As you continue to pay more attention to disc golf, you may start to notice that there are actually professionals disc golfers. There are people who play disc golf for a living!
If you think you’re starting to get good, you may even pose the question: How much money do pro disc golfers make? Is it possible for me to make a living playing disc golf?
The Pay Scale
According to Paysa, a career advisor that helps people find work, professional disc golf players made an average salary of $116,037 a year in 2018. The top earners, which were the top 10%, made $212,198, while the bottom 25% made $62,870 in the same year as well.
I have no idea where they got these numbers from, or who they consider “professional disc golfers” but while there are a handful of professional disc golfers who make six figures a year. Most touring professional disc golfers are barely scrape by — living paycheck to paycheck to make it to the next tournament. Pro disc golfers often rely on the generosity of the disc golf community to provide lodging at their various stops when on tour.
Pro earnings come from a variety of tournament payouts and sponsorship deals. For many pro players, the bulk of their income comes from the sale of fundraiser and signature discs. Professional disc golfers generally receive $2-$5 for each signature disc sold. You can support these players by purchasing their fundraiser tour series discs.
At most disc golf tournaments, the top 40% of the field receive “payout.” Some sponsors will pay for professional players tournament entry fees but for most disc golfers, if you don’t finish in the top 40% you lose money by playing professional disc golf tournaments.
Compared with traditional ball golf, the actual payout for tournament winnings is diminutive. The first prize purse for the average Pro Tour event in 2019 was $3,421.36. This may seem like a good amount of money for a weekend of fun, but remember, this is payment for a full time job — and pro disc golfers usually only play 15-25 tournaments per year. Unless your name is Paul McBeth, your chance of finishing first at a major disc golf tournament is pretty slim. After the first place purse, the payout amount dramatically decreases for each additional finishing place. 40th place at Disc Golf Pro Tour events in 2019 earned an average of just $364.10.
|Event||1st Place||2nd Place||10th Place||40th Place|
|Waco Charity Open||$3,060.00||$2,030.00||$780.00||$335.00|
|San Francisco Open||$3,460.00||$2,290.00||$880.00||$371.00|
|Great Lakes Open||$3,400.00||$2,250.00||$925.00||$387.00|
|Ledgestone Insurance Open||$4,500.00||$3,000.00||$1,125.00||$466.00|
|Green Mountain Championship||$3,255.00||$2,100.00||$1,100.00||$175.00|
National Tour events, the PDGA World Championship, and the United States Disc Golf Championship have slightly higher payout than the Disc Golf Pro Tour events. The first place prize for the 2019 World Championships was $10,000.
Sponsor Bonuses for Winning Major Tournaments
Companies like Innova, pay their professional players bonus’s for winning tournaments while representing their brand. The bigger the event, the more money they get. A sponsored pro may get an additional $500 from their bonus for winning a PDGA sanctioned B Tier event, $1000 for winning an A tier, and up to $10,000 for winning a National Tour event.
Some sponsors like Latitude 64 and Dynamic Discs pay their team members salaries. Depending on their skill and value to the company, these players make between $1,000 – $2,000 per month.
When it comes to disc golf earnings, nobody comes even close to Paul McBeth. As he is the highest rated and #1 ranked player in the world, not only does he take home the first place purse more than anyone else, but his sponsorship deals and signature disc sales far surpass any other players.
Paul McBeth has his own signature disc line with Discraft that now includes 4 different molds. These are some of the most popular selling discs from the major disc golf retailers. It is rumored that he earns $4 for each disc sold, and that he sold more than 100,000 PM line discs last year. The PM disc line includes the following discs:
You will notice that these discs are more expensive than other molds of similar plastics, and you can probably guess where this extra money goes.
As the 2008 PDGA Male Rookie of the Year, Paul McBeth is the real deal, even a decade later. Paul McBeth is the most well-know professional disc golfers around. Still under the age of 30, McBeth rules the sport. He is the Tiger Woods of disc golf.
During his career, McBeth has won 5 PDGA World Championships, 2 United States Disc Golf Championships (USDGC), 1 Aussie Open, 1 European Masters, 4 European Opens, and has a 3rd place finish in 2014 at the Japan Open.
