State of Disc Golf Results: Pros and Videos


Could there be a better start to the 2022 disc golf tournament season than a multiple-hole playoff at the Las Vegas Challenge? While it is fun and exciting to see one person mop up the field by having a spectacular round, it is even more appealing to see a battle between two of the top players in our sport. Whether we watch a tournament live, or wait until the post-produced videos appear on YouTube, a large percent of the disc golf world likes to watch tournaments. As we learned in last week’s blog (HERE), nearly two-thirds of us like to PLAY tournaments. This week we will explore how many of us like to WATCH tournaments. We will also look at how we like to watch them and which players we cheer for.

Humble Beginning

Ten years ago Jonathan Gomez decided to film the final nine holes of the 2012 World Championship (Check out his video HERE). He used one camera, he had no voice-over, no flight tracking, and minimal graphics. That was the humble beginning of what has become a post-produced video juggernaut that is  Jomez Pro.

Since then, numerous brands have joined the fray, and the quality of video production has grown right along with number of production companies. We’ve reached the point where the top video brands will record, edit, and release a video complete with commentary the morning after the round was played. It’s a great time to be a disc golf video junkie!

Watching Pros

Disc golf videos are among the best ways to follow the professional players that we like to watch. Before we explore our video-watching habits, let’s take a look at how many of us follow professionals. It turns out that most of us do. Here is a chart showing the results of the survey question, “Do you follow professional disc golfers”:

It turns out that most of us like to follow top-tier disc golfers. Although most of us choose to follow pros via post produced video, there are other ways to keep up with our DG heroes. Attending tournaments, watching them online live, and watching live scoring are other options we have to follow the pros. However, nothing comes close to watching the post-produced videos, such as Jomez, GK Pro, etc. Let’s look at some more survey results.

Whether we are watching the pros compete or watching them give a tutorial, YouTube has added another dimension to our sport. We have the ability to consume the videos on our schedule, 24 hours a day, all for free. It’s no wonder that the top two choices for following pros are through that medium.

A little more surprising to me is how many people watch disc golf on live broadcasts. On the one hand, it’s a big commitment of time. A live video will last longer than the actual round being played, since they also include pre- and post-round content.

On the other hand, it’s convenient to have a live tournament on in the background while doing other tasks. That is perfect if your work permits you that luxury. Live broadcasts also give you the opportunity to see multiple cards play, since there is so much time that needs to be filled between throws. Plus, it eliminates the chances of inadvertently finding out about the results of a tournament before you get a chance to watch it post-produced.

YouTube Channels

As mentioned above, Jomez Pro has contributed greatly to the production quality exhibited by even the smaller brands. As such, we now have many different channels that we can turn to in order to fulfill our DG-watching desires. In the survey, we asked which tournament YouTube channels you watched in 2021. Although most of you named the ‘usual suspects’ for disc golf video, a lot of you mentioned much smaller channels. First, let’s see how you voted.


I think that most of us would have guessed the number one choice, and also would have guessed the top few names on the list. They are the channels that we hear about the most, and who cover the biggest tournaments. And they are all producing quality videos, which keep getting better each year.

Moving past the biggest names in YouTube tournament videos we find smaller brands that are also producing great videos. While some of them are covering local tournaments with players known only to the local area, many are featuring well-known pros. Most include commentary, graphics, and an impressive level of video quality. Although not as prolific as some of the big channels, the videos they do release are fun to watch. Below are some examples of other channels for you to check out:

Penner Productions

Sky Hyzer Productions

SM Disc Golf Productions

Soblue productions

True North Disc Golf Productions

Who We Cheer For


Although it is fun to watch the most talented disc golfer compete, it is even more enjoyable when one of the players we are watching is our favorite. Most of us have more than a few favorites, but in our survey we asked which pro is our favorite, and which is our second most favorite. We asked for both the MPO and FPO.

We gave participants a long list of the top rated pros to choose from. Even so, about 2% of us still selected ‘other’ as our choice. Which means there are a significant number of people not on the list that have a lot of fans.

We will start with the FPO, where five-time Paige Peirce received nearly a third of all of the votes. The five-time World Champ is frequently on the lead card and gets a lot of tournament exposure. She also has her own YouTube channel, giving fans an even deeper look at her life. She also knows how to rip a long drive, making her easy to cheer for and admire. Here are the top 10 selections for the title of Favorite FPO Player:

In second place is Estonian pro, Kristin Tattar, with 19% of the votes. Following Kristin, Kona Panis and Catrina Allen each had about 10% of the votes.

