What is in OUR bags?

In the past few blog posts concerning the State of Disc Golf Survey, we have established that Innova is the most popular manufacturer in the disc golf world. It was chosen as the favorite brand in every demographic. However, even though Innova led all other manufacturers in popularity, according to our survey, less than 4% of us throw exclusively Innova. As we all know from interacting with other disc golfers, even though we may favor one brand, most of use throw discs from a variety of manufacturers. This blog will explore the variety of brands we throw and give us a good snapshot of what is in our bags.

 

OnlyThrowOneBrand

 

First let’s look at the popularity of the brands that are in our bags. The survey didn’t ask how many discs we had of each brand ­— that would have been too time consuming. It simply asked which brands could be found in our bags. Not surprisingly, the brand that most of us throw is Innova, with 87% of us keeping at least one of their discs in our bag. The next most popular brand is Discraft at 69%. Latitude 64 has 42% of respondents throwing their brand. Dynamic Discs is the fourth most popular disc in our bags at 35%. Rounding out the top five was Prodigy at 28%. Westside, Gateway, and MVP were just a couple of percentage points behind Prodigy, sitting at 26%, 24%, and 23% respectively.

 WhichBrands

Although we can say that Innova was the clear winner with this survey question, it is important to point out the significance of the Trilogy brands (Westside, Latitude 64, and Dynamic Discs) taken as a single entity. Although these three companies are separate, they work together to avoid duplicating efforts, such as manufacturing, distribution, and sometimes disc design.

 BagsWithTrilogy

 

In our survey we asked about the “Trilogy” brands (Latitude 64, Dynamic Discs, and Westside) individually. These are three separate companies, from three different countries, who work together to share some of the manufacturing and distribution workload. Although separate, they market themselves as members of Trilogy. Taken as a single entity, 58% of us have at least one of the brands in our bags. A significant number of us, 15%, have all three Trilogy brands in our bags. If disc golf sales are any indication of Trilogy’s popularity, we have seen their disc orders increase in the last two years so much that they rival Innova’s. Yes, that is counting the three companies as one. It will be interesting to see if the trend continues in the coming years.

 

InnovaDiscraftTrilogy

It is certainly important to consider everyone’s favorite brand as we explore the current state of disc golf. If we favor one brand over another we are more likely to buy and follow that brand to the exclusion of other brands. However, taking a peek inside the bags of thousands of disc golfers can tell a slightly different story than just asking which manufacturer we prefer. Yes, Innova is still the king of the bag. But, with the knowledge that few of us are dogmatic about brands, other disc manufacturers can take solace (pardon the pun) in the knowledge that many of their discs are nestled comfortably alongside the undisputed champ. The question of how much competition in such a relatively small sport is too much may be a subject for another blog. For now, it appears that the competition is good for us as disc golfers. Let the manufacturers develop new molds or materials as they fight for their share in the disc golf market. Meanwhile, let’s go huck!

State of Disc Golf 2015: Do Our Demographics Affect Our Choice of Brands?

In a previous blog discussing the results of the 2015 State of Disc Golf survey, we focused on which disc golf brands we like the most and how that has changed from last year. (If you missed it, click HERE) This blog will look at who we are and whether that affects what brands we throw.

Who are we?

According to the survey, we are male (94%), live in California (7%), are 30-35 years old (23%), consider ourselves Intermediate disc golfers (45%), have been playing for 5-9 years (25%), played 10-15 different courses in 2014 (29%) and have a Bachelor’s Degree (35%). Half of us are currently married, while 43% have never been married.

We also belong to disc golf clubs (57%), own either 21-30 discs or 41-60 discs (tied at 14%), bought 10-14 new discs last year (18%), lost 1-3 discs (48%), chose disc golf as a favorite sport to play (85%), and football as a favorite sport to follow (35%. Disc golf was second at 27%).
After examining all the demographic statistics, we wanted to see if there were trends based on certain aspects of the demographics. For example, does the age of the respondent affect which brand they consider their favorite? Or the skill level? Or the education?

