A Look At New Disc Golfers

New Disc Golfer on Mountainous Course

2021 State of Disc Golf

New Disc Golfers

As has been pointed out in numerous blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos, and even this blog series, the pandemic has created a boon for the sport of disc golf. A perfect storm of having more time on our hands, the need to socially distance from people, in many cases a bump in income from the federal government, and a sport that is relatively inexpensive and easy to get into has led to unprecedented growth for disc golf. That growth has not been without its pains. Shutdowns, materials shortages, and the increase in demand have led to challenges in maintaining inventory.

Even with the difficulties we are experiencing, and have experienced, it is great to see so many new people embracing the sport we love. Those new players are going to be the focus of this blog. We’ll take another look at how many survey respondents indicated that they started playing last year. Then we’ll look at why they started, how many discs they’ve amassed, and we’ll take a peek inside their bag to see what they are throwing. Finally, we’ll also compare their responses to the ‘veteran’ disc golfers to see what we can learn about them and us.

New To The Sport

Let’s start by seeing when people indicated in the survey that they started playing. In a previous State of Disc Golf 2021 blog we learned that nearly 20% of respondents started playing last year. Here are those results:

 

Let’s take a look at a few previous years’ survey results to see how the pandemic might have affected the results of the same question (as if we really wonder how it was affected!) Here are the results from two previous years. The chart shows the survey year, and the percent of people who started playing disc golf the previous year:

2015 9.70%
2019 10.20%
2021 19.20%

Given that extraordinary increase in the number of people who joined the PDGA last year, the 19% figure could have been a lot higher and it wouldn’t have surprised me. Still, one in five of all survey respondents starting last year isn’t too shabby.

Introduced To Disc Golf

The follow-up question in the survey was for people who indicated that they started last year, and that question was, “How did you get into disc golf?” I discovered in writing this blog that the spreadsheet format excluded some of the answers in the previous blog, so I ran the data again and here are the accurate numbers for that question:

 

 

Just like last time, the number one reason people started playing disc golf was because of a friend. What better way to share the sport than inviting a friend? Close to half of all respondents who started last year were looking for something to do during the pandemic. Over 28% wanted some way to get exercise, while 22% just stumbled onto the sport. Even though the smallest number of respondents found disc golf from seeing it on a sports program, I like the idea that people are intrigued enough from watching disc golf to give it a try.

In Their Bag

Alright, let’s take a look at what the new disc golfers are throwing. Because of the disc shortages experienced last year, I expected the discs in the bags of the new golfers to look like Infinite’s inventory: full of whatever we could get our hands on. It turns out that the typical new-person bag looks very similar to what everyone else’s bag looks like, statistically speaking. Here is the graph of the average bag, followed by the graph for the discs in the average new player’s bag.

 

 

For comparison, below is a chart from last year’s survey showing what discs were in our bags. As you can see, the numbers are similar to the ones in the graphs above. That is both the percentage and the overall ranking of the top brands.

Although there are some differences with the new player’s numbers, most of them are pretty close to the group numbers. Many of the statistics are driven by available supply. However, taking a look at last year’s chart for the same category, we can see that they numbers aren’t too far away from what we’ve seen in the past. It will be interesting to see what changes take place in the future, based on what people had in their bags last year. How many people ended up trying new disc brands because that was all that was available? And will they stick with brands they were forced to try?

Give The Gift Of Disc

I was curious to see where new players got their discs, and how many got them from their friends who invited them to play. That would help explain why the charts look similar. According to the survey, 45% of players who started playing last year received, among other sources, a disc as a gift. We didn’t differentiate in the survey between discs that were given by another player versus discs that were received as a present for Christmas, birthdays, etc. Getting a disc from another player might mean they are receiving brands that the friend throws.

One other survey question I want to explore will tell us a little bit about how hooked the new players are on disc golf. We asked how many discs people own. Here is a graph of everybody’s answers:

 

And here is a graph of the players who started playing last year. Although the new players have the lead compared to seasoned golfers up to the 31-40 discs category, after that the long timers take over as the leader. That makes sense because we have a tendency to increase our disc golf collection over time, whether we are keeping discs we don’t throw, have more wall hangers, or start to collect discs. Here is the graph:

In The Future

It will be interesting to see how the influx of new players affects the sport in the long run. Growth is good and hopefully will compound in the near future. We REALLY hope the supply/demand dynamic will flatten out soon so we can escape the hoarder mentality and be able to buy what we want when we want it.

Check back next week for more of the 2021 State of Disc Golf.

What Disc Golf Accessories Do We Own

 

2021 State of Disc Golf

 

What Accessories Do We Own

 

One of the benefits of our sport is that it is relatively inexpensive to get started. A beginner who wants to play casually can get a few base-plastic discs and find a course that is free to play. For $20, you could be set for the summer. Even if you opt for premium plastics and a small bag, you could keep your expenses under $50. Compared to ball golf or many other sports, that is a bargain! Plus, that easy entry into the sport contributes to its growth. Even if you are buying discs for the whole family, it’s still a cheap hobby.

