FrisbeeGolf Friday, March 17th, 2023

Last week in the wide world of disc golf, another brave disc golf club declared its intention to turn straw into gold– and you can help! I particularly like the idea of converting Bellingham, WA mall dwellers into disc golfers. As the Disc Golf Revolution continues, disc golf is expanding into a new market- New Market, Alabama, to be precise.

From Taupō, New Zealand we learn of the North Island Championships, where more than 200 players will compete. I love this uncredited image from the story, and that basket! The chain assembly looks solid but the cage appears ready to break some hearts.

Due to shipping costs, disc golf course builders in more remote locations need to create their own, locally-produced baskets.


My extended test of the world’s first real disc golf shoe continues, and they’re holding up great. Check out my first three months’ review– if you want to give them a try, now is a great time. In honor of Women’s History Month, Idio is knocking $44 off the regular price of $129.99.


Watch. Where. You’re. Throwing! The latest instructional post on our website is about the role our eyes play when putting and driving, and it can be summed up with those four words. Learn how to best use these powerful pieces of human technology.

Our new booking site is also a great place to pick up unique disc golf gifts and merch- or it will be soon. There’s not a lot there yet, but you can find some clearance items you won’t find anywhere else. There is even a shirt from the show Discmasters that I hosted with Nate, Val, and Avery back in 2011.

Wish me luck this weekend as I compete in the Enduro Bowl at DeLaveaga. It’s 58 straight holes (2×29 holes), and the course is bound to be a slog.

My 2019 Enduro Bowl trophy was this cool ring. Go Team!

Watch Where You’re Throwing!

How to focus on your goals. literally. with your eyes.

Summary: Making full use of your eyes can dramatically improve the aim and consistency of your drives, your putts, and all throws in between. Read on to learn Why, Where (as in, where your eyes should be in any given situation), and How (as in, how to make any necessary changes).

Merriam-Webster defines the term eye-hand coordination as “The way that one’s hands and sight work together to be able to do things that require speed and accuracy (such as catching or hitting a ball).” Or tossing a disc at a target.

After watching my recorded analysis of his driving form, a remote client in New York replied that the issue with keeping his eyes glued to the ground throughout his drive was a habit borrowed from his days playing ball golf. In that sport keeping the head down makes sense. The spot on the ball where the club will ideally make contact is where the eyes need to be in order to do their job.

In disc golf, however, looking down makes no sense at all. Nor does directing your eyes anywhere other than the aiming target. Trying to watch the disc throughout the reach-back or trying to observe some other part of their form are both also popular practices among clients when they first come to me. In all of these cases, the eyes are not being used as they should.

It’s pretty simple, actually: Eyes locked onto a target are sending the brain information that is useful for aiming; eyes looking anywhere else are not. “Wandering eyes” contribute nothing to successful execution. Eyes focused on the wrong thing send information that conflicts with the brain’s understood objective and are often the sole reason for errant shots.

What are you looking at? Watch where you’re going. Watch where you’re throwing!

The website further defines eye-hand coordination as the eyes perceiving information (visual-spatial perception) that the brain then uses to guide the hands to carry out a movement. We use our eyes to direct attention to a stimulus and help the brain understand where the body is located in space (self-perception). The broader term motor coordination refers to the “orchestrated movement of multiple body parts as required to accomplish intended actions, like walking.”

Or launching a disc golf disc at a target 400 feet away. Multiple body parts, including the eyes, must coordinate to perform even routine disc throws.

To fully grasp the significance of where our eyes are pointed during every millisecond of a disc golf throw, it helps to think of the human brain as a very powerful computer and our various body parts as software and hardware. I provide a couple of comparisons below specific to driving and putting, but the principle is the same:

Your eyes collect information required for proper aim and balance. Prolonged focus on the right thing maximizes their contribution on any given throw.

those driving eyes

For the neural phenomenon of motor coordination to work best, the eyes need to be focused where they can gather the info most useful to perform the task at hand. When driving this will usually be the basket, but not always- especially on holes with doglegs, elevation changes, or any blind shot that prevents even seeing the basket. Pick something specific, though. This amazing piece of human technology works best when you feed it specific spatial coordinates.

I find it helps to think of eye-body coordination while launching drives in disc golf as if I’m a jet pilot firing guided missiles at another jet- at least as depicted in movies. I first”acquire” the target in my sights, meaning I start by locking my gaze on my aiming point- forward, level with the horizon. As I start my footwork, I remember to “lock on” to the target using the motor coordination connection between my eyes and other body parts. The better I can maintain that connection, the better my aim will be.

