If you’re going to dominate that next round of disc golf you’ve got planned, you need to refine that short game, and the best way to do that is to hook yourself up with a slick putter.
Finding heavy usage in pro circuits as well as within enthusiast communities, two putters turning some serious heads at the minute are Gateway’s Wizard and Warlock. They’ve got frisbee-heads all across the nation wondering which they should use to improve their own game.
The problem is that at first glance, they seem like very similar putters. In fact, even their names share a certain lexical proximity. Not to worry though, friends.
We’ve put these two excellent putters under the microscope in order to give you all the essential details and differences.
Spinning a Yarn – The Background
Released in 2002, the Wizard was the first of these magnificent discs to be created and quickly gained a reputation for being one of the most reliable putters on the market.
Fast-forward to present day and not only is the Wizard still considered one of the best discs ever made, its many incarnations have made it a true collector’s item.
Check the Wizard out here, Gateway Supersoft Wizard Disc Golf Putter : Frisbee Golf Putter : Sports & Outdoors, or if you’re after more than one, this Gateway Wizard Putter Approach Disc – 5 Pack should hit the spot.
Initially pegged as an unstable reworking of the Wizard’s putting magic, the Warlock rose to prominence much later.
What Gateway discovered was that despite the changes they’d made to the Wizard blueprint, the Warlock behaved in a rather similar fashion, but not identical.
In light of these subtle yet important differences, Gateway retracted plans to release it as an unstable putter, and instead rebranded it as an alternative stable putter to complement the original Wizard in a set.
Peep the Warlock right here, Gateway S Super Stupid Soft Warlock : Disc Golf Putters : Sports & Outdoors, or better yet treat yourself to the ultimate Gateway-Warlock-Disc-Putter set.
The cause of most of the confusion between these two putters is the fact that their general shaping seems so similar, but upon a closer look, you’ll realize they’re far from identical.
Although both discs feature pointed noses to reduce drag, the Warlock’s is minutely pointier, meaning it will make a cleaner cut through the air.
The angle of these points is very similar, directing the majority of the air over the top side of the disk – a feature that keeps them under control when thrown with force.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though, folks. If you compare the dimensions of these two dynamite discs, you’ll notice that the Warlock is 2mm taller than the Wizard, with a 2mm reduction in rim depth.
What are the real-world effects of these differences in dome dimensions? It’s all in the fade! The Wizard’s signature is a very light fade, while the Warlock finishes things off with a hard fade.
Verdict – No winners or losers yet, folks.
Beaded vs Non-Beaded
The biggest difference – the one Gateway highlights – between these discs is the lack of beading on the Warlock. The beading of a disc is essentially an underside rim.
In the air, it increases stability, making it great during windy sessions on the course or for shaping short-range shots.
On the ground, it acts as a braking system, ensuring it doesn’t slide too far from its landing position. Sounds pretty good, right?
But beading makes a clean release way more difficult as it can easily catch on your fingers, leading to a wobbly flight with diminished range and uncertain direction.
Beadless discs, on the other hand, have a great slide upon landing, making them an essential tool for low ceiling shots where you need to claw a little more distance out on the ground.
They also tend to hold a truer line than their beaded counterparts, so if it’s ultimate dead-straight accuracy you’re after, the Warlock is definitely the right disc for you.
However, beadless designs aren’t quite as reliable as beaded discs in challenging weather conditions.
Verdict – It’s a tie on this front. They’re unique designs, suited for different applications on the course.
It’s a close call on this count, but it appears that with a flight rating of 2/3/0/2 the Wizard does travel around 10 -15 feet further than the 2/3/0/1 Warlock. Having said that, they’re both awesome power discs you can really put some clout into.
To be honest, we’d recommend either of them for some putter driving off the tee. They offer a ton of control, and their high glide design covers some serious ground.
Verdict – This one goes to the Wizard, but it’s no landslide victory by any stretch.
Slower flight is another consequence of a beaded design, so the Wizard lags a little behind the Warlock in this respect. Once again, though, it’s a really close contest.
As the Wizard is quite tall for a beadless disc, it doesn’t zip through the air quite as quickly as you’d imagine, but ultimately, it’s still slightly faster than the Wizard.
Is this a good thing? Well, it depends on your preferences. Many claim that when you’re starting out, using a slower disc will help you get to grips with the game and techniques, and we kind of agree.
Generally speaking, slower discs facilitate greater accuracy, which is, of course, essential in a putter. Having said that, if you can shoot faster discs well, you absolutely should.
Verdict – It’s the Warlock’s game in this round, but don’t discount the Wizard for being slightly slower.
Wizard or Warlock weights range between 160 and 175 grams. You can simply choose which is right for you.
Do bear in mind, however, that competition standard discs have to weigh the full 175 grams, so if you’re training up for a shot at the big time, always choose max weight.
Verdict – It’s another draw.
Let’s get superficial for a second. We know the visual styling of discs has no bearing on their aerodynamics or the way they feel in your hand, but the right look can really inspire you to get out there and practice, so we feel it’s an important topic to cover.
The classic Wizard hot stamp isn’t just iconic, it’s actually an impressively detailed drawing in its own right. Showing the full profile of a quintessential Gandalf-esque character mid-magic, it’s really no wonder why the disc initially took flight on the power of marketing alone.
If you choose the ‘Special Blend’ edition of the Wizard, you’re treated to a psychedelic reworking of the original image, which we absolutely love.
The ‘Money’ edition brings yet another epic illustration to the table featuring a golden wizard magically juggling money — it’s dope, y’all.
Moving on to the Warlock, you’ll find it has a much darker vibe befitting its title.
In place of the cheeky wizard, we have an ominous character with wild dreadlocks and pupilless eyes, reaching out towards us. Is he beckoning us in to join forces, or preparing to disintegrate us with his unholy blood magic? It’s anyone’s guess.
While this image is certainly edgier than the friendly wizard graphics, we feel it’s somewhat lacking in detail, but that’s not to say it isn’t super cool.
Verdict – We’re giving this round to the Wizard for the number of options and the detail of the graphics.
Perhaps purely due to being the older of the two discs, the Wizard brings a slightly wider array of options to the table, but both discs are available as Firm, Super Soft, Super Stupid Soft, or even as ‘SSSS’ models – that’s Super Stupid Silly Soft for the uninitiated.
You can also buy them both as glow-in-the-dark, hemp, and eraser editions, but the Wizard has the additional Pure White Wizard and Money wizard options.
Verdict – We don’t think anyone can deny that the Wizard stormed this round, friends. It’s simply the more fleshed out and versatile series. Hopefully, we’ll see a wider selection of Warlocks in the near future as it’s a pretty young design.
The standard pricing for Wizards and Warlocks is the same. A glow-in-the-dark version of either will set you back a little more, but the prices rise in unison.
Verdict – We’re finishing on a draw.
With two wins to one, the Wizard is technically our winner, but honestly, we feel a set would benefit from the inclusion of both of these discs.
They appear very similar on the surface, but the truth of the matter is, it’s hard to compare them due to their substantial differences.
Sure, they’re both putters, but for some shots requiring over stability, it’s a Wizardy situation, while for others that need more of a fade, there’s simply no substitute for letting your evil side out with the Warlock.
If you’re still stuck on which of these discs to buy, and the subtleties of their aerodynamics isn’t helping, it’s best to focus on how they feel in hand and during release.
If you prefer a beaded putter, go with the Wizard. Should you prefer the sleek feeling of a non-beaded disc, you’ll prefer the Warlock.