How Many Courses Are Near You?
Disc Golf Courses Near You
This week we will look how prevalent disc golf courses are to you. In the survey we asked about disc golf courses in your area. We asked how many you have locally (within a half hour) and how many were added in 2020. Let’s look at the answers.
Close To You
The first question is, “How many permanent courses are in your local area (within half hour drive)?” For our clarity here in Cache County, Utah, we should probably specify ’18-hole courses’, since we have quite a few 9-holers, but zero 18’s here in the valley. But, we get by with our plethora of good-to-mediocre shorter courses. Here are the results of the survey:
It is good to see that the largest number of people responded with a favorable number of courses. That still leaves hundreds of us with 1 or fewer courses nearby. That seems reasonable, since there are so many small towns that may never have a course. Unfortunate, but reasonable.
So Many With So Many
I was curious where the largest number of people who indicated ‘10+’ lived, so I cross-referenced locations to get the chart below. Not surprising to see Texas at the top. I know a few people from Texas and it sounds like a great place to be a disc golfer. I WAS surprised that California wasn’t higher. Here are the results:
These results show the breakdown of the state-by-state numbers, so I made another chart to show the number of people who live in other parts of the world, who also indicated that they have a high concentration of disc golf courses nearby. Here are those results:
I pulled up the data from a few other years to compare numbers. Any drastic changes in total numbers and states can most likely be attributed to the makeup of people who took the poll, rather than drastic numbers of courses going in or out. We did phrase the question differently in 2016, when we asked how many courses were within a 10 mile radius. In subsequent years, we asked how many were within a half an hour of you. That opens up a lot of area beyond 10 miles. Here are the charts for 2016, 2019, and 2020.
Here is a summary of the top 10 for the respective years. It’s interesting that California dropped off the chart.
Growth During a Pandemic
One aspect of the Coronavirus that varied from place to place is how different municipalities handled outdoor activities like disc golf. Locally, all of our parks remained open and the people using them were encouraged to socially distance. Other places closed parks and recreational facilities as a precaution. Since there was a variety of rules and focus, it should come as no surprise that disc golf courses were still installed, despite Covid19. What better way to offer a means to exercise and enjoy the outdoors, and still keep our distances from other people? While over half of us did not have any new courses added in our area, thousands of us did. Here are the numbers of people who said they saw a new course installed in 2020:
This survey question is definitely one that we need to look at from previous years so we can get a little more perspective. Let’s start by traveling back to 2014 and see how many new courses were going in back then. The disc golf growth spurt was already underway so there was a lot of interest in new courses and we should expect to see a good number of courses installed that year. Here is the data:
Despite Covid19, there were still more new courses installed last year than in 2014, which was the first year we asked the question. To me, that is encouraging news. 2020 was a phenomenal year for growth of the sport. You may recall from a previous State of Disc Golf blog post that there were more new members added to the PDGA last year than the previous five years combined. BUT, there was also this little thing called Covid19. Would the growth have been anywhere near what it was without the pandemic? If we would have had the increase in new members AND fewer things for cities and towns to worry about, who knows what the result of this question would have looked like?
New in 2019
Let’s take a look at last year’s survey results to see how many new courses were installed. Here is the chart for 2019. We can see that just before the pandemic there were a lot more people around the world seeing new courses installed. That leads me to believe 2020 would have witnessed even more new courses than it did.
What does the future hold for disc golf and new courses? I hope our sport reaches the numbers that will force municipalities to address the need for dedicated courses. Mixed-use properties can and do work, but if the sport keeps growing, other options similar to ball golf will need to be considered. Ball golf experienced an increase in rounds played last year after many years of decline. If that trend continues, disc golf won’t likely be as big of a priority for local governments, and won’t get the money and attention it deserves.
Wanted: 18-hole Disc Golf Course
Locally, we used to have an amazing 18-hole permanent course on our county’s fairgrounds property. I saw first-hand how popular the course was, and how many casual disc golfers came out of the woodwork to play simply because it was centrally located, free to play, and well maintained. That course was great for our sport! However, after some new buildings we made, we lost half the course. Then the course started to get pulled for the summer due to heavy use in the warmer months.
Losing that course had as much impact on the growth locally as installing a new course has. We’re working on getting new courses, but it’s a lot of work and takes a lot of time. When we are successful, the results can be amazing. If you make it to our area for Worlds next month, you’ll see a great example of what can happen when a bunch of hard working disc golfers get together with political leaders with a vision of what is possible. I hope it happens here, and I hope you and your club are working to make it happen in your part of the world.
Comment below to let us about disc golf growth and where new courses are most likely to be installed in your area.