How the Pandemic Has Affected Disc Golf and the Supply Chain

Nobody saw the surprises, challenges, and often bizarre events of 2020 coming. It has been a very unexpected year. On top of the obvious heartbreak of sickness, death, job losses, and disrupted lives, even small sports like disc golf and pickleball have had its disappointments with the cancellation of major events. But let’s really dive into the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on disc golf in terms of growth and the marketplace.

“Skip the Course. Stay Home”

A lot of people, especially tournament directors and touring professionals, felt an acute sting when the PDGA (Professional Disc Golf Association) suspended all sanctioned events starting March 14th. It felt like much of the year was ruined for competitive disc golf. And yet, many players still felt like they could enjoy recreational play to some extent, especially since many jobs were sending people home, schools were switched to online courses, and other public events were all cancelled. People had time on their hands and parks seems a safe place to socially separate while doing something fun.

Then on March 23rd, the PDGA sent out a letter to registered members to please “skip the course and stay home.” They encouraging leagues not to gather and basically requested that all players avoid their local courses. It wasn’t long before many courses in the most populated cities started pulling their baskets out, just to make sure nobody would gather to play. The request made total sense. After all, the world was in a panic, Covid-19 is very contagious, and staying away from one another is a good way to avoid the spread of disease.

But did everybody get that memo? Conditions can vary greatly in the many different parts of the country. In more rural areas, things pretty much continued as usual because cases of Covid-19 were barely present, if detected at all. More densely populated areas had to take more drastic measures. But it would be incorrect to claim that everybody everywhere was staying at home. Many disc golfers continued to play, whether in small groups, with family members, or alone. Disc golf, in many ways, it a socially distant sport when tournament and league play is removed.

 

With all that said, there are many people who know nothing about the PDGA. They aren’t members, or they play casually, or they discovered disc golf while looking for a way to pass the time. Those people obviously did not hear or head the call to stay home. How do we know? Because disc golf exploded.

A Great Way to Pass the Time

Maybe it was the number of people in forced quarantine from work, school, and other events that fed the interest in disc golf. Maybe the outdoors simply feels safer than staying pent-up in a building. Whatever it was that created the perfect storm, disc golf suddenly became a very popular way to pass the time during the pandemic.

Infinite Discs has a unique perspective into the disc golf growth and interest trends, being a seller of disc golf products. Here is a look at website traffic that hit the InfiniteDiscs.com website from the end of 2019 to the present (June 5th).

The candlestick in June is shorter than the others because the week was not over when the chart was made. We’re not sure if the apparent growth will settle to a new plateau or if it will continue in an upward trend. But the increase in traffic, even dwarfing 2019 holiday sales, shows an obvious increase in interest. The dark blue represents “organic searches,” meaning that those are people who found and visited the website through their own searches and exploration. That is where most of the increase was generated– new people looking for discs.

Disruption in the Supply Chain

While the growth and interest in disc golf and the coinciding desire to purchase discs increased, the ability to supply those discs dropped. With the declaration of a worldwide pandemic, many states in the USA mandated the complete shutdown of “non-essential” businesses and manufacturing. Disc golf apparently is non-essential, but that did not stop people from wanting discs. More people were spending more time either on the course or playing in the backyard. Most of the major manufacturers and distributors of discs and targets (baskets) were forced to shut down or operate on a skeleton crew. Suddenly, manufacturers like Innova, Discraft, MVP, Prodigy, and others were unable to feed the growing demand. Not only could they not keep up, but they were falling behind on previously scheduled manufacturing runs, meaning that the supply would take a long time to catch up, even when allowed to turn the machinery back on again.

For an visually stunning look at the conundrum of disc golf supply vs demand during the pandemic, take a look at the following graph. It shows the sales trend at Infinite Discs from October 2019 through May 2020. The red shaded area roughly designates the time period that several major manufacturers were forced to close and had very limited ability to ship restock.

So, during the steepest time of growth, the disc manufacturers were unable to continue functioning. The obvious effect of that pattern is a drastic drop in inventory levels at disc golf retailers. When new supply is unavailable, old supply drops precipitously.

