We started over 2 months ago with 64 putters and a crazy idea. Now we just have 4 putters left as we move into the semifinal round of the Disc Golf Reviewer World Series of Putters.
From the beginning we said we wanted to find the best putter in the world while also providing some fun and helpful content as you decide what putter is right for you. You can find the links to the full results of all of the previous rounds’ matches over at our main Disc Golf Reviewer World Series of Putters post.
For today’s post, we are taking another quick break in the action to take a look back at some of the data and trends over the last two rounds and how they compare with what we saw in the first two rounds as well.
We’ll also take a look ahead at the matchups for the semifinal round and speculate on what we might see in the final 3 matches of the tournament!
We will run though many of the same data points and trends that we analyzed after the first two rounds, so if you haven’t yet, make sure to also check out our recap posts for round 1 and round 2.
But first, a moment to recognize the champions of our 4 regions and World Series of Putters semifinalists!
- Alpaca Region Champion: Discraft Luna
- P2 Region Champion: Lone Star Jackrabbit
- Envy Region Champion: Axiom Envy
- Aviar Region Champion: Birdie Marvel
One of these four putters will be crowned the winner of the World Series of Putters later this week.
The results from the first two rounds really pushed back on the notion that the biggest brand names make the absolute best putters as we saw smaller name brands and disc molds do well overall. That being said, Discmania and Prodigy Disc were the only brands to have multiple putter molds make it out of the first two rounds of this tournament. Only one of those putters went on to win in the round of 16 before being eliminated in the quarterfinal round.
Meanwhile, four disc brands that just started making discs within the last two years had a disc make it to the semifinal round, and 2 of them are in our final four with a chance to face off in the championship round.
Here is how each disc brand performed in the round of 16 and the regional championship round of the World Series of Putters.
Record by disc golf brand (from best to worst)
- Axiom: 2-0
- Birdie Disc Golf Supply: 2-0
- Discraft: 2-0
- Lone Star Disc: 2-0
- Alfa Discs: 1-1
- Clash Discs: 1-1
- Yikun Discs: 1-1
- Discmania: 1-3
- Divergent Discs: 0-1
- Dynamic Discs: 0-1
- Gateway: 0-1
- Latitude 64: 0-1
- Prodigy Disc: 0-2
Discraft is by far the biggest name left in the event followed by MVP/Axiom’s popular GYRO overmold technology discs. The other two remaining brand names in Birdie Disc Golf Supply and Lone Star Disc are two newcomers to the disc golf scene. Both semifinal matches will feature a more established brand name taking on a newer brand name.
How does the shape and features of a disc impact its performance? Let’s first look at how certain elements of disc design performed in the previous two rounds.
To Bead or Not to Bead
Is a beaded or beadless disc golf putter better?
In the first two rounds, we saw beadless putters go 15-8 when they faced off against a beaded putter, meaning beaded putters only won just over a third of such matches.
In the round of 16 and the regional championship rounds, beadless putters went 4-3 in such matches, bringing the total overall recond to 19-11.
Three of the final four putters left in this tournament are beadless, so the odds are pretty good that we will have a beadless champion.
I’m personally not convinced that you can conclude that beadless putters are always better from this data, but I do think it is an interesting sample that is worth noting. If you don’t have a major preference between putting with a beadless or a beaded putter, perhaps this data might sway you to commit to a beadless putter.
However, if you currently use a beaded putter that you are happy with, I wouldn’t change to a beadless putter based on this data alone. I think a larger sample size than we are able to provide in this series would be needed to try and write off beaded putters for good, but for now, I think this event has made me more likely to recommend a beadless putter over a beaded putter.
But also, there is still a chance that we will have a beaded champion by the end of this week, so there is still lots to be sorted out down the stretch here.
What is the best height for a disc golf putter?
As we get further and further into this event, the average height of each disc being tested is getting closer and closer to each other. The average height of all discs entering the tournament came out to around 2.01cm. The average winners and losers of each match has continued to float right around that same height with taller putters tending to have a slight advantage when they go head-to-head with shorter putters.
However, in the two most recent rounds, taller putters won just 4 matches against shorter putters while shorter putters won 7 matches against taller putters. When you add that to the running total for the entire event, taller putters are 27-24.
