REVIEW: The Stokely Discs Wren

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Procrastination, in all of its unholy forms, is a real pain in the ass.

Procrastination for fear of failing to reach perfection is a particularly nasty disease, especially for the creatives among us.  Nothing is ever finished.  We need an editor, a deadline, or a sign from the universe to let us let go of a project, or to call off a pursuit.

This is true for this review, which has sat, largely written, for several weeks.  Then, an ace.  Ace number six in my lifetime, and with a Stokely Wren.  If that’s not a cosmic force snatching you be the earlobe and dragging you to the desk, I don’t know what it.

So, without further adieu, my review of the Stokely Discs Wren.

* * * * *

The way in which we’ve had evolution explained to us throughout our lifetimes has been rather consistent – like the process itself.  It’s a steady, purposeful path that trudges through millennia, producing minute changes, imperceptible thanks to the forever-too-short lifespan of we human beings.

Outside of the obvious biological examples, however, evolution has no such impedance.  In art, for instance, we witness sweeping, revolutionary moments over the course of years, days, or even hours in this world made minuscule by social media.  This has been true from the impressionist movement of the late 19th century to the high-speed, post-COVID rise and fall of NFT’s.

In sports, evolution occurs just as rapidly, if not more so…particularly when we begin to include the nuclear-level mutational power of cash.  A trend appears, or a technology is revealed, (valid or not), and the titans of industry begin to sharpen their fangs in anticipation of the hunt.  They’ll need to separate their piece of pie from the rest of the dish in a hurry, and by any means necessary.

In the year of our lord 2024, disc golf’s evolution has been undeniable, particularly as it pertains to the outward appearance of the sport to the masses.  The DGPT’s near-monopoly on the media wing of the game is to blame here, at least in large part, as they’ve aimed the barrel of their viewership down the only path they’ve ever equated with success:  The ESPN model.

This is, of course, not exactly where we fit in the sports-entertainment universe.  You can tell by the way that they sneer at us whenever we land in the Sportscenter Top 10.  Yet still, the powers that be behind the four-letter agencies of our sport are clamoring for something indistinguishable from those who act too distinguished to find us legitimate.  It feels like a losing bet in the long run, but they don’t need our permission to wrap this proverbial car around a telephone pole.  We handed them the keys years ago, just happy that someone was taking disc golf out of its comfort zone.

I say all that to say all this:  Stokely Discs is not the first plastic offering from pioneering professional-turned-global ambassador of the game Scott Stokely.  His first go at creating a brand came about a decade ago under the name Fly High.  And yes, that is the double-entendre that you think it is.

Fly So Friggin’ High, Bro *COUGH*

The sheer amount of social media shit that Scott Stokely would get for dropping these model names in 2024 would be absurd.  The r/discgolfcirclejerk server would be running hot.  This isn’t the sort of thing that fits into the manipulated modern vision of disc golf – a vision that didn’t exactly exist in the mainstream 9 years ago.

And, like the sport itself, Scott Stokely has evolved.  These new, modern Stokely Discs will begin their run with bird names – a pretty ballsy choice given Innova’s literal decades of scouring Audobon Society coffee table books for their next hit midrange’s moniker.  Scott likes a challenge.  We all know this.

But does this latest entrepreneurial incarnation of the Scott Stokely career machine have the wingspan to soar with the big boys, or will this be a case of Icarus flying high, right into the sun?

* * * * *

Goddamn is this thing grippy.

Stiff side of the spectrum, certainly.  But the gooey-ness of the hand feel begets a feeling of floppiness that just isn’t there.  Like, the ghost of firmness is probably in the room with us, but we can only see it out of the corner of our eye.  My mind usually equates “grippy” with “soft”.  The Wren in Strato plastic is putting a dent in that mental association.  Grippy + Soft conjures the mind’s-eye image of miraculous, wrong-side catches by even the oldest baskets.  It reminds us of those ancient R-Pro plastics somehow backspinning on a low, left-side putt, gnawing at the chains with their cratered edges and warped facades, somehow dropping softly into the bucket as though it was born there.

The Wren has some of that grip to it, but doesn’t feel like the kind of disc that’s going to dent and bubble and crease like the old R-Pro.

On the profile, from the flight plate to the parting line, it’s hard to tell the Wren from a JK Aviar.  The wing, however, is the dead giveaway.

The somewhat-extreme curvature of the Aviar gives way to a pronounced, vertical bend. On the Wren, the angle of this wing is more pregnant.  More bulbous.  And it’s beadless to boot.

This give the Wren a far more modern feel when held in the throwing grip.  Its profile slots neatly into the grooves of my fingers, and the bloated wing feels poised to exit my grip with ease.  Even without a discernible bead, the Wren feels well-gripped, and there is no fear of slippage thus far.

There is no doubt in my mind that this plastic blend is a product of EV-7 just by touching it.  The telltale chalkiness is enough to bet a paycheck on.  Tacky, stiff, and reeking of “Premium +” base plastic.

 

But handfeel isn’t everything.  How does the Wren fly?

For putts, she’s about as neutral as one would expect from a brand’s flagship putter.  Aviar-esque, with perhaps a hair less bite at the end of a circle’s edge spinner.  No inherent weirdness or out-of-place wobbles, and the Wren definitely appreciates a snappy release, flowing into flight gracefully as RPM’s are increasingly applied.  She takes to the air just as well as she snatches links.

But this thing isn’t just for putts.  It’s for putts and for approach shots.  It says so right on the disc.

This is where Maury Povich would do the big reveal, stating that the test results indicate Scott Stokely is telling the truth.

Neutral would be an adequate way to describe the Wren’s longer flights, from distances far beyond circle two.  She’ll flip and hold right if you need her to directly out of the box, but the Wren is far more useful for tight, straight windows into slippery greens.  It doesn’t take too too much to get the Wren moving straight ahead, and the comfort of the release allows for quick power on shortened or obstructed swings.

Is the Wren going to replace your go-to driving putter?  There are plenty of folks who might answer “no” here, but the point-and-shoot capabilities of the Wren could be its ticket to making your bag anyway – especially if you’re throwing wooded courses more often than not.

As dreamy as the Strato plastic is in the hand, the Wren is going to be a cycled disc for serious players – especially if you lean heavy on the latter half of the “putt and approach” designation.  A few weeks of banging chains and trees created noticeable differences in the flight of the disc, but there were no major pockmarks from regular use.  There was nothing out of the ordinary when it came to durability, and for the price point the Wren was fairly robust.

Strato is base plastic when it’s all said and done, but damn fine base plastic for sure.

After all this, where exactly does the Wren fit in your bag?  If you’re far too dedicated to your current putting putters to dare switch over to the Wren, this disc is going to slip right into the neutral upshot slot, but I would encourage anyone to give the Wren an audition for the almighty #1 putter slot.  The handfeel breeds consistency and confidence.  Trouble-shooting and calibrating your putt are a breeze thanks to its reliability, and the blend of the plastic is very adept to catching and sticking in even the stingiest basket designs.

Will the Wren be staying in my bag?  Yes.  At least for a while.  It’s a disc with an archetypal flight path – a staple slot – but with the added modernity of high-end plastic and production quality.  It’s the past and it’s the future in  some ancestral way.  It’s nostalgia and noveau and a near-perfect rebrand for disc golf’s original journeyman.

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