At this point, I trust the technology and”fire,” doing my best to keep the target in my sights as continuously as possible throughout the throw. On a full-power throw it is usually necessary to momentarily pull the eyes away from the acquired target. That’s okay, if the extra distance you’ll get justifies the broken eye-body connection. Just remember that having your eyes focused on the target 85 percent of the time is way better than 15 percent of the time, and still much better than 50 percent of the time.

I grabbed the below images from a video of Paul McBeth posted a year ago by Tom Manuel. I agree with Bro Heme who in the video’s comment section said that McBeth is the “best combo of power and accuracy in the game.” He (Paul, not Bro) knows exactly when and how to sacrifice a little aim to get the needed power.

Image 1 shows McBeth already locked onto his target. That’s the default, and his eyes won’t leave until Image 4, when turning his hips and shoulders away from the target makes it impossible for them to maintain contact. Note that even then, though, his chin touches his throwing shoulder rather than pointing back in the same direction as his shoulders. If you could see his eyes, you’d see they are rolled to the right in their sockets, straining to re-establish the eye-body neural connection as soon as possible.

By Image 5 – before the disc has left his hand – McBeth’s head is back in position for his eyes to gather and transmit fresh data critical to shot execution. In Images 6 and 7 we see him making an effort to keep his eyes locked onto the target through the release of the disc. This ensures that the contribution of the eyes is maximized and has the additional benefit of helping prevent him from pulling the disc off his line due to imbalance.

Simply by the orientation of his head you can tell that this player is looking at the target in all images above except 4 and possibly 5, at which point his eyes are just reacquiring the target.

Standing at the front of the teepad and focusing your eyes hard on the target before beginning your throw won’t accomplish the same thing— even if you extend the disc dramatically while staring. If you do that, then stare at the ground next to you throughout your throw, or let your eyes passively drift wherever the alignment of your shoulders takes them, the target is no longer acquired, much less locked on.

If you are learning or re-learning the footwork that most like to pair with a full-effort backhand drive, first of all, ask yourself whether that’s a good idea at this point. Assuming the answer is yes (and even if it’s not, yet), you have a couple of much better options than trying to watch your feet or the disc to confirm whether you’re doing things correctly.

  • You can film yourself and then self-analyze and/or get help from a pro. If you must use your eyes to learn, this is the way to do it. Your eyes already have an important job to do during the throw, and unless you are a chameleon or a four-eyed fish, your eyes can’t multitask.
  • Learn by feel. Pay attention in detail to what it feels like to keep your eyes straining and neck craning toward the target as you twist your torso away. Learn to stay center-balanced through any footwork, then check the video to see how you did. How does it feel when you do it right? Simply focusing on the feeling of success and failure during and after your throw will help you refine and repeat.

Note: As you see in Figure 5 above, a full-turn drive requires momentarily breaking eye contact with the target. When this is the case, it is important that you don’t wait until your eyes reacquire the target to begin your throw as that would waste the large muscle power of your reach-back and screw up your timing. Instead, learn to treat that fraction of a second when your eyes are forced to come off the target as a blip of static, with the picture returned before you know it. During that blip, the “feeling” you’ve learned will bridge the gap.

the putting trance

Everything I’ve written so far about using the eyes to “throw” a flying disc applies to putting as well. In fact, it’s all magnified! The margin of error on putts is thinner and sharper, and that makes a difference in two ways.

  1. Putting requires exacting precision. Miss by a few inches and you miss the putt
  2. Putting is an unambiguous pass/fail proposition that invites extra mental baggage

Be The Tripod

If the challenge of keeping eyes on the target while driving is like locking onto a 500-mph target while traveling 500 mph yourself, proper eye discipline while putting is like photography with a tripod. The goal is to focus on the exact best place for you to aim (a link of chain, the orange tape) and retain that perfect visual connection through the release of the disc.

Physically this is easier than the eye discipline required when driving. There is way less movement going on (jet vs. tripod), and at no point are you forced to rotate your neck away from the target.

With putting it’s often the mental part that is more challenging, because of the pass/fail thing. It’s easier to get ensnared in anxious thoughts about the results of the putt when there is no gray area. Letting the eyes drift away from the target to the disc is common in this case, sometimes before the disc even leaves the hand.

Even when you’re on the side of a mountain in the Andes surrounded by llamas putting at a makeshift basket of a thin tire and thinner chains, maintain focus with the target. Photo by Jeff Faes.

Breaking visual contact with the target even a fraction of a second too soon can cause a bad miss. To prevent this, lock your eyes onto your aiming point and try to keep them there until the disc reaches the target. As much as possible, keep your head still as well. Think of a picture taken right as the camera gets jolted. Blurry, out of focus. It’s why tripods exist.

The next time you practice your putting (today, right?), focus on your “eye-work.” Are you aiming at something small and specific? When I am in a period of poor mental focus I will sometimes realize I’m aiming at the target in general. Be intentional about your aiming point, on every putt.

