Education, Aces, and Transgender Players – State of Disc Golf

Throughout our annual State of Disc Golf survey results blog series, we’ve talked about almost all of the poll questions. We’ve covered our demographics, tournament interests, and what we do or do not know about certain brands. We’ve talked about pros, how many discs we own, and what we look for when buying a disc, among other subjects. In other words, we’ve covered a lot of ground. However, we ended up with a few extra poll question that we still need to address.

We still need to find out how we responded to questions about our education, how we keep score in casual rounds, our ace numbers, and transgendered women playing in FPO. Realistically, I could have included each of those in one of the other blogs. But, they got skipped over. So let’s address them now!

Education

Although there were a couple percent of us (1.8%) who didn’t graduate high school, there are also a couple percent of us who are too young to have finished yet. There are 3.7% of us under the age of nineteen. That could easily account for most of those who didn’t graduate. For reference, the Department of Education stated that the graduation rate in the US is around 90%, and that number has been climbing for decades.

If you look at the percentage of us who went to a Trade School or got a degree, that accounts for over 57% of us. As for the 28.7% of us who got some college, we can also say that a certain percentage of respondents are still going and will end up graduating.

Comparing disc golfers to the general public, we have a higher percent of us who got a Bachelor’s Degree. The survey puts disc golfers at 37.6%. The US census (for 2021) shows that 23.5% of Americans got a Bachelor as their highest degree.

The advanced degrees for disc golfers were a little closer to the US average, but still higher. There were 14.4% of the US population with advanced degrees (Masters or Doctoral), and there were 16.1% of disc golfers with advanced degrees. Regardless of our education, I think we can all agree that we are smart enough to pick up a great sport like disc golf!

Keeping score

When it comes to keeping score in a casual round, I’m glad to see so many people use an app. If more rounds are recorded, it’s easier to take that data to a city or town and propose a new course. Most municipalities like the idea that a new course might draw in people from surrounding areas, as well as take care of the needs of their own residents.

There were 68.6% of us who indicate we use an app to keep score in casual rounds. Although there are numerous apps on the market, UDisc is the biggest. That app keeps score, give you stats, and helps you know how far you’ve thrown.

The number of people who either don’t keep score, or do so in their head, is around 29%. And a small percentage of us who still use a physical scorecard. Since there are reusable, waterproof scorecards that attach to your bag, it can be even easier to use a physical scorecard. However, most people would rather use their phone.

ACES

According to the Ken Climo Wikipedia page, The Champ had 103 aces in his 20-year PDGA career. That is five per year, and that is just in PDGA sanctioned competitions. Some people just seem to hit more aces than others. Part of that depends on the courses being played. But, part of that is skill (or luck!). In the survey, we asked how many aces people got last year. Let’s see how many people racked up some aces.

A whopping 60% of us didn’t card a single ace last year. If you happen to play longer or more difficult courses, you really don’t even have ace opportunities. Plus, even on the holes that you can reach, you might be laying up your shot for an easier birdie. If you come close to getting an ace, but miss the basket, you’re usually looking at a longer comeback shot.

One in five of us got one ace last year. And 9.1% got 2 aces. That means 90% of us got two or fewer aces. And only a handful of people (11 people) got 21 or more. I would be interested to see the average hole length for those aces.

Transgender Disc Golfers

If you follow the tournament scene in disc golf, you’re probably aware of the wild ride that transgender FPO player Natalie Ryan went on last weekend (as of this writing) at the OTB Open. In case you weren’t aware of her situation, Natalie is suing the PDGA and Disc Golf Pro Tour (DGPT) in California because of a new PDGA rule regarding transgender players. (The rule can be seen HERE). That rule precluded her from playing at the Pro Tour competitions.

Just before the OTB Open, Natalie’s lawyers sought a temporary restraining order to allow her to play. The California court ruled in her favor, and she was allowed to play the opening round. However, the PDGA and DGPT then filed an appeal in the Ninth Circuit Court, which reversed the restraining order and prohibited Natalie from continuing to play, due to the PDGA rule. (If you are interested in the legal aspects of this and other disc golf related cases, check out the Disc Golf dot Law YouTube channel HERE.)

Which brings us back to the survey. We asked how you felt about the rule. Is it a fair policy? Is it unfair for transgender women? We narrowed the choices down to four options, out of necessity. Since there is much nuance to the subject, and a lot of strong opinions, we didn’t allow people to write in answers. That basically makes the data unusable, since there is such a variety of opinions. If you didn’t agree with three of the answers, you were able to select “No comment/other”.

A lot of people chose No comment/other as their answer. Nearly one in four either didn’t think the options fit their opinion, didn’t want to comment, or possibly haven’t come to a conclusion about how they feel. That is a significant number of people. There were 14.1% of us who felt the policy is too strict and unfair for transgender athletes.

