The Reason I Push Disc Minimalism

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The Reason I Push Disc Minimalism

Postby Blake_T » Mon May 08, 2006 3:44 am

people often disagree with my push towards disc minimalism (carrying a limited number of molds). here is a story of my first couple of years of disc golf and what i learned from it. hopefully you may learn something from it too if this is a topic you have an opinion on.

i started disc golfing in early spring of 2000 (pre-CE/Z, pre-valkyrie, etc.). i got bit by the disc bug and found myself wanting to know how everything flew as ended up purchasing about 50 discs within my first 3-4 months of playing.

i also mistakenly fell into the "throw everything flat because that's most consistent" mentality and truly attempted to throw every disc the same. by the end of my third month i was carrying a slew of discs and had a fairly consistent and very accurate 330-350' drive. i maxed with my midranges around 175', but was laser accurate at that range and in. all of my discs were dialled in within about 10' of length and about 5-10' of left/right play.

this continued and low and behold, at the end of the first year i was still throwing a consistent and accurate 330-350'.
my bag around this time was:
drivers
1) gazelle
2) eagle
3) teebird
4) tl
5) cheetah
6) leopard
7) firebird
exp1
9) polaris ls
10) viper
11) whippet
12) x2
13) xl
14) #2 driver (for over water shots)

midrange
1) roc
2) aurora ms
3) mrv
4) mrx
5) sentinel mf
6) comet
7) stinger

putters
1) apx
2) swirl apx
3) rattler

my second round of disc golf i played with a friend that carried two discs, a cyclone and an aviar. he was pretty good and he was by far the best of my friends that played (but was going to college 90 mins away). midway through year two, i played another few rounds with him. i was much better, and he still only carried those same two discs. he beat me during every round even though we both had the same distance and were both equal putters.

basically, while i had every disc for every type of shot, very few holes are perfect for any of those situations. he, on the other hand, only had 1 driver and was able to throw it differently and make it do everything.

i stubbornly tried to hold onto the philosophy i had been using (and had spent a ton of money on) until the end of year two. before the start of my third season i did a lot of internet searching and realized that most pros carried a very limited number of molds. i was also able to speak with a pro distance thrower that basically said i had to change my throw if i wanted to throw farther (my distance did not increase by more than about 10' from months 3 through 24).

that year i decided to "do it right" and i dumped out my bag, and worked off of what i knew the pros were throwing to build my bag. at that time (late 2001/early 2002) the most common discs: eagle, teebird, firebird, banshee, cyclone, x-clone, x2, roc, mrv, magnet, aviar.

my bag became:
1) teebird
2) eagle
3) valkyrie
4) xtra
5) roc
6) big bead aviar

during the first few months i struggled as i both changed the discs i threw and my style of throwing, but i can say i learned more during those few months than i had over the past 18 months.

i learned to do everything with 6 discs that had previously taken me 24, and i was doing it better than i had before. while my consistency was a bit down, my scores slowly shattered all of my previous bests.

to sum things up, i feel as if my first two years of locked mindset stole two years from my development as a player. if i could go back and do it over again, i would and make things more simple, forcing me to develop the skills i put off for far too long.

since making the switch, i have developed a much greater understanding of the throw and how to make discs "work" (which oddly enough didn't really happen until i dropped all the champ/z plastic from my bag).

if you can gain anything from this story, please do.
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Postby Blake_T » Mon May 08, 2006 4:00 am

btw,

i often make parallels between guitar and disc golf, because somehow they are not similar things but follow a nearly identical progression.

they are similar in that getting started, you generally will under-spend (or overspend) and make a somewhat mis-informed purchase that has very little long run value. someone spending $150 on a squire strat pack to me is the equivalent of buying 3 bad discs and a crappy bag (that could have easily been displaced by a much higher quality bag for about $5-10 more).

you get hooked and want to try everything so you buy 19 discs, all in premium plastic. this is the equivalent to seeing your friend's effects pedals and starting with a flanger, but eventually accumulating a phaser, chorus, delay, compressor, etc.

