State of Disc Golf Results: Tournaments

 

Once again, tournament season is upon us. We’ve already seen the top pros battle it out on some of the first big events of the year. For those of us that love to watch the pros compete, this is a great time. We have video of the tournaments that have already taken place, and the anticipation of our favorite locations yet to come. We’ll explore the State of Disc Golf survey results revealing our interest in watching and cheering for professional disc golfers in a future blog. For this week’s blog, let’s take a look at OUR participation in tournaments.

Playing Tournaments

Along with the pros returning to the tournament scene, those of us who enjoy participating in tournaments are also getting busy checking out the local and regional competitions. Not only have I signed up for several upcoming tournaments, I’ve also scheduled dates for when registrations open, to make sure I can sign up before they fill up. (I would like to explore how many tournaments reach capacity and how fast in future surveys.)

I’m somewhat hooked on tournaments and try really hard to make sure I attend my favorites. Not everyone feels the same about competing, which is why we asked questions about tournaments in our State of Disc Golf survey. We asked WHY you attended tournaments, if you did, and which kind you attended. We also asked what keeps you from playing in tournaments, and what it would take to make you start.

 

There are a variety of reasons why we play disc golf, and regardless of the reason, many of us enjoy the competitive side of the sport. There is something about our nature that makes us want to compete. I’ve noticed that for many of us, participating in an event fills that need, even if we don’t think we can win. Others DO want to win and will take steps to make that happen. Still others are completely fine playing casual rounds alone, just competing to beat their own records. Let’s see what the survey reveals.

 

Tournaments: Yes or No

 

Let’s look at the first tournament-related question, “Did you play in at least one disc golf tournament or event in 2021?”

 

Although over half of us say we played in a tournament, I expected that number to be higher. Since there are so many casual tournaments and events, which bring out people who ordinarily wouldn’t play in more serious tournaments, it just seems like there would be more of us competing. We’ll look at why people don’t compete later, but for now let’s look at the types of tournaments we attend.

What Kinds of Tournaments?

Of those who indicated that they did play in a tournament in 2021, we asked which type of tournaments they played: sanctioned or non-sanctioned. Of the 4,476 people who played a tournament last year, 75% played in a non-sanctioned tournament, and 81% played in a sanctioned tournament.  Here are some graphs showing how many of each type of tournaments we attended.

 

Why We Compete

 

Personally, I like the social aspect of competing. There are a lot of people in other areas that I only see at tournaments. It’s great to reconnect with them. And to compete against them. Most of us have a few reasons for playing tournaments. Let’s look at the survey results to see what some of those reasons are.

 

About 3/4ths of us enter a tournament for the competition. Seems kind of obvious, but that still leaves about 27% of us who don’t care about competing. The second most popular response is to try new courses. A third of use listed that as a reason for competing. Although I agree with the response, and it is definitely on my list, It surprises me that the percent is that high. Most of the tournaments that I play in are at courses I’ve already played. It’s kind of rare that I compete on a course I’ve never played before.

I like the third most popular reason people list for playing in a tournament, which is for the prizes or payout. Over 73% of us want to compete, but only a fraction of that number are doing it for the winnings. It makes me think that these same people would be competing with their buddies in a casual round if they weren’t playing at a tournament. Our species likes to compete!

No Thanks!

When I talk to people about tournaments, the number one reason people give for not competing is because of their skill level. They assume that everyone else at a tournament will be better and/or more experienced. I expected that to be a top reason selected in the survey. It turns out that it was the second most popular. The number one reason is because of time, or the lack of free time. Most sanctioned tournaments are at least two rounds, which is a big time commitment. We asked the people who said they don’t play tournaments what reasons they have for not playing. Here are the survey responses.

 

 

This Year VS The Past

As I mentioned near the beginning of the blog, the data showing the number of people who did and didn’t play tournaments in 2021 surprised me. I see tournaments filling incredibly fast and I see newer players getting into the tournament scene, so the ratio seemed odd. To confirm my suspicion, I pulled up the results of prior surveys to see how they compare to the most recent survey. Here are the results of the question about tournament play for the years 2015 and 2019:

 

 

 

Clearly, we’ve seen more interest in playing tournaments in the past. The pandemic undoubtedly played a part in the lower numbers. It also contributed the larger number of newer players.  We know from the survey results that a good number of people didn’t play because they don’t feel like they are good enough. However, if you look at how fast many tournaments fill up, it is evident that there is a large number of people that want to compete, despite the percentage of people who don’t want that experience.

It is the fact that we do fill so many tournaments that I don’t worry about people who don’t want to play them. Not only are tournaments not in danger of going away, the bigger problem might be that there aren’t enough to go around. Whether or not future TDs need to consider some of the reasons people have given for not attending tournaments remains to be seen.

We would love to hear about YOUR tournament experiences and what you see tournaments looking like five years from now. Post below and let us know your thoughts.

 

 

State of Disc Golf Results: How Often We Play

As I write this blog in early March, it has been snowing recently and the temperature will approach zero tonight in northern Utah. I suspect there will still be a few local golfers that will still huck today. However, most of us will be holed up inside, waiting for a reprieve from the inclement weather. While we still play disc golf year ‘round here, there are days that the local courses remain empty, or nearly empty. Almost every time that happens, it is related to bad weather.

How often we get out to play can be heavily influenced by where we live and the weather conditions we experience. Extreme temperatures, rain, snow, and excessive winds can reduce our playing time. The level of our desire to improve also plays an important part in how much time we carve out to throw. And of course we all have life events that dictate our free time or lack thereof, such as school, family, and careers.

How Often We Play

In this blog we will explore the survey question that asked how often we get to play disc golf. We’ll breakdown those numbers based on where we live and our skill level, to see if those factors play a part in how often we play. And we’ll look at other demographics, liked age and gender, just to see if we can find any interesting numbers.

