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I've updated my calculations of which disc golf course serve the most people. My formula for the number of people a course serves is based on the population of the area, and how many other courses are in the area, and how many targets those courses have.

I used the PDGA Course Directory as of 12/31/2008 and the 2000 US Census.

Here are the top 15 courses, by number of people they serve (with the local market share %):

1. Morley Field, San Diego, CA, 1,012,194, 70%
2. Prospect Park DGC, Brooklyn, NY, 948,850, 60%
3. Sedgley Woods (East Fairmount Park), Philadelphia, PA, 748,755, 52%
4. Lafreniere Park, Metairie, LA, 691,351, 75%
5. Amelia Earhart Park, Hialeah, FL, 620,008, 55%
6. Ed Austin Park (Fore Palms DGC), Jacksonville, FL, 563,273, 73%
7. Edgebrook Golf Course, Chicago, IL, 524,847, 41%
8. Rutgers, Douglass College, New Brunswick, NJ, 513,700, 55%
9. Borderland State Park, Easton, MA, 486,445, 42%
10. Golden Gate Park DGC, San Francisco, CA, 483,337, 48%
11. Chavez Ridge DGC at Elysian, Los Angeles, CA, 478,765, 33%
12. Van Buren Golf Center, Riverside, CA, 470,121, 57%
13. Aquatic Park, Berkeley, CA, 459,287, 46%
14. Sylmar (Veterans Park), Sylmar, CA, 433,973, 50%
15. Calvert Road Park, College Park, MD, 429,476, 45%

Here are the bottom 15 (excluding those that are listed as having zero targets):

2384. Vaughn Monson Memorial, Reeve, WI, 2,061, 4%
2385. Joe Hamilton Elementary, Crescent City, CA, 2,048, 3%
2386. Challenger Point DGC, Crestone, CO, 1,999, 10%
2387. Rexford Elementary School, Clintonville, WI, 1,991, 1%
2388. Challenger Golf Course, Crestone, CO, 1,990, 11%
2389. Wilson Farm Park DGC, Chesterbrook, PA, 1,949, 0%
2390. Lake Creek Village Apartments, Edwards, CO, 1,851, 3%
2391. Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY, 1,725, 0%
2392. Sunset Park, Sturgeon Bay, WI, 1,694, 2%
2393. Pilot Mound, Pilot Mound, IA, 1,375, 1%
2394. Jackrabbit DGC, Tribune, KS, 1,272, 18%
2395. SDGC Practice Course, Menomonie, WI, 1,080, 0%
2396. Conchas Dam, Conchas Dam, NM, 1,064, 21%
2397. North Greenville University DGC, Tigerville, SC, 684, 0%
2398. Dysart City Park, Dysart, IA, 475, 0%

The complete list is available on the "Course Statistics" page of my website www.stevewestdiscgolf.com

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I've put a newly updated top ten by state list here: http://stevewestdiscgolf.com/numbers.aspx
yeah i was hoping to see at least one or two course from michigan in the top
Statistics are useful if you know how to use them. If you are looking for places that have an established disc golf community but need more places to play, looking at Steve's list and saying "Oh! I'll go build a course in San Diego" Is poor use of statistics. Deciding that you will need to gather statistics on how much various courses are played and then looking at Steve's list and saying "Oh! I'll take my lawn chair and clicker out to Morely field first and not waste my time with Dysart City Park." is proper use of statistics. Preliminary data like this is not designed to make the decision for you it's designed to help you narrow down your search.
This is interesting stuff. I'm not sure this would be helpful, but have you considered demographic breakdowns of population areas and matching those against disc golfer demographics? I think at least one survey has been done here on DGRUS, not to mention PDGA or other resources that might have that kind of information. If the data is there, you could look at the demographics of growth in the sport and look to where those population demographics are well matched.
Using demographics is just one of the many improvements that should be possible. I'll have to check out the DGRUS survey. It may be better than the PDGA stats, which are based on only four players per course.

The primary intended use is to locate new courses within a city or similar region. I suppose there are parts of cities where those who tend to disc golf would tend to live. A person in those areas would be counted more than a person somewhere else. (But that's starting to smell like real work.)

Beyond that, demographics is one part of quantifying the "disc golf culture" of an area. For example, it may very well be that some courses in Michigan are actually busiest, because in Grand Rapids or Ann Arbor maybe everyone plays. I've thought about using density of courses per capita as a measure of disc golf culture, but that would put another recursive element into the formula.

Because I don't have "disc golf culture" or "quality of the course" in the formula I try to avoid implying that the results show which courses are busy (I know, sometimes I slip up.) Rather, the results just show the places that have relatively more people nearby, and relatively fewer courses nearby. Michigan can be proud that they have built enough courses so that the Michigan course with the most "excess people" around it ranks way down at 425th.

So, like MIDiscGolfer said, you might not want to go build a course in San Diego, unless you knew there are players there, or you knew how to get people started playing. Then again, just building a course might be enough. The number of players seems to have been growing twice as fast as the number of courses. (Even though we're putting in about one a day now.)

I think it would be safe to say that if you wanted a lot of people to show up at your new course (especially if you planned a string of new courses) you'd have better luck in San Diego than in Luddington.

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