We considered most the attributes of the average survey respondent, listed above, and compared them to the overall list of favorite discs. And, spoiler alert, the results were kind of boring. Regardless of the demographic, nearly all of the results were within a point or two of the overall favorites. There were only a few exceptions, and even those were not extremely far from the overall numbers. They are worth mentioning, though, because of possible long-term ramifications.

Just to recap the previous blog, the top six favorite brands were: Innova (48%), Discraft (12%), Latitude 64 (10%), Dynamic Discs (6%), and MVP and Prodigy tied at 5%.

Disc golf experience

The first question we looked at was “When did you start playing disc golf?” We wanted to see if the length of time we have been playing had any effect on which brands we preferred. The biggest variation from the average results occurred among players who have only been playing a year or less. This was not a large sample size, representing only about 1.5% of the total respondents, so the overall significance of the results carry less weight. Still, this will be an interesting group to watch over the next couple of years. Players from this experience group still chose Innova as their favorite brand, but by a much smaller margin. Only 31% of respondents in this group picked Innova as their favorite, compared to 48% overall. Discraft and Latitude 64 results stayed close to the same as the total results. MVP, Dynamic Discs, Axiom, and Discmania all bumped up several percentage points (see chart for numbers).

Near the other end of the experience spectrum were those who have been playing between 35-44 years. This group made up 3.2% of the respondents. Among them, 42% listed Innova as their favorite, while 15% of them chose Discraft, 3% more than overall. MVP, Dynamic Discs, and Prodigy all held 8% of the vote in this group, which represented an increase for all three brands. Westside was consistent with their overall score.

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Skill level

The survey asked respondents to list what division best represented their skill level. The four choices were: Beginner/Recreational, Intermediate, Advanced, and Professional. For the most part, this category also followed the Favorite Brand category nearly exactly. The Pro’s, representing 8% of the total respondents, had the biggest differences. For them, Innova sat at 46%, Discraft and Latitude were 10%, and Dynamic Discs, MVP, and Prodigy held 7% of the Pro vote.

DiscLevelSkillLevels
Gender

Since men represented 94% of the respondents, it’s pretty obvious their statistics would duplicate that of the overall results. For women, there were a few slight differences. Innova was the first choice with 46%, which was 2% lower than overall, Discraft took second with 11%, and Dynamic Discs rounded out the top three, finishing 9%, up from the overall 6%. Latitude 64 and Westside traded a couple percentage points, with Latitude 64 2% below the overall results and Westside 2% above.

Gender of Disc Golfers
Age

The final demographic we’ll look at in this blog is the choice of Favorite Brand by age group. While all of the age groups between 18-40 years were close to the overall percentage, there were other groups with a few different numbers. Again, the differences were never huge, but enough to mention.

We will start with the youngest age group, 12-17 years old, which represented 2% of the total respondents. Like the newer players that we mentioned at the beginning, it will be interesting to see how or if the numbers in this demographic changes over time. The youngest players chose Innova as their favorite by 5% more than the overall respondents. The increase came at the expense of Discraft and Latitude 64, which were both down a little. Westside was chosen 3% more frequently, while Dynamic Discs was the same percentage as overall, 6%.

The next group to look at is disc golfers 41-50 years old, representing 14% of respondents. This group chose Innova at a slightly lower 43%, compared to 48% of average. Discraft was up to 14%, Latitude 64 was up a tick at 11% and Prodigy was 7%, which was 2% higher than overall.
The 51-60 year olds were a little more favorable for Innova, with 53% of the group choosing the brand leader. Discraft and Latitude 64 were a little less popular, while Dynamic Discs and MVP matched their overall numbers.

The most senior group we will look at is the 61-70 year old disc golfers. They make up 2% of the total and only 39% of them favored Innova. The extra percentage points went to Discraft (16%), MVP and Westside (9% each), and Dynamic Discs (8%). The fact that Discraft is higher is not surprising. But, if we were going to bet on a demographic that would have the highest loyalty to Innova, we would have gone with this one. Innova and Discraft have been around longer than the other brands and people in this age group grew up throwing those discs.

