I’ve got a myriad of hobbies, some of them have competitive fields and others don’t really have a competitive aspect.
My main hobbies are Fishing, Chess, BBQ, League of Legends, Canoeing, Ball Golf, Disc Golf, Working Out, Dungeons & Dragons, Writing, Reading, Woodworking, and Hunting.
Yeah I know I’ve got a lot of hobbies. Anytime I can combine two of them at once it’s one of my favorite things.
What I love about disc golf is that it’s possible to have an affordable relationship with the sport. You can throw what the pros throw for a much lower cost than other sports.
If I want to wear the cleats that Christian Pulisic is wearing when he plays for Chelsea FC I’m going to be paying $220 (plus shipping). It’s not something that everyone can afford, especially when cleats may need to be purchased more than once per season if you’re tough on them.
I think each of these hobbies probably cost more to get into than disc golf.
In fact while I was writing this blog I decided to see what some other pros use for equipment. There’s an entire website dedicated to it called whatproswear.com it lets you shop for their specific items. I wanted to see what Ohtani used for a bat and a glove. His bat is $200 and the glove is $431.
Disc golf is slightly different from these sports. Calvin Heimburg is famous for throwing his Innova Champion Eagle. I can find an orangish red one just like his for 16 bucks on the Sabattus Website.
In fact, let's take a look at the discs that make up Calvin Heimburg’s bag.
Toro - 16 bucks
Eagle - 16 bucks
Draco - 20 bucks
Tour Series Destroyer - 27 bucks
Roc3 - 16 bucks
Rhyno - 16 bucks
Caiman - 16 bucks
KC Pro Aviar - 13 bucks
Your grand total is $140 (if you get one of each disc). I know that many players of all levels like to have a second of a disc that they like. You could double up on each of these discs and carry 16 discs for $280.
I know that disc golf bags and carts can be expensive. That’s probably the one thing in disc golf that’s a little bit much. I’ve been rocking a 30 dollar tackle box for fishing for the last 20 years. And I hope it lasts me 20 more.
My general rule of disc golf bags is that they’re about $20 a year. You can buy a new 20 dollar bag each year when something rips. You can buy a 60 dollar bag and replace it after 3 years when something tears. Or you can snag a 200 dollar bag and it should last you a decade. As a person who plays disc golf regularly, gives lessons, and it’s my job, I have a nice Grip bag. Before that I was using inexpensive bags and just replacing them every couple of years.
Rory McIlroy’s wedge is going to cost $179.99. His whole bag (not including the actual bag) is $3370. His golf balls are $4 apiece. One comparison I like to make to folks entering the sport is that in golf you need clubs and balls, in disc golf our discs are both. You might not need to buy new clubs all the time, but if you drive balls like I do you’re going to need plenty of backups or get really good spotting balls in the woods.
I know that professional athletes are paid by their respective companies to use their brand. So pros never have to pay for their discs, they get paid instead. I think that videos of pros visiting their brand's warehouse and snagging discs are so cool. I can’t seem to find them now, but I remember when Paul and Paige visited Discraft they walked the floor and just grabbed a couple discs off the shelves. It’s something I think we’d all love to be able to do. Here’s Kevin Jones picking up some discs at the Prodigy warehouse.
If I want to throw a premium stamp disc like Maria Olivia does on Hole 1 of the New World Championships. It’s going to be about 27 dollars for a Halo Calvin Destroyer. That’s still only 15% of what I’d spend on the least expensive club from McIlroy’s bag.
Premium stamps don’t have any effect on the flight of a disc*. They just look super cool when you pull them from your bag, remind you of the event you played in or how your favorite player looks, and then they’re cool when you walk up to them too.
*I write the disc descriptions here at Sabattus, and I do try to let you know if a run of discs is domey, flat, flippy, whatever difference from standard flight is expected.*
I bag some cool stamps to support players I like, and because it’s a great way to support pros who aren’t regularly winning large sums of money on the DGPT. Even if I wanted to throw premium stamped everything it’s still about 25 dollars per disc. That would make the 8 molds that Calvin throws $200.
Disc golf is not really a pay to win game. One reason that I transitioned away from Yu-Gi-Oh, a game that I played for almost a decade, is that it became pay to win. Every 6 months a new ban list would come out and cards that were worth $100 one day would be useless the next. I’d search “budget decks” on YouTube and see what I could build to try to sneak into the top 8 at my locals. It wasn’t a matter of skill sometimes, you’d just run into someone who had a deck that was worth 6x what yours was and the cards overwhelmed you.
If you only purchased DX discs you can still be a competitive player. Here’s Paul McBeth playing with the plastic from back in the day. It’s not a disc golf pro tour level course, but he’s playing a course at the level that most of us are familiar with. He finishes -9 on the course, with discs he’s not super familiar with.
Paul was playing with a DX Banshee (1998), DX Stingray (1987), Gazelle (1994), DX Cobra (1988), and a DX Aviar (1983).
Here’s Paul throwing just a Zeus and a Luna and winning a B Tier tournament in 2020.
I wrote a blog in 2020 about what disc golf really costs. The prices have gone up a bit, but the point remains the same. You can play this sport with what the pros use, on the courses the pros play, and get to feel the same experience for a reasonable price.
One of the reasons I’ll always love this sport is that I get the same chance to use the same equipment as everyone else. It allows me to measure myself against others and to see from the top players how they’re able to manipulate the flight of a disc that I’m familiar with. That’s one of the reasons I think that disc golf is going to grow and be around for a long time.
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397