At this point, the legend of the Phoenix is so ubiquitous, even the mighty Pharrell is alluding to it in his work. So I won’t bore you with the details of the mythical bird’s demise and ultimate rise.
There is another bird, though, about which I am more than happy to educate you. This one also boasts a backstory in ancient lore – at least in name – and has emerged from the ashes of discontinued status to fill a role in the Westside Discs lineup.
And while that role might be more niche than necessity, that doesn’t make the Swan 1 Reborn any less fun to throw.
Swan 1 Reborn
•Easy in the circle
•Turns over with full power
•Perfect for powered-down approaches
The story so far
Released earlier this season, the Westside Discs Swan 1 Reborn is actually a throwback to the company’s first putter mold, 2010’s Swan. But, according to Latitude 64º mastermind Tomas Ekström (whose company manufactures for Westside), the original mold was scrapped in favor of something that could handle a little more juice.
“When we discussed the Swan in the beginning, we wanted it to be just a putter, not a driving putter,” Ekström said. “So we made it like a really beat in putter with very small fade and a straight flight in low speed. I was happy about it and how it worked, especially on longer putts.”
The mold was not as well-received as anticipated, though.
“So Westside released it as a putter, but people went out and threw it off the tee,” Ekström said. “Then they wrote on social media that it was too understable. They completely missed that it was a putter and should only be used as a putter, not a driving putter.”
Putting the feedback to use, Westside retooled the Swan and re-released it as the Swan 2 later that year.
But there were still players who appreciated the original mold, Ekström said.
“People who originally bought the Swan and understood what it was meant to be loved the disc and started to collect it,” he said. “That went on for a couple of years and eventually the market was ready for the original again.”
Which brings us to today, with the Swan 1 Reborn serving as a truly understable mold to round out Westside’s putt and approach lineup.
Floating to the chains
Currently available in all three of the company’s BT blends of plastic, the Swan 1 Reborn certainly flies as Ekström and crew intended.
From 10 meters and in, the BT Hard Swan I received exhibited a smooth, straight flight toward the pin, requiring very little pop to get moving. Indeed, the disc is incredibly easy to use from the circle’s edge, with just a small hyzer angle needed to make it crash into the chains.
Sporting a low profile and a pronounced bevel to the edge of the wing, the Swan has a very floaty quality to it when used for close-range putting duties. Just a little spin gets it up to speed, and it takes the angle of release quite easily. It is also packed with glide – even more than my usual Dynamic Discs Judge, which I have found to be one of the more glide-heavy discs on the market – requiring a slight aim adjustment to make sure it doesn’t sail high. I don’t mind this change, though, as I can focus on cleaner release mechanics when I am not worrying about having to put too much power behind a putter.
I could use just a little flick of the wrist and send the Swan sailing straight toward the pin, watching it hover to the ground in a very Frisbee-like fashion.
So, for all intents and purposes, Ekström’s design is a success. The Swan 1 Reborn makes an excellent putting putter.
Still – and I have said this in previous reviews – putting putters are so personal that I feel a full review should also address how one behaves when used off the tee, just to give the full spectrum of a mold’s capabilities.
Dial it back
While Ekström lamented the fact that players had said the original Swan was too understable, I can see their point: This disc is, without a doubt, understable.
Too understable, though? I suppose that depends on your power and form.
Personally, there were times when I agreed that the Swan 1 was too understable, but I know that I don’t always release putters cleanly. Plus, I can always add some more pitch to the hyzer angle on release and get it to pop up to flat to hold the line with more integrity. It just takes more precision.
That said, I wouldn’t recommend the Swan 1 Reborn as a workhorse driving putter. It excels at turnover shots and takes extreme finesse to hold a hyzer line without flipping up and/or over. As a result, I see it as more of a utility mold for driving purposes; For players who prefer to use one mold each for the understable/stable/overstable slots in the bag, the Swan 1 Reborn can certainly hold its place.
Where it truly shines, though, is as a powered-down approach putter.
My favorite shots with the Swan 1 Reborn were those from within 100-feet – maybe closer to 75 feet, in fact – where a jump putt was too dicey but a full reach-back would leave me flying by the basket.
Adjusting to a modified fan grip, I could use just a little flick of the wrist and send the Swan sailing straight toward the pin, watching it hover to the ground in a very Frisbee-like fashion. If I pitched the nose up a hair, I could play the fade for a bit more reliability if I wanted to. Either way – similar to how it flies in the circle – very little effort was required to put the disc right where I wanted to. It just wants to float, like its namesake bird cruising across a glistening pond.
That ease of use makes the Swan 1 Reborn an excellent addition that completes the Westside putter family. Adding to the overstable Harp, straight-to-fade Shield, and stable-to-understable Swan 2, the whole lineup now has something that disc golfers of varying ability levels and styles of play can use to suit their games.
It may have taken some trial and error, and five years’ time, but the Swan has truly returned from the ashes.
Connect with Westside Discs to learn more about the Swan 1 Reborn and keep up with future news:
Westside Discs Swan 1 Reborn Facebook Giveaway
Does the Swan 1 Reborn sound like your kind of disc? If so, you’re in luck.
I’ve teamed up with Rob over at Third Coast Discs to power this week’s giveaway. Here’s the deal:
1) LIKE Noodle Arm Disc Golf.
2) LIKE Third Coast Discs.
3) LIKE and COMMENT on the pinned post for this review at the Noodle Arm Disc Golf page. For your comment, tell me your favorite bird. Weird, right? But weird is fun, and the Swan is a bird. It works.
The contest will run until Wednesday, September 9 at 9 p.m. PDT, when a random winner will be chosen. Good luck!
BONUS: If you don’t want a Swan now, Rob is offering a special discount to Noodle Arm Disc Golf readers! Just enter NOODLEARM5 at checkout and you’re all set. Big thanks to Third Coast Discs for the support!
Steve Hill is a Southern California-based disc golfer who doesn’t throw very far. Follow him on Twitter @NoodleArmDG.