Infinite Discs took up a mantra of “More the 50,000 discs in stock” in 2017 when we were able to move into a larger facility and increase our inventory levels. It was our goal to stay well above that level for the long term. We printed thousands of promo cards stating that mantra. But the supply chain challenges of 2020 made it impossible. Here is a graph showing Infinite Discs disc inventory levels starting in November of 2019 (the peak of inventory before Black Friday sales kicked in) to the present.

When we combine the sales levels with the decrease in inventory levels, you can easily see the correlation. Again, when interest and sales increase, but the ability to restock is removed, the balance of supply vs demand is broken.

Sorry, We’re Out of Stock

One easy product to discuss when pointing out the effect of the pandemic on disc golf purchases is baskets (or “targets”). With many people taking up backyard putting to pass the time, the demand for disc golf baskets sky-rocketed, quickly clearing retailers out of inventory. Much of the time, large items like baskets are drop-shipped from the manufacturers when they are ordered through online vendors. That is a logical way to avoid the issues of storage and the high shipping costs of moving heavy items around the country. A customer buys a basket, then the online retailer sends an order to the manufacturer to ship directly to the customer.

But if the manufacturers are closed…then drop-ship orders are no longer available. So even if the baskets are technically in a warehouse, they aren’t accessible. Infinite Discs tried to battle that problem as things started to shut down and immediately ordered large shipments of baskets that in some cases took weeks to arrive. Suppliers were basically piling baskets on pallets and shipping them out before having to lock up and go home for an indefinite period of time.

So in many cases, the choices were few when it came to obtaining portable baskets at a time when people most wanted portable baskets. That lack of supply existed with other products as well.

Where Are the Popular Discs?

For many years, Innova has been the highest-selling brand at Infinite Discs. Without making detailed comparisons through the years, it is safe to say that they represent a large portion of the disc golf market. Innova’s manufacturing facilities are located in California, and that was one of the first states to shut down businesses because of the pandemic. If the discs in highest demand were not being manufactured for a couple of months, then how do you think things are looking for Innova now that they are back in business and trying to catch up?

Once again, here at Infinite Discs, we can share a little bit of insight into that problem. We have an algorithm which calculates the number of discs we need for each disc model and in each plastic type based on 30-day vs 90-day sales vs discs in stock. That way we can restock based on the sales trends in an attempt to keep the right quantities in stock for every disc. We recently placed a restock order with Innova for nearly 16,000 discs based on that algorithm because the demand was so high and the inventory levels so low after the shutdown. At the time of this blog post, our current inventory level for all Innova discs in stock is 3,975 discs. That means that the shipment that we’re still awaiting should have four times our current inventory, just in restock! But Innova is struggling to meet those quantities as they have spent days putting the shipment together, because they have many more retailers making similar demands, and they too are at very low inventory levels after having a couple of months without manufacturing.

Take a look at popular Discraft disc models. In the case of Discraft, where signature Paul McBeth discs are a huge boon to the brand, keeping certain discs in stock at all is a challenge for the same reasons. Last week, Infinite Discs had these totals available for certain models:

Luna = 0
Malta = 0
Anax = 0
Zeus = 0
Zone = 0

Those are some of the hottest discs in the current Discraft line-up, aside from the Buzzz. None of them were in stock. Not a single disc in any kind of plastic. After a small restock, we’re back to zero again this week.

In May the new Paul McBeth Hades was announces as soon as Discraft was able to open up their operations again, along with a slew of other signature discs. With nearly 1,000 Hades in stock at midnight of the release day, Infinite Discs was sold out by morning. One of the most hotly anticipated signature releases, the Paul McBeth Tour Z Swirly Luna, was one that we’d asked for 1,200, but received just short of 100. To this day, we’ve still received no more than 300 total of the disc after two small, follow-up shipments. Why? It is Discraft’s fault? Nope. They also cannot keep up with the new demand and the depletion of inventory when they too are trying to make up for lost time.

When Will Things Turn Around?