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Conclusion

When we were looking through all of the data, we were hoping to find a few statistical anomalies that could be analyzed and discussed. Although this particular set of data did not have the extremes we were hoping for, just knowing that we as disc golfers are consistent throughout a variety of demographics is good information to have. We will certainly keep an eye on those groups that did vary from the norm to see what changes take place in future surveys.

In an upcoming post, we will look specifically at which brands people are throwing. Remember from the first survey result blog that only 6% of us throw a single brand. The rest of us have two or more brands in our arsenal. We will look at which brands people throw and which new discs people know the most.

Some of the Most Important People in Disc Golf

Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.

~Elizabeth Andrew

Recently, I was reflecting on all of the tournaments that I played in 2014. I won’t mention the total number in case my wife reads this. Let’s just say I was fortunate to be able to attend quite a few. Tournaments are an important part of my disc golf life. Beyond the competition, which I enjoy, is a wonderful social aspect. I met so many really great people throughout the year. It’s tough to beat the camaraderie, excitement, and atmosphere of a disc golf tournament.

While the size, cost, and weather may vary from one tournament to the next, they all have one thing in common: at some point, someone made a decision to organize and run the tournament, then put in a lot of work to make it a reality. I’m speaking of the wonderful Tournament Directors, or TD’s!

I really like the idea that people are so committed to this sport and their fellow disc golfers that they would dedicate their time and effort to run a tournament. I appreciate and respect that. More importantly, I want them to keep doing it! If you like to attend tournaments, I think you’ll agree that we should encourage our TD’s to keep up the great work. Here are a few things we can do for them:

  •  Preregister (if available). Preregistration is the ‘RSVP’ of disc golf. It lets the TD know how many people will attend and gives them time to prepare in advance. That helps them run things in a timely manner. It really benefits us, too, because when things will run smother, we get done sooner.
  •  Do your part by showing up on time, listening to the TD at the player’s meeting, and keeping a good pace as you play. These are more things that also benefit us as participants. Tournaments take up a big chunk of time, but we can help the TD and ourselves by getting there on time and not contributing to delays.
  •  DON’T COMPLAIN TO THE TD! We may have issues with how a tournament was run, but complaining is not the best approach, particularly on the day of the event. If we’re angry or dissatisfied with certain aspects of a tournament (players pack, payouts, cost, pin placement, etc.), taking a day or two to think about it or talking to our friends about it might help us realize our issues aren’t as big as we thought. Maybe what we were concerned about wasn’t even the TD’s fault. If we still think it’s something the TD should hear about, we should send them a respectful email discussing our concerns. Most TD’s I know would like to hear ideas for improving their tournaments. By offering calm, constructive suggestions, TD’s are more likely to listen. And, more likely to continue running tournaments.
  •  Thank the TD! At the very least, tell them “thank you” at the end of the tournament. It feels good, for us and them. At a few tournaments I’ve been to, some of the participants circulated a tournament disc for everyone to sign as a surprise ‘thank you’ gift for the TD. I like that simple way of showing them that we appreciate them and their efforts. They will remember the gesture and be more inclined to do it again.

Disc golf tournaments are a fun part of our sport. Let’s make sure they continue by making life a little better for the people willing to run them. I would love to hear your thoughts about TD’s, their hard work, and ways we can make their lives a little better.

State of Disc Golf 2015: Manufacturer Overview

Before you read:

To understand how Infinite Discs has come to conclusions in this article, please read our State of Disc Golf 2015: Introduction post.

Which brand is the favorite in 2014?

Innova ran away with the title of most popular brand again in 2014. While that fact may not be surprising, what stands out is the amount of increase in popularity from 2013 to 2014. This year, nearly half of all respondents chose Innova as their favorite brand of disc (48%). According to last year’s survey, 38% of disc golfers chose Innova as the favorite brand. That is a sizable increase in one year.

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[one_half]Coming in second place  is Discraft at 12%. That percentage is down slightly from 2013. Third place belonged to Latitude 64 with 10% of respondents listing them as the favorite. Dynamic Discs came in next at 6%, followed by MVP and Prodigy, with 5% each. The top six manufacturers stayed in the same order from 2013, with their percentages changing only slightly.

