The popularized video segment known as an “In the Bag” has given fans a look into what their favorite pros are carrying around on the course.
You might catch a glimpse of their putter and the two backups they carry, or get a few extra seconds to stare at their favorite driver as they relive an important shot with you, but the insight usually ends there. You never get to hear about the specific runs, plastic types of certain discs, or what makes the stamps so sentimental to certain players.
Some players have one-of-a-kind runs, others have interesting acquisitions stories and a few carry discs with extreme financial value. We’ve taken the time to speak with several top pros in our “Behind the Bag” series to reveal the stories that fans care about.
Next up: Sullivan Tipton
Putt and Approaches
Paul McBeth 5x Gold Claw Set ESP Luna - This particular disc is one of a handful of high-value discs in Tipton’s bag. There were only 500 of these run with gold claws and 500 with silver claws. During production, a few misprints were created and Tipton’s is one of them. His Luna features a double-stamped version of the gold claw stamp, meaning this particular disc actually shows eight gold claws and one black one. He acquired it as a gift from Discraft’s team manager, Bob Julio, at the 2022 USDGC.
Paul McBeth 4-claw Zone - This Zone is yet another collector’s disc in Tipton’s bag. He ordered it the minute the inaugural Paul McBeth discs dropped in 2019, but collectability has nothing to do with it. He said it flies like no other Zone he owns.
Z Sol - It all started as a joke between Tipton and his friend during COVID. They each picked up a Sol from their local shop and started playing rounds with it for entertainment. The Sol’s understable flight characteristics allow for a lot of crazy release angles and trick shot capabilities. “After a while we realized the disc is actually insane,” he said. “We were able to throw shots with it that we couldn’t throw with any other disc. I created a slot in my bag for it.” Tipton now uses the Sol for technical, hyzer-flip forehand touch shots in the woods, something most players are not capable of throwing.
2010 ESP Buzzz - Tipton got this one from his friend Kody Larson (who has supplied Tipton with multiple discs over the years, several of which are still in the bag currently). Its age and usage history has led to a perfectly broken-in version of the Buzzz and lends itself for straight-to-understable midrange shots, flying very similar to a new Buzzz SS.
Test Flight Athena - Tipton is excited about the flight of the new Athena, specifically the test flights he received from Discraft. He currently bags two of them. “One is more overstable and one is really straight,” he said. “I’m still trying them out, but they’ll fit somewhere in the bag this year.”
Beat the Beast ESP Anax - Tipton’s is one of a few hundred released for the 2019 Beat the Beast challenge at The Toboggan during the United States Amateur Disc Golf Championship. In fact, it is the first official run of Anax’s released. Tipton did not make the trip to the USADGC in 2019, but Larson got his hands on the disc and sent it to him. “It’s beat-in, really straight and flies far,” Tipton said. “It’s probably the rarest disc I have in my bag.”
First Run ESP Force - The Discraft Force was released in 2008, making this the oldest disc in Tipton’s bag. It’s actually only a few years younger than Tipton himself, who was in early elementary school when this disc was manufactured. But he didn’t get his hands on it until early January 2023. “We were in Florida doing a signing for the new Venom test flights and I stopped into a shop in Clearwater,” Tipton said. “The store is called Prime Discs. They have a bunch of crazy first runs and old discs. I found this Force while I was there.”
ESP Force - During his trip to the Jonesboro Open in 2022, Tipton stumbled upon a lost disc in the woods. It had no name and barely any signs of prior usage. The thing that stuck out immediately about this particular Force was the parting line (the thin line on the outer rim of a disc showing where the top of the mold met the bottom in the factory). “The parting line was super, super low,” he said. “It is, by far, the flippiest Force I’ve ever found. I use it for stand-up turnover forehands. I’ll also do rollers with this one.”