According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the expression “saved one’s bacon” dates all the way back to the 17th Century.
Indeed, the use of the idiom first occurred in 1654 and means “to escape injury to one’s body” or “to keep oneself from harm.” A quick spin around the Internet yields more information, including that the word bacon could have evolved from the word “baec,” which was Old Dutch for “back;” and that people used to literally hang bacon from the ceilings in their home, and it was so valuable due to its long shelf life that people would try to save it in a fire.
On the disc golf course recently, I wasn’t exactly putting myself in harm’s way, or hanging anything up to dry – other than my score, that is. But here’s what popped in my head after I executed a perfect escape shot with the Discmania FD3:
“That disc saved my bacon.”
Maybe I was hungry, or maybe I was just surprised at its performance. Either way, the disc had my baec, er, back.
•Reliable, overstable utility mold
•Swiss Army knife qualities
•Not going to yield big distance at low power
Kicking up the speed a couple notches compared to Discmania’s prior fairway driver releases, the FD3 clocks in with 9/4/0/3 numbers on the standard speed/glide/turn/fade chart, placing it in competition with overstable stalwarts like the Innova Firebird and Discraft Predator. The Finnish manufacturer states that “the FD3 is targeted (for) everyone who can appreciate an overstable driver you can trust in all conditions,” and I can’t say that I disagree. This disc certainly brings the beef in a way that can be relied upon, no matter if the wind is up or your footing is sketchy. It is, without a doubt, dependable.
Currently available as a full production run in the company’s C-Line (transparent premium) plastic and as a fundraiser for sponsored pro Simon Lizotte in a swirly S-Line (opaque premium) blend, I’ve spent the last month or so toying with a 166-gram C-Line FD3. I put it in my bag knowing full well that I wouldn’t use it all the time – it’s summer in Southern California, which means very little wind; and then there’s that whole noodle arm thing that means I am not often throwing overstable discs – and wondered if that might affect how I viewed the disc long term since I wouldn’t be dedicating a vast amount of throws to its use.
So, I stashed it in the bag, but made a conscious effort to bring it out once or twice a round to use in an unconventional fashion – an upshot that I would normally use a putter for, say, or a short drive that I could easily reach with a mid – to see what it could do from a versatility standpoint.
Long story short: It’s incredibly versatile, if not terribly long.
Pick your shot
Not having the power required to use the FD3 as a workhorse driver, I was content to use it in a utility role out of the box. By making this choice, it helped me get a feel for what I could really use this disc for, as opposed to being disappointed that I couldn’t get it up to speed.
Plus, it really showed me that I didn’t need speed to make it effective.
For example, those putter upshots I referred to above? Quite easy to execute with the FD3 on a low-powered forehand approach. Will I always use the FD3 in that situation? No. But I tend to only bag one putter mold, and I like these putters like Switzerland: neutral. If I need something to bite hard at the end of its flight, the FD3 takes care of that much more readily than a putter.
Shots like these – the ones that leave an indelible print on your disc golf memory – are the ones that help a disc stick in the bag like the FD3 has.
There is a bit of a double-edged sword ideal to address when using the FD3 in this fashion, though: This disc can be incredibly forgiving in that you can toss it with little power and play the fade, but if you overpower it you’re going to get a massive skip that will leave you with a long comeback putt. It’s something to keep in mind, but if you execute the shot as called for you’ll be sitting next to the basket.
The FD3 is also the disc I’ve had the most success with in throwing overhand thumber shots. It is very comfortable in this grip, and with a slight 2 o’clock release angle will pan over and land on its flight plate.
This is the same shot that saved my bacon, and I am sure I will go back for seconds…and thirds, and fourths.
I was sitting on my second shot on Hole 18 at Bijou Community Park in South Lake Tahoe. With the basket in the E position, the hole measured a whopping 670 feet, and I had shanked my initial drive off into some shrubbery fewer than 200 feet out. My only chance to get back to the fairway was the overhand thumber, and the FD3 flew straight up, glided a bit, then rolled over onto its back to sit down in the middle of the fairway. Another upshot and a putt later, and I had, miraculously, saved par.
Shots like these – the ones that leave an indelible print on your disc golf memory – are the ones that help a disc stick in the bag like the FD3 has. It possesses Swiss Army knife qualities, able to be used for all sorts of tricks on the course.
The only word of caution
With any glowing praise of a disc’s utility, though, has to come some balance. And that balance is this: If you’re a noodle arm, this disc isn’t going to be used off the tee very often. The power requirement is just too high.
Case in point: Hole 15 at Kit Carson Park is made for a left-handed player like myself, with a perfect right-hand bend off the tee and only 226 feet of length. Throwing the FD3 here at full power, I could muster only about 205 of those 226 feet, whereas I can use a variety of other discs – all of them with lower effort – to put the disc under the basket.
That’s my only word of caution with the FD3: Don’t expect massive distance if you don’t have massive power. If you have a bigger arm, though, you can most certainly handle this mold. With high speed stability to spare, it isn’t turning over.
Even at lower power, though, the FD3 is a worthy addition to both Discmania’s lineup and most players’ bags. It reminds me of an old friend who you don’t necessarily keep in touch with: Even if you haven’t seen each other or spoken in a bit, you know it’s there for you when you need it.
Hokey? Maybe. But we all need someone, or something, to have our backs. The FD3, with its performances in the clutch, can be that something.
Connect with Discmania to learn more about the FD3, as well as the brand’s other offerings:
Discmania FD3 Facebook Giveaway
Think the FD3 should be in your bag? I’m giving away both a C-Line FD3 and an S-Line. Here’s how to win:
1) LIKE Noodle Arm Disc Golf.
2) LIKE Discmania and Discmania Store USA.
3) LIKE and COMMENT on the pinned post for this review at the Noodle Arm Disc Golf page. For your comment, tell me about your favorite breakfast food. Bacon, bagel, cereal? If it starts your day the right way, I want to know.
4) SHARE the review for an extra entry.
The contest will run until Wednesday, September 30 at 9 p.m. PDT, when two random winners will be chosen. Big thanks to Discmania for providing the plastic! Good luck!
Steve Hill is a Southern California-based disc golfer who doesn’t throw very far. Follow him on Twitter @NoodleArmDG.