Which places produce the most elite disc golfers?
January 25, 2021 by Jesse Weisz in Analysis with comments
Inspired by months of studying color-coded maps of the US to track the COVID-19 pandemic and the presidential election, I decided to create a few map-inspired disc golf data visualizations. Here is a look at some geographical data of the FPO division. (The MPO version is here.)
You can mouse over this map to see who the top-rated FPO players (as of the 12/8/2020 ratings update) are in each state. With this type of map the most interesting takeaway I found is you can see which states you could move to if you wanted to be the best player in your state. Hawaii and Washington DC don’t have any PDGA rated women at all!
If you follow professional disc golf but haven’t looked at the rankings lately, you might be surprised by the current top 10. Only 4 of the top 10 rated players were at 70%+ of the DGPT pro tour stops:
- During the course of the season, Paige Pierce raised her player rating by 12 points to a record-breaking 991. She has the highest rating in the field by an amazing 24 points. She is only 9 points away from 1000.
- I imagine many people wouldn’t expect Sarah Hokom to have the second-highest rating. She started the year at 966 and ended at 967.
- The big “what-if” in FPO: what if the young Finns Eveliina Salonen and Henna Blomroos plus 2019 USWDGC winner Kristin Tattar had been able to do a full year of touring? Hopefully, 2021 will allow them to compete against the best Americans once again.
- The trio of young Americans Valerie Mandujano, Hailey King, and Heather Young have begun to emerge as top players in the sport.
- Ohn Scoggins or Tabea Wallus don’t tour as much as some of the other players on this list, but they are still a part of the 950 club.
In the map below, you will find the amount of 900+ rated females disc golfers per state as of the 12/8/2020 ratings update. I originally chose 920 as the scalar equivalent of what 1000 rated is to men, but only 52 women were 920+. By expanding the list to 900+, I have more than doubled the sample size to 106 women. To give you an idea of the difference in sample size between men and women, as of 12/8/2020, there were 366 1000+ rated men in the world.
Using this map, you can see which states are producing the top women in the sport. Texas, home of Paige Pierce, is fittingly the top state with nine 900+ women. This map does look similar to the MPO map from my previous article in terms of which states are the most competitive.
The bar graph below includes individual states and countries to provide a more global comparison. I did not include the US as a country on this graph because at 38 total 900+ rated women, it would throw off the visual sensitivity too much.
In the next graph, I have calculated 900+ rated women per capita for each state and country. The Baltic neighbors Finland and Estonia lead the pack.
Finally, I wanted to see if the number of 900+ rated women per capita correlated with the number of courses per capita. Drawing from the work of Steven Vrooman’s article on courses per capita in states and countries, I put together this scatter graph.
There does seem to be at least some correlation, but the small sample size creates too many outliers to be conclusive in my opinion.
What do you notice in the data? Comment below!