by Ernst Schneidereit
We’re presenting another review of putters after considerable
interest in our last wrap sheet on wind fighting, aerodynamic
putting discs. Now we’re looking at more of Discfly’s
lineup, aero or not. Call it the UFO/Bucket Covers challenge.
Representing the Bucket Covers (putters with relatively flat, wide edges) are
the Discraft Magnet Pro D
(our standard by which all other putters are judged), Rattler and Putt’r
X along with the Innova
Rhyno and Birdie.
Representing the UFOs are the narrowed-edge Innova
XD and Aviar (perhaps
the favorite putter name from Innova), the Discraft
APX X and the Omega AP,
with the Lightning #2 Putter
barely making it into this group instead of the Bucket Covers.
All the putters weighed in at over 170g, most weighing between
172g and 174g. Each putter received more than fifty throws
from distances ranging up to thirty feet.
Bucket Covers (putters with relatively flat, wide edges)
Birdie DX: The Birdie can be side-armed if you like and it
performed amazingly well at distance. You need to be firm with this disc,
not letting up on the spin, which isn’t usually the case with this
style of putter. That can make it a difficult disc for beginners.
Putt’r X: This is a soft, ring-catching disc. More than
any other putter in this test, when the Putt’r X caught a chain it
dropped into the basket. Not much contact is required to get this disc to
score for you. Unremarkable at distance, but a good choice for beginners
or experts closer in. The Magnet Soft Pro D would likely show similar performance.
||Discraft Rattler: An average putter—it
didn’t perform poorly, but it wasn’t the best either. Like the
Birdie, it did quite well from distance, finishing second it that category.
This is a good disc for "one putter" players who want a single
disc for 35 feet and in. Another good sidearm disc, it also performed well
in straight-line tests.
Rhyno: Like it’s near twin the Birdie, it sidearms well.
A little more rounded and aero than the Birdie, it also likes spin to perform.
This disc was the least kind to beginners.
#2 Putter: This is the bulkier cousin of the Rubber Putter.
Available in glow models, it also floats, making it a good choice for
nighttime games with island greens. I continue to be amazed at the accuracy
available from distance with the Lightning models. This is a disc for
experienced golfers and provided the best results of the test, but only
for veteran players.
AP: The Omega is recommended here for experienced golfers
only. A good set of results was obtained from all ranges for experienced
players able to put some spin on the disc, but it’s unkind to the
starter misbehaving badly if lightly tossed. Not for slow putters.
APX X: The hardest plastic disc in this test, the APX tied
with the Innova XD for best long distance putter for beginners. It also
looked the best after getting tossed around all afternoon.
Aviar: Some buy the Aviar because the see others using it.
From its design, it looks like it should be a good distance putter, but
looks are stereotypically deceiving. While the Aviar was fine at all levels
for close putts, it was dismal at distance, tying with the Rhyno for lowest
distance putting score. Keep it in the bag past 20 feet.
XD: This disc has a lot going for it. It performed well in
the sidearm test (decidedly understable when used this way) and was also
an excellent straight-line flyer at distance. It tied with the APX for best
beginner distance results, giving the novice the best chance of equaling
expert performance out of all discs tested.
For beginners my best recommendations include the Innova XD
or Discraft APX X as your all-around putter. For closer shots the Putt’r
X was the favorite and the Aviar and #2 Putter likewise had good results.
Veteran players should check out the #2 Putter and those who
like Bucket Covers might be pleasantly surprised by the Birdie.
A final note: the buzz on Discraft’s
Buzz Z Elite mid-range is all good. It doesn’t like sidearming, but
it’s a beauty of a flat flyer with an extremely straight pattern that
goes slightly overstable at the very, very end. Effortless is the best way of
describing it. One round earned it a permanent spot in my arsenal. Plus, if
you like sidearming your drives, my favorite was the Discraft XL in the X
and Z plastic, until I tried
the XS Elite X. The X plastic
is much kinder than the Z model
when you make mistakes. Consider this the Big Bertha of sidearm driving discs
with no sacrifice to distance.