Basically, the Pandemic caused a huge increase in interest, when it comes to Disc Golf. The cancellation of tournaments and the plea not to assemble in groups didn’t stop new players from picking up the game. The new increase in demand has drained the market of discs and other supplies. How long will it take for the market to catch up to the new demand and eventually normalize? We don’t know. We’re struggling to keep discs in stock, but people won’t stop buying them. Will there be an eventual shortage? Will it take months or years for disc makers to meet a new surge that was never anticipated or expected?

What are your thoughts on the pandemic and it’s effects on disc golf? Did you see an increase in interest in the game? Are more people on your local courses now? Share your experiences in the comments below.

Garrett Gurthie Par 4 Albatross ACE with an Infinite Discs Emperor!

Garrett Gurthie Emperor Ace

At last years Las Vegas Challenge we introduced the Emperor as a player pack disc for amateur participants.

Exactly one year later, the Emperor reigns on the pro stage with this incredible ace by Garrett Gurthie — on a par 4 hole making this shot both an Ace and an Albatross!

After a shot like this, you better believe that there will be a Garrett Gurthie G-batross Emperor available soon.

All Emperor’s On Sale

To celebrate this incredible shot, all Emperor’s are on sale through the end of the month, and you can save an additional 10% by using the discount code EmperorAce at checkout.

If you aren’t familiar with the Emperor, it is a stable/overstable distance driver similar to the Innova Destroyer. Each Infinite Discs run features a unique stamp with the run number, flight ratings, and quantity manufactured in that run. Because each run varies slightly, this system allows you to easily find the feel and flight characteristics that you like best.

Right now is the perfect time to try out the Infinite Discs Emperor.

Shop Emperor Here

Focus Friday – The New RUIN By Infinite Discs

For our Focus Friday this week, we are going to spotlight the newest disc in the Infinite Discs lineup, the RUIN. We’ve wanted an overstable, small-diameter approach disc for a while, and thanks to our manufacturing partnership with Innova and their design team, we’ve not got one!

THE C-BLEND RUIN

  • Speed: 3.0
  • Glide: 3.0
  • Turn: 0.0
  • Fade: 3.0

We’ve posted here about the RUIN before, but we thought we’d share a couple of videos with you.  where different players share what they think about the Ruin, including professional player, Drew Gibson. Plus, we’ve got a promo code for you!

VIDEO MONTAGE OF REVIEWS FROM TEAM INFINITE PLAYERS

This is an interesting collection of reviews because they come from players at many different skill levels and with different throwing styles. It may help you see how the disc flies under different conditions. Any full reviews from individual players are linked below the video if you jump to it on Youtube.

DREW GIBSON TALKS ABOUT THE RUIN


For the next week, until the 25th of January, you can use this promo code to get your limited edition stamped C-Blend RUIN for 10% off!

FOCUS-RUIN

Simply add the RUIN to your shopping cart, then BEFORE you click to checkout, look below the shopping cart. Right below the shopping cart is a box for Discount Codes. Click there and paste the code into the box. Then proceed to checkout and you’ll get the discount.

We hope that you love throwing the RUIN.

STAY TUNED for our next Focus Friday for another change to try a featured disc at a nice discounted price!

Infinite Discs Top 100 – 2019

The Top 100 Selling Discs of 2019

It is now 2020 and the number disc golf molds continues to increase every year. In this post we will take a look at the top disc golf discs based on annual sales data from 2019.

Graph Showing Best Disc Golf Discs by Sales

There they are, the Top 100 selling discs of 2019! With each disc, there is an arrow and a number. This represents how many places up or down the disc moved from 2018. For example, the #12 Thunderbird is down 4 places from 2018’s results, meaning in 2018 the Thunderbird was in the #8 spot for the year. We added this so that you can see if the disc is trending up or down, and by how far.

The Destroyer takes the #1 spot again, like it has for many years now. The Zeus was the closest competitor, taking the #2 spot. These are two very similar discs, is the Destroyer actually the best, or is it all about marketing? Do you think the Zeus will overtake the Destroyer in 2020 to become the top disc golf disc?

