Disc Golf Tournaments/competition

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Disc Golf Tournaments/competition

Postby black udder » Tue Dec 19, 2006 5:13 pm

First of all, I want to say that I know there is no easy fix and that it's not going to change anytime soon and I love disc golf, so this isn't a flame.

Second, I'm 41 and I'm playing around advanced level.

With that said, I'm curious about opinions on the subject, so here goes.

My question is, why should I (or somebody like myself) join the PDGA?

I'd imagine, to support disc golf. Which I do by helping keep my local course clean, trimmed, participating in local league, joining our local club, being a walking disc golf evangelist, etc.

I see a lot of tournaments which say that you need to be registered with PDGA, but that leads to another question.

Why would I want to compete in a tournament I know I won't win or place?

Typical answer has been "because it's fun". It is, but I can have very similar fun on league night for much less or free with a few folks.

My problem with the two questions is the PDGA and DGA is trying to cultivate members, but the biggest problem I see is the disparity with the divisions of competition.

At 39, I was still advanced, but unable to play in Masters. So I'm playing against anybody from under 20 to 39. I can't help but feel I'm at a disadvantage.

Now, if I improve some (doesn't have to be a ton), then I'm having to play pro, which puts me in Masters Open, along with our course pro who has been playing for about 20 years, is sponsored by Discraft and just *is* a better player than myself.

Same goes for the pro's. There are some folks playing golf for a living (not many, but a few). How can anybody complete with that kind of skill and playing time? I know some great players, but at 39, they need to play Open and the skill/age level is so wide. You can state Klimo all you like, but there's a reason he's won 12 times and there's nobody like him on tour or off tour. He's like the Tiger Woods of disc golf.

To put it on the level of football, they divide the schools into divisions (1a, 2a, etc.) big 10, pac 10, etc. then you have the pro level after that. What chance would a division 1 school have against an NFL team? Not much.

We all want disc golf to become more mainstream, but should the competition divisions be better defined so that people actually do have a chance of winning?

Do discs need better quality review so they are weighted more consistently and disc molds play the same consistently (i.e. new/old eagle/beast)?

I mean, let's face it. I'm forking over $50-75 to join the pdga, then $20-50 to play in a tournament. That's minimum $70 to compete in something I *cannot* win or place. For me, my competitive nature tells me that's a bad investment. I'm not saying I have to win, but if I throw a good round, I want something in return. I don't want it to have to be my personal best (obviously, it can't be something that's below your average or right on your average).

The reason I come to this is that in other sports, there seems to be a level playing field. Football, same ball, same field, same # of players, close to same level of skill. Golf, similar balls, similar clubs, everybody drives about the same distance (in pros), basketball, same ball, same court, basket is the same height, etc. With disc golf though, there are many discs to choose from, same course, but the players skill levels are so diverse. It's like putting high school, college and pros in the same tournament.

As I say, this could just be me - I'm not angry over it, I just can't help but wonder if some of this would need to change in order for disc golf to become more mainstream. Should the pdga offer something else for membership?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

And please refrain from the pat "you don't like it, don't play" answer. This is only a philosophical discussion for those interested in participating, not a rant or flame :)
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Postby Mr.SmOOOth » Tue Dec 19, 2006 8:27 pm

It's tough but you have to realize that even if you have to pay $100 to enter a tournament that is a bargain compared to a lot of other sports. As for not winning, there are so many variables that can occur on the day of the tourney (bad weather, injuries, you are just putting like cr@p, etc.), winning is never a guarantee.
Wonder why more people can't make a living playing? No one wants to pay higher entry fees for that 'other guy' to win, so payouts are small.
In my neck of the woods there are tourneys that don't require PDGA membership, so joining isn't a neccesity. I joined to do my part and maybe help the sport grow. Does my part make a difference? I don't know, but now I at least know I tried.
I guess my point is it's still a pretty cheap sport and I don't mind paying my dues.
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Postby black udder » Tue Dec 19, 2006 8:59 pm

don't get me wrong, I'm not looking for a guarantee, I'm talking about my best game is still 5+ strokes away from the averages of the guys playing.

That means, they all have to completely tank and I play well beyond my best game. I believe that's how crazy some of the divisions are.

It really does say something about the disc golf community though because, as you stated, I believe people are joining the pdga for the sport, not for the benefits. They're playing in tournaments not for the competition, but for the fun (for many).

Can't say that about many sports.
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Postby Jwt4412 » Tue Dec 19, 2006 9:15 pm

As a person who is joining the PDGA at the same time I am getting my TD certification....

The insurances available for the events is a big deal... and ahhh heck, