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:
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:
MVP / Axiom / Streamline
Thought Space Athletics
…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!
It is fun to watch new brands enter the boutique disc market year after year. One of the newcomers to the disc market is Storm Disc Golf.
Storm recently released their second putter, called the RADAR, plus introduced their first offering in Category 3 plastic with a premium edition of their EYE mid-range. With those new releases, we thought we’d take a quick look at their disc line-up so far and give a quick run-down of the plastic types.
The Storm Jet Stream is an overstable, high speed distance driver with a fairly thick rim width. When thrown by experienced disc golfers, the Jet Stream will experience some high-speed turn before finishing the flight with a strong, low-speed fade. Disc golfers with less power will find the Jet Stream to be consistently overstable.
The Abyss is an impressive disc from Storm Disc Golf. This is a workhorse on the fairways with a manageable speed and dependable fade for consistent performance under all conditions. It can handle the power of experienced players who need precision s-flights to the basket. For less experienced players, it will have an overstable fade.
The Eye is a straight-flying mid-range which will hold the line for players of all skill levels. This wide diameter disc has excellent glide and can come in weights up to 181 grams for a solid, manageable feel and flight.
The Crater is a unique putter where the center portion of the flight plate is lower than the outer rim, creating a unique feel and thumb track design. It is an overstable putt and approach disc designed to handle wind and find its way to the ground without a lot of glide.
The Radar is a stable putter with impressive glide. It has a very different feel and flight from the Crater. It is very dependable with a straight flight path and is great for not only putting but also for approaches and finesse driving off the tee.
The 3 Plastic Types So Far
Storm Disc Golf currently has three plastic types which are as follows. Category 1 is their softer, grippy plastic blend designed as a favorite for putters or for playing in cold or wet conditions. Category 2 is a premium plastic that is more opaque and durable, more popular in mids and drivers. And Category 3 is another durable, premium blend with a slight more translucent look that should last a long time even with rougher handling on the course.
We’re excited to watch as Storm Disc Golf continues to bring more discs to the market. If you have thrown Storm discs and want to give your opinions and comments below, we welcome your feedback!
Infinite Discs launched a line of discs in early 2018 in partnership with Innova Champion Discs. Since then, several molds have been introduced into the market. While some are very new and haven’t had as much time to earn a reputation or build sales momentum, a few are starting to stand out as favorites.
Here is a look at the top 10 best-sellers for the Infinite Discs brand so far…
It is probably no surprise that the Pharaoh has more than doubled the sales of any of the other disc models so far. It has been a popular distance driver and each run has had its own profile and flight characteristics, which makes it a fun disc to fill a bag for a multitude of uses. You can see a Pharaoh Run Comparison Log HERE:
The Exodus comes in 2nd place as a great fairway driver for players of all levels. It handles torque well and can be powered for long distances even with it’s smaller rim configuration. You can see a log of the Exodus Runs HERE:
In terms of momentum, the Sphinx is on a fast trajectory to catch the Exodus as it has become a fun favorite for new players who want a driver that is easier to keep straight, or for experienced players who love it for hyzer-flips and anhyzer lines. The Metal Flake Glow C-Blend edition Sphinx ended up quite a bit more stable than the I-Blend, earning it a spot even in the bags of power throwers who love to flip it out for impressive distances.
The Tomb is also a disc that has gained momentum since its release. It has become best known as an approach disc or small-diameter alternative to traditional mid-range discs. There are some players who have reported using it as a traditional putter, but with its flat top and low profile, it seems to have gained favor as a throwing putter in the premium plastic blends like S-Blend, I-Blend, and C-Blend. It can be laced down very narrow fairways with pin-point accuracy.
The Slab comes in 5th as a total utility distance driver. It is very overstable with a very flat top. It recently has gained a little bit of attention in the Jeremy Koling signature edition in “Concrete Plastic” which is a mix of metal flake and luster C-Blend.
Some of the newer models are yet to catch up with the 2018 releases, but the Emperor is starting to make a move as a more overstable distance driver than the Pharaoh. It is comparable to the popular Innova Destroyer. It will be fun to see what else catches on!
Leave a comment with your favorite Infinite Discs mold and tell us why!
The always hectic summer in the disc golf world is in full swing! We are doing everything we can here at Infinite Discs to stay on top of it all. This post is a little late, but it is time to take a look back at the top selling discs of the second quarter in 2019!
