There has been an explosion in disc golf's popularity over the last two years, and the sport's rapid growth has been notable across the globe. Here we take a look at which 30 nations played the most disc golf in 2021.
Even if you don't see a place in the top 30, you can likely find stats related to disc golf's popularity there in our post "The 5 Most Popular Disc Golf Courses In Every Country: 2021." That piece tells you how many rounds were recorded in the UDisc disc golf app on the five most played courses in any country.
What Does "Most Popular" Mean Here?
When ranking countries based on disc golf popularity, going solely off of total plays isn't the best option because places with higher populations have a huge advantage. Instead, we looked at which countries played the most rounds of disc golf per capita.
Why is rounds per capita a stronger measure of popularity than raw total in this instance? We'll show you with a quick comparison of Denmark and Canada.
Canada's total disc golf rounds recorded in UDisc in 2021 added up to 842,506 while Denmark's equaled 289,748. In raw totals, Canada's advantage is significant at a little over 550,000.
However, Canada has over 31 million more people living in it than Denmark (around 37.7 million to 5.8 million). If Canada's population recorded as many rounds per person as Denmark's, its total rounds in 2021 would have increased by over 1 million (from 842,506 to 1,887,863).
Since the numbers strongly suggest that a higher percentage of the Danish population played disc golf in 2021 as compared to Canada's population, it's logical to say the sport was more popular in Denmark than in Canada last year. That same thought process is why the rankings are based on disc golf rounds per capita rather than simply total rounds.
These are some of the topics we found most interesting about the stats and rankings related to where disc golf was most popular in the world in 2021:
- The Åland Islands crushed it.
In early 2020, the tiny nation of the Åland Islands (technically a part of Finland but with an independent government) decided to make a bid to become a top disc golf tourism destination by building 16 courses in just a few months. The gamble seems to be paying off big as they are the only nation in the world where rounds recorded in UDisc outnumbered the total population. You can learn more about this amazing success story in our post from late 2021 detailing the progress of the Åland Islands' disc golf project.
- The U.S. wasn't #1, but it's still a disc golf powerhouse.
Though more total disc golf rounds were recorded in the U.S. in 2021 than anywhere else, the country where disc golf was born didn't even rank in the top five by disc golf rounds per capita last year. However, a number of U.S. states outdo many countries in terms of total area and population. In fact, when you look at disc golf rounds per capita broken down by state, the top state in the nation would rank 4th in the world if it were a country and 45 of 50 states had rounds per capita rates higher than #10 New Zealand's.
- Northern Europe was dominant.
When talking disc golf rounds per capita, Northern Europe is the unequivocal champion. The countries in first through seventh by rounds per capita in 2021 are all in Northern Europe.
What to Know Before Reading the Stats
Here are good things to know before diving into the table:
- Disc Golf Rounds Recorded with UDisc: This is the number of rounds recorded in a country by disc golfers with the UDisc app in 2021. UDisc is the #1 disc golf app and used by more disc golfers than any other to record the results of their rounds.
- More disc golf was played in each country than the round totals in the table: Clearly, not every round of disc golf is recorded with UDisc. However, research from 2020 suggested about 20% of all disc golf rounds are. If you multiply the round totals you see below by five, you'll be closer to the number of rounds actually played in a country in 2021.
- Disc Golf Rounds Per 1,000 People Recorded with UDisc: You get this number by dividing round totals by population and then multiplying that sum by 1,000.
- Minimum round total: A country had to have at least 100 recorded plays to make the rankings. This restriction only affected one nation that would have made the list: Isle of Man.
Where Is Disc Golf Most Popular in the World?
|Rank||Country||Disc Golf Rounds Per 1,000 People Recorded with UDisc (2021)
||Total Disc Golf Rounds Recorded with UDisc (2021)
|12||U.S. Virgin Islands||5.4||568||104,425|
Swipe left/right on the table on mobile or tablet to see all columns.
If you'd like disc golf stats related to your country or specific courses in your country in order to progress a disc golf-based project, we're happy to help! You can reach us at email@example.com.
*The Åland Islands are technically a part of Finland. However, they have an autonomous parliament and function in many ways as an independent nation.