Wham-O—not just for kids anymore
The first in a three-part comparison of new and favorite drivers
by Ernst Schneidereit
The Wham-O Frisbee—opaque or fairly translucent with light colors, it
has the look of a flying saucer and is an iconic part of American childhood.
As common as the plastic bouncy ball you would beg for at the supermarket, the
Wham-O would get crushed in the street, shot with BB guns and mauled by the
dog before facing its final toss to the trash. More than one person will tell
you that their initial “Frisbee” golf experience was with a Wham-O,
but that will now take on a new meaning.
Wham-O has gone disc golf high tech, releasing three new drivers and planning
to release even more disc golf related products by the end of this year. Discfly.com
decided to test the new Wham-O
Touchline Over, Under
and Bank drivers alongside
the venerable Innova Eagle
(bottom stamp version) and Leopard
(glow model). Also thrown in was the Aerobie
Epic, another name in beach party fun trying to make inroads with disc golfers.
Wham-O definitely put some thought into their driver releases. All of the Wham-O
drivers immediately grab your attention with thumb grooves featured on the top
of the disc. They definitely add grip and control to your throws. The plastic
is also incredibly durable. The Touchline Over was going so far that I often
went outside my test area, smacking my car, a tree, a picket fence and the roadway,
but it shows no dings on the edge and only mild scratches on the bottom.
The Touchline Bank is the largest golf disc I have ever seen. The size of a
dinner plate, it was the straightest disc in this test with very little fade.
It’s best characterized as a slightly understable disc. The Bank is a
good pick if you need to regularly thread a straight path through trees, but
hate sacrificing distance for control. You can fling this disc with all you
have and it will just coast along in a sweet straight line. Beginners should
find it very dependable without giving up much in distance. For sidearm driving,
it’s strictly a roller, turning over about halfway through the toss.
The Touchline Over was the best overall distance driver in this test, combining
sidearm and overhand throws. It is incredibly predictable, with an amount of
fade comparable to the Leopard, but with more overhand distance. In sidearm
throws the Over still likes to go right to left, which was unexpected, but it
remains consistent in its flight patterns. With practice, this could become
a disc for aces.
The Touchline Under is described as a “distance carving driver”
and it is easily the most versatile disc in this test. It readily responds to
slight angle adjustments at the point of release, creating predictable right-to-left
or left-to-right throws. This is a “one-size-fits-all” disc that
also was the top average distance driver in overhand throws. While it’s
called the Under, it behaves like a barely overstable driver. For sidearm throws
it likes to fade late, much like the Eagle, but with less average distance.
You can also use it as a roller for sidearm tosses. I’m finding a spot
for this disc in my golf bag.
The Eagle was the venerable veteran in this competition. It was the most overstable
in the comparison and the best performer, as well as my favorite, in sidearm
throws. The bottom-stamped version is basically the DX (as is the Leopard Glow),
which is not the best for durability. It was the easy winner for “most
tore up disc” at the end of the test. To its credit, however, the nicks
and scrapes did not ruin its performance and it features a very predictable
flight pattern. Disc Review uses the Eagle as a “benchmark” disc
and it deserves that status.
The Leopard is comparable to the Eagle. It is perhaps a little easier to use,
but gives up a little more in distance. On sidearm throws, like the Touchline
Over, it tended to stick with a right-to-left flight pattern. I found it to
fade more than the Eagle on sidearm throws and less when tossed overhand. Combine
the Touchline Bank with the Innova Leopard and a beginner would have their understable/overstable
The Aerobie Epic is unusual. The top is uniform in shape, while the underside
features an offset circle so that one edge is thicker than the other. It looks
like Aerobie is trying to create a perpetual motion machine in order to increase
distance, but I’d say the results are mixed. Unlike the Aerobie Arrow
putter, this disc is not beginner-friendly.
To the Epic’s credit, it had the longest single toss in the sidearm portion
of the test. Its results overall, however, were erratic. This disc can go wildly
out of control, especially sidearm, and it seems to be a result of the design.
I found myself asking all kinds of questions: What is the best release point?
Are you always gripping it just at the narrowest part of the rim? Should I tune
it to fit my throwing style, as Aerobie suggests? If you practiced a lot with
this disc, I think you could make it into your best distance thrower, but do
you want to invest that amount of time? I recommend this disc for expert golfers
If you are already using the Innova Eagle, you will definitely continue to
do so. Every disc golfer, however, should at least try the new Wham-O products.
I was very impressed with the quality of their Touchline offerings. If they
come through on their promise to offer a full line of product, I could easily
foresee competitive golf bags filled with just their brand of disc.
This table provides percentage comparisons of the discs reviewed against the
Innova Eagle. Selected ratings are similar to those used at www.discreview.com,
although they did not contribute to these ratings (except for the Eagle ratings,
which are taken from their website and used as a benchmark). Distance and Fade
are on a 1-10 scale, Skill, Predictability and Durability are a 1-5 scale.