it, the body will bounce back to its original shape. Plastic deformation is permanent, i.e., if you bend it it will stay bent and not return to its previous form. Elastic deformation is accompanied by very very little dissipation. Plastic deformation is all dissipation. So the perfect putter character is one that you can only throw once, it'll be all mashed the first time it hits the chains.

Of course, we don't use plastic deformation one-use disposable putters, so there will be little dissipation from that property of the putter. The key then is time scale. A more floppy putter will rebound slower than a more stiff putter after hitting something. If the floppy putter rebounds back to its original shape on a time scale that is similar to half the natural period of the pendulum motion of the chains, then the rebound of the putter shape will add to the back force of the chains swinging back from the initial impact, and may well help to push the disc backwards and make it less likely to drop in the basket.

So a stiffer putter seems better, with middle-of-the-road friction. Of course, we can't rule out the possibility that a putter can be designed which has properties that increase the dissipation in the chains, but I can't think of a straightforward way to do that.

Another quick thought with respect to stickiness of the putter: you don't want the disc to spend too much time stuck against the chains, you want it to drop, before it has the opportunity to swing back out. This is another reason to avoid super sticky rubbery putters.

I guess somebody should tell Vibram. :lol:
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Re: Soft vs. hard and grippy vs. slick putters

Postby discraft » Mon Mar 29, 2010 6:51 am

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I use a soft magnet because it will go through the cage on low line drives(not on purpose).Should the cage be included on soft putters?They have an extra chance of going through in low.I have never seen a hard putter do this.
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Re: Soft vs. hard and grippy vs. slick putters

Postby Jeronimo » Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:16 am

JHern is spot on with his physics but the only item that seems to be neglected is transfer of momentum/energy from the disc to the chains upon impact. I would dispute his claim that the ideal putter would plastically deform to oblivion because that would only be true if you were throwing it at a rigid object, which we are not. Much like throwing clay at a brick wall, it'll stop dead due to deformation/energy absorption, but we don't throw discs at brick walls.
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Re: Soft vs. hard and grippy vs. slick putters

Postby Aaron_D » Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:52 am

I think he meant that relative to the crazy soft disc the chains would be rigid enough to splat the disc.
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Re: Soft vs. hard and grippy vs. slick putters

Postby Jeronimo » Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:10 am

Aaron_D wrote:I think he meant that relative to the crazy soft disc the chains would be rigid enough to splat the disc.


I suppose we could putt with glasses of water...
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Re: Soft vs. hard and grippy vs. slick putters

Postby Aaron_D » Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:56 am

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Re: Soft vs. hard and grippy vs. slick putters

Postby masterbeato » Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:26 am

i believe if you get a super stiff putter, and beat it in over a long period of time, it is a lot stickier.

the more it beats in the more sticky it seems to get, sometimes it is less hard as well (no pun intended).
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Re: Soft vs. hard and grippy vs. slick putters

Postby JHern » Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:22 pm

Jeronimo wrote:
Aaron_D wrote:I think he meant that relative to the crazy soft disc the chains would be rigid enough to splat the disc.


I suppose we could putt with glasses of water...


Yeah, I was watching Terminator 2 when I was writing that part of the post. :lol: What we really need is a liquid metal robot putter!

PS...When I said "somebody should tell Vibram" I was thinking of this commercial... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqQATXdVlWA
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Re: Soft vs. hard and grippy vs. slick putters

Postby eg37167 » Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:40 pm

I really appreciate this kind of a breakdown on the basket end of it as I have often wondered about that part. Thanks, Blake! I am by no means smart or experienced enough to dispute any of this analysis so I will merely accept it as stated.

Just in case any novices are reading this, however, I do think it worth mentioning that on the other end of the putt, the firmness and grippiness definitely has an influence on whether you get chains or blow thru. I consider several factors when choosing a putter for a particular shot as I am sure most of you reading this do-- it is not a matter of ' I always whip out ___'.
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Re: Soft vs. hard and grippy vs. slick putters

Postby Mark Ellis » Wed Mar 31, 2010 5:41 am

Thanks to Blake T and JHern for the scientific analysis, not that any of it makes much sense to me.

By happenstance my personal preference in putters has gravitated to a medium level of stiffness, not because I think they "catch" any better but merely because I think I can hit center chains more often with them.

Just from watching lots of putts (millions??) hit chains I am unconvinced that any putter or style is more effective than any other at staying in the basket once it enters. It strikes me as arbitrary which putts stay in and which bounce out or blow through.
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Re: Soft vs. hard and grippy vs. slick putters

Postby Blake_T » Wed Mar 31, 2010 6:57 pm

Thanks to Blake T and JHern for the scientific analysis, not that any of it makes much sense to me.


basic jist:
softer/grippier putters spit more on the left side and catch more on the right side.
stiffer/smoother putters spit more on the right side and catch more on the left side.

stiffer/smoother putters have a larger area you can hit without a tendency to spit than softer/grippier putters.

very sticky putters and very slick putters spit more than medium grip putters.

