The story behind Sapphire
Are distance drivers only for the pros? Absolutely not if you ask us. Latitude’s first distance driver in the Easy-to-Use Line, Sapphire, will be released on February 20. Below you find our product designer Tomas Ekström’s own story about the Easy-to-Use Line.
I saw the light with the KIDD
In 2009 me and my fellow partners talked about what kind of discs the sport was missing. We could all see that most discs were aimed at pros or advanced players, or at least discs like that got all the attention. So we thought, “Why not make a series of discs for people with less arm speed, smaller hands etc.?”
Of course there were “beginner friendly” discs at the time but most of the time they were just “normal” discs in perhaps lighter plastic. No producer had actually looked at the fact that most women or kids have smaller hands. On top of that there is the fact that many beginners, girlfriends, kids, moms and so on mostly inherit old used discs that looked like crap and still didn’t feel or flew well for them. In the fall of 2010 we decided to go forward with this idea of making something that actually felt good in the hand and was “easy to use”.
The first disc I designed was named the KIDD. My intention was to make a disc with a shallow rim that felt good in smaller hands. It should have an understable flight path and have a ton of glide so that, even in low speed, it could actually fly and not just fade out. We made the mold and we tested and were quite happy with the outcome, it flew great for the purpose and felt perfect for smaller hands. We sent the disc to the PDGA for testing and unfortunately it didn’t pass the testing, the diameter was a couple of mm below 21cm… So back to the drawing board to make the change so it would pass the next test. This is a side note but due to the shrinkage in different types of plastics you can actually send in a disc in a plastic that doesn’t shrink as much as the plastic you intend to use, and you might pass the test. We’ve never done that and the reasoning behind the rule is that it’s the mold that should be approved and have the correct values, not the finished product. Quite strange, but that’s how it is. Anyway, we retooled it and it passed the diameter test in Opto plastic.
As you have probably already understood the KIDD was later renamed the Diamond. The thinking about the name change was that the KIDD sounded like a toy, and even if kids was one of the target groups, we quickly realized that many more players could benefit from a disc like this. At the time we didn’t know how well it would sell but calling it a Diamond with an ad like this; “He bought me a Diamond today”, combined with a picture of a confused lady holding a Diamond disc rather than an engagement ring, was kind of appealing to me! I also thought about something I personally thought was cool, a Diamondback rattle snake. That’s why we had a snake on the artwork with a Diamond as an eye. Kids might like an artwork like that, but your wife might hate it… so eventually we removed the snake. The Diamond was released in spring 2011 and was instantly a hit for us.
The result and the response we got from the Diamond told us that we needed a complete set of discs in this category. So it was an easy decision to make a midrange and a putter with the same thinking behind it, easy to grip, easy to throw. We started with a gemstone name for the first disc so the theme of the product line was an easy decision to make after that. The Ruby and the Pearl were released in 2012 and even if they didn’t catch as much as attention as the Diamond, we could see that we filled a hole in many players’ bags. Suddenly they had a lightweight putter with a comfortable grip that was easy to “float” into the basket.
“What can we do next?”, we asked ourselves. Diamond was great but some players wanted something with a bit more stability, especially for headwind shots. The Jade was released in spring 2013 and was similar to the Diamond but more stable and with a bit deeper grip. The Jade worked pretty well for me in Japan Open and I used it a lot on many holes.
Now 7 years after the Jade was born it’s time for a new release in the Easy to Use lineup and we call this one the Sapphire. What we’ve done is to look at the Diamond again and tried to give it more speed and stability without sacrificing the glide. The grip is important and the Sapphire feels closer to the Diamond than the Jade do even if the rim is 2mm wider. My own testing showed me that I gained 30ft compared to the Jade, mostly because it cuts through the air better and doesn’t slow down as much. Compared to the Diamond it’s more stable and can handle more speed. I also had it tested by a woman that likes the grip of the Diamond but feel she could overpower it. The Sapphire worked perfect for her and she really liked the feel of it and how it performed throwing it around 280ft.
Speed: 10 Glide: 6 Turn: -2 Fade: 1.5