Formed in the 1970s, the sport of disc golf is very similar to golf, but played with discs instead of golf balls. The object of the game is to get the disc into the target, most commonly a metal basket, in the least number of throws. The sport is often played on golf courses or parks, and players just need a disc to start. Beginners can just play with one golf disc, and as they progress, can swap between putters, mid-ranges and drivers. To learn more about the sport and how to play, head to the Professional Disc Golf Association’s site here.
The Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) is the global governing organization for disc golf. The PDGA goes through the sanctioning process with local tournament directors worldwide. The majority of PDGA members and events are in the US, but the organization also sanctions events globally. The PDGA is focused on growing disc golf and increasing access to the sport both in the US and internationally.
In 2022, the PDGA surpassed sanctioning 8,500 events worldwide. The organization sanctions everything from local leagues to professional championships. Events range from very local C-tier events, to broader B-tier events, to regional A-tier events, and continue to the Elite Series. Finally, the PDGA Majors are the pinnacle of the sport for amateur and professionals alike. “The Elite Series is now run through a partnership with the Disc Golf Pro Tour. They essentially run the Elite Series events, which include 16 tournaments per year,” Danny Voss, Director of Marketing at the PDGA shares. Beyond that, there are 4 annual Majors for the highest-level Open Division – the Champion’s Cup, most recently held outside Augusta, GA, the European Open, held in Finland this year, the World Championship, and the US Championship, which is broken up into two tournaments for men and women. The PDGA also sanctions majors for amateurs and age-based divisions. For a full event calendar, click here.
Players earn points throughout the year through tournament participation and performance. Invitations to the high-level events are given based off the points system and player ratings. Check out the current player rankings here, and for a full list of the PDGA divisions, click here!
For their Major events, the PDGA issues RFPs annually. Majors events typically run from Wednesday to Saturday. Courses can range from golf courses to public parks. Occasionally, multiple courses are used for one event, and multiple divisions can be combined depending on the bid. In terms of participation, this past Masters Disc Golf World Championships brought 800+ competitors, and the Juniors side brought 300+ participants. The PDGA always reserves equal field size for men’s and women’s divisions. For a breakdown of Major event bid guidelines, click here.
Joining the PDGA is simple and affordable. The PDGA has multiple membership levels ranging from amateur to professional, with discounted rates for juniors and international players. Members receive lots of value in return through discounts and access to participate in PDGA events. Membership dollars also go towards initiatives like growing youth sports and delivering grants throughout the US and internationally to develop the sport and give back to local communities.
The best way to get involved and informed on the sport is to go to social media. It’s very important for the growth of grassroots disc golf. I would suggest looking for a local page on Facebook and other social platforms to find your local club. The PDGA also has affiliate clubs associated with us. Those interested can search our club affiliates page to find one near you. Disc golfers are very receptive to bringing in new folks and teaching the game.Danny Voss, Marketing Director at the PDGA
To find PDGA affiliate clubs near you, click here.
Looking forward, the PDGA is focusing on international representation and democratizing access to the sport. That comes at all levels, including domestically the growth of disc golf for junior players and women’s participation. We already have some initiatives that support that. The PDGA hosts a special event called the Women’s Global Event. This is a really cool event that caters exclusively to women competitors. We are really focusing on those grassroots opportunities.Danny Voss, Marketing Director at the PDGA
The PDGA is also launching a similar program in January 2023 for Masters players called Global Masters Series where players will compete in events occurring simultaneously across the globe. The player with the highest score will be named the PDGA Global Masters Series Champion. “Along with these events, our next initiatives are going be building up affiliate programs and programs for juniors further. That is a big focus for the PDGA: more accessibility across more diverse demographics,” Voss continues.
To learn more about the PDGA and follow them on Playeasy, head to their Playeasy profile here.
The PDGA on Social Media