Discraft Fierce vs. Thought Space Athletics Alter–World Series of Putters Round 1

The Disc Golf Reviewer World Series of Putters continues today as I test two putter molds against each other in a head-to-head competition. Today we have the second match in the P2 region where the 8 seed Discraft Fierce will go up against the 9 seed Thought Space Athletics Alter. First, let’s get to know the discs a bit better.

Discraft Fierce

A couple days ago we featured the Paul McBeth line putter in the Luna, and today we are in Discraft’s Page Pierce line of discs with her signature putter the Fierce. The Discraft Fierce is a moderately tall, understable putter that is used by the 5-time world champion both as a driving putter and as her putting putter.

The Fierce is similar to the discs Paige putted with when she was with her previous sponsor–the Dynamic Discs Deputy and the Westside Swan. The Fierce flies with plenty of turn and lots of glide before finishing with a very soft fade at the end. For today’s competition I used the Paige Pierce signature plastic blend Fierce. These discs are a nice stiff, grippy, and swirly plastic blend that look and feel fantastic.

Thought Space Athletics Alter

Thought Space Athletics are one of the new disc golf manufacturers to launch in the last couple years. TSA initially was a design company that several different brands used to design beautiful stamps. So naturally, their discs feature some of the prettiest stock stamps in disc golf. And their discs don’t just look pretty–they feel and fly great as well.

The Alter is the newest mold in the TSA lineup that just released this summer. The Alter is a straight to overstable putter mold. This disc features a large bead and a relatively shallow height. This shallow height is emphasized by the flatness of the flight plate stretching out to most of the surface area of the disc’s circumference. The Alter reminds me of another Dynamic Discs mold, the popular Judge.

The Alter is currently only available in Thought Space Athletics’ soft and grippy Nerve plastic blend.

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.

Fierce

Alter

Flight Numbers: 3/4/-2/0

Flight Numbers: 3/3/0/1
Max Weight: 175.1gr
Diameter: 21.1cm
Height: 1.9cm
Rim Depth: 1.5cm
Rim Thickness: 1.0cm
Inside Rim Diameter: 19.0cm
Rim Depth / Diameter Ratio: 7.1%
Rim Configuration: 63.50
Flexibility: 10.45kg
Max Weight: 176.0gr
Diameter: 21.2cm
Height: 2.0cm
Rim Depth: 1.5cm
Rim Thickness: 1.1cm
Inside Rim Diameter: 19.0cm
Rim Depth / Diameter Ratio: 7.1%
Rim Configuration: 61.50
Flexibility: 5.34kg
These discs are very different from each other across the board, even though they actually have some of the exact same specs. I think the most significant difference is their stability. In many of these head-to-head reviews that I’ve done, I say the difference in stability isn’t that noticeable while on the putting green. But with these two discs, the difference in stability was stark. The high turn of the Fierce didn’t really come into play, but it held straight more easily and for much longer than the Alter. The Alter had one of the hardest fades on the putting green so far for me, so I’d personally give it a 2 or 3 fade rating instead of the 1 it was assigned by TSA (flight numbers are bogus by the way–if you don’t know, now you know).
I was very surprised to see that the Alter is technically taller than the Fierce, but it doesn’t feel or perform like it is the taller disc because so much of that height is in the Alter’s very large bead on the bottom of the rim. That large rim and flat flight plate contribute to the Alter’s overstability. The Fierce actually has more glide because of the shape of these discs rather than their exact heights.
These two putter plastics are very different from each other as well. The Fierce’s plastic is very stiff, while the Nerve Alter is softer and has a tackier grip to it.

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 mid-afternoon on a pretty hot day at a 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, and it was the Discraft Fierce. Here is how it all played out:

(8) Fierce Scorecard

(9) Alter Scorecard

20ft: Y N Y N Y Y Y Y Y N (7/10 putts made)=21 points
20ft: Y Y N N Y N Y N Y N (5/10)=15 points
30ft: N N N N Y N Y N N N (2/10)=8 points
30ft: N N N N Y N N N N N (1/10)=4 points
40ft: Y N N N N N N N N N (1/10)=5 points
40ft: N N N N N N N N N N (0/10)=0 points
Total: 34 points
Total: 19 points

The Winner

In a battle between understable and overstable putters, I probably would have thought I’d do better with the overstable mold, but today the understable putter came out on top. The Discraft Fierce has defeated the Thought Space Athletics Alter 34 to 19.

Notes from the Match

It was not a great day on the putting green for me, and I blame a good chunk of it on the heat and the shade-less spot I was putting in on the course. However, I think the results of this match are accurate in terms of how the discs performed against one another. It didn’t take long for me to develop a preference for the Fierce over the Alter. Of course, I still gave it my all with the Alter, but I just had a hard time nailing this disc down.
The Alter is the first disc in the World Series of Putters where I felt like the overstability of the disc was causing me a problem in the Match. I’ve generally putted with slightly overstable putters, but I think the shallow and flat flight plate killed the glide and made the fade more prominent and difficult to nail down.
I think the big bead and height was an awkward combination for me to navigate when gripping the Alter. The softness of TSA’s nerve plastic didn’t help this as well, and I’d be curious to try out this disc in a stiffer plastic blend, but I still think the height and shape would cause me some grief.
I also think the Paige Pierce special plastic blend for the Fierce might be my favorite plastic so far. Great grip with a nice stiff blend that didn’t soften up too bad in the heat.
Also, I’m starting to wonder if I actually like understable putters? I’ve been having pretty good luck with some of them so far in this competition, and I’m curious to see if that trend continues as we move on with the World Series of Putters.

My Recommendation

Thought Space Athletics makes fantastic discs, and the Alter is no exception–however, it clearly is not the disc for me. Like I mentioned with the Paul McBeth Lunas, the Paige Pierce Fierces are not the thriftiest choices for your putting putters, but the Luna is a high-quality disc in a high-quality plastic blend. If I had to choose between these two, I’d pick the Fierce, and though I didn’t put up the highest score with it, I’m excited I have the opportunity to give it another go in the second round.
In the Alpaca Region, the 5-12 and 4-13 matches were both upsets. Will we see the same result in the P2 region? Tomorrow we will learn half of the answer as the 5 seed Kastaplast Reko and the 12 seed Lone Star Jackrabbit duke it out on the putting green. See you there!
5/5 - (2 votes)
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