The spring season usually brings a slew of new disc releases for the disc golf market, gearing up for more frequent summer play. Though it is true that there isn’t a lot in the world of disc molds that hasn’t been touched upon already, there is still something about new discs that gets players excited, myself included. I love grabbing the new discs and taking them out to a field to throw around, and then to use them in game play on the course. There is something exhilarating about testing new discs, even if some of them already feel and fly like familiar friends.
It is now June of 2017, and summer is in full swing. A lot of new discs have hit the market, and I’m sure more are coming, but I want to take a moment to acknowledge a couple of my favorite drivers of the year, so far. These are a couple of the most versatile, high impact discs I’ve tested so far…
Mint Discs is a new brand on the market, and their flagship disc release is the Alpha. They couldn’t have started off in a better way, in my opinion. The Alpha is an excellent all-purpose driver that is extraordinarily predictable in flight, at a variety of distances. The rim is closer to the size of a fairway driver, so it doesn’t feel like a wide-rimmed, high-speed driver, yet it can actually fly like a real bomber. Players can either throw with slower control, using the Alpha like a manageable overstable fairway driver, or can bomb it over the 300-foot range with almost exactly the same, predictable fade. It is very hard to find a disc with that kind of consistency at different distances.
The plastic blends for the Alpha are excellent, while being very familiar. Though none of the brands involved will confirm or deny who the actual manufacturer is, those who are familiar with plastics and molding techniques can easily tell that the Mint Discs Alpha is manufactured by MVP Disc Sports, using their existing blends of Proton (called Eternal by Mint Discs), Neutron (called Apex by Mint Discs) and my personal favorite, Plasma (called Sublime by Mint Discs). There are side injection sites on the rim of the discs, just like on the MVP / Axiom rims. But that is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a complaint on my part! I love these plastics and find them to be among the top in the market in durability and comfort. I love my Sublime Alpha!
So, to summarize, the best part about the Alpha is that you can draw a steady curve through the air, and then stretch that curve from 200 feet all the way to 350 feet with very little variation. I’ve seen the Alpha thrown by other players with the same results, and it flies perfectly (I’ve witnessed a 350-foot Alpha ace). I can personally stretch the distance even further by releasing with a slight anhyzer, but the Alpha still fights back just enough at the end fade for an impressive landing. Five out of five stars! *****
I’m a huge fan of the Discmania DDX, which quickly became one of my favorite distance drivers last year, so when I saw the numbers on the new CD3, I was excited right from the start. After all, it is rated with the same numbers, except one tick down in speed. Though rated at a “speed 11” which solidly falls into the distance driver category, it is still called a “control driver” by Discmania. Although that seems like a contradiction at first, it is actually quite fitting in the case of the CD3. Much like the Alpha, the CD3 is versatile enough to work seamlessly in either role. The rim is comfortable enough to work as a control driver, and the flight pattern is predictable with a nice end-of-flight fade. But the CD3 can also be thrown at full power with similar results and has very good glide for impressive distance.
The CD3 was initially released in C-Line plastic (manufactured by Innova, so C-Line is the equivalent of Champion). The dome on the C-Line edition of the CD3 is more pronounced, and this may be a cause of some extra lift when the disc is thrown with power. It climbs quite a bit when released at higher speeds, and that makes the fade more dramatic as it falls from the sky. I was able to get my hands on a limited edition of the S-Line (Innova’s Star plastic) model, and it had a slightly flatter top, thus I had more success in keeping the disc on a lower, faster flight path for additional control.
After using the CD3 in various game situations, I found it to be an extremely dependable driver that could be used on big hyzer lines or on shorter throws for precision control. This multi-purpose characteristic is what makes it another one of my favorite new drivers of 2017. The only thing that is better than a disc that fills a role very well is a disc that fills multiple roles very well. For that, I give it five stars. *****
Do either the ALPHA or the CD3 break new ground? Not necessarily. There are other discs that are top-selling, extremely popular discs that can bridge the gap between control and distance. But the ALPHA and CD3 don’t pale at all in comparison, and in my opinion deserve just as much of the spotlight. Get them, try them, and let everybody know what you think in the comments below.