Do your eyes stay locked on that aiming point, or do they “unlock” as the disc leaves your hand so you can track the progress of your attempt? I struggle with this in particular, and I’m not sure whether it is due to being emotionally attached to the results or my ADHD. Maybe my eyes get drawn to the movement.

Whatever the reason, I know it’s something that requires constant monitoring, and I know it’ll be worth the effort. Science tells me that keeping my eyes focused on the right thing improves motor coordination. My own empirical evidence backs it up.

The takeaway here could not be simpler. Watch where you’re throwing!

FrisbeeGolf Friday, March 10, 2023

Last week in the wide, wide world, the disc golf revolution continued unabated. A promoter in China contacted me about publishing The Disc Golf Revolution for distribution there. A sizeable market to be sure, but I don’t want any confusion about revolutions. The early translation effort needs work, Yao, but thanks!

From Liverpool, England’s first-ever muni golf course (read: old) has a new director (no, not that Matt Bell), and he announced a plan to add disc golf. A bit west of there, the Japan Open, a former PDGA major, is coming in May. This unique event is played with discs 150 grams or less and has been held every other year (or less often) since 1985.

Libraries let you check out all kinds of things. Books, videos, ghost-hunting kits, disc golf kits, birdwatching kits . . . A new course in Lapeer, MI will be funded by a tax on cannabis. I can think of 420 reasons why that makes sense. Speaking of new courses, an overgrown golf course in Indiana is being turned into a shiny new disc golf course, and the city is thrilled. The revolution continues . . .

My test of the Idio Syncrasy has entered month 5, and the epic storms here in Santa Cruz have put the grip and of course the waterproof-ness of these disc golf shoes to the ultimate test. Check out my full review here, and know that nothing has changed. So far, so good!

I’m working on a new instructional post about the role of our eyes in various disc golf throws, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, enjoy an old post from the blog that connects disc golf, the game of kroits, throwing stars, and “Failure!” Video included.

FrisbeeGolf Friday, March 3rd, 2023

Last week in the wild world of disc golf, Canadian rodeo grounds became a target for a new disc golf course. According to a story in the Penticton Herald, disc golfers in the British Columbia city helpfully pointed out that disc golf can co-exist with other park users, and also noted that disc golfers happily build and maintain our own courses. Anyone near there should let the Summerland Council know you want disc golf at the Rodeo.

Disc golfers in the village of DeForest, Wisconsin can use your help, too. Proposals by village staff to install a couple of small courses have been under attack by the NIMBY’s, and they are still requesting public comment. Take a minute to let them know how disc golf has been good to you. OK, last one on this theme- maybe things get a little tense up North this time of year, but the town council in North Vancouver is also hashing out a dispute between players and neighbors. If you play on this course, have a calm word with these “few offenders” and let them know how much the course means to you.

unique disc spotlight

Rather than being hotstamped, the design on my first run Rask is part of the mold, embossed in reverse on the underside of the disc so it reads correctly viewed from the top.

One interesting perk of being a disc golf blogger for the past 20 years has been the opportunity to review some notable, ambitious disc models. A great example is one of the first offerings of Swedish manufacturer Kastaplast. Their attempt to innovate in the area of drag reduction to create a faster disc was successful. Even the meathook drivers call the Rask a meathook.

I don’t have much use for this disc in my game (I think it was intended to be Thor’s signature fundraiser disc), but it is a piece of functional art. I tried to capture it’s unique properties in these images.

Viewed from the top of the Rask, we can see the design that is molded into the bottom along with the stucco wall behind the disc.

The feature that makes this disc SO overstable is a raised ridge on the underside of the flight plate. Also on the underside is the disc’s branding, molded in reverse lettering. Viewed from the top of the disc the Kastaplast “K” and other writing can barely be discerned.

This is my type of disc golf disc art, and that inner (lip?) is one-of-a-kind.

pro tour thoughts

The DGPT’s 2023 season opener went down in Las Vegas last weekend. Everyone I know who was there raved about the experience, and it looked great live on the Disc Golf Network- with two exceptions, two headwinds, if you will, pushing against the pro game’s steady progress as a spectator sport.

The first is the literal wind, which can make the game very hard to play- and watch. There isn’t much anyone can do about that, but if you like unpredictable twists and turns and lots of missed putts, windy golf is for you. The other is holding top-level competitions on a playing field designed (and used) for a different sport. Some mention the monotony of wide-open holes when criticizing disc golf on ball golf courses, and I know the practical reasons for using ball golf courses for disc golf events.

My issue has more to do with image and perception, and I have the same problem with disc golf events in multi-use parks. When a person who is already predisposed to not yet take disc golf seriously sees our top level pro hours broadcasting events from what looks to be a temporarily repurposed setting (even if it isn’t), they see it as a confirmation of their beliefs.

