State of Disc Golf Results: How Often We Play

As I write this blog in early March, it has been snowing recently and the temperature will approach zero tonight in northern Utah. I suspect there will still be a few local golfers that will still huck today. However, most of us will be holed up inside, waiting for a reprieve from the inclement weather. While we still play disc golf year ‘round here, there are days that the local courses remain empty, or nearly empty. Almost every time that happens, it is related to bad weather.

How often we get out to play can be heavily influenced by where we live and the weather conditions we experience. Extreme temperatures, rain, snow, and excessive winds can reduce our playing time. The level of our desire to improve also plays an important part in how much time we carve out to throw. And of course we all have life events that dictate our free time or lack thereof, such as school, family, and careers.

How Often We Play

In this blog we will explore the survey question that asked how often we get to play disc golf. We’ll breakdown those numbers based on where we live and our skill level, to see if those factors play a part in how often we play. And we’ll look at other demographics, liked age and gender, just to see if we can find any interesting numbers.

The question we asked in the survey was, “On average, how many rounds of disc golf did you play per month in 2021?” The options to choose from ranged from zero to ‘31+’ days. Here are the survey results. The first graph shows the results in raw numbers, and the second graph shows the results as a percent of the total.




Over ten percent of us are getting out to play 20 or more times per month, which is a lot of disc golf. If you are playing competitively, you are likely one of the more frequent players. Nearly a fourth of us are playing, on average, at least once every other day.

At the other end of the active spectrum, a tiny percent of us aren’t even averaging one round per month. Maybe from injury? Or an excessively busy schedule? Whatever the reason, at least they were able to fill out the survey!

The ‘one-percenters’ in this survey average more than one round per day. Whether they are going out a couple times per week and getting multiple rounds each time, or playing at least one round per day, they are the lucky ones. Or they are unemployed or retired, or professional disc golfers.

Where We Live

I started the blog discussing the weather and how it affects local disc golf. My first thought in seeing the results is that there may be a direct correlation between where we live and how much we play. Yes, we CAN play in pretty much any kind of weather. We are just more easily motivated to play when the temperatures are above a certain temperature, and when the ground isn’t covered with snow, ice, or mud.

To test my hypothesis, I took all of the southern US states and Hawaii, compared the number of rounds they played per month with the rest if the country. Not an exact science, but there is a reason why many pros gravitate to those states in the winter. Low temperatures and poor weather can still a factor, but winters in the states north of them are colder and have more snow. For the comparison, I took Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Hawaii. I compared those to the rest of the states. Here are the results, shown as a percentage of people in each group:

So much for that theory! There were some categories that the Southern states were slightly higher in, and others they were slightly lower. Overall, we can’t conclude that the states with warmer winters get in more rounds. Their hands may be less numb, but they aren’t playing more than the rest of us.

Skill Level

Another aspect of disc golf that I wanted to explore is to see if there is a correlation between our skill level and the number of rounds we play per month. My initial thought is that someone who plays more, gets better and considers themselves as a higher level player. Also, we could say that someone who is as better player may be more interested in playing more to maintain a competitive edge in leagues and tournaments. Below is a chart showing the percentage of each skill level, according to their monthly number of rounds.


This time the numbers are more aligned to what I would expect. Professional disc golfers represent a higher percentage of each number category above 15 per month, and is second to advanced players in the 10-14 category. In fact, the skill levels in the categories above 15 rounds per month are in order, from low to high, according to skill level. Conversely, beginners and intermediate players take the top spots in the categories below 10 rounds per month.




Since we are all active enough in the sport of disc golf that we took the time to fill out a survey, read the results, or both, we all enjoy the time out on a course. Sometimes the number of rounds we play in a month is dictated us and our desires, and sometimes it is dictated by our schedules and life circumstances. Hopefully, this year will see us getting in a few more rounds per month than last. We’ll conclude this blog by comparing last year’s results to a few years ago.

It is rather impressive how similar the results are from the prior survey. In every number category the results are practically the same. With all of the growth we’ve seen recently, and the life-changing pandemic, we are still throwing at about the same amount as before. Perhaps that is a good thing.

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

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.

