Discmania Link vs. Birdie Marvel — World Series of Putters Regional Championship Round

We have one more ticket that needs to be punched to the semifinal round of 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.

Today, we have our final Regional Championship match, and we are in the Aviar region where the 9 seed Discmania Link is taking on the 10 seed Birdie Marvel.

To get to this quarterfinal round in the World Series of Putters, the Discmania Link defeated the Lone Star Disc Penny Putter in the first round (80 to 58), the 16 seed DGA Steady in the second round (61 to 52), and the 5 seed Dynamic Discs Warden in the round of 16 (58 to 51). The Birdie Marvel took down the 7 seed Discraft Banger GT in the first round (58 to 42), the 15 seed Latitude 64 Faith in the second round (53 to 49), and the 3 seed Prodigy PA-3 in the round of 16 (68 to 58).

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 shared what I like best about each disc. This round, I’ll share something I got wrong about each putter–an incorrect assumption I made or something I’ve learned about it after putting with it for four separate rounds.

Discmania Link

Before putting with the Discmania Link, I didn’t realize just how tall this putter is. The Link offers lots of glide and was a natural fit for my putting style, which lead to the Link putting up what is still tied for the highest score in the tournament in the first round at 80 points. I thought the Link was going to be more like another disc made by Latitude 64, the Dynamic Discs Judge, or other similar beaded putters, which it is to an extent, but its additional height and more rounded rim shape offers a floatier flight that I’ve really enjoyed in this event.

I think the Discmania Link is very underrated, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more and more people putting with it as they give it a shot.

In the World Series of Putters, we are using the EXO Hard Link, which is a stiff, grippy base line plastic that I’ve also really enjoyed so far.

Birdie Marvel

The Marvel has a pretty unique rim shape. It has a blunt edge that then cuts inward back toward the center of the disc on the bottom of the rim at a pretty sharp angle. At first glance, I thought this unique rim was going to cause me fits in my grip and release of this putter, but to my surprise, the rim hasn’t been an issue at all for me. In fact, the Marvel feels really nice in the hand and is a comfortable beadless rim that releases very smooth for me.

I’ve really enjoyed the Base Blend Marvel. I’ve said it before, but it reminds me of Gateway putter plastic blends in that it is a bit chalky feeling and has an excellent feel and grip.

Specifications and Flight Numbers

Like we do in every match, 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.

Link

Marvel

Flight Numbers: 3/5/0/2

Flight Numbers: 2/3/0/1
Max Weight: 176.0gr
Diameter: 21.2cm
Height: 1.9cm
Rim Depth: 1.5cm
Rim Thickness: 1.0cm
Inside Rim Diameter: 19.1cm
Rim Depth / Diameter Ratio: 7.0%
Rim Configuration: 71.00
Flexibility: 7.84kg
Max Weight: 175.1gr
Diameter: 21.1cm
Height: 2.0cm
Rim Depth: 1.4cm
Rim Thickness: 1.1cm
Inside Rim Diameter: 18.9cm
Rim Depth / Diameter Ratio: 6.6%
Rim Configuration: 65.75
Flexibility: 11.02kg
I’m surprised by the 1.9cm height measurement on the Link, as I’d assume it would be at least 2.0cm, but also its larger rim depth and beaded rim help to make it feel taller in the hand. and maintain that high glide rating it has been given in its flight numbers.
This match is a beaded putter vs. a beadless putter match, but I feel like that element of this match has a minimal impact because the discs have a similar height and shape that makes them fly very similar to each other. Usually beaded putters are a touch more overstable than beadless putters, but I didn’t really notice any difference in stability between these two discs today.
What seems like a more dramatic difference in these two discs’ rim shapes is not the bead, but the beveled vs rounded bottoms of the rims. The Link maintains the round, circular shape all the way down to the bead while the Marvel has that dramatic cut inward that I mentioned earlier. While these rims look super different, I didn’t think the difference in feel caused by these elements was that dramatic. There is only a small portion of the index finger that makes contact with this part of the rim when using a traditional fan grip, and I didn’t find it to be enough to really impact how I approached holding each putter.

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 Discmania Link. Here is how it all played out:

(9) Link Scorecard

(10) Marvel Scorecard

20ft: Y Y N N Y Y Y Y Y Y (8/10 putts made)=24 points
20ft: Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y (10/10)=30 points
30ft: Y Y N Y Y Y Y Y N N (7/10)=28 points
30ft: N Y N Y Y Y N Y Y N (6/10)=24 points
40ft: N N N Y N N N N Y N (2/10)=10 points
40ft: Y Y N N N Y N N Y N (4/10)=20 points
Total: 62 points
Total: 74 points

The Winner

This one was one of the highest scoring matches of the tournament, but only one could win, and today it’s the 10 seed Birdie Marvel moving on to the semifinals after eliminating the 9 seed Discmania Link by a score of 74 to 62.

Notes from the Match

The difference often down the stretch in these matches is the performance from 40ft, and after putting up a killer performance in the first round from 40ft, the Discmania Link just hasn’t had a memorable performance since. Perhaps it’s just as simple as a return to the mean, but today’s score was the Link’s highest since that first round, and it was still 18 points lower, or over 3 made 40ft putts lower.
The Birdie Marvel meanwhile put up its best score of the tournament, and it even suffered a killer dead center spit out on a 40ft putt that would have added another 5 points to its final score.
If I’m looking for what gave an advantage to the Marvel had over the Link in this round, the first place I can think of is in the plastic blend. The EXO Hard Link feels great, but I just think Birdie’s Base Blend Marvel has a better texture and grip, which gave me a touch more confidence with it over the course of this matchup.
And I think that’s about it for this matchup–at this stage in the event, both putters have shown what they are capable of, but the Birdie Marvel was the better putter today. The Birdie Marvel is the champion of the Aviar Region, and it is one of the final four putters left in the World Series of Putters.

My Recommendation

Both these discs are excellent, and I stand by what I’ve said about the Discmania Link being one of the most underrated putters in the world. But the newly released Birdie Marvel is out to prove that it is the real deal, and it gets to move on to the semifinals.
Tomorrow we will post another round recap and preview post that breaks down some of the stats and trends of the tournament as we head into the final two rounds. So be sure to come back tomorrow and get what will be an interesting breakdown of the tournament so far!
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