Once we’ve been playing for very long at all, we start considering some of the other disc golf related items we could use when we play. A mini is a necessity if you play tournaments and even leagues. Towels are nice in case our discs or our hands get damp. Maybe a bigger bag? Or how about jumping up to a cart? While disc golf CAN be played inexpensively, one can also spend a lot of money upgrading to the best discs, bags, and many varieties of accessories and apparel. For the 2021 State of Disc Golf survey, we wanted to see what disc golf paraphernalia was the most popular. We asked about accessories, apparel, water bottles, and what we use to haul our gear around. Let’s take a look at what items were the most popular.

Accessories

 

In the survey, we listed popular accessories and asked how many of them we own. Not too surprising that the number one answer was a plastic mini. Number seven is a premium mini (made out of wood, glass, etc.). Although there were a lot of people who indicated that they own both a plastic and a premium mini. The bottom line is that nearly all of us have a mini of one kind or another. If you play in a sanctioned event, you really NEED a mini. That need, along with the fact that the regularly show up in player’s packs, makes it easy to see why the mini is number one. Here are the results:

 

 

When I consider what accessories I own, and what I see my buddies use, most of these numbers look right. There is one that looks glaringly wrong: the ubiquitous water bottle. Less than half of us own a water bottle? It wouldn’t have surprised me if the water bottle were the number one accessory. I know a few golfers that use bladders, similar to the CamelBak. But that doesn’t account for what I consider to be a lot smaller percentage of people who indicate they don’t own a water bottle, than what I see on the course.

More Accessories

 

Towels and grip enhancers are two more items that I see enough on the disc golf course that it is not surprising to see them at the top of the list. Rounding out the list is an item that we’ve been see a lot more advertising for in the past few years: the rangefinder. I see a lot more of these in use than even a year ago. With less expensive options like the Apex Rangefinder, it is easier to justify getting one.

 

Water Bottles

 

Speaking of water bottles, we also asked in the survey what kind of water bottles. Jesse from Trash Panda Disc Golf will be happy to hear that over 80% of us prefer reusable water bottles. (To see what Jesse is doing for sustainable disc golf, check out our blog post featuring Jesse here). Like so many of us have discovered, the double-wall insulated water bottles are the most effective at keeping your beverages cold. Pro tip: you CAN put too much ice in these types of water bottles and end up with nothing but ice after you drink all the liquid. That’s a bummer on a hot day. Experiment with the level of ice to see what works best for your water bottle. Here are the results:

 

 

Apparel

 

Whether you are talking about a sports team, shoe company, favorite band, or YouTube celebrity, many of us like to show our loyalty by wearing apparel from the companies, individual, or groups that we support. It’s no different with disc golfers, so we asked in the survey what branded apparel we own? I would have thought that tee shirts and hats would have been at the top of the list, but I would have bet on hats being the number one choice. Here are the results:

 

 

In addition to tee shirts and hats, rounding out the top five are hoodies, polo shirts, and beanies. Personally, I have everything on the list but a branded jacket, shorts, and pants. The percentages listed in the results represent 2/3 of us. Slightly over 33% of us indicated that we don’t own branded apparel of any kind on the list. That’s surprising, given how frequently these items show up in player’s packs.

 

Hauling Discs Around

 

The final category we’ll look at today is how we carry our discs. We let people choose all that apply to them, so the percentages add up to more than 100%. Taking the top spot is the popular backpack bag. We don’t have to play disc golf for long before we have enough discs and accessories to justify getting a backpack bag. They are great for casual rounds and multi-day tournaments. Some golfers even get a cart that can hold their backpack bag, to use on cart-friendly courses. Over 77% of us have a backpack bag. That’s more than three times the second most popular choice, the small bag with a single strap. Here are all of the results:

 

Only about 1% of us don’t use a bag or cart. And 5% of us use some kind of bag we’ve repurposed for disc golf. Everyone else has at least a small bag. About 20 % of us have a cart of some kind.  Only about 11% of us use a large style bag.

Comment Below

 

What is your most important accessory? The one thing you couldn’t imagine playing disc golf without? Let us know in the comments below and we can see what accessory you value the most.

How Stable Are Your Discs?

The State of Disc Golf 2021

 

The Stability of Discs in our Bags

 

In our continuing series highlighting the results of our annual State of Disc Golf survey, this week we take a look at the stabilities of our discs. We will also discuss the term stability and how the language of disc golf can be unclear in regards to the stability of a disc. Then we will take a peek inside our bags to see the discs we throw and how stable they are.

 

Learning the Flight Ratings

 

One of the things we learn about discs when we are starting out playing disc golf is that the flight of the disc is important, and we need to learn about the how ours fly. Depending on how much coaching we got when we first started, a lot of us went for the ‘fast’ or ‘high speed’ discs because we wanted the discs to fly out of our hands at a high rate of speed. Since we were selecting our molds randomly, we undoubtedly ended up with discs that would do nothing but hang a sharp left turn (for right-handed players who throw back-hand shots, or ‘RHBH’). Over time, we learned that discs have a general flight rating and found out that the common four-number flight rating or the single digit flight rating can be used to tell us how our discs will fly. Most of us came to embrace the rating system and would frequently use it to guide our purchases. No longer were we buying discs because of the flight description stamped on the disc. Instead, were now using those flight ratings to help us fill gaps in our bags. No, the flight numbers are not always exactly how the disc flies. But it’s the best we have.

