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  • Writer's pictureChris Davies. Edited by Martin Galley

World's first look at the RPM Kotuku

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

We don’t see a new disc mould from RPM every day. But hot on the heels of the re-tooling of the Kotare overstable high-speed driver, comes a brand new everyday midrange from Simon and the Auckland-based RPM team. Let’s take a close look at this new Kiwi offering, and see what we’ve got!

Bros For Change 'Kowhaiwhai' pattern stamp

But first, a little history. RPM has been slowly but surely building up its model line, and customer base across New Zealand and the globe, usually adding a single mould each year. Kotuku joins Piwakawaka, Tui, and Kea in the RPM midrange, and continues their theme of New Zealand native bird names and stamps.

Kotuku / White Heron / Great Egret

Kotuku is the Maori name for the White Heron, Ardea modesta. It has always been rare in New Zealand, and is considered endangered, and breeding is limited to just a single Kahikatea forest/swamp location near Whataroa, on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island. A special trip during breeding season is well worthwhile. More information about this beautiful and exotic bird can be found here.

Of some note is that each RPM midrange has a distinctly different leading edge profile. Piwakawaka is somewhat sharp for a midrange giving it an almost fairway driver appearance, Tui is almost round, while Kea is almost square. The Kotuku has a familiar and almost traditional leading edge profile which will feel comfortable in the hands of most throwers.

Kotuku sitting atop Condor from 1991. A 29 year gap.

Traditional midrange profile

Above you can clearly see an evolution of the classic midrange leading edge profile. With the 240mm-diameter Condor from 1991 underneath the Kotuku.

RPM First Run Kotuku stamp

Description & Technical Specifications

Officially designated as “MR3”, Kotuku is a larger diameter, flat-topped, fast-flying, stable midrange golf disc initially available in gorgeous and highly durable Cosmic (transparent/translucent) and Atomic (solid colour) Thermo-Plasticised Urethane – TPU.

Kotuku was approved by the PDGA just 4 days prior to the publishing of this piece, on 16th November 2020.

Minimum diameter for golf discs is 210mm, which is common for putters and drivers. Midrange discs are typically larger, and Kotuku is fairly normal at 217mm, with 14mm for both wing depth and rim depth. It is legal for PDGA play up to 180.1 grams. Full technical specs are available at the PDGA website.

Strangely, the PDGA seems to use a different ruler to me, as I carefully and exactly measured Kotuku (several times) at 218mm, which if resolved by the PDGA will mean a higher maximum weight for Kotuku. In subsequent measuring I found many PDGA diameters to be 1 millimetre smaller than the diameter of the approved disc's actual size. Go figure!

Like the Ruru putt & approach, Kotuku has a microbead. But frankly, it is indistinguishable in the grip, and almost invisible. Its bottom rim is quite sharp, and this gives it a feeling of being slightly deeper than its rim depth would suggest – at least in my hand.

Feel in the hand

This is always entirely subjective but I hope to offer you some insight. Kotuku has a big-ish feel in my hand, which I think is largely due to its sharpish bottom rim, and the square measurements of its wing; 14mm by 14mm.

As a result, big and relatively beefy is how Kotuku feels in my hand. It does not feel shallow, nor overly deep.

The mould is highly polished as there are no tooling marks on the wing or the flightplate. The surface is very smooth, with mirror-like reflections particularly evident on the white Atomic Kotuku.

As with other Atomic/Cosmic discs, with a little moisture on your fingertips, grip level is high.

Also like other RPM discs, the legends “DESIGNED AND PRODUCED IN NEW ZEALAND” and “WWW.RPMDISCS.COM MODEL MR3 PDGA APPROVED” is embossed along the inner surface of the flightplate parallel with the rim. The lettering and the newly added small dating stamps can sometimes be felt with my index fingertip, but it’s not something which interferes with my ability to grip the disc, and I do not need to move my grip to a specific spot on the rim.