A few months ago I embarked on a journey to simplify my disc golf bag by reducing the number of molds I carry. The hope was to force myself to learn new shots and rely less on the plastic itself. Here’s my experience and my in the bag video.
For starters, I recommend that you read the previous article to understand more about the process and justification for minimizing and simplifying your disc golf bag.
If you don’t want the whole story and only want to see my bag, skip to the end.
My first goal was to identify a few core molds, ones that I could build an entire bag around. These discs needed to be versatile and consistent while also covering a wide range of distances. For a putting putter, I knew the Dynamic Discs Judge would be in my bag as I haven’t quite found a putter that works better for me.
I started the journey by searching for a distance driver that would work for me. I tried the Dynamic Discs Trespass, which flies very well for me in perfect weather conditions. I found it to be a little inconsistent in the wind, so I tried the Dynamic Discs Sheriff and the Innova Shryke. Both of these are great discs, but I didn’t get a consistent flight out of them. I then threw a few Discraft Cranks in my bag – I love the stamp and the disc flies rather well for me. For some rounds my drives with the Crank were perfect and for others it was a little off. I assume I’m not ready for the 13 speed rim just yet. At that point, Chris suggested I go back to the Innova Wraith I threw very early on in my disc golf career. When thrown well, the Wraith has a wonderful flight path and cuts through the air with ease. At this point I decided I would throw a Wraith as a distance driver.
Choosing Fairway Drivers and Mid Ranges
After choosing a driver, I moved up to locate a disc that would perform well for shorter lines. I’ve always enjoyed the Innova Gazelle so I immediately got those back out and put them in the bag. The disc works well at different power levels and is short enough to cover mid range lines too so I decided to forgo a midrange disc and use a driving putter instead. I did test it against an Emac Truth, a Buzzz, a Roc, a Roc3, a Claymore, and a Compass.
Choosing Approach Discs
Next up I needed to decide on an approach disc. At that time, I was also reviewing the Innova Nova and Aviar3 for the blog. I didn’t like the Nova at first, but it constantly performs well in approach situations. As for the Aviar3, I ended up liking it as much as the Axiom Envy. The Envy has been a solid approach disc for me but the Neutron plastic is just a little slick when wet so the DX Aviar3 won this battle for now.
Testing the New Bag
So, with a few Wraiths and Gazelles along the Nova, Aviar3, and a Judge, I played several rounds over the course of a few weeks. And I played really poorly. At first I was convinced I just didn’t know my discs all that well so I also spent a lot of time in the field learning to throw every possible shot with these discs.
I found that I was missing a disc between the Wraith and Gazelle. I couldn’t back the Wraith down enough to meet shorter distances and powering up the Gazelle too much would cause it to turn over more than I wanted. So, back to the beginning.
A New Design
Somewhat frustrated, I started throwing some of my old favorite discs just to watch them all fly. This included a Dynamic Discs Escape, a Discraft Undertaker, and an Innova Roc3. At that point I decided to add an Innova Thunderbird to my bag. Several rounds later I noticed that the Thunderbird flew almost as far as the Wraith but far more consistently for me. So I dropped the Wraiths from the bag. I decided to swap the Gazelle for a Roc3 to avoid any potential distance overlap. The Roc3 is also far easier to obtain new discs, something I noticed after I lost an old reliable special pro blend Gazelle.
At this point, my bag contained a Thunderbird, a few different Roc3s, a Nova, an Aviar3, and two Judges for putting.
I was very happy with my bag loadout for a few rounds – and then the seasonal winds picked up. I have no problem throwing the majority of these discs in the wind, but I found that a utility disc was necessary. My past experience with an Innova Firebird led me there immediately. I did also test out the Latitude 64 XXX and the newly released Discraft Machete. After testing out the color glow Nate Sexton Firebird I was hooked.
Also at this time, I picked up a used Teebird3 for cheap and found that it feels and flies just like the Thunderbird, only slower and with less glide.
I learned a few lessons during this experience:
High Speed Drivers Aren’t As Necessary As We Think
I’m throwing this Thunderbird far enough and I can trust it to be accurate too. Maybe someday I’ll grow into a higher speed disc.