When the pro tour has enough options that avoid this issue and still meet required criteria for a strong cell signal and spectator accommodation, look for the sport to soar even higher.

new booking site

Clients have been asking us for a way to book lessons online, and we (finally) responded! Our new booking and ecommerce site,, lets users find and book open dates and pay for lessons, purchase gift cards, and get started with remote coaching. Soon it will also have a curated selection of cool and unique merch, as well.

last week’s video

I realized after sending last week’s email that I mentioned but didn’t show or even link to the actual video. Here it is, a nice bit of film making that accurately captures the varied entertainment of playing a solo round of disc golf on a challenging course.

FrisbeeGolf Friday, February 24, 2023

Jack Tupp’s weekly blast of disc golf stuff to read, watch, and use

Welcome to FrisbeeGolf Friday! Feel free to skim so you can get out and huck!

LAST WEEK IN THE WILD, WILD, WORLD OF DISC GOLF . . . From Moberly, MO came reports of disc-throwing robots built by students and paid for by the U.S. Army. The MMI (Moberly Monitor-Index) editorial board chose to downplay the disc golf angle of the story, but my first thought was ‘secret project to standardize flight numbers.’ Time will tell, but don’t count on MMI to break the story.

If you hadn’t heard, one of disc golf’s top manufacturers sued its 17-year-old star player, but LEGAL DRAMA IN DISC GOLF is not without “precedent.” Steady Ed sued Innova for patent infringement back in 1998 when that company copied his design of the Disc Pole Hole. The most fascinating part of that case for me was the determination that the essence of Ed’s initial design – chains hanging in a parabolic curve over a basket – could never possibly be improved upon. It was the basis of Innova’s legal argument, and the judge agreed.It’s an interesting story (podcast, anyone?) and much can be gleaned from court documents.

BUT WAIT, there’s more!

Fast forward to 2015. DGA and Innova had long since buried the hatchet* when all of a sudden lawyers for none other than Apple Computer dug it back up! They cited Disc Golf Ass’n v. Champion Discs, Inc. (9th Cir.1998) as legal precedent to back their claim that Samsung’s designers had blatantly copied the iPhone. So that’s one thing a Mach X and iPhone X have in common . . .

Udisc’s latest Disc Golf Growth report is worth a read and share. Due to the ubiquity of its popular app among disc golfers, the company is in a position to give us statistical ammunition like we’ve never had before. I posted additional thoughts on each item in this quick list of notable takeaways on the blog. Thanks, Udisc!

  • 4.3 courses were installed per day in 2022
  • 1.2 million disc golfers used UDisc in 2022
  • 90 percent of courses are free to play
  • Two of the strongest areas of growth are schools & universities within the U.S. and lots of places outside the U.S.

My long-term test of the first true made-for-disc-golf shoe continues. The Idio Syncrasy has held up to some epically bad weather here in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and they feel better the more times I wear them. If you didn’t already, you can check out my first impressions of these shoes here.

For this week’s disc golf-related bit of whimsy, I share a few minutes of filmmaker’s art, set on a disc golf course just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. We’ve all been there (the highs and the lows), and you should go there (Stafford Lake DGC)! And if you’ve never played a full round solo, give it a try.

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When Udisc talks Disc Golf Growth, people listen.

Udisc’s latest Disc Golf Growth report is worth a read and share. Due to the ubiquity of its popular app among disc golfers, the company is in a position to give us statistical ammunition like we’ve never had before.

I’m certain my fellow pioneer of disc golf blogging and current Udisc director of marketing Steve Hill had a hand in this report. To Steve and others who contributed, well done! In addition to all kinds of statistically significant data the report includes stories and anecdotes to provide context.

A screen grab from the report. Source:

I should add that this is the kind of disc golf news that I like to share. The only social media accounts I’ve maintained even semi-regularly – my Play DiscGolf page on Facebook and a Twitter account no one follows – both focus on sharing stories of grassroots disc golf growth.

When you check out the report, I suggest skimming through at first. There’s so much there, and your favorite stat may be near the bottom. Here are a few that got me thinking:

4.3 courses were installed per day in 2022

This number represents year-over-year growth consistent with the pandemic surge and also the broader range of the past several decades. What gets me excited, though, is knowing that four times a day in 2022, a new resource popped up somewhere in the world that offers community members so much while likely requiring little or nothing in return.

Most of these courses will thrive and in a few years’ time create demand for another new course to accommodate all the new players. With disc golf, funding is never a question, so this pattern should continue unabated.

