Happy Halloween disc golfers! We have a spooky match for you today in the second round of the Disc Golf Reviewer World Series of Putters. We are on a quest to find the best putter in the world and provide the disc golf community with a plethora of information to help them 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’s match is in the Alpaca Region of our bracket where the number 12 seed Divergent Narwhal is going up against the 13 seed Yikun Gui.
In the first round matchups I gave an overview of each disc (you can find links to every first round match at our main World Series of Putters post). For the second round, I’ll share what surprised me the most about each disc the first time I threw it.
There were a few surprises the first time I threw the Divergent Narwhal. First of all, I was surprised that the plastic blend was a putter plastic and not a premium plastic blend. Divergent’s Max Grip plastic blend is shiny like a more premium plastic blend, but it has a really nice grip to it, and it is a bit softer than a premium plastic.
The next surprise was how much I liked the Max Grip plastic. The Max Grip Narwhal honestly looks and feels a bit cheap (it is a great price…) but it is a really nice blend that feels good in my hand.
I was also surprised by its shape. It has a small rim and a really tall and rounded flight plate. It is comparable to the Innova Dart.
Overall, I was just surprised by how much I liked this disc I’d never heard of from a company I’d just heard was focused on making beginner friendly discs.
I think the main surprise for me during the first round with the Yikun Gui was how well I felt like it was floating and gliding despite how shallow of a disc it is. In turn, this resulted in the surprising first round upset victory the Gui had over the Discmania Rainmaker.
The Gui has a flat flight plate with a bit of a surprise on the bottom of it if you’ve never held the disc before. There are sections of the bottom of the disc that are textured so that you have the option to have a more textured grip with your fingers while throwing the Gui.
For today’s test we used the Tiger Gui, which is Yikun’s base plastic blend. I ran into another surprise when I first looked up the Tiger Gui online and saw how affordable the disc was. Both discs being tested today are a low-price option for a putting putter.
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.
Flight Numbers: 3/3/-2/0.5
Flight Numbers: 2/3/0/2
Max Weight: 174.3gr
Rim Depth: 1.2cm
Rim Thickness: 1.2cm
Inside Rim Diameter: 18.5cm
Rim Depth / Diameter Ratio: 5.7%
Rim Configuration: 53.25
Max Weight: 175.1gr
Rim Depth: 1.5cm
Rim Thickness: 1.0cm
Inside Rim Diameter: 19.1cm
Rim Depth / Diameter Ratio: 7.1%
Rim Configuration: 59.00
These two discs are very different from each other in a lot of ways. Since we are just testing the discs on the putting green, that mitigates some of the major flight characteristic differences we would see if we were testing these discs as driving or approach putters. But even still, some of those differences are very prevalent even when putting with them.
The height is the first major difference with the Narwhal being a full .5cm taller than the Gui. While the Gui has a flat shape that carries that height all the way across the top of the disc, the Narwhal’s top is very domey so it reaches its heighest point near the center of the flight plate. The result is a really floaty putter in the Narwhal while the Gui flies with much less glide and is more eager to begin fading.
That gets to another big difference between these two putters–their stability. When giving these discs a full power driving throw, you’d probably conclude that the Narwhal is more understable than the Gui is overstable. But since there is pretty much no high speed for high speed turn to happen when you are putting, the Narwhal doesn’t fly nearly as understable as it is rated to. But since fade happens at lower speeds, the Gui’s strong fade does come into play. The Gui’s shape and lower glide also help the disc to fade harder and start fading sooner.
One similarity that you won’t see on the spec sheets is the affordability of each disc. It is worth noting that you could buy two or even three of the Max Grip Narwhals or the Tiger Guis for less than or close to the same price as some of the pricier putters from some of the bigger disc golf manufacturers and brand names out there.
I conducted this match on a calm early morning 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 Discs Narwhal. Here is how it all played out:
(12) Narwhal Scorecard
(13) Gui Scorecard
20ft: N Y Y N Y Y N N Y Y (6/10 putts made)=18 points
20ft: Y Y N Y Y N Y N N Y (6/10)=18 points
30ft: Y N N Y N N N Y Y N (4/10)=16 points
30ft: N N N N Y N N N N N (1/10)=4 points
40ft: N N N N N Y N N N N (1/10)=5 points
40ft: N N N N N N N N N N (0/10)=0 points
Total: 39 points
It was a low scoring affair for these two low seeded putters that put up much higher scores in their first round upsets. The 12 seed Divergent Narwhal will be moving on to the round of 16 after taking down the 13 seed Yikun Gui by a score of 39 to 22.
Notes from the Match
After putting up some decent scores in the first round, I was expecting much better in this round. Of course, I’m the one putting the discs so a big part of that is result is on me. It maybe just wasn’t a great day of putting for me, but I also think needing to adjust for the major differences between how these two discs fly each time I changed which putter I was using probably helped to prevent me from finding more of a groove.
Despite the lower scores, I feel like the Narwhal getting the winning result feels accurate to my experience putting with these discs today for a couple reasons.
First of all, the Gui is quite overstable, and I feel like it might better serve as an overstable approach disc than as a putting putter. It doesn’t seem quite as overstable as other popular overstable as approach discs, but its lower profile and limited glide help to make it a touch more overstable than what feels comfortable for it to perform consistently as a putting putter.
The second reason is navigating the texture on the bottom of the Gui. Again, this feature feels more helpful on driving or approaching with this disc. When putting with this disc, it functions as more of a distraction or just one more thing I need to think about while lining up my putt.
By making it to the second round, the Gui showed that it can be a solid putting putter. But this is one of the benefits of a big tournament style test like the World Series of Putters. It gives us a chance to put the consistency of each disc to the test. Consistency is such a hard thing to test or review with discs, but it is so important, especially for putting putters.
The Narwhal was good enough today, though it wasn’t great. It was flying straight, but I just struggled to get the height right as I seemed to frequently be missing high. I also felt like I had a more difficult time navigating the smaller rim shape as I gripped each putt than I remember having in the first round. After putting up the second highest score of all putters in the first round, it failed to back that performance up in the second round, so I know my confidence in this unique disc is wavering a bit. We’ll see if it can win me over again in the round of 16.
If you are interested in a slightly overstable approach putter, the Gui is an option worth trying. But if I had to pick between these two discs for a putting putter at this point, I’m going to go with the Divergent Narwhal every time.
And just like that we are halfway through the second round in the Alpaca Region! Come back tomorrow as the 3 seed Axiom Proxy takes on the 11 seed Gateway Voodoo.