What Sportscenter Doesn’t Know

This is an amazing shot! PDGA Pro Philo Brathwaite nails an 850 ft. blind throw around trees and it drops into the chains of the basket with authority. Let’s break down the video shall we? The first single shot was in typical golf “flyover” fashion. It takes you from the tee to the hole or just past. The second shot was Philo’s first drive. The third shot was Philo’s second drive or, in this case, you could also say his putt since he nailed the basket. Since this was a par 5 hole and he got it in two, it’s called an albatross (following regular golf nomenclature).

What Sportscenter (or anyone else who doesn’t play disc golf) doesn’t know is that the disc didn’t do anything magical. It did exactly what it’s designed to do when thrown at the proper speed. According to his interview, Philo threw the Innova Star Destroyer for that shot.

Destroyer

If you click on the image, you’ll see the disc on Innova’s site. If you look in the top right, you’ll see the flight ratings of 12/5/-1/3. Great, but what do they mean? Those numbers correlate to Speed, Glide, Turn, and Fade. Here are the brief descriptions of those categories:

  • Speed – Speed is the rate at which a disc can travel through the air.
  • Glide – Glide describes the discs ability to maintain loft during flight.
  • Turn – High Speed Turn is the tendency of a disc to turn over or bank to the right (for RHBH throws) during the initial part of the flight.
  • Fade – Low Speed Fade is the discs tendency to hook left (for RHBH throws) at the end of the flight.

You can find the full descriptions on the Innova site.

While all four elements are present on every throw, there are two primary aspects that made this shot happen – Turn and Fade. This particular disc has a -1 Turn rating which means, for RHBH/right hand backhand (as opposed to forehand) throwers, it is supposed to turn right before it slows and the Fade rating takes over. Since this has a fade of 3, it’s got a fairly good left hand hook. Now take a look at Philo’s second drive again and you’ll see what I’m saying. The disc didn’t do anything special or magical.

Let me be clear, this doesn’t diminish the flat out brilliance of the shot. Doing that at a distance of 850 ft without being able to see the hole is incredible and Philo deserves all the accolades he’s gotten for the shot. I find it that much cooler because I got to meet him when my buddy, Jason, was here for the Kansas City Wide Open.

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