The Pig had the biggest movement up. It now holds the #27 spot for all of 2019. That’s up 187 spots from 2018. The #42 Berg and the #56 Reko also made giant leaps this year.

There were also several discs that were in the Top 100 of 2018, but did not make the chart here.  Sadly, some of the most noticeable falls were:

Mortar (▼278)
Rat (▼108)
Deflector (▼103)
P1x (▼102)
Captain (▼101)
Myth (▼94)
Chariot (▼89)
MD4 (▼83)
Sonic (▼83)
PD (▼74)
Defender (▼71)
Dagger (▼67)
Justice (▼60)
Sheriff (▼56)
Enforcer (▼54)

Top Disc Golf Discs by Brand

Number of 2019 Top Selling Disc golf discs by brand.

This is how many times a particular brand/manufacturer had a disc on the chart. Innova took the lead with 31 discs. Discraft took second with 20 discs. MVP & Dynamic Discs tied for third place with 9 discs each. Based on the number of discs per brand that made the top 100, Innova is the top disc golf brand of 2019.

Now we’ll take a look at the types of disc golf discs that made the Top 100 chart in 2019. 2019 Top selling disc golf discs by type.

Control Drivers took the first spot, then Putt & Approach discs, then Distance Drivers, and finally, in a distance fourth- Midrange discs.

Typically, we see that distance drivers sell best, and while 4 of the top ten were distance drivers, there were more fairway and putter molds in the top 100 than distance drivers.

 


Top 5 Selling Discs Each Month

Finally, let’s take a look at the top five discs of each month throughout the year!

Best Disc Golf Discs by Month

For Destroyer taking the #1 spot for the year, it only was the #1 disc for two months out of the year! Slow and steady wins the race! What trends do you see? What disc did you like the most in 2019? Let us know!

Will My Package Arrive By Christmas?

With Christmas drawing near, we have a lot of customers who want to know if their package will arrive by Christmas.

Our staff at Infinite Discs is doing all we can to ensure that your package will arrive by December 25th. All orders received by 4:30 PM MST, are shipped out the same day. With that said, we have to rely on the different parcel carriers for the actual delivery. Here are some guidelines for the last days you will want to order different items, if you want to make sure* they arrive before Christmas. Read this article if you’re looking for good Christmas Gift Ideas.

Small_PackageSmall Packages:

Safe Order Deadline to arrive by Christmas: Tuesday, December 17th.

Small packages (2 or less discs), towels, small accessories, mini’s, physical gift cards, etc. weighing less than 16oz will ship by USPS first class mail with a 2-5 day delivery. Assuming the worst with a 5 day delivery in most instances it will be less), unless you make a Priority mail upgrade you will want to make sure your order is in by 4:30 on Tuesday, December 17th, 2019.

With Priority Mail Upgrade

If you pay extra for the “Priority Upgrade” (2-3 day delivery), your likely safe date to receive by Christmas is extended two additional days to Thursday, December 19th. The package will most likely arrive in time if the order is placed early in the day by Friday as well, but if your order is made after 4:30 PM on the 20th, and you NEED it by Christmas, contact support@infinitediscs.com and we can give you a quote of what the cost will be for expedited shipping.

MediamPackage_5890Medium Sized Packages:

Safe Order Deadline without Priority Upgrade: Monday, December 16th

For medium sized packages 3-11 discs and economy bags, we usually ship Fed Ex Ground within the United States. Depending on your proximity to Utah, and the size of your package, these packages may also go USPS Priority Mail.  Orders received by 4:30 on Monday, December 16th, should arrive by Christmas. To be on the safe side in case of errors or inclement weather, you may want to pay the $3.50 charge for the Priority Mail upgrade to ensure a more speedy delivery. Medium packages with a Priority upgrade will likely arrive by Christmas if placed by 4:30 PM on December 19th.

If your order is made after December 19th, and you NEED it by Christmas, contact support@infinitediscs.com and we can give you a quote of what the cost will be for express delivery.