Two categories that received the highest percent of people who selected them are the 31.8% of people who thought the ruling was not strict enough, and unfair to non-transgender female athletes (Chromosomally female, etc., as listed in Part A of the rule), and 30.9% who thought the rule was fair.

Since men make up a majority of those taking the survey, if we break the results down according to gender, the men’s chart looks pretty similar to the overall numbers. However, here are the results of the women who took the survey:

There is a significantly smaller percent of women who think the policy is fair, versus the total number, and a larger percentage who think it is not fair for transgender athletes. Also, a smaller percentage of women who indicated No comment/other. In light of the numerous FPO players who have vocally opposed Natalie playing in FPO, I would have thought those two results would have been different.

We’ll see how Natalie’s lawsuit turns out, and what impact it might have on disc golf.

That’s all for this year’s State of Disc Golf survey! See you next year!

What Is Your Favorite Disc Golf Brand – State of Disc Golf

It wasn’t long after I started playing disc golf that I started throwing only Innova discs. I’m not sure exactly why I made that decision, but it probably had to do with Paul McBeth. He was sponsored by Innova and was also winning World Championships. I was a big fan of his, and probably wanted to throw the same brand as him.

My bag has definitely changed since then. Now I try to support the home team and throw mostly Infinite molds. However, I definitely have a mixed bag. I currently have six or seven different brands in my bag. Many of the Innova molds that I started with were replaced with similar Infinite molds. I do still have my original Dart that I started putting with years ago, but most of the others changed.

Which Brand Is Our Favorite?

We asked a few questions in the State of Disc Golf survey concerning the brands that we consider our favorite, and whether or not that brand changed in the past year. Let’s take a look at the results and see which brands are the most popular.

We’ve seen in past surveys that most of us throw a mixed bag. Which means we have more than one brand in our bag. In fact, we might not even have a favorite brand. So, the survey gave us the choice to indicate our favorite brand, or which single brand that we had the most of in our bag.

Innova is the favorite brand of one in every four of us. That’s quite bit more than second place Discraft. Discmania is sandwiched between two trilogy brands near the top of the list. And MVP rounds out the top five. A total of 56 different brands were chosen by at least one person as their favorite in the survey.

There were quite a few people who gave answers such as, “I don’t have a favorite” or “I like several brands equally”. Sometimes it can be hard to pick just one. That is a good commentary about having so many brands that make quality discs.

Did Our Favorite Brand Change?

The follow-up question that we asked in the survey was whether or not people’s favorite brand changed last year. People can have a lot of different reasons for changing favorites. So we also asked the people who indicated that their favorite brand did change last year, why it changed. Here are the results.

Surprisingly, nearly a third of us decided to switch favorite brands! That is a lot higher than I would have guessed. Switching favorite brands means learning new discs and breaking them in. Let’s take a look at why people were switching favorites.

Plastic and Flight Numbers

Keeping in mind that people could select multiple reasons for changing favorite brands, nearly three-fourths of the people who changed, said they did so in part because of the flight and feel of new plastic. As we learned in a previous survey blog, the plastic type and the flight of a disc are two of the most important factors we consider when looking at discs. So it should come as no surprise that those two factors would be the reason people might want to change favorites.

The second most popular reason people changed favorites is because of the company itself. There were 40% of people who changed because they liked what the company was doing for disc golf, while 5.1% changed because they didn’t like some things the company was doing. Both groups were voting with their money.

Just over 15% of the people who changed favorites indicated that they did so because someone introduced them to some molds/plastics. I’ve seen a lot of people add a mold to their bag because of the recommendations of a friend or card-mate, but never switched brand favorites entirely. I had to see what brand their friends recommended. Here is a chart that shows the new favorite brand for people who received a recommendation.

MVP apparently draws the most people into its lair with their overmold technology.  Nearly a fourth of the people who changed favorites because of a recommendation did so by changing to MVP. The next closest wasn’t really close. Discraft was a distant 9.9%. Lone Star was in third place, ahead of many larger brands.

Switching because a pro that you follow changed sponsors accounted for a decent number of us who indicated that is why we changed. I suppose that is why I chose my favorite when I started. Plus McBeth’s leaving Innova might have influenced my brand selection.

From One Brand To Another

The final question about favorite brands that we asked was meant to see which brands we changed from, if we had a change last year. We wanted to see which brands decreased in the number of people who chose them as their favorite, and which brands increased. Here is the data:

It looks like Innova took the biggest hit from their former fans. There were 35% of those of us our favorite brand was Innova in 2022. But this year, only 24.4% of us picked Innova. Discraft and Dynamic Discs also dropped some numbers.

MVP, on the other hand, more than doubled the number of people who indicated that the brand was their favorite at the end of 2022, vs the beginning. Latitude 64 and Axiom also picked up some loyalists.

