How Do You Feel About Disc Golf Tournaments?

Several years ago I was online looking for some information about the county I live in and stumbled upon an announcement of a disc golf tournament scheduled at a local course. At that point I learned two things: first, there was a disc golf course in my county. And second, disc golfers had tournaments! Until then I had only played disc golf a few times a year, and had no idea there were competitions. I ended up playing in that tournament, and met people that I’m still friends with today. When a local club was formed a bit later, I gladly joined.

Since then, I’ve become addicted to disc golf and a big part of the attraction is the tournaments. I love the atmosphere, the competition, the camaraderie, and often times the travel. Judging by the survey results for the Infinite Discs’ poll, there are a lot of other people that love tournaments, too. And some that never play tournaments. In this blog post we will look at the survey results surrounding tournaments and some of the reasons we do or do not play them.

 

To play, or not to play a sanctioned tournament

 

Let’s start by talking about sanctioned tournaments. A tournament sanctioned by the PDGA is different than other tournaments. The rules are stricter, participants are required to be PDGA members or buy a temporary membership, they are usually longer (more holes and/or held for more days), and typically cost a bit more. Many of us like the added rules, making the atmosphere at a sanctioned tournament a bit more serious. The payouts are also usually better than at non-sanctioned events. As PDGA members, we also get the benefit (or sometimes the detriment) of getting a rating from sanctioned tournaments so that we can compare our skill level to other disc golfers.

Over half of the survey respondents played at least one sanctioned tournament last year (53%). Of the 1,850 who played in at least one, the largest group, 472 people, only played in one sanctioned tournament. The next largest group (347) played between 6-10, and the third largest played two sanctioned tournaments. A significant number of us (110) played in 16 or more tournaments. It would be interesting to know who in the survey played in the most sanctioned tournaments, and how many!

sanctioned

An unsanctioned tournament is more like a club tournament. Although most of the basic PDGA rules are followed, it is up to the tournament director (TD) to decide which rules will be enforced and which will be relaxed, such as marking a lie close to the basket. These tournaments usually have fewer rounds and are mostly single-day events. TD’s don’t have the same requirements as a sanctioned tournament, such as fees and added cash to the purse. Therefore, the unsanctioned tournaments usually don’t cost as much nor pay out as much.

Lower entry fees and no PDGA membership requirements may have contributed to a slightly higher number of people who played in unsanctioned vs. sanctioned tournaments. The survey results indicated that 2,083 people, or 60%, played in at least one unsanctioned tournament. Over half of that group played between 1-3 unsanctioned tournaments.

unsactionedtournaments

 

Get Some Sweet Swag

 

A fun and popular type of tournament is the specialty tournament, or sponsored tournament. I call them themed, because many of these tournaments have specific, unusual types of play. Disc golf manufacturers sponsor these tournaments and use them as a vehicle to let disc golfers try their product. Popular tournaments of this type include the Birdie Bash, Trilogy Challenge, and the Ace Race.  Participants of sponsored tournaments get two or three new discs, plus a bunch of swag from the tournament sponsor, and only those discs may be used in the tournament. The format of the tournament varies, depending on the manufacturer. Some examples include:

Ace Race, where the holes are typically shorter than usual, which is good because you only get one throw to make it in the basket! You get to record metal hits, which is when you hit the basket but it doesn’t go in, and aces. The person with the most aces wins, with metal hits used as a tie-breaker The Ace Race is sponsored by Discraft, and the disc mold is a new one that will be released later in the year.

Vibram Birdie Bash, where a similar approach is found, but instead of one throw, you get two tries (on a par 3 hole) to make it in the basket. An ace (eagle) counts as five points, birdies counts as two, and a metal hit counts as one point. The person with the most points wins.

Trilogy Challenge participants get a disc from all three Trilogy manufacturers, Westside, Dynamic Discs, and Latitude 64, and must only use those three discs. The discs consist of a driver, midrange, and putter. A regular tournament is held and the lowest score wins.

Sponsored tournaments are a great opportunity to try out new discs, get some swag, and play a tournament, all for about the cost of the discs. Winners get discs, bags, etc.  Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents played in a sponsored tournament last year. The most popular was the Discraft Ace Race, followed by the Trilogy Challenge.

specialtytournaments

 

What’s Your Excuse?