soon you realize your error, but make an even bigger error by trading all the pedals in for a digital effects processor (or modelling processor) and try to justify your action even though deep down you fear you have just bought a very expensive piece of crap that does everything, but none of it well. the dg equivalent is over-spending, revamping the bag, accumulating a ton more premium discs (and very much the wrong ones) and an expensive bag. to sum things up: you just spent a ton of money and are going nowhere.

after a while, you really begin to understand the essence of the activity... or nature so to speak. you return to a state of minimalism with set goals: i want high quality stuff that performs well, holds its value, and will never need to be replaced. this is the even bigger expenditure. you ditch what you have and spend yet more money, but this time wisely investing. for disc, this is grabbing a stack of duplicate discs in the best molds available, caring less about the plastic/cosmetics/etc. and more about what you need to to the best that you can do. for guitar, this is ditching your slew of crap and finally dropping on a used gibson les paul and the used amp you've always wanted (be it vintage fender, marshall, etc.).

now, you have achieved zen. in disc, this is the pefect rig that does it all, and does it all well. in guitar, this is plug and play.

i've owned about 50 effects pedals in my day and a slew of effects processors. nowadays my rig is an axe directly into an amp with a 1977 boss CE-2 chorus pedal on the loop and i use the amp channel switching or volume roll back for clean/distortion.

when i gig, i drop the chorus and the only pedal i run is a tuner.
my tone screams.

i too want to scream when i realized i wasted about $1000 on useless guitar gear, and even more on useless discs.
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Postby Jestyr » Mon May 08, 2006 7:49 am

Okay, this was an amazingly good analogy for me. To give you an idea, I *NOW* own an '83 Les Paul Custom and a 2001 Alverez Yairi acoustic. I don't think I have plugged my processor in over 2 years and my fender bullet an old amp has sat with a friend who wanted to learn for nearly the same length of time. :) So I completely understand the analogy you have made regarding guitars.

Like you did, I am finding myself buying a ton of discs just to "see". I have curbed this a but with your advice, but you always seem somewhat hesitant to give a direct opinion what disc or discs a newer person should buy. By offering more direct advice, newer players (such as myself), you eliminate the confusion that we have between brands, molds, conditions, plastics, etc.

So... based on this analogy... give a SPECIFIC list of what you think the right discs are to start with, and when to progress to other molds, etc.

Also, the one thing I cannot determine is whether you think newer people should sell all of the "extra" discs they have, as you seem to have mixed feelings about that.

Finally, maybe working on beginner specific articles would be very helpful. Such as a program on the best way to develop you skills fastest.

So, a beginner disc recommendation *could* look something like this (I am writing from how you could choose to write it, which I think I may be semi-accurate):

BEGINNER GOLF DISCS ????
Please recognize that this is not an actual list -- only a format that I think would work for Blake to give his recommendations. I am a beginner myself.


Drivers:

DX Gazelle 173-175, for drives when slightly windy condition
DX Gazelle 164-168, for normal fairly drives
I recommend the DX Gazelles for a few reasons. They are a good, fairly slow, generic fairway driver. Furthermore, in DX plastic, they will wear more quickly, enabling you to have mutiple versions of the same disc in various stages of wear. Other discs you could choose here are the DX Cheetah, DX Leopard and a Sabre. I would NOT pick any of these as they are more overstable or of a less desireable plastic: any star, Z, champion plastic. Teebird, Beast, Easgle, Orc, Starfire, Predator, etc.

Star/Champ Sidewinder 165-171, long distance open drives
The only star/champion entry, the sidewinder will give you the "high-end" disc happiness while still being easy to control for a beginner. Eventually you can use this as a high-speed turnover disc. The only other option would be the roadrunner or valkarie.

DX Firebird 175, very overstable driver for throwing into a heavy, direct headwind
This is only for throwing into a 15 mph headwind and above. Other options are ...

Midrange:

DX Shark 180 new, mid range
DX Shark 180 beat up, mid range
While I recognize is it tough for a beginner to have a "beat up" disc, it may be worth buying one used, or just going and throwing it at a bunch of trees for a day. The used one will fly less-stable giving you some choices. Other options are Roc, Comet, Buzz and MRV.