People will always be switching brands and trying new plastic. With all of the selections out there, why not try something new? Whether or not we make a new brand our favorite remains to be seen. Maybe we love the brand that is our current favorite, but then our favorite pro signs a new contract…

Tune in next week for more results from the State of Disc Golf Survey.

 

Have You Heard Of These Disc Golf Brands – State of Disc Golf Survey

Although the sport of disc golf has been growing steadily for over a decade, none of the growth compares to the explosion in popularity that occurred during the pandemic. Disc golf was the perfect activity for social distancing, and many people discovered the sport during that time.

In addition to the increase in the number of participants of disc golf, we have also seen a growth in the number of new brands hitting the market. There have been new brands rolling out with regularity over the past decade, but the explosion in popularity of disc golf also saw a rapid increase in new disc golf brands. A quick check of the PDGA approved discs list (HERE) and we see that already this year there have been numerous new manufacturers getting molds approved. Even in the past month we see a couple new brands. It will likely take some time before people know about some of the new brands and the molds they are producing.

Which Brands Do We Know?

In the State of Disc Golf survey, we asked if how well everyone knew some of the newer brands on the market. We asked you to rank how well you knew each of 14 new brands. You could rank your knowledge from “Not aware of them” to “I regularly follow this brand”. Let’s take a look at which brands you know best and least.

Who Are They?

Let’s begin by discussing how you ranked each brand that you were unfamiliar with. Part of the challenge in starting a new brand is getting the word out about your molds and plastics. That can cost a lot of money that newer companies might not have. You can’t rely on a pro getting an ace on video using your disc, like Cole Redalen did with Wild Discs’ Sea Otter. Here is a graph showing how many of you didn’t know these brands.

Five brands have a similar percentage of individuals who are not aware of them. Momentum Disc Golf (Now Momentum Discs), Wing It Disc Golf, Goliath Discs, Premier Discs, and Pie Pan Discs are all within a couple of percentage points from each other. All of these brands are just a couple of years old, and only have a few molds. As they grow and add more molds to their lineup, maybe they’ll get more recognition. Word of mouth about a great disc can give a young company a big boost. Hopefully this blog will get people to check out these brands.

Sounds Familiar

Next, let’s look at the brands that people had at least heard about.

Birdie Disc Golf Supply and Doomsday Discs are two of the ‘most heard about’ brands on the list. Both of these brands have been featured in Infinite Discs’ blog series about smaller brands that we carry. Birdie is a Delaware company, and Doomsday is a very, very unusual company that is headquartered in Wyoming (I think) but uses a variety of manufacturers and distributors (Including Infinite Discs) around the world.

Check out the Birdie Disc Golf Supply blog HERE.

Check out the Doomsday Discs blog HERE

Joining Momentum at the bottom of the list is local (to Infinite Discs) manufacturer, Wing It Disc Golf. Check out the Wing It blog HERE. Only a small percentage of us have heard of these two brands. It will be interesting to see how they grow and become more well-known.

Know A Bit About Them

Moving on to the third level of knowledge about brands, we’ll look at how many of them we know some things about. Maybe we’ve been to their website or checked out discs that they make. Here is the chart:

At the top of the list we have two brands that have garnered some attention lately. Clash Discs has announced some big name pros that they are sponsoring. The move ensured that their name would be known among anyone who follows pros to any degree. They also advertise on live events, getting their molds in front of a big audience. Check out our blog featuring Clash Discs HERE

Trash Panda Discs had a decent-sized following long before they released their first disc. Jesse, the founder of Trash Panda, had a stated goal of manufacturing and producing discs that are made from recycled plastic and are fully recyclable. He achieved that goal and is now working to expand his lineup. I interviewed Jesse before Trash Panda was even a year old. Check out that interview HERE

Finish Line Discs is just a year old, but many of us know about the brand because it was started by one of the top touring pros, Drew Gibson. That certainly helps get exposure for a new company with just a few molds.

Let’s Chat About Them

Knowing about a company, and holding a conversation about the company, are two different things. To hold a conversation about a brand takes more than just seeing a commercial, watching a pro who throws the disc, or seeing one of their discs in someone’s bag. If we know a brand well enough to converse about it, that means that we’ve at least spent time checking out the company or listening to a buddy who throws their plastic. Here are the numbers:

Once again, Clash and Trash Panda are at the top of the list. UPlay made an appearance in the top five companies. That is the brand started by Infinite’s Zoe Andyke. UPlay has one disc, the Zeal. Their focus is on growing the sport of disc golf by introducing it to kids of all ages.

I Know Them Well

The final category which indicates the level of understanding is which brand we follow. These are the brands whose molds we are familiar with, and maybe we even throw some of their discs. Let’s look at the results.

