To answer the question concerning a Disc Golf pro’s salary, it depends.
If you look at professional disc golf as you would any other sport, the rules are about the same. If you are not a Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods or Serena Williams making a decent living is, well, problematic.
Professional Disc Golf Salary Tournament Pay Scale:
Depending on which source you believe, the average first-place winner at a disc golf tournament is about $3,500. Most tournaments have a sliding scale of pay-out for placement. When it’s all said and done most above-average competitors win about ten percent of that amount. Do the math and that is about $350.00. If this tournament is just a weekend of fun that kind of coin would be great. But, trying to make a living, you have a long way to go.
Let’s look at one of the few players that are on top of the disc world. Paul McBeth, if you play disc golf at all, you have heard this name. This gentleman has been playing since the early 2000s. In 2019 alone he competed in 28 tournaments both in the United States and Europe. In many of those tournaments, he placed first. His winnings totaled $57,000 give or take and, that’s when he was awarded first place.
Expenses of a Professional Disc Golfer:
Now, $57,000 would be a nice chunk of change. However, there are other expenditures a player will incur.
- Travel to the tournament
- Player fees
- New discs
Multiply all those costs by the number of tournaments attended and the winnings evaporate.
Let’s see how Paul McBeth makes his 6 figure salary.
Unless the player is invited to a tournament, all costs are absorbed by the individual. Paul McBeth is invited to many tournaments in the U.S. all expenses paid. There are several reasons pros get invited to tournaments.
- The tournament directors understand if a VIP is attending, they know everyone will want to come. If Paul McBeth is invited, all his expenses are paid. Although it isn’t documented there is a good possibility they pay him to play.
- Sponsors, the talented pros are many times approached by apparel manufacturers, equipment companies, or in McBeth’s case disc makers. All he has to do to put his name on the company’s product and get paid. Above that, he will get a percentage of each item that is sold. Check out Discraft.com and see how much merchandise McBeth’s name appears.
Sponsorships are for a select few. First, the pro will have to sign a contract. This contact could be anything from just your signature to they own you. The pro not only needs to be good at their sport, but they also have to behave properly. If you are the kind of disc golfer who enjoys celebrating after a tournament, be very mindful of your actions. Companies are very careful to whom and how much is given to pros. Think back to when Tiger Woods fell from grace. He lost a lot of money because his sponsors didn’t want the bad press.
Final Thoughts on Salaries of Professional Disc Golfers:
There is no telling how much money a pro at any sport can make. If they were good at the sport, probably enough to carve out a decent living. The real money comes away from the court or field, by way of companies who have a vested interest in the game. It is no longer a sport, it’s a business.
If enjoying the sport is the issue, play on and have fun. If money is the real goal it won’t happen overnight. But keep practicing, it might happen to you.