For the selection of our second most favorite FPO player, the list looks nearly identical, but with different numbers. Here are the top 10:


Turning to the MPO division, we see a familiar name at the top of the list. Paul McBeth has been a major player in the disc golf world since winning his first world title in 2012. Like Paige, Paul is often seen on the lead card of a tournament, giving us more opportunities to see him in action. Here are the top 10 most popular MPO players:


Just like the FPO division, the top 10 list of second most favorite MPO players is just a slightly rearranged list of the Most Favorite. Simon Lizotte takes the top honors for this list.

That wraps up this look at our consumption of disc golf tournaments, and the players who motivate us to watch. Comment below and let us know if your favorite player made the list. Also let us know about YouTube channels we missed.

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

The State of Disc Golf–Our Favorite Pros and Why

The 2019 disc golf season has arrived! We have already had a few exciting events and we are looking forward to watching the rest of the Waco Annual Charity Open this weekend. That means it is time to start analyzing the data we got back from our annual State of Disc Golf survey. Around this time last year I wrote an article breaking down who our favorite professional disc golfers are and why. There were a few surprises last year, and with all of the sponsorship changes that happened this offseason it will be interesting to see how we responded to the survey this year.

First of all, let’s take a look at how many of us actually follow professional disc golf. According to the state of disc golf survey, 79.4% of us said that we follow professional disc golf. That is a slight increase from the 77.6% from last year. Professional disc golf is growing, but so is disc golf in general, and I always find it encouraging for our sport that there is still a significant amount of disc golfers who care enough about the sport to fill out an online survey but still don’t take the time to follow professional disc golf.

But for those of us who do follow professional disc golf, who are our favorite disc golfers? In the survey we allowed multiple answers. We had thousands of survey takers, and not everyone has perfect spelling or like to use full names of their favorite disc golfers. But I did my best to try and make sure all of them were counted for this post. Again, we had well over 50 different disc golfers named as favorites, but here is the top 10 breakdown:

Our Favorite Disc Golfers

  1. Paul McBeth–27.92%
  2. Nathan Sexton–21.76%
  3. Simon Lizotte–21.37%
  4. Ricky Wysocki–9.97%
  5. Paige Pierce–9.96%
  6. Eagle McMahon–9.94%
  7. Gregg Barsby–9.22%
  8. James Conrad–7.76%
  9. Paige Bjerkaas–5.35%
  10. Jeremy Koling–4.41%

So I think there is one clear surprise here, and that is Ricky Wysocki being named as a favorite by less than 10% of disc golfers who took our survey that follow disc golf. I was shocked when my data analysis came back with this result. I double and triple checked and tried all sorts of crazy spellings for his name, but this is what it came back with every time. Last year he was the third most favorite disc golfer of survey takers with over 20% of survey takers naming him as a favorite. What could have caused such a drop? We will get to more of that in a bit.

Paul McBeth prepares to Tee off on the Infinite Discs Course

Paul McBeth was once again the most favorite with about a 2.5% increase from last year. Gregg Barsby also saw a similar increase after winning his first world championship last year. Paige Bjerkaas is the only newcomer to the top 10 after she also won her first world championship. Paige Pierce also saw a significant decrease in her percentage from this year to last year (about 5%).

Now, why did we choose these disc golfers as our favorites? Like last year, in the survey we were given five options: Attitude, Abilities as a Disc Golfer, Personality, Personal Interaction, and The Brand They Represent. We could choose all of these that applied. Here is what we said:

Why we Chose our Favorite Disc Golfers

  1. Abilities as a Disc Golfer—86.04%
  2. Attitude—82.61%
  3. Personality—84.25%
  4. Personal Interaction—37.78%
  5. The Brand They Represent—16.70%

When we compare the top four cited reasons to last year, they are all within a couple percentage points of each other.

In fact, the Personal Interaction ended up with the exact same percentage. But that final reason is where things change. That reason is The Brand They Represent, which might be confusing in other sports, but those who follow disc golf know this means who their disc manufacturer sponsor is. Last year just shy of a quarter of survey takers (24.49%) said that this influenced who they chose as their favorite disc golfers. But this year that dropped by just shy of 8%. What caused this decrease?

I have some opinions, but first let’s look at a couple of crucial facts. Paul McBeth is now sponsored by Discraft after years with Innova as a sponsor. Ricky Wysocki is now sponsored by Innova after years with Latitude 64. So what happens when we take those facts and mix them with the two biggest changes/facts from our survey today: A lower percentage of disc golfers named Ricky Wysocki as one of their favorite disc golfers, and a lower percentage of disc golfers said that they brand their favorite disc golfers represent influenced their choice in favorite disc golfers?

Well, first there is Paul McBeth. His popularity increased by about 2% after a pretty good season overall and then announcing a change in sponsorship to Discraft. A few years ago this kind of move may have upset the Innova fanboys because Discraft was the only other big sponsorship team, but the Trilogy brands (Dynamic Discs, Latitude 64, and Westside Discs) have taken that spot as Innova’s rival. For more context, I wrote a recent article about the recent influx in disc golf sponsorship teams and how it has influenced our disc golf culture.