When Did You Start Playing?


2021 State of Disc Golf:

How Long Have You Been Playing?


In last week’s blog we looked at the ages, gender, and where we live. This week we will look at when we started playing, and check out some other data related to when we started. We will also look at people who started recently, as in during the pandemic, and see what their motivation was to start. I wanted to explore some other questions, but I think they will fit in better with other blog subjects.

We all got introduced to the sport of disc golf at some point, and in some fashion. For me, I’m happy to say that I invented disc golf! Well, sort of. My brothers and I were tossing Frisbees around the yard in the mid 70’s and we came up with a cool game. We selected nine objects around my parent’s spacious yard, and our disc golf course was born. It wasn’t until decades later that we heard there was actually a sport similar to what we were doing, complete with formal baskets and discs. It wouldn’t be for a couple more years before we would get actual discs and play on a ‘real’ course. (The first real course we played was Creekside in Salt Lake City).

Finally Getting Real


Although it wasn’t for another many years until we considered ourselves disc golfers, the seed was planted and we were hooked. Today, when people ask how long I’ve been playing, I refer to my 2013 beginning, since that was when I got some ‘real’ discs and played a league round with our local club. In this blog post, we will check out when people say they started playing. Then we’ll focus on a couple years or year ranges that had the highest number of people start disc golf. And we’ll look at a couple other survey results.

When Did You Start Playing Disc Golf?


The question we asked in the survey was ‘When did you begin playing disc golf?’ The choices were individual years for 2011-2020, five-year blocks from 2001-2010, ten-year blocks from 1971-2000, and the final category was ‘Before 1970’. If you were lucky enough to be able to answer ‘Before 1970’, good on you! Also, congrats for playing so long, and presumably still playing! Also, what is your PDGA number?!

Here are the results for when people said they started playing:



As you can see, there are a few people among the respondents who started playing more than 50 years ago! Interestingly, the biggest group are the people who started just last year. If you look at the next biggest group, it may be surprising to see such a large number of people in the 2006-2010 range. But, that’s when the five-year span starts. Here is a chart with all of the years from 2001-2020 in five year increments. It’s more of what we should expect.



Even with the overall graph looking like what we would expect, the statistic that is the most impressive is how many people say they started last year. Factoring in the Covid19 shutdowns, leaving people with more time on their hands and fewer activities that could be done safely, the large increase is not surprising. The big increase in sales for Infinite for 2020 can be partially explained by the large number of disc golfers who already played the sport, but now wanted discs, putters, baskets, etc. for quarantine activities. Even so, the sport has been growing the last few years and while some organic growth is to be expected, such a large number of new players is partially because of Covid19. Let’s explore some of the reasons why people picked up disc golf last year.


What’s The Appeal With Disc Golf


According to the first graph above, 1205 people said they started playing last year. For that group of people, we asked a follow-up question to learn more about their motives. We asked, ‘Why Did You Start Playing In 2020?’ With nine responses to choose from, we know there would be multiple reasons why people started playing, so we gave them more than one choice. Of those 1205 people, 25% of them listed the pandemic as all or part of the reason they started playing. I was happy to see that over half of the people listed ‘Friend invited me’ as one of their reasons. I’ve seen many people get into the sport simply because someone invited them to play. Invite your friends! Here is a chart showing the percentage of reasons given by the newest members of our sport. It’s good to see ESPN, CBS, and Brodie Smith contributing to the growth!

Age/Starting Year

I wanted to see the ages of people who started playing last year, to see if there were something that might stand out in the data. To start, here is the chart from last week showing the age divisions among all of the survey participants. Below that is a graph of the ages of the 1205 people who started last year.



The new player demographic is pretty much spot on the average of all disc golfers in the survey. Out of curiosity, I checked out the ages of people who said they started in the 2006-2010, since that was the largest group of years in the survey outside of 2020. You would expect the ages to look different, since a group that started 10 years ago would statistically be older than a group that started last year. But, I would expect the graph to still have the same general highs and lows as the average. But, that is not the case. Here is a graph of the ages of people who started playing in 2006-2010:




To be clear, those are the current age groups of the people who said they started in 2006-2010. The early-30’s group is still the largest, but the general shape of the graph doesn’t look like the overall graph. Most notably is the smaller ratio of the 41-50 group. Since I wasn’t playing then, I don’t have an idea why that age would look different. It might be worth breaking down all of the groups by when they started and the age group they belong to.


