Justin, It's very funny how you divert the discussion to "define a good rod" and "exceptional high standards" etc... Please go back to reread my first post #5 you quote... "I felt it's hard to find bad rod nowaday... " "hard to find a bad rod" is a statement about there are very few bad rods... it is NOT a statement to say "many good rods". you see the difference ? There are many "ok rods", "not bad rods" and "decent rods" in between "good" and "bad" categories.. Just let you know I have an exceptional high standard in rods too... but my "elements" maybe very different than yours... Deer Creek series, in my eyes, is not just a "OK" rods, there are pretty decent rods with some good feel. I won't hesitate to recommend it to any experienced angler, let alone beginners. FWIW, I rarely fish graphite rods nowadays, my arena already shift to fiberglass and bamboos...even in those primitive materials, there are fewer and fewer bad rods... modern lines and newly developed casting techniques are pretty much taking care of any "bad rod" you can find.. (check out greenheart thread I posted couple days ago) Cheers.