It isn’t surprising that Innova remains at the top of the disc golf world. They have a long, thriving history, the largest selection of models and plastics, they are made in America, and they sponsor three-time World Champion Paul McBeth. They are an established institution in disc golf.

Because of its dominance, Innova is also sold in department and sporting goods stores, in addition to specialty disc golf shops. For that reason, many respondents are only familiar with Innova.

2014 Survey Change

Last year, in many of the survey questions, several brands were combined and listed as a single manufacturer. For example, Latitude 64 manufactures Dynamic Discs and Westside (also known as Trilogy). This year, “Trilogy” brands had 19% of this pie.

Likewise, MVP and Axiom are made by MVP and 6% of the pie.

This year, and in future surveys, each individual brand will be considered separately so its changes are clearer from year to year. In this summary, we will mention the combined statistics for comparison.

Brand Loyalty

Only 6% of disc golfers are so loyal that they will only throw discs from one manufacturer. Most respondents choose from a variety of brands. That’s important because it says that even though people have their favorite brand, they are willing to try different ones. Of the 6% who only throw one brand, 61% of them chose Innova, while Prodigy and Discraft loyalists represented 14% each. Vibram came in at 3%, Legacy just over 1%, and all other brands less than 1%.

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Not surprisingly, when asked if you HAD TO throw only one brand, which you would choose, the results were nearly exactly the same as the favorite brands. Only a percentage point at most separated this category from the favorites. Last year Latitude 64 was selected by 20% of the respondents, but included Westside and Dynamic Discs brands. This year, adding the numbers from those three brands, we get 21%, which is nearly identical.

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What does the future hold?

While Innova remains the undisputed king of disc golf, several smaller brands are releasing popular discs and working hard to claim their share of the market. That is good, because competition among manufacturers is healthy for the sport. Several statistics indicate that smaller companies are making headway.

Most Anticipated Releases

To start with, in addition to the fact that most respondents throw several brands of discs, the survey also indicates that they like to know what discs will be released from many different manufacturers. Which brand’s releases are people looking forward to the most?

Innova still leads at 33%. After them is Latitude 64 at 11%. Dynamic Discs was the third most anticipated brand with 10%, followed by Discraft, MVP, and Prodigy with 9%, 8%, and 7% respectively. Westside rounds out the top seven with 5%. Even though 48% of disc golfers chose Innova as their favorite disc company, only 33% anticipate its releases more than other brands.

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Last year, Innova received only 16% of the votes, showing a major increase this year. On the contrary, MVP was the most anticipated in 2013 and has dropped off significantly. At the time of this survey in 2013, MVP had just announced the Axiom brand (which is now its own option in this survey), and rumors of their distance drivers were on the horizon.

When we combine the Trilogy numbers for this year, we get a total of 26%, which is up quite a bit from last year’s 18%. Innova’s and the Trilogy’s increases came at the expense of MVP and Prodigy, who decreased 12% and 7% respectively. Discraft’s anticipated releases raised slightly, from 8% to 9%.

Most Innovative Brand

When it comes to innovation, the race is a little tighter among manufacturers. Innova is perceived to be the most innovative company, and garnered 27% of the votes, up from last year’s 17%. MVP was not far behind this year with 19% of respondents.  That is a decrease from 38% last year. Latitude 64 was next with 12%, followed by Dynamic Discs and Prodigy at 9% each. Vibram, the only company making discs out of a different material, carried 7% of the votes. Discraft sat at 5%. Comparing Trilogy brands to last year shows an increase from 11% to 21%, which puts them in second place.

While some brands have taken strides in innovation, we feel that a few have accomplishments worth emphasizing:

Trilogy Brands

In 2014, the efforts put in collectively by Trilogy brands have been amazing and they receive our vote as the most innovative. They have diversified their product lineup, popularized the Missilen, which has divots in the plastic for increased aerodynamic properties, and have launched a new blend of plastic which is durable, transparent, flexible, and grippy. But, outside of the product line itself, Dynamic Discs has raised the bar in marketing and creating a premium identity within the industry. Singling out Dynamic Discs within the Trilogy category, they have launched an app specifically for their home National Tour tournament, the Glass Blown Open (which is already sold out at 900 competitors), they have created beautiful short video teasers for new releases, and they sponsor weekly podcasts (which is not new this year). In the end, hats off to Dynamic Discs for their all around efforts to innovate, not just in plastic, but in overall growth for disc golf.