 

When I looked at survey results of all of the tournaments mentioned above (sanctioned, unsanctioned, and sponsored) I found that 29% of respondents (1,006) didn’t attend any tournaments last year. In my experience, the reasons people have for not attending tournaments usually fall into two camps: tournaments cost too much, or they take up too much time. The survey asked those two questions, and asked about tournament preferences, to see if we could find out what might be standing between us and signing up for a tournament. Let’s start with the aspects of a tournament that might prevent us from signing up.

In the survey we asked everyone to rate their level of agreement to the statement that tournaments are too expensive. We can assume that if respondents remained neutral, they didn’t agree with the statement and don’t consider expense to be an issue. Therefore, let’s look at those who agree or strongly agree with the idea that tournaments are too expensive.

When asked to agree or disagree with the statement that tournaments are too expensive, about 86.2% of us either remained neutral or disagreed with the statement. That is an interesting statistic, since the cost to enter tournaments varies significantly. Locally, I’ve seen tournaments range from $5 (for club events) to well over $100 to enter. The more costly the tournament, the better the players pack for amateurs and the better the payout for pros. I’ll talk more about payouts and costs later. With over 86% of us satisfied with the price of tournaments, that only leaves about 13.8% of us who agree that tournaments are too expensive.

tournamentstooexpensive

Since most tournaments consist of several rounds of disc golf, with some over several days, we wanted to find out how many of us agree with the statement that tournaments take up too much time. Again, counting those who remained neutral as not having a problem with the amount of time, the results were similar to the previous question. Only about 14% of us agree that tournaments take up too much of our weekend.

tournamentstoomuchtime

 

How Long Will It Go On

 

Since 29% of respondents didn’t attend any tournaments last year, I would expect the number of people who either find tournaments too expensive or feel they take up too much time, to be closer in number to 29%. And that it pretty much what happened.  Only about 3.1% of us felt that tournament were both too expensive AND took too much time, which leaves about 24% of us who have one or the other issue with tournaments. Which accounts for most of the 29% of us who didn’t attend any tournaments. HOWEVER, that is only adding up the numbers without looking at the sources of the numbers. When I looked at how many people thought tournaments are too expensive or take too much time, but still attended at least one tournament, I found that 12.4% of us fall into that category. We could make a couple of conclusions from that data. Either those respondents don’t like the cost or time commitment, but played anyway. Or, they played in tournaments that didn’t have expensive fees or last as long as bigger ones.

The survey also asked if we prefer single- or multi-day tournaments. Again, counting those who either responded neutrally or didn’t answer the question as not having a problem with how many days a tournament takes, the results are as follows. There were 16.4% of us that didn’t like single-day tournaments, and 21.7% of us who didn’t like multi-day tournaments. The largest number of respondents were those who remained neutral or didn’t answer the question. However, 31% of us do prefer single-day tournaments and 16% of us favor multi-day tournaments.

singleormultidayOut of all of the above survey results that surprised me the most was the one asking if tournaments are too expensive. I hear a lot of grumbling about the cost of playing in some tournaments, so I thought more people would agree with the statement. I would agree with the grumblers were it not for two important facts: I attend lots of tournaments, and so do many other people, because so many tournaments fill up year after year. Apparently, the market has spoken.

Taking Home Some Loot

 

Personally, it wouldn’t bother me if the amateur divisions (which is where I play) were a bit cheaper and didn’t have player’s packs. However, based on some of the survey results, I’m in the minority. Player’s packs typically consist of a tournament stamp disc, shirt, or other disc golf swag. Every amateur player gets a pack. And despite my feelings about them, player’s packs aren’t going away any time soon for a couple reasons. First, when tournament directors get disc manufacturers and other companies to sponsor a tournament, they can get products at a cheaper price. That allows TD’s to give out packs that are close to the dollar amount of the entry fee, while only spending a small amount of money on them. They can then take the difference in price and add it to the pro payouts. It’s a win-win because the amateurs get some swag, and the pros get a better payout.

