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Team Discraft's Darren Harper

Darren Harper / Team Discraft NAME: Darren 'Big D' Harper  
TEAM: Masters
PDGA #: 9666
BORN: 1962
day gig: Discraft Molding Technician
disc Cred:
  • B. Hambrick Memorial Champ
  • Can Am Champ
  • 7th at USDGC
  • 22nd at Worlds
  • 5th at National Doubles
  • Michigan State Champ
  • 66 career aces
  • Darren's Disc Golf Tips
    A roller can sometimes be both your safest shot and the most beneficial. Us non-forehand players can get safe with a beat up Xpress or XL in situations like low hanging branches or shots that have to bank way to the right. Using a roller you can get it to the ground in a hurry without risking hitting anything and have it curve way to the right or straight depending on the angle you land it. A quick example is hole 18 at USDGC: OB to the left and OB to the right with the hill going up and then down again to the basket. I took my really beat Xpress and gave it a lot of air. rolling up the hill it is not going to go left being a really beat Xpress and with a lot of speed it is going to belly out and get to it's back before getting to OB on the right, which would give me a shot at three to the basket.

    Save yourself headaches and strokes: when approaching the basket, always take the least obstructed route to make sure you at least give yourself an opportunity to make a putt. Recently I had about 100 feet left on a hole with water to the left, tree in front of me and trees to the right with branches hanging down. My putting had been a little shaky that day and it was windy, so I wanted to put it close and risked shooting a small gap in the tree limbs. I missed the gap. If I would of just played it out and around it would of given me an unobstructed putt. Hit the gaps you know you can hit and stay out of trouble.

    Lots of new and not so new players are obsessed with distance. Why? All you need to win is accuracy and good putting, which of course takes a lot of effort to develop, but they do come with time and patience. You'll start throwing farther as you sharpen your technique. These days the harder holes are more often than not two-shot holes rather than drive-and-putt, so learn how to place your drive. And remember to have some fun. that's what it's all about!

    If you're going to play tournament disc golf, you need to go out today and buy yourself some waterproof socks. They are the number one essential for keeping your feet dry and warm, and the less you can worry about your own comfort, the more you can focus on winning golf.

    Also, try some lighter-weight discs. Tons of Ams will throw max weight discs because they see Pros doing it, but you probably don't have as much spin and torque as those players. Using lighter weights and less overstable discs will most likely help you get better distance, more control and lower scores.

    Most people think if you want the disc to go left, you need a super overstable driver. For a big hyzer around trees that you have to throw high, a flippy driver will glide and pan towards the target, when an overstable disc is wanting to fight and knife into the ground... leaving you short of your target.
    Darren Harper / Team Discraft
    Darren Harper plays Pro Masters or Open these days. He has scored 69 aces throughout his career, including one from 394 feet!
    Course Comments
    Winthrop Gold
    Rock Hill, SC
    OB everywhere... a true test!
    Pinafore Park
    St. Thomas, ON
    I love the atmosphere of the Can Am Finals.
    Hoover Dam (BHMDGC)
    Columbus, OH
    I won the BHMO here, and cemented a bond with the course.
    Mt. Airy Forest
    Cincinnati, OH
    Many picturesque, flowing holes.
    Ludington, MI
    This redesigned course is now the best in Michigan, with great elevation and distance shots.
    Memorable Disc Golf Moment:
    A sudden death playoff at the Brent Hambrick Memorial Open between Mitch McClellen and me in front of a huge crowd. It was right before Worlds, and everyone was there. We both birdied hole one with long putts, and the crowd was going crazy. I was 22 feet from the basket after a long drive on hole two, and Mitch had to lay up to get to me. He wanted me to putt out and end it, but the crowd was yelling 'Mitch is out!' so he putts and misses, leaving me to lay up for the win.
    In The Disc Golf Bag: Drivers
    Disc Comments
    (max weight)
    NUKE flies farther than any disc. Nuke has become my roller as well... it's giving me even more distance on the ground. You should try one!
    Z Crank
    (max weight)
    Experimenting with the Z Crank. Seems to fly a little farther than my Nuke with less effort. As I get older and weaker it will be my go-to, no doubt.
    FLX Surge
    (max weight)
    The Surge is the best driver currently on the market. It's overstable enough to fight the wind if needed, and is an excellent all-purpose driver when you get it seasoned.
    FLX Surge SS
    (max weight)
    Flies like a beat in Surge right out of the box. It's perfect for any long straight shots and I also carry one that has cosiderable wear for anything holes that fade right at the end. Also if you need that hyzer flip up shot, it works really well.
    Z Nuke OS
    (max weight)
    This disc can really fight the wind. A must carry for any player! Faster armed players can get more overall uses out of it. For me you can count on it to not flip over no matter what and that gives you confidence to throw it like you mean it, which is nice.
    Z Crush
    (max weight)
    This is my main driver. I carry a new one that is overstable enough to be used in the wind, and a used copy that will flatten up if thrown hard, or makes a great cut roller. The Crush is very consistent, which is important in allowing me to have the confidence that it will always fly as expected. When it becomes beat up you can use as a great long straight roller disc.
    Z Predator
    (max weight)
    I carry a fairly new one for big headwind conditions or for a grenade-type shot to get up and over hazards. It's very predictable and accurate, and always comes straight down toward the target. For regular air shots this disc will not fly; it wants to hyzer as soon as I let it go, which is great for holding a line into a headwind, or if I want it to knife down hard with no glide.
    Z Talon
    (171 - 172)
    Two are in my bag, both used. One is for straight drives that are a little out of the Comet's range -- like long tunnels with trees - the Talon can take a beating and still seem to retain its stability even after hitting a few things along the way. The other Talon is more used: it will roll easily, but with enough air it can still be somewhat overstable. I can throw it on an extreme angle and flip it through a small gap or other types of trick shots.
    X Xpress
    (max weight)
    I love the Xpress for trick shots galore. Mine is extremely beat up, and is great for quick-turn rollers. It turns so fast that I don't worry about rolling on holes with OB right, because the turn is so quick that it just lays down.
    In The Disc Golf Bag: Midrange
    Disc Comments
    X Comet
    (max weight)
    The X Comet is my bread and butter. If I'm in doubt I'll pull one I've thrown a million times, since I trust what it's going to do in most situations. Trust in your disc means trust in your shot. and usually decent results.

    I throw the older, powdery ones, and carry three: one is brand new, just to have a fresh one if needed. The other two are in various stages of wear; a newer one for straight shots, an older one that turns over easier for controlled turns when thrown slow or easier for it to hold the turn and glide on extreme height anhyzers.
    Z Comet
    (max weight)
    Usually in newer condition, a heavy Z Comet is a little more overstable and I prefer it over the X version in windier conditions. It will also hold its line a little better when thrown hard for distance.
    Z MRV
    (max weight)
    An overstable midrange disc. It was recently discontinued in favor of the Wasp. I carry a brand new one mostly for windy days. The MRV can be thrown hard under normal conditions and flatten up, but I like to use it with some hyzer into the wind when I know a Comet would turn over.
    In The Disc Golf Bag: Putt and Approach
    Disc Comments
    Soft Magnet
    (max weight)
    My main putter. I carry two identical ones with the same weight, color (green for money) and stamp. I try to keep them equally broken in. They're great for practice, repetition, and winning. I always know I can pull either out and it will fly the same as it's brother. They fly nice and straight without much effort, but they're still Magnets, so they aren't affected much by the wind.
    (max weight)
    I keep a stack of fresh, first run Magnets for windy putts. It's overstable enough to take a hard approach throw too.

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