When I first became aware of Flywood disc golf discs (thanks to the reader who brought the company to our attention) my initial reaction was intense curiosity. Wooden discs that are meant to be thrown and used in actual disc golf play?! I always get excited about anything in disc golf that truly breaks new ground.
However, I’m first and foremost a competitive player, and after a quick check I realized that a disc made of wood would never be approved by the PDGA for use in sanctioned events due to the inherent rigidity of the material. so right away it was clear that these discs are not going to be ‘game-changers’ that break records in terms of distance or control. That would be pretty cool though, wouldn’t it It’d be the opposite of what happened in ball golf when titanium drivers replaced ‘woods’.
Regardless of my discovery that wooden discs would not be vying for a spot in my competition bag, I was still eager to see how one looked, felt and flew. When mine arrived in the mail, I have to admit I was impressed.
The company sent me it’s driver, called The Walking Stick. The disc came came packaged with a neatly labelled chuck of its propietary ‘Boobee’ wax. The stuff is used to improve the grip, and I suspect when applied to their putter it also helps (at least a little) to grab the chains. I’m not sure, but guessing that is also verboten according to PDGA rules as well.
Another great touch is that the disc has a card attached that actually numbered my disc (#371) and dated it as well. This was a great reminder that I didn’t just have another disc on my hands, but a handcrafted work of art. I’ll finish by returning to this point, but for now I’ll just say this is where I think Flywood can get the most traction with its products.
When it was time to take my Walking Stick out for a test, I picked an area where it would land on nothing but soft grass. I know that ideally I would have tested it for durability as well as flight characteristics, but I just couldn’t bring myself purposefully inflicting damage on such a work of art.
Unfortunately I don’t have much positive to say about the flight of the disc, except that it did indeed fly like a golf disc, and it was reasonably stable. But compared to plastic or rubber discs it didn’t seem to have much ‘sail’ or ‘float’ to me, wanting instead to plunge back to earth as soon as the energy I put into the throw had dissipated. Also, as the disc released from my power grip, there was noticeable discomfort. The inner edge feels smooth enough to the touch, so I suppose this is due to the rigidity of wood.
It seems to me that Flywood has two different market for its disc: The first is a small subset of the disc golf crowd, players who care deeply about the environment and desire that as many products as possible that they use and/or consume be completely natural. If you love disc golf but have issues with petroleum-based plastics, these discs are your answer to being able to make an already environmentally-sensitive sport even more so.
The other market for Flywood – and the one I’d think could make these discs quite popular – consist of people who feel that the flying disc is an ideal subject for all forms of art. I love the idea of a hand-crafted disc, especially if it’s master-crafted the way these are. If you’re the type that collects all things disc golf, the price tag of $30 is well worth it for what you get. Just imagine having a perfectly shaped wood disc on your wall along with all your other wall discs. Which one do you think will catch a visitor’s eye first?