By Steve Hill – Noodle Arm Disc Golf staff
As I walked toward my lie on Hole 3 at Kit Carson Park last week – already dejected, having missed my line and clipping a bush to leave me with a second drive to even sniff par – a wave of panic washed over me when I couldn’t find my brand new disc.
Was it at the foot of the bush? Nope. Still stuck in it? Definitely not.
“It has to be here somewhere,” I thought to myself.
I continued in a 15-foot radius from the foliage, combing through every weed and twig, until a thought crossed my mind.
“I didn’t throw it that far, did I?”
Turns out, I did. My shot landed about 40 feet past the obstacle it clipped, providing me a much more favorable opportunity to get up and down for a three.
And that, friends, is the Axiom Discs Insanity in a nutshell. Even when I’m not good, it still is.
The initial offering of four 20-millimeter distance drivers (think: speed 10-11) to be released by the brand this year, the Insanity is billed by Axiom Discs as “a worn-in MVP Inertia” that will be “remarkably straight” for those with “average power.” While I appreciate the minds at Axiom taking care to not hurt the feelings of noodle arms everywhere, the description is enticing. Is there any disc golfer that doesn’t need a “remarkably straight” distance driver?
The Insanity is first being released in Axiom’s Neutron plastic, an opaque blend that most resembles Innova’s Star blend or Discraft’s ESP polymer. My particular Insanity – peach core with a red rim – has a good combination of flexibility and grip to it, even when left overnight in a cold (by Southern California standards, at least) car.
Since the Insanity shares the same “stable-understable” label as the Inertia, I wanted to get the two out in the field and toss them side by side. And, being that I had an Impulse – the most understable disc in the MVP driver canon – sitting in the garage, I thought comparing the three would be even more useful.
So, with a fresh 174-gram Insanity, worn 165-gram Inertia and worn 167-gram Impulse in tow, I headed to the driving range for a few test flights.
From the first throw, the differences in each disc – though subtle – were clear.
The Insanity, for example, feels different in the hand than the Inertia. With a slightly higher shoulder – but still a flat top, as the MVP manufacturing process has come to treat as a standard, not a luxury – it seems domey without being domey. As a thrower who prefers a driver with a more rounded shape, this was a welcome departure from the Inertia.
All three discs were easy to get up to speed, but there were some intriguing differences. The Insanity, for example, held a long, gliding hyzer like it was born to do it – just like that worn in Inertia did. The Impulse, on the other hand, wanted to flip to flat with ease and ride that straight line to the ground unless really snapped hard.
The anhyzer line is where these discs really differ, though. Both the Inertia and Insanity will hold a long anny for about 80 percent of the flight at 300-foot power, then flex out for some excellent distance. The Impulse will ride that same line for almost the entire flight, so it can be used for some long arcing shots but not necessarily the extra length.
After this field session, though, I was buying into Axiom’s claim that the Insanity was a worn Inertia. But the course, as every golfer knows, is the ultimate test.
Nemesis Hole: Defeated (for now)
For its maiden voyage on the course, I let the Insanity handle all drives, tossing my go-to Westside Hatchet to the bench. Nonplussed, the new offering took the opportunity and ran with it like it was Colin Kaepernick stealing the starting quarterback gig from a concussed Alex Smith. The style was a little different – finesse hyzer flips were replaced by powerful flat throws – but the results were often the same and, in many instances, more encouraging.
It was as if I were Jim Harbaugh, and I could see the immediate upside the Insanity would give me over my incumbent starter.
Instead of a disc that might turn over if I wasn’t careful (the Hatchet), I found in the Insanity a reliable turn and gentle, forward penetrating fade. Instead of fading out quickly when I didn’t time the hit properly (the Inertia), I discovered a forgiving driver that wanted to give me distance and control.
But I needed to really see the Insanity shine in prime time to fully hand over the reins, so I took it to my Nemesis Hole.
Everyone has a Nemesis Hole, right? That one hole that, no matter how many different ways you approach it, just seems to get your number more often than not?
For me, that honor is bestowed upon Hole 12 at Brengle Terrace Park. A slight upward gradient is complemented by a straight fairway with the basket sitting to the left and protected by a nest of trees, some 367 feet away from the tee.
In essence, it’s a left-handed thrower’s nightmare. I can’t recall ever carding a birdie on it, and I am generally pumped when I can par it. I’ve tackled it from a few different angles over the years – straight mid off the tee, hyzer flip-to-turnover, overstable flex shot – but I can never consistently leave myself with a good look for a three off the tee. The turnover shot turns over too early and into some low-hanging pepper trees, or the flex shot fades out early and I land in the woods off to the right. So whenever I have a new driver to test, this hole is generally my barometer for success.
After piping the Insanity on a straight lazer down the fairway, it faded gently right and landed safely for my longest shot off the tee on this hole. An easy upshot and short putt later, and I was sold.
But even beyond the proving grounds of the Nemesis Hole, I’m confident recommending the Insanity for fellow noodle arms because – as I mentioned earlier – it doesn’t punish slip ups.
On shots where I have aimed to hyzer flip the Insanity and haven’t been able to dial in the angle correctly, it still cruises a long way relatively forward, as opposed to fading early and leaving me way off the mark. This is a quality I never was able to find in the Inertia, and a main reason I took it out of my bag a couple months back. I know I’m not a perfect disc golfer – far from it – but it’s nice to have a disc that forgives my poor form. It makes me want to commit even more to learning it, almost as a way to thank it for being a friend.
It all comes back to that first shot at Kit Carson. The Insanity gave me its best, even when I didn’t give it mine. The least I can do is repay it by putting it in the bag for awhile.
The Insanity hits retailers tomorrow, March 13.
Steve Hill is a Southern California-based disc golfer who doesn’t throw very far. Follow him on Twitter @NoodleArmDG.