Four Molds Isn’t Enough
Ok, that’s not entirely true. I could use the Judges as approach discs. I’m pretty familiar with them but I like the consistency of an overstable driving putter and the Nova still surprises me with its point and shoot performance. I also don’t need the Teebird3, but it fits perfectly between the Roc3 and Thunderbird for distance. I took it out for a few rounds and noticed its absence.
Everyone Needs a Utility Disc
I haven’t carried a highly overstable utility disc in a while. With the Firebird in my bag, I’ve seen more and more use for the disc. It gets me out of trouble a lot.
Cutting Back is Difficult
Just like trying to diet when people at the office bring donuts and cake everyday, the smell of new plastic is difficult to ignore.
Manipulating a Disc is Fun!
I’ve really enjoyed trying to hit odd lines with a reduced set of discs. I’ve learned how to throw a sky anhyzer for big distance. I’ve also been forced to use a sidearm more often, something that will continue to have benefits going forward.
I didn’t intend to carry almost all Innova discs. The Thunderbird, Teebird3, and Firebird share a similar feel making it an easier to switch from disc to disc. Also, a large portion of my disc collection is made by Innova, so this was the cheapest option as well.
What’s In the Bag?
- Innova Thunderbird (Pro)
- Innova Thunderbird (GStar)
- Innova Firebird (2017 Sexton, Champion Glow)
- Innova Firebird (Climo 12x, Champion)
- Innova Teebird3 (GStar)
- Innova Roc3 (Champion, Artist Series)
- Innova Roc3 (Gstar)
- Innova Roc3 (DX)
- Innova Aviar3 (DX)
- Innova Nova (XT)
- Dynamic Discs Judge (Classic)
- Dynamic Discs Judge (Prime)
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Hey Rodney, I thought your review was very thorough in covering your decision making process for the new bag load out. This summer I’ve become much more interested in playing recently and have been focused on improving to be more competitive in the local league matches, etc. I have also been working on collecting a trusted mix of discs and it is a work in progress at this time, but it feels ok for having a small collection.
I’ve been throwing a Big Z Crank as my distance driver for a few months while only recently adding a few putters to my collection, trying out other mid-range discs to help with some of the shorter holes I play often which don’t need drivers at all (Discraft Archer — Big Z — is in my bag now). I’ve also added a Champion Teebird. The Teebird is still a project, though I am appreciating that it doesn’t quite reach the distance of the Crank while yielding similar but more “compact” results… it’s a good option for 200-300 foot forehand throws too. Putter and approach discs in use are a Soft Magnet by Discraft and a DX plastic Aviar3–liking more for approach shots that have straighter lines to the basket.
Thanks Zach. I’m glad you’ve been able to minimize your bag! Keep us updated on how this works for you
In my bag. I used a Crank for awhile but I’m getting older and my arm strength isn’t what it used to be. I use 9 discs. All Champion style plastic except where noted.
Krait – Innova handles better than a Wraith. Pop top ones fly straighter. But someone stole my pop top. So the flatop mold fades harder.
Sampo – Westside. More overstable than an Orc. My go to driver.
TL – Innova. I use a Star and a Champion. Star plastic is a little more overstable. A beat in Teebird is effective also.
Truth – I use an EMac and a regular. Depending on if I need a turn or fade on my shot.
Zone – Discraft. My utility disc. My driving putter. Releases from my hand better than Harp or other higher profile driving putters. Drops
Ringer – Discraft. My upshot putter for those 120′ shots. Less fade than a Zone. Drops when I need it to drop instead of gliding past hole.
Ion – MVP which is the best putter out there. I use a Neutron plastic because I lost my softer plastic. Only problem is if it catches an edge it will roll. And I play in rough terrain. So it can get a 200′ roll down a mountain. But I’ve had Birdie putters do the same.
So I use 9 discs which can cover any situation. I’m all for limiting bags to 15 discs for tournaments. It’s suppose to be a sport to test your skills.
Utility Overstable driver: War horse
Throwing Putter: Macana zero hard
Putting Putter: Macana zero hard
Solid lineup! The Piwakawaka doesn’t get enough attention in my opinion.