By The Numbers: PDGA in 2020

More eye-popping numbers from a huge year of growth.

As difficult as 2020 was, it can’t be said that it wasn’t a boom year for disc golf. The sport grew substantially last year — and new data out of the PDGA shows that the sport’s governing body did too. Here’s a look at the PDGA’s 2020 by the numbers.

83.8%: New member growth

The number of new PDGA members in 2020 was almost double what it was in 2019. 26,632 people became first-time PDGA members in 2020, up from 14,492 the previous year. And that growth happened despite a multi-month shutdown in tournament play between March and June.

What might be more amazing is that the growth rate in new PDGA members a year ago — from 2018 to 2019 — was just 3.5%.

71,016: Total active PDGA members

That big bump in new PDGA members was the big story in the PDGA’s overall membership growth of over 33% in 2020. Renewals were also up: the growth rate in renewals was solidly positive but a bit below 2019 by percentage (14.2% vs. 17.1%).

Let’s emphasize this for extra clarity: 33% membership growth in a single year for any sport is remarkable. And of course that doesn’t count the overall number of players in the world, just those who’ve decided to become a PDGA member.

$1,214,335.58: The increase in the PDGA’s assets year-over-year

The PDGA’s assets jumped from $3,437,141.70 at the end of 2019 to $4,651,488.28 at the end of 2020. That’s more than a 35% increase. The change from ’18 to ’19 was under $300,000. This year’s growth was remarkable, particularly when you consider that the organization furloughed more than half of its staff in April due to concerns about a drop in revenue and a halt in tournament sanctioning.

4,752: The number of female PDGA members

2018 United States Women’s Disc Golf Championship. Photo: PDGA

For the first time, the PDGA has more than 4,000 female members and should reach 5,000 in 2021. The number is up 24% over 2019 but still heavily lags the male demographic both in total (66,264) and in growth rate (34%).

The PDGA’s membership is 93.3% male.

1,212: How many fewer tournaments there were in 2020 than in 2019

Hundreds of tournaments were canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including all of the PDGA Majors and National Tour events. That’s a 26.1% drop compared to 2019.

The good news is…

40.4%: The increase in tournaments scheduled for 2021 compared to this time last year

There are a lot more tournaments scheduled for this year compared to a year ago, driven by a 61.1% increase in tournaments lined up in the United States (internationally, tournament scheduling is down 55% compared to a year ago).

B-tiers are up 60% and C-tiers are up 40% compared to 2020.

Based on the tournament demand we’ve seen so far this year, we’re going to need even more events than we have so far!

302,875: The number of Disc Golf Scene registrations in 2020

That might seem like a big number, but 2021 daily registrations are more than double what they were at this time last year. Disc Golf Scene was so flooded by traffic from people trying to register for the 2021 Ledgestone Insurance Open that the website crashed, requiring server upgrades and a whole new registration day, mirroring some of the website issues that have plagued disc manufacturers selling highly sought after limited edition discs.

What do you think the PDGA’s growth will look like in 2021?

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
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    Charlie Eisenhood is the publisher of Ultiworld Disc Golf.

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