Now obviously we are getting into the opinion side of interpreting these facts, but when we look at just Paul McBeth, there is a simple conclusion you could draw. It would be easy enough to say that with McBeth changing sponsorships, those who had previously cited his Innova sponsorship as a reason that he was one of their favorite pros just didn’t cite that as a reason that he was a favorite this time. Because obviously, a favorite professional athlete in any sport changing the equipment they use would never influence their fan base right??? Well, this isn’t just any sport, this is disc golf, and apparently we care about that kind of stuff (again, I refer to my previous article.)

This takes us back to Ricky Wysocki and his decreased popularity. Now, to be fair, this was also the first year that Ricky didn’t win a world championship in a couple years, and he wasn’t as dominant in other events as he had previously been. So some of that decrease may have been because he didn’t play as well as the previous year. I would argue that McBeth’s increasing popularity negates that argument, but it is worth considering. But, again, what are the two biggest changes in data from last year to this year? The percentage of disc golfers who named Ricky as a favorite decreased by over 10%, and survey takers who cited the brand their favorite disc golfers represent decreased by about 8%.

I really wish we had a way to know how many of the people who said Ricky was one of their favorites didn’t name him as one of their favorites this year. But like I cited earlier, Innova and the Trilogy brands have become a bit of a rivalry while Paul McBeth and Ricky Wysocki have become rivals out on the disc golf course. So when Ricky announced Innova as his new disc manufacture sponsor, the Trilogy fanboys may have seen this as him joining the enemy. But wouldn’t such a decrease in those who cited brand representation as a reason for choosing their favorite disc golfers mean that it would be the last reason Ricky’s popularity decreased? In my opinion, it is the opposite. The question asks why you chose the disc golfers you named as your favorite, not why you didn’t choose the other disc golfers.

And I think this bit of data supports my theory. This year, of the survey takers who named Ricky as one of their favorite disc golfers, 14.67% of them cited the brand they represent as one of the reasons they chose their favorite pros. Running the numbers from last year shows that same percentage at 27.80%. So Ricky as a favorite disc golfer decreased by just over 10%, and the percentage of disc golfers who named him as a favorite and cited the brand their favorite disc golfers represent decreased by over 13%. My simple interpretation–he lost the Trilogy brand loyalists.

Our disc golf culture is fascinating isn’t it? Imagine Tiger Woods losing half of his fans because he changed the brand of clubs he played with. It just wouldn’t happen.

But let’s not forget, there was an overall significant decrease in how many people said that the brand their favorite disc golfers represent influence who their favorites are. I think that Paul and Ricky changing sponsors influenced that, and as the game grows and sponsorships change, I think we will continue to see that percentage decrease over the coming years as well.

So what do you think? Were there any other surprises that I failed to talk about? Am I taking this team culture thing too far? Let us know what you think in the comments!

State of Disc Golf–Who are our Favorite Disc Golfers and Why?

The Las Vegas Challenge, Memorial Championship, and Waco Charity Open are in the books, and the Jonesboro Open is this weekend. The 2018 professional disc golf season is upon us! And I for one am excited to see what this season will hold! For this week’s State of Disc Golf article, we are going to take a look at who our favorite disc golfers are and why.

First of all, how many of us even pay attention to the professional game and the pros who play it? We asked survey takers if they follow professional disc golfers. 77.4% of us answered that question affirmatively, meaning just over ¾ of us follow professional disc golfers. While this shows that the professional game has a strong following, some could argue that this number is a bit low. It just goes to show that there is still a significant faction within the disc golf scene that is only concerned about their own casual and competitive disc golf play.

So, who are our favorite professional disc golfers? We have a lot of favorites, and for our survey we allowed people to give more than one answer. It took some time and effort, but I tried to make sure to count all misspelled and nickname answers like McBeast, Big Jerm, Sockibomb, and Big Sexy. (I promise, not the most fun part of writing this post) By my count there were well over 50 different disc golfers named as a favorite. Here is the top ten list with the percentage of answers that each disc golfer received:

Our Favorite Disc Golfers 

  1. Paul McBeth—25.42%
  2. Nate Sexton—23.24%
  3. Ricky Wysocki—20.08%
  4. Simon Lizotte—18.87%
  5. Paige Pierce—14.91%
  6. Gregg Barsby—7.85%
  7. Eagle McMahon—7.38%
  8. Jeremy Koling—7.36%
  9. James Conrad—3.66%
  10. Nate Doss—3.48%

Any surprises? Arguably, the two biggest names in disc golf are the top two rated players in the world who have combined to hold the title of PDGA World Champion for the last 6 years, Paul McBeth and Ricky Wysocki. I figured they were a lock for the top two spots on this list, so I was a bit surprised to see that Nate Sexton came in higher on the list than Ricky. I guess that goes to show that more than PDGA ratings and world titles go into us selecting our favorite disc golfers, which we will be discussing shortly.

