It’s time for the final match in the Round of 16 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.
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.
I think my favorite thing about the PA-3, as well as all the PA putters in Prodigy’s lineup is their plastic blends. In this series we are using the 200 PA-3, which is their lowest priced base blend, and it still feels really nice in the hand. I think my favorite blend would be the stiffer 350G blend, but they are all a really nice option and a benefit of choosing a Prodigy putter for your putting putter.
I think I did this in yesterday’s match as well, but I’m saying the same thing for both discs today! I really like the Base Blend Birdie Marvel. I’ve mentioned this in previous posts, but it reminds me quite a bit of the Gateway putter plastics. It has a really nice chalky feel that is very grippy and feels comfortable and natural in my hand while lining up my putts.
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.
Flight Numbers: 3/4/0/1
Flight Numbers: 2/3/0/1
Max Weight: 174.3gr
Rim Depth: 1.4cm
Rim Thickness: 1.0cm
Inside Rim Diameter: 18.9cm
Rim Depth / Diameter Ratio: 6.7%
Rim Configuration: 66.00
Max Weight: 175.1gr
Rim Depth: 1.4cm
Rim Thickness: 1.1cm
Inside Rim Diameter: 18.9cm
Rim Depth / Diameter Ratio: 6.6%
Rim Configuration: 65.75
When we look at just the specs, these discs are pretty identical. But when you look at and hold these discs in your hand, you can see they are quite different from each other.
First of all, we have a beaded putter vs. beadless putter matchup here. The PA-3 had a beaded rim, and it has a rim shape that makes the bead feels pretty prominent when gripping the disc. The Birdie Marvel is beadless, but it also has a pretty unique rim shape that has a pretty sharp angle inward from the edge of the rim toward the bottom of the disc. It is something that looks more different than it feels, at least for me and how I grip the disc.
In terms of stability though, these discs fly quite similar to each other. They both have that popular stable to overstable flight that holds straight before eventually giving in to a soft, reliable fade at the end of the flight.
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 Birdie Marvel. Here is how it all played out:
(3) PA-3 Scorecard
(10) Marvel Scorecard
20ft: Y Y Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y (9/10 putts made)=27 points
20ft: N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N Y (8/10)=24 points
30ft: N Y N N N Y Y N Y N (4/10)=16 points
30ft: Y Y N Y N Y Y Y N N (6/10)=24 points
40ft: Y Y N N Y N N N N N (3/10)=15 points
40ft: Y N N Y N N N Y Y N (4/10)=20 points
Total: 58 points
Total: 68 points
The PA-3 put up its highest score of the tournament so far, but so did the Marvel. The 10 seed Birdie Marvel gets an upset win over the 3 seed Prodigy PA-3 with a final score of 68 to 58.
Notes from the Match
This one felt much more evenly matched than the final score might indicate. In fact, you can see that the Prodigy PA-3 made its 40ft putts earlier and had an advantage until the Marvel hit on 2 of its last 3 from that range. Without those two makes, we’d have had ourselves a tie.
But it wasn’t a tie, and the Marvel came out on top primarily due to a better performance from the 30ft range. This is one of those matches where I have a hard time really identifying a difference maker. In previous posts I expressed concern about how prominent the bead feels on the PA-3. In this match, I definitely noticed the bead on every putt, but I can’t say there were any putts that I felt had a bad release or anything strictly due to the bead or the shape of the disc.
I said the plastic blend was my favorite thing about each disc, but if I had to choose between the two, I’d probably give the nod to the Base Blend Birdie Marvel. I just think it has the right blend of chalkiness and flex that makes me feel a bit more confident with it.
Maybe that confidence was the difference maker? I’m really not sure. These are both really great putters, as they all are at this point in the competition. I think you could have a great disc golf career putting with either of these discs, but today the Birdie Marvel is moving on and has a chance to win just 3 more matches and be crowned the winner of the World Series of Putters.
Again, I think you could be happy putting with both of these discs, but I probably would choose the Birdie Marvel over the Prodigy PA-3. The rim shape of the PA-3 isn’t my favorite, and the Base Blend plastic on the Marvel is a really nice plastic that I think a lot of folks are going to love as the Marvel continues to grow in popularity.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! So we are going to take a short hiatus for the holiday weekend before coming back next week with the Regional Championship round of the World Series of Putters. There are just 8 discs left out of the 64 we started with. It’s been a lot of work, but I’ve really enjoyed conducting this project, and I’m excited to see how it all finishes up in the coming days!
Enjoy the holiday with family, take advantage of some of the killer disc golf Black Friday sales, and come back next week for more putter vs putter action!