The question we asked in the survey was, “On average, how many rounds of disc golf did you play per month in 2021?” The options to choose from ranged from zero to ‘31+’ days. Here are the survey results. The first graph shows the results in raw numbers, and the second graph shows the results as a percent of the total.

 

 

 

Over ten percent of us are getting out to play 20 or more times per month, which is a lot of disc golf. If you are playing competitively, you are likely one of the more frequent players. Nearly a fourth of us are playing, on average, at least once every other day.

At the other end of the active spectrum, a tiny percent of us aren’t even averaging one round per month. Maybe from injury? Or an excessively busy schedule? Whatever the reason, at least they were able to fill out the survey!

The ‘one-percenters’ in this survey average more than one round per day. Whether they are going out a couple times per week and getting multiple rounds each time, or playing at least one round per day, they are the lucky ones. Or they are unemployed or retired, or professional disc golfers.

Where We Live

I started the blog discussing the weather and how it affects local disc golf. My first thought in seeing the results is that there may be a direct correlation between where we live and how much we play. Yes, we CAN play in pretty much any kind of weather. We are just more easily motivated to play when the temperatures are above a certain temperature, and when the ground isn’t covered with snow, ice, or mud.

To test my hypothesis, I took all of the southern US states and Hawaii, compared the number of rounds they played per month with the rest if the country. Not an exact science, but there is a reason why many pros gravitate to those states in the winter. Low temperatures and poor weather can still a factor, but winters in the states north of them are colder and have more snow. For the comparison, I took Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Hawaii. I compared those to the rest of the states. Here are the results, shown as a percentage of people in each group:

So much for that theory! There were some categories that the Southern states were slightly higher in, and others they were slightly lower. Overall, we can’t conclude that the states with warmer winters get in more rounds. Their hands may be less numb, but they aren’t playing more than the rest of us.

Skill Level

Another aspect of disc golf that I wanted to explore is to see if there is a correlation between our skill level and the number of rounds we play per month. My initial thought is that someone who plays more, gets better and considers themselves as a higher level player. Also, we could say that someone who is as better player may be more interested in playing more to maintain a competitive edge in leagues and tournaments. Below is a chart showing the percentage of each skill level, according to their monthly number of rounds.

 

This time the numbers are more aligned to what I would expect. Professional disc golfers represent a higher percentage of each number category above 15 per month, and is second to advanced players in the 10-14 category. In fact, the skill levels in the categories above 15 rounds per month are in order, from low to high, according to skill level. Conversely, beginners and intermediate players take the top spots in the categories below 10 rounds per month.

 

Conclusion

 

Since we are all active enough in the sport of disc golf that we took the time to fill out a survey, read the results, or both, we all enjoy the time out on a course. Sometimes the number of rounds we play in a month is dictated us and our desires, and sometimes it is dictated by our schedules and life circumstances. Hopefully, this year will see us getting in a few more rounds per month than last. We’ll conclude this blog by comparing last year’s results to a few years ago.

It is rather impressive how similar the results are from the prior survey. In every number category the results are practically the same. With all of the growth we’ve seen recently, and the life-changing pandemic, we are still throwing at about the same amount as before. Perhaps that is a good thing.

Tune in next week when we will look at more survey results.

Introducing Clash Discs

 

 

 

 

Clash Discs

 

Tucked between the countries of Sweden and Russia to the east and west, and Norway and the Baltic Sea to the north and south is the country of Finland. It is home to professional disc golfers Eveliina Salonen, Henna Blomroos, and Seppo Paju. On the south end of the country lies Helsinki, the capitol of Finland.  Further north and east from Helsinki you’ll find the municipality of Kontiolahti, which has over 20% of its area covered by water. It is about 50 miles from the border of Russia, and it is home to Clash Discs.

Filling a Need

 

Like many ventures, Clash Discs was born out of a need. Clash founder, Timo Nuutinen, discovered that his oldest son had borrowed then lost, one of his other son’s favorite discs. The disc was out of stock everywhere and became impossible to replace. That was Timo’s light bulb moment. He figured that the solution was to make his own discs. And a new discs golf company was born.

Clash Discs started in early 2021 and saw its first prototypes by summer of that year. Those prototypes were putt/approach discs. After receiving positive feedback about the molds and plastic from those who tested the discs, the company began selling discs locally by late 2021.

 

Signing a Pro

 

For such a young company, Clash Discs made a big splash in disc golf when they announced the signing of touring pro Nikko Locastro with a six-figure contract. The contract stipulates that Nikko can throw an ‘open bag’, which allows him to throw other brands besides Clash Discs. Even so, Nikko said that some of the Clash molds immediately made their way into his bag.

“(Their) plastic feels high performance and flies true. Several discs made my lineup from the very first box I opened. Looking forward to progressing with this company by working together,” said Nikko.

The plastic that Nikko is referring to is called Steady Plastic. It is the plastic type used to make their first few releases. It has some good grip to it, and both looks and feels amazing! Just like a premium plastic. It is also durable. Another plastic that will be available soon is Hardy Plastic. It is sturdier, more durable plastic that will give discs an even longer life. Clash also has plans for a Glow plastic.

Clash Molds

The first four Clash molds to be PDGA approved were the Berry, Mango, Mint, and Popcorn. Three of the four Clash Discs are currently available for sale and the Mango will be available soon.

Seeing the names of their discs, it becomes apparent that they have a specific naming convention. Clash Discs’ believes that their molds each have a different flavor, so Design Department head Ilkka Kosunen chose the names to reflect the unique flights of each of their discs.