The second reasons player’s packs are here to stay is because it’s fun to get one! Some tournaments are famous for their sweet player’s packs. There is something satisfying about taking home a bunch of stuff, regardless of how we performed. Did you win your division? Did you finish in the middle of the pack? Did you take last place? You get a player’s pack. Not only is there the psychological satisfaction of getting something for your money, there is the fun of throwing a tournament disc or wearing a tournament shirt for years to let people know that you were there. It’s also fun to see other people sporting swag from a tournament that you attended and bond with them.

tourneyplayerspacks

Happiness Is…

One of the survey results I was most happy to see was how many people played in at least one tournament. As someone who enjoys getting together with folks who like disc golf as much as I do, it was nice to see that 71% of us played in at least one tournament.  To me, that means most of us appreciate the sport enough to dedicate a little time and money for some competition. Often times we enter just to challenge ourselves. Hopefully we leave the event with a desire to continue to play and improve ourselves so the next time we compete, we see a little progress. And maybe pick up a win. Or at least have some fun and make good memories with our fellow disc golfers.

 

More State of Disc Golf Survey Results — PDGA: Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

When I first heard about the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) I was excited to join. I had been playing for a few months and really enjoyed the feeling of camaraderie with the club, so I figured that joining the sanctioning body of the sport would have the same benefits, only on a larger scale. The idea of a ranking system intrigued me, too. How cool would it be to compare my ranking to my buddies’, or the touring pros? Plus, I would save the $10 fee charged to non-members when I played in a sanctioned tournament. I did join the PDGA, and have kept my membership current ever since.

I’ve heard a lot of different opinions about the PDGA, pro and con, and have my own opinions that I will discuss later. I’ll also talk about a good, free alternative to the number one reason why people join the PDGA. But first, let’s look at the poll results.

Half Full, Half Empty

Let’s start by checking out our opinions on membership in the PDGA. We asked if you are currently, or have ever been, a member of the PDGA. Slightly less than half of us, 49.3%, are or have been members.

memberofpdga

While that part was not surprising, based on what I see in the sport, the next question had some interesting results. Of the 50.7% of us who are not members, nearly half of those said they intended to join this year. If that amount of people really do end up joining, that is an encouraging sign for the future of the sport. We didn’t ask why people plan to join, but I suspect they are interested in playing tournaments and want the savings and the ratings that come with membership. That means a growing number of us are taking the sport seriously enough to get involved in competitions. As I’ve mentioned on previous blogs, I like that idea.

intendtopdga

Something Old, Something New

 

It’s always fun to see how long people have been members of the PDGA. Members with less than five-digit PDGA numbers are way outnumbered by the rest of us. So, we asked people when they joined the PDGA. Over half of member respondents joined in the last two or so years (2014 to January 2016). The sport is growing! A little over 5% of us joined in 2000 or before.

howlongagoWe Love This, We Love This Not

We asked people who are members to rank the different benefits of belonging to the PDGA. Not surprisingly, most people ranked the personal PDGA number and rating as the top reason for joining. That’s what initially attracted me. The second most popular benefit was the lifetime statistics. It is fun to see our results and compare our ranking to other people’s rankings. Rounding out the top reasons for joining the PDGA was waiving the $10 fee for sanctioned tournaments. What was the least important reason we join? Getting a discount at motels and car rentals was the least popular reason, followed by the swag you get the first time you join, then the quarterly magazine.

whyjointhepdga

 

No, Thank You

On the other end of the membership spectrum, we asked people who indicated that they were NOT going to join or who were unsure, what their reasons were. Only little more than half of those people responded to the question, with many people giving multiple reasons. Far and away the number one reason for not joining was being content not playing sanctioned tournaments. The exact language of the question read, “I’m content playing recreationally”, but I believe that would include league play and unsanctioned tournaments. Nearly 70% of respondents chose that as at least one of their reasons. Plus, many people who wrote responses in the ‘other’ box had similar feelings about formal competition. The next two most popular reasons for not joining were lack of any noticeable benefit, and the cost being too high.

notpdgamember

Why I Belong

A sanctioning body for disc golf is necessary in order to have consistency in rules and formats among players, clubs, and tournaments, and to grow the sport. I want to support that organization and will likely always stay current with my dues. However, like many of you expressed, it seems that my decision to keep current comes down to economics: I know that I will play enough sanctioned tournaments that the $10 savings from being a member will pay for my annual dues. Were it not for that “benefit”, I doubt I would be interested in renewing my membership in the PDGA. Don’t get me wrong, I like the stats and the rating. I just don’t think it would be worth the annual fee.