Large Packages

Safe Order Deadline: Friday, December 13th

IMG_5887Large packages including baskets, large backpacks, and 11+ discs are typically shipped by Fed Ex or UPS ground, which can take up to a week to arrive depending on your location and proximity to Utah. It’s also important to know that many of these products are drop shipped directly from the manufacturer, who may not process your order as quickly as we do in house. If you want a large package to arrive by Christmas, you’ll likely be fine if your order is in by December 17th, but to be safe, you’ll want them in by 2:00 on Friday the 13th.

Unless you want to specifically arrange to pay a small fortune for expedited shipping, make sure you have them in early. Large packages are not eligible for our $3.50 priority upgrade. When this option is selected for large orders it only gives you expedited processing. Shipping large packages overnight or priority mail can literally cost you hundreds of dollars. If you need an expedited order for a large package, contact support@infinitediscs.com for a quote on your different shipping options.

International Orders

Safe Order Deadline: It Might Be Too Late

If you want something internationally, it might already be too late to get to you by Christmas. For international shipping we use DHL Parcel International Standard which usually arrives to Canada and Europe within one week, but not always. So if you order before December 13th there is a good chance you will receive it by Christmas, but there is no guarantee.

If you’re too late for a disc golf Christmas gift, There is always next year right? Or, consider a Happy New Year gift… But you don’t really need a reason to give somebody a great disc golf gift do you?

Gift Cards

Deadline to Arrive By Christmas: December 25th

The safest bet (and arguably the best Christmas gift for an avid disc golfer) is an E-Gift card. An email gift card code will be sent to you (or directly to the recipient) within seconds. The other nice thing about an electronic gift card is that you can personalize it any way you want. Print it up and put it in a card or a picture with an original poem you wrote, or a picture of yourself. Who doesn’t like a personalized gift? Or to make things super simple, just email the code directly to the recipient.

Overnight Shipping?

Safe Order Deadline: Nonexistent

What if I wait until the week of Christmas to make my order? Overnight and rushed 2 day shipping options are available, but these can get pricey and there are no promises on delivery time. This is not a safe option, however, if you would like to give it a try, email or call us before you make the order. The shipping price on these are determined case by case. Again, at this point, the best ordering option may be a gift card.

*In rare instances (less than 1% of all orders), packages get misplaced or lost by the individual carriers, or bad weather slows pickup or delivery, and packages do not arrive by the estimated time frame. We cannot guarantee that any package will actually arrive by Christmas.

Holiday Preparations 2019 – Black Friday Teasers

Infinite Discs has been preparing for months for the 2019 Holiday season. We always like to prepare a fun week-long sale for Black Friday and this year is no exception. Our sale will kick-off early for VIP Club members who will have a special day with some discounts and special discs on Tuesday, November 26th. After that, Wednesday the 27th will be our Infinite Discs Day which will introduce the usual week-long deals including popular package sets, mystery boxes, and new releases. Then we’ll cycle through special releases and discounts on different disc brands from Thursday (Thanksgiving) to the following Wednesday!

All in all, that’s a sale that lasts from November 26th through December 4th!

Before we go on, maybe you missed some of the Halloween releases that came out in October? You can find those and some past holiday feature stamps in these links:

HOLIDAY EDITIONS (Filter by Brand)

EYERACHNID 2019 Thought Space Athletics Spook Stamp

GOBLIN KING Stamp on MVP and AXIOM

OCTOBER GHOULS ON DISCMANIA

HALLOWEEN 2019 NEW RELEASES

 

Now, just for fun, we’re going to give you a little hint about what’s coming up…

There will be some new releases that week, featuring new plastics for new discs, including from the Infinite Discs brand. You can expect to see another Alien take-over series stamp on another new glow disc…

There will, of course, be some multi-foil stamp releases, including on a new release from a brand new disc brand. You’ll want to get your hands on these discs…

We also have some special runs of special disc colors with interesting stamps, including some bottom-stamped discs where the tops are intentionally left blank because they just look cool that way…

We’ll also have special stamps in popular Infinite Discs cultural themes which we think you’ll enjoy…

But we’re not going to give you all of the details right now, because that would spoil the fun. We plan to release a full ad a week before the sale begins. That way you can see what we’ve put together and can plan your disc shopping based on your interests. We can promise you special deals and fun releases on these brands:

Infinite Discs

MVP / Axiom / Streamline

Innova

Discraft

Dynamic Discs

Westside Discs

Latitude 64

Discmania

Prodigy

Thought Space Athletics

Gateway

Kastaplast

Mint Discs

…plus deals on others like RPM, Legacy, Viking, Yikun, DGA, etc. 