The Mint is Clash’s overstable putt/approach disc. It was the first mold released by them. The Mint is a beadless putter, similar to the Zone or Harp. It will fight a headwind and deliver a reliably hard fade at the end.

The Berry is a straight-flying midrange that would be comparable in flight to a Buzzz or Truth. It is a shapeable mold that gives you control over its flight. It comes in weights ranging from 160’s to 180g and is currently available in Steady Plastic.

The Popcorn is a beadless, straight putter that still has a fade to its flight. It’s like a beadless Tomb, but with a slightly deeper rim. The fairly neutral flight means it can be shaped for approaches.

The Mango is among the few discs already planned for release. It is an overstable midrange disc. The Ginger and Pepper were approved this year and will be released this spring. The Ginger is an understable fairway driver and the Pepper an understable distance driver.  Some of these molds will be available in the Hardy Plastic, and some in the Glow. There will also be Nikko Locastro signature series discs, but no word yet which molds they will be.

Growing the Brand

Clash Discs has plans to announce additional team members later in the year. They say that their team members will represent disc golf in several different countries and continents. As for now, Nikko will be the only touring pro representing Clash Discs.

Even though signing a well-known pro was a big step for such a young company, Clash says that they wanted to come out swinging. Their plan was to create premium plastics and make those available on plenty of different molds, representing a variety of disc types. They want players to be able to have a complete bag of Clash Discs.

“The first year was spent making molds and test castings. The goal was to find good premium plastic and there were almost 100 test-driven plastic grades, ” said Markku Pyykkönen, CEO of Clash Discs. “We got about ten different molds designed and tested so we could hit the market with the whole product family. And our product development continues to be very high quality, fast and flexible.”

The Clash Future

Clash Discs has faith that they will grow as a company as disc golf continues to grow. They recognize the popularity of the sport and how disc golf can be played by such a variety of demographics. And they want to contribute to the growth and popularity. Speaking about the future of Clash Discs, Markuu said, “In the future, we will invest in actively getting more and more premium quality molds. And our product development continues to be very high quality, fast and flexible.”

Based on what we’ve seen so far, it’s safe to say they are off to great start and are headed in the right direction. They are passionate about disc golf, they have some great molds, and they have impressive plastic. Check out the the latest news and information about Clash Discs on their website (HERE).

Which Mold Would You Chose?

Be sure to check out Infinite Discs current selection of Clash Discs (HERE). Then comment below to let us know which of their current or future molds would have the best chance of making it into YOUR bag. We’ll randomly select three commenters and send them a Clash Disc! If you’ve thrown a Clash disc, let us know which mold(s) you’ve thrown and what you think about the disc and the plastic.

 

 

 

 

State of Disc Golf: Skill Level

When we start out playing disc golf in a club, we are frequently confronted with the decision of which division is right for us. At a club league, it’s pretty easy to determine whether or not we are playing in the division for our skill level. If we are regularly crushing the competitors in our division, it would be time to move up to the next division. If we are the ones getting beat by significant margins, maybe a lower division would give us more competition.

When we step up to sanctioned tournaments, we have to reevaluate our skill level to determine the best division for us. A local tournament will attract a different skill level for a particular division, versus a national event. Our PDGA rating can help us find the best fit, and sometimes restrict our decisions. Having our rating and seeing how we perform at tournaments and during league can help us overcome the Dunning-Kruger effect (overestimating our skill level).

While the subject of tournaments is something that we will discuss when we analyze the results of that part of the survey, today we will cover how we view our skill level. We will look at the breakdown of skill levels based on other demographics, such as age and gender. Finally, we will look at how those numbers have changed from previous surveys.

Our Skill Level

 

Let’s start out by looking at how we answered the question, “How would you rate your skill level as a disc golfer?” As discussed above, how we rate ourselves can be based on a variety of things. Even those who chose, ‘Professional’ may have done so for a variety of reasons. Are they playing in the pro division for the competition, despite having a PDGA rating that would qualify them to play in an Amateur division? Here is the breakdown of how we self-identify our skill level.

 

 

With half of us identifying as having intermediate skills and more than ¾ of us identifying as a beginner or intermediate player, my first thought explaining those numbers is the rapid growth we’ve seen in disc golf the past couple of years. We could conclude that since there were a lot of people who just started playing, they wouldn’t have progressed past the Intermediate level by now. We can look at other data in the survey to see if that hypothesis is correct. First, let’s see how those numbers have changed since earlier surveys.

Checking out the survey results from 2015, we see a higher percentage of players identifying as being in the Advanced or Professional divisions than this year’s survey.

 

 

Skill vs Time Playing

 

Let’s compare the skill levels when they are sorted by the year the player started playing disc golf. That should show us how the pandemic affected our skill levels as a group. Here is the chart:

 

 

We can see that around 30% of all survey respondents started playing in 2020 or sooner, and identify as a beginner or intermediate player. That certainly accounts for the larger number of total players in those divisions, as compared with the survey results from seven years ago. It will be interesting to see how fast people move up skill levels in future surveys.

Now let’s take another look at our skill levels and organize them by gender and age. We’ll start by looking at data from last week, our numbers when sorted by gender. Although the number of women taking the survey was up over 2015, the percent of women dropped a bit this year compared to the earlier data. Here is the chart showing the numbers for 2015 and 2022:

 

 

 

Here is how the number of each skill level look, when sorted by gender:

 

 

As we can see, the skill level representing the largest number of men is intermediate. It represents 48% of all respondents, and over half of all the men who responded. For the women, the beginner/recreational division is the largest. Nearly half of all women who took the survey are in this skill level.

