State of Disc Golf: Disc Preferences

 

When it comes to buying a disc, there are many factors we might consider in making our decision about which disc to choose. I think that most of us have established our hierarchy of disc needs that we weigh against the options available. Flight numbers, for better or worse, and weight are definitely high on my list of requirements. There are many molds and weights that are outside my set parameters and I would never buy one of those discs. Plastic type is only slightly behind weight and flight in importance, and sometimes I have some flexibility in what I will buy – assuming that my top preference is not available.
Following those three factors, my hierarchy becomes less about needs, and more about desires.

Although I will throw any brand, I have a lot of Infinite molds in my bag because I like the molds and plastics. And I will also throw any color disc, but if I have a choice I will pick bright pink. Pink is the best color when you end up searching for a lost disc in bushes, trees, or long grass. (I love the look of a black disc, but HATE looking for a black disc in bushes!) Collectability, resale value, and the stamp are all important factors in certain circumstances. But, for a thrower those things are near the bottom of my list.

Factors in Choosing Discs

 

All of the factors mentioned above are what we asked about in the State of Disc Golf survey. This week we will look at what we consider important factors in disc selection. We will also look at a couple of subsets of survey participants and which factors are important for them. Let’s start with the three things that I place at the top of my preference list: flight numbers, weight, and plastic type.

We have established in previous survey blogs that although some of us buy discs to collect and not throw, most of us are going to play with the discs we buy. Since that is the reason we are buying most of our discs, the factors affecting the flight will be the most important things to consider. Here are the results of the survey question asking about the importance of those factors. We gave four options to select, ranging from ‘Don’t care at all’ to ‘Very important’.

 

Our Disc Choices

It is interesting to see that more people chose plastic type as being Very Important than chose flight numbers or weight. Regardless, around 90% of us consider those three factors as being at least semi-important. I would expect at least that amount, and maybe more. Let’s look at a few more factors.

 

Less Important Factors

 

Beyond the flight of the disc we might consider its aesthetics when looking for a disc to buy. Finding a color that is appealing, or utilitarian, as well as a stamp that we like can be as difficult as finding the right flight numbers and weight. Even more so if we prefer a specific brand of disc. Here are the survey results showing the importance we place on those three factors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once again, if we consider the percentage of us who think that those factors are semi-important to very important, we see that brand and color are hovering around the 70% mark. The stamp/ artwork factor drops off a bit from the other two categories, coming in near the 54% mark. All things considered, most of us would take an amazing, good-looking stamp over a boring stamp. But, little more than half of us make that a priority. Disc color and brand are a bit higher.

 

Niche Factors?

The final two factors to look at when buying a disc are beyond the throwers that most of us are looking for. Buying a disc for its collectability, or rarity, is something that few of us think about. Resale value is important to even fewer of us. While there are many in our sport who buy a rare disc to immediately flip it for a profit, most of us don’t make purchases for that reason. Even the one in five of us who buys a discs for its collectability does so without the thought of resale value about half of the time. Here are the numbers:

 

Skill Affecting Decisions

Jumping back to the top three factors that most of us consider when buying a disc (Weight, Flight Numbers, and Plastic Type), I wanted to see how our skill level impacts the importance we place on those characteristics. Let’s compare the numbers of beginner/intermediates with professionals. Here is the data:

 

 

 

 

Although both skill levels give the Weight of a disc nearly the same level of importance, there is a bit of difference when it comes to Flight Numbers and Plastic Type. Looking at what those two skill levels consider are the most important characteristics, we see that professionals care a significant amount more about plastic type than beginners. And beginners care about the same amount more than pros do about Flight Numbers.

Our Flight Rating System

Ahhh, flight numbers. Many disparaging remarks have been made about our current 4-number flight rating system. As flawed as it may be, many of us still rely on it for information about a particular mold. As people first get into disc golf they learn about the flight rating we use, and rely on it heavily. That would explain the higher number of beginners who value the Flight Numbers.

