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Just sharing notes with all:

Disc Golf Census
Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I left work an hour early today and spent the time from 4:15-5:15 pm standing by Hole 1 at the Bandemer Park Disc Golf Course. I had printed up (on paper, not card stock) some draft Bandemer cards and was handing them out. I also was asking people questions about their disc golf habits, in order to begin working on the ‘script’ that we’ll be asking volunteers to use when we do the Disc Golf Census later in the year.

Bandemer is a 9-hole, 3-tee pad per hole course. In the one hour I stood there, I counted 38 people beginning or finishing 9-hole rounds – no overlaps in players.

These were in 4 individual players, 9 2-somes, 1 3-some, 2 4-somes, and 1 5-some. That means that there were a total of 17 groups going out or coming in during that time. It took the group that was starting out when I arrived about one hour to finish their round. That means that they played an average of 1 hole in just under 7 minutes per hole.

Since no one was in a hurry, for Bandemer at least, that means that a fully-loaded course of 4 players on every hole, that was full at the beginning of the hour, could handle a total of 18 groups. So the course was nearly full with 17 groups, but not so full because there were a lot of groups – by far the most – with less than 4 disc golfers.

So Bandemer’s ‘carrying capacity’ is 36 rounds per hour, assuming fully-loaded 4-somes. I saw more than that because I was counting people coming in off the course who had been already out on the course when I arrived at Hole 1.

In the time I talked to people, I ran into only two who said they were no longer going to Hudson Mills due to the pay for play. When asked, people said they played Hudson Mills and Rolling Hills, mostly. Some had played Waterworks, many were waiting for the return of Brown Park, and only a handful knew of the EMU course.

I asked a number of players to estimate how many rounds a year they played. I asked them to be serious about their estimation, and to include the effect on their play of winter-time. I asked them to figure on 18-hole rounds, not 9-hole rounds. Fifteen players answered this question:

For one couple, it was 50x a year for the woman and 300 for the man. The chart shows the entire spread

x x x x
x x x x x x x x x

0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500

Oh, well, I guess it doesn't show it in this formatting. However . . .

That’s an average of 174 18-hole rounds of disc golf per disc golfer interviewed per year. That averages out to about a round every other day – something that in ball golf is achieved by only a handful of the top athletes, or wealthy golfers who have retired in a home on a course in a warm climate.

These numbers are the result of selection bias, most likely. After all, I only spoke in this way with 15 of the 38 disc golfers I saw. And in the case of one couple, probably in their 50s-60s, the woman had played before but it was the man’s first time on the course. Folks like that would bring the averages down.

I saw only three women players, which would put that percentage at well under 10 percent.

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Comment by Terry "the Pirate" Calhoun on May 14, 2008 at 1:06pm
Well, I thought you would be interested :)

What I want to do is establish a day this summer where we get as many people out on as many Hole 1s as we can, doing a census thing. Details not yet determined, but something like this:

Count how many rounds get started
Count how many unique players
Collect email addresses and names, if possible
Ask a series of scripted questions of those who are willing to talk for a moment

Then the data gets collected from all the sources

Major goal: To project from what we collect how many disc golf rounds were played that day in the United States (maybe elsewhere)

I have a theory that on any given day, especially in the winter, and probably for the entire year, there is more disc golf - as measured in rounds played - going on than there is ball golf.
Comment by Rizbee on May 13, 2008 at 8:49pm
Tell us more about the disc golf census! We could collect data on-line as well.

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