Could We Make A World Cup of Disc Golf?

Could We Make A World Cup of Disc Golf?

I’m a big fan of the World Cup, not FIFA, or Qatar, but international soccer has always held a special place in my heart. It’s dominated my viewing for the last 3 weeks. When it was still hunting season I would throw on the 5am games as I sat drinking my coffee waiting for sunlight.

I’m also a fan of disc golf, and interesting tournaments. I would love for there to be a way to be triples where disc golfers “played a position”. This would allow a showcase of certain skills of players. Some of the best putters on tour aren’t always recognized for their putting because their driving isn’t as good as other folks. How many memes or reddit threads do you see “If you could have one players putting, one players backhand, etc…” We could finally do this.

So what if we made a disc golf tournament where…

One player always drives
One player always approaches
One player always putts

All holes would be a Par 4 or 5 so that everyone got a chance to compete on a hole. This would pose some challenges, I don’t know how many courses there are out there without par 3’s. Maybe par 3’s would be fine because it would be like a defender playing a ball over the top of the midfield and an attacking player running onto it to score. But I’d prefer to have this at a challenging wooded course so everyone got a chance to throw.

The “Driver” could only throw off the tee.
The “Putter” could only throw from inside 100 feet. (Gotta get your Bushnell out)
The “Approach” would throw from everywhere else.

A win is worth 3 points and a draw is worth 1. Losses are worth no points and tiebreaker #1 is going to be total strokes, then total putts taken by the putter should be the second tiebreaker. Because I want to see them have even more pressure on putts.

Team size, this is difficult. I would say that you have 7 players you can take with you. My reasoning for 7 would be you have a backup for every single position, and then you have another backup in case your backups get hurt.

It would be interesting to me to see if players took on different roles. Maybe the driver one day is the putter the next to keep their arm fresh.

Group Stage
There would be 32 teams in MPO. There would be a draw where the top 8 teams get into different groups than one another. Ranking the teams would be easy, they’d declare the players on the current roster and we’d add them all up. Most points would be #1.
Then once those 8 teams have had their groups selected we’d move onto the other 24 teams.

Here are all the countries with at least three, 950 rated active players in MPO.

  1. Australia
  2. Austria
  3. Belgium
  4. Canada
  5. Czech Republic
  6. Denmark
  7. Estonia
  8. Finland
  9. France
  10. Germany
  11. Hungary
  12. Iceland
  13. Japan
  14. Latvia
  15. New Zealand
  16. Norway
  17. Poland
  18. Slovakia
  19. Slovenia
  20. Sweden
  21. Switzerland
  22. Thailand
  23. United Kingdom
  24. United States of America
  25. Zambia

Oh wait that’s only 25 total teams and I need 32 to compete in the Disc Golf World Cup!

Sometimes in disc golf we get so wrapped up in thinking about how much the sport is growing that we forget how sparse disc golf is around the globe. I love that the Paul McBeth foundation is bringing disc golf to places where it doesn’t exist. Disc golf has a rich history of sharing with people and introducing them to the sport. I don’t think that’s ever going to change.

So let’s just pretend that 7 other countries get their practice baskets out and their top 3 or 5 players get above the 950 rating for MPO so they can compete in the World Cup of Disc Golf!

Since you’re not playing a full round of disc golf, I think that teams can play 2 rounds in a day. I recognize that the driver would essentially be throwing 36 big drives. But I think it would be spaced out pretty well.

Group A would have 4 teams and let’s pretend it’s USA, Thailand, Slovenia, and Finland.

Day 1 Match 1 (Group A)
USA vs Finland
Thailand vs Slovenia

Match 2 (Group A)
USA vs Thailand
Finland vs Slovenia

The soccer world cup is drawn out to last a month. I know that no disc golfer is going to spend a month at a tournament. So we’d have half of the groups play 2 matches the first day. Group B, C, and D would all play at the same time as well.

Day 2 we’d have groups E,F,G, and H play their first two matches.

Day 3 all of the teams final matches would be played and we would have eliminated half of the teams. We would then switch to a bracket, knockout style with the remaining 16 teams.

