Terning the Tide

Very seldom has a disc actually realized the hype surrounding it. Case in point, the fabled Quarter K by DiscWing. The quarter K was going to revolutionize the sport by using technology to design a state-of-the-art disc that would add distance to everyone’s game. Why do they call it Quarter K? Because you’ll be able to throw it a quarter of a kilometer (or 820 feet). While nobody really thought we’d all be able to throw that far, we were all lining up to try it, which is what makes the Tern all the more interesting.

The Tern is a newer disc from Innova that has quietly slipped into the market place with almost no hype, yet is taking those in-the-know by storm. The Tern showed up on courses and in stores–billed as a high speed easy to turn disc, ideal for a long-range roller or as a straight flyer for lighter arms. According to Innova, the Tern has three ratings, depending on the plastic:

Plastic Speed
1 to 13
Glide
1 to 7
Turn
+1 to -5
Fade
0 to 5
Champion 12 6 -2 2
Star 12 6 -4 2
Metal Flake
G-Star
(unofficial)
12 6 -3 2

While it’s been billed as great as a long range roller, it’s real strength is as a distance driver–easily surpassing my Wraiths in reliable distance.

When I first ran into the Tern last spring, I was impressed by its speed (it went fast!), but I was dismayed by its extreme flip (it went fast, in the wrong direction!). The high Glide and Turn ratings meant that the disc indeed turned radically out of my hand–an almost useless distraction from my regular long range driver (Pro or Star Wraiths).

Before I gave up on the Tern however, I threw one on a steep hyzer edge (outside edge of the disc dropped down), and watched, stunned, as the disc quickly popped up and ran on a straight line until, some 400+ feet away, it slowed down and faded back to the right (I’m a lefty, remember, so this is a natural fade for me). A little more field work to fine tune my throw and the Tern has replaced the Wraith as my go-to max-range driver.

That said, while the Tern is a great disc, it’s one that you do need to take the time to get-to-know. It’s a fickle disc because of its flippiness, especially if you tend to throw your drives flat and with a lot of snap (or spin). To get the most out of it, you need to be comfortable throwing discs on a hyzer edge and letting them stand up and fly straight. I like to compare the Tern to a Roadrunner or Sidewinder on steroids. As a result, for the Tern to be most effective, you also need a clear left or right fairway–if you only have a straight shot, the Tern is going to move side to side too much to be effective. Finally, to get the best flight path out of the disc, it needs the high speed spin, which means you need to be throwing it hard (and consequently, far). When I throw the disc “softer,” it loses the long stand up and fly straight flight path, and then tends to hyzer out early.
I’ve also been experimenting with the disc for long range anhyzer bombs (where the outside edge is flipped up so that the disc loops out on a long range flight curve that is the opposite of my normal throw). While it hasn’t replaced my Roadrunner for that throw yet, I can see its potential, particularly over long distances.

Bottom line:
The Tern is a great new distance disc–I’ve heard it described by many players as a game changer for the added distance it provides. Because of the extreme speed, glide, and turn ratings, with a reliable fade, the disc is also versatile. I’ve stepped up to long holes where both lefties and righties were throwing the Tern. While it is a wide-rim disc (as most high speed drivers are) it has less width than many–more like a Wraith than a Boss. If you haven’t tried it yet, its worth taking to a field and hucking–it could very well be the game changer you’ve been looking for!

Playing with a Nutsac*

*Read at your own risk

OK, full disclosure–I’ve had a Nutsac for years, so this is nothing new to me. Though they come in many colors (I’ve seen pink, black, blue and even green Nutsacs), and sizes (there are some large Nutsacs out there!), my Nutsac is small and brown.

While I play with it regularly, because of its small size I don’t actually use it that often (even the largest Nutsacs I’ve seen are pretty small). Consequently, I see it as most useful for travel, as you can throw your Nutsac over your shoulder (you wouldn’t want to drag it on the ground), or tuck it into your trunk and head out on your adventures minimally encumbered.

When I do play with my Nutsac, though, it can really turn heads. Last year I pulled my Nutsac out at a tournament in Virginia and a guy I met (Hawk) insisted that I let him take a picture of it and post it online (you can see my Nutsac at http://tinyurl.com/seemynutsac). He then showed me his Nutsac, which was larger than mine, and added that he played with his Nutsac all the time. In point of fact, he mentioned that he was even sponsored to play with his Nutsac and blogs about it whenever he does. When I checked out his Nutsac online (at http://nutsacbags.com/), I discovered that he is jokingly known as “the worst sponsored player in disc golf.”

And that is probably the best thing about Nutsacs–it’s hard to take yourself too seriously when you’re walking around the disc golf course with your Nutsac on your shoulder.

For the uninitiated who have made it this far, a Nutsac is a bag for carrying disc golf discs, and this is a true story and honest-to-goodness product review. As highlighted above, the Nutsac is a no-frills bag that is built to wrap around discs with no extra pockets (other than a mini pocket on the front). The small bag will comfortably hold just three drivers, two midranges and a putter (you can buy a drink holder as an add on). This lack of space makes them impractical as a tournament bag (in addition to 15 discs my tournament bag contains beverages, rule books, pencils, back up discs and minis, an umbrella, change holders, first aid kit, and who knows what else), but great as a travel bag when on the road for work or visiting family.

I can pack my Nutsac bag, with discs, in my suitcase, taking up about as much room as a pair of shoes. I also keep it in my jeep–which has been broken into before. While I would hate to lose my tournament bag and discs (again!), the Nutsac with six discs would be a tolerable loss in exchange for the flexibility of always having discs on hand. For its size, the bag is priced at the higher end ($40 for the small bag, $70 for the large), but for the convenience and cool quirkiness it offers, it’s a good bag to own. As I hope you can tell from this review, personally, I am quite attached to my Nutsac.