Get ready for a numbers blog! Today in the blog we’re looking at 2020 versus 2021 disc golf growth.
I’ve heard that disc golf blew up in 2020, and then in 2021 it blew up again. Anecdotally, this is absolutely true. Sabattus Disc Golf had full parking lots on weekdays during the summer. When I played other courses I would sometimes have to wait to tee off.
But how do I look at the big picture of how disc golf blew up? I’m just a guy up in Maine, one of the four corner states of the USA. How can I prove that disc golf grew in other places as well?
I’ve found three sources that are reliable, disc golf centric, and offer their data for free. They provide quantitative data to prove what we all already know in our hearts to be true.
Let’s start with the PDGA
In 2017, the PDGA celebrated a milestone of 100,000 total members. When Ed Headrick started the PDGA in 1976 I don’t know if he could have predicted how big it would have become. It took 41 years to get to the first 100,000 members.
In 2020 there were 26,362 new members added and in 2021 we hit the 200,000 mark. So in only 4 years, we’d doubled what had taken us 41 years. That’s explosive growth by anyone's standards.
2021 had an astounding growth of at least 43,277 new members!
How did I arrive at that number? I went to the PDGA website and just started typing in numbers of players to see when their membership started. The first player to sign up in 2021 was #156723, and we hit #200000 in December of 2021. It’s reasonable then to say that 43,277+ members joined, after a record breaking 2020 when 26,362 joined.
Onto UDisc, the way so many disc golfers record their rounds.
Unfortunately there’s no way to super accurately record how many rounds of disc golf were played. Scorecards, casual players, and the fact that most courses are public mean we’ll likely never know. But UDisc measured rounds played in 2020, and estimated that 51.6 million rounds of disc golf were played. You can see from the picture below that every single day in 2020 more people were playing disc golf than in 2019; at least on the UDisc app.
I’ve taken this next screenshot from the 2021 stats from UDisc. 205 million holes played would mean that 11.38 million, 18 hole rounds of disc golf were played. We know that there are plenty of 9 hole courses that get scored on UDisc as well, so at least 11.38 million rounds were played, but almost certainly there were more.
In 2020 UDisc released how many rounds were recorded both in the US and around the world. They also released how many short course rounds were played versus long courses.
UDisc recorded 11.13 million total rounds in 2020. This includes the short rounds as well, so at least 250,000 more rounds were recorded with the app than last year. That’s growth!
Next up, the leader in post produced disc golf content.
I’d like to look at one last way to see how much disc golf has grown. This took me a bit of time to organize but I think it’s important. See if you can answer this question for me.
How many people watched Jomez Production videos in 2021?
A. 15 Million views
B. 25 Million views
C. 35 Million views
D. 45 Million views
E. More than 45 million views
After counting each video play count from their YouTube page, I’ve counted 48,452,000 views from their page in 2021. According to YouTube, Jomez Productions has had 158 million views since the channel began in 2007. Now, they didn’t really start filming disc golf until 2014, and even then it was small.
Basically 30% of all the Jomez views came from 2021. They have 357,000 subscribers currently and are always gaining.
Jomez put out 224 videos in 2021, and averaged 216,303 views on each of their videos! Their biggest video was somehow the DGLO highlights video. Which is kind of shocking for a number of reasons to me, since the highlight videos almost always have the least views. And I kind of assumed that the James Conrad highlight would have the most views, but it finished 8th overall in view count.
How did Jomez do in 2020?
Remember there were no World’s to boost the numbers, WACO ended after 2 rounds, and several other tournaments had to be postponed or moved.
Despite the Disc Golf Pro Tour postponing at one point, Jomez Productions managed to release 165 videos in 2020. They had 29,219,100 views. And that averages to 178,055 viewers per video.
So in 2021 Jomez increased their numbers by almost 20 million views, and they brought up their average viewership per video by about 20%.
So did disc golf grow in 2021?
Yes. We proved it with free access to evidence from the PDGA, UDisc, and Jomez. Having some solid numbers to backup your gut always makes it better.
Membership increased, rounds played on UDisc increased, and viewership increased. Next time you’re talking with someone about disc golf you have some hard evidence to share.
Was there anything I missed? Maybe there’s a stat out there that would really help show how much disc golf has grown. Let me know in the comments.
This was an especially fun blog for me as it marks the 2 year anniversary of me starting writing the Sabattus Disc Golf blogs. Plus I love examining the numbers and seeing how disc golf is doing.
As always, thank you for reading.
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397