If you have any thoughts on these stats, be sure to comment below. Also, if you have any survey results that you would like to have explored, let me know if the comments. Check back next week for more results of the 2020 State of Disc Golf

Click here for last week’s blog.



State of Disc Golf 2019 – Average Throwing Distances

During the 2019 State of Disc Golf Survey, we asked players about their average throwing distance on drives. When looking at the overall field of players that responded to the survey, here are the percentages that claimed specific distance abilities:

You’ll notice that the largest percentage of overall players claimed a distance between 301 and 350 feet maximum. That distance represents almost 31% of players. The next largest percentage claims a distance between 251 and 300 feet, at almost 27% of those surveyed. Close behind that is the 351 to 400 foot range at 22%.

That means that if you add together those three categories with a distance from 251 – 400 feet, that covers the vast majority of players while much smaller groups claim 400+ feet. Only 2.1% of those surveyed claimed to be able to through 451 to 500 feet and a minor sliver of .5% claimed a distance of over 500 feet.


We thought it would be fun to take a look at the results broken down by age groups. So here is a very chart-heavy report, but we hope that you enjoy seeing how age influences distance. As you scroll through the age breakdowns, you’ll notice that the middle ages have a much higher number of survey participants, but the averages stay pretty close…

AGE 12 – 17

AGE 18 – 21

AGE 22 – 25

AGE 26 – 29

AGE 30 – 35

AGE 36 – 40

AGE 41 – 50

AGE 51 – 60

AGE 61 – 70

AGE 71 +

Only when you start to hit the charts for 61-70 and the 71+ age groups do the distance abilities begin a dramatic drop-off, landing more of those older players in a range under 300 feet.


Now, for a little something you’ve never considered, we have a breakdown of the claimed distances from survey participants versus the elevation of the states in the USA where those players are from. Did you ever wonder how much elevation figures into distance? While higher elevations often make disc flight paths more overstable (and the reverse for lower elevations), the abilities to throw further seems to favor those who live at higher elevations.

This chart, provided by Lucid Software’s analysis team, can be a little bit hard to decipher, but it basically takes the average elevation of all the survey participants that answered for each distance. You can see that the further the distance (shown at the bottom of each bar) the darker the bar becomes, with the darker bars representing higher elevations. The average elevation is shown above each bar.

The black box feature’s Lucid Software’s bullet points (or take-aways) stating that distance data seems consistent with other sports, like baseball, and that disc golf course designers in higher elevations might consider longer hole distances. Of course, we can take or leave that advice, but the data seems clear regarding distance versus elevation of where players live.

However, here is a thought– it could be that the courses are very different at lower elevations where wooded courses are more predominant. In those lower elevation, wooded courses, players need to play with precision as their focus, rather than distance. After all, if playing in the woods, there is little need for power throws due to low ceilings and obstacles. However, at higher elevations, the trees may be less predominant on courses, making distance more of a factor. You either throw far across open fairways, or bomb high throws over the tops of the few trees on the course.

What do you think is the cause for this distance disparity when it comes to altitude? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and thanks again to all of the thousands of players who participated in the survey.

Does Weather Determine If You Play Disc Golf?

Disc golf is a sport that can be played in a variety of weather condition.  Courses are rarely closed and baskets seem to remain in the ground year-round.  As part of the State of Disc Golf survey, we decided to ask how willing a person is to play disc golf under several severe weather conditions.  The conditions listed were; extreme heat, rain, snow, extreme cold and heavy winds.  For each weather condition many options were available to choose including; Never, Pre-Registered for a Tournament and Very Likely. We focused on these three with other options such as somewhat likely and doesn’t apply not shown.