The disc formerly known as Kong, aka the Discraft Zeus, has been flying off the shelves, but it still wasn’t enough to beat out the “original” Paul McBeth distance driver. The Innova Destroyer stayed at number one this quarter, but it will be exciting to see if the stock stamp release of the Zeus will push it up to the top spot. Beyond that, we see most of the same names we saw last quarter with the most movement coming from the Innova Firebird that dropped from 5 to 10.
As always, we see Innova with a strong presence in the distance driver category. They manufacture 8 of the 10. But the other two discs may not be going anywhere soon. The Zeus has proven to be a hit, and the Raider was an instant success for Dynamic Discs. It will be interesting to see if both of these discs can continue to compete with the rest of the Innova made distance drivers that seem to always be at the top of the charts. Oh, and don’t sleep on the newly released Infinite Discs Emperor. I think we will continue to see this disc in the top 10 for a while.
Like with the distance drivers, Innova manufactures 8 of these top 10 discs. I think this is the first time we have seen the Innova Thunderbird take the number one spot. It is always near the top, but the new Swirly Star Jeremy Koling Thunderbirds finally bumped it to number one. The newly released Discmania Evolution Instinct came in at 6 with a lot of hype. We will see if it continues to sell well down the road. Beyond that, we have a lot of the same in the fairway drivers.
The top half of the midrange chart stayed nearly identical featuring the same top 4 as last quarter, but the bottom half shook up a bit. We haven’t heard a lot about Mint Discs since they released the very successful Alpha a few years ago, but now they add a midrange to the mix with the Bobcat taking our 7 spot. Also we see Discraft continuing to have a positive year on the sales charts with the Buzzz SS making its first appearance on the top 10 for as long as I can remember.
This is something I’ve never seen before. All top 8 selling putt and approach discs this quarter are in the exact same position as last quarter. I guess we are pretty consistent with our putt and approach game here at Infinite Discs :). The Streamline Pilot cracked the top 10 this quarter with help from a Special Edition release in Streamline’s Neutron and Cosmic Neutron. The MVP Entropy is a newly released overstable approach disc that fills a great slot in the MVP lineup.
And that does it for our 2019 Q2 top sellers! Do any of these charts surprise you? What discs did better/worse than you would have expected? Tell us in the comments! And see you next quarter!
We are getting into our busy season here at Infinite Discs! People are playing lots of disc golf which means they are buying lots of discs. So it seems like a perfect time to take a look back at our disc golf buying habits from 2018.
How Many Discs Do We Own?
First, let’s look at how many discs we own. Are we a bunch of hoarders? Let’s find out!
Surprise, (not really) we own lots of discs! The pie chart is a bit crowded, so here is a bar graph featuring the same information:
The most popular response was 41-60 discs, and from the pie chart we can see that almost 3/4 of us own more than 30 discs, which is more than you can fit in an average disc golf bag or cart. I remember when I first started playing disc golf and I saw someone on the course with a backpack full of discs. I thought there was no way I could ever own enough discs to fill a backpack bag. Now I have boxes and boxes of discs…
But that is the literal state of disc golf and disc ownership! And it is something that is pretty unique to our sport. You don’t see many golfers who have multiple bags of clubs, or casual basketball players who have closets full of different basketball shoes. We don’t just own the discs we need to play, but we also collect disc golf equipment.
How Many New Discs Though?
So how many new discs did we add to our collections in 2018? Again, here is both the pie chart and bar graph with this data:
So from this we could say that a rough “average” for the community as a whole is around 10-14 discs since a little over half of us bought at least 10 discs in 2018. I personally would say that is a little higher than I expected. 10 discs is a lot, especially for players who have a pretty established bag. But I think there are a couple of factors that drive us to buy more and more discs.
First of all, there are new releases. I usually write our quarterly sales reports on the blog, and almost every single time one of the top selling discs in every category is a new release disc. We for some reason in disc golf love trying out and collecting new disc molds, and there are definitely more than 10 new molds released every year.
I also think there is a sweet spot in the competitiveness and experience of disc golfers in correlation with how many discs we purchase. Beginners often purchase a lot of discs because they are excited about this new thing in their life and they are jumping in full swing. These new disc golfers are figuring out how to play and what molds will work in their bag. Then after maybe a year or more, once that disc golfer has gotten the hang of things, their purchasing may slow a bit.
