I’ll never forget the first time I held a Birdie by Innova Disc Golf. After playing for a couple years, I had gotten used to the beveled-edge nature of all the discs and amassed a fair amount, but was still looking for a putter that I felt comfortable with. While the Birdie didn’t end up being the right putter for me, in it I did find a straight flying approach disc that could “sit soft” and really put on the brakes when it had to.
I originally put the Birdie in my bag for the “go for it” nature it is described as providing, but I never got over the awkward feeling of the disc on those ticklish feel shots and putts from 30′. Instead, I started hucking it in a field with a friend who was a big ultimate player at the time. While the purpose was to ease my buddy into disc golf from his Frisbee lifestyle, I really enjoyed the feel of the disc while being able to really give it a rip. After that pass and catch session with my buddy, I took it to the course and took a few pulls — I watched it fly straight and slow before sitting like mud. I was full on in love with the Birdie at that point.
While the Birdie eventually gave way to the Rhyno, it stayed in my bag off and on for a couple seasons. I never putted with it, and definitely didn’t use it on uphill approaches, but found it was best utilized (for me) on downhill shots or nerving approach shots to “slippery” greens. If I was ever starring at a basket that was guarded by water or had a large crown on it, I wouldn’t think twice before pulling out my Birdie as I knew I could throw that thing straight as could be and watch it sit on a dime. Having a disc sit quickly is a big reason why I, personally, love winter disc golf. Having the ability to throw the disc right at the stick and watch it stop where it landed reminds me of my traditional golf days where you could really control the flight of the ball — stuffing an 8 iron into a back pin guarded by water and watching the ball stop dead on impact.
In contrast to a soft sitting golf ball or a Birdie/Rhyno that stops on a dime, one of the really exciting parts of disc golf is playing the skip of the disc. If you really know your discs, you’ll know when and where to use this technique, or at the very least, be able to compensate for another 20 feet or so before the disc rolls out before stopping. While I love this part of the game, I always found myself telling the disc to “sit soft” or “sit quick.” After enough of that, I did some research and found the Birdie. After half a season of playing with the Birdie, I put it away. Fast forward to the next year and I found myself playing a round with a buddy who owned a Rhyno, and the “sit soft” love affair was back on.
After watching my friend put the disc where he wanted time and time again, I went home and ordered a Rhyno. While my Star Rhyno is still getting beat in to the stability that I’m hoping for, I can’t say enough good things about it. It takes on a head wind like a champ and has a great grip for putting. That being said, the best thing I can say about that disc is its ability to stop on a dime — enabling me to play an aggressive style of disc golf by aiming right at the basket without having to play the skip.
While both the Birdie and Rhyno have a significantly different feel than more “rounded” putt and approach discs, I would highly recommend adding one of them to your bag for a test run! Having the guts to go at a basket perched on a “slippery” green has never been easier. Instead of throwing your disc and yelling for it to stop rolling, just grab a Birdie or Rhyno and be aggressive, knowing that it will sit flat and quick — enabling you the opportunity for more birdie chances and taking your game to a whole other level!