Once again, Trash Panda has the highest percent. Over ten percent of survey respondents indicate that they regularly follow this brand. Since Trash Panda has a popular Youtube channel and a mission that resonates with a lot of people, it is not surprising that they are in the number one spot. The large gap between Trash Panda and the second place spot IS somewhat surprising. Their 10% number represents hundreds of people who took the survey. Well done, Trash Panda!

If we look at the number of people who either knows about the brand, can converse about the brand, and regularly follows the brand, we can find the brands with the most exposure to the disc golf public. Given the top two  brand in the last couple of graphs, the winner pretty much comes down to two brands. Drumroll, please…

Trash Panda edges out Clash by just a few percentage points! Both of those brands can feel proud about the attention they’ve been able to draw to their brands in an ever-growing competition for attention. Congrats to both brands!

Check out Infinite’s selection of the brands mentioned:

Trash Panda Disc Golf
Clash Discs
Finish Line Discs
Doomsday Discs
UPLAY Disc Golf
Birdie Disc Golf Supply
Hooligan Discs
Terminal Velocity Discs
Alpha Discs
Wing It Disc Golf
Pie Pan Discs
Goliath Discs
Premier Discs
Momentum Discs

Check back next week for more State of Disc Golf Survey results.

Why Do We Choose THOSE Discs? Part 2 – State of Disc Golf Survey

Last week we looked at some of the factors that are important to us when we are buying a disc. We looked at some of the more important factors: Brand, Plastic Type, and Flight Numbers. Of those people who said that Brand was Very Important, we looked at which brand that they indicated was their favorite. That blog can be seen  HERE

Color

This week we are going to look at some more factors and see which of them we consider important. We’ll start with color.

If we think about color we might be tempted to conclude that the people who value the factor of color are doing it for aesthetics. Maybe they look for their favorite color, or they might have a single-color bag, with all of their molds pretty much the same color. (I’ve seen bags with all orange, all pink, all green, all blue, and all yellow discs). However, there are pragmatic reasons for selecting disc colors.

The first reason, one which I subscribe to, is that certain colors are easier to see. When your disc lands in tall grass or dark bushes, a bright pink disc is one of the easier colors to spot. Black, on the other hand, looks amazing but is difficult to spot in certain situations. If you happen to be color blind, other colors might be better than pink, but the bottom line is that some people want to be able to find a disc that is most visible to them.

The second reason someone might chose a certain color is that there is a belief among some disc golfers that the color of a disc affects its flight. This isn’t an inherent property that colors hold, but rather how some colors cool faster or slower than other colors. I haven’t seen empirical evidence to conclude that color makes a difference, but I know people who swear by it.

Whatever the reason, over two-thirds of us felt that color was at least Semi Important, and one in five chose the option Very Important. That mean quite a few of us might be competing for certain colors.

Weight

Next up is another factor that is (not surprising) very popular among disc golfers. One factor that can be a deal breaker. It can make a disc unusable by a beginner, and difficult to control as a more experienced golfer. That factor is a discs weight.

For beginners, weight is important because it can be the difference between having a disc that can be thrown easily for good distance, and a disc that is yet another overstable disc. Since discs must be thrown at certain speeds for them to fly like they should, beginners might be unable to throw heavier discs at the required speed, and they their actual flight would appear to be overstable.

For more skilled players, they do have the ability to throw discs at high speeds, but if they have discs that are too light, they will overpower the disc and it will become very understable and difficult to control. Therefore, it becomes important for powerful throwers to have the heaviest discs they can find.

Looking at the chart we see that 90% of us find weight at least Semi Important. And over 40% of us find it Very Important. Those numbers are because of how important that factor is to the flight of a disc.

The final three factors we will look at are not at all related to the utility of the disc. As such, I would expect them to have a smaller number of people who felt they were important. Let’s start with the importance of the stamp or artwork on a disc.

Stamp/Art Work

There are discs out there that are works of art. I love when a manufacturer puts some thought and effort into their designs. Some of those creative designs I have and throw. Others, I bought just to collect as wall hangers. I definitely consider the stamp when buying a disc. Let’s see how the group answered the question.

While only about 15% of us find the stamp Very Important, over half of us find it at least Semi Important. I suspect most of us would prefer a cool stamp, all other things being equal, so we have at least a little bit of interest in the discs aesthetics. Mix in some collectors looking for certain stamps and I think that is why the overall numbers are fairly high.

Collectability

The second factor unrelated to the flight of the disc is its collectability. This wouldn’t be too important for anyone but collectors. And even they aren’t too worried about the collectability of their throwers.  Let check out the graph.

There are still nearly one in five of us that find the collectability of a disc as least semi important. I don’t know how much that number will change over time. I figured that with the growth of the sport we would see a growth in the number of collectors. Hopefully that growth continues so we have a thriving collector market. In this survey we asked if you’ve bought a disc to collect and not throw. Here is what you indicated:

The survey indicates that well over half of us bought a disc just to collect and not throw. It would be interesting to learn why the disc was being collected. We may need to ask that question in future surveys.

