Udisc’s latest Disc Golf Growth report is worth a read and share. Due to the ubiquity of its popular app among disc golfers, the company is in a position to give us statistical ammunition like we’ve never had before.
I’m certain my fellow pioneer of disc golf blogging and current Udisc director of marketing Steve Hill had a hand in this report. To Steve and others who contributed, well done! In addition to all kinds of statistically significant data the report includes stories and anecdotes to provide context.
I should add that this is the kind of disc golf news that I like to share. The only social media accounts I’ve maintained even semi-regularly – my Play DiscGolf page on Facebook and a Twitter account no one follows – both focus on sharing stories of grassroots disc golf growth.
When you check out the report, I suggest skimming through at first. There’s so much there, and your favorite stat may be near the bottom. Here are a few that got me thinking:
4.3 courses were installed per day in 2022
This number represents year-over-year growth consistent with the pandemic surge and also the broader range of the past several decades. What gets me excited, though, is knowing that four times a day in 2022, a new resource popped up somewhere in the world that offers community members so much while likely requiring little or nothing in return.
Most of these courses will thrive and in a few years’ time create demand for another new course to accommodate all the new players. With disc golf, funding is never a question, so this pattern should continue unabated.
1.2 million disc golfers used UDisc in 2022
This stat is of course nice for Matt and Josh and others at Udisc, but it is huge for the sport of disc golf as well. To anyone in a position to commit funding to any disc golf project or initiative, public or private, that number indicates the sport’s true popularity much better than 100,000-plus active PDGA members.
With that many active users, the rest of Udisc’s stat’s gain credibility as well. Udisc users may still only represent a small fraction of the people playing the sport, but the sample size is easily large enough to cut across other segmentation types (geographic, economic, age, gender, etc.).
90 percent of courses are free to play
It is good to see the continuity of one of the main reasons disc golf is considered accessible. Disc golf courses in public places that are free to play which were spearheaded and sometimes funded by community members is our secret sauce.
I’d actually be happy to see the free/pay-to-play rate go down next year, as long as the overall new courses-per-day rate goes up. That would be more people are seeing disc golf as a good investment, more options for players, and less crowds at popular public courses.
Strong growth in the U.S. at schools & universities
Disc golf has demonstrated pretty impressive growth up until now by building courses in the woods and in parks where they are discovered (usually by males age 25-45) and loved and eventually replicated. A 20 percent course growth rate on the grounds of educational institutions helps keep the momentum going, but more importantly it breaks ground in two ways:
- Would-be disc golf lovers will discover the sport earlier in life and have more productive years to contribute to its growth
- Education systems, from preschool through college, represent an entirely new way for the sport to grow. Success at one school in a district can likely be used to start conversations at others.
strong international growth
The report points out that a number of countries posted a growth rate higher than the U.S. All except New Zealand are in Europe, but expect that to change as the Paul McBeth Foundation has recently planted courses in Mexico, Guatemala, and Columbia in an effort to introduce the sport to Latin America