2017 Winter Disc Golf Guide

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2017 Winter Disc Golf Guide

Winter is a great season for disc golf. You heard that right: Walking from hole to hole lets you savor the beauty of winter, which can be hard to appreciate from behind a pane of glass.

Plus, winter play helps highly competitive golfers rediscover the fun factor. Chilly temperatures, wind, snow—none of these elements promotes top performance, so winter rounds become less about setting records and more about simply enjoying the game. In inclement weather, when everyone else is warming their toes by the fire, you’re a champ just for stepping onto the course and reaching into your bag.

But that’s when many players discover that their go-to discs don’t behave like they did in summer. Plastics are extremely sensitive to temperature swings, so the same disc that obeyed your every command last July might feel uncontrollable come January. Cold makes many plastics brittle and hard, so they lose flexibility and grip.

Best Discs for Winter – Top 5 Cold Weather Plastics

  1. GStar – Best for winter
  2. Driver Pro – Grip/Flex at a good price
  3. R-Pro – Handles cold and wet
  4. DX Glow – Soft feel in the cold
  5. XT – Grippy all weather disc

Trying to keep discs warm doesn’t work. “If they are warm when you throw them, the snow will melt and refreeze on them,” says Innova pro Cooper Arnold, who stores his discs in the car the night before a winter game so that the plastics are well adjusted to the cold.

Most pros also switch over to an assortment of cold-tolerant discs. “I swap out some of my more nicely seasoned discs for ones that are less prone to cracking,” says Innova pro Brad Lescalleet. He puts his beloved, beat-up KC Rocs in winter storage, and brings out a Star or Champion Mako3.

Innova’s most cold-resistant plastics are GStar and XT. To maintain grip during winter play, reach for discs made of these soft yet durable compounds.

Cold Weather Disc Golf - The Best Discs for Winter

GStar

“Even at freezing temperatures, GStar will remain pliable, while other plastic types become stiff or brittle,” says Innova co-founder and disc inventor Dave Dunipace.

GStar is made of the same material as Star and Champion, so it’s just as durable. But GStar is a softer grade of plastic than those two, so it’s better at maintaining flexibility during cold-weather play. That means players won’t have to compensate for plastic rigidity by adjusting their form. Throwing cold-stiffened discs often forces golfers to adapt their technique, but GStar performs similarly in winter and summer temperatures, so it’s reliable in any weather.

GStar also offers superior grip. That’s important in fall and winter, when cooler temperatures and lower humidity levels make players’ hands particularly dry. Since Dave Dunipace, Innova’s co-founder, suffers from chronically dry skin year-round, he sought a gummier compound that he could grip comfortably—and the result is GStar. “Its high-speed stability is on par with Champion and Star,” says Dunipace.

Yet GStar isn’t a winter-specific plastic. It’s simply less temperature-sensitive than most other compounds—so that even in 110-degree temperatures, it’s not floppy. When charted against other materials at various temperatures, says Dunipace, “GStar has a fairly flat curve for flexibility.”

XT Nova - Cold Weather Disc Golf - The Best Discs for Winter

XT

XT plastic is more temperature-sensitive than GStar, so it loses some flexibility in the cold. But it offers excellent durability and grip—at an affordable price. Golfers who cherish their well-worn KC Roc in summer might switch to XT for fall and winter play. It offers the tacky grip of Driver Pro plastic, with more stiffness. And with better grip, you can hit greater distances. “The more friction you can get, the more power you’ll be able to transfer to the disc,” says Kobyn Dunipace, who oversees Innova’s disc production.

The Best Discs for Winter Golf

innova winter disc golf chart

Hot Winter Discs

With so many options in our winter-friendly plastics, where do you start? Here are a few standouts in our lineup.
  • Driver: GStar Mystere (2017 Release): With an irresistible combination of speed, turn and fade, this driver flies reliably off the tee and sets you up for a strong finish.
  • Midrange: XT Atlas: This forgiving overmold disc smooths over throwing errors.
  • Putter: XT Nova: The soft, grippy rim sticks landings and makes this putter perfect for cold-weather play.
  • Putter: XT Aviar: Reliable grip and straight flight make this beadless disc a year-round favorite.

Pro Tips

“When you’re bundled up for the cold, your reach-back and arm speed will both be restricted. Disc down to a lighter or less stable disc.” –Craig Nettleship, Innova ambassador

“Drink lukewarm water, and more than you feel like you should drink as you are dehydrating under all those warm layers. And finally, breathe through the nose.” –Das Loomis

“Swap out white discs for more easily seen colors in the snow,” suggests Innova ambassador Brad Lescalleet. But Kansas-based Das Loomis disagrees. His maxim? “Never throw white after Halloween.”