1.2 million disc golfers used UDisc in 2022

This stat is of course nice for Matt and Josh and others at Udisc, but it is huge for the sport of disc golf as well. To anyone in a position to commit funding to any disc golf project or initiative, public or private, that number indicates the sport’s true popularity much better than 100,000-plus active PDGA members.

With that many active users, the rest of Udisc’s stat’s gain credibility as well. Udisc users may still only represent a small fraction of the people playing the sport, but the sample size is easily large enough to cut across other segmentation types (geographic, economic, age, gender, etc.).

90 percent of courses are free to play

It is good to see the continuity of one of the main reasons disc golf is considered accessible. Disc golf courses in public places that are free to play which were spearheaded and sometimes funded by community members is our secret sauce.

I’d actually be happy to see the free/pay-to-play rate go down next year, as long as the overall new courses-per-day rate goes up. That would be more people are seeing disc golf as a good investment, more options for players, and less crowds at popular public courses.

Strong growth in the U.S. at schools & universities

Disc golf has demonstrated pretty impressive growth up until now by building courses in the woods and in parks where they are discovered (usually by males age 25-45) and loved and eventually replicated. A 20 percent course growth rate on the grounds of educational institutions helps keep the momentum going, but more importantly it breaks ground in two ways:

  • Would-be disc golf lovers will discover the sport earlier in life and have more productive years to contribute to its growth
  • Education systems, from preschool through college, represent an entirely new way for the sport to grow. Success at one school in a district can likely be used to start conversations at others.
strong international growth

The report points out that a number of countries posted a growth rate higher than the U.S. All except New Zealand are in Europe, but expect that to change as the Paul McBeth Foundation has recently planted courses in Mexico, Guatemala, and Columbia in an effort to introduce the sport to Latin America

FrisbeeGolf Friday, February 10th, 2023

We at School of Disc Golf are pretty excited to have just launched FrisbeeGolf Friday, a weekly disc golf newsletter that caters to disc golfers who love to play the game and grow the sport. You may see the occasional item about a touring pro, but that won’t be our focus.

There are two disc golf targets in this photo. Can you hit those putts?

Please check it out and subscribe. Yeah, we’ll conduct a little marketing as well, but it will be stuff we genuinely think you’ll find useful and relevant.

The look should improve over time, too. But hey, you gotta start somewhere!

Idio Syncrasy Disc Golf Shoes: So Far, So Good!

update: The Idio Syncrasy disc golf shoe, normally $129.00, is on sale for a limited time at $103.20!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.

disc golf shoe on sale, best disc golf shoe.

When I first saw an ad for the Idio Syncrasy disc golf shoe during a Disc Golf Network broadcast last season, I thought the timing was sublime. I happened to be shopping for new disc golf shoes just then. After 20-plus years of searching for the perfect “shoe to use for disc golf” (a true disc golf shoe did not yet exist) the search for my most important piece of athletic equipment was once again wide open.

Although I’ve yet found the perfect disc golf shoe, I had until recently refined my personal preference to waterproof trail running shoes. Hiking books, even supposedly light ones, feel too heavy and restrictively rigid. But where I play, I genuinely need water resistance and shoes that can handle all types of surfaces. Lightness and comfort are must-haves, as well. When you add up my time teaching, practicing, and playing, these shoes will be worn for long hours at a time.

I had gone through two pairs of my most recent iteration, from Brooks, and they were okay but ultimately failed in the way so many others had. They all wear out in one place while the rest of the shoe has plenty of life. So when I watched that ad and right away noticed how they are built up in areas where so many disc golfers’ shoes always break down, the timing was right.

For now, I can tell you this shoe was designed from scratch specifically for the sport of disc golf, as opposed to every other shoe marketed as a disc golf shoe in the past. In all those cases, the marketing was the ONLY thing disc golf-specific about the shoes.

Well, for me, anyway. The end of the ad stated they were taking preorders with delivery months away. I needed shoes right away, so I settled on a model from a top running brand I hadn’t tried yet: Sauconys. They’re okay, so far, but if the pattern holds they’ll start to crumble under the demands of NorCal disc golf any day now.

Not long after that, as luck would have it, the opportunity arose to review the Idio Syncrasy shoes here on the blog. I of course jumped at the chance, wanting these shoes to be what I and so many others have long awaited.

Idio Syncrasy’s fit in perfectly at the quirky, quixotic (and legendary) DeLaveaga Disc Golf Course.

That was a couple of months ago now, and a (rather understated) summary of my opinion at this point is, ‘So far, so good.’ Since durability and water resistance are important factors for me when choosing a disc golf shoe, I plan to revisit this review at least two more times to let you know how they’re holding up. However, after 15 rounds on courses with cement, turf, and natural teepads in some pretty challenging conditions I’ve already collected plenty of intel. All of it points to a recommendation to buy the Idio Syncrasy.

