During the 2019 State of Disc Golf Survey, we asked players about their average throwing distance on drives. When looking at the overall field of players that responded to the survey, here are the percentages that claimed specific distance abilities:
You’ll notice that the largest percentage of overall players claimed a distance between 301 and 350 feet maximum. That distance represents almost 31% of players. The next largest percentage claims a distance between 251 and 300 feet, at almost 27% of those surveyed. Close behind that is the 351 to 400 foot range at 22%.
That means that if you add together those three categories with a distance from 251 – 400 feet, that covers the vast majority of players while much smaller groups claim 400+ feet. Only 2.1% of those surveyed claimed to be able to through 451 to 500 feet and a minor sliver of .5% claimed a distance of over 500 feet.
DISTANCE VS AGE
We thought it would be fun to take a look at the results broken down by age groups. So here is a very chart-heavy report, but we hope that you enjoy seeing how age influences distance. As you scroll through the age breakdowns, you’ll notice that the middle ages have a much higher number of survey participants, but the averages stay pretty close…
AGE 12 – 17
AGE 18 – 21
AGE 22 – 25
AGE 26 – 29
AGE 30 – 35
AGE 36 – 40
AGE 41 – 50
AGE 51 – 60
AGE 61 – 70
AGE 71 +
Only when you start to hit the charts for 61-70 and the 71+ age groups do the distance abilities begin a dramatic drop-off, landing more of those older players in a range under 300 feet.
DISTANCE VS ELEVATION
Now, for a little something you’ve never considered, we have a breakdown of the claimed distances from survey participants versus the elevation of the states in the USA where those players are from. Did you ever wonder how much elevation figures into distance? While higher elevations often make disc flight paths more overstable (and the reverse for lower elevations), the abilities to throw further seems to favor those who live at higher elevations.
This chart, provided by Lucid Software’s analysis team, can be a little bit hard to decipher, but it basically takes the average elevation of all the survey participants that answered for each distance. You can see that the further the distance (shown at the bottom of each bar) the darker the bar becomes, with the darker bars representing higher elevations. The average elevation is shown above each bar.
The black box feature’s Lucid Software’s bullet points (or take-aways) stating that distance data seems consistent with other sports, like baseball, and that disc golf course designers in higher elevations might consider longer hole distances. Of course, we can take or leave that advice, but the data seems clear regarding distance versus elevation of where players live.
However, here is a thought– it could be that the courses are very different at lower elevations where wooded courses are more predominant. In those lower elevation, wooded courses, players need to play with precision as their focus, rather than distance. After all, if playing in the woods, there is little need for power throws due to low ceilings and obstacles. However, at higher elevations, the trees may be less predominant on courses, making distance more of a factor. You either throw far across open fairways, or bomb high throws over the tops of the few trees on the course.
What do you think is the cause for this distance disparity when it comes to altitude? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and thanks again to all of the thousands of players who participated in the survey.