As people get more experience in the sport, I suspect they rely on other methods of determining which disc will be useful to them. Talking to other experienced players, and seeing what other people on their level are throwing would be more accurate to them than the flight numbers. They likely also develop more of a feel for what they want to throw, which would explain the higher value placed on the Plastic Type by pros over less experienced players.

Collectors

One other subset of the general population that I wanted to look as is the avid collectors. For this blog we will look at the 344 people who said they bought more than 40 discs that they will collect and not throw. I wanted to see what value they place on Stamp/Artwork and Resale Value. Let’s see what the survey says:

 

It’s not surprising to see a higher percentage of people who collect discs make Stamps and Resale Value a higher priority. Speaking from experience, there are some discs I want to add to my collection regardless of the stamp. Other discs I want exclusively because of the stamp. The Nicola Tesla stamp is a good example of that. Plus, I think that most of us like the idea of having discs in our collection that enough people want that gives us the option of selling it down the road for a tidy sum. That’s just a little more of a priority for collectors.

Comment Below

Comment below and let us know which of these survey results surprised you the most, and which was completely expected. Then check back next week for more survey results!

 

State of Disc Golf: How Many Discs We Own

When people are new to the sport of disc golf, they tend to experiment with a variety of discs to find ones that they like and that fly well for them. I think most of us go through that experience. Hopefully we have friends that can guide our disc selections so we don’t end up buying discs based on the name, description, or marketing, when we have no business throwing that disc yet. How many of us bought a “Super-Long Distance High-Speed Driver” as a newbie?

Our Growing Disc Collection

Once we learn about flight numbers, we manage our buying a bit, but are still left experimenting with discs because of the inconsistencies of the flight numbers. Plus, most of us are still attracted to the latest, greatest molds and plastics being released today. What we end up with is a lot of discs. Throw leagues and tournaments in the mix and our collection is continually growing through player’s packs, CTP prizes, and found discs. It doesn’t take long before our throng of discs numbers in the hundreds.
In addition to all of those means of acquiring discs, add some disc dying and collecting and we can end up with a small disc store worth of discs. That leads us to today’s State of Disc Golf survey results examining how many discs we own and our disc buying habits.

The sizes of our disc golf collections is something that I look forward to finding out about every year for the survey. As someone who is guilty of being in the ‘200+’ club since my early days in the sport, I like to see how many fellow disc golfers are in the same category. We’ll start with the question, “How many discs do you own?”

 

 

The results show that the largest category, which is also the average, is the 41-60 group. If we think about it, that number is pretty much a bag full of discs, several backups, a few practice putters, an ace disc or three, and maybe a handful of discs that we’ve either outgrown but haven’t given away or sold, or that we can’t throw well yet. It’s a good number of discs.

Mega-Collections

At the low end of the scale are those people who have a bare minimum of discs. Well under 200 people own 10 or fewer discs. At the other end of the ownership graph are the people like me who have 200 or more discs. (Next year in the survey I would like to explore that last category to get a clearer picture about that number. How many have 500+ or 1000+!)

There are nearly 1100 of us that own 200+ discs. If I’m going to categorize the disc golfer who own that many discs, I tend to think they are either collectors or hoarders. But maybe they are just people who buy a lot of discs to try. Let’s look at what the survey said about the number of collector discs we own.

Wall-Hangers

For the survey question, we asked how many discs we own that we won’t throw. That could include discs we are collecting, ace discs, or sentimental discs. Let’s look at those numbers.

 

 

Over a third of us believe in the mantra that discs are made to be thrown. Combine that number with the number of people who have between 1-5 discs that they won’t throw and you have three-fourths of us who don’t collect a lot of discs. Looking at the graph we see a diminishing number of people have discs we won’t throw with each category of increasing numbers of discs, with a couple of minor exceptions. At the other extreme, we see about 5% of us that have 100 or more discs that we won’t throw.