 

Learning the Language

 

In addition to the variability of flight numbers versus the actual flight of the disc, the sport’s lexicon has a glaring issue that regularly calls for clarity. That is the issue of ‘stability’. If someone comes into Infinite Discs and tells us that they are looking for a new midrange that is a little more stable, we don’t exactly know what they are looking for until we find out what they are replacing. Is there old midrange worn and too flippy, and they are looking for something a little less understable? Or, are they throwing a Justice that they just can’t get any distance with, so they are looking for something less overstable?

Although typically, what people are referring to when they say more or less stable is ‘straighter’. We would still need to clarify exactly what they are looking for, rather than selling them an Anubis and sending them out to play.

In Our Bags

 

For our survey, we wondered what the make-up of people’s bags were as far as the stability is concerned. We let participants decide what is overstable or understable. The same disc has different flights for different people. We broke the categories into disc types: distance drivers, fairway drivers, midranges and putters. We asked ‘What stabilities of discs are in your bag? [for the given disc type]’. Let’s look at the results.

Distance Drivers

 

The first type of disc we’ll look at is distance drivers. We asked how many of each of five stabilities do you carry, from Very Overstable to Very Understable. Since most people carry a variety of distance drivers, people were allowed to select all stabilities that applied to them. This chart shows the percentage of people who carry at least one of these stabilities. As an example, the survey shows that 69% of us carry a straight/stable distance driver, as show in the chart below. Here are all the distance driver results:

 

 

 

It is not too surprising to see that a majority of us don’t carry the extreme stabilities. Most of us can come close to mimicking the flight of a very overstable or very understable disc, with something close. Even so, that leaves a lot of us that just want that ultra-meat hook or ultra-flippy disc. I broke the numbers down to see what percentage chance we have of carrying discs with the given stability and here is what I found. Naturally, the chart will look similar to the previous one. This just gives us a snapshot of an average individual bag.

 

 

One and Only Stability

 

In looking at the spreadsheet with the data, I was curious about how many of us carry drivers with only one stability. I was surprised at how big the number was. It was a lot more than I see with our club members. Here is the chart with the date:

 

 

My first thought was that there were a lot of beginners who just didn’t carry a lot of discs. So I broke the 28% down into reported skill levels and found out that I was pretty accurate in my assessment. People who called themselves Beginners or even Intermediate made up 85% of the people who only have one stability for their distance drivers. Here is the chart:

 

 

Control Drivers

 

Now let’s look at the data for fairway drivers.  There were slightly fewer people who carry over and understable discs, and a decent amount more that carry straight/stable discs. The extreme stabilities are the outliers again, with similar numbers to the distance drivers.

 

 

And again let’s look at what makes up an average bag with fairway drivers. Again, similar to the chart above. And not a huge difference between fairway and distance drivers.

 

 

Midrange Stability

 

Let’s see if midranges tell a different story. The chart below indicates that there is a bit more difference when it comes to the stability of midranges. Straight/stable mids reign supreme, but with even larger numbers. And mostly at the expense of the extreme stabilities again. Far fewer people throw very understable mids.

 

 

Distilling those numbers down we look at the average bag for mids:

 

 

The Kon Tiki

 

With over 27% of us throwing understable to very understable discs, it will be interesting to see the reception for the new understable Infinite mold, the Kon Tiki. I assure you, the timing of this post was purely coincidental! As of this writing, the Kon Tiki is a brand new release

 

Putt Putt

 

Moving on to the category I was most curious about, the stability of putters. As you can see from the chart below, the straight/stable category is closest to 100% of any disc type. Based on the guys I throw with, that seems spot on. So do the very overstable/overstable categories, which represents a combined 70% of us. The ‘very understable’ is the smallest of all the disc types.

 

 

Using the information to graph an average bag, here are the results.

 

 

I thought the ‘very overstable’ category might be a tad higher, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if it were a lot higher, due to how many people drive with putters, and like them as stable as can be. Like so many categories we’ve looked at, I think people go with the overstable disc and just make it work. Also, putters had the highest number of people who only throw one stability, with 40% of us only bagging one. That includes me and my R-Pro Dart!

 

 

 

There is a look at our bags and the stabilities we carry. There are sub-categories that we could explore, such as the make-up of a pro’s bag vs a beginner/rec player’s bag. But, we’ll have to address that in another blog. Until then, throw what you love!

 

Comment below and let us know about the stability of discs in your bag. Do you have Very Overstable or Very Understable discs?

Disc Golf Brands We Know

 

2021 State of Disc Golf

 

One of the great benefits of being such a large disc golf retail store is that Infinite can carry every brand of disc golf disc that we can get our hands on. In addition to the big name brands that everyone has heard of, Infinite also carries smaller brands, including companies just starting out. Some brands we carry literally have only one mold! We want to provide our customers with as many choices as possible so that we can help you live up to our motto: ‘Throw what you love!’