Putter:

Wizard 175, putter
Other options include Aviar P&A, Challenger and Banger, although almost any putter besides *insert name here* should be fine.

Future choices:

As you progress, you undoubtably want to try new discs. Here are a few recommendations to think about.

The first new disc you may want to experiment with is your fairway driver. You might want to do this when you can consistently throw 300' with the Gazelle. While you may gain a few more feet with another driver before that, you will not improve your overall game. Once you can throw 300', these are the discs I would recommend. They are all more overstable than the Gazelle, with a little more speed and glide. They are *instert list here*. I would still NOT get any champion/star/Z plastic, as they are still too overstable for you right now.

Once you can throw 350' consistently with your new fairway driver, you can consider...

-------------------------------

Anyway, you see where I am going with this.

Blake -- I just wanted to thank you for a wonderful resource and your patience in helping people. I know everyone really appreciates it.
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Postby TexasOutlaw » Mon May 08, 2006 8:29 am

Very well stated. I am guilty of wanting to try all the new stuff, but I normally go back to basics.
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Postby Fritz » Mon May 08, 2006 10:00 am

TexasOutlaw wrote:Very well stated. I am guilty of wanting to try all the new stuff, but I normally go back to basics.


Same here...I always end up putting that stuff back into the tub, to trade later or turn in for credit. out of all the Starline plastic released thus far, only 2 of those discs have stayed in my bag, the TeeRex and the Sidewinder. The only star discs I didn't buy were the Stingray and Wraith (don't like the wraith).

But Because of Blake T. and Scott H. My game has improved and my bag actually has a ton of DX.
Blake knows what he is talkin abou there. My 2 favorite discs: DX Gazelle and the DX Valk.
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Postby roadkill » Mon May 08, 2006 10:48 am

Blake is preaching my main sermon that I've been preaching for atleast 15 years.

The most important factors in being consistent in my opinion are

a) knowing your plastic very well

b) being able to manipulate your discs (with angle and attitude adjustments) to serve several purposes/lines.

c) being decisive and committed to every shot
Actually b and c are very closely related and basicly a byproduct of a.

Limiting the number of molds you carry will go along way in achieving a,b and c.
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Postby bigs348 » Mon May 08, 2006 8:41 pm

This is all so true, and I can only wish that I had heard of such concepts sooner. I've been playing for about 3 and a half years, and only in the past 8-9 months did I first hear of and then start integrating all of the concepts that I've learned from Blake and this site.

A year ago, I was using a Champ Beast for nearly 3/4 of my shots, and I honestly didn't know the advantages of throwing slower drivers (or midranges or putters off the tee) and throwing less molds. I've learned the benefits of DX plastic for distance, but I still prefer better plastic for my main driver. (This is because I throw TLs -- I throw CFR, Star, and Pro and just from plastic differences I get the whole variety of flights that I would get from a range of new to beat DX.) I've thought about switching to DX Teebirds or Gazelles as my main driver, but I've finally gotten comfortable with TLs and don't want to mix up the game at this point.

Here is where my game is at now with 16 discs, 7 molds (as opposed to 20+ discs, 14+ molds)::
1) my scores have dropped an average of 6 to 8 strokes
2) my consistency is way up
3) I no longer throw everything flat, but prefer throwing with hyzer flip
4) I actually have an array of midranges in my bag that i use for a large percentage of my shots (as opposed to carrying none, which I did for over a year)
5) I use a putter off the tee for sub 300' shots
6) the only real overstable plastic I carry is for headwinds.

This site should be required reading when a person gets their first golf disc. I wish I would've known any of this when I started playing to avoid (ok, cut down) on the plastic buying, and learn how to throw slower discs, etc.
"a man is a success if he gets up in the morning and he gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do."
-- bob dylan
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Postby sleepy » Tue May 09, 2006 10:35 am

bigs348 wrote:This site should be required reading when a person gets their first golf disc.


I agree. I wonder if Blake can work something out w/ the disc manufacturers to get discgolfreview.com incorporated into all thier hotstamps! :)


sleepy
sleepy wrote:I sleepy, do hereby commit to use the Comet as my main midrange disc for a period of no less than one (1) year; commencing 11/24/09 and ending (if I so choose) on 11/24/10.