 

It’s Free, It’s Good, And It’s Free

 

This would be a good time to mention the Infinite Discs rating system. It is a free player-rating system that keeps track of your scores and rates both your individual rounds, and your accumulated rating based on the ratings of other users who have played the same courses as you. After you’ve played a certain number of rounds, then your rating is used to rate other players. The more scores that are entered, the more accurate the rating. The player rating system is free to join, free to use, and can be calculated automatically by using the free Infinite Discs scorekeeping app (currently in beta testing).

 

And Finally…

 

Back to the PDGA. There are just a couple things I wouldn’t mind if the PDGA changed. First, I would like it if they could switch to digital magazines. Also, I wouldn’t mind if they stopped sending out yearly tags, ID cards, and whatever else we get on an annual basis. Perhaps these ideas might result in a slight reduction of annual dues. And finally, I would like to see a two-tiered membership option. Offer the regular membership, and one that is cheaper, but omits the $10 fee waiver at sanctioned tournaments. That way if people only play a couple sanctioned tournaments per year, they will still get their number and rating. Beyond that, I’m glad they will continue keeping track of people’s stats and ratings, and make sure the rules are as fair as possible. They won’t be able to please everyone, no matter what they do. But hopefully they will continue to offer an organization that strengthens and grows our sport.

The Impact of One Great Throw…Caught On Camera

Sometimes it is hard to measure the influence that a single piece of social media has on an entire industry or market, but at other times, the effects can be seen almost immediately. The 2016 Beaver State Fling disc golf tournament presented one of those rare moments where a camera was in the right place at the right time, and magic ensued. Professional disc golfer, Philo Brathwaite, approached the tee for an 850 foot, par 5 hole, and managed to rattle the chains on his second throw. Shooting 3 under par on a single hole is extremely rare and is called at Albatross. It is much more rare than an ace (hole-in-one). The video of his throw was posted on social media and immediately went viral. It even made it onto popular television sports highlight reels.

So, what is the big deal? Sure, it was an amazing shot. But amazing shots happen quite often in the disc golf world, where thousands upon thousands of players throw discs at baskets with exciting outcomes. But rarely does the mainstream public get a glimpse of a relatively young sport like disc golf. It’s new to them, so somehow it seems all the more amazing, or even impossible. Retweets and Facebook posts boasted headlines like “Disc Golf Throw Defies Physics!” While those of us who play disc golf are amazed and excited by incredible throws, we know that they don’t defy physics. In fact, it is the physics that makes the discs fly the way they do when thrown the way great players throw them. Professional skill and the laws of physics put Philo’s throw exactly in the right spot.

The 2016 Vibram Open had more camera coverage than many disc golf tournaments in the past, so once again, some awesome shots were caught on camera.  A pair of aces thrown over the pond were put together in a vine that was passed around Twitter, again spotlighting the excitement of the sport. Hopefully this will happen more and more as camera coverage improves and the mainstream itches for more highlights.

Take a look at a story from a single observer named Chad, who caught a glimpse of the Philo Albatross on social media. In his own words, as shared in a conversation with customer service at Infinite Discs:

“I came across a link of some guy named Philo throwing an ace at a Beaver State Fling and started watching more videos.  I had no idea how big disc golf is.

Spent the rest of the day at work on the Google thing researching disc golf and found out that my little town of Zimmerman, MN built a small 9 hole back in 2010.  I had no idea.
So, I ordered a few starter sets (Innova, Dynamic and Latitude) and a bag, ponied up for the expedited shipping.  As soon as I got them, I went out and had a blast.  Didn’t keep score or anything. Just chucked discs at baskets for about two hours.
I think this is going to be a thing.  I’m old, kids are out of the house and I have my weekends free.  I’ve been looking for something to do outside since I don’t want to run or mountain bike any more.  I had fun when I was out there and there are a lot of courses in the twin cities metro area I’m looking forward to hitting.”

