Obsidian discs sent us a G5 Splinter to review about a month ago. This review took longer than most not only because it’s such a unique disc, but also because we had to wait for a few wet and windy days for testing! The Splinter was developed especially for nasty conditions and we definitely put it to the test.
“Splinter is a great flat top putter intended for all skill levels. It is overstable, does not flip over even when thrown very hard, and has a predictable and reliable fade. You want to use it for driving, as well as for approaching and putting.”
Available plastics: Currently only offered in G5
Flight Rating: 3, 2, 0, 3.5
The Splinter has a flat, depressed flight plate with a blunt nose and no bead. I was skeptical of the deep profile but it turned out I could get a great grip from the puddle top and a smooth and consistent release from the rounded rim. The G5 plastic is wonderful, soft and grippy like Discraft’s soft plastic or even Gateway’s RFF. The G5 plastic was excellent when I tested at 37°F (2.7°C) and grippy even when covered in water. Also, the Obsidian Discs stamp has to be one of the coolest company stamps out there; simple but slick.
By the Numbers
Flight chart courtesy of inbounds Disc Golf
Two things to note on the flight chart. One is that the second run Splinter is more overstable than the first run, I’d add more fade to the chart. Also, as with many softer plastics, the Splinter starts out with positive turn but breaks in after 50-100 throws (or a couple of trees) and develops a more straight initial flight.
The Splinter is overstable but not intimidating inside the circle, it acts like a Discraft Zone but with some unique traits. When released flat on a spin putt this light weight putter has enough float to make it to the basket but it dumps quite hard at the end. The Splinter’s wind-fighting capabilities are best activated by hyzer putts which will fight the wind quite consistently. Just watch out for exposing the bottom of the flight plate to wind which can result in more movement than expected due to the light weight. Exposing the puddle top flight plate to wind (for example RHBH anhyzer line in a right-to-left cross wind) will result in downward movement so in this case I need to putt with more power but I also know that my throw will be safe.
The Splinter is strong enough to fight strong winds even with slight nose up releases. Nose up gives me just a little extra glide but is also more consistent because the wind wasn’t pushing the putter down. Releasing nose down results in a quick drop which is accentuated wind. Of course you’ll often want a conservative putt in strong winds so in this case nose down will provide you with additional security. If you have a strong push putt or pitch putt then releasing nose down will likely give you consistency and safety as well, you’ll just have to put more power into it. The soft G5 plastic hugs the chains so I’m never scared to put extra power on my putt.
The Obsidian Discs Splinter is a great wind putter, but I feel that its advantages stand out the most on approach shots. The Splinter is the most overstable putter I’ve thrown to date so it’s not for the feint of heart. Releasing upshots nose down with high power on low lines provides great consistency and accuracy for me and I can run the basket without fearing a long over throw. When the nose comes up or I throw lightly the Splinter doesn’t fight the wind as well and I have trouble controlling the fade. The sweet spot for me is around 115 feet (35 meters) and extends to around 230 feet (70 meters) at which I can confidently release just below flat and see a slight flip up to a straight line followed by a hard fade. Hyzerbombs at this distance are also incredibly accurate given the sharp fade.
One interesting characteristic of the Splinter is that the disc itself seems to start tipping down in mid-flight before it begins fading. This decreases the distance that I can throw when driving the Splinter but it results in much less side to side movement so it’s safer and more controllable. I can also throw the Splinter high when there is no wind because I don’t have to worry about a long gliding fade. I haven’t seen any skip yet and have actually seen a few bounces straight up because of the soft plastic and sharp landing.
The main thing I have to watch out for on upshots is exposing the bottom of the flight plate to a right to left cross wind (for a RHBH thrower). This can cause greater movement than expected because the Splinter tips early allowing the wind to grab it. Keeping the Splinter on a low flight path and throwing with a power grip helps to ensure that a cross wind doesn’t pick it up. Releasing hard on an anhyzer line in the right to left cross wind can also help because the wind will catch the puddle top and throw it down safely.
The Splinter doesn’t anhyzer well because it’s so overstable but when released as an anhyzer I get a fairly straight flight and even extra glide as it fights out. Again, the Splinter is more controllable on an anhyzer line when thrown low which is probably the best choice in wind anyway. I’d suggest trying a few flicks around 100 ft (30 meters); the puddle top allows for a decent grip and I can get a laser shot at the basket on an anhyzer or a deadly accurate hyzer flick. Longer side arm shots are more difficult because the deep rim gets in the way, but the torque is never an issue!
The Obsidian Discs Splinter may be useful for some new players when putting in the wind, but I feel the splinter is best utilized by advanced to expert players who will appreciate the unique characteristics. This is the most overstable putter I’ve thrown and when it you know the disc well you’ll be able to gain back some of your accuracy in windy and wet conditions. If you live in a climate with heavy wind and frequent rain then I strongly suggest you give this wind fighting monster a chance at your bag.
Do you know someone who hasn’t set up his or her winter bag yet? Please share this article so you disc golf buddies can be ready for wind and rain!