The Putter Challenger

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 164-166g.

Aerobie Arrow Disc Golf Putter

Aerobie 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.

Discraft Elite X APX Swirl Disc Golf Putter

Discraft 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.

Discraft Elite X Challenger Disc Golf Putter

Discraft 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.

Discraft Pro D Magnet

Discraft 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 Disc Golf Putter

Innova 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.

Lightning Rubber Disc Golf Putter

Lightning 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.

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