This is that sweet spot. Experienced disc golfers who have for the most part found their comfort zone in the game. They don’t feel as strong of a need to buy more discs. However, if that experienced disc golfer becomes more competitive and play more frequently, they become more involved in the replacement market of disc golf. Depending on the types of courses they play, they might be losing more discs than average. Also their discs get worn in quicker and may need to be replaced sooner.
But something else that always needs to be remembered when analyzing this data is that the data is from people who cared enough about disc golf to take a survey put out by a disc golf company. We get a large number of respondents every year, but they are generally more active in the online disc golf community. So it makes sense that our numbers might be higher than expected when it comes to disc golf purchases.
How Many Discs Did We Collect?
Now, back to the data! And an interesting question that gets back to my comments earlier about us being collectors: How many discs did we acquire to collect and not throw? I think just the pie chart is sufficient for this one:
Again, we are collectors! Over half of us got a disc that we had no intention of ever throwing. This also doesn’t include discs that we collect but also want to throw a few times before hanging it on the wall or storing it away in plastic totes. This is great news for disc golf manufacturers and retailers. As we can see, their special edition, signature series, and first run discs are working in getting us to spend more money on new collectible discs.
But Where Do the Discs Come From?
So where do we get our new discs from? We asked that question, and provided survey takers with a variety of options for their responses. Here is how we answered:
As it is with the rest of the retail world, online is a dominant avenue through which we acquire new disc golf discs. So some may be surprised to see that the most popular selection was local disc golf stores that are focused primarily on selling disc golf equipment. This is encouraging for small business owners who have invested in building their own small business. It is also why companies like Dynamic Discs have opened several locations across the country.
But in a world that has seen brick and mortar stores go under because of the pressure from online retailers, why would most survey takers still buy discs from local stores? Again, this gets to a quirk in disc golf–there are benefits to seeing and holding a disc before you buy it. It is always nice to try on shoes and see them in person, but a size 11 of the same basketball shoe is going to be the exact same whether you buy it from a local Foot Locker or from Amazon or Eastbay online.
However, a max weight Star Destroyer from your local shop may be different from all of the max weight Star Destroyers available right now on Infinite Discs or any other online retailer. One might be more domey or have any other idiosyncratic feature you have learned that you like or dislike in your Star Destroyers.
I know when I worked in the warehouse at Infinite Discs I always got calls asking how flat a certain Champion Firebird was that we had listed online. Well when you shop in with a local disc golf store, you can inspect the disc however you want before buying your purchase. Due to overhead, some local stores may have higher prices than online retailers, but it may be worth the extra cost knowing exactly what you are getting before you buy it.
Over the last few years, I have been able to help out at our local Infinite Discs store in Pocatello, Idaho. I have seen the above scenario play out several times, but also I think a local pro shop is more inviting to newer players who may feel overwhelmed by all of the options available. Online retailers try their best to provide new players with information, but for many people it is nice to be able to have a face to face conversation with a store associate who knows about disc golf and are qualified to answer their questions.
But another interesting aspect of local disc golf stores being the most popular way that survey takers acquired discs is simply the fact that that many people have access to a dedicated local disc golf store. It would be interesting to know how many disc golf stores have opened over the last few years, but from this survey we know that at least over 60% of survey takers have access to a local disc golf shop, which is exciting for the growth of the sport.
So there you have it! What bit of data stood out to you? Is there something I failed to discuss that should have gotten more attention? Please let us know your thoughts and feelings in the comments!
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!
Which brands do we prefer to use? Did our favorite brands change this year? This is an especially interesting year in disc golf to take a look at the survey responses that relate to this topic because of the many sponsor changes made by top professional disc golfers this offseason.
In fact, we tried to address the big offseason changes directly by adding a new question to this year’s survey. This survey was taken at the beginning of this calendar year during a time that was well after the news broke that Paul McBeth would be sponsored by Discraft and Ricky Wysocki would be sponsored by Innova. So we decided to ask straight up–Have you thought about purchasing Innova because of the Ricky Wysocki switch? We also asked–Have you thought about purchasing Discraft because of the Paul McBeth switch? Here is how we responded:
Well, if you didn’t know already, Paul McBeth really is the king of disc golf in so many ways. As you can see, just over a third of all survey takers have thought about purchasing Discraft product strictly because Paul McBeth is now throwing their discs during tournament play. And then, as we saw in the favorite disc golfers post, Ricky Wysocki’s change to Innova doesn’t seem to have been as well received. I’ve mentioned this before, but I really think it is because the fans Ricky Wysocki gained over the last few years while he was sponsored by Latitude 64 viewed Innova as more of a rival than the fans of Paul McBeth viewed Discraft. This is a fascinating anomaly in disc golf.