 

Adding To Our Stash

 

In addition to seeing how many of us have discs we won’t throw, we wanted to see how many discs we acquired for collecting purposes just last year. Let’s see how much our collections grew in 2021.

 

 

 

An overwhelming number of us bought 14 or fewer discs for collecting last year. That seems like a reasonable number of discs for most of us to slowly grow our collections. But there are still around 4.5% of us who picked up 40 or more discs that we don’t have any intention of throwing. And .4% of us, 32 survey participants, who added 200 or more discs to their stash last year alone. That’s a lot of discs!

 

Disc Buying During Shortages

 

Let’s see how many of those people, and all of us, bought more discs last year than the prior year.
In the survey we asked how our disc purchases last year compared in number to 2020. We wanted to see how the rising costs of discs, or other circumstances, affected our buying habits. Only a small percentage of us bought fewer discs because of the increased costs.

 

 

One of the benefits of our sport is that, for the most part, it is relatively inexpensive to play. I know it CAN be expensive to play, depending on how much we get into the sport. But, it really can be an inexpensive hobby. Compare the cost of a premium-plastic driver to a premium golf club. Because of the price point of most discs, even a sizeable increase in price puts the disc well within most of our budgets.

 

Historical Collecting

Although we haven’t asked about how price increases affected our buying habits in previous surveys, we have asked how many discs we own. Let’s look at this year’s results compared to previous years, to see we own more discs than previous years. Since the number of people who take the survey varies from year to year, we’ll look at the percentage of people in each category.

 

From the first State of Disc Golf survey to the most recent, the percentage of us who have a hundred discs or more in our collection has be slowly rising. If that trend continues, it will be interesting to see how much people are willing to pay for the discs that they want to own. We are already seeing high prices for good-looking, rare discs. But, that is the subject for another blog.

Comment below and let us know how many discs you own. And if you’re comfortable disclosing the information, let us know the most you’ve paid for a disc!

Check back next week for more survey results.

State of Disc Golf: Local Course Data

 

 

Here in Cache County, Utah, the disc golf scene is very active. Our club has been playing weekly for about 10 years. We live in a college town, so part of our club is transient. The most of us stick around year after year. Officially, we have 8 permanent courses within a half an hour of most of us. Sadly, not one of them is an 18-hole course. Furthermore, several of them are tiny courses that are not interesting and rarely, if ever, get utilized for league play. It is that mindset that comes into play when I look at the data in our survey regarding the number of disc golf courses near survey participants.
Yes, I’m jealous of the many people who indicated a high number of courses near them. I temper that jealousy with sympathy for those people who don’t have any, or very few, courses near them. Be grateful for what you have, I guess. Let’s start with the number of courses near us.

In the survey we asked how many courses are within a half hour of us. Those are the courses we would likely play most frequently. It is nice to see that nearly a quarter of us have ten or more courses within a half hour. Here are the numbers:

 

 

Although about half of us have six or more courses nearby, that means the other half of us have five or less. Hopefully, some of those are excellent courses. If not, those people will be spending more of their free time driving instead of playing.

 

For the U.S. people, check out the number courses and how many people live near them for YOUR state by clicking the map below.



 

Variety Is The Spice

Although the average number of courses near us is a little over five, does that affect the number of courses we play? One thing that becomes obvious to people who play disc golf with any frequency is that we love to play new courses. If we only have a limited number of courses that are a short drive away, our ability to travel longer distances is narrowed down to weekends and vacations. In the survey we wanted to know how many courses we played in 2021. It turns out that we play quite a few more courses than are in our immediate area (within a half an hour of us).

 

 

Two people in the survey played more than 200 courses. That’s an impressive amount of courses! Even the 8 people who played between 100-200 courses is pretty mind numbing. I travel to tournaments several times per year, as well as playing all of the regional courses, and that still only puts me in the 21-30 range. Only 11% of us played that many or more last year, so it’s still a small percentage. Nowhere near the major time commitment necessary for playing over a hundred courses though!