Sorting By Age

 

If we were to look at our skill level according to our age group, what would we expect to find? More pros in the prime ages? More beginners in the younger groups? We can find out by sorting age groups into skill levels. We’ll start by looking at the raw numbers, then we’ll sort them by skill level and the percentage in that age group. Here is the raw data:

 

 

I think it is more interesting to see how each age group is divided according to skill level. In other words, it is more interesting to look at the age group that you play in, for example, and compare it to the same age group in 2015. First, let’s take a look at the results for the most recent survey.

 

That tells us that the group with the highest number of pros is the 51-60 age group, which has about 5% of its members that are pros. The group with the highest percentage of beginners is the 71+ age group (not counting the under 12 age group). Interestingly, the 12-17 age group has the highest percentage of intermediates AND advanced players.

We can now compare those numbers to the ones in 2015.

 

 

The 2015 graph shows that the 61-79 age group had the highest percentage of pros, with nearly one in five members of the age group identifying as a professional. The 51-60 group took the top honors for the percentage of the most beginners, although the group barely beat the 30-35 and 41-50 age groups. The 71+ age group was the intermediate leader and the 12-17 was the advanced leader, both groups holding on to the titles for 2015 and 2022.

It’s interesting to see the change in how many people consider themselves ‘advanced’ players. There were more advanced players than any other skill level in all but one age group in 2015. But in 2022, the advanced division wasn’t the largest in any group. Instead, the intermediate division was the most popular in every division.

Check back next week when we will continue to look at more survey results.

State of Disc Golf: Demographics

2022 State Of Disc Golf

 

We’re back for another look at the State of Disc Golf as we start the tournament season for 2022. Just like last year, our world and our sport is being affected by the global pandemic. While it appears society is looking more ‘pre-pandemic’ than last year, we are still dealing with its effects on the supply chain. Many molds and products are still not available. But, while we can’t control what is available to sell, we can still look at the world of disc golf and analyze the data to see how disc golf looks this year, and how it has changed over the years that Infinite has been running the survey.

 

Age, State, and Gender

 

This year we had over 7650 people take the survey. We’ll take a look at a variety of answers every week for the next couple of months to learn more about our sport and the people who play it. We’ll start with some basic demographics, looking at our age, where we live, and our gender. Let’s start with our ages.

 

Aging Divisions

 

One thing that I’m always curious to see when looking at the results of the survey is how the numbers compare to what I see in the disc golfers in our region. Our local club is small and it seems like the demographics are pretty close to how it looked when I started playing regularly about 10 years ago. But, we see other clubs at tournaments so it is still possible to get a large sample size.

What I see happening in the tournament scene is that the 40-plus divisions are getting bigger. That is encouraging to see because it means more people are continuing to play as they age. We are still getting young players take up the sport, which is great for the future of disc golf. But, the older divisions are growing. Let’s see how that compares to the survey results.

Below is a graph of the results of the question, ‘How old are you?’

 

 

We’ve seen the basic shape of the graph in previous surveys. The 30-35-year-old group is the largest, then a drop in the 36-40 group, followed by a spike in the 41-50 group. The 41-50 group is the first group that includes 10 years. In looking at previous years’ results, however, we see a sharper drop after the 30-35 group. We’ll look at a couple different years, and to compare them equally we will look at the percentage of respondents in each group, rather than the total number. Here are the graphs from previous surveys.

 

 

It’s good to see the growing size of the older groups. We’ll look at other survey questions to find out more about them and their disc golf world.

 

Where We Are From

 

The sport of disc golf is played in countries all around the world. We have seen non-US players battle it out with the top US pros on top-tier tournaments, and pick up wins. Recently, Estonian FPO player Kristin Tattar make headlines with her lucrative contract with Latitude 64. There is no doubt that disc golf is a global sport. There is also no doubt that the United States still has the largest number of disc golfers, and the survey showed that. Not surprisingly, the largest number of disc golfers are in the states with the biggest population. The states in the top ten will exchange positions from year to year. But it’s tough to find more disc golfers if your home state doesn’t boast the sheer number of people in other states. Here is the leader board for this year.

 

 

I was curious to see the ratio of disc golfers were in every state, so I got the population numbers from World Population Review website to find out. I divided the number of survey participants for each state into the population of that state. Here are the results:

State # Survey Participants 2022 population DG Density 1:x
Vermont 43 622,882 14,486
Utah 230 3,363,182 14,623
Oregon 209 4,325,290 20,695
Maine 62 1,359,677 21,930
Kansas 127 2,919,179 22,986
Colorado 256 5,961,083 23,285
Minnesota 228 5,739,781 25,174
Delaware 38 998,619 26,279
Idaho 71 1,896,652 26,713
Michigan 348 9,995,212 28,722
Missouri 206 6,184,843 30,024
Wisconsin 188 5,867,518 31,210
Indiana 204 6,842,385 33,541
Iowa 93 3,174,426 34,134
Washington 225 7,887,965 35,058
Ohio 331 11,727,377 35,430
North Carolina 291 10,807,491 37,139
Tennessee 182 7,001,803 38,471
Pennsylvania 331 12,805,190 38,686
South Dakota 23 902,542 39,241
Kentucky 113 4,487,233 39,710
Nebraska 48 1,960,790 40,850
Illinois 304 12,518,071 41,178
Alabama 117 4,949,697 42,305
New Hampshire 32 1,378,449 43,077
South Carolina 124 5,342,388 43,084
Montana 25 1,093,117 43,725
Connecticut 81 3,546,588 43,785
Virginia 194 8,638,218 44,527
North Dakota 17 774,008 45,530
Alaska 15 720,763 48,051
Oklahoma 83 4,007,179 48,279
Arkansas 63 3,042,017 48,286
West Virginia 35 1,755,715 50,163
Georgia 201 10,936,299 54,409
Texas 552 30,097,526 54,525
Maryland 107 6,075,314 56,779
Arizona 132 7,640,796 57,885
Massachusetts 118 6,922,107 58,662
Mississippi 49 2,961,536 60,440
New Mexico 31 2,109,093 68,035
California 529 39,664,128 74,979
Rhode Island 14 1,062,583 75,899
Hawaii 18 1,401,709 77,873
Florida 269 22,177,997 82,446
New York 214 19,223,191 89,828
Nevada 36 3,238,601 89,961
Louisiana 48 4,616,106 96,169
Wyoming 6 582,233 97,039
District of Columbia 6 718,355 119,726
New Jersey 68 8,870,685 130,451

 

The state of Vermont has one disc golfer who took the survey for every 14.4k people. Utah is in second place, but that likely has a lot to do with Infinite’s headquarters being in Utah. California, which routinely has among the highest number of people who take the survey, is near the bottom of this list.