But as the data has proven in multiple ways, we as disc golf consumers care about which brand of discs sponsor our favorite pros, and it influences our buying habits.
One little tidbit of data is especially interesting in this enigma that is the relationship between favorite disc golfers and favorite brands it what I would call the Eric Oakley effect.
Eric Oakley is one of the best touring pros not just at disc golf, but at marketing himself using social media outlets. This makes him an especially valuable team member for any sponsor. His manufacturer sponsor over the last few seasons has been Dynamic Discs, one of the Trilogy brands (Dynamic Discs, Latitude 64, and Westside).
In the survey we asked survey takers if their favorite brand of discs changed this year, and if they answered yes, we asked who their new favorite brand is now. So we took a look at survey takers who named Eric Oakley as one of their favorite disc golfers. Then of those participants, we looked at which ones changed favorite brands. Of these survey takers, 83% said their new favorite brand was one of the Trilogy brands. We see this trend when looking at other professionals as well, but Eric Oakley seemed to have the strongest influence this year.
However, when asked why they changed favorite brands, survey takers did not cite professional influence at so high a rate:
So if data trends show professional disc golfers making a significant influence on our brand preferences, why did so few cite them as reasons for changing their favorites? In my opinion, I think it is fair to say that perhaps these survey takers tried out discs made by their new favorite brands because of the influence of their favorite professional disc golfers, and they stuck around for reasons like the feel and flight of their discs. As was previously mentioned, nearly 33% of all survey takers said they would consider throwing Discraft discs just because of Paul McBeth–before Paul had even thrown a Discraft disc in tournament play!
Of course, this leads to the question–for those who changed their favorite brands, which manufacturer was their new favorite? Well first of all, it is important to note that only 20.76% of all survey takers said that their favorite brand changed during the last year. So for the most part, disc golfers stayed true to their previous favorites. But let’s look at which brands that 20% chose as their new favorites:
Remember that Eric Oakley effect I talked about? We can definitely see that influence carried over here. You could also argue from these results that the McBeth effect is so strong that he doesn’t even have to throw a disc to make people change their favorite manufacturer.
We also asked survey takers if they could only throw discs made by one manufacturer, which would they choose? For this question, we put together different brands made by the same manufacturer. Here are the overall results:
IF YOU COULD ONLY USE DISCS MADE BY ONE MANUFACTURER, WHICH WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
I think a lot of this comes down to selection. If you look at how many discs are available from each of these manufacturers, it pretty much coincides with these results. But it is significant that almost half of all disc golfers who took the survey would choose to only throw discs made in an Innova factory if they had to make that choice. All other manufacturers were selected by less than 1% of survey takers.
This leads us to what I believe is the ultimate indicator of our true brand preferences. We can claim certain brands as our favorites, but which brands are we actually throwing and including in our disc golf bags? Let’s look:
I don’t think that Innova being the most popular is too big of a surprise, but over 80% of survey takers having at least one Innova disc in their bag is a bit surprising to me. It just goes to show how dominant their influence has been in the disc golf world over the years. I also was a little surprised to see that Discraft was number two. I would have predicted Latitude 64 to be the number two. Which means I was also surprised to see that Dynamic Discs was higher than Latitude 64.
That being said, it is important to note that the question just asks which brand of discs are in our bag. So if a survey taker has only one disc of a certain brand (like the extremely popular Discraft Buzzz) then they would include that brand in their response.
The trilogy brands together were the third, fourth, and fifth most popular brands. For a long time Latitude 64 was the only of the three that had a “complete” lineup, so they were always the most popular. However, both Dynamic and Westside Discs have released more and more discs giving players–especially those loyal to Trilogy–more options.
Looking further down the chart it looks like things shook out as expected. I was a little surprised at how low Prodigy was considering it wasn’t that long ago that they took the disc golf world by storm and had a large team of professional disc golfers. But Prodigy has been a little more aggressive this year with newer molds being added to their lineup like the recently hyped D2 Max. It will be interesting to see if they can get these new molds into the bags of disc golfers.