Day 4 would be the round of 16 and the round of 8.

Day 5 would be the semifinals in the morning then a lunch break and then the finals.

Questions About the World Cup of Disc Golf

Would this be every 4 years?
Yes. Part of the elusiveness and prestige of the World Cup is that it’s infrequent. You might only get a single chance to compete in your lifetime. Getting to be one of the 7 players your country sends to the World Cup of Disc Golf would (hopefully) be a career highlight.
I remember a lot of great Champions League (soccer) moments, but to me World Cup moments reign supreme.

Could players switch positions during a round?
Yes, but only in between holes. You can’t be the person to drive and putt on the same hole. I’d also say that once you sub out, you’re out for that match. If Paul McBeth is tired from driving in round 1 on hole 12 and Calvin Heimburg subs in. Paul can’t come back in on Hole 18 because he’d been parking it all weekend. He would be available in the next match, but not before then.

Would the US dominate this event?
Maybe. International sports have a way of adding an air of importance and drama. I imagine the US would be favored in every matchup, but all it takes is a bad shot or two in disc golf to really change a round. All it takes is one player to get hot putting and someone to doink one or two and the US could be out in a knockout round.

Would there be a qualifying event for countries?
Yes, I think that once disc golf has more than 32 countries there could be a rankings qualifier or something. That’s way out there in the future though. At this point in time it would be simply the top 32 teams get invites.

Which position would you want to play?
I think that this is something you could argue about for hours with your friends. I’d want to be the approach player personally. It would be the most difficult to practice since you don’t know where or even if you’re going to throw on those short holes. And the satisfaction of parking the hole for my teammate would probably be my favorite feeling.

What would your dream course be for the World Cup of Disc Golf?
WR Jackson. It has lots of woods, 13 of the holes are over 400 feet, so lots of shots for everyone. It’s right next to the Disc Golf Hall of Fame in Appling, GA. I don’t know if there’s a better choice for it.

Is this a practical event?
This is one of the difficult parts of this endeavor. It’s going to be hard to get 32 teams of 7 people out anywhere in the world. I think each team would need their own national organization to compete. Maybe disc golfers in Latvia (for example) raise money for the Latvian National team to travel and compete.
This would have to be broken down by folks with more knowledge than I have. But I can at least say that 7 plane tickets from Latvia to Georgia are going to be $750 apiece, 4 rooms for 7 nights at $70 apiece, renting a van to get from the airport, to and from the tournament, $120 per day. Figure each person gets $40 for food each day as well. That’s $10,010 for that team.

Teams that qualify would get a certain amount just for playing. Then the teams that make it out in the round of 16 get more, and then the round of 8 get more, and the team that wins it all would get the most of the purse.
It would have to be financially viable for a team from Latvia to travel to Georgia for a week.
If all 32 teams needed $10k just to get going, we’re talking about a $320,000 minimum pot to get started. That’s just breaking even money. Now some teams might require more, others would require less. I think figuring it’s going to cost thousands for each team sounds the most reasonable.

Would this tournament be one to watch or one to forget about?
Which position would you like to play in if you could?
Do you foresee any problems with a tournament format like this? (This is the one I’d love to have answered)

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

Streeter (PGDA #70397 )

He started disc golfing in 2011 and instantly fell in love with the flight of a disc. He has a degree in Sports Management from the university of Southern Maine and has been blogging for SDG since 2020, He writes about informational disc golf content editorials, and disc golf entertainment.

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I think it would be more “fun”/“exciting” to see the driver/ approacher/putter rotate every hole. The strategy in which hole do you start each player would get very detailed after a couple rounds.

And if one of the players messes up a shot, well…. The approacher and putter may have to go again, this time with more pressure because of the rising score.

OOORRR, take X number of players for each country and let them compete individually or doubles and use a points system for 1st, 2nd, etc… and highest number of points after # rounds wins!


Wow! You really thought this through! Love the Idea. I would definetly watch a tournament like this. How about adding penalties. Foot fault = yellow card. 2 foot faults = red card and your sitting out the next round. That being said : “Allez les bleus!”


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