Infinite has customers around the world and many of them participate in the survey every year. For Canada, we broke the numbers down by province. For the rest of the world, we had participants select the region of the world they live in. Here are the results:

 

Gender

 

When it comes to the part of the survey that asks about gender, there is never really a question of which gender will have the highest number. But I am always interested to see if there is growth in the number of women taking the survey. Presumably that would mean a growth in the number of women in our sport. With so many of the top women disc golfers signing contracts that they are excited about, and with so much exposure in terms of tournament coverage, we certainly seems poised to grow the women’s side of disc golf. Things like last year’s FPO World Championship, which was every bit as exciting as the MPO Championship, should add a little more fuel to the fire of growth.

We’ll look at the results from past surveys and compare those to the most recent survey.

 

 

Although the data shows a slight drop in the percentage of women vs men taking the survey, the raw numbers are slightly up. In 2014, 286 women took the survey. In 2020, there were 330 women who took the survey. I would hope that the percentages would at lease stay the same as the number of disc golfers rises.

The PDGA shows fairly steady ratios between men and women between 2014 and 2020. Considering the explosion of growth in disc golf, that means that at least the number of women disc golfers who take the sport seriously enough to join the PDGA is rising. As we explore the rest of the SoDG survey, we might find data that will shed more light on the subject of women in disc golf.

In the previous two surveys mentioned in the charts above, we only had two choices for gender. That is why in this year’s survey there is the third option. We wanted to have an option for those who don’t identify with the binary choices.

Best Distance Driver For 2022

Best Distance Driver of 2022

 

We looked at the best selling molds, the best rated molds, and counted your votes for your favorite mold, and we can declare the winner of the Best Distance Driver. And boy was it close! The Innova Destroyer and Wraith traded position on top of the sales and fan vote categories. And the ratings were separated by a hundredth of a point!

The top five were all Innova/Infinite, which is not surprising after seeing the results of the individual categories. Four of the top five molds have fairly similar flights, the exception being the 5th place Maya, the only understable mold. Here are the top molds and their ranking in the different categories.

Mold Sales Rating Fan Total
Innova Destroyer 1 4.63 2 7.63
Innova Wraith 2 4.64 1 7.64
Infinite Discs Emperor 3 4.75 3 10.75
Infinite Discs Pharaoh 4 4.71 4 12.71
Infinite Discs Maya 5 4.58 5 14.58

Here are some comments mentioned by fans:

Matt M – “Destroyer has to be my all time mold. Why? There are so many different throws you can make with it. A controlled spike hyzer, a sidearm flick, an all out distance bomber.”

David M – “My go-to is a seasoned Star Destroyer. It has a good feel for backhand and forehand. One at a lighter weight like 167-170 if I’m wanting a little more turn. The Destroyer is the gold standard for good reason.”

Tom – “My favorite driver has always been the Wraith. As they break in the develop a little instability so I can bag several Wraith of various plastic / beat in yet have the same grip. The Wraith is also very good in wind as I find it very reliable and wind resistant. Plus what is not to like about the Halo Wraith, wicked cool stamp.”

In this series exploring the best discs of 2022, we started with putters and have been moving up the speed ratings until this week. You can check out the survey results for Putters, Mid Ranges, and Fairway Drivers by clicking these links. Today, we will finally check out the highest-speed discs, the distance drivers, or high-speed drivers. Once again we will look at the sales data to see what people are buying. Then we will rank the molds by their Infinite rating. Finally, we will ask you to vote for the distance driver that you feel is the best. Then we will compile the information and declare a winner! We will also award one lucky commenter a gift card for their input.

Best Distance Drivers

 

There is something about the feel of a distance driver that sets it apart from other types of discs. The wide rim makes you feel like there is something significant in your hand, both in terms of mass and of potential distance. The sharper edge has a distinct feeling that is unlike other discs. Their higher speed rating requires a little more effort in your throw, making the movement a little more physical. All of these things add up to a different experience when you throw a distance driver.

The high-speed, or distance driver category has been the bane of many new disc golfers. Someone new to disc golf may not understand that the name of the category refers to how fast the disc must be thrown in order to fly like it’s designed to do. Instead, newer players regularly buy discs that they don’t have the skill to be able to throw properly. Therefore, many bad habits might be formed before the disc golfer understands the need to start by throwing lower-speed discs. Lighter plastics can help someone without the arm speed to throw higher speed discs. However, there are benefits to throwing lower speed discs when starting out.

High speed drivers account for slightly over a quarter of all disc sales at Infinite. That’s pretty close to where we could expect it to be. It does trail putters as a category by a couple of percentage points.