Chad indeed had ordered a box of starter sets, and inside that box was a small flyer talking about the Infinite Discs VIP Club where players can subscribe for a mystery, spotlight disc every month with a unique, collectible stamp. It’s $19.99 for a disc that you may or may not like, but when you’re a big enough fan of the sport, it’s a wonderful adventure and pleasant surprise every month. Well, Chad may be shooting +30 on 18 holes after only a month of play, but he was so excited that he subscribed, just to get a new mystery disc every month.

Another customer service email resonated in the same way, with a young woman from California subscribing just because she felt she had to feed her new “plastic addiction”. She’d only been playing disc golf for a month. What could possess new players to buy collectible discs every month? It’s a passion that is sparked merely by exposure. And exposure is something that has been missing until social media started spotlighting “physics-defying” throws. It has been a long time coming, but that exposure should increase in the coming months and years as the sport grows.

Professional player, Simon Lizotte, has been making trick shot videos for quite some time now, and he is also making a splash in tournaments across the globe. He has inspired a younger, fun-loving crop of new players who see that “golf” doesn’t necessarily have to refer to the boring sport dad and grandpa watched and played in hushed silence. Once you add the discs and an “anybody can play” attitude to the mix, the sport seems fresh and exciting.

Avery Jenkins is a professional player who has left much of the competitive play to become a sort of ambassador for disc golf. He travels the world to host workshops and participate in events that spotlight the sport. The impact that he has in his face-to-face encounters and his presence at events is huge, but the fuel he pours onto the fire through his social media photos and blurbs is even more impressive.

Not everybody can afford to travel the globe promoting disc golf, but when a champion like Avery makes it his career and his mission, and splashes those efforts in a beautiful way all over Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, etc. then the world takes notice. It only takes a few minutes of browsing his social media content to realize that disc golf is not only a fun game, but is a sport that is surrounded by incredible beauty, vibrant variety, and life.

Most disc golf players could tell you that there is a very poor male-to-female player ratio. There are simply more men throwing discs at chains than there are women, but thanks to social media, there is hope! More and more women are seeing that it can be a fun, graceful, and feminine sport. Check out the wonderful photo blog by Discgolfngirl on Tumblr for a gallery of wonderful photography highlighting the women players that are bringing life to the game.

Social media is beginning to explode with disc golf, and it’s bringing new players who are not only interested, but enthusiastic about the sport. We welcome those new players and hope it becomes a lifetime of fun in the great outdoors. While you’re out playing, pull out your camera’s! Take those videos! Shoot those artsy photos of amazing disc golf courses! Take pictures of your friends as they fling those discs, and share them online. The magic happens on the course, but that magic needs to be shared and seen throughout the world.

The State of Disc Golf – Social vs. Solitary Play (Part 1)

Social Disc golfIn the 2016 “State of Disc Golf” survey, some interesting statistics demonstrate how our social lives interact with our game of disc golf.  Participants answered the simple question, “Who do you play disc golf with?”

Only 7% of those surveyed confessed that they “almost always” play alone.  Another 30% of those surveyed said that they “regularly” play alone. However, the 52% majority responded that they only “occasionally” play alone and another 11% that they “never” play alone.  So, if you like to get together with friends for a round of disc golf, then you are among the 63% that represent the more social crowd. If you prefer solitude, then you are among the 37% minority.

For those who are playing the game with other people, there is some interesting data that shows with whom you are most likely playing. Considering the lopsided balance between male and female players surveyed (95.7% male vs. 4.3% female) it should be no surprise to discover that 88% either “never” play with a spouse or significant other, or only “occasionally” play with a spouse or significant other. The remaining 12% ranges from “regularly” to “almost always”. Obviously, if you’re one of those players who finds himself (yes…most likely male) playing often with your significant other, then you are among the rare and the blessed. It would appear that finding a romantic relationship that can extend onto the disc golf course is an uphill battle.  Or perhaps, as a friend of mine once claimed during a disc golf outing, “I play disc golf to get away from my wife and kids—I would never want her here with me! This is my time!” I suppose if that makes you feel better…

Spouse or Significant Other
If the majority of us are social, but not playing with our significant other, then who are we playing with? The same general pattern emerges when asked about playing with family members. The majority of 80% responded that they either “never” or only “occasionally” play with family members. The other 20% either “regularly” or “almost always” play with family members. Thus playing with family is only slightly more popular than with significant others.

