Friday, March 20, 2020

Disc Golf Answer Man

By: Robert McCall

Each Tuesday, Bobby (Coooooooool Daddy Slick Breeze) Brown, Eric (eMac) McCabe, and I, Robert (different nickname every week) McCall take to the live airspace on Disc Golf Answer Man to tackle listener-submitted questions. Most of the questions revolve around disc golf, but we also answer the occasional non-disc golf question about The Office, our favorite taco place, the fabled Torchy’s Tacos, or life in general. Occasionally, we have special guests stop by, and they bring new insights every time. We’ll do our best to stay on disc golf questions for this first time.

Disclaimer: These questions and answers will be edited for clarity (and to make us all appear much smarter).

Flagstick in the Way?

Bobby: This is a rules question. “When playing a 1000-foot hole at a golf course, an OB golf green was located about 150-200 feet in front of the basket. I played a low forehand over the green, knowing that if I hit the green, I would skip across. My only concern was the flagstick. Could I have had someone remove the flag from the golf hole? Had I clipped it or squared it up, it would have put a real damper on a great shot.”

Robert: Good question; no rules searching needed - I know the answer to this one, because I’ve seen it happen, and it really sucks when you hit the flag on a golf green. If an obstacle is in front of your lie and no part of it extends through your lie, you can’t move it. It’s kind of like if a trash can is out there on the course, and it’s in between you and the basket; you can’t move it. Same with a golf flag. The only way that you can move an obstacle is if part of it is on top of or crossing through your lie - then you can move it if it is dead and unattached. If there was a golf flag laying on top of your disc, you could move that out of the way. If it’s on the golf green in front of you, can’t touch it. Sorry, man.

Disc Differences

Speakpipe: “Hey, Bobby, Robert, Eric, and any other disc golf luminaries who might be there, this is Matt from Salem, Oregon. I just had a quick question about the flight charts from Trilogy and the actual disc molds. When I look at something like the eMac Truth, the Compass, and the Sling, they’re all within the same speed group, relative stability, and have some differences in turn and glide. I wondered if there are a lot of different characteristics that you can tweak in a mold? Are there infinite variabilities, or are there really just a few characteristics to change and they could make radically different results in the flight path from that? Obviously, the way people throw makes a difference, too. Anyway, I appreciate what you guys do; thanks for keeping it real!”
Bobby Brown

: From talking to Tomas (Ekstrom, Latitude 64’s disc designer) a while back, when I first started doing all this, I asked him a very similar question: “Wouldn’t you run out of discs to make?” According to him, there are infinite possibilities, because the slightest change here, the
slightest dome here, the slightest bead here makes a difference in the flight. You’ll have some discs that fly similarly, but for whatever reason, one might feel better in the hand for Robert than it does for me. He may be okay with a wider rim, but I don’t love wide rims on drivers. When you get into midranges, one might be a bigger diameter than the other, but they have similar flights. Even though it may seem like discs are the exact same, you have to take feel into account, because different players prefer different things in the discs that they carry.

Shot Choice in the Woods

Bobby: Here’s a good one - “Hey DGAM crew, one of the courses in my hometown is heavily wooded. I’ve noticed that understable discs with a backhand tend to work better than overstable discs. However, is the backhand the best type of shot to throw in thick woods? Is one type of throw objectively better for wooded courses, or should you just go with what you know? Thanks everyone; have a peachy day!”

Eric: I think forehands actually work really well in the woods. It’s because you can see the gap that you’re hitting; you never have your back toward the gap. But it just depends on the course - I’ve played many, many wooded courses that were very righty-friendly and the backhand was the best shot for most of those holes. I’ve also played courses that were the exact opposite, where lefties or forehand players had an advantage. That said, I think you see a lot more people throwing forehands accurately through the woods, because you’re open to the gap and can visualize the shot a bit easier.

Robert: Yeah, you never have to take your eyes off of your target, and that can be a big deal. I would say, though, just because that’s true of a forehand doesn’t mean that’s necessarily what you need to throw. If Eric and I are playing a course in the woods, we’re probably not throwing a bunch of forehands if we have to hit a tight gap. Most of the time, we’d be throwing backhands, because that’s the shot we’re better at throwing.

Why Don’t Touring Professionals Want to Play Practice Rounds with Locals or Amateurs?

Bobby: Tom says, “Hey, Disc Golf Answer Man, there have a few times when a handful of pros have been in town, and I’ve reached out to them to play a casual round, and they either don’t answer or say they can’t make it. I’m by no means taking it personally, but I just want to know if pros just prefer not to play casual rounds with non-pro players just for fun.”

Eric: I think a lot of it is not that they don’t like casual rounds or don’t like you, but a lot of times, if they’re just passing through town, they often want to just keep passing through or play a round to get out of the car, relax, and be alone for a little while; they can have some time when they don’t have to be “on”. Don’t take it personally; these touring players and guys and gals just like anyone and need their space occasionally. I know that it’s tough when we’re traveling across the country and want to stop to play a round somewhere, we’ll typically want to fly through the round to just get back on the road. I think it all boils down to not having to be “on” so to speak, and wanting to get through a quick round and move on. Everyone isn’t necessarily like that, and I’m not like that all the time, and I enjoy having a local to guide me every now and then, especially if it’s a course I’ve never played before. For example, when we drove through and played Harmony Bends, I would have loved to have a local there to play with, because we threw to the wrong basket on numerous occasions.
Robert McCall & Eric McCabe

Robert: Alright, here it is: I’m going to keep it real. When it comes to us and playing with people here in town, sometimes it just doesn’t work for us, and it’s just because of our schedule; we’re just not able to do it. But when it comes to the touring professionals and they’re coming through your town, sometimes, one of the reasons that I think touring pros don’t play rounds with non-touring players is because of the speed of play. They know that if they go play with a touring pro, they’ll all be finding the same spots in the fairway and throwing many of the same lines, but if they’re playing with non-touring players, they might be looking for lost discs or waiting for players that play a little more slowly. That might not be bad if they’re not preparing for a tournament, but if they are, every practice day is very important to them, so that might be one reason that they might not want to play a casual round with a lot of people. Having a local guide is usually pretty fun and helpful, but sometimes, they prefer to focus up and move at a slightly quicker pace.

Can You Bag Both a Harp and a Slammer?

Bobby: Another question. I was actually curious about this as well. “Hey Disc Golf Answer Man, can you explain the difference between the Slammer and the Harp? I see that they are both overstable putters, but is there enough of a difference to bag them both without overlap?” What do you guys think?

Eric: I would think that there is enough, but they are pretty close to each other. It kind of depends on what you’re using that disc for. They’re both kind of geared as putters, but I don’t really know anyone that putts with either one of them unless it’s super windy. They are great approach discs, like putt and approach style discs. I think that, depending on the plastic, the Harp is going to be slightly more overstable, but having that said, I have a Lucid Slammer in my bag that is crazy overstable. I think they’re pretty close to each other, and for me, I don’t see a purpose in bagging both. Now, the Harp is maybe a better forehand approach disc… but I don’t do that, so there’s no purpose for me to have that in my bag right now.

That’s all for this issue! As you can see, there are plenty of questions to explore and different ways to look at them. Keep sending in those questions, and we’ll keep answering them. We might even dive into some of our other favorite topics next time - The Office, Torchy’s Tacos, Star Wars… the list goes on and on. Join us again next issue!
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