So we have thrown together several charts and lists here today, but what does it mean? No, I’m really asking, what do you think it all means? Let us know in the comments what you think of this data and what it says about our current state of disc golf!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock over the last couple of days, you probably heard something about Tiger Woods winning The Masters at Augusta National on Sunday. He entered the final round two strokes behind the leader and fought to shoot -2 for the day which was just enough to win his 5th green jacket.
But isn’t this a disc golf blog? Why are we talking about “ball” golf (or as the rest of the world knows it: “golf”)? Disc golf is better than that sport, so we shouldn’t even care about what Tiger Woods or any other ball golfer does, right? Ball golf is dying, and disc golf is thriving, right?
Well, that last question is exactly where Tiger Woods winning his 15th career major and his first in over a decade becomes interesting for disc golfers and disc golf as a sport. But first of all, for those who unlike me became a disc golfer without any prior affiliation with ball golf, let’s take a quick crash course on Tiger Woods.
If you want to know more, any google search right now should lead you to a variety of articles about Woods and his historic comeback to the top flight of a sport that he single-handedly revolutionized at the turn of the century. Personally, I’d recommend this article from ESPN if you want a little more info than what I am giving here. But basically, Tiger Woods is the undisputed GOAT of golf. He was so dominant in his heyday, that golf courses were literally renovated just to make them harder for him (they called it, “Tiger-proofing”). He was even considered by some to be the greatest athlete of all time regardless of sport. After becoming the youngest to win a major in 1997, he shattered record after record playing at a level that you had to see to believe.
Sunday afternoons in my house were all about watching Tiger Woods. If there was a family dinner at my grandparents’ home, Tiger Woods was always on in the background. He was an American icon, and his influence is definitely part of why I played golf and now play disc golf.
And I wasn’t the only one. Some say that Tiger Woods caused a “golf bubble” (we will use that term more later) bringing an unprecedented number of new fans and players to the sport. Nike created Nike Golf pretty much just for Tiger Woods. Sales were up, the sport’s popularity was up, and there was no sign of that changing. Tiger was the icon and the soul of the sport as he dominated for the better part of a decade.
And then as Tiger fell, so did golf. In 2009 Tiger was involved in a car crash that started the ball rolling in a very public and humiliating divorce. Around the same time, his body started to show signs of wear and tear resulting in multiple surgeries and very little golf. After knee and back operations, his body was not the same, and in many ways he had to completely relearn how to play. He’d come back for an event or two just to miss the cut or drop out early due to injury, and then announce he’d undergo another procedure.
Pretty much every sports analyst online and on TV predicted his career was over. We would never see Tiger compete at the highest level again. The human body just couldn’t come back after everything he’d been through.
And in the meantime, Tiger wasn’t the only one not playing golf. And we as disc golfers are pretty aware of this. Over the years I have seen many disc golfer Facebook friends share many reports about the decline of golf in America and the world. These articles have been used as an attempt to advocate for disc golf courses being added to golf properties in order to make up for the low numbers of golfers hitting the links.
And in many ways it has worked! We have seen lots of disc golf courses pop up on the same property as ball golf courses. Popular ones include the Emporia Country Club course used during the Glass Blown Open in Emporia, Kansas, Wildhorse Golf Club used for the Las Vegas Challenge, and one of my personal favorite local courses, Mulligan’s Golf Course in Marriott-Slaterville, Utah. The latter is used during the Utah Open and will be featured during the 2020 PDGA World Championships. Mulligan’s was on the brink of shutting down, and disc golf helped resurrect the 9-hole golf course that is adjacent to Toad’s Fun Center.
One of the more popular articles shared in disc golf circles since its publication in 2014 has been 5 Reasons Why Golf Is in a Hole featured by Money Magazine. The first four reasons we talk about all the time as disc golfers–We’re too busy! Golf takes too long. Golf is elitist and expensive. Golf isn’t really that cool. And golf is just too hard! These are all reasons disc golfers will use to try and convince their friends as to why disc golf is better.
And frankly, they are the reasons why I even started playing disc golf. I loved the game of golf. I loved the mental challenge and idea of the sport. But it was hard to find time in my schedule for 18 or even 9 holes at my local course. My clubs were expensive, and green fees were ridiculous. Also, I wasn’t that great of a golfer! I knew I could get better with more practice, but in order to practice I had to take the time and pay the money to go out and play.