“Being ‘hair challenged,’ I must have a beanie. GoreTex, preferably.” –Jerry Davis

“Best way to play disc golf in the winter? Move to Las Vegas!” –-Jeff Jacquart

Winter Disc Golf Apparel

Innova Windbreaker

Innova Windbreaker

It’s water resistant, packs easy, and is a great top layer for all weather conditions. It features a scuba neck, mesh lined 3 panel hood, and welt pockets.

Innova Zip Hoodie

Innova Zip Hoodie

Players look sharp on or off the course with the Innova Proto Zip Hoodie. This essential winter layer is made with 50/50 cotton/poly fleece, has a full-length front zipper, hand pockets, drawstring hood, Innova letter logo front, and large Proto Star on back.

Innova Pullover Hoodie

When the temperatures drop, everyone will want to slip on the Innova Logo Pullover Hoodie. This 50/50 hoodie has a large front pocket, drawstring hood, Innova logo on front, and small Proto Star on back.

Innova Pullover Hoodie

Real Warriors Brave Winter

Looking to play disc golf throughout the winter season? Many clubs have winter leagues and other series—like the Winter Warrior series run by Mile High Disc Golf Club in Denver, Colorado. The hardy souls of Colorado’s mile-high city don’t let winter squelch their passion for disc golf.

“We’ve played in two feet of snow, in 30-mile-per-hour winds, and in negative temperatures,” says Josh Kreutzer of the Mile High Disc Golf Club. His Winter Warriors tournament series stages a random draw doubles match every Saturday from early November through late January—totaling 14 events over 13 chilly weeks. Why? Because, he insists, it’s fun.

MHDGC Winter Warriors. Photo: Jeff Everts

It all began in 2005, when MHDGC members Mike Webster and Randy Anderson wished that they could play more disc golf in winter. They called up a few friends, and started meeting for occasional games.

“We swap horror stories about white-knuckle drives through snowstorms, and years later, people are still talking about rounds they played in hip-deep snow.”–Ray Woodruff

But the momentum snowballed: More members joined in, the games took on a lighthearted tournament structure, and participants started pitching in cash donations to Ice Bowl and giving that annual fundraiser a two-month head start. Over fourteen years, the MHDGC has raised more than $179,000 for the Food Bank of the Rockies. It also holds the Ice Bowl record for annual contributions ($40,100). “We’re very proud of it,” says MHDGC board member Ray Woodruff.

Photo: MHDGC

But the Winter Warriors series (as it is now known) does much more than generate cash for worthy causes. It also sustains club membership over the winter, strengthens the community aspect of the club, and renews the game’s fun factor.

“It acts as a break for the highly competitive tournament players,” says Woodruff. That’s because every Winter Warriors event includes wacky requirements: Players might have to wear a silly hat while throwing, or throw into a laughably tiny basket, or putt sidearm—while blindfolded. “Players can laugh at themselves,” says Woodruff. “There’s less stress, because normally when you get paired with a top player, you worry about letting him down. But with Winter Warriors, everyone gets to try shots that they would never get to try otherwise,” he says.

Ribbing is de rigeur. And that—along with the weather everyone braves together–fuels the club’s camaraderie. “We swap horror stories about white-knuckle drives through snowstorms, and years later, people are still talking about rounds they played in hip-deep snow,” says Woodruff.

Mike Webster & Randy Anderson

Last year, 320 people participated in at least one Winter Warriors match, and more than 20 people attended all of them (since events are staged across various central Colorado cities, some players drive three hours each way to attend). One MHDGC member, Jeff McCormick, has maintained a perfect attendance record for six years in a row—totaling 90 events. “This year he’ll notch his 100th Winter Warriors match,” says Kreutzer.

Not only does the Winter Warriors series make players feel part of a fun and lively community, but it stimulates the club’s annual membership drive (which kicks off January 1). “We don’t have to wake everyone up,” says Woodruff. Players’ discs aren’t gathering dust in the basement. Instead, the club remains relevant, and people’s disc golf friends stay top of mind. Says Kreutzer, “It’s an excuse to go freeze your butt off with wonderful people.”

Photo of Winter Warrior Co-founders, Mike Webster and Randy Anderson, courtesy of Mark Bell.