Right of the bat you can see that extreme heat is not a big problem for golfers.  Over 2000 people responded they were very likely to play disc golf.  Extreme cold conditions on the other hand, cause almost 1000 golfers to never play.  If you play in a lot of tournaments,  it appears rain is the most unfavorable condition to play in. Of the roughly 6000 golfers surveyed, 18 percent will play in rainy conditions only if they have pre-registered for a tournament.

Though every golfer chose what state they live in, we did not look at individual states and what weather conditions they are willing to play in.  Also of note, it appears the colder it is, the less likely disc golfers are to get out and play.  With possible grip issues, frozen tee pads and other factors this is understandable. However, the surveys showed the majority of golfers will play in any weather conditions.  Sometimes you just gotta go throw no matter what mother nature throws your way!


When Did We Begin Playing Disc Golf and Are We Willing to Pay

As we take a look at the results of the 2018 State of Disc Golf Survey, it is fun to measure the growth of the sport by finding out when people discovered disc golf as apposed to when they started playing disc golf. We also asked survey participants how much they are willing to pay for “pay-to-play” courses which are usually on private property. Some interesting trends have surfaced.

First let’s take a look at when people first heard about disc golf vs. when they started playing. It is very interesting to see that a large percentage of people discovered disc golf more than seven years ago. If we create a dividing line at the year 2010, we find that 64% of those taking the survey heard about disc golf before (and including) 2010, while 36% first heard about disc golf after 2010.


This seems to demonstrate that disc golf has been in the public eye for quite a while, with the majority of current players having heard about it several years ago. In more recent years, a steady stream of people are still discovering disc golf, but even more interesting is that the number of people starting to PLAY disc golf is growing more rapidly in recent years.

Perhaps people who hear about disc golf or become aware of the sport are slow to try it out? Though they may have become aware of the sport several years ago, they are just now starting to play? Of course, there are current players who both discover and dive in at the same moment, but there is an interesting disparity between people DISCOVERING disc golf and BEGINNING TO PLAY disc golf.


Another interesting trend when comparing the data from the 2018 State of Disc Golf survey to the data from the previous year is the attitude about “pay-to-play” courses. Many disc golfers embraced the sport because courses have traditionally been free to play. The vast majority of public courses are still free, but there are a growing number of privately owned courses that are charging a fee for a round of disc golf. Here is a look at how much survey participants were willing to pay for a round of disc golf in 2018 vs. the previous survey year.

Look at the lower end of the price spectrum. You’ll see that more people were willing to pay a lower price a year ago. Why would fewer people be willing to pay a lower price this year? Even more interesting is that this year’s survey found more players willing to pay higher prices in the $9 – $30 range! So, while they are less willing to pay a low price, they’re more willing to pay a high one. It looks like the “premium price” side of the market is growing, with more players willing to pay to play a course that they feel is truly special.

With more players coming into the disc golf scene every year, and more people willing to pay to play, it will be interesting to see how the disc golf market and course development evolves over the coming years.

State of Disc Golf 2017 – Is Game Play Too Fast? Too Loud?

In the State of Disc Golf 2017 Survey, we asked thousands of players a couple of questions about subjects that are sometimes a bit touchy when it comes to playing the game with others. First of all, we thought we’d ask about the speed of play. We’ve all met those players who like to take their time before each throw, seeming to measure the weight of each disc in their hand, drawing imaginary lines through the air, and finding their apparent moment of zen before finally taking their throw. Or, perhaps you are bothered by that pushy player that wants to step up and throw right away, regardless of who should take the box first according to turn order.  Is the game generally too fast for you? Or is it too slow for you? Here is what the surveyed players thought:

Which statement about speed of play typically applies to you for recreational disc golf rounds?

Despite those occasional irritations when it comes to speed of play, the majority 57% of those surveyed felt that the rounds move along at the right pace. But when it comes to those who wish the speed of play were different, it is more about wanting to take their time, rather than wanting to push the pace up a notch. 35.6% of players like to take their time, so if you add together those who are content, and those who like to take their time, you come up with 92.6% who are fine with the way things are or who like to take their time, so apparently it is a vocal minority of 7.4% that wishes things would speed up.

The percentage of those who feel the game is too slow was higher when narrowed down to those who called themselves “professional” on the survey, with 12% feeling the game moves too slowly. However, those who called themselves beginners, recreational, intermediate, and even advanced, fell right in line with the majority who are fine with the pace of the game.

