Does this sound familiar? You pull out your cold hard Elite Z Nuke, still beaded with drops of melted snow from the last hole. You wipe it over with your towel only to realize that the towel is also completely saturated and your Nuke is still wet. You decide to throw anyway but immediately regret your decision as the extra firm plastic rim rips at your fingertips. Then you watch it hyzer out hard and drop far earlier than expected. That’s winter disc golf for you.
We recently discussed how to adjust your putting for the cold and a few ways to help mitigate the loss of distance due to dropping temperatures. But those of you who have played disc golf through winter and cold temperatures know that there’s a lot more to cover. You’re probably also well aware that plastic itself changes along with temperatures.
Sadly, there is little you can do to change your form so knowing your plastics can help greatly. We’ve already touched on using softer plastics so let’s get into a little more detail.
Base plastic is my favorite choice for winter, specifically Discraft Pro-D, Dynamic Discs Classic Blend, Kastaplast K3, and especially Element Disc’s Terra blend. The reason I like base plastic is because I find that it changes the least among all plastics I throw. It will of course become more stiff but not nearly as hard as translucent plastics become. Base plastic also provides superior grip. I’ve thrown many gummy type plastics that have a great consistency when cold, but if there’s snow on the ground (and there usually is here in Michigan) then those plastics quickly lose any grip that they may offer. I also highly recommend sticking to base plastic putters in the winter, primarily for grip and also because harder plastics have a tendency to slide right through the chains in cold weather.
Translucent/High Grade Plastic
I typically avoid throwing these types of plastics with a few special disc exceptions. Plastics like Elite-Z and Champion become far to firm and overstable for me in the cold. Other similar plastics like Latitude 64 Opto and Dynamic Discs Lucid are slightly less firm and I’ll occasionally leave those in my bag, but I still throw with caution and they will still lose grip when wet. These are also the fingertip ripping plastics.
I know many people who choose to throw premium plastics like Innova Star, Discraft ESP, Dynamic Discs Fuzion. I am not one of those people. While these plastics don’t become as firm as translucents, I still feel that they become so firm that the disc flight is hardly recognizable. Plus, these plastics don’t do much to help grip unless the conditions are completely dry
Flex and Gummy Plastic
These plastics hold a great consistency in the cold and I carry one or two through the winter. I especially like Discraft FLX which has great glide and firms into a nice feeling grip around 30°F (-1°C). GStar by Innova is another very popular choice, but I find I release more consistently with FLX. One great benefit to these flexible plastics is that they are often less stable than the normal firm mold. That means as the temperature drops these plastics will often fly just like the normal mold would fly in warmer temperatures. You’re also less likely to rip off your finger tips. The problem, as I mentioned above, is that they lose grip the moment they get wet so if my towel isn’t completely dry then I switch to basic plastic.
Light Weight Classes
We mentioned this in the distance article, you can throw lighter weight discs further. Additionally, lighter discs will often turn more than heavier discs which can compensate for the overstable properties of a cold and hard disc. I also find that lighter discs release more easily so I don’t hurt my fingers. The obvious disadvantage is that the wind will affect the lighter class discs much more. Also, most lightweight discs come in higher grade plastic like Blizard or Z-Lite so you’ll often deal with the same grip issues.
Clearly there are many options and you’re going to have to get out in the cold and throw to figure outwhat works. Here’s my typical winter disc golf bag lineup and a quick note on why each disc is in my bag. (I’ve linked to Amazon and Infinite Discs listings in case you need to stock up your cold weather disc golf bag!)
Kastaplast Reko (K3) – My year-round go-to putter. K3 plastic handles cold and wet environments with no problems.
Kasaplast Berg (K3) – My go-to approach putter. The K2 Berg is the least affected by cold of any disc I have thrown.
Element Discs Iridium (Terra) – Terra blend is excellent in the cold and more durable than most base plastics. The Iridium is quite overstable and is my short hyzer and utility putter.
Kastaplast Kaxe (K2) – The Kaxe is a great wind fighter. In the cold my K2 Kaxe flies like my K1 Kaxe normally would, I just need to ensure it’s dry.
Element Discs Uranium (Terra) – This is brand new to my bag and has replaced my Elite Z BuzzzOS for the cold months. Overstable and consistent.
Legacy Discs Patriot (Pinnacle) – Also brand new to my bag. Holds a turn like the pre-Barry Leopard and is a great finesse fairway driver in the cold.
Discraft XL (FLX or Pro-D depending on precipitation) – High glide and controllable as it becomes more stable. Easy distance in the cold.
Discraft Crush (Pro-D) – The Crush is my go-to driver, ESP in summer and Pro-D in winter. Pro-D has great grip and flies like the mold is intended.
Latitude 64 Ballista (Opto) – My maximum distance driver. I don’t use this when wet, but if I can grip it then it will sail.
What do you think of this winter disc golf disc line up? Do you change your discs at all for cold and winter weather? What plastic recommendations are we missing?
Check out other winter articles:
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