Most Disc Golf Courses Per Capita: US States (2020) | UDisc

Find more recent disc golf course per capita stats in our 2022 update.


The U.S. colored in disc golf. The darker the blue, the more courses per capita. See the full data behind the colors at the end of this article.

We recently revealed which countries have the most courses per capita. The U.S. ranked seventh on that list. However, the populations of the European countries ahead of it were much, much smaller, perhaps making it seem like an unfair contest.

Today we're taking a look at the stats for each U.S. state and showing how they rank in relation to each other. You can find that full list at the end of this article.

Fun fact: The #1 U.S. state would still only rank fourth if it was eligible for the countries list.

Where'd the Numbers Come From?

As with our previous article on countries, the course totals for each state are based on courses disc golfers have submitted to UDisc's course directory. You can search this extensive directory either on UDisc's Courses website or in the UDisc app.

Who's #1 (& Who's Chasing Them Down)?

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A look at Iowa's many courses on the UDisc Courses website

Iowa has the most courses per capita in the U.S. and is the only state to have less than 10,000 people per course. It has more than 300 courses for a population of just over 3 million. 

Disc golf is so readily available in the state it might be taken for granted by many Iowans.

"I think the casual Iowan disc golfer would be surprised to learn that many players in other states don't have a course they can conveniently access for a quick round after work,” said Michael Deeter, PDGA coordinator for Iowa.

But it seems that even some of Iowa's most avid disc golfers might not be aware of the disc golf gold mine their state is. For example, Iowa’s #1 status took the state's highest-rated pro by surprise.

“I was not aware Iowa was number one in the country,” said Ben Callaway. “That’s a pretty cool stat. If I had to guess based on the disc golf scene which state would be number one, it would have been a larger, warmer state."

Callaway's assumptions are likely common in the disc golf world, but none of the top ten states per capita would count as “warmer” for most of us. Half of them are in the Midwest and many are in more northerly parts of the country.

Deeter explained the pattern that's leading to high numbers of disc golf courses in Iowa, and it's probably one that's happening in many of the states at the top of the list.

“Smaller communities are installing nine-hole courses in their parks after learning that disc golf is an activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages for a relatively low cost for a municipality," Deeter said. "Additionally, disc golfers throughout the state are working hard to add bigger and better courses to help satisfy the hunger for the game in our more populated areas. Iowa has been blessed with a wide variety of courses spread throughout the state and it's easy to notice that players are embracing them. There are many small-town clubs and even county-based clubs that enjoy running leagues at their local area courses. And the metro area clubs are noticing more activity and new players showing up on the courses and at local events."

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A hole at Wildcat Bluff, Iowa's best course as rated by disc golfers using UDisc

But Iowa does have some competition for its throne.

“It’s very easy to find the courses and play them [here]," said Travis Hagen, PDGA coordinator for North Dakota, the state with the second most courses per capita in the United States. "All of them are at local parks or recreation areas.”

When asked about the competition with Iowa, Hagen seemed in the mood for some friendly rivalry.

“I guess it has crossed my mind about the competitiveness," said Hagen. "I do have some courses in the works. You never know; we could be number one soon.”

To set the stage for a rivalry we're not sure anyone saw coming, if North Dakota creates two more courses and Iowa stays where it is, the Peace Garden State (yes, that's ND's real nickname) will take the lead.

Who's on Top by Raw Numbers?

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A look at how the country looks when only total numbers of courses, not per capita, are considered. The darker the blue, the more courses the state has.

If you disregard per capita and look at which states simply have the most courses, the two top places are no surprise: #1 is Texas and #2 is California. Both are so big and have such large disc golf scenes that they are the only two states that need two PDGA coordinators.

Even by this metric, though, Iowa comes in seventh, and the Midwest is dominant with seven of the top ten states.

Still, right now Texas has 135 more courses than California. To put that in perspective, 28 states have fewer than 135 courses total. Also, although both are populous states, Texas has about twice as many courses per capita as the Golden State. And those courses are being built right where people need them.

“There has been a large surge in courses over the past 10 years," said A. Michael Hopper, PDGA state coordinator for north Texas. "With many Texas courses being free to use, the courses saw an increase of disc golfers on them. The visibility of the sport was key to the expansion. This visibility and exposure to the sport made it easier for smaller towns to take a chance on the sport. You also started seeing cheaper but just as sturdy baskets popping up like the Recruit or Black Hole, and the cost to the smaller towns shrunk, making it an easier sell to them. You get a course put in the ground, people come play, get exposed to the sport and take it to their friends who play and so on. Some of those friends live in different cities and then want that for their park or city."