To help you get to know some of the less popular brands, we have been running a blog series which highlights many of these companies. Check out the most recent post here. In the comments to these blogs, invariably there are people posting that they hadn’t heard of the brand before. Bringing awareness was one of the goals in starting the series.

Which Brands Do We Know?

Brand awareness is also one of the questions we asked in the latest State of Disc Golf survey. While Infinite Discs has sales numbers that tell us which brands and molds are the most popular, the survey digs in a little deeper. We want to know if you’ve even heard of some of the manufacturers. We also want to know how well we know the bigger brands. Let’s check out the results.

In the survey, we listed the brands and asked you to rank how well you know each brand on a scale from 1 (Not aware of the brand) to 5 (I regularly follow this brand). I’ll list each number on the scale and show how each company ranked in the survey.   We will start with the least amount of brand awareness.

Never Hear of That Brand?

 

The chart below shows how each brand was ranked according to the percentage of people who have not heard of that brand.  Less than half a percent of us are not aware of Innova, while over 94% of us are not aware of the brand XCom. For the 2% of us that are not aware of the Infinite Discs line, click here. 😁

Here are the results. The higher on the chart, the less know the brand:

Some of the brands are still rather small and are on the high end of the scale. There are some in the middle that I wonder if people aren’t associating certain molds with the company that produces them. For example, a lot of people have heard of a Wizard, but might not know that the Wizard is a Gateway disc.

Know a Little

 

The next answer in the survey asks if we have at least heard of the company. Just to clarify, while nearly all of us have heard of Innova, this survey question asks if that is the MOST we know about the company. Here are the results:

 

The next option in the survey was to indicate that we at least know a little about the company. Maybe we know their top-selling molds. Or we have a buddy that throws some of their discs. We might even have one of their molds, but don’t know much more than that. Keep in mind this chart, like the last, indicates the most we know of the company. Here is the chart:

 

 

Familiar Disc Golf Brand

 

The next category is that we know enough about a company that we could hold a conversation about them. We know their molds, or at least their most popular molds, and know the flight numbers of those molds. Either we throw or have thrown some of their discs. We might even know some of the pros that throw the brand. While we don’t necessarily keep up with their new releases, we have more than a casual knowledge of the company. This is where there should be a little more separation from brand to brand. The higher on the list, the more well-known the company. Let’s see how they stack up:

 

 

Ask Me Anything About…

 

The final category is for the die-hards. The question asked which brands we like well enough that we follow them. Since a large number of us follow the pros and watch the tournaments, we are exposed to a number of brands and molds. We hear what the top disc golfers throw and we know the molds and flight numbers. We hear about the new releases and are eager to try out the ones that fit our lineup. The higher a brand is on this list, the more well-known they are. Here are the top brands:

 

It will likely not come as a surprise to see the company names that are on the leader board of this category. While some brands are relatively new, these are the names we see sponsoring tournaments or sponsoring pros. If a brand can afford to promote their molds, those are the brands we will be exposed to the most and are more likely to throw. The top two on the list, Innova and Discraft, have been around for decades and have a head start on the newer brands. If you’ve been playing for a long time you probably throw one of the older brands. They sold the molds that the long-time players grew up with.

Most and the Least

 

Just for fun I wanted to look at the first and last categories and see if the graphs looked like the inverse of each other. I was pretty close. Below is a graph showing the best known and the least well known manufacturers. You can see that they are close to mirroring each other.

 

Top Sales

 

In addition to learning about the brands that you know or don’t know, I thought we could take a look at Infinite Discs sales for last year and see how the brands that had the most sales compare with the brands that people are most familiar with. As with any statistic from 2020, the numbers are not what we would have seen had Covid19 not affected disc golf supplies. Here are the top selling brands for 2020. The top ten are very similar to the top ten in the category ‘I Regularly Follow This Brand’:

Here are the top ten in sales and brands that are followed:

 

In YOUR Bag

 

The percentages aren’t going to match perfectly because the survey allowed us to select all of the brands that we follow so those numbers will always be bigger that the total sales. These graphs still give us a decent snapshot of the most well-known brands. And, we can always take a peek inside our bags to see if our knowledge of the different brands translates into filling our bags with those brands. In the survey we asked what brands are in our bags. Here is what we indicated. Let’s see if the graph aligns with the brands we follow. These results show what percentage of us throw what brand:

 

 

Once again, the top 10 or 15 brands are pretty much the same as what we sell and which brands are the most well-known. We’ll see in next year’s State of Disc Golf survey if our blog series affects how many brands we know, and see if that means having more brands in our bag.

For the record, one person indicated that they carry 18 different brands in their bag! That sounds like someone as dedicated to a mixed bag as the person who bags only one brand. Either way, we at Infinite are happy to carry as many brands as we can so you can throw what you love!

Comment below and let us know the top few brands that you know best!

