Sweden, Europe's number 1 in PDGA active players! Interview with Michael Bui

Sweden, Europe's number 1 in PDGA active players! Interview with Michael Bui

According to PDGA Europe, Sweden had nearly 5,000 active PDGA licensed players as of 2022, placing them at the top of the European rankings. Sweden was followed by Finland (4615), Norway (3253), Estonia (1445) and Denmark (1046). Let's talk more about Swedish disc golf with Michael Bui, the main organizer of the Swedish Disc Golf Pro Tour.

How do you think discgolf has developed in Sweden?

The statistics speak for themselves, PDGA released the statistics where Sweden is ahead of Finland when it comes to PDGA-members and sanctioned events. It's growing immensely with many new courses being built, more people playing events, more people starting businesses in the sport and so on. I'd say Sweden is probably the strongest growing (per %) of the last couple of years.

Ale Disc Golf

What do you think are the biggest achievements and so to say bottlenecks of recent years?

SDGPT had its premier year last year and the expectations from the players were well over expectations and we plan to increase the quality of our tour.
The biggest achievement was obviously Heatland Open which was a part of SDGPT and PDGA EuroTour and two years in a row has been offering the highest added pro purse we've seen in Sweden (15.000 EUR).

I wouldn't call them bottlenecks, but we've had some challenges and lessons learned that we only can improve upon. But the biggest challenge is finding venues/organizers where we can fit a pro field and AM field since we're also hosting the Swedish Disc Golf Amateur Tour. In most cases this requires two nearby courses to be present. Right now it works with 3 days events and one course since the pro field is still relatively small in Sweden, but this is expected to grow – and then we have no choice but to pick locations where a minimum of two courses are offered.

Please tell us a little bit about the history of the tour and the previous winners

It's not much of a history since it's only existed for one year. The idea of SDGPT started when the Swedish national tour did not offer any substantial pro purse to the players - it felt weird that you were winning cash but the money did not even cover the registration cost of the tournament. The main goal of SDGPT is that we want to offer high quality run events with competitive pro purses with the end goal to provide an outlet for professionals to make a living of this sport.

I'd said the most notable winner is Amanda Lennartsson who won Heatland Open in the FPO division in an international field.

What is the exact structure of the tour and the different stops?

For 2023 we have expanded outside of Sweden a little bit, one stop in Norway (RPM Open) and one stop at Åland Islands (Åland Open). We may restructure the name from Swedish Disc Golf Pro Tour to Scandinavian Disc Golf Pro Tour in the future. We want to include Norwegian players more so they have an outlet to play competitively.

Could you bring out one competition that you think is more special than the others? Why?

Heatland Open is probably our flagship event since we handle this ourselves. Most of the other events are in collaboration with the hosting club or course owner. This year Heatland Open will be hosted on the newly revived Ale Discgolfcenter.

How would you rate the overall level of the players and who are the hot names that could take a step forward towards, for example, the DGPT tour in the United States? In other words, who should we keep an eye on?

The top level in Sweden is growing more and more since making a living (or as a side hustle) is starting to become possible. Most people already know about Linus Carlsson who is touring in the DGPT. However, I'd keep an eye on Josef Berg and the youngster Hjalmar Fredriksson.

In conclusion, let’s talk about Swedish disc golf as a whole. What do you think will be the biggest challenges next year and where do you think the Swedish disc golf scene will be in around 3 years?

The biggest challenge is to keep the same or better consistency in quality as expected. Our goal is that SDGPT can offer an outlet for Swedish pros to make a living of the sport and I believe in 3–5 years the pro purses will make this a possibility.

Check out: Events schedule 2023