A Glance at the Pro Disc Golf Lifestyle Ahead of Zoo Town Open
The 2023 Disc Golf Pro Tour Zoo Town Open takes place this weekend (June 9-11) in Missoula. Some of the world's best disc golfers take on the Blue Mountain Disc Golf Course.
If you haven't heard of professional disc golf, are interested in it or are interested in becoming a pro disc golfer, find out what it looks like to be a pro disc golfer.
Professional Disc Golfers Can Earn Serious Moolah $$$
"In 2018, there was the first million dollar player," said DGPT Assistant Tour Director Phil Dilone. "Since then, now there's multiple million dollar players in the sport."
What's crazier is a few of the big time money makers haven't been around that long.
"There's a 15 year old [on the tour]… this year when his contract's up, he could potentially be making, be signing 2-year, 250 thousand [contract]" said Dilone. "There's a 21 year old right now making, over a couple years, but he's making a million dollars."
(For reference, when I was 21 years old I made $15 an hour and wasted all of it on Busch Light.)
But just like every other industry, there are people raking in the dough and those grinding for the love of the game.
"The lower tier players, a lot of them are living in built out vans, or they're grinding it out in their cars," said Dilone. "Some of them are at the point in their career where they don't have the financial backing yet. They might not make it to the next event," added Dilone.
So before you pursue a disc golfing career, keep the grind in mind. If you are still interested, here's how you can make a living.
"How to Disc Golf Professionally" for dummies
Zoo Town Open Tournament Director Brian Bjortomt has some simple advice for an aspiring disc golfer: Just play.
"Once you're starting to get pretty good, come out and play a tournament," said Bjortomt. "If you're feeling really good about it enter as a pro in the pro division but we usually suggest people enter in the amateur division. If they do well we move them up."
Most disc golfers start out playing casually. Play in smaller, local tournaments before moving to regional meets and finally hitting the national pro circuit. In order to move up the ladder, a disc golfer needs to elevate their score.
"The PDGA (Professional Disc Golf Association), our governing body of the sport, they have a ratings system. That helps you know where you fall," explained Dilone. "Once the skills are up there, I encourage people to go out and try to get some competitive touch. There's leagues as well."
Leisurly Sport? Not for these guys and gals
Most people play disc golf as a recreational activity but for pros it's anything but. Pro disc golfers are like any other pro athlete: intense, dedicated and serious about their craft.
"The intensity is very strong, especially on championship Sunday," said Dilone. "Every putt could be worth two thousand dollars... and overall they are competing for championships."
"It really has a more professional sense to it than it's ever had," said Dilone. "There's actual purses and championships in these higher level tournaments. It really helps [people] change their perspective on what they see in the sport."
2023 Zoo Town Open
This year's tournament runs Friday-Sunday at Blue Mountain Disc Golf Course. Tickets are available on the Zoo Town Open's website, along with information about parking, streaming, rules and guidlines. Tee times each day begin in the morning around 9:40.
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