How important is it that those around you stand still and are silent before you throw?

This is another touchy subject in some casual and competitive rounds. We’ve heard announcers say things like, “Oh, that is a shame,” when an observer coughs or makes a sudden noise just as a professional is throwing. For a really good player, should it make a difference if there is some background noise or movement in their field of vision? Let’s see how those surveyed responded when it comes to stillness and silence before the throw:

For all the emphasis on being silent during putts or throws, it looks like it is a huge minority that fines the silence to be “very important”– so much so that they won’t throw with a potential distraction. That 7.7% pales in comparison to the 69.2% majority who feels that it is only “somewhat important” and who are not generally bothered by a little noise or movement. That 7.7% also pales in comparison with the 23.1% who feel that silence and movement is “not important”.

We looked at those who called themselves “professionals” on the survey to see if the competitive nature of their game play makes the distraction factor more or less important. It turns out that 17.1% feel that silence is “very important” and 66.1% feel it is “somewhat important”.  That leaves 16.8% feeling it is “not important”. So, to a small professional players find distractions to be a nuisance.

In fact, moving through the categories from beginners to advanced, the more advanced the player, the higher percentage that said silence and stillness was important, though never a majority.




State of Disc Golf 2017 Results – Play Frequency for Men and Women

Do Women or Men Play More Disc Golf?

We already know that a lot more men took the State of Disc Golf survey than women. 91.8% of survey participants were men, compared to 8.2% for women. That was a large increase for the women over previous survey years, so the women are definitely gaining ground. There was a large enough sample of the sexes for us to take a look at how gender plays into disc golf participation.

First of all, the number of courses played for female vs. male really showed no difference, with the vast majority playing 10-15 courses in a year. Here is a look at the number of courses played in 2016, as reported by survey participants.

How Many Different Courses Did You Play This Year?


But how do men and women compare when it comes to seasonal play? The following charts show the number of times each of the sexes plays disc golf during the four seasons:

You can see that there are similarities in the frequency of game play, even season by season. It appears that men generally favor the 2-3 times per week more than women, and the women favor that 2-3 times per month more than men. It looks like men play more frequently, particularly when the weather is cold, but the differences are not large enough to make any definitive statement on who plays more per-capita. There are certainly more men playing, but when it comes to how often vs. the smaller number of women, the differences are only slight.

This seems to suggest that when it comes to the two sexes, there may be a difference in number of players, but the level of passion is relatively equal. 

Gender in Tournament Play

Let’s take a look at how many women vs. men reported playing in tournaments in 2016. First of all, 31.1% of women surveyed reported that they did not play any tournaments at all. Of those who said they did, this is how many of both PDGA Sanctioned and Non-PDGA Tournaments they reported playing in 2016:

So, for the women, it looks like it non-PDGA tournaments are favored, and the vast majority of tournament-playing lady’s played in the range of 1-5 tournaments in 2016. The 2-3 tournaments choice was the highest spike, especially for non-PDGA tournaments.

Now, let’s look at what the men said. First of all, only 27% said that they don’t play tournaments, while 73% said that that they did play at least some tournament in 2016. Right way, we can see that a larger percentage of disc golfing men play tournaments than do the women. Here are the charts for number of PDGA Sanctioned and Non-PDGA tournaments for the men:


Though the number of players differs greatly, the general tournament quantity curve is fairly similar between the sexes. Again, most men who played tournaments played in that 1-5 tournaments range, with 2-3 being the most popular response in the survey.

The similarities between the charts again suggests that the women surveyed are not shying away from tournaments. They like to play, and they like to compete. But the number of female competitors is much smaller. But that competitive spirit should continue to bring more competitors and a higher level of play to events with time.

All in all, we’re encouraged at the growth of disc golf when it comes to both sexes, and we’re encouraged by the level of passion shown in both casual play and in competitive play from both the men and the women. We expect that the difference in numbers between the sexes will continue to narrow with time, especially as very talented women are beginning to take the spotlight in professional disc golf tournaments.


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