The Return of the Bucket Lid (Putter Review)

In previous Putter Challenges, the bucket lid putter has not fared well. Especially in windy conditions, they tend to perform with less precision than their aerodynamic cousins. On a calm day they fare better and the Innova Polecat recently demonstrated why they are still popular and readily available.

Always partial to the Discraft Magnet, I used that as the known standard putter in a comparison with Discraft’s Soft Magnet, the new Aerobie Sharpshooter #3, Lightning’s Putter #2 and the Polecat. Experience and familiarity led me to suspect that the Soft Magnet would do the best in this challenge, but the statistics surprised me.

For distance putting, the Aerobie was the obvious choice. Both in the test and on the course, it performed very well from thirty feet and beyond. For one beginner tester, it even landed a number of very long putts. Played on a sloping course, it behaved well around the basket, seldom straying for a roll past the target. (To be fair, all of the discs were good putters in this regard.) Played as an approach disc, it is the only one from this group that flies s-curve straight with an anhyzer release and acts overstable when released flat. This matches the flight pattern of the entire Aerobie Sharpshooter line.

The Polecat was a great performer from thirty feet and in, winning this five-disc challenge by a hair over the Aerobie and the Lightning Putter #2. Predictable and soft, I definitely prefer its heft to that of another Innova bucket lid, the Birdie. I can give it no better recommendation than to say that it has stolen the putter spot in my bag, for now.

The Soft Magnet definitely fits its name—it is really soft. The Magnet, not a firm disc on anyone’s chart, is hard in comparison. Perhaps it was a little too soft, however, as it only outperformed in the uphill putting portion of our test.

I have played with the Lightning Rubber Putter off and on for some two decades, enjoying it for distance putting, so I knew what to expect from the Putter #2, which has a similar shape but greater stiffness. If you play near water, it also has the benefit of being a floating disc, a quality it shared in this test with the Sharpshooter #3. It performed well from all distances and would be a good choice if you want something between the bullet aero shape of the Sharpshooter and the bucket lid profile of the Polecat.

My Magnet is a well-worn disc—often used and seldom failing. In comparison to some brand new discs, however, it simply did not perform as well. That aging changes flight performance is a well-known fact in disc golf. Perhaps it does not change putters for the better. Let’s just say that this report gives you one more reason for adding a new disc to your arsenal.

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