New Places to Play

In addition to finding out how many courses are close to each of us, we like to find out how many new courses were added to our local area. The growth of the sport means increased pressure on our existing courses, which sometimes leads to municipalities looking for places to install new courses. However, the survey showed that most of us didn’t have the experience of getting a new place to play.

 

 

A Great Place to Live

Over 95 percent of us had two or fewer courses installed last year. That seems like an accurate number. Yet somehow a tiny fraction of us had ten or more course installed in our area! There were 24 survey respondents who selected that answer. I would expect that to be a smaller number. Out of curiosity, I pulled up the states/countries where the people live who said there were 10 or more courses installed. Here is the list:

Michigan Massachusetts
California Alabama
North Carolina Pennsylvania
Illinois Minnesota
West Virginia Colorado
Finland Kansas
Maine Wisconsin
Texas Tennessee
Missouri

 

Since the number of 10+ courses added last year seemed high, I pulled up some prior survey results to see how last year compared. It turns out that last year definitely was an anomaly. It was several times higher than the previous year.  Here is the data from a few prior surveys showing how many people indicated there were 10+ courses added.

 

 

Does More Courses Equal More Rounds?

 

We started the blog by looking at how many courses are fairly close to where we live. I was curious to see if having more courses around means that we are playing more rounds. We might be more motivated to get out and play if we don’t play the same few courses every time. So, I took the percentage of people who played 20 or more rounds per month, for each number of courses. Then I threw them on a graph. Although the differences aren’t huge, the people who have more courses in their area do play more than the people who have fewer courses.

 

 

Nearly 18% of the people who have nine courses in their local area play 20 or more rounds per month. If you only have one or two courses near you, the number hovers around 10%. It certainly makes sense that variety is the spice of life!

Conclusion

Years ago, when we only had a course or two in our valley, we played the same course every week for league, and every time we played a casual round. We just loved playing disc golf and since we didn’t have a variety of courses without traveling, we played the course we had. I’m guessing that it’s the more casual disc golfers that might play less frequently with only a couple of options. Having more courses might motivate THEM to play more, thus increasing the numbers of people who play more.

Let us know your experience with disc golf courses. Do you think having more courses means more rounds played for you? Are you in an area where 10 or more courses where installed? Where did you sit on the number of rounds played in a month?

Check back next week for more State of Disc Golf Survey results.

State of Disc Golf Results: Pros and Videos

 

Could there be a better start to the 2022 disc golf tournament season than a multiple-hole playoff at the Las Vegas Challenge? While it is fun and exciting to see one person mop up the field by having a spectacular round, it is even more appealing to see a battle between two of the top players in our sport. Whether we watch a tournament live, or wait until the post-produced videos appear on YouTube, a large percent of the disc golf world likes to watch tournaments. As we learned in last week’s blog (HERE), nearly two-thirds of us like to PLAY tournaments. This week we will explore how many of us like to WATCH tournaments. We will also look at how we like to watch them and which players we cheer for.

Humble Beginning

Ten years ago Jonathan Gomez decided to film the final nine holes of the 2012 World Championship (Check out his video HERE). He used one camera, he had no voice-over, no flight tracking, and minimal graphics. That was the humble beginning of what has become a post-produced video juggernaut that is  Jomez Pro.

Since then, numerous brands have joined the fray, and the quality of video production has grown right along with number of production companies. We’ve reached the point where the top video brands will record, edit, and release a video complete with commentary the morning after the round was played. It’s a great time to be a disc golf video junkie!

