Last updated on September 25th, 2023 at 07:43 am
Last updated by Maredith Damasco
So you’ve been playing disc golf for a while now, consistently honing your skills and form. You’ve even earned some money in local tournaments. With aspirations to become a professional disc golfer, what does the journey entail and how much do professional disc golfers make?
When we talk about being a professional disc golfer, you are playing the sport for the money. You need to participate in PDGA sanctioned tournaments and work to win them. But the biggest question is, is turning pro in disc golf sustainable? Will it be enough to provide food on the table? How much does a pro golfer make per tournament? How much do PDGA golfers make?
This article will answer all of these questions, and our team hopes it provides valuable insights for aspiring disc golfers aiming to become professional players someday.
How Much Does Professional Disc Golfers Make Today?
To give you an idea of how much a professional disc golfer earns for a living, we present data on the tournament payout per level tournament in a 5-year period. The data collected was from 2015 to 2019 and was separated according to the tournament level as sanctioned by the PDGA. If you are not familiar, the PDGA has segregated each according to their level. The top-level tournament includes the world championships, PDGA majors, and the elite series. There are also A-tier, B-tier, and C-tier tournaments, below are the events.
Per Level Tournament
|Average Total Prize Purse
|Total Player Average
|PDGA Major Tournaments
|National Tour Elite Series
Based on Ranks
In addition, each tournament awards prizes not only to the top player but also to a percentage of the player field as determined by the tournament director. The table below displays the average prizes awarded to players based on their rankings in various PDGA events.
|PDGA Major Tournament
|National Tour Elite Series
Top 5 Money Earners
Another best way to show you how much a pro golfer makes is the total prize money they won last year. We will show you the top 5 money earners ranked from highest to lowest. Please take note that 2020 was the start of the pandemic and there were events that were affected or even canceled. Nevertheless, the table will give you an idea of how much they earned last year.
|Total Prize Won
Different Ways that Professional Disc Golfers Make
When you are a professional disc golfer, it is not only in joining tournaments and winning that gets you money. There are also other ways that a professional disc golfer earns a living.
Winning Tournaments and Competitions
This is the most obvious source of income that a professional disc golf player earns money. Winning different types of tournaments including the major ones will bring enough money to the bank of a professional disc golfer. The DGPT tour championship offered a prize of $20,000 to the top player while the United Disc Golf Championship offered a $10,000 top purse. And these prizes are just for the top-ranked player as there are other prizes for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and the other lower-placed players respectively.
When it comes to smaller tournaments, the prize money is not that much. Around $1000 to $3000 for the top prize.
This amount may seem modest compared to other sports, but it does offer professional disc golfers the chance to earn money through tournament victories. However, it’s important to factor in the tournament participation costs and deduct them from the prizes as expenses.
This is where the real money comes in for professional disc golfers. If professional players are sponsored by big brands or companies, there can be a lot of money involved. Some players get incentives on disc sales that are collaborated by the company and the player. Some sponsors match the winning prize if their player wins a tournament. For professional players, these are the best sources of income.
Speaking of the best player in the world, one of the top-ranked players today is Paul McBeth. He made headlines by signing the richest deal in disc golf history. He recently signed a sponsorship deal with Discraft to the tune of $10 million for 10 years. This contract extends a similar million-dollar deal Paul McBeth signed four years ago. Of course, Paul McBeth, now regarded as the “Tiger Woods” of disc golf, rightfully deserves it. He is one of the world’s top players and deserves all the money he earns.
If professional players are enlisted members of a team that has sponsors, they may earn a salary for being a team member. I know teams from Dynamic Discs and Latitude 64 earn a decent amount of money as team members. Of course, the salary varies according to the skill and value of a player to the team.
Social Media Influencer
In a world where everyone is hooked on social media, a disc golfer can become an online influencer and earn a significant income.
It is no coincidence that the top 3 ranked players in the world; Paul McBeth, Ricky Wysocki, and Eagle Wynne Macmahon all have YouTube channels. For sure, their channels which have thousands of subscribers help in increasing their income from other sources. Professional disc golf players can leverage social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to influence their followers and generate income through various means.
Other Sources of Income
Professional disc golfers can also use their popularity and influence to earn in other ways. For example, you can do paid coaching clinics in your area to earn a good amount of money. You can also attend paid speaking engagements in local disc golf events where you can share your knowledge and players with up-and-coming players and the young ones.
Professional Disc Golf is Gaining Ground
Disc golf’s popularity has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. The PDGA has said that it is the fastest-growing sport in the whole world, and they all have reasons to be optimistic. For one, the membership of the association has grown over the years.
In 2016, it had 35,000 members; a year later, 41,000. By 2019, it reached 45,000, not counting unregistered and recreational players.
Furthermore, the increase of disc golf courses everywhere is another indication that the sport’s popularity is on the rise. As the sport gains popularity, more courses are developed, and player memberships increase. Rising product sales further confirm the sport’s growing popularity, with an estimated 2 million people already playing based on consistent disc sales.
With the overall landscape of the sport changing, so will the professional player’s salaries change. As mentioned earlier, top-ranked player Paul McBeth recently signed the sport’s highest-ever sponsorship deal. Many players are likely to follow in McBeth’s footsteps and seek lucrative sponsorship deals. For regular players, the chance to earn a bigger amount of money increases every day. With more and more companies willing to sponsor the tournaments, the potential is unlimited for all professional disc golfers.
When there is an interest in the sport, the money will be there. With the sport’s increasing popularity, likely, the professional players’ salaries and prizes will likely also take the same path. With Paul McBeth’s multi-million deals, I am very optimistic that we will see a million-prized tournament soon.
Conclusion on Earnings of Professional Disc Golfers
Does a professional disc golfer earn decent money for a living? The answer is yes. However, it is not as big as the sports but the future looks bright for professional disc golfers. As the sport gains popularity, more companies will invest in sponsorship deals and prize money, benefiting professional disc golfers.