JHern's calculations almost make me regret dropping out of the engineering program during college. but then i remember taking a bunch of classes with 38 dudes and 2 girls from china in them and that i would have only been able to take 4 electives throughout my undergrad and i realize it's better to just have someone else do the math for me :D

By happenstance my personal preference in putters has gravitated to a medium level of stiffness, not because I think they "catch" any better but merely because I think I can hit center chains more often with them.


heh, something that is independent of the behavior of the disc after it comes in contact with the basket is whether or not the putter will in fact come in contact with the basket. putters that are overly soft don't retain true shape in flight. putters that are overly stiff lack touch. your favoritism towards medium stiff putters is about right on with what putter is the easiest to throw consistently.

Just from watching lots of putts (millions??) hit chains I am unconvinced that any putter or style is more effective than any other at staying in the basket once it enters. It strikes me as arbitrary which putts stay in and which bounce out or blow through.


a spit can happen to nearly anyone with any style and type of putter, which is partly the reason some people believe current baskets are an inferior catching device. without commenting much on that, what i can say is that there's 2 types of players who chronically complain about spits.

1. those with god-like putting abilities who can drill almost everything and 1 spit out of 500 "good" hits is too many for them.
2. those with a putting style that that spits a lot no matter where they hit the basket.

i've played with some very good putters and noticed that their putting style and aggressiveness of their line has a great effect on the # % of putts that stick vs. spit.

with my putting style, i average 1 spit every 125-200 "good" putts (depending upon wind, type of basket, which putter i'm using, etc.). i can live with that.
i've seen putting styles that could hit the exact same points on the basket as my putting style, but they average like 1 spit every 10-12 "good" putts.

why do they get 10 times as many spits as i do? one thing i've noticed is that putters who have a lot of spits tend to have the focus of their putts being "to hit a spot on the chains."
my putting focus is "to bounce the disc off the chains into the basket."

this difference in focus affects how you will attempt your run. you'll see lots of players who run a 30' putt with 55' worth of power on their putt. they will inherently have more spits/cut throughs than someone who runs a 30' putt with 37' of power on their putt.

a few things i have gathered over the years:
putts thrown with hyzer/anhyzer will tend to riccochet in the direction of the angle. a hyzer putt will want to kick left and an anhyzer putt will want to kick right. i believe this is true even if they hit they actually kick in the opposite direction, e.g. a hyzer putt that hits the extreme right side of the basket and bounces to the right will still fight to move left.

flat putts are more apt to riccochet the way the chains wish to push them.

hyzer putts have more cut throughs than flat/anhyzer putts.

nose up putts have a higher spit % than flat or nose down putts, with nose down putts having the least number of spits and cut throughs (note: this does not mean i advocate putting nose down).

putts that hit the basket on a straight line or while rising are more apt to spit than putts that are dropping.

what i've concluded is that a flat (hyzer/anhyzer angle) putt with a flat to slight nose down that reaches the basket while it is dropping have the smallest chance of spitting/cutting-through/bouncing out, etc.


each basket has its own "spit zones". in descending order from biggest spit zone to smallest spit zone:
mach III
mach V soft chain
"shallow basket" discatcher
chainstar
mach V
mach II new
newer discatchers

i find shallow basket discatchers and chainstars to be the worst for hitting the "ring" that holds the chains together and bouncing back out.

shallow basket discatchers and mach V's are the worst for hitting dead center pole on the upper half of the basket and bouncing straight back out. i would include mach III's but their upper links dead center can just bounce out without the disc hitting the pole :P

I consider several factors when choosing a putter for a particular shot as I am sure most of you reading this do-- it is not a matter of ' I always whip out ___'.


i definitely have different putters for different situations. i put in careful thought before i choose when/where/what to whip out :D

I use a soft magnet because it will go through the cage on low line drives(not on purpose).Should the cage be included on soft putters?They have an extra chance of going through in low.I have never seen a hard putter do this.


i don't factor this in because it's not something that can be done from every angle, nor have i ever met anyone who could make more than 1 out of 10 of these if they were trying to do it.
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Re: Soft vs. hard and grippy vs. slick putters

Postby USAnarchy » Fri Apr 02, 2010 1:00 pm

As soon as i quit throwing low putts, i stopped having the need for really soft putters :twisted:
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