And then my friends introduced me to disc golf, and it was so easy for me to get hooked. Our local park didn’t have any fees, plastic discs are way cheaper than golf clubs, and I could finish 9 holes in less than 30 minutes. It was everything I loved about golf minus all the things I didn’t care for in the sport.
But Money’s article has a fifth reason, and it is the reason that we disc golfers have just kind of ignored when discussing the decline in golf. We’d rather focus on the reasons that appeal to our logic and sensibility. But this 5th reason gets at people’s passion and heart. Maybe we haven’t talked about it as much because something in us knew–improbable as it may be–that this reason could change. This problem with golf maybe wasn’t necessarily a permanent one. What was that final reason that golf has been struggling?
Yep. Tiger Woods.
“Skeptics insist that golf isn’t dying. Not by a long shot. The sport’s popularity, they say, is merely taking a natural dip after soaring to unjustified heights during the “golf bubble” brought on by the worldwide phenomenon that was Tiger Woods.”
Wait, golf isn’t dying?! Disc golf isn’t replacing it? Those multi-million dollar purses on the PGA tour aren’t going to shift over to the PDGA in a few years?
But what about all the golf courses closing and needing disc golf to come in and save them?
Again, from the Money article, “So perhaps it’s not so much that golf is losing favor with the masses today as it is that golf’s widespread popularity a decade or so ago was something of a fluke…Golf courses were overbuilt, saturating major cities and secondary markets with ridiculous golf hole per capita ratios.”
So if anything, this is a bit of a reality check for our hopes and dreams for the growth of disc golf. Maybe golf wasn’t ever really going anywhere besides back to normal popularity levels over the last few years. I’m sure I haven’t been the only one who has thought that maybe once golf dies off in the next decade or two, society’s demand for disc golf will grow to such a place where disc golf will just slide in and take it’s place. But if these years have really just been the backside of the Tiger Woods “golf bubble,” it doesn’t bode well for disc golf’s future as a mainstream sport.
That future may have also taken another blow this weekend. Because Tiger’s story didn’t end with the humiliating divorce and what should have been career ending injuries. He fought back over and over again, showing a resilience pretty much nobody knew he had. He finished the 2018 season with a few strong finishes including winning the 2018 Tour Championship.
But he had his eyes set on something even bigger–he wanted another major, specifically The Masters. Another quick note for those unfamiliar to golf–The Masters is arguably the golf equivalent of the PDGA World Championships. It is the most prestigious event in golf.
So as Tiger Woods hung around the top of the leaderboard all weekend, it wasn’t just his old fans who started to cheer for him. It wasn’t just Americans who love a great comeback story who started pulling for him. The entire sport of golf and any individual or company who has a vested interest in golf’s future wanted Tiger to win on Sunday. I guarantee that every golf equipment and apparel company was hoping Tiger would beat out any other pro that they sponsored. Every golf course owner and sports equipment store was cheering for Tiger. Why?
Because if you have watched the Masters every year for the last 5 or so years (like I have), then you know that you have never seen or heard a crowd like the one at Augusta National on April 14, 2019. The “Tiger roars” were back, and some say they were even bigger than they had ever been before. When Tiger tapped in that final putt, the collective golf world erupted. Their champion and hero was back.
Does that mean that they will be back on their local courses as well? Will we see a second Tiger golf bubble form? I know that is the hope and dream of every golf company.
And should it be the nightmare of every disc golfer? Maybe. It is hard to say. As I watched those final holes at Augusta on Sunday, the kid in me was hoping Tiger would pull it off, but the cynical disc golfer in me was hoping to see him choke. Because if Tiger is back, then golf could very well be back as well.
But maybe disc golf doesn’t have to be at odds with Tiger and the golfing world. Maybe we can coexist within each others’ spheres. I could spend a whole different article talking about how disc golfers think that golfers are rude, uppity rich folks who think they are too good for our sport; and how golfers think that disc golfers are a bunch of uncultured pot heads who need to get out of the parks and go find a real job. But maybe it doesn’t have to be that way.
Because as much as I love golf, I have learned that disc golf is my true “golf” calling in life. So when I saw Tiger’s return and felt that tug on my heart, it didn’t send me looking for my old golf clubs.