Professionals and Tournaments

Photo courtesy JomezPro.com

Us And The Pros

The next best thing to being out on the course playing disc golf is watching the top pros in the sport play the game. There are many reasons to watch them play. It is so amazing to watch the lead card at a major tournament execute shots that require precision angles, impeccable timing, or gobs of power. Watching a skilled professional disc golfer ply their trade is a thing of beauty. Watching a skilled professional disc golfer shank a drive or drill a tree is also comforting. There is kind of a bonding feeling to see someone we admire because of their high level of talent, make the same mistakes that we do on the course. It’s also educational to watch them throw, then use that knowledge to improve our form.

For whatever reason, a lot of us choose to watch videos of tournaments. Sometimes we watch them live, committing three or more hours so we can see things in real time. Others of us prefer post-produced video, which is video that is edited so that you get to watch the throws and putts, but not all of the walking and waiting in between. Even if we like videos, many of us enjoy attending tournaments in person, too. But, a certain percentage of us are content to just play the game and not watch the tournaments, nor do we have pros that we follow. Let’s look at the different ways we consume disc golf tournaments.

Consuming Media

 

The question we posed was, ‘In which of the following ways did you follow professional disc golf in 2020?’ While Covid19 affected the tournament scene last year, there were still a lot of tournaments that were played and filmed. Here is a breakdown of the results:

 

 

Photo courtesy JomezPro.com

Only 2 percent of us say that we don’t follow disc golf, while 93.6 % of us say that we’ve watched post-produced tournament videos! A contributing factor to the large number of people who watch tournaments on YouTube is the high level of video quality we are seeing in the sport. Production crews like Jomez, Central Coast Disc Golf, Gatekeeper Media, The Disc Golf Guy, Par Save Production, GK Pro and others have taken video production to another level. We can now watch tournament rounds often within a day of when they were played, usually with commentary, replays, disc tracking, etc. Throw in production companies such as Ace Run Productions and Disc Golf Examiner, who offer video of local tournaments, and it’s really a good time to be a disc golf junkie!

Watching post-produced videos is easily the most popular way to watch disc golf videos. Half of us watched a tournament broadcast on ESPN or CBS Sports. That is impressive when you think that only a few tournaments were shown from those companies.

Watch Live or Watch Later

 

When it comes to watching tournaments life, and impressive 45% of us are willing to carve out enough time in the day to watch a live broadcast. I suspect a large number of those people are watching at work, which makes the decision a little easier. More people indicated they watch tournaments live than watch live scoring. A little under 43% of us watched live scoring last year. While nowhere near the number of people that watch post-produced videos, which is still a lot of people who want the tournament results instantly.

One survey result that surprised me a bit was how many people watch disc golf instructional videos. Over 76% of us watch those videos. There are so many good teachers and videos out there, and I am such a fan of these videos, that I thought that number would be higher. If you want to get a little disc golf coaching, check out some of the great online videos.

The final statistic in this segment is how many people attended tournaments as a spectator. The survey results indicate 11.5% of us watched a tournament in person. That is down quite a bit from 27.6% the year before, due to having fewer tournaments to attend and more restrictions at the tournaments that were held. Here is a graph of the results of the previous year’s survey results. Note: we did not ask about CBS and ESPN due to those companies not having a broadcast the year before.

 

 

One interesting survey result was that 94% of us said that we watch tournaments on YouTube, yet 13.2% of us said (in a separate question) we don’t follow professional disc golfer. I suppose we could be watching strictly for the love of the sport. For me, I’ve really started following certain players because I get to watch them on video or at a tournament. Here is the results of the question:

 

Choosing Favorites

 

For those of us who do follow professional disc golfers, most of us have a few favorites that we really like to watch and cheer for the win. We are fortunate in our sport at this point in time to have professionals that are so accessible. If you attend most high-level tournaments, you are rubbing shoulders with the best in the sport. They are usually happy to sign a disc or chat (if they have time). So, we asked in our survey who were are favorites. We let people choose more than one, since most of us like a few pros. Taking the top spot is none other than… Simon Lizotte. Over 18% of us chose him as one of our favorites. In second is Paul McBeth. Paige Pierce was the best ranked FPO player, with 7.5% of us choosing her. Here are the top 20 places:

 

 

To compare, let’s look at a graph of the favorite disc golfers from the previous year’s survey results. In it, we see Simon and McBeth in the top two spots again. And Paige is in fourth again. Two changes in the top five are that Kevin Jones and Eagle McMahon are now in, and Nate Sexton and James Conrad dropped a little. Here are the top 20:

 

 

Tune in next week when we’ll look at more survey results.

How Many Discs Do We Own

2021 State of Disc Golf

 

 

Buying And Holding Discs

 

One of my favorite survey subjects to write about is questions about the numbers of discs that we own and how many we purchased the prior year. I’ve been buying discs regularly since I started playing. Like a lot of us, initially I bought discs like a lot of new disc golfers: because they were ‘high speed’, ‘long distance’, or ‘super long distance’. After gaining a little more experience, I started choosing my discs by their flight ratings. Then I moved into choosing plastic types that felt good in my hand. Finally, I started buying discs just to collect. (I’ll be doing an upcoming blog about disc collecting) Not everyone has the same reasons for buying or keeping a disc.