 

 

 

 

To find out which molds were the most popular, I pulled up a list of the top 20 discs that were sold in the past year. Below is a chart with the top discs, along with the percentage of all distance drivers sold:

Rank Brand and Mold % of all distance drivers
1 Innova Destroyer 10.5%
2 Innova Wraith 9.0%
3 Infinite Discs Emperor 6.5%
4 Infinite Discs Pharaoh 5.2%
5 Infinite Discs Maya 3.2%
6 Innova Beast 2.3%
7 Innova Shryke 2.1%
8 Innova Mamba 2.1%
9 Discraft Avenger SS 1.9%
10 Discraft Nuke 1.9%
11 Innova Tern 1.7%
12 Discraft Force 1.5%
13 MVP Photon 1.5%
14 Discraft Surge SS 1.4%
15 Discraft Hades 1.4%
16 Innova Boss 1.4%
17 Discraft Zeus 1.3%
18 Discraft Thrasher 1.3%
19 Discraft Scorch 1.2%
20 Innova Katana 1.2%

 

Brands in the Top 20

 

Although most people know about the popularity of the Destroyer and Wraith, they may not know that one out of every five distance drivers sold at Infinite is one of those two molds! Those are some successful molds. In addition to holding the top two spots in the category. Innova is also responsible for 8 of the top 20 distance drivers we sell. That ties Discraft, who also holds 8 of the top 20 spots. In a distant third place is Infinite Discs, with 3 of the top 20. There were only four manufacturers in the top 20, and here is a chart with the breakdown:

 

 

 

Although Infinite Discs only had three molds in the top 20, those molds accounted for a significant portion of the distance drivers sold. In fact, sales of Infinite’s three top-20 molds surpassed Discraft’s eight molds in the top 20. Here is a list of the four manufacturers in the top 20, with the percentage of overall distance driver sales for the past year:

 

 

 

 

Best Rated Discs

 

Now let’s take a look at the Infinite Discs rating for the top molds. These are the ratings that customers have given each mold when they give a review. The ratings give us a picture of how people feel about the disc once they’ve had a chance to throw it. That’s a more accurate indication of the long-term view of people’s opinions of the disc, assuming it’s been around long enough for a significant number of people to rate the mold.  Infinite Discs’ Emperor and Pharaoh top the list, with ratings a bit above the rest of the group. Here are the top 20 discs, sorted by Infinite rating:

 

 

Infinite Discs Emperor 4.75
Infinite Discs Pharaoh 4.71
Innova Wraith 4.64
Discraft Zeus 4.64
Innova Destroyer 4.63
Innova Tern 4.61
Innova Shryke 4.6
Discraft Surge SS 4.59
Infinite Discs Maya 4.58
Discraft Hades 4.58
Discraft Thrasher 4.58

 

Fan Vote Results

We asked you to let us know which mold you considered to be the best distance driver. You responded by the hundreds, and we’ve compiled a list of the top molds. Just like the top mold sales, the fan vote was all Innova/Infinite. Topping the list wasn’t the popular Destroyer. It was the Wraith, which is like a slightly slower Destroyer. In addition to the brands you would expect to make the list, there were votes for many other brands, including Divergent Discs, Viking, Millennium, Legacy, Axiom, Kastaplast, Thought Space Athletics, and DGA.

 

Here is a list of the top voted discs, along with the percentage of people who voted for that mold.

Mold Percentage of Votes
Wraith 13.9%
Destroyer 9.4%
Emperor 4.5%
Pharaoh 4.1%
Maya 3.7%
Boss 3.4%
Grace 3.0%
Mamba 3.0%
DD3 2.2%
Shryke 2.2%

 

Thanks to everyone who voted! We randomly selected one voter to win the $50 gift card. And the winner is:

 

Let Us Know Your Favorite!

 

Now it’s your turn to let us know about your favorite distance driver. Even if your disc didn’t make the list, let us know what it is, and why it is the best disc for you. This is a great chance to show people looking for a distance driver why your favorite disc works for you!

Best Fairway Driver of 2022

Best Fairway Driver of 2022

 

To find the best Fairway Driver of 2022, we looked at the sales date and mold ratings to determine which discs you are buying the most, and which ones you rate the highest. Then we reached out to you to have you vote for the mold that you throw the most. Combining all of that data we can now announce the Best Fairway Driver of 2022! Here are the top molds:

Disc Sales Rating Fan Vote Total
1 Innova Leopard 3 4 2 9
2 Innova Firebird 1 9 3 13
3 Innova Teebird 2 14 1 17
4 Innova Thunderbird 6 11 4 21
5 Innova Leopard3 7 8 7 22

Although Innova is the consistent leader in disc golf sales, we didn’t expect a clean sweep of the top spots in the category. The fan voting really cinched it for several of the molds. The results of the fan voting is listed near the end of this blog. For now, let’s take a closer look at the top molds.

Although I would be tempted to call the top three molds, ‘old-school molds’, if I did, I would immediately get corrected by someone who has been playing disc golf from its beginning, who would remember when the Leopard, Firebird, and Teebird were the newest kid on the block. Those three molds were released in 1999, 2000, and 1999 respectively. They started selling when there were far fewer choices than we have now, at a time when ‘e-commerce’ wasn’t the popular way to shop for disc golf discs. Although that might have been a giant assist in getting the molds off the ground, they have since proven themselves as useful discs in our sport.

Innova Leopard – The flight of this popular disc is such that it can be used by a wide variety of arm speeds. The Leopard is a commonly found in starter sets because it can be thrown rather easily by someone who lacks the proper form for throwing faster molds. It is also useful for people with more experience, who will gravitate to heavier discs and more stable plastics. The Innova Leopard looks like it will be a staple in disc golf for a long time.

Innova Firebird – Even for newer disc golfers, the overstability of the Firebird can be tamed enough to use this utility disc in a variety of situations. Excellent for flick shots and headwinds, it can be flexed with full confidence that it will come out of the anhyzer and finish strong. Need to throw an must-have hyzer? Count on the Firebird to deliver. Its lower speed and variety of plastics makes it easy to see why the Firebird is consistently among the top discs.

