Choosing The Right Practice Basket
A practice basket is one of the best ways to keep your putting technique sharp. From time to time people ask which basket they should buy. In this blog post I will discuss four types of baskets and make recommendations for each one.
Let’s break baskets down into four different types:
- Foldable – DGA Mach Lite, Innova DISCatcher Traveler, Innova SkillShot
- Narrow Target – Gateway Bullseye, Dynamic Discs Marksman
- Light-Duty – DGA Mach 14, MVP Hive, Discmania Lite
- Heavy-Duty – Innova DISCatcher Sport, Westside Black, Dynamic Discs Recruit
The two things I ask before I recommend a basket to someone is how much they want to spend, and how the basket will be used. Specifically, how often will the basket be moved around, and will it be used for leagues or tournaments. Generally speaking, I would recommend the heavy-duty baskets for their quality and being the closest to duplicating the performance of a professional-level basket. If you are okay with the weight, bulk, and cost of the heavy baskets, that would be your best bet. However, if you will be transporting the basket a lot, you might not want to deal with the weight and bulk of the heavy-duty baskets. In that case, a light-duty or foldable basket will better suit your needs. Or, if you just want an inexpensive basket to practice with, you’ll be satisfied with the light-duty or foldable types.
Infinite Discs asked a group of us to test all of the baskets mentioned above. After hundreds of putts on each one, from a variety of distances, we compiled our numbers and our opinions based on those numbers. The information below represents our results and views of the baskets.
With that in mind, let’s examine the four types.
This type of basket collapses down and fits inside a bag for ease of transport. They are great for practicing at home, and easiest to take elsewhere. They are comparable in price to the light-duty baskets. The Innova SkillShot has a smaller target area and because of that almost falls into the category of the ‘Narrow Target’ basket type. However, it catches discs much better than the other Narrow Target baskets and for that reason deserves to be in this category. Testing the SkillShot resulted in the most misses, which is not surprising given the smaller target area. The Traveler slightly edged the Mach Lite success rate, but not by much.
Recommendation: The DGA Mach Lite is a quality basket that performs well, is easy to set up or down, and easy to transport. It is the most expensive of the three foldable baskets, but worth the extra money. If budget is more of a priority, you’ll be happy with one of the other two. If you can pay the little extra, it’s worth it for the performance of the Mach Lite.
You are most likely considering this type of basket if you want to fine tune your putting. These don’t catch discs as well (it’s not their purpose) so you won’t haul it to a league or tournament very often. I have a Bullseye and like to use it to practice. It’s nice to train your brain to hit smaller targets. Since it is a smaller target, you will miss a lot more putts than on a regular basket. For that reason, I like to go back to my regular baskets after a bit. Even though you know a lot of those missed putts on a narrow basket would be successful on a bigger one, it’s nice to see a successful putt. I like to say that Narrow Target baskets are better as a second basket.
Recommendation: Both of these baskets are built well and look good, but the Marksman costs quite a bit less. For that reason, I would recommend the Dynamic Discs Marksman.
These baskets are slimmed down versions of the heavy baskets. They have fewer chains, and are lighter and less expensive. They aren’t as easy to fold up and move as the foldable type basket, but are easier than the heavy-duty baskets. Fewer and lighter chains mean more spit outs and misses, but not a significant amount less. These baskets cost $50-90 less than the heavier baskets, making them a good choice if you are on a budget.
Recommendation: I would be happy to have any of these three in my backyard. While testing these baskets we had a slightly higher success rate with the Hive and Lite, but fewer spit outs with the Mach 14. Since it costs a little less, my recommendation is for the Discmania Lite. It’s the least expensive in its class, but performs similar to the other baskets.
The closest to the professional baskets found at the disc golf course, these baskets are great for practicing at home or for playing extra holes at a tournament. Testing this type of basket led to the highest success rate and the least amount of spit outs. They are made well, with the higher price tag to go with them.
Recommendation: Although it costs more than all of the other baskets, the Dynamic Discs Recruit is worth the extra money. It looks good, performs well, and even has a wheel to make moving it a little easier. While testing it, we all liked the feeling of confidence we got while putting on the Recruit. Its large target area and band around the top gave us a great psychological boost. The basket looks and feels like a professional basket, while costing significantly less. Like the light-duty baskets, all three models are good. So, if the Recruit is out of your budget, you can spend a little less with one of the other two and still get a good basket.