But again, at this stage we seem to be moving toward the average height of 2.0cm. 3 of the final four putters measure in at 2.0cm, and one measures at 1.8 cm (that disc went up against putters with heights of 1.7cm and 2.3cm).
A stat that would be interesting to go back and try to quantify is to measure how discs that are more than .1 or .2cm taller or shorter did against putters that were closer to 2.ocm. That might be beyond my minimal statistical analysis capacities, but I think I’ll try to quantify it in some way when the tournament is over.
Because I think that is the big take away in terms of disc height–it’s not about taller vs. shorter, it’s about trying to find the right height, and so far it seems the 2.ocm height is just about right for peak performance.
For the first two rounds we divided discs into “traditional” putter shapes and “nontraditional” putter shapes. Only 3 of the 10 “nontraditional” putters made it into the second round, and only one moved on to the round of 16. That disc is the Yikun Hammer, which benefitted greatly from some fortunate (or unfortunate) spit outs from its competitors to sneak away with two close wins.
The Yikun Hammer went on to get another win before being eliminated by the Axiom Envy, meaning all of the discs left fall into our pretty broad “traditional” putter shape.
I think other areas that would be interesting to try and analyze is how flat of a top a putter has or if the rim is more rounded or beveled, but there is such a spectrum that makes it hard to come up with a definitive place to draw lines when classifying these discs for the purpose of statistical analysis.
So for our purposes, we’ve kept it simple, and that simplicity has led to a pretty simple conclusion–traditional putters are a tradition for a reason, as they have done much better overall in this event. Unique shapes can serve a variety of purposes out on the course, but for your putting putter, it would seem that sticking to a more traditional shape will serve you best.
After premium plastic blends went just 1-5 in the first round, the Crystal plastic blend Alfa Snoopy won once again in the second round. making premium plastics an overall 2-5 on the tournament.
The Snoopy went on to win one more match before falling in the regional championship round, bringing premium plastic blends to 3-6 overall for the event, with one disc earning all 3 of those wins.
Similar to disc shapes above, I think it is safe to say that traditional putter plastics or “base” plastic blends are still the way to go on the putting green. All discs can and do spit out at some point, but generally putter plastics should see less of them.
After another 720 in the round of 16 and regional championship rounds, I have now attempted exactly 3,600 putts during matches in this event!
The putters are getting better, and hopefully so is the putter (I mean me) each round. We saw a slight improvement between the first and second rounds on the average points scored, but things seem to have really jumped up during the last two rounds, which bodes well I think for the integrity of this project.
First, here’s a quick reminder of how we calculate these scores–for each match, I putt 10 times with each disc from 20ft, 30ft, and 40ft totaling 30 putts per putter and 60 putts per match. Putts from 20ft are worth 3 points, 30ft putts are worth 4 points, and 40ft putts are worth 5 points. It isn’t perfect, but I think it gives a reasonable sample size for just one person trying to conduct such a large project.
In the first round, the average match score of all putters was 45.64. In the second round, the average score was 51.97, or about 2-3 more made putts.
In the round of 16 and regional championship rounds combined, the average score was 60.71, which comes out to about another 2-3 more made putts.
Discs who won their match in the first round averaged a score of 52.97. In the second round, average winning scores were 57.38.
Discs who won their match in the round of 16 and regional championship rounds had an average winning score of 66.33,
Discs who lost their match in the first round averaged a score of 38.31. In the second round, average losing scores were 46.56.
Discs who lost their match in the round of 16 and regional championship rounds had an average losing score of 55.08. That score is higher than the average winning scores in the first round, which also makes sense since every disc that lost in these two rounds won in the first two.
One interesting note is that the average margin of victory stayed about the same as the second round. I expected it to be a bit closer, but when you think about it, it’s harder to get too much closer since the real separator in this competition is the 40ft putts that are worth 5 points each.
I also think you can make a conclusion about practice putting. If you want to improve your putting game, get out and practice. If you count warm ups, I probably putt just shy of 100 putts for each of these matches. With an average of a match a day for about 2 months, I’ve improved my average to about 5-6 more made putts for every 30 thrown, or an almost 20% improvement in putting in just two putts.
I’ve been playing for years, and after putting as much as I ever have with putters I don’t usually use, I’ve dramatically improved my putting game in 2 months. If you aren’t making time to practice putting, you are missing out on such a simple thing that can add so much to your game.