Family Members

As we move away from family ties, the pendulum swings. We found that almost everybody who plays socially is choosing to play with close friends. Only 6% of those surveyed confessed that they never play with close friends.

The other interesting statistic tied to this friendship factor is that a lot of those people we play with are folks that we met through the game of disc golf.  Only 15% say that they “never” play with people met through disc golf. 37% of those surveyed responded “occasionally”, while the other 48% a replied that they either “regularly” or “almost always” play with friends met through disc golf.

Those statistics would seem to suggest that the socially inclined players are very likely to meet new friends on the course with whom they will at least occasionally play. However, you should probably not expect that those new relationships will develop into a “significant other” or “spouse” status. Whether that is a good thing or an unfortunate thing is up to your interpretation, but it may shed some light on why this little video clip was so popular within the disc golf community, as it apparently borders upon pure fantasy:

In the near future, we’ll take a look at how the social and solitary players measure up in terms of other statistics, like disc ownership, personal evaluation of disc golf skills, competitive nature, etc.

The Cost of Disc Golf

Disc Golf is often praised as a low cost sport- all you have to do is buy some discs and you’re good to go!  Most disc golf courses are free to play, where as in “Ball” Golf you have to pay per round, and often for a cart as well.  However, Disc Golf isn’t always “free” for a lot of players.  We wanted to take a look and see how much people spend on Disc Golf outside of disc purchases.  Once you’ve purchased your first set, what is the game going to cost?

Most additional costs will come from joining and playing in a weekly league.  Some people will play skins, or other money related games with their friends while they play. Pay to Play courses are slowly gaining popularity as well- and what will that cost per round?  Let’s look at some stats on Disc Golf related costs.

First we’ll look at how much people spend on joining a league.  leaguecost

Right away we see that the highest bar on the graph is the $0 response.  While I haven’t been in a “free to join” league myself, I could see how that might be an easy going and fun approach. However, I can see club funds being low or even nonexistent.  The local club near Infinite Discs costs $10 to join, and that gets you a Bag Tag which adds some (usually) friendly competition to the league rounds.  It also allows you to play for a CTP prize each week, which is paid for from the Club Funds.

The next highest response was the $16-$20 answer, with most other clubs just above or below that price range.  These fees are usually once per year, which makes them very affordable.  If you’re not part of a league, it is a fun experience to have!  The costs do go up, though.  Let’s take a look on weekly club costs.

How much do people spend at league on a weekly basis?
weeklycost

Most people pay between $4-$6 a week to play with their club.  At our local club, the cost is $5 with an optional Ace Pot and an optional Cash CTP. This makes the cost $7 a week if you’re all in.  Of course, if you play well you can win some of this money back, if not more.  To some, this may be affordable and fun, to others, they may prefer to play with their buddies for free.

Pay to Play courses are popping up more around the country as well.  These courses are usually well groomed, quality 18 hole courses (often built on ball golf courses) that you pay a small fee to play each time.  In the survey we asked, “What is the most you are willing to pay to play a round of 18 holes at a quality disc golf course?”  Here are the results:

paytoplay

While some people said that they wouldn’t pay to play disc golf, the overall response was positive towards paying to play.  $4-5 and $9-10 peaked together, with the other price ranges getting a good amount of votes as well.  Based on this data, we can predict that pay to play courses may continue to become more popular.  People are willing to pay to have a good experience on the course!

Other costs to Disc Golf include becoming a PDGA member for $50/year, as well as the costs of registering to play in tournaments.  These costs allow the player to be more competitive by obtaining a PDGA number and rating, and competing against others to raise their rating.

In summary, we see that there are costs associated with Disc Golf aside from the purchasing of discs.  However, they aren’t required costs, and that is what makes the sport so appealing to such a variety of people.  You have the option to grab some discs and play for free on your local course as often as you want.  For those that are wanting to get deeper into the game and culture, there are loads of options available to pay a little extra and play more competitively.  Altogether, Disc Golf can put a dent in your pocketbook, but compared to many other “mainstream” sports, the cost is still relatively low.

More Demographics – Who played the most courses?

In this blog we will continue to look at who is the average disc golfer. Married? Educated? Club member? Travel to play? It’s fun to look at the statistical average numbers and see how many of the categories we and our buddies belong to. In future blogs we’ll build on these and other statistics to examine certain aspects of our sport (such as, tournaments, attitudes about DG, etc.)