Having been in the disc golf business for a few years, and a regular player for about 9 years, I’ve seen people whose opinions about buying discs run the gamut from people who only throw a couple discs, most of which were either found or were a gift, to those people who are constantly trying out new discs and eager to throw the latest, greatest mold. I’ve seen customers spend an hour in a disc golf store, pouring over the inventory looking for the new discs. And other customers who would be looking for a specific flight, but didn’t care about brand or plastic, and would usually take the first mold suggested.

 

How Many Do We Buy

 

This blog post will shed a little light on our buying habits for last year. And it will show how many discs we are keeping in our possession. We can then look back at past year’s results and see if those habits have changed. We will also look at the number of people who buy discs for collecting, and see if that number is trending.

Let’s start with how many discs we own. The answers in the survey maxed out at 200+. I think I’ve been selecting the ‘200+’ option for about five or six years. Part of that is because I started collecting years ago. (For next year’s survey, I would like to include a question of how many of our discs will never be thrown.) But, I also like to try new discs. Let’s see how many discs we have squirrelled away in our closets, bedrooms, hanging on walls, or hiding in the trunks of our cars.

The question we asked was, ‘How many discs do you own?’. Here are the results:

Nearly a quarter of us, 24%, have over a hundred discs! As the chart shows, about 43% of us carry between 21-60 discs. That seems reasonable to be, based on the disc golfers in our club. If you carry 15-18 discs when you play, keep some backups at home, and have kept discs that you no longer throw or have aced with and want to keep as a trophy, you would likely have between 21-60 discs.

Let’s see if that percentage has changed over the last couple of years that we asked the questions. Here are the numbers for 2019:

We can see changes in individual categories, so let’s clump some of the groups together and look at the data. Considering people who have 100+ discs, we see a little more than 26% of us own more than 100 discs. In contemplating why we would have fewer discs now than two years ago, I would have guessed that more of us were hanging on to discs and buying whatever we could. I figured that discs, like toilet paper, would be hoarded due to the diminished supply on the shelves. Disc golf suppliers couldn’t keep up with the growing demand and many molds would fly off the shelf as soon as we would put them online. But, the hoarder mentality didn’t kick in with discs last year.

The other range we talked about for last year was the 21-60 disc category. For 2019, this group was a little lower at about 40%. In 2017 and 2015, that range was similar, around 41%.

Here are the charts for 2017 and 2015:

 

Let’s turn our focus on how many new discs we added to our collection last year. Our survey question asked, ‘How many new discs did you purchase via retail (at a store or online) in 2020?’ Here are the results:

Nearly 46% of us bought between 10 and 29 discs last year. That’s about where I would fall. A disc or so per month is not bad (I keep telling myself). A small percentage of us bought zero new discs last year, while a slightly higher percent, 3.3%, bought 100+ discs! We were especially interested to compare last year to previous years to see how the pandemic and limited supplies affected our disc golf buying habits. Let’s compare last year to two previous years.

If we look at the three different groups of numbers mentioned above, in two of the categories we can see the numbers rose from 2017 to 2019, then fell in 2021. The ‘100+’ discs purchased category was different. It actually rose from 2019. Let’s look at people who bought less than 10 discs last year, the people who bought 10-29 discs, and the people who bought 100+.

 

Less than 10 discs 10 to 29 discs 100+ discs
2017 29.1% 2017 40.3% 2017 2.2%
2019 35.4% 2019 43.1% 2019 3.1%
2021 29.8% 2021 36.2% 2021 3.3%

 

Between the pandemic and the supply shortage, people were simply not able to have access to as many discs to buy. The unprecedented growth rate for the sport certainly contributed to the lower number of discs available to purchase. (To put the growth in perspective, there was a nearly 84% increase in new PDGA memberships last year! From 2016 to 2019, there was only a 34.5% increase!) To get a better idea about our disc buying for last year, let’s look at another question in the survey.

We asked people ‘How did Covid-19 affect your disc golf purchases in 2020?’ Here are the results:

In the survey, participants were able to select more than one answer, since more than one answer could apply. According to the survey, nearly a third of us purchased the same number of discs last year, regardless of COVID19. Nearly a fourth of us would have bought more had supplies not been affected. There were 26% of us that were able to spend a little more than usual, because there were playing more and had the means to do so.

Not everyone was in the same financial boat as those who bought the same or more discs. Nine percent of us were not able to buy as many discs, for financial reasons. It is fortunate that the number wasn’t higher.

Buying More Or Less Than Usual

 

It was interesting to me that during all of the supply shortages, over half of us bought the same number of discs or more than the year before. I wonder how many discs people were buying that weren’t the ones they wanted, but were available. One more statistic I wanted to check out was whether the number of discs we buy each year was increasing or decreasing. I picked a delineating number of 30 to compare. It looks like the number of people who buy less than 30 discs per year is decreasing, while those who buy 30 or more is increasing.

under 30 discs 30+ discs
2017 82.8% 17.2%
2019 77.4% 22.6%
2021 75.6% 24.4%

 

 

In examining all of these numbers in light of the strange year we had as a business, it’s interesting to see that, despite a supply shortage, there were a ton more disc golfers playing, while a majority of them buying the same or more than usual. It looks like the people that buy the most discs are buying even more. And those who buy the least are buying fewer.

