You may have heard of disc golf but little do most know that it is a serious sport. The gameplay is basically playing a game derived from golf rules and mechanics with the use of a disc to be thrown Frisbee-style. And like all serious sports, the levels reach up to the professional stage with the backing of governing bodies.
Disc golfers at a casual and amateur level don’t have definitive salaries. At a professional level, sponsorships and league participation comprise the income earned by a pro disc golfer along with the tournament prize. The overall amount can reach hundreds of thousands of US dollars annually. The average total prize for different event levels include; $64,929 for PDGA Major Tournaments, $40,159 for National Tour Elite Series, $22,708 for A-Tier, $5,087 for B-Tier, and $1,598 for C-Tier.
Can Playing Disc Golf Be An Income Generator?
All professional sports get the majority of their income from media coverage. The more platforms showing the games and the more people watching, the larger will be the sport’s revenue. Pro disc golfing is slowly getting a higher level of media coverage yearly.
Although it may be a steep slope, the sport’s following remains consistent. These open many doors for sponsorships and advertising partnerships. While it may not be as mainstreamed as its ancestral sport – golf, it can manage to attract spectacle and players can enjoy a constant flow of income, especially those at the top rankings.
Others ways to earn money as a disc golf player includes winning tournaments and competitions, getting sponsorships, team salaries, and becoming a social media influencer.
What Is The Pay Scale For Pro Disc Golfers?
According to an accredited online career advisor platform, the income of professional disc golfers can be varied. In 2018, the average salary of a professional disc golfer was $116,000 annually. In the same year, the top players who were in the top 10 percent rankings made an average of $212,198 yearly while the bottom 25 percent got $62, 870.
The numbers are definitely high compared to the majority of the professions in the industrial workforce. However, a large number of pro players manage to live only from paycheck to paycheck before their big breakout. Also, during the season tours, the local disc golf communities serve as the main source of generosity like lodging.
As mentioned, media exposure helps a lot for the sport’s reputation. When that reputation grows, the sponsorships might increase, and overall, the tournament prizes and the players’ sponsorship contracts will also increase. It will be up to the players and their respective pro teams to put up quality entertainment.
How Much Is The Payout In Major Tournaments?
Winning major tournaments not only increases player’s stock value and popularity but also allows them to earn money. Granted you are really good and can secure a place in the top 40 at the end of a tournament, you can expect a substantial payout.
Pro disc golfers play 15 to 25 tournaments annually. Therefore, there can be plenty of opportunities to win at least 1 of them. Here are the usual tournaments in Disc Golf Pro Tour or DGPT and their payout at the time of writing:
- 1st Place = $3,750.00
- 2nd Place = $2,485.00
- 10th Place = $905.00
- 40th Place = $408.00
Waco Charity Open
- 1st Place = $3,060.00
- 2nd Place = $2,030.00
- 10th Place = $780.00
- 40th Place = $335.00
- 1st Place = $3,510.00
- 2nd Place = $2,325.00
- 10th Place = $923.00
- 40th Place = $406.00
San Francisco Open
- 1st Place = $3,460.00
- 2nd Place = $2,290.00
- 10th Place = $880.00
- 40th Place = $371.00
- 1st Place = $3,295.00
- 2nd Place = $2,180.00
- 10th Place = $808.00
- 40th Place = $350.00
Great Lakes Open
- 1st Place = $3,400.00
- 2nd Place = $2,250.00
- 10th Place = $925.00
- 40th Place = $387.00
Ledgestone Insurance Open
- 1st Place = $4,500.00
- 2nd Place = $3,000.00
- 10th Place = $1,125.00
- 40th Place = $466.00
- 1st Place = $3,405.00
- 2nd Place = $2,255.00
- 10th Place = $900.00
- 40th Place = $370.00
- 1st Place = $3,500.00
- 2nd Place = $2,319.00
- 10th Place = $822.00
- 40th Place = $373.00
Green Mountain Championship
- 1st Place = $3,255.00
- 2nd Place = $2,100.00
- 10th Place = $1,100.00
- 40th Place = $175.00
- 1st Place = $2,500.00
- 2nd Place = $1,800.00
- 10th Place = $1,000.00
On average, the consistent number 1 player can get $3,421.36 per tournament and the constant 40th place can get $364.10. Take note that there are national and international events also where professional disc golfers can participate. The grand prize for the recent 2019 World Championships was $10,000.
Are There Bonuses From Sponsors For Winning Major Tournaments?
Sponsorship is one of the major sources of income for professional disc golf, especially if they are exceptional in their craft. Winning tournaments increase one’s reputation. The more you win, the more recognizable you become and the higher your chances of securing a sponsor. Every sponsor can discretely reward their players who attained significant milestones during tournaments.
However, the amount will entirely depend on the sponsor’s financial capability. Of course, bring brands and companies are more likely to dash out more money and some even match the winning prize of the tournament. For instance, Paul McBeth, who is widely considered the best disc golf player signed a $10 million sponsorship deal of 10 years with Discraft.
Before signing, players must read the contract and locate if there is a clause implying that a sponsor can provide a monetary reward to a successful disc golfer. There are yet to be more regulations for salaries, bonuses, and such.
How Much Do Some Notable Players Earn In Disc Golf?
Here are some of the most notable players in professional disc golf, their winnings, and how they obtained them.
|Player||Known For||Career Earnings (As of July 2020, from playing disc golf ONLY)||Sources of Income|
|Paul McBeth||= Number 1 player in the world||= $491,130.09||= Major tournaments = Sponsorships from Discraft, Adidas|
|Hannah McBeth||= Wife of Paul McBeth = Ranked 908th||= $1,797.00||= Participation = Conjugal earnings|
|Paige Pierce||= Number 1 player in women’s||= $223,683.64||= Major tournaments = Sponsorship from Discraft|
|Richard Wysocki||= Number 2 player in men’s||= $357,204.76||= Major tournaments = Sponsorships|
|Sarah Hokom||= Number 2 player in women’s||= $139,247.25||= Major tournaments = Sponsorship from MVP|
|Simon Lizotte||= consistent top 10 finisher = most entertaining disc golfer||= over $150,000||= Participation = Sponsorship from Discmania = Ads from Youtube|
|Matthew Orum||= Number 18 player in the world||= $168,779.07||= Major tournaments|
Any global sport at a professional level can pay well if only you are an achiever. The road to the top can be hard and majority ends up only as fodder. When it comes to the disc golf community, having more media coverage, winning tournaments and competitions, and getting sponsorship deals are just some of the ways to take home more money.