Resale Value

The final factor we’ll look at is Resale Value. I would expect that people who indicated that this factor is important or semi-important is a small subset of collectors, or people who just want to flip the disc for a profit. Let’s look at the numbers.

There is still ten percent of us that find resell value important to some degree. But, not surprisingly, an overwhelming number of us don’t care much. Most of us buy a disc to throw, and likely will never sell it.

Tune in next week for more survey results.

Why Do We Choose THOSE Discs? – State of Disc Golf Survey

Picture yourself walking into a disc golf store to look around. If you don’t have a local shop, picture yourself hopping on InfiniteDiscs.com. What’s the first disc you want to look at? Do you check out the discs on sale? Do you look at the new releases? Are there some cool stamps that grab your attention? Or do you just look for a specific disc you had in mind that brought you to the store in the first place?

Now that you’ve decided on what to check out, think about what drew you to the disc. Did it have a cool stamp that you like? Was there a new plastic for a mold you like? Did you head straight to your favorite brand? Maybe it was the color of the disc that caught your eye? Or perhaps it was the flight of the disc?

In this week’s State of Disc Golf survey results we examine which disc qualities we like, and which ones are not important to us. This week we’ll look at the brand, plastic types, and flight numbers. Let’s find out which factors are the most important when we buy a disc.

How Important is a Disc Golf Brand?

There was a time when disc golfers only had a few choices for brands when they were looking for a disc. However, the past few years have seen an explosion in the number of new manufacturers and new molds. We now have such a large selection of discs that we might not be as loyal to one brand. However, we might still feel like certain brands are better than others, and stick to those brands. Let’s look at the numbers and see how important brand it to our disc buying preference.

Nearly 25% of us find the brand of a disc Very Important. Additionally, nearly half of us find the brand of a disc semi-important. Although more of us will likely be throwing a more mixed bag, since there are so many more options available now, those numbers may not change much in the future. Those of us who still value certain brands will just have more brands that we prefer to throw.

Out of curiosity, I wanted to see which brands were preferred by the people who indicated that brands are very important. Here is the chart showing the favorite brand, or the brand that makes most discs in our bag, by people who find the brand Very Important:

Graph showing Favorite Brand of disc golfers who consider the brand important

Over half of the people preferred one of three brands: Innova, Discraft, or MVP. Although MVP hasn’t been around nearly as long as the other two manufacturers, they have been around long enough to gain some traction in the disc golf world.

Year Started

The next thing I wanted to look at is what year this same group of people started playing. I wanted to see if newer players or players that started years ago were more likely to find the brand of their discs important. Here are the data:


Pandemic Choices

Over forty percent of us who say the brand is important started in 2019 or more recently. The numbers drop off prior to 2019 and are spread out relatively evenly. The worst year of the pandemic was 2020, which has the highest percentage of people who find brand important. That year there were major disruptions in the supply chain. Since people couldn’t always get the discs they wanted, they started buying any brands that were available. This introduced a lot of people to new brands. I wanted to see if the people who started playing in 2020, and who found brand important, had favorite discs that were not mainstream companies. Here are the results:

The top five brands are the same. Apparently, being forced to buy the brands that are available didn’t really gain those brands loyal followers. Or, at least those brands aren’t the only one that people are loyal to.

Importance of Plastic Type

Let’s take a look at another factor to consider when buying a disc. In fact, this factor had the highest number of people who said it is Very Important. The factor is Plastic Type. Here is the graph of the survey results:

A whopping 95% of all survey respondents indicated that they found plastic type either Semi-Important or Very Important. Over 63% said they found plastic type Very Important. I’m in that 63%. There are plastic types that I won’t throw, and others that I won’t throw with certain disc types. I hear other disc golfers express similar feelings about plastic types, so the numbers in the graph don’t surprise me.

Plastic types not only greatly affect how a disc feels in our hand, but affects the flight and durability of the disc. They also affect the cost of the disc. Less expensive plastics are not as durable, nor as stable as premium plastics. They do cost less and occasionally we might want a disc to wear a little faster so it will fly like we want.

Are Disc Golf Flight Numbers Important?

The second most popular factor that we look for in a disc is its flight numbers. Although flight numbers for a particular mold can vary significantly because of plastic type, wear, and weight, it is still the best system we have for a manufacturer to indicate approximately how a disc should fly. We can then use that knowledge to find out if a particular disc is the right one for us.

Graph showing percentage of disc golfers who feel flight numbers are important.