The price tag of $130 seemed reasonable, since that is about what I’d been paying for waterproof trail runners. But Idio just lowered the price to $103.20 for a limited time. That is quite a discount for a shoe that in my opinion is a good value at full price.

Before I go any further, I should share details about this shoe’s unique, dare I say idiosyncratic, features. Disc golf-specific things like:

  • Drag-on toe protection
  • X-flex zone in the sole for “Natural transitions for powerful drives and saucy jump-putts,”
  • High-rise midsole to help your plant foot hold fast
  • Power Plant heel
  • Larger toe box.

You’ll read more here in the future as each of these features carries a story of its own, but you can delve into the technical details right now at Idio’s website. For now, I can tell you this shoe was designed from scratch specifically for the sport of disc golf, as opposed to every other shoe marketed as a disc golf shoe in the past. In all those cases, the marketing was the only thing disc golf-specific about the shoes.

With that in mind, consider the features I just listed out. Each began with a blank slate and reams of information about what disc golfers want and need in a shoe. There are a variety of priorities out there, and with the Syncrasy, Idio is attempting to address them all.

I have to admit that for me, the promise of a shoe designed to resist the specific wear to the toe that teeing off can create – Idio calls it “teebox rash” – was enough to get me to bite. I remember my years as a pitcher in baseball, attaching metal plates and Shoe Goo to prevent a very similar fate. Then the shoes arrived, and it was one surprise after another.

At the end of the first wet DeLa round, the Syncrasy’s were wet and crusted with mud, but my feet were dry.

In the ad, the look of the shoes made me think of them as specialized athletic equipment in the same way as rock climbing shoes do. Just a bit exotic, and built for a specific purpose. When I got them on my feet, though, they looked less blocky and utilitarian and more sleek and, well normal. If you end up wearing these other places besides the disc golf course, you’ll look marvelous (as long as you clean them up a bit).

Another big surprise was the combination of comfort and performance. The surprise had nothing to do with me starting out skeptical about Idio being able to deliver on both fronts. I spoke with the owner/designer and came away extremely impressed by his capabilities. Rather, it had to do with assumptions I made after I put the shoes on for the first time but before I played my first round in them.

First off, these shoes are way lighter than I expected. To look at them, I thought they were a hybrid between trail runners and light hiking boots, and that made me think they’d be heavier – “clunkier” – than I like. Not so! Every time I pick them up, I notice how light they are.

Putting them on, I was struck by the way they felt very secure at the top of the shoe but almost too roomy inside in the front (the toe box). If I was asked in general “How do those shoes feel?” I would have said right away they felt great. They did. They do. But it seemed almost certain that that comfort would come at the price of performance.

One of the first tests of the Idio’s off-the-fairway chops took place on a mountain course that had just been reopened after being untouched for 2 years. No slips, no turned ankles!

By the time I got to wear them out on the course I had forgotten about this fit issue, likely because my feet quickly acclimated to this uniquely designed shoe on the walk from the car. I received no trepidatious warning signals that my footing wasn’t to be trusted. That’s a good thing, an essential thing, because my full drive requires tons of trust as I plant my anchor foot and count on it to hold fast. If I was hesitant right from the start, the shoes would not have received a full test and any drives launched would be severely compromised.

I didn’t think about that issue again until the end of the round when I began to formulate this review. I realized that not once while playing a very rugged mountain course did I feel like I lost balance or traction due to my feet moving around inside the shoe (or for any other reason). In a future review I’ll get into shoe lingo a little (very little, probably) to explain how this is possible in more technical terms. For now, though, I can say they protect my feet and by extension the rest of my body like stout footwear designed solely for that purpose, but feel like comfortable walking shoes the rest of the time.

Water Resistant?

The middle of hole 16’s fairway at DeLaveaga provided a great test of the Syncrasy’s water resistant upper. This shot required me to submerge the shoe past the tongue, and my foot remained dry.

As to the water resistant qualities of the Idio Syncrasy: I threw LOTS of water at these shoes, and they resisted all of it. You may have read about the storms and flooding in California in January 2022. I played in steady rain a couple of times for hours at a clip. Each time, when I checked my socks afterward, they were completely dry. I even lowered one shoe as far into a deep puddle as I dared without allowing water to pour in through the top.

Time will tell more, and like all athletic shoes no one expects the water resistance to last forever. But in one of my key areas I can report: So far, so good!

User Feedback

At this writing, the Syncrasy has 388 ratings on the Idio website, with an average of around 4.5. That’s a decent sample size, but I find face-to-face testimonials much more useful. Right after ordering the shoes I began to notice people at my local courses wearing them, so I started asking for opinions.