Image
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My bag: Predators, Surges, Teebirds, Wasps, Comets, Challengers and Magics...Oh my!
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Postby Pagan » Wed May 10, 2006 10:44 pm

You'd think at least a courteous link here. If you are serious about improving your game visit www.discgolfreview.com

I've told many people while playing on our local course about this site...
Maybee a shirt or towel is in order here Blake... Bag tags something.

I really can't thank everyone here enough. My form, technique, and just simple shot selection has improved drastically since using some of the articles and advice here. I've had some players notice it and complement. In fact a local semi-pro made several comments the other day. I told him "DiscGolfReview.Com, Blake, Tex, and others are the reason!"

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Postby TexasOutlaw » Thu May 11, 2006 10:03 am

Pagan wrote:You'd think at least a courteous link here. If you are serious about improving your game visit www.discgolfreview.com

I've told many people while playing on our local course about this site...
Maybee a shirt or towel is in order here Blake... Bag tags something.

I really can't thank everyone here enough. My form, technique, and just simple shot selection has improved drastically since using some of the articles and advice here. I've had some players notice it and complement. In fact a local semi-pro made several comments the other day. I told him "DiscGolfReview.Com, Blake, Tex, and others are the reason!"

Pagan


I'm with him; what can we do to help promote your site? I like all his ideas DGR tags or towels.

Thanks for the kinds words, but I am no way near Blake in ability, skill, or vocabulary.

I was working with a kid on throwing hyzer flips the other day, and I actually couldn't remember which way to initially "aim" (I'm going to start a thread on it under technique).
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Postby discmonkey42 » Thu May 11, 2006 10:32 am

I'd buy a shirt and a towel. Just the amount of money saved on discs I didn't have to buy alone is huge. I'd be happy to show my support here with a little $.

And don't sell yourself short, Texas. Sometimes, for me, it is another persons description of the same point that makes the light bulb go on.
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Postby Pagan » Thu May 11, 2006 10:39 am

discmonkey42 wrote:I'd buy a shirt and a towel. Just the amount of money saved on discs I didn't have to buy alone is huge. I'd be happy to show my support here with a little $.

And don't sell yourself short, Texas. Sometimes, for me, it is another persons description of the same point that makes the light bulb go on.


yeah! (what he said)
There's a lot you've helped me with; directly, and by reading your replies to others here. It's not just tex, and blake either. I scour these forums al most daily looking for helpful information and occasionally to post if I think I might have some helpful information for others.

I see this site as like an OpenSource DiscGolf Resource Center.
I think I'll do a DIscGolfReview.Com dye design on a disc or something...
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Postby sleepy » Thu May 11, 2006 11:09 am

discmonkey42 wrote:I'd buy a shirt and a towel.


Count me in too...though I'd hate to dirty up the discgolfreview.com name by getting my towel all muddy. :wink:


sleepy
sleepy wrote:I sleepy, do hereby commit to use the Comet as my main midrange disc for a period of no less than one (1) year; commencing 11/24/09 and ending (if I so choose) on 11/24/10.

Image
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Postby Thatdirtykid » Thu May 11, 2006 8:24 pm

blake was thinking about minis a while ago (werent you?) and if so is that idea still in the works? (Id buy some and give them to people around)
Z Pred-ESP Cyclone-Z Force-Z Aftershock-Z Comet-Ion-Pro Rhyno
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Postby Jestyr » Thu May 11, 2006 9:24 pm

I'd buy a towel (a tri-fold deal with hook/clasp) to help support and promote the site.

I think it is safe to say that we all appreciate Blake for all of his hard work and help, along with everyone else on the forum.

Blake: Just an idea, but when you write articles for the mags, you may want to force adding a bio at the bottom that says something like, "To learn more and improve your game, visit discgolfreview.com." This is fairly common practive whe you have a write/collumnist who also promotes other aspects of the game/sport in other ways. Card Player magazine is riddled with similar bios at the end of articles.
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