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March 14, 2020

Here are some questions I hear all the time in the Pro Shop. They’re all great questions because they show that the players care about what discs they’re putting into their bags and that they also care about the health of disc golf.

  1. Why does that disc cost more than a stock stamp one?
  2. Are there any differences between tour series and stock stamp discs?
  3. Aren’t all pro players paid a lot of money, should I really buy their disc?
  4. I heard Paul Mcbeth makes millions of dollars.

So let’s start with the first question. “Why does that disc cost more than the stock stamp one?” It’s a favorite disc of a certain touring pro, so they had special artwork put on it and sell it for more. This helps the player get a little extra cash in their pocket for touring through each disc sold. All members of the Innova “Star” and “Champion” teams get their own Tour Series disc which is a big perk and it helps us see our favorite players week to week on Jomez, CCDG, DGPT, and Gatekeeper.

Second, are there any differences between the stock stamp discs and the tour series discs? Yes there are very small differences, but they shouldn’t affect your play too much. Firstly the stamp looks a lot cooler on the tour series disc. I mean, they paid an artist to work a name into a design and if you’re paying extra it should look cooler. But the differences you want to know about are flight differences; the answer is sometimes yes it’s different. For example players often say that Nate Sexton’s Firebird is more overstable than the Star/Champion stock ones. Or that the Gregg Barsby Eagle’s are more overstable than the stock stamp. The other thing that can be different is the grip. The tour series mold can be different, such as Ricky Wysocki’s Galactic Aviar, which has a big bead on it and the regular Tour Series Galactic Aviar does not. That’s the disc with the most dramatic change when it comes to a tour series disc.

The third question is about how much players make. I don’t know that answer, I’m not privy to contracts between players and their employers and ESPN probably won’t report player contracts on the ticker at the bottom for a while. I will say that disc golf is relatively inexpensive to play, but to travel and compete is a different matter entirely. Players pay entry fees and only a top percentage get paid at PDGA events. Most players don’t win money at tournaments, that’s how it’s set up. They also have to pay for travel and lodging when they do get to these tournaments. So if a player doesn’t cash, they take a big loss that week. As we all know, a couple bad holes can make or break a tournament. A single stroke at the 2019 World’s was $3,500 more for Paul than Ricky.

The biggest prize in disc golf history was $12,000 dollars and went to James Conrad in MPO at the 2019 USDGC. If we compare that to ball golf, Gary Woodland won $2.25 million for his win at the 2019 US Open. Paul Mcbeth, the all time leader in disc golf winnings, has a career total of $477,951.09 or about 20% of what Woodland made in the US Open. That doesn’t include the entry fee to Paul’s 329 tournaments (call it $100 average, even though majors and A-Tiers often cost more). So take away about $33,000 from his winnings, and he’s been playing for 14 years. So $447,951.09 in earnings divided by the 14 years he’s been playing is = $31,999 in winnings per year as the best player on the planet. So to answer the fourth question: no, Paul does not win millions. I’m not knocking Woodland or ball golf, I’m just letting you know that #DiscGolfRich is pretty much diddly.

pie chart indicating difference in dollars earned by disc golfers vs ball golfers

The $32,000 a year might be great but that’s all for Paul, the #1 player of all time in winnings. There are plenty of other touring pros out there who don’t win 38% of the tournaments they enter, but are still pretty great and deserve support too. If you’re debating whether or not to get a disc that costs a little more, remember those couple extra bucks goes to the players and their touring efforts, helping a professional athlete live their dream. The best way you can support those pros you love to see is by paying a few more dollars and getting an extra sweet disc out of it. So stop by your local pro shop or visit our website and get a cool disc with your favorite pro on it. We offer Tour Series discs from Paul McBeth, Paige Pierce, and a variety of Innova, and Discmania team members as well.

One important topical item is that players are now suddenly met with tournament cancellations due to Covid-19. Many of us disc golfers have day jobs where we work a set number of hours a week and know where our next paycheck is coming from. Touring pros don’t have that luxury and cancelling multiple tournaments is going to have a real effect on their livelihood for 2020. If you can, please support a pro by buying one of their tour series discs; they’ll certainly appreciate the extra help through this tough season.

May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397




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