McBeth’s career tournament earnings total $491,130.09 as of July,29 2020. Dollar wise, he is the all time winningest player in disc golf history. In 2018, McBeth hit the jackpot. He signed a lucrative 4-year, $1 million dollar contract to be the spokesman of Discraft. To date, this is the biggest deal in disc golf history.
With Discraft’s 40-year anniversary in 2019, there move to lure Paul McBeth over to Team Discraft appears to be paying off. Not only is Discraft now the undisputed #2 manufacturer of disc golf equipment, but you can expect McBeth to make 7 figures a year for the next decade by simply playing disc golf.
Discraft is not the only brand backing McBeth. Adidas is also marketing disc golf using McBeth’s services. Time will only tell, as to what other companies may hop on board the McBeth train.
Married to Paul McBeth is Hannah McBeth (Croke). In 2018, they tied the knot, making them a professional disc golf power couple. Though her success is much more limited than Paul, she is climbing up the disc golf rankings.
Currently ranked at #908, her career earnings are $1,797.00, but you can expect Paul to share some of his earnings with her as well. She has competed in 27 events and has won 3 of them.
Other Professional Disc Golfers
While Paul McBeth acquires substantial wealth by playing disc golf, there are several other players who make comfortable livings.
Pierce is the “Paul McBeth” of women’s disc golf. She absolutely dominates the Female Pro Open Division. Like McBeth, she also signed a lucrative deal with Discraft and is growing her own signature line of PP discs.
In 2019 alone, she has totaled $33,630 in prize money, and has career earnings of $223,683.64. She has over 130 career wins, while being a professional since 2006.
Right after Paul McBeth, in the male rankings, is Richard Wysocki. As the greatest nemesis to Mr. McBeth, Wysocki has had a storied career himself.
A pro since 2009, Wysocki has career earnings of $357,204.76. With 105 career wins, Wysocki really knows how to rack in the money.
In 2019, Wysocki has two top-10 finishes, in both the Las Vegas Challenge and the DGPT Memorial Championship, where he has accrued almost $2,500.
With 14 events still waiting to be played this calendar year by Wysocki, you can expect him to bring in a lot more money to his cause.
Currently, Sarah Hokom is the #2 ranked female disc golfer in the world. She was the 2012 World Champion and is a 2-time US Women’s Champion.
Sarah has career earnings of $139,247.25, and she really knows how to compete for the big bucks. With 27 top-10 finishes in 2019, she has made more than $20,000 on tour last year. In addition, she signed a lucrative deal with MVP disc sports where she is that manufacturers most high profile player.
A professional since 2008, Hokom got her start in Caldwell, Idaho, where she dominated the state’s disc courses.
With 80 career wins, you can expect Hokom’s strong forehand game to continue to land her on top of the prize podium.
Besides the fact that he doesn’t have any World Championship and very few major tournament wins, Simon is likely one of the top earning professional disc golfers. He is a consistent top 10 finisher, and has career tournament earnings of more than $150,000.
Simon’s major asset, is his likable personality and showmanship. Simon is arguably the most entertaining person in disc golf and has a social media following that rivals McBeth. His YouTube videos get thousands of views and are able to bring home a decent monthly income from YouTube ad revenue. Give him a follow!
Simon has a healthy sponsorship deal with Discmania and his signature discs consistently sell out. Between his various revenue streams, I would estimate that Simon makes a six figure income each year through disc golf.
The last professional disc golfer on our list is Matthew Orum. Orum is the prime example of a professional disc golfer who makes money playing disc golf, but is by no means getting rich from the game. He is currently the 18th rated disc golfer in the world.
Since 2001, Orum has been a mainstay on the circuit. With career earnings of $168,779.07, he has done well for himself. In 2019, he netted $15,099 in prize money.
Can you make money playing disc golf?
With the increase in media coverage and the growth of disc golf sales and sponsorship there is actually more money to be made through professional disc golf than ever before. Of course, not everyone is going to be sign a lucrative business contract like Paul McBeth, but if you can compete at a high level, you’ll be able to bring home some extra cash on any given weekend.