By The Numbers: The PDGA’s Growth in 2021

Last week, the Professional Disc Golf Association released its 2021 Demographics Report, breaking down the organization and sport’s growth over another booming year for disc golf. We dove into the report to find the key takeaways from 2021.

67%: New member growth

Although the percentage growth wasn’t as high as in 2020 (84%), the PDGA continued to attract a huge influx of new members. Strong growth from junior players and a 92% renewal rate contributed to a more than 50% increase in total active membership. It’s the first time there have been more than 100,000 PDGA members in a season.

105%: Membership growth since 2019

The exponential increase in members means that that the membership has more than doubled in the last two years. Now, everything else has to catch up. Events are up 48% since 2019; the number of courses is up just 25%. The disparity in growth rates has meant that popular courses are more crowded than ever and events can be a race to click register first.

Measuring the two year change is important because of the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacting events.

7,927: The number of female PDGA members in 2021

While there remains a big disparity between the number of male and female PDGA members, there has been strong growth in female membership over the past two years. For the first time, female membership growth (67%) outpaced male membership growth (54%). The growth rate nearly tripled compared to 2020 (24%).

726: The number of courses in Finland

Finland, Europe’s biggest disc golf hot spot, has the most PDGA members and the most courses of any country outside of the US. The country about the size of Montana has more courses than any individual US state (Texas leads the US with 485).

123%: Membership growth in Latin America

There is massive opportunity for the global growth of disc golf, but no region may be better positioned than Latin America. With just 41 courses and very little penetration into countries outside of Mexico, the sport could explode in Central and South America with smart investments. Disc sports are already popular in many Latin American countries: Colombia has one of the world’s best ultimate frisbee scenes.

$8,685,559: The total amount of money in 2021 tournament purses

That’s a lot of coin! The total purse is up about 56% from 2020, though of course there were many more tournaments last year than two years ago. Will 2022 be the first $10 million year?

$8,096,760: The PDGA’s total assets at the end of 2021

The organization has never been more flush with cash. Two years ago, the PDGA ended the year with $3,437,141 in total assets. The PDGA now has nearly that much money in equity (assets less liabilities). The organization has been hiring aggressively to support its new growth and now has 31 staff members.

20%: The number of PDGA members outside the 20-49 year old age range

Disc golf continues to grow in popularity with both younger and older athletes. While the core audience of disc golf remains players in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, more players than ever are children or older adults.

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the publisher of Ultiworld Disc Golf. You can contact him at [email protected].

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