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Zilker Park in Austin, Texas, is the most-played course in the state with the most courses in the country.

Stephanie Vincent, PDGA coordinator for south Texas, echoed Hopper’s sentiments.

“Every day I hear of new courses being installed, and as of now we have 519 courses," Vincent said. "In the past courses have mainly been in big cities. Now that small towns are investing in disc golf, it makes the sport more accessible."

Even though everything is bigger in Texas, as the saying goes, the story of Texas disc golf right now is all about the small, which takes us back, full circle, to what it feels like on the Iowa scene.

“Now that courses are popping up all over the state, it is easy to hop on a course after work and have time to finish all 18 before dark,” notes Vincent.

Conclusion & Full Rankings

Any competition that results in states building more disc golf courses is a win for everyone, we’d say. More than that, though, everyone we talked to for this story talked highly of the friendliness and community in their state’s disc golf scene, which is probably true of folks in the other 47 states, as well. 

Thirty years ago, sociologist Ray Oldenburg argued that what he called “third spaces” that were not home or work were needed for the health of democracy and civil society (something that must seem especially clear to us in the time of COVID when our total spaces might have been reduced to just our homes!). Twenty years ago, academic Robert Putnam argued in his bestselling book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community that such spaces have long been declining or disappearing. One of his key examples was bowling leagues.

Based on what we see on a day-to-day basis at UDisc and the people we talk to regularly for articles like these, we think Putnam might want to think about doing some new research and titling his next book Disc Golfing Together.

With our nerd-out over, you can finally have a look at the full rankings and see where your state landed:

Rank
State
People Per Course
Total Course Number
Population

1
Iowa
9,988
305
3,046,355

2
North Dakota
10,191
66
672,591

3
Kansas
10,528
271
2,853,118

4
South Dakota
10,713
76
814,180

5
Montana
11,779
84
989,415

6
Wyoming
12,810
44
563,626

7
Vermont
13,905
45
625,741

8
Idaho
14,381
109
1,567,582

9
Wisconsin
15,496
367
5,686,986

10
Minnesota
15,646
339
5,303,925

11
Alaska
16,142
44
710,231

12
Nebraska
16,162
113
1,826,341

13
Maine
16,400
81
1,328,361

14
Colorado
21,131
238
5,029,196

15
Oklahoma
21,559
174
3,751,351

16
Oregon
22,018
174
3,831,074

17
West Virginia
24,065
77
1,852,994

18
Arkansas
24,504
119
2,915,918

19
Mississippi
26,975
110
2,967,297

20
Michigan
27,920
354
9,883,640

21
Utah
28,203
98
2,763,885

22
Missouri
28,515
210
5,988,144

23
North Carolina
29,431
324
9,535,483

24
New Hampshire
31,345
42
1,316,470

25
Indiana
32,913
197
6,483,802

26
New Mexico
34,320
60
2,059,179

27
Tennessee
34,490
184
6,346,165

28
Kentucky
34,715
125
4,339,367

29
South Carolina
37,605
123
4,625,364

30
Alabama
41,928
114
4,779,736

31
Ohio
42,258
273
11,536,504

32
Washington
43,666
154
6,724,540

33
Illinois
45,499
282
12,830,632

34
Texas
48,450
519
25,145,561

35
Virginia
54,061
148
8,001,024

36
Pennsylvania
58,536
217
12,702,379

37
Arizona
60,302
106
6,392,017

38
Hawaii
61,832
22
1,360,301

39
Delaware
64,138
14
897,934

40
Georgia
68,707
141
9,687,653

41
Louisiana
69,744
65
4,533,372

42
Nevada
72,988
37
2,700,551

43
Massachusetts
86,153
76
6,547,629

44
California
97,016
384
37,253,956

45
Connecticut
102,117
35
3,574,097

46
Florida
105,035
179
18,801,310

47
Maryland
108,935
53
5,773,552

48
New York
132,727
146
19,378,102

49
Rhode Island
175,428
6
1,052,567

50
New Jersey
219,797
40
8,791,894