As 2021 unfolds we will be scrambling to get as many discs as possible, while trying to keep up with the growing demand. It’s not a bad place to be in as a business, just challenging that we can’t meet the desires of our customers. As the supply levels out a little, we should have better data to see how many discs people are buying under normal circumstances. Then again, maybe ‘normal circumstances’ will never exist for a long time.

We would love to hear your thoughts on buying discs in 2020. Were you able to get the discs you wanted? If not, did you try new discs that were available? Let us know in the comments.

Feel free to email with suggestions or comments: ted@infinitediscgolf.com

Check out Infinite Discs here: www.infinitediscs.com

 

 

How Do We Like To Play Casual Rounds

2021 State of Disc Golf

Casual Rounds

 

It’s a sunny day with a perfect temperature. You grab your bag and head out for a casual round of disc golf. What is your round going to look like? Will you play with some buddies? Will you play a solo round? Will you meet up with your brother, who rarely plays, and when he does he plays with only two discs, and one of them is even cracked, yet he still manages to beat you more often than not, even though you play year ‘round and several times per week? (True story)

This week’s blog will look at how we like to play casual rounds, and how we interact with other disc golfers who are playing or getting ready to play. We will also look at who we prefer to play with and how we feel playing with strangers.

Personal Preferences

 

The first survey question we asked you to check all of the boxes that applied to you regarding casual rounds. We offered the following choices:

  • I play disc golf whenever I want, whether anybody wants to play with me or not
  • I prefer to play disc golf alone
  • I prefer to play disc golf with other players
  • To me, disc golf is a social sport and it isn’t the same when played alone
  • To me, disc golf is a personal challenge, and other players are not important in my rounds
  • Playing disc golf has been a great way for me to make new friends

 

Here are the results:

 

It’s nice to see that most of us (78.8%) just like to get out and play, regardless of who we are with. Even if that means playing a solo round. Other people are fine playing with someone or not (32.8%), as long as they are playing. I would have thought that most of us would pick at least two of the choices. However, the survey results indicated something different. Over a fifth of us just gave one answer

 

Challenging Ourselves

 

Of those people who indicated they view disc golf as a personal challenge, they attend tournaments and events at a nearly identical rate as everyone who took the survey. I would have thought that the drive to push oneself would translate into more of a desire to compete against other players. But, the numbers indicate that they are satisfied just to push themselves. Here is a graph we posted last week showing the overall percentage of us you played in tournaments or events last year:

 

 

Joining a Group

 

The next survey question asked how we felt about people asking to join the group we are on in the middle of a casual round. It is not surprising to see that nearly 3/4 of us either don’t care or actually like it when people join us. I’ve seen that a lot in disc golf, and I like it. A few of us, about 18%, either don’t like it or are really bothered by someone jumping in the group. I suspect that with many of those who are bothered are just concerned about the group size. Socializing is fun, but slowing the game down because you picked up a couple more people can be frustrating. Most of us only have so much time to play and it’s nice to get as many holes in as we can. Here is the chart:

 

 

The next scenario involves us showing up to play, and getting invited to join another group. A little over 3/4 of us either like or love when we’re invited to play with an existing group. About 9% of us don’t like it or hate it. That is similar to the number of us who prefer to play alone (see the first chart, above). Here is the graph about being asked to join a group:

 

 

A Round in Progress

 

For the next couple questions, we asked how likely it was that we would ask to join someone who is playing. The first question asked if we would be comfortable asking to join if we know them. An overwhelming majority of us would be comfortable with, or at least neutral, asking to join someone if they were already playing.

 

 

I wondered if there may be a correlation between the numbers of disc golfers in an area and the comfort level in asking to join a person or group. In the county that I live, there is a core group of regular disc golfers and we all pretty much know each other. Nearly all of us would be comfortable asking to join any other of us, unless we wanted to play alone. I can see in more populated areas where people might not know the people in a group, and would not feel comfortable asking to join. The next question addressed that very scenario, and it appears that my theory may be correct. The results were nearly reversed from the last question, with over 90% of us feeling neutral to very unlikely to ask to join strangers in a round of golf. Here are the totals:

 

 

Who Do We Want To Play With?

 

The last few questions concerning playing with people revolved around who we would prefer to play with. We asked people to pick on a sliding scale if we like playing with certain groups. The first chose was asking if we like playing with friends and family. Over 99% of us indicated that we would be at the very least neutral when it came to playing with them. Most of us like to play with family and friends. Here are the results:

 

 

Next we asked how people felt about playing with casual acquaintances. As you might suspect, the numbers weren’t quite a favorable as playing with friends and family. Still, nearly 80% of us are perfectly fine playing with people that we don’t know so well. And the number of people who aren’t so happy to play with casual acquaintances was a bit higher than the last question. Check out the numbers:

 

 

Finally, we asked how we felt about playing with strangers. I’m guessing that the wording of the question affected the results. If you are playing with people you know, and prefer it that way, you may be much more likely to let a stranger join the group. Some people may not feel comfortable striking up a conversation with someone they don’t know, if it’s a one-on-one situation. But, in a group they would be perfectly fine adding someone else to the conversation. Still, a third of us are happy to play with a stranger. And a third of would prefer to play with people we know. That leaves a third of us who are neutral. Here are the numbers.