Another surprise is how much of a drop off there is after the top 5. Our consensus sixth favorite disc golfer Gregg Barsby got nearly half as many favorite votes as Paige Pierce at number five. I would also say I am a bit surprised to see Eagle McMahon outside of the top 5, but at the same time when I look at the names in that top 5 and what they have done on and off the course (ie social media and promotional work) it is hard to pick any of the five who haven’t earned our collective favoritism.

So why did we choose these disc golfers as our favorites? In the survey we were given five options: Attitude, Abilities as a Disc Golfer, Personality, Personal Interaction, and The Brand They Represent. We could choose all of these that applied. Here is what we said:

Why we Chose our Favorite Disc Golfers 

  1. Abilities as a Disc Golfer—87.95%
  2. Attitude—84.49%
  3. Personality—84.21%
  4. Personal Interaction—37.78%
  5. The Brand They Represent—24.49%

There is nothing too surprising to me about these numbers. At first glance I was a bit surprised how many people chose abilities as I figured attitude and personality would be the top reasons. But as I thought about it, I realized that their disc golf abilities is probably what most of us know best about each of these players.

I have been fortunate enough to rub shoulders a bit with these players, but most fans are not able to meet the top pros and see them play in person (hence the 37.78% for personal interaction). I also figured the brand representation would be the last reason, but I am a bit surprised that it is as high as it is. Nearly a quarter of us chose this reason.

I have two takeaways here. First, disc golf manufacturers are doing a great job of marketing their players and the same can be said of the inverse—these players are doing a great job representing their brands. I think a prime example of this is Nate Sexton finishing above Ricky Wysocki as our favorites. Especially in 2017, the Nate Sexton Glow Firebirds were HOTTTT. Innova and Sexton together created a demand for a disc which has helped to increase the popularity and income of both parties.

My second takeaway goes right back to what I said about the disc golfers’ abilities—it is what most fans know about these players. Let’s say a more casual fan of the sport turns on coverage of a tournament. They are likely watching a lead card or feature card, so they already know something about the pros they are about to watch—they are good at disc golf (abilities). And then the very first thing they will hear at the start of the round is the brand a pro represents AND THEN his or her name, “Representing Innova Champion Discs…Representing Dynamic Discs…” And then after all that, depending on the coverage, they get a chance to get a glimpse of the players’ attitude and personalities.

It is worth noting—in my opinion—that this is a quirk that is very unique to disc golf. Of course, there is brand representation and endorsements in all professional sports, but does that really impact our favorite players? As a kid who grew up getting to watch the greatest basketball player of all time, LeBron James (yeah, I said it), did I like him more because Nike was his shoe sponsor? Nope, but the inverse may be true—because LeBron James was endorsed by Nike, I might have been more inclined to buy their shoes. In fact, do you know any fans of any other sport, team or individual, who would consider themselves brand loyal? Do ball golfers watch hoping the Callaway guys will outperform the Cobra guys because they prefer their clubs? I consider myself a pretty avid fan of all sports, and I can’t say I have ever interacted with fans who put so much stock in what brand of equipment their favorite players use.

At the end of the day though, we as disc golfers and disc golf fans are lucky to have such great competitors to look up to. I mentioned that personal interaction is something most fans don’t get to experience. If you ever have the chance to see some of these top disc golfers play in person—DO IT! The videos don’t do it justice. And if you get the chance to have some personal interaction with them, you will learn what I have learned—they are some of the coolest and realest guys and gals out there, which I think is another unique and special thing about disc golf. The pros are just real folks trying to make a living doing what they love to do.

The first touring pro I ever met was Gregg Barsby. He was in Salt Lake City for a small event the local club was running. Like anyone who has met Gregg would tell you, he is one of the nicest guys I’ve met. After the event, I went up to him and asked a few questions. He was so positive and very encouraging to a young and aspiring disc golfer. That interaction made me want to just get out there and play and work to get better and better every day. Having met all the pros on this top 10 list at least briefly, I would not be shocked to hear that each of them have had dozens of interactions with young and new disc golfers that encouraged them the way that my brief conversation with Gregg encouraged me.

So whatever our reasons, we have favorite disc golfers, and none of them are a bad choice! Let’s keep supporting the professional game where we can, and as always, grow the sport!

*Note: All photos courtesy of PDGA Flickr page