While many disc golfers aspire to play all the world's best disc golf courses in their lifetime, some have a different dream: playing as many different courses as they possibly can.
Take 2009 PDGA World Champion Avery Jenkins, for example. On July 20th of this year, Jenkins played his 1,200th disc golf course.
1,200 disc golf courses played is an insane achievement – even when you consider the fact that Jenkins has been playing disc golf for over 30 years and is a professional disc golf course designer. I've been playing disc golf for around two years now and Jenkins has played far more international courses (342) than I've played total rounds (~240). Crazy.
And what's even crazier? He isn't even the most prolific disc golf course collector keeping count with UDisc — that title belongs to Derek Tonn, who has played around 1,600 courses.
These wildly impressive disc golf feats got us wondering – how many disc golf courses are there in the world?
Before we can answer this question, we need to first define what qualifies as a disc golf course.
What Qualifies as a Disc Golf Course?
While figuring out the number of disc golf courses in the world, we decided on an open approach with regard to hole count. The purpose of this tally is to publish an updated number through which the reach and growth of disc golf can be measured, not to arbitrate longstanding debates over how many holes a disc golf course needs to be a so-called "real" course. If you can go to a location specifically designated for disc golf and throw a disc at a target there, that's a course for the purposes of this count in most cases.
And, yes, we specifically used the word "target" and not "basket" on purpose. Why? There are a variety of alternative disc golf targets in use.
To get our number, we started with the full UDisc Course Directory, our disc golf course database where players from all over constantly update information on all the world’s disc golf courses. From there, we removed all courses categorized as invite only, special event, permanently closed, and deleted. These were removed because we wanted to only include courses still open for the public to play at some point during the year.
With the semantics out of the way, let's dive in.
So How Many Disc Golf Courses Are There in the World?
As of November 24, 2020, there are around 11,300 disc golf courses in the world.
These courses span the globe, from Arctic Circle Disc Golf in Kotzebue, Alaska, to Ross Island in Antarctica and from Hillcrest Farm on Prince Edward Island, Canada, to Pulai Springs Disc Golf Course in southern Malaysia. Let there be no doubt that disc golf is now truly a global phenomenon.
The last widely reported figure when it comes to a worldwide disc golf course count is from May 2017. The number given back then? 6,800. Disc golfers love to point out that their sport is one of the fastest growing in the world. A comparison of these two figures, plus the rapidly growing number of active members of the Professional Disc Golf Association, serves as evidence that disc golf is indeed growing very quickly.
Some more interesting findings from our exploration:
- There are more 9-hole disc golf courses than 18-hole disc golf courses
- Over 750 disc golf courses have fewer than 9 holes
- Over 600 disc golf courses have between 9 and 18 holes
- Over 550 disc golf courses have greater than 18 holes
- There are around 8,000 disc golf courses in the United States — this is the most courses for any one country, but not the most courses per capita.
Want to browse all 11,000+ courses on Earth? Then check out the UDisc Course Directory or the brand new UDisc Places. Places is your one-stop shop for discovering everything there is to know about the disc golf landscape of any place on earth, from its courses to leagues to stores and beyond. Check it out now on the UDisc Places website.