Over half of us rate flight numbers as Very Important, and nearly ninety percent think that they are at least Semi-Important. Although it would be nice if we could test the flight of each mold and plastic under controlled conditions with few variables, until we reach that point we’ll have to rely on the flight numbers to help us chose a disc. It appears that most of us value the numbers and use them to guide our purchases.

Tune in next week when we will conclude our examination of the disc factors that are most important to us.

How Many Discs do Disc Golfers Own? – State of Disc Golf Survey Results

One of my favorite survey results that I like to explore is the number of discs we own. Although most of us started with a disc or two, or maybe a starter set, over time most of us picked up a bag full that we regularly throw. Then we might have gotten a few back-up discs in case we lost our go-to’s. And we always like to try a new discs from time to time. If you play tournaments, it is common to get a disc in your player’s pack. Raffles, found discs, and gifts from friends are other ways that make our collection grow.

After playing for a while, most of us eventually end up owning scores of discs. And that is just the ones we throw. Many of us collect discs or have wall-hanger ace discs that add to our total numbers. How big are those numbers? Let’s check out the survey results and find out.

How Many Discs We Own

One of the staple questions that we’ve been asking in our annual State of Disc Golf survey is how many discs we own. It is interesting to see how many of us own the bare minimum, and how many of us have bought significant numbers of discs. Here is a graph of the results:

 

Graph of how many discs surveyed disc golfers own.

The number of discs we own slowly increases until the 41-60 range.  Then the percentages bounce around a bit before finishes on the highest percentage at the 200+ category. Nearly one out of five of us has over 200 discs! One out of four of us has between 100-200 discs.

When Did We Start Playing

Those big numbers don’t surprise me. I saw how quickly I got to 200, and I know a lot of people who got there faster than me. I was curious if the people who indicated they had more than 200 discs had been playing for a while. That makes sense, since people might just be holding onto discs while buying more. Let’s look at the people in the survey who indicated that they have more than 200 discs, then see what year they started to see if my theory is correct.

 

 

At first glance, it appears that the opposite is true. The percentages slowly decline the longer you’ve been playing. It looks like there is a spike in some of the earlier years, but that is because the graph shifts from single years to a five- year block in 2006-2010. Then it switches to a ten-year block for 1991-2000.

The people who started during the pandemic represent the largest group. They make up 10% of all people who own more than 200 discs. At the opposite end of the timeline, people who started playing decades ago make up a smaller percent of people who own 200 discs.  In that case, there are fewer numbers of them. Below is a graph that shows when we started playing disc golf.

The number of people who started playing prior to 2001 represent 9% of survey respondents. But, they represent over 17% of the people who own 200+ discs. Their overall numbers are smaller than other starting years, but a high percentage of them have the big collections. If they started collecting when they started playing, they undoubtedly have some sweet discs in their collections!

We are acquiring more and more plastic!

Now let’s look at previous year’s results and see if the number of people who have 200+ discs have some kind of trend. Here is a graph of the number of people who indicated that they have 200+ discs, sorted by year:

As you can see, the number of people with 200+ discs has been increasing regularly, with the exception of the Pandemic year. In fact, this year was the highest number to date, and it was a decent increase from last year. Presumably, if people keep playing, there will be more and more who hit the 200+ mark.

Collectable Discs

In addition to many of us owning a lot of discs, we also wanted to see how many people have discs that are for collecting and not throwing. I am guilty of that, and have a large collection of discs that I never intend to throw (I collect discs with bear stamps, among others). Let’s see how many collectors there are by looking at the survey results:

Over half of us have 5 or fewer collectable discs that we don’t throw, with nearly have of those people having zero collectable discs. That still means that most of us have at least one collectable disc. Most of us have between 1-15 discs that meet that criteria. At the extreme, 1.7% of us have 200+ discs that we will never throw. I’m one of the 1.7%.

New Collectable

For those of us who collect discs, we wanted to see how much our collections grew last year. This number might be affected by the type of discs that we collect. For example, if you collect first-run discs, the growth would depend on how many discs were released last year. If you collect all known examples of a certain mold, your growth would depend on how many became available on the collector markets.

Here is how many discs we said that we added to our collection:

Two-thirds of us were content to add three or fewer discs to our collection. Only a tiny percentage of us added 40 or more discs. There were a few that managed to add 200+ to their collection. I want to know more about them and their collection!

Tell Us About YOUR Collection

Since the number of people who have 200+ discs is growing, I would like to add more options for survey respondents to select from, such as 201-300 discs, 301-400 discs, 401-500 discs, and 500+ discs. I would also like to know who has the most discs, or at least who the top few collection sizes. Comment below and let us know approximately how many discs that you own. If you collect discs, let us know what kind of discs you collect.

Check back next week for more State of Disc Golf survey results.

State of Disc Golf Survey: Following the Pros

In last week’s State of Disc Golf Survey, I talked about how we are in tournament season. I wrote about the questions in the survey that asked about tournaments and how many of us participate in them. This week, I’ll look at another aspect of tournament season: watching the pros as they play tournaments.