We haven’t finished putting it all together yet, but we’re getting closer, and we look forward to sharing what we’ve accomplished to make this holiday shopping season a lot of fun for disc golfers. Thanks for your support!

 

Discraft’s Paul McBeth Prototype Anax & First Run Zeus

Prototype Anax & First Run Zeus

The day is almost here! The Prototype Anax & First Run Zeus release Friday, July 12 at midnight eastern time. You can find the Anax here and the Zeus here at that exact time! They come in beautiful colors and many have great swirls in them. The ESP plastic feels very good!


The Anax

The Anax (pronounced “Onyx” according to Discraft) is Paul McBeth’s newest signature driver. It’s a few notches slower than the Zeus, coming in at a speed 10. Beginners may find this disc to be overstable, but more advanced players will find the Anax goes straight for a long time, maximizing it’s 6 glide rating to the fullest before fading out at the end of the flight. We made a quick video review about the Anax:

 


The Zeus

Formerly known as the Kong, the Zeus is Paul McBeth’s go-to signature distance driver.

This is an overstable distance driver, similar to a Destroyer in flight. Previously, we’ve only had access to Prototype Zeus/Kongs. Now, this release presents to us the First Run edition of the Zeus.


Be sure to pick yours up tonight at midnight eastern!

State of Disc Golf 2019–Tournaments, Advice for TDs

Disc Golf Tee Signs

It is Glass Blown Open weekend! GBO is considered one of the best events in disc golf every year. It is run well, and leaves players of all divisions happy and satisfied with their tournament experience.

Often times tournament directors wonder how to make their tournaments better and how to keep their participants happy and excited about their events. This year in the 2019 State of Disc Golf Survey we asked disc golfers questions about their tournament experiences, what they like or don’t like to see in tournaments, and what motivates them to participate in disc golf events.

This is especially pertinent to our sport, because disc golf fans aren’t just fans, they are players. Like we always say, part of what makes disc golf so great is it is very cheap and easy to play. Well, it is also very easy to get involved in local leagues and tournament play including PDGA sanctioned and unsanctioned events.

 

And for the most part, if we are serious enough about disc golf to take a lengthy survey, we play competitively. Of those who took the survey, we were split 70/30 with 70% of survey takers participating in at least one disc golf tournament or event in 2018. We then asked that 70% how many PDGA sanctioned events they participated in over the last year. The responses were interesting:

Particularly, I think it is interesting that the option that received the most selections was zero, showing that a good portion of disc golfers who are active in competitive disc golf may not be involved with the PDGA at all. Also these individuals may just participate in local specialty events like the Discraft Ace Race or Trilogy Challenge. Of course, we asked what specialty events folks participated in during 2018.

We shouldn’t be surprised to see the Trilogy Challenge as the most popular event. It has been established as a great value event that attracts both competitive and casual disc golfers. We can also see that local putting leagues have become very popular in the disc golf community. It is interesting that just 33.33% said they participated in none of these events, as it shows how popular these specialty events have become in recent years. Also, because I mentioned it previously, only 9.97% of those who said they participated in a disc golf tournament said that they didn’t participate in a PDGA sanctioned event nor in any of these specialty events. It just goes to show that there are still popular local events that do not affiliate with the PDGA.

This ties into our next question in the survey: How many tournaments did you participate in that were not PDGA sanctioned? here were your responses:

With this data, we see that slightly more people participated in tournaments that were not PDGA sanctioned than people who participated in tournaments that were PDGA sanctioned. For those of us who are involved in mainstream PDGA events, it can be easy to forget that tournaments that are not sanctioned still draw a lot of participants, and are a great resource for casual players who are wanting to work their way into the competitive disc golf world.