 

 

Do These Seem Correct?

 

When I see the numbers from the survey my first thought is always, “Do these numbers seem accurate based on my experiences?” Most of the results of these questions pretty much do look like what I see. If not in my local club, at least what I see in the great northern Utah/southern Idaho disc golf scene. Which leads me to believe that the disc golf experience I’m having is similar to what many of you are having. Which is cool to me. It makes me feel like I’m part of the disc golf family.

Check back next week for more survey results.

What Do We Think About Tournaments?

2021 State of Disc Golf

Tournaments

 

One of the categories that I look forward to the most when it comes to looking at the survey results is that of tournament play. I’m always interested to see what tournaments people play, why people do or do not play, and what it would take for people to sign up for a tournament. I played my first tournament after playing disc golf for about a year. I was hooked! For me, it wasn’t so much for the competition as it was a social event that happened to revolve around disc golf.

Since then, I found that there are a lot of people who like tournaments, but a large number of people who have no interest in tournaments. For some, it’s the strict rules. For others, they are completely happy just hucking with friends in a casual round. There are cost issues, time issues, and travel issues, among the other reasons people don’t play. The survey covers a lot of those things, so let’s jump into the results.

Covid19

 

Once again, Covid19 had a huge impact on the tournament scene last year. Thankfully, it appears that we may have a nearly normal tournament year this year. (I am so looking forward to Worlds!) But, the survey results definitely reflect the dismal year we had last year. We’ll start with the question about whether or not we played in a tournament or other event last year. Here is what we found.

The survey question read, “Did you play in at least one disc golf tournament or event in 2020?”. Over half of us indicated that we did play in at least one event. There were a few tournaments that were played before Covid19 really affected things, a few at the end of the year, and a smattering of events throughout the year. That added up to a decent year for disc golf events. Not what we hoped for, but it could have been much worse. Here is a graph of the results:

 

 

To put things in perspective, here is a graph of the previous year’s tournament/event attendance. Attendance was down from 66% last year. I was expecting it to be a bigger drop.

 

 

Sanctioned Tournaments

 

Along with data about how many of us are playing competitively, it is also interesting to see what kind of tournaments people do play. Since the overall percentages were down for event attendance, it will be interesting to see if sanctioned versus non-sanctioned tournaments were affected more. A ‘sanctioned’ tournament is one that approved by the PDGA. There are additional requirements for the tournament, and PDGA rules are supposed to be enforced. Nearly 40% of the people who took the survey played in a sanctioned tournament last year. That is down 13% from last year. Here are the charts:

 

 

Of the people who played in a sanctioned tournament last year, 59% played in three or fewer tournaments. That is up significantly from 45% for 2019. Again, not surprising. Even with restrictions and cancellations, a very lucky 2% of us played in twenty or more tournaments last year! That was down 5% from the previous year.

 

 

Non-Sanctioned

 

When I checked out the non-sanctioned tournaments for last year it was apparent that something wasn’t right with the data. According to the survey, only 4% of us played in a non-sanctioned tournament last year. In 2019, over half of us played in non-sanctioned tournaments. Even with Covid19 throwing a wrench in our season, that 4% number couldn’t be right. I checked the raw data and it turns out that some of the results were missing for that question. I’ll see if the data can be recovered and post the info later.

Why Tournaments?

 

Now we know how many of us play in tournaments, let’s look at why we play. For most of us, there are multiple reasons we play. Nearly 25% of us like the competition. That is the number one reason. That leaves 75% of us that play for other reasons. It’s good to see that the next most popular answer is that we like to play tournaments for fun! Along the same lines is the number three answer, for social reasons. I’m surprised that category wasn’t higher because so many tournaments that I go to are like reunions. It’s always great to see our disc golf family again at tournaments. Here is a graph of reasons why we play:

 

 

Why We Don’t Play

 

On the flip side of that coin are the reasons why many of us don’t play tournaments. For 2020, you can probably guess the number one reason why people didn’t play. Yep, tournaments getting cancelled due to Covid19. The second most popular reason is that we don’t feel like we’re good enough to play. Nearly 20% of us chose that as one of the reasons. If you are one of those, I would recommend giving it a try. Play in a lower division and just relax and have fun. It is always more fun if you win something, but playing in a tournament helps you meet new people and gives you the tournament experience. Then the next one won’t feel quite as intimidating. Here are the results:

 

 

Tournament Persuasion

 

Looking at what things would motivate people to play, we see the number one answer is that people would play if they were better. That aligns with the previous graph results. The next most popular response is that of convenience. Finding tournaments on the days we can play, and at a location that is reasonably close would make a lot of people more inclined to play. Bigger player packs would also motivate a lot of people, nearly 40%. Here are the survey results:

 

 

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

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