Today we continue our search for the best putter in the world with the Disc Golf Reviewer World Series of Putters. This NCAA basketball style tournament is a project where every day I test two putter molds against each other on the putting green in a head-to-head competition. I then post here about my experience and the results. For today’s match we are back in the first round of the Aviar Region of the bracket where the 5 seed Dynamic Discs Warden faces off against the 12 seed RPM Ruru. So far, 12 seeds are undefeated. We will see if that trend continues today, but first, let’s take a closer look at each disc.
Dynamic Discs Warden
The Warden was an earlier addition to the Dynamic Discs lineup. It was introduced as a beadless alternative to the extremely popular Dynamic Discs Judge, and while it isn’t quite as popular as the Judge, the Warden has consistently been a top selling putter.
The Warden features a rounded beadless rim and a pretty flat flight plate. It is moderately tall and features plenty of glide in its flight. The Warden flies straight and stable with a soft fade at the end. Like most beadless putters, it is slightly less overstable than similar beaded putters like the Judge.
For today’s match I used a pair of X-out Classic Soft Wardens. DD’s Classic Soft plastic blend is the softest and most flexible version of their putter plastic blends. Compared to other “soft” named putter plastics, Classic Soft is very soft and very flexible. I’d even use the word “rubbery” to describe how it feels.
RPM Discs are the only discs manufactured in the Southern Hemisphere to be featured in the World Series of Putters. RPM hails from New Zealand, and the Ruru is the most popular of their three options at putter.
The RPM Ruru is a very tall deep dish putter. It has a tall blunt edge on the rim and a bead around the bottom or the rim. Its shape is most comparable to the popular Latitude 64 Dagger. The Ruru is straight to overstable and is a good option for a driving putter as well.
For today’s test I used a pair of Strata RPM Rurus. The Strata plastic blend is a pretty stiff and tacky putter plastic blend.
Specifications and Flight Numbers
Let’s take a look at some of the specs courtesy of the PDGA and break down some of the similarities and differences between these two putter molds.
Flight Numbers: 2/4/0/0.5
Flight Numbers: 3/3/0/1
Max Weight: 176.0gr
Rim Depth: 1.5cm
Rim Thickness: 1.1cm
Inside Rim Diameter: 19.1cm
Rim Depth / Diameter Ratio: 7.1%
Rim Configuration: 66.25
Max Weight: 174.3gr
Rim Depth: 1.6cm
Rim Thickness: 1.0cm
Inside Rim Diameter: 18.9cm
Rim Depth / Diameter Ratio: 7.6%
Rim Configuration: 72.75
These discs are quite different from one another. The biggest difference on the specs is the most obvious difference when you hold the discs in your hand–their height. .3cm might sound like a small margin, but it is a big difference in terms of putter height. As I’ve said many times during this project, a taller putter should have more glide, and that was my experience today. I tried to adjust my putt with each disc to account for this, but if I missed with the Warden, it was usually a miss low into the front of the cage.
These plastic blends were very different from each other as well. The Classic Soft Judge was soft and rubbery while the Strata plastic feels very very stiff. Someone might even call it a brick, and for a putter plastic blend it felt a bit slick as well.
This is another battle between a beadless and beaded putter, and while the beaded Ruru is rated to be a touch more overstable than the Warden, I didn’t notice that difference in stability coming into play on the putting green. The Ruru being so much taller and floatier probably also helps the disc maintain its stability for longer.
I conducted today’s match on a beautiful evening at a local disc golf course on a permanent Innova Discatcher basket under a streetlight. After warming up with both discs, a coin flip determined that the RPM Discs Ruru would go first on the first set of putts. Here is how it all played out:
(5) Warden Scorecard
(12) Ruru Scorecard
20ft: Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y (9/10 putts made)=27 points
20ft: N Y Y N Y Y N Y Y N (6/10)=18 points
30ft: N N Y Y N Y N Y N N (4/10)=16 points
30ft: N N N N N N Y N N Y (2/10)=8 points
40ft: N N N N N N Y N Y Y (2/10)=10 points
40ft: N Y N N N N N N N N (1/10)=5 points
Total: 53 points
Total: 31 points
By a pretty wide margin, a beadless putter finally defeats a beaded putter in the Aviar region as the Dynamic Discs Warden defeats the RPM Ruru 53 to 31.
Notes from the Match
If you’ve kept up with the Disc Golf Reviewer World Series of Putters so far, you are probably surprised by these results. I usually prefer a taller beaded putter and a stiffer putter plastic blend. I was a bit surprised as well, but I’ve identified two elements of the RPM Strata Ruru that I believe were difference makers today.
First and foremost, the Strata plastic blend is too slick. This is a new problem that we haven’t encountered yet during this project. I really liked the stiffness of the Strata Ruru, but I felt like my fingers were sliding across the disc and I could never really trust my grip. The plastic blend would have been perfect for me if it just had a touch more tackiness or chalkiness.
The second thing I had a hard time with on the Ruru was the shape of the disc. While I like the rim, the blunt edged deep dish shape felt awkward in my hand. That combined with the slick plastic was a bad combination. I think this goes to show the importance of trying out a disc, because on paper the Strata Ruru sounds like it should be right up my alley. But for reasons that are hard to account for before actually throwing a disc, it wasn’t right for me.
I think the Warden is a great disc, but I’m not letting the Classic Soft plastic off the hook that easy. There was a 30ft putt with the Classic Soft Warden that hit dead center chains that bounced off the center pole and straight back over the edge of the basket for a brutal spit out. Spit outs can happen on any basket with any putter, but this type of spit out is exactly the concern for soft flexy plastics. If you think you might prefer a softer plastic blend, that’s great, to each their own, but you need to take the potential for these kinds of spit outs into consideration when making a decision for what you are going to trust on the course. If you like the Classic Soft Warden, it might be worth also giving the Classic Blend or Prime Wardens a chance as well.
The main recommendation I have after this match is to make sure you give a disc a real try before committing to it. Discs aren’t cheap these days, so you don’t want to stock up on a bunch in a certain mold just to realize it isn’t what you thought it would be a few weeks later.
But if choosing between these discs, I’d probably have to choose the Warden, but I’d recommend a different putter plastic blend than Classic Soft. And if you do choose to go with an RPM Ruru, I’d highly recommend you pick the slightly softer and grippier Magma Ruru.
Be sure to come back tomorrow as we continue the first round in the Aviar Region with a matchup between the 4 seed Thought Space Athletic Muse and the 13 seed Westside Crown.