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Published by Sebastian Grobe

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Published by: Sebastian Grobe on Dec 31, 2012
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MAT353December 2012Dr. Maochao Xu
Variables that affect the Rating of Disc Golf Courses
Sebastian GrobeAbstract:
As disc golf is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, disc golf coursesare sprawling up all worldwide. Since course designers are interested in making their
courses as attractive as possible to the public, it’s important to know which variables go
into the genetic make up of a highly rated course. By regressing course rating (asdetermined through DGCourseReview ratings) based on such variables as year designed,multiple tees, proximity to the next course, and whether the baskets are DISCatchers ornot, we will determine how statistically significant several variables are on the impact of course rating.
Disc golf is a sport that can be played with very little equipment. All a player needs is aFrisbee and a course. A course consists of tees and baskets, and the various obstacles thatlie in between the two. The goal is to get the Frisbee in the basket from the tee in as fewthrows as possible, just as the goal of golf is to get the ball in the hole in as few strokes aspossible.While there are many studies about the economical impact of the traditional ballgolf courses and tournaments, we are not aware of comparable studies for disc golf courses. For example, it would be desirable for sponsors and designers of future coursesto know what the general key indicators of a successful course are. Does the averageplayer prefer longer courses or simply courses with more holes? Is the brand of thebasket significant? Would it be wise to aim for a concentration of several courses withina narrow region or are courses that are not in direct competition with other courses due totheir geographical isolation considered more popular? Is the investment of expensiveconcrete tees justified or are cheaper grass tees sufficient? All of these are importantconsiderations for the design and planning of future courses.Therefore, it would be advantageous if we could identify certain variables that canserve as reliable predictors for the popularity of a course. In order to address theseimportant questions, there are numerous on-line disc golf directories where courses arebeing evaluated systematically. A careful statistical analysis of theses ratings might givesome answers to the questions posed above. 
Data Gathering
Data was gathered from the most respected disc golf directory on the internet(DGCourseReview.com) and courses were sorted so that only permanent courses in theUnited States with at least five reviews were taken into account. These three queries(permanent, US, 5+ reviews) were made for the following reasons. Only courses that arealways playable/permanent (not temporary or practice courses) were chosen because theycould skew the ratings. Only US courses were chosen so that we have the samedemographic of reviewers, since
European/Asian reviewers don’t
compare withAmerican reviewers. Lastly, as we want credible ratings, we only used courses with aminimum of 5 reviews. This resulted in about 2500 courses. Since it would take toolong to gather that data, the list was alphabetized by course name and data was pulled forevery 20
course, resulting in 125 observations. Each of these observations had a rating,year designed, number of holes, distance to next course, multiple tees, tee type, numberof players, and whether the baskets were DISCatchers or not.
A Look at the Data
The rating variable that
regressingon is continuous from 0 to 5. Thedistribution of the ratings gathered ispictured to the right. It appears to benormally distributed around 3, whichallows us to safely proceed with theregression. The Shapiro-Wilk statistic is.537, validating that the data is normally distributed.1) The first variable regressed is yeardesigned. The histogram (right) shows thetremendous exponential growth that discgolf is currently experiencing. Below,rating and year designed was graphed anda linear trend line was added, but thereseems to be no clear relationship. Thisfinding that newer courses are apparentlynot improved over the older ones is ratherdiscouraging. This proves even more that systematic studies like the present one aremissing and should play an important rule in the design of future courses.
 2) The next variable regressed is number of holes. As one can see (right), the mostpopular number of holes is clearly 18,followed by 9. Like year designed, holes byrating was also graphed, but there is a verysignificant relationship.
3) The third variable used was distance tothe next nearest course. The averagedistance was 6.4 miles, with a positive skew.This histogram could be consistent with auniform and uncorrelated homogenousdistribution of locations. For instance, it isknown that for uniformly distributed randomnumbers the nearest neighbor spacingdistribution is exponential as a function of the spacing. So the present diagram wouldnot be inconsistent with a uniformdistribution of golf courses. 4) Multiple tees are the first of the three used dummy variables. Only 37% of courseshad more than one tee.5) The second dummy variable was for cement tees. Of the 125 observations, only 46%had cement tees.
The other types (grass, gravel, wood chip, dirt,etc…)
accounted for the other 54%.6) The last dummy variable was whether the baskets are DISCatcher brand ornot. DISCatcher is currently the number one brand of disc golf baskets and onlyaccounted for 34% of courses.
7) The last variable used in the regression was the number of players who havemarked the
course as “played”.
The average number of users who have played

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