Clash Popcorn vs. Divergent Narwhal — World Series of Putters Round of 16

Today marks the beginning of the Round of 16 in the Disc Golf Reviewer World Series of Putters! In this series, we are searching for the best putter in the world and hoping to provide the disc golf community with a plethora of information along the way to help everyone decide what putter is right for them. This is an NCAA basketball style tournament and project where every day I test two putter molds against each other on the putting green in a head-to-head competition before posting here about my experience and the results.

In the first match of this round we are in the Alpaca region where the 9 seed Clash Popcorn is taking on the 12 seed Divergent Narwhal. To get to this point, the Popcorn first had to eek out a close win in the first round over the 8 seed Westside Maiden (34 to 29) and then pull off a big upset over the top overall seeded Infinite Discs Alpaca in an even closer match (52 to 50). The Narwhal started off its World Series of Putters run by upsetting the 5 seed Innova KC Pro Aviar (64 to 34) and then defeating the 13 seed Yikun Gui (39 to 22).

You can find the full results of every first and second round match over at our main World Series of Putters post.

In the first round I gave an overview of each disc. In the second round I shared what surprised me about each disc. In the round of 16, I’ll be sharing what I like best about each disc.

Clash Popcorn

Like I’ve been saying about the Clash Popcorn as well as the Clash Butter throughout this series, I really really like Clash’s Hardy plastic blend.

The Hardy Popcorn has a really unique feel and texture. It looks and feels like a delicious taffy candy (though it probably doesn’t taste like one). It isn’t chalky like other putter plastics, but it has a really nice tacky feel that isn’t too sticky. It is pretty stiff as well, and I feel very confident while putting with it.

Divergent Narwhal

What I love about the Narwhal is how surprisingly effortless this disc feels. Divergent Discs’ entire mission is to make discs that are for beginner and casual disc golfers, and the Narwhal is a perfect putter for a beginner disc golfer because of how well it glides and holds straight on the putting green.

It has a bit of a unique shape as it is similar to discs like the Innova Dart or the Innova Skeeter. It has a very small rim but a really tall rounded flight plate that offers maximum glide and a very straight flight on the putting green. I thought I’d have a hard time getting used to the shape of this disc, but like I said, this disc is effortless and a lot of fun to throw.

Specifications and Flight Numbers

Let’s take a look at some of the specs courtesy of the PDGA and break down the major differences between these two putter molds.

Popcorn

Narwhal

Flight Numbers: 3/3/0/1

Flight Numbers: 3/3/-2/0.5
Max Weight: 177.6gr
Diameter: 21.4cm
Height: 1.9cm
Rim Depth: 1.6cm
Rim Thickness: 1.1cm
Inside Rim Diameter: 19.2cm
Rim Depth / Diameter Ratio: 7.5%
Rim Configuration: 69.50
Flexibility: 6.48kg
Max Weight: 174.3gr
Diameter: 21.0cm
Height: 2.3cm
Rim Depth: 1.2cm
Rim Thickness: 1.2cm
Inside Rim Diameter: 18.5cm
Rim Depth / Diameter Ratio: 5.7%
Rim Configuration: 53.25
Flexibility: 11.36kg
There are quite a few differences between these two putter molds. The Popcorn is a more traditional straight to overstable putter while the Narwhal in its more beginner friendly design is a true understable putter. While these stability differences would be much more prominent when throwing these discs for approach or driving shots, they don’t fly too different from each other on the putting green.
A difference of .4cm in height is pretty significant as well. These discs are opposites in their shape and height, as Narwhal gets all its height from its very rounded flight plate while the Popcorn has a pretty flat top and gets most of its height from the rim depth. The Narwhal’s shape helps to add more glide. The added glide and understability help the Narwhal to fly straighter for a bit longer than the Popcorn on the putting green.

The Match

For more info on the format and scoring system I used to test these putters against each other, be sure to check out our main World Series of Putters post.
I conducted this match on a cool windless evening under a conveniently placed streetlight at my local disc golf course on a permanent Innova Discatcher basket. After warming up, I flipped a coin to see which putter would be thrown first for the first round of putts, and it was the Divergent Narwhal. Here is how it all played out:

(9) Popcorn Scorecard

(12) Narwhal Scorecard

20ft: N Y Y N Y N Y Y Y Y (7/10 putts made)=21 points
20ft: N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N (8/10)=24 points
30ft: Y N Y Y N N Y N N N (4/10)=16 points
30ft: Y Y N Y N N Y N Y Y (6/10)=24 points
40ft: N Y Y N Y Y N N Y Y (6/10)=30 points
40ft: N N N N N Y N N N N (1/10)=5 points
Total: 67 points
Total: 53 points

The Winner

The Narwhal’s magical run was brought to an end by another relatively unknown putter looking to make a run of its own. On the back of a fantastic performance from 40ft, the 9 seed Clash Popcorn defeated the 12 seed Narwhal 67 to 53.

Notes from the Match

Putts from 20ft are becoming really important in this tournament as it is becoming more and more common for me to make close to all of the 10 putts from that range. So missing 3 of the first 6 putts from that range made it harder on the Clash Popcorn but connecting on 6 of the 40ft putts is going to be enough to win almost any match.
I spent a good portion of this post talking about how effortless the Narwhal feels, so giving up 25 points to the Popcorn from 40ft might be a surprise. The Narwhal is a great putter from close range as well as long range, but I think the Popcorn had a strong advantage on the long range putts due to its plastic blend. The stiff Hardy plastic blend is excellent for long range putts because I can trust the grip and the extra power required for the longer putt. I’ve overall liked the Max Grip plastic blend Narwhal, but the softer feel and the taller flight plate just didn’t perform quite as consistently for me on the longer putts.
The Hardy Clash Popcorn just keeps getting better for me. It has improved its previous round score by 15 points or more in each round so far. If it finds a way to keep that trajectory, there is no disc that’s going to be able to beat this one.

My Recommendation

Both of these discs are excellent. If you are shopping for a new disc golfer, the Max Grip Narwhal is a great (and more affordable) option. However, the Clash Popcorn in Hardy plastic is really winning me over, and I’d definitely recommend it to disc golfers of all skill levels. If you are a disc golfer who hasn’t felt or tried out Hardy plastic blend from Clash Discs, do yourself a favor and give one a try as soon as you can.
The Clash Popcorn is moving on to the Alpaca Regional Finals where it will face the winner of tomorrow’s match between the 2 seed Discraft Luna and the 11 seed Gateway Voodoo. Come back tomorrow to get those results!
5/5 - (2 votes)

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