If you are anything like me, you have probably wondered what it would be like to play in disc golf tournaments and win some money. I am definitely not good enough to win any tournaments yet, but I would definitely like to and it got me thinking about how much do pro disc golfers make and if you can make money playing disc golf.
I did a lot of research and dug into just how much pro disc golfers bring in for their tournament wins over the years. It turns out that if you practice hard and want to be a professional disc golfer there just might be a chance, an ever growing one, that you too can be on the list of professionals making money doing what they love.
Pro disc golfers earn an average of $116,037. Pro disc golfers from 25% – 75% earn from $62,870 – $145,473. The top 10% of players earn $212,198. These numbers are taken from 25 PDGA golfers and include base salary, equity, and bonuses.
As you can see, there is a lot of variance depending on how well you do and how many tournaments you play. I don’t think these numbers include any sponsorship deals which can add to the yearly earnings that varies depending on the sponsorship contract.
Getting started as a disc golfer does not cost very much money and you can see how much disc golf costs, and then go buy yourself a few discs like some of my favorite ones below.
How Much Do Pro Disc Golfers Make?
PDGA golfers earn an average of $116,037 which takes into account a lot of things but if you look at the chart below from Paysa you will see that there is a wide range of salaries earned. Just like with any other sport, performance plays a large deal into what you make because you don’t get paid just to play. In fact, this is where it differs more than more traditional sports like baseball and basketball. Not only are those sports more popular, but they have year deals just to play.
Disc golf is growing more and more each year in popularity and before too long will be a sport with much higher payouts. Disc golf has been around for a very long time but it has just now started to sprout legs as a sport of its own and is attracting more players and spectators each year.
Paul McBeth’s first win was in August of 2007 where he won only $500 but has since earned a grand total of over $481,700 in his career since then just from tours. This does not count his sponsorship deals that only add to his total earnings.
PDGA Tour Earnings for 2019
|Eagle Wynne McMahon
Can You Make Money Playing Disc Golf?
So the real question is, can you make money playing disc golf? The answer is YES, ABSOLUTELY! There are many ways to make money playing disc golf that include winning tournaments, gaining sponsors, and selling merchandise but it is not easy to reach the top.
How Do Professional Disc Golfers Make Money?
If you want to start your path toward a pro disc golf career, then make sure you have all the right gear and understand the mechanics of the discs and how they fly. You can learn how professional disc golfers make money and apply those methods to yourself and start making money on your own and hopefully get up there with some of the biggest names in the sport.
It will take a lot of time and effort to get good at disc golf and once you are ready to start making money you can do the following steps.
Becoming A Pro Disc Golfer Takes Practice
This goes without saying but you need to practice hard and play hard every single day, just as with any sport, to become a better player. Think of practice like it is training camp. You want to be your best and prepare to beat the best and you must always keep up your practice. If you want to run with the likes of Paul McBeth or Richard Wysocki or James Conrad then you need to practice and be the best you can.
Put Yourself Out There
Once you have put in the time and effort and start feeling more confident in your game, it is time to let everyone know who you are. Start showing up at your local courses and showing people what you can do. Get recognized locally and start your career off right. If you don’t get yourself known in your local community early.
Participate In Tournaments
It is not hard to see that pro disc golfers make money from tournament winnings. You don’t have to win most tournaments to win a little bit of money, but you do have to place well, which is where step #1 comes into play. You have to be good enough to place well, and hopefully win tournaments to earn money.
The higher level of event you can enter and place high in, the more money you are likely to earn doing it. For example, the PDGA World Championships in 2019 had 89 payout slots for a total $93,990 and top spot got a nice $10,000 payout. It takes quite a bit to get to this level of play, but as you can see, you can still make money playing disc golf. You can download the chart below from the PDGA’s website that shows the payouts for 2019s tournament.
Another way pros earn their money is through sponsorship deals with companies like Discraft and Innova Discs. They can also be sponsored by manufacturers and other disc golf related gear and equipment. These companies can provide players with a multitude of different endorsement options from cash to paying for events and even free gear. Most sponsors will pay for your travel and hotels and food but require…or just urge you to use their equipment during your rounds of play.
The best way to attract these sponsors is to see step #3, and make sure you place well and win. Just like mainstream sports, if you are doing well and make a name for yourself, people will want you to represent their brands.
Professionals can also sell their own branded discs or other equipment to make their money. This will take some time if and when you get to that position. If you are adept at disc golf, you could always offer to teach new or even advanced disc golfers at your local course. This can be a good source of side income to buy new discs or put towards entering tournaments like we talked about in step #3
Most pros in the disc golf world will likely have at least one disc with their name on it. When discs that are player sponsored or named discs are sold, those players receive a portion of the sale as a sort of royalty for the company using their name.
Pro players can also use their name and notoriety to make money in other ways than tournaments and sponsorships. Some pros are paid to teach classes on disc golf, give speeches, make instructional videos, and to commentate for the various disc golf events throughout the country. You can do these locally until you build up your own reputation.
You can make your own disc golf training videos and sell them at your local course or you can provide private coaching for those looking to hone their skills more in the game. You can create your own brand name and market that through several different methods like social media or at your local course. The bottom line is, anything the pros do to make money, you can too.
How Many Professional Disc Golfers Are There?
A total of 261 PDGA members have qualified as 2020 PDGA Premier Pros. Qualification requirements must be met prior to becoming a PDGA member and the applicant must meet one or more of the following criteria and have been current PDGA members in 2019.
PDGA Qualification Criteria
- PDGA World Champions for 2015-2019 (last 5 years) in Pro Divisions (Singles Events Only)
- United States Champions for 2015-2019 (last 5 years) in Pro Divisions (Singles Events Only)
- 2019 National Tour and A-Tier Winners in the MPO and FPO Divisions
- Player Rating of 1000+ (Men) or 930+ (Women) as of the 2019 Events EOY Ratings
- 2019 Tour Cash Won – Male Players $5000+, Female Players $2500+
“Players qualifying under 1-4 above must have played in 8+ Pro Tournaments and won $3000+ (Male Players) & $2000+ (Female Players) during the 2019 PDGA Tour year.
Ten spots are held for Premier Pros at US NT events. Any of those ten spots that are not already filled by a Premier Pro within two weeks after registration opens to all players, are then available for anyone to fill.
Premier Pros vote on the annual Bob West Memorial Sportsmanship Award and the Brent Hambrick TD of the Year Award. Also, those who are not certified rules officials receive a complimentary certified rules official’s exam.
Top Pro Disc Golfers In The World
2019 Male Pro Open World Rankings
|Eagle Wynne McMahon
2019 Female Pro Open World Rankings
- WRPR (World Rankings Player Rating) is the average of round ratings from B-tier and higher events in the past 12 months before World Rankings update.
Information courtesy of the PDGA
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My Favorite Discs
My Favorite Distance Driver – Innova Shryke
My Favorite Fairway Driver – Dynamic Discs Escape
My Favorite Approach – Innova Shark
My Favorite Putter – Innova Colt