Innova Teebird – While more overstable and a little faster than the Leopard, the Teebird can still find a home in the bag of players at a variety of skill levels. It is commonly used to shape shots in tight fairways, and is a reliable disc in medium-range shots. Like the Leopard, it can also be seen in the hands of newer players, typically in DX plastic. Even at its low speed the Teebird can be thrown into the wind with confidence.

 

 

Fairway Drivers

 

Moving up in speed on our list of best discs of 2022 we find the fairway driver. The fairway driver, or ‘control’ driver, fills the gap between the versatile midrange and the higher speed distance driver. Fairway drivers are easier to throw than distance drivers for a couple of reasons. First, their lower speed means that you don’t have to generate as much arm speed to be able to get the disc to fly like it should. That makes the disc more useful for newer disc golfers, as well as more experienced golfers that can shape the disc more than newer players. And second, their slightly smaller rim diameter means they are easier to throw for people with smaller hands. (The smaller rim, by definition, means that disc has a lower speed).

Using the common 4-number flight rating, the fairway drive has a speed rating that falls from speed 6 to 9. Some manufactures list speed 9 discs as distance or ‘high-speed’ drivers. But enough list speed 9 as fairway drivers, so that’s what we will go with for this blog post.

Like any other disc type, fairway drivers come in a variety of stabilities, from very overstable discs to molds with a lot of turn. Checking out the molds in the top 20, below, reveals a wide variety of flight characteristics, giving us a ton of different flights within on disc type. Here are the top 20 discs based on sales:

 

2022 Sales rank Disc Mold Percent of Sales
1 Innova Firebird 5.2%
2 Innova Teebird 4.7%
3 Innova Leopard 4.3%
4 Infinite Discs Exodus 3.9%
5 Innova Valkyrie 3.8%
6 Innova Thunderbird 3.5%
7 Innova Leopard3 3.4%
8 Infinite Discs Sphinx 3.1%
9 Infinite Discs Scepter 3.1%
10 Thought Space Athletics Mantra 3.1%
11 Discraft Undertaker 2.9%
12 Innova Roadrunner 2.5%
13 Discraft Heat 2.4%
14 Infinite Discs Centurion 2.2%
15 Discraft Raptor 2.1%
16 Innova Sidewinder 2.0%
17 Discraft Passion 1.9%
18 Innova TeeBird3 1.8%
19 Thought Space Athletics Votum 1.7%
20 Discraft Anax 1.7%

 

Best of the Best

 

Innova is the king of the top 20, holding nearly half of the top 20 spots, and a majority of all fairway drivers sold. That’s not surprising, given that Innova has been around for a long time and offers more fairway driver options than some smaller companies have molds in total. Discraft has a fourth of the top 20. Their chunk combined with Innova’s heaping pile doesn’t leave a lot of spots for other brands. Infinite Discs and Thought Space Athletics still managed to land in the top 20, with Infinite nearly matching Discraft with the number of molds represented. In fact, even though Infinite has one few mold, their total sales exceeds that of Discraft. Here is the percentage of sales of the top 20 molds:

 

 

 

Most Molds Sold

 

Looking at how many fairway drivers each brand offers, we see several that offer quite a few molds, but still didn’t end up in the top 20 for percentage of sales. That goes to show you how popular the top 20 brands really are. Here are the top 20 brands based on the number of different molds sold:

 

 

Best Rated Fairway Discs

 

Turning our focus from the sales records, we look at how our customers feel about certain molds once they try them out and review them. We’ll check out the top 20 molds in sales, and compare their customer rating. Topping the list are three molds from Infinite Discs. The Sphinx, Scepter, and Centurion hold the top three spots, and TSA’s Mantra was the fourth-highest rated mold. Rounding out the list at number 20 is the relatively new fairway driver from Discraft, the Passion. Here are the top 20 molds and their average rating:

 

 

Fan Vote

We asked you to tell us about your favorite fairway driver. Below are the top 20. Innova certainly dominated the polls! Over half of the top 20 molds belonged to them. Infinite and Latitude 64 were tied in distant second with three molds. In addition to the top molds, there were a lot of discs that didn’t make the cut, but still received some love from the fans. There were also votes for molds from Lone Star, Millennium, MVP, Gateway, Legacy, Streamline, and Axiom. Here’s are examples of feedback about some of those mentioned:

Joshua – “I’d have to say the Lone Star Disc’s Mad Cat! That thing is so reliable and glides a ton!

Adam – “I love the Axiom Clash. It’s a perfect straight flying control driver that has the stability to resist any power, but has a gentle reliable fade at the end. Great for both forehand and backhand, it is perfect for any skill level.

 

Here are the top 20:

1 Innova Teebird
2 Innova Leopard
3 Innova Firebird
4 Latitude 64 River
5 Innova Thunderbird
6 Infinite Discs Centurion
7 Infinite Discs Sphinx
8 Latitude 64 Explorer
9 TSA Mantra
10 Infinite Discs Exodus
11 Innova Sidewinder
12 Innova Leopard3
13 Innova TL3
14 Innova Valkyrie
15 Latitude 64 Diamond
16 Innova Roadrunner
17 Innova Teebird3
18 Discraft Undertaker
19 Discmania Essence
20 Innova Eagle

We asked you to tell us about your favorite fairway drivers and you responded! We randomly selected one commenter to win a $50 gift card. And that winner is:

Brad H.  Congrats! The card will be added to your account.

We Still Want Your Feedback!

 

Post below and tell us about your go-to fairway driver. Is there one that you throw every round? Tell those looking for the best fairway driver why you like YOURS!