 

Average Joe

 

According to the survey results we are married, Intermediate disc golfers, have a Bachelor’s Degree, belong to a club but not the PDGA, are employed for wages, and play a lot of disc golf! Here is a breakdown of the data:

I Do

According to several sources, the marriage rate among all adults in the U.S. hovers around 50%, so these numbers show that we are close to the national average.

 

Marital Status

We’ve got skills

With majority of us self-identifying as Intermediate golfers, it’s important to point out that the requirements for divisions are not uniform across the sport. Locally, most people who sign up for a tournament play in higher divisions than at major tournaments. For example, if someone’s PDGA rating approaches 900, they usually play in the Advanced division, and as their rating climbs past 900, there is a good chance they’ll play in the Open (Pro) division. I see that happen a lot. Using the PDGA standard for ratings, the same person could play in Intermediate all the way up to a 935 rating.

This isn’t a commentary about which division people should sign up for with certain PDGA rating, it is just a possible explanation for the survey results. One other statistic that may shed light on the number of Intermediate players is the fact that less than half of us indicated that our PDGA membership is either current, or will be for 2016. That means more than half of us simply believe that our skill level is in the Intermediate range, without the benefit of having an official rating.

Skill Level

Degree or Not Degree

Keeping in mind that approximately 8% of us aren’t old enough to have finished college, our degree achievement numbers are slightly higher than the national average. For example, nationally (in the U.S.) 32% of the population over 25 has a Bachelor’s Degree. In the disc golf community, 36% of us have a Bachelor’s. (I deducted the approximate number of respondents who are under 25).

 

Education

In Da Club

To me, one of the big benefits of playing disc golf is the social aspect of the sport. Being part of a club helps me realize those benefits. Apparently, most of us enjoy the camaraderie that comes with being part of a group, because well over half of us currently belong to a club. More of us belong to a club than belong to the PDGA. We’ll explore some of the reasons why people do, or do not, belong to the PDGA in another post.

 

Club

Off to Work We Go

Things are looking good for disc golfers on the employment front. Only a tiny percent of us are looking for work. The rest of us are employed, retired, and either can’t or don’t need to work. Shout out to our military brothers and sisters who share our sport! Infinite Discs has shipped product the people overseas in the service. We’re glad to help keep you huckin’!

Employment

Where Do You Play?

A fun part of this sport is playing a variety of courses. Over half of us have between 1-3 courses within a 10-mile radius of our house. A small group of us have to travel more than 10 miles to get to the closest one. An even smaller group (171), but much luckier, has 10+ courses within 10 miles! However, I think this number might be slightly off. When I first looked at that survey result, I wanted to find out where these places are that have so many courses. I figured there would be a couple of locations in Michigan, Texas, and a few other states that were flush with places to play. After cross referencing the question with the location of the participant, I found that there are 25 states and one other country that allegedly have that wonderful disc golf density. I’m skeptical as to that number, too, since one of the states is Utah. I live in Utah and I know for a fact there aren’t ANY points that have 10 or more permanent courses within 10 miles. Perhaps people’s distance estimating skills are to blame?

I’d like to see people comment about specific locations that really have 10+ courses in a 10-mile radius. You don’t have to list the courses, just the location. Let’s see how many there really are.

Also, a little more than a fourth of us saw at least one new course installed within 10 miles.

10 miles

 

new 10 miles

 

Hittin’ the Road

 

Since nearly all of us (95%) live in places that have 9 or fewer courses within a 10-mile radius, it is apparent by our responses that we like to travel to play other courses. Over half of us played 10 or more different courses last year. The largest group was the 10-15 range, with nearly a third of us falling into that category. Happily, everyone who responded to the survey played at least one course last year!

One adventurous soul indicated he played 200+ courses last year. Curious and insanely jealous, I had to investigate this number to learn more about his other responses. The follow-up questions asked about how often we played during certain times of the year and his responses to these questions led me to believe the 200+ answer was a mistake. Or maybe a fantasy. Still, eight people indicated they played between 100-200 courses. Even if they are all on the low end of that scale, it sure sounds awesome!

courses played

 

For the next blog we’ll look at our responses to questions about tournaments.