Now that we are entering into the final month of 2023 it’s a great time to share with you some of the results of this year's Flickline survey! For the last 3 seasons at the end of the year we have done our best to reach out to the players who use our courses and play in Atlantic Canadian events. This year we were lucky enough to have 150 people participate in the survey and give us some great feedback on why they play, what they like, and how to be even better in 2024. Based on the results of this survey we have some exciting news to share with you next week!
Without further ado let's get to the results!
Who are we and why are we here?
To start with our survey showed we have a lot of new players come into the mix. As a sure sign of the covid boom a total of 58% of the people who responded to this year's survey stated that they have been playing less than 3 years, with close to 20% playing less than 1 year.
Although many people in the industry talk about the growth flatlining this year we are really seeing the influx of new players start to reach out and play events. If we can keep these players active then the future is very bright for the game of disc golf.
Not surprisingly 83% of the people who answered the survey said they played in at least 1 PDGA event last year, an additional 11% said that altough they have never played before they plan on playing in at least 1 PDGA event next season. Flickline does run a lot of events but our bread and butter has always been course building. We are always looking for ways to better understand who is playing the courses and why. We would love to connect with more players who don’t play events so we can build courses that people want to play!
Based on the paragraph above it should be no surprise that over 90% of the people who answered this survey were PDGA members. Although that number seems normal now, 5 years ago the thought that there would be well over 100 players in the Maritimes with PDGA numbers was a long shot. Considering for the first 10+ years of course building in Atlantic Canada there were less than 20 PDGA members this number is staggering!!
Distribution of divisions was exactly as you would expect. MA2, MA1, MP0, and MP40 were the most popular divisions. Only 12% of the respondents said they plan on switching divisions next season.
What we play
We wanted to know how many events people were playing in so we asked.
77% of respondents said they played in a league.
Players who played in events varied but a full 40% of people said they played between 2-5 PDGA events last year.
3.3% of respondents reported they played in over 21 PDGA events in 2023, which is truly amazing. The fact that our region now offers this many events and that people want to play them are both incredible stats!
Although unsanctioned events occupy less on our overall calendar, slightly over 50% of the respondents said they played between 2-5 unsanctioned events last year.
What motivates you to show up?
The individual reason for players to play in events vary from person to person but the overall feeling was that hanging out with cool people, challenging yourself, and receiving great player packs were the main driving forces. Being a part of this amazing community has been a gift for a lot of people and one that we don’t take lightly. Flickline has been very proud to help provide the spaces to gather and compete.
For the first year ever players picked something other than the Iron Leaf as their favorite event.
20% of people chose the tour championship as their favorite
17% took the Iron Leaf
16% said the Discmania Open
According to the survey course design, organization including layouts for each division, and creating an overall great atmosphere are the areas where Flickline excels.
Doing a better job with caddy books and getting information out with more details were the places people felt we could make the most improvements. (We agree!)
Does having a tour matter?
This was the question many of us were the most curious about. It takes a tone of work to make the tour happen and we really only want to do it if people want to play it. According to the survey:
43% of the people said they love the tour
33% said they were completely indifferent
24% of people said they don’t care about having a season long tour
Based on the people who said they were indifferent or loved the tour we asked how many events should be on it. This is what you said:
So the general feeling seems to be that a small majority of the people like the tour, want it to continue, and have different opinions on how many events it could have. All of that seems fair and will factor into our decisions about 2024.
The answer to ‘how many events should count for the tour?’ is more complicated as you can see from this chart:
Again, it is hard to identify all the factors that go into people's decision making but we can still infer that at least 5 events should count, and the Tour Championship should be worth more. That seems fair as well.
A whopping 53% of people said that the majority of events should be 1 and 2 day events with a single three day A tier mixed in every year.
When it comes to exactly where the tour should host events this is what you said:
It does make sense that the majority of people who answered this survey are from provinces other than Newfoundland but we can tell you that the impact of having Flickline events in that province has been profound. At least 2 courses were built directly because of these events and it can’t be overstated how much this has helped the growth of the game in Canada’s most easterly province. As we go forward we hope to navigate the tricky waters of not stretching ourselves too thin but offering a great product to those who want it.
Pay to Play
Next up we wanted to find out what people were willing to pay to play in events so we could be sure we were offering good value for those people who enjoy these things.
57% of people said they would be happy to pay between $20 -$30 for a 1 day AM event.
56% of people said they would be happy to pay between $40-$50 for a 2 day AM event
41% of people said they would be happy to pay between $40-$50 for a one day PRO event, at the same time 32% of people said they would pay between $55-$80 for that same 1 day PRO event.
52% of people said they would pay between $55-80 for a 2 day PRO event.
Players tend to agree that the AM side should be affordable to play and should offer gift certificates and chances to win prizes multiple times. This lead to our next series of questions, do you care about the small prizes and the end of the year prizes?
57% of people thought that allocating between $2-$5 per person / per event was a great idea.
41% said compensating TD’s that same amount per person / per event was the right number, but it should be noted at a full 42% of people thought that compensating TD’s $6 or more per person / per event was worthwhile.
This would be one of the areas that has changed the most in our 20 years in the game. So much of the TD’ing that has been done in the past was done for free but now people are realizing the value that a great TD brings to the table. Expectations for events are getting higher and TDs want to deliver on that but expenses are also rising and it puts a lot of pressure on volunteers to do these things without any kind of compensation. Nobody is going to get rich off of running events (at least not in our part of the world) but it is nice to be able to offer people who take Fridays off work to string OB or paint circles money for lunch and gas. It was kind of refreshing to see so many people understand that a small amount of compensation goes a long way to keeping people happy and engaged in running events.
As you may know one of the things Flickline has done over the last few years has been to offer small prizes per card for CTP (closest to the pin) on Saturday and WYC (win your card) on Sunday. It has been a great way to keep people feeling like they have a chance to win something even if their round is going poorly. We asked how people felt about these ideas and this is what we got:
‘Yes’, and ‘Kind of neat’ took the majority so in our opinion that means they are working. We still feel we can do a better job of advertising these concepts and finding unique things to give away so people really like winning them.
When we asked if people like having circle 1 marked 55% of you said ‘heck ya we do!’ while another 32% said ‘It is kind of neat, but I don’t always notice’. Still that number is more than enough to motivate us to keep doing it.
In terms of prizes and ideas for trophies the answers were spread out across the board. It does seem that most people agree that gift certificates are a solid choice and it allows people to get what they want more often than not.
When it comes to what courses people love, the answers were even more varied. Hillcrest is always at the top of that list followed close behind by Kings Pine, Iron Leaf layout of New Minas, all the remaining PEI courses, HP, and Dieppe. There is always lots of local love for the courses people play regularly and the overall sentiment we take from this is that the courses are doing great and people are playing them. What more could we ask for?
Lots of people chimed in with things we can do to keep improving and things they appreciate. We want you to know we read every response and are thankful for so much honest feedback. Flickline is not perfect but we try and our continued commitment to trying to better understand our community and serve them has not gone unnoticed. This survey is extremely important to us, it helps set the parameters for the next year's events and gives us our best chance to understand what people are looking for and why they play. Many of the people that make up the Flickline team have been lifelong sport enthusiasts and to be in a position to create a high level of sport and competition in Atlantic Canada has been a gift to us. Think about all the people who practice and try their best to be better and overcome disc golf obstacles. This pursuit has changed the lives of many people in our region and we don’t take that task lightly. Thank you for sticking with us this long and we look forward to 2024 and the new things that will come with it!
Stay tuned for next week’s big announcement. We think it’s a good one!
As always, shoot a little and have a lot of fun doing it.