Now let’s take a look at some of the individual discs and their performances. Here are the top 5 scores from putters in the round of 16 and the regional championship round:
- Lone Star Jackrabbit: 80
- Birdie Marvel: 74
- Discraft Luna: 73
- Yikun Hammer: 69
- Birdie Marvel: 68
The Jackrabbit’s impressive 80 ties for the highest score of the tournament with the Discmania Link‘s 80 in the first round. In the regional championship, the Link had the misfortune though of running into the disc that seems to be peaking at the right time with two top scores on this list, the Birdie Marvel.
I’m not going to worry about posting the low scorers from the last two rounds. Again, losing scores at this point in the tournament were high enough to win in the first round on average, and these discs did win in the first two rounds. Focusing on the lowest scores at this stage in the tournament feels less helpful than it was earlier in the event. I’ll save some of that for a recap post of the tournament as a whole.
As I’ve said throughout this event, seeding disc golf putters is much different than sports teams, so upsets were bound to happen.
In the first round we saw lower seeds win 21 of the 32 first round matches, or about 2/3 of the matches.
In the second round however, higher seeds held their ground with only 3 of 16 matches being won by the lower seeded putter.
In the next two rounds, the results split right down the middle, with higher seeds and lower seeds winning 6 matches each.
We ended up with a 2 seed, a 12 seed, a 1 seed, and a 10 seed being crowned as champions of their seeded regions. There is a chance we end up with a chalk 1 seed vs. 2 seed in the championship, or the true chaos could shine through with a 10 seed vs. a 12 seed in the final match. However it shakes out, the early success of lower seeded discs in this event is in line with the brand power section above–newer, less popular discs are just as good as more established and higher selling options.
What to Watch for in the Final 3 Matches
Scoring Trends for Each of the Semifinalists
Here is a quick little stat nugget as we look ahead to the final rounds
Average Match Score from First 4 Rounds
- Discraft Luna: 65.75
- Lone Star Jackrabbit: 66.25
- Axiom Envy: 57.25
- Birdie Marvel: 63.25
That 80 in the last round pushed the Lone Star Jackrabbit’s average to be the highest so far, but it is worth noting that between these four discs, the Luna had the highest score in the first three rounds. The Luna then put up its lowest score of the tournament in the last round. I think the biggest underdog would have to be the Envy, but in all reality, it’s anybody’s tournament for the taking.
(2) Discraft Luna vs. (10) Birdie Marvel
I picked the Discraft Luna as my favorite to win it all after the second round, and unlike the Gateway Wizard and Infinite Discs Alpaca did after I picked them to win it, the Luna went on to keep winning and is just two more wins away from winning it all.
The only thing standing in the way? The Birdie Marvel is getting hot at the right time and put up two of the highest scores in the previous two rounds.
The Birdie Marvel was just released this year, and the Luna is a relatively new putter from Discraft, but with that Discraft name it represents a more established presence in disc golf for this match.
Will it be the new guard or the old guard moving on to the final? I’m excited to find out.
(1) Axiom Envy vs. (12) Lone Star Jackrabbit
The Axiom Envy is 8 years old and as such is the oldest disc left in the tournament. Some might consider the Envy’s inclusion in this event at all as a bit controversial since it is primarily known as an approach putter. But the Envy has outlasted all the other MVP/Axiom GYRO overmold putting putters in this event, and it is out to prove that it can be both an approach putter and a killer putting putter.
The Lone Star Jackrabbit is also in its rookie season on the disc golf course, and it will be looking to add another 1 seed to its hitlist. I named the Jackrabbit as a sleeper candidate in my last recap post, and it hasn’t let me down yet. The Jackrabbit also has the small weight of being the only beaded putter left in this tournament. Beadless putters have surprised and impressed me so far in this event, but could a beaded putter still hang on to win it all?
Shallow beadless putter or tall beaded putter? A classic question that this match will be answering in the semifinal round this week.
Semifinal Round Starts Tomorrow
The Disc Golf Reviewer World Series of Putters will come to a close this week. You won’t want to miss following along to see who wins! The first match between the 2 seed Discraft Luna and the 10 seed Birdie Marvel will be posted tomorrow, so check back to get those results!