I did not hear one single negative comment, and common themes were “comfortable,” “lighter than I expected,” “great traction,” and “so far, so good.” I didn’t get down on the ground to conduct a super-close inspection, but from a few feet away I detected no visible signs of early wear or shoddy craftsmanship. Granted, none could have been older than 6 months, but I spoke to seven different people, and the consistency of their answers is noteworthy.

It seems pretty likely Idio managed to nail down good quality control right from the start. Also, if any of the company’s disc golf-specific design elements were a big swing-and-miss, I believe one of the folks I spoke to would have noticed already and called it out. The word on the street: So far, so good.


Time will tell whether the Idio Syncrasy lasts significantly longer than the parade of trail running shoes I’ve tried. We’ll know more as the months wear on. After a vigorous trial period, they’re showing no signs of distress.

Aside from the built-up toes, the other disc golf-specific features are difficult to judge. I’ll learn more as I delve into each with the shoe’s creator in future posts. It’s clear that the roomy toe box, X-flex zone in the sole, and high-rise midsole work together to create that unique combination of comfort and control. I experienced it first-hand. If you’re the type of person who loves or needs to learn exactly how and why, stay tuned for future updates to this review.

If you’re in a similar situation as I was last year, watching DGN and looking for my next disc golf shoe, I’d say it’s a no-brainer. The Idio Syncrasy is a genuine disc golf shoe that is well-built and designed from scratch for the sport of disc golf. (Update: I typed those words before noticing the price of the shoes has temporarily dropped from $130 to $103.20.)

If you just bought a pair of something else (like me when I saw that ad on DGN), stay tuned. I’ll be adding updates here as the test goes on and I glean more info from Idio.

Ball golf wants to be like disc golf, and it’s getting pretty obvious

They know the writing is on the wall. It may take a long time to dry, but the ink is indelible and the weight of the words heavy with undeniable fact.

The traditional game of golf, with its balls, clubs, baggage, and inconvenient truths fits the 21st century like a square peg in a round hole. And they know it.

I have been convinced of this for some time- so much so that I wrote a book to explain why the very things that are dooming the original version of golf are having an inverse effect on disc golf, helping to fuel the newer sport’s explosive growth.

My news feed today featured a story from Golf Digest titled “10 Golf Traditions that Need to Change Now.” Most of the specific items listed don’t have much of a parallel in the disc golf world, but that’s not the point. As the author points out in the first paragraph, “Some are minor inconveniences, others prolong (ball golf’s) already time-consuming sport and a few certainly don’t help (them) refute the argument that (ball golf) can, at times, be a little … stuffy.”

That one sentence mentions one major and practical reason that the median age of a regularly-playing ball golfer is now 68 (rounds take too much time), and another that is more related to a cultural shift that favors casual over ceremonial in all things.

(c) Lisafx |

I found it funny, though, that the first item on the list – the fact that a ball golfer who sinks a hole-in-one is obligated to buy everyone drinks – is something that is exactly the opposite in disc golf. The player who aces in disc golf usually walks away richer for their effort, but certainly no poorer.

Some of the others include the fact that changing into your golf shoes in the parking lot is frowned upon (don’t do that or Spalding Wentworth III may report you), courses being cart only and not allowing walking (a rule that would fit right in in the movie Wall-E), and waiting for whoever “has honors” (in disc golf we just say whoever is “out”) to play. That one makes sense for safety reasons, but the author is probably so obsessed with the 4 hours it takes to play a round in the busy 21st century that they forgot all about why that particular “tradition” came to be.

If you think I haven’t connected the dots strongly enough to back my claim that golf’s power brokers know their sport is irreversibly appealing to fewer and fewer people as the years go by, I have more.

My second book, The Disc Golf Revolution, was published in 2018. In it, I quoted from a New York Times article written way back in 2008 titled “More Americans are Giving Up Golf.” My favorite quote from that one was a golf club owner saying “When the ship is sinking it’s time to get creative.” I also cited another 2008 story in Golf Digest about golf and the environment. The findings of a comprehensive study made it clear that a good deal of golfers and a large majority of non-golfers considered golf courses’ need for water and pesticides to be irresponsible and obviously wrong- and that was 14 years ago!

Yes indeed, they know.

disc golf is the future

In the business world, there is a term called pivoting. It’s usually used to explain how a business will see an obvious trend that threatens its existence and change its products or service to embrace the trend. Disc golf courses popping up on existing (and inevitably foundering) golf courses with increasing frequency is one obvious example, but to me, it isn’t the most telling. In those cases, it’s about an existing golf course trying to keep its gates open.

I look instead to the emergence of TopGolf in the past decade. If you’re not familiar, Top Golf is “played” at a driving range. The player never moves from their stall, attempting to hit various targets and accrue points. Think golf-meets-Skee-Ball. For the power brokers, Top Golf solves the issues of time, environmental impact, stuffiness, and to a degree, cost.