Motivating Factors for Playing Disc Golf Tournaments

So what motivates us to participate in disc golf tournaments? We asked, and here is how we responded:

At first I was pretty shocked to see that Payouts/Prizes and Player Packs were the lowest two motivators. Those are often the two motivators that Tournament Directors try to appeal to the most when they are promoting their events. But does this data mean that we should focus on something different in our promotions?

After a little more thought, it could be argued that these low numbers are a bit misleading. First of all, who receives a player pack? For most PDGA sanctioned tournaments, only players in amateur divisions receive a player pack. Professional players usually do not receive a player pack, so most survey takers who play in the pro divisions likely aren’t motivated by player packs. And the inverse sometimes applies to Payouts/Prizes for larger events. Sometimes in order to generate larger payouts for pro divisions, TDs will make their event “Trophy Only” for their amateur divisions. This means that there are no prizes besides maybe a trophy for amateurs. These events though will often provide a more generous player pack in an effort to try and “make up” for not offering prizes. So for amateurs who are accustomed to playing in trophy only events, they would naturally not be motivated by payouts and prizes that they don’t normally see anyway.

However, all of the other motivating factors can be found at pretty much any tournament regardless of division. I think it is also worth noting that we enjoy exploring new courses when we go to tournaments enough that almost half of us listed that as one of our motivating factors. I know some smaller local tournaments have found success in using a variety of layouts and pin positions for tournaments to try and change up their course to make it feel new and different for their local players.

But at the end of the day, what most motivates us to go to tournaments is the competition, fun, and social aspects found in tournament play. So TDs should make sure to foster a fun and social environment. Obviously the nature of tournaments themselves make them competitive, but TDs can still look for ways to improve that competitive atmosphere for all divisions. TDs can also add small mini competitions like distance or putting competitions in between or after tournament rounds. Even a ring of fire offers all competitors a chance to experience some competition. I remember as a young player winning prizes in a ring of fire that included some of the best local disc golfers. It was fun to be able to say I beat them at something, even if it was as simple as a ring of fire.

We also asked survey takers to rank by importance certain aspects of tournament play. Specifically, we asked, What aspects do you consider when selecting tournaments? Here is how we responded:

I think this might be the most interesting bit of data so far today. It shouldn’t be a surprise that a well run event is what we consider to be the most important thing when we are selecting tournaments. I think this is especially important for TDs who are running events on new courses or temporary courses. It is insanely frustrating to play in an event when you aren’t 100% sure of the rules or if all OB areas are not clearly marked.

But I am kind of shocked to see that the three options that received the most “Not Important” votes were Awards/Trophies, Good Payouts, and Player Pack value. If you are an amateur who hates that the big event in your area is a trophy only event, then don’t show the TD this info. Over a quarter of tournament goers consider the Awards/Trophies in your tournament not important, and only 4% less consider good payouts not important.

From this data, what people want the most are well run and organized events that stick to the schedule and give them an opportunity to compete and enjoy each others company. So instead of trying to appeal to players by giving them the biggest player pack or payout, spend some of that time/money and turn your event into a social and competitive gem in your area.

Payout vs. Player Packs

Part of why I was surprised that payouts and player packs were the most unimportant factors is because they are part of a pretty common debate in disc golf circles–where should tournament money go? Should TD’s provide a generous player pack, or instead focus on bigger payouts across all divisions? We asked for your opinion, and here is how you responded:

We shouldn’t be surprised that the top answer here, with almost half selecting it, is a mix of both, because everyone wants more of everything right? But when we look at those who answered just one or the other, people who favor a big player pack doubled the amount of people who prefer a big payout. This doesn’t surprise me, I think that all players benefit from a large player pack regardless of skill level. So if you are in a good position as a TD, try to create a high value for both the player packs and the payouts. But if you need to choose one or the other, most disc golfers would prefer that money going toward a generous player pack.

