Disc golf explodes. This is a clear. In your home path suddenly there are countless enthusiastic gamers who have discovered the game in the past two years. New courses have popped up in seemingly every park across town. Leagues that used to have a single media outlet with two cameras tracking the main card now have dozens of cameras from multiple slots tracking the top three or more cards. Almost every weekend we are treated to highly professional live coverage of the Disc Golf Pro Tour or PDGA main event. Tournament payments and player contracts have reached numbers that would have seemed impossible just a few years ago, with many players in the sport making seven figures in a year. So obviously disc golf is exploding – but to what extent? Let’s look at the numbers.
- It took PDGA 41 years to gain its first 100,000 members
- 100,000 members signed up in less than a tenth of that time
- Since reaching 200,000, in less than one year, PDGA has already released another 40,000 PDGA numbers.
- Conservatively speaking, at least 4,000,000 people play golf globally
* Player growth statistics from PDGA growth and demographics reports
In 1976, the Professional Disc Golf Association issued its first PDGA number to “Steady” Ed Headrick, PDGA #001. It took 41 years between that historic day and the issuance of PDGA #100,000 in 2017. Not many adopters could Early adopters of the sport would have imagined that golf would get this much attention. But as we know now, in 2017, disc golf’s biggest growth phase has yet to begin. From that point on, it only took four years for the PDGA to reach 200,000 members, a feat achieved on December 24, 2021. That’s ten times faster than getting its first 100,000 members. Growth continued to accelerate.
In less than one year, since the release of PDGA #200,000, another 40,000 members have already joined. If enough guys get a PDGA membership for the holidays this year, we might be there 250,000 members Before 2023!
The PDGA has active members in more than 70 countries, but PDGA members make up only a fraction of the total number of active golfers in the world. By a conservative estimate, there are at least 4,000,000 players worldwide who play disc golf regularly. This is a low end estimate. The actual number could be much higher!
- On average, 5.28 courses are built each day
- It is estimated that there are more than 15,000 courses worldwide
- More than 70% of all disk courses were built in the last 10 years
- There are disc golf courses in more than 80 countries around the world
* Course growth stats from the UDisc Growth Report
As the number of players in the sport increased, it was only natural that the number of tournaments would increase to keep up with demand. But the number of new courses that went into effect in the last year is really declining. Each day, on average, 5.28 new disc golf courses are opened for play. That’s one new cycle every four and a half hours, and One new hole every 30 minutes or less!
It is estimated that there are more than 15,000 disc golf courses worldwide, spread among more than 80 countries. And these numbers, however huge, are increasing rapidly. More than 70% of all disc golf courses have been built in the past decade.
Most of the courses being created are created by players who have seen the demand growing in their local area and have taken the initiative to do something about it. Dedicated golfers and designers like the Innova Ambassador team are driving the growth of the sport from the ground up. If you’ve noticed that courses in your area have started to get more backups in the past couple of years, go ahead and select the appropriate parcel of land, contact your city with a proposal for a new course, and make your mark on the burgeoning sport of disc golf.
- Golf’s highest paid athletes make seven figures a year in sponsorship deals alone
- The average MPO first prize payout in the DGPT Elite Series and PDGA majors has nearly tripled since 2019
- Average FPO 1st prize payouts at DGPT Elite Series and PDGA Major Events have nearly quadrupled since 2019
- 2022 saw the highest-earning tournaments in a single season from a player in both MPO and FPO, winning over $100,000 each
- The minimum payment for players who qualified for the DGPT tournament in 2022 was the same as the first prize payment awarded to the winners in 2019.
* Payments growth statistics from the PDGA event archive
PDGA’s membership is growing exponentially every year, and new courses are opening up around the world at an astonishing rate, but what about the professional side of the game? Perhaps the most notable signs of how much golf has thrived in the past few years can be seen in the money paid to the top pros. Although the details of the sponsorship agreements are mostly kept secret, it’s safe to say that more players are able to make a comfortable living on their own by playing golf than ever before. A sport that until a few years ago only its best athletes relied on their tournament winnings to get rid of, now has several players making seven figures a year from their sponsorship deals alone.
Winnings in tournaments come in more tangible numbers, and those numbers are impressive to say the least. The average cashout for a first-place MPO in 2019 was $4,548, and for an FPO, it was $2,082. Two years later, in 2021, the average first-place MPO cash has nearly doubled to $8,748, and the average FPO has doubled to $5,245. This year, the average first-place MPO cashed in at $12,058 and the average FPO was $7,903. That’s a 165% increase for MPO and a 280% increase for FPO in average Elite Series and principal payments from 2019 to 2022. In other words, men have nearly tripled And almost women Quadruple Their winnings in the championship in just three years!
This year’s DGPT has the largest pro purse in golf history at $302,000. First place prizes of $35,000 were awarded in both divisions. The $2,500 minimum payout for the 32 MPO athletes who qualified to play in the DGPT Championships in 2022 was the same as the first place compensation awarded to the winners in 2019. The minimum payout for the 16 women who qualified this year was $3,000, which equates to more From the winner obtained by the FPO athlete in 2019 in the same event.
So there you have it. bubble! The disc golf explosion you noticed on the course, we also noticed in the numbers.