Know what else addresses all those issues? Disc golf! And you still get to actually play the game of golf in all of its enthralling, maddening glory!

Ball golf will hang on in some form for decades longer because billion-dollar industries on the slow road to obsolescence can be like beheaded chickens that inexplicably keep running around and running around until finally, they stop.

The writing is on the wall, and they know it.

New Online Retailer: Reaper Disc Supply

Although it’s growing like crazy, I still think of the disc golf community as one big family. Because of that I turn down product review requests when there is a good chance that my evaluation won’t be favorable. If I publish a review, readers need to be able to trust that it’s an honest assessment. And, quite frankly, I’d rather skip a review rather than possibly hurt another disc golf small business.

When I was contacted by Aaron at Reaper Disc Supply, I shared that disclaimer with him for a couple of reasons: The whole skull, bones, and death motif isn’t really my thing, and with few exceptions I could care less about the imagery that decorate the discs I throw. (Reaper sells shirts, hoodies, tanks and socks with their original art as well as a great selection of discs.) To his credit, Aaron quickly replied that if I didn’t like his stuff he wanted me to say so.

Fair enough. I admired the confidence and agreed to do it, and not just because the company owner understood my position. I know that plenty of disc golfers don’t share my artistic tastes, and it seems clear that I’m in the minority in my preference for bright, solid-colored discs (although it’s hard to argue with my practical logic).

One more bit of background that I think is worth mentioning: I’m really into disc golf apparel. So much so that I’ve created numerous designs myself, as an officer of the DeLaveaga Disc Golf Club (membership shirts) and as a disc golf business owner. When I produced shirts they had to meet my own personal criteria in selecting shirts I’d wear myself. I have to like the design, but comfort and fit matter just as much. Over the years I’ve accumulated enough disc golf shirts that didn’t make my “wear worthy” cut to make five t-shirt quilts. I didn’t want to just toss ’em, but never wore them.

All of this is to say I think my take on t-shirts is, if nothing else, fairly informed and discerning.

Rather than just send me a number of random garments, Aaron asked me to check out the apparel section of his website and pick a few things I liked. Given the grim reaper theme I didn’t think I would find much, but I was wrong! The Arrow Wolf design on white reminded me of my days going to hardcore punk shows (turns out this is something Aaron and I have in common).

I had to take this shirt off to get a pic. It blends in well with my office décor, right?

Big Disc Energy got me to laugh, and I instantly looked forward to others seeing it on the course and sharing the play on words joke. It has even inspired me to write a song of the same name that describes disc golfers who are convinced they’re the next Drew Gibson.

I even found myself loving one of the designs featuring reaper himself. Respect the Course shares a message every true disc golf lover should support. Maybe I can get Reaper Disc Supply to sponsor a hole at Black Mouse DGC, which sits on school grounds, when it reopens. We’ve had some issues with littering.

My 18-year old daughter loved all of the designs, particularly the Chain Destroyer and Death Metal hoodies, and Floral Dragon Reaper t-shirt, which I admit is impressive.

When the package arrived, I spotted a cool sticker that had me smiling before I even opened the box. It had a reaper image and a warning to Handle with Care. Nice! It reminded me that most disc golf small businesses share my passion for the sport and the people who love it.

The garments themselves were top quality. I couldn’t spot a single printing imperfection on any of them. The colors were all vibrant and the images vivid and clear, exactly as represented on the website. The t-shirts are Premium Bella Canvas, 100 percent soft ring spun cotton for the solid colors and a 52 cotton/48 polyester blend for the heather tees. The hoodies are a medium weight 50/50 cotton-polyester blend.

After several wash cycles everything still looks and fits great. The shirts fit as I expected, the 100 percent cotton is indeed soft, and the heather shirts, with the 52/48 blend, has that combination of softness and stretch that I particularly love to wear while throwing.

This Innova R-Pro Pig with Reaper’s custom “Chained Hog” artwork sold out quickly.

I mentioned that Reaper also sells discs. Until recently their inventory included “whatever we could get, given the shortages everywhere,” according to Aaron. That just changed! He also now sells popular molds with his artwork on them. They are all limited edition and hand numbered. The plan is to release at least one per month until they’re able to order bigger quantities. The first one, an R-pro Pig with the “Chained Hog” image, sold out quickly, but I bet they do another run of those as that’s a slam dunk disc/image combo. They just released a Star Destroyer with the Reaper Gorilla art. If you like it, better act fast. I think the black-on-white looks sharp.

In summary, I’ve found Reaper Disc Supply to be great to deal with, and the product seems to be top quality. Check out their stuff. You’ll probably find something you like, and even if you don’t there’s always the death metal disc golfer in your life, right?