Watching Pros

Disc golf videos are among the best ways to follow the professional players that we like to watch. Before we explore our video-watching habits, let’s take a look at how many of us follow professionals. It turns out that most of us do. Here is a chart showing the results of the survey question, “Do you follow professional disc golfers”:

It turns out that most of us like to follow top-tier disc golfers. Although most of us choose to follow pros via post produced video, there are other ways to keep up with our DG heroes. Attending tournaments, watching them online live, and watching live scoring are other options we have to follow the pros. However, nothing comes close to watching the post-produced videos, such as Jomez, GK Pro, etc. Let’s look at some more survey results.

Whether we are watching the pros compete or watching them give a tutorial, YouTube has added another dimension to our sport. We have the ability to consume the videos on our schedule, 24 hours a day, all for free. It’s no wonder that the top two choices for following pros are through that medium.

A little more surprising to me is how many people watch disc golf on live broadcasts. On the one hand, it’s a big commitment of time. A live video will last longer than the actual round being played, since they also include pre- and post-round content.

On the other hand, it’s convenient to have a live tournament on in the background while doing other tasks. That is perfect if your work permits you that luxury. Live broadcasts also give you the opportunity to see multiple cards play, since there is so much time that needs to be filled between throws. Plus, it eliminates the chances of inadvertently finding out about the results of a tournament before you get a chance to watch it post-produced.

YouTube Channels

As mentioned above, Jomez Pro has contributed greatly to the production quality exhibited by even the smaller brands. As such, we now have many different channels that we can turn to in order to fulfill our DG-watching desires. In the survey, we asked which tournament YouTube channels you watched in 2021. Although most of you named the ‘usual suspects’ for disc golf video, a lot of you mentioned much smaller channels. First, let’s see how you voted.

 

I think that most of us would have guessed the number one choice, and also would have guessed the top few names on the list. They are the channels that we hear about the most, and who cover the biggest tournaments. And they are all producing quality videos, which keep getting better each year.

Moving past the biggest names in YouTube tournament videos we find smaller brands that are also producing great videos. While some of them are covering local tournaments with players known only to the local area, many are featuring well-known pros. Most include commentary, graphics, and an impressive level of video quality. Although not as prolific as some of the big channels, the videos they do release are fun to watch. Below are some examples of other channels for you to check out:

Penner Productions

Sky Hyzer Productions

SM Disc Golf Productions

Soblue productions

True North Disc Golf Productions

Who We Cheer For

 

Although it is fun to watch the most talented disc golfer compete, it is even more enjoyable when one of the players we are watching is our favorite. Most of us have more than a few favorites, but in our survey we asked which pro is our favorite, and which is our second most favorite. We asked for both the MPO and FPO.

We gave participants a long list of the top rated pros to choose from. Even so, about 2% of us still selected ‘other’ as our choice. Which means there are a significant number of people not on the list that have a lot of fans.

We will start with the FPO, where five-time Paige Peirce received nearly a third of all of the votes. The five-time World Champ is frequently on the lead card and gets a lot of tournament exposure. She also has her own YouTube channel, giving fans an even deeper look at her life. She also knows how to rip a long drive, making her easy to cheer for and admire. Here are the top 10 selections for the title of Favorite FPO Player:

In second place is Estonian pro, Kristin Tattar, with 19% of the votes. Following Kristin, Kona Panis and Catrina Allen each had about 10% of the votes.

For the selection of our second most favorite FPO player, the list looks nearly identical, but with different numbers. Here are the top 10:

 

Turning to the MPO division, we see a familiar name at the top of the list. Paul McBeth has been a major player in the disc golf world since winning his first world title in 2012. Like Paige, Paul is often seen on the lead card of a tournament, giving us more opportunities to see him in action. Here are the top 10 most popular MPO players:

 

Just like the FPO division, the top 10 list of second most favorite MPO players is just a slightly rearranged list of the Most Favorite. Simon Lizotte takes the top honors for this list.

That wraps up this look at our consumption of disc golf tournaments, and the players who motivate us to watch. Comment below and let us know if your favorite player made the list. Also let us know about YouTube channels we missed.

Check back next week for more State of Disc Golf results.

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 overstable 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.

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