MVP

For how small and young MVP is, they garner many votes in this category. MVP has the best overmold in disc golf. Because it is so unique, it will always stand out as innovative, even if it was introduced long ago. That’s not to say MVP was not innovative in 2014. This year MVP introduced the only overmold discs to ever see the fairway, and they have expanded their product lineup to bring brilliant colors. It’s clear that with MVP their mantra is “If you are going to do something, do it well”. We sometimes consider MVP the “Apple” of disc golf.

Prodigy

In 2013, Prodigy faired well with the amount of new releases, unique plastic blends, and “easy release technology” (which we don’t hear about often anymore). In 2014, Prodigy introduced a new basket with inner horizontal chains which make a chain-out impossible when you hit the target zone. It will be interesting to see how this innovation affects the sport moving forward.

Innova

Innova does something new on an annual basis. In 2013 they began production of overmold discs. In 2014 they created GStar plastic and released it in several popular molds. GStar is a unique blend which is opaque, flexible, durable, grippy, and attractive.

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Largest Impact on Disc Golf

The survey also sought to find out which company had the largest impact on disc golf in 2014. The top vote recipient was Innova, who edged out Prodigy, 26% to 22%. Dynamic Discs received 17% of the votes, Latitude 64 got 8%. Discraft and MVP rounded out the list of companies making the largest impact, with 6% and 5% respectively. Innova and Prodigy sponsor a majority of the most widely recognized and skilled disc golfers in the world. That exposure undoubtedly contributed to the high numbers for those manufacturers in this category.

In addition, Innova’s impact on disc golf for simply being in so many stores cannot be measured. How often are players introduced to disc golf while browsing for discs at Hastings? Even Innova may have a hard time calculating that number. Because of the availability of Innova product, more people become attached to disc golf.

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Last year Prodigy was voted as the top company to impact disc golf with 40% of respondents. Innova was a distant second with 16%. MVP held a larger share than this year, sitting at 12%. Latitude 64 took fourth with 11%, compared with this year’s combined Trilogy result of 27%.

Best Reputation in Disc Golf

Which disc golf brand has the best reputation? In the most lopsided category, Innova crushed the competition with 58% of the votes. The next closest was Discraft at a distant 12%. Dynamic Discs had 8%, and Latitude 64 had 7%. MVP and Prodigy tied at 4%. That says a lot about Innova when people who throw other brands still respect them.

Last year Innova also led the category with 51% choosing them. Discraft took second last year with 16%. Latitude 64 and MVP rounded out the top four with 11% and 7%. The Trilogy result for this year is 16%, which is still significantly behind the leader, Innova.

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Summary

Innova dominates the disc golf world, but certainly has a lot of competitors hungry for a bigger slice of that growing pie. What would it take to unseat the giant? Major breakthroughs are rare in disc golf. True, discs come along that certainly make waves, but what new development will occur that might allow one of the smaller manufacturers to become the new number one? Maybe a new plastic type? Or new material altogether?  It’s more likely that smaller brands will just need to expand their lines to offer a bigger variety of speed and flight characteristics. And, just keep getting their name out there. Sponsoring disc golfers, sponsoring major tournaments, and offering specialty tournaments might turn the tide for Innova’s competitors. Perhaps smaller companies might focus on introducing new players to the sport. That would grow the sport, the customer base, and possibly create lifelong, dedicated fans of their brand.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to share a little part of your disc golf world. The results will be posted in periodic blogs at InfiniteDiscs.com, each blog covering different aspects of the survey.  If you would like to be alerted to new posts, scroll down to join the Infinite Discs mailing list.

In coming articles we will explore more nuances of respondent’s choices for tops brands. We will examine who the typical disc golfers is, and how that affects which brands they prefer. We will also look at who is switching brands and which companies they are moving to and from.

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