 

 

 

Best Midrange Disc Golf Discs for 2022

 

The Best Midrange For 2022

Fan Vote Sales Rank Rating Overall
Discraft Buzzz 1 1 5 2.3
Infinite Discs Chariot 2 3 3 2.7
Axiom Hex 3 8 1 4.0
Innova Mako3 6 2 9 5.7
Infinite Discs Anubis 12 4 8 8.0
Innova Roc3 4 6 14 8.0

Taking first place in two of the three categories used to select the best midrange is the popular Discraft Buzzz! This perennial winner continues to dominate the category, and it is easy so see why. The Buzzz feels comfortable in your hand and has a nice, straight flight that can be utilized by beginners and experts alike. If you don’t have one in your bag, click the link in the chart above to see what the Buzzz is about!

Infinite Discs and Innova both had two molds represented in the top 6, with the Chariot within striking distance of Buzzz. Axiom also made waves with their new mold, the Hex. Not even a year old, the Hex took the top rated spot and with another year of sales might just make a bid for number one. Click the links above to check out the other molds on the list.

Best Disc Golf Midrange Discs

Like putters, midrange discs are known for their versatility and utility. They come in a variety of stabilities, rim sizes and shapes. They can easily be used as drivers off the tee pad, and just as readily be used to approach a basket. The ease of shaping their flight combined with their softer landing compared to a higher speed disc increases the number of shots that you might feel the need to pull out a midrange. Which midrange are we reaching for the most often?

Let’s take a look at its popularity for the past year. New molds always take a small chunk of the market share as people try some of the new molds being released. Even so, there is no other disc near the level of the Buzzz. Here are the numbers for the past year:

Top Five All-Time Sales

 

Not only are the Buzz sales for last year nearly double the numbers of the second most popular disc, the Mako3, the gap between first and second place for sales since Infinite began is even more pronounced. Here are the top-selling midrange molds since 2012, when Infinite began:

 

The Buzzz Family

 

As you can see, the Buzzz just dominates the competition. It has a straight flight that is easily shaped, and the Buzzz feels amazing in the hand. It comes in a variety of plastics, too, so you can choose the one with the feel and stability that is right for you. One thing to point out with those high number for the Buzzz is that the percentage does NOT include the Buzzz’s siblings, the Buzzz OS, Buzzz SS, and the Buzzz GT. If you add those molds to the numbers, the Buzzz family sales would be over 17% of all midrange discs sold at Infinite last year!

 

 

Top Rated Midrange Discs

 

Another factor we use in determining the best midrange disc is the customer rating found on our website in the review section of a disc. That tells us what you think about a disc once you buy and throw it. Newer molds don’t have a lot of reviews, so we only took molds that had at least 15 reviews. Here are the top rated molds:

 

 

Best Midrange Discs For Beginners

 

While the midrange disc is an amazing utility disc that can be shaped, floated, used for hard right or left corner shots, or accurate shorter shots, certain molds can still be bricks in the hands of newer players. Without the skill to throw overstable midrange discs, beginners will find little use for many of the discs in the previous lists. With that in mind, let’s looks at some of the discs that are manageable for those in the Recreation or Novice divisions.

 

Top Midrange Discs for New Disc Golfers
1  Kon Tiki
2 Pathfinder
3 Meteor
4 Sol
5 Buzzz SS

 

Newby versus OG

 

As we see more new companies and molds enter the market, we will see them chipping away at market previously held by molds we have been playing with for years. Sometimes those molds will succeed in the short term due to some great marketing. Even molds that have been around longer than some of us have been playing can receive a boost when a top-tier pro starts throwing that mold. Ultimately, the hype will fade and the cream will rise to the top, and we will see the most popular molds more often in the future. Let’s take a look at some of the previous years’ top molds to see which names are still making the list.

 

Top 10 Midrange Discs by Year Comparison

 

2018

2020

2022

Discraft Buzzz

Discraft Buzzz

Discraft Buzzz

Discraft Comet Innova Mako3 Innova Mako3
Dynamic Discs Emac Truth Innova Roc Infinite Discs Chariot
Innova Gator Innova Roc3 Infinite Discs Anubis
Dynamic Discs Justice Discraft Comet Discraft Buzzz GT
Prodigy M4 Discraft Buzzz SS Innova Roc3
Innova Mako3 Discraft Malta Innova Roc
Discmania MD3 Dynamic Discs EMac Truth Axiom Hex
Hyzerbomb Mortar Discraft Buzzz OS Infinite Discs Kon Tiki
Innova Roc Discraft Meteor Elevation Disc Golf Interceptor

Fan Vote

 

We asked you to vote for your choice of the best midrange disc, and you responded! We’ve added up your responses and have posted them below. This year, 30 different molds were selected by you as your choice for #1. Here are the top molds and the percentage of votes:

 

1 Discraft Buzzz 18.5%
2 Infinite Discs Chariot 10.8%
3 Axiom Hex 10.8%
4 Innova Roc3 6.2%
5 Dynamic Discs EMac Truth 6.2%
6 Innova Mako3 4.6%
7 Discmania MD3 3.1%
8 Discmania Origin 3.1%
9 MVP Reactor 3.1%
10 Innova Roc 3.1%

 

Some of the comments about the Buzzz:

Kjell R – “By far the best mid I’ve ever thrown.”

Brian J – “Buzzz Buzzz Buzzz”

Kit H – “The Buzzz holds the line so reliably. I bet the Chariot will keep gaining, though! Such a nice disc.”

We also randomly selected a winner for the $50 gift card and Kit H (see the comment above) was chosen as our winner. Congrats, and thanks for commenting!

 

We Want Your Feedback!

Once again we’ve looked at the sales numbers and the ratings of the top midrange discs on the market, now we need to hear from you. Post below and let us know your choice for the best midrange.

 

1 2 3 4 9