Another common debate within disc golf culture is how to divide tournament payouts. In other words, how deep should a tournament payout? If a tournament has a big purse that is paid out to a high percentage of the field, that means the top finishers aren’t paid as much as they would be if they paid out a smaller percentage of the field. The inverse, of course, is a shallow payout that makes for higher payouts for the top of the field. So, we asked disc golfers which they preferred, and here are the responses:

Similar to our last chart, we see that most people prefer moderation. But then the split after that is pretty even with a slight preference toward shallow payouts or even trophy only events. But for the most part, the standard 40%-50% payout is what most people want to see.

Tournament Stamp or Stock Stamp?

Now for one last tidbit of info for our Tournament Directors–How do we feel about tournament stamps compared to stock stamps in the player packs? Specifically, we asked,”As a player pack item, would you prefer a tournament stamp on a disc you don’t throw or a stock stamp on a disc of your choice?” This also gets to players having more of a choice in their player packs. So how much do we value that choice? Here is how we responded:

This one is pretty even across the board with people saying that it depends on the tournament and stamp coming in at the top just barely. And then there is a slight favoring of tournament stamps, which I think makes sense because it is always nice to have a more unique disc in my opinion. So if you run a good enough tournament with a nice stamp design, you can win over the neutral folks and make everyone happy, which is the goal of every TD.

But for those who prefer to have more choice in their player packs, be sure to check out a Next Generation event this year. Dave Feldberg has partnered with Infinite Discs to provide multiple options for player packs, allowing participants to choose the discs and brands included in the packs.

Why Disc Golfers Don’t Play Tournaments

Now, so far we have discussed the preferences of those who said they participated in tournaments this year, but for those who didn’t participate–why not? What kept these people from involving themselves in their local competitive disc golf scene?

As you can see, far and away the top reason why people don’t participate in disc golf tournaments is because they don’t have enough time. Again, it shows that our sport draws competitive people, even if they don’t have time to participate in organized disc golf competitions.

And for the 29.57% of folks who didn’t play in a tournament this year because they don’t think they are good at disc golf, I have a couple of thoughts. First of all–welcome to the club because a good portion of us who play competitively also don’t think we are good at disc golf. But more importantly, if you want to improve your disc golf game, I think one of the best ways to do it is participate in your local leagues and tournaments. I remember being scared showing up to my first league, and I played awful. But the people on my card were very encouraging, and I learned so much as I kept showing up and watching disc golfers who were better than me and how they attacked the course. So don’t let your fear of not being good enough stop you. Once you set that aside and start showing up to leagues and other events, I know your game will improve. I saw it happen in myself, and I see it happen all the time.

And finally, our last stat nugget–for those who didn’t play in disc golf tournaments, what would help in convincing them to show up to future events?

I am surprised to see that over half of people who said that they didn’t play in a tournament said that them getting better at disc golf would convince them to show up to future events. So maybe it is an issue not people thinking they aren’t good at disc golf, but rather they just don’t think they are good enough. Again, refer to my earlier discussion of how participating in competitive disc golf will improve your game. I believe that nobody should ever feel like they aren’t good enough to participate in disc golf tournaments or leagues.

We also see that time/location changes could help almost half of those who didn’t participate in disc golf events show up in the future. Of course, this is a hard thing to get right since everyone’s schedule is different.

Let Them Play With Their Friends

Another piece of interesting information is that 45.87% of folks said that they would play more if they could play with their friends rather than strangers. While it isn’t always ideal, most tournament directors allow people to request being on the same card as their friends. Even if they don’t advertise this, any TD will tell you that there are plenty of disc golfers who have no problem asking anyway. But maybe if TDs are trying to draw more casual players to their events, they can make sure they know that they will be allowed to play with their friends.

So we covered lots of data in this one! What stood out to you that I might have missed commenting on? Do you have any advice for Tournament Directors? Please let us know in the comments!

And last but not least–thank your TDs! A Tournament Director is often a thankless volunteer position. These people donate their time and energy to create a positive event for their disc golf community. They grow the sport and are trying their best to be a positive influence in their communities. So thank you TDs!

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