by Ernst Schneidereit
Disgusted with your putter? Agonizing over a toss that clanked the basket or flew silently past the chains? Are gusts
of wind taking your putts (and low score) away with the dust?
A combination of the above had me questioning my longtime
favorite and one of our best sellers--the Discraft Magnet Pro D. A
windy day at Vacaville's
Lagoon Valley course in California was blowing most putts off
target. Afterwards, I grabbed five putters off the shelf, including
the radically different Aerobie Arrow, and subjected them to a putting
challenge against the Magnet--multiple randomized tosses from ten
to thirty feet, winner grabbing the putter spot in my disc bag.
The putters: Aerobie Arrow; Discraft APX Swirl, Elite
X Challenger and Magnet Pro D; Innova Aero; Lightning's Rubber Putter.
All the putters were above 172 g with the exception of the Arrow at
Arrow: This putter has the look of an upside-down
dinner plate, featuring an aerodynamic ridge and a gel-like plastic
that's still firm and very grippy. If you like conversations with
strangers, this disc can start one. Aerobie claims that this is
the straightest-flying putter/approach available and the testing
against this bunch confirmed it. The aero ridge seems unusual
at first and may cause you to adapt your throw, but in the wind
there was no better performer. This disc likes a firm toss with
lots of spin.
APX Swirl: A squishy disc that's similar to the Magnet
Soft, it has a slightly better design for wind and a beautiful
color pattern. If you like soft discs, this should be your first
choice. It performed admirably from near and far, notching a tie
with the Rubber Putter for most baskets throughout the test.
Elite X Challenger: While I liked the metallic color
scheme and the durability of the Challenger, the other discs have
much more to offer in accuracy. If you have one, pass it to a
competitor and buy a new one from the rest of this lineup.
Magnet Pro D: The Magnet was the top performer from
twenty feet and shorter. Part of that might have to do with my
familiarity with the disc, but it maintains a line at slow speeds
for safe short tosses. It becomes less predictable the further
you have to throw it, but it's still a great overall performer
in no or very low wind conditions.
Aero: If I was allowed only one putter for all conditions,
this is my new disc of choice. As with all "one-fits-all"
applications, it wasn't the greatest at putting or fighting the
wind, but it was the best combination of both.
Rubber Putter: Welcome your new distance putter.
Hands down, this disc torched the competition from 25 feet and
out. It loves a strong toss and spin. Questionable at shorter
distances, as it's less consistent at low speeds.
The End Results: The test has made
me a two-putter player. The Magnet
stays in my bag as the first choice for short putts. Straight approach
and putts from distances beyond twenty feet now go to the Rubber
Putter. Windy days find the Magnet in the trunk and the Innova
Aero taking its place.