With the rise of the Internet and social media, we now have opportunities to watch our favorite player compete in most major tournaments. We can also follow, and sometimes interact, with them from their own personal posts and videos. It’s never been easier to be a fan of disc golf pros!

 

Following the Pros

Even though following and watching pros is not difficult, we first have to ask whether or not people want to follow the pros. That brings us to our first survey question: Do you follow professional disc golf?

 

 

An overwhelming number of us follow professional disc golf to some degree. That might be watching them play tournaments, watching them play casual rounds, following them on social media, or checking out their tournament results. That might also mean we buy their tour discs. Manufacturers know that, and that has translated into some large contracts for the top players, and better contracts for other players.

Our History of Following Pros

 

If we look at past survey results, we see that we stay fairly consistent with how many people follow the prose. There are minor variations, but overall we like to watch the best people in the sport compete.

 

 

How are we watching tournaments

For the people in the survey who indicated that they do follow professional disc golfers, we asked follow-up questions to learn more about how they followed their favorites. The first question we asked was, “In which of the following ways did you follow professional disc golf in 2022?” Here are the results:

 

 

According to the survey results, 26% of us got to watch professional disc golfers in person at a tournament. There are enough tournaments around the country, and the world, the even if there isn’t a big tournament in our home town, we likely don’t have to travel far to attend one. Apparently, quite a few of us made the effort to do that.

Watching Tournaments

If we weren’t attending a tournament, odds are that we were watching one. Between the live broadcasts and post-produced content, we had lots of choices. Over 90% of us watched at least one tournament.

One out of every five of us watched the Pro Tour Championship on ESPN. That is a pretty big number, considering the tournament aired a while after the tournament was played.

When it comes to watching disc golf live, over 56% of us indicated that we watched a tournament live. I’m sure the Disc Golf Network will be happy to see that survey result. In fact, more people said they watched live than watched post-produced videos on YouTube. There were 42.6% of us that said we watched a tournament on YouTube.

Given that the live broadcasts are several hours long, that is a big commitment of time. On the other hand, it is exciting to watch the results slowly unfold, while checking in with other cards that are playing. Plus, it is something that you can have on in the background, then listen for highlights and scores updates. That is usually what I do when I watch live. The quality has improved a lot, too. Live broadcasts have improved quite a bit since the first attempts, even though there will still be challenges doing things in real time.

Live Scoring

Another option to watch professionals is to watch the live scoring. That is another thing you can do while you are doing other things. Surprisingly, it can be kind of exciting to see the scores change and see ‘battles’ unfolding. Nearly half of us indicated that we watch tournaments via live scoring.

The final question of how we watch the pros is watching them in online in disc golf tutorials. A whopping 70% of us watch online tutorials. Although watching a professional tutorial isn’t the same as getting coached, it’s nice to watch the best in our sport give tips to make our game better.

 

Live Tournaments and DGN

Speaking of the Disc Golf Network, we wanted to see how many of us subscribe to the network. As you can see from the chart below, it was pretty much and even split between those who subscribe and those who don’t. Since the stat above said that 56% of us watched live tournaments, which means about 6% of us are just buying the individual tournaments that we want to watch.

 

 

 

Live and Post

Since a majority of us watch live tournaments we asked those people if they still like to watch post-produced rounds of the same tournament. Here is a graph of the results.

 

 

Only a small percentage of those of us who watch live events rarely or never also watch post produced. And over a third of us always or almost always watch post-produced rounds that we’ve already seen. Perhaps if we have a live event on in the background, we want to watch it later to actually watch what happened. Another reason is that there are different commentators for post-produced, which might drive people to watch both.

Favorite FPO

No discussion about professional disc golfers would be complete without looking at which of the top pros we like to follow. We asked who our first- and second-most favorite player was, in both FPO and MPO.  Starting with FPO, here are the top 20 results.

 

 

Head and shoulders above everyone else in FPO is the current World Champion, Kristan Tattar. When you consider how many picked her first or second, over 60% of us had her on one list or the other, she is an amazingly popular person! Paige Pierce took second on both lists. Catrina Allen got one podium finish, and Valerie Mandujano got the other. Now let’s look at MPO.

 

Favorite MPO

 

 

Once again we saw one player, in this case it’s Simon Lizotte, way ahead of the rest. The ahead of the reigning and six-time world champ, Paul McBeth. With his trick shots and likable personality, Simon is on one or the other list for over half of us. He is definitely the people’s player.

For the MPO, the top five players are the same on both lists, with Paul and Calvin swapping places. In fact, there are only a couple names on the top 25 list that are only on one list or the other.

That wraps up this week’s blog. Check back next week for more survey results.

State of Disc Golf Survey: Tournaments

Despite the constant storms that are bringing rain and snow to much of the country, it’s tournament time! The southern part of the country has seen several top-tier tournaments already, with some exciting finishes. And announcements for local tournaments are starting to roll out. B- and C-tiers around the world are filling up fast as we plan out what tournaments we will be playing this year. There is no doubt about it, many of us like to compete in tournaments.

For this week’s State of Disc Golf blog, we will be looking at survey results surrounding tournament play. It’s a question that we regularly ask on the survey, so we have lots of data about our views on tournaments in past years, too. Let get to the numbers!

Did You Play A Tournament in 2022?

 

As long as I’ve been playing, one of the things I’ve seen consistently is that a majority of us like to compete in tournaments. There are some who aren’t into the formal sanctioned tournaments, but who will gladly show up for more casual competitions, like an Ace Race or Match Play competitions. Others of us really like the sanctioned events, with their more serious vibes. The first tournament-related question we asked was simply, ‘Did you play in at least one disc golf tournament or event in 2022?’ Here is the chart:

While most of us played in at least one tournament, that still leaves a lot of people who are content to just play casual rounds with their buddies (or solo). They are the ones you see regularly on the course or at league events, and that’s as competitive as they want to get. That also includes newer players who don’t feel like they are ‘good enough’ to play in a tournament.

 

Sanctioned Tournaments

 

For the people who indicated in the survey that they did attend at least one tournament, let’s look at how many and which kinds of tournaments we attended. First, let’s look at how many sanctioned tournaments we attended.

 

Just under half of us attended at least one sanctioned event. Nearly a third of us played five or less. Ten percent of us played 10 or more. I played 14 sanctioned tournaments, putting me in the top 5%. Nearly 3% of us played in 20+ sanctioned tournaments! Impressive. Let’s see how that compares to unsanctioned events.

Unsanctioned

 

 

Slightly fewer of us played in at least one unsanctioned event. Unlike the chart showing sanctioned tournament, the unsanctioned numbers drop off sharply for people who play more than 5 unsanctioned tournament. It is interesting that there is 1% of us who attended 20+ unsanctioned tournaments. I wonder what kind of tournaments those were.

$10 Fee

 

When someone plays in a PDGA sanctioned tournament, they need to either be a current PDGA member, or pay a $10 fee for a ‘temporary’ membership. Since PDGA membership is $50 per year for amateurs ($75 for pros, $30 for Juniors), as an amateur you need to play in at least 5 tournaments to ‘break even’ financially. We wanted to find out how people felt about the $10 fee for non-PDGA members. Unfortunately, this question was only asked to those people that indicated they played in a tournament in 2022. The numbers on the chart are the percentage of the 61% of us who played in at least one tournament. That’s too bad, because there might be people who didn’t play in a tournament in part because of the fee.

Here is the chart:

 

It looks like most of us are okay with the fee, while a fifth of us don’t like it. Hopefully the fee, or PDGA membership, isn’t keeping people from playing in sanctioned tournaments.

More or Less in 2022/2023?

 

The next survey result we would like to look at is whether we played more or less tournaments than in 2021. We also asked everyone to predict if they would play more in 2023. Here are the survey results:

 

A significant number of us got to play more tournaments in 2022 than we did in 2021. About a fifth of us played about the same number. Projecting into this year, only about 10% of us think that we played more last year than we will this year. That means 90% of us will play the same or more this year. 58% of us plan on playing more tournaments this year than last. That may mean tournaments will be filling faster, and wait lists will be longer. I recommend setting a reminder for when registrations open, to increase your chances of getting to play the tournaments you want.

A Look Back

 

The final chart we will look at is a look back at how our tournament attendance has changed over the past few years. It looks like our percentage was holding fairly steady until Covid.

 

After the pandemic dip, the last couple of years have seen a steady increase in the number of people attending tournaments. And as we just saw, most of us are planning on increasing the number of tournaments we attend this year. That might put us at or above where we had been prior to the pandemic.

PDGA Event Numbers

 

As I mentioned, locally at least, we are seeing tournaments fill up fast and long wait lists to get in tournaments. With the steady growth of the sport, and the turbo boost caused by Covid, even though the percentage of us attending tournaments might have dipped recently, it is a percentage of a higher number. Meaning, higher numbers of us are playing tournaments. I wanted to see how the numbers of tournaments available has changed over the same time period as the last chart, so I got the data from the PDGA.

 

 

Keep in mind the preceding chart is just showing the tournaments offered by the PDGA. There are many unsanctioned tournaments that appear on Disc Golf Scene and other sites. As you can see, the number of sanctioned tournament opportunities have more than doubled since 2014! If you consider the number of tournaments that fill up, and the number of tournaments offered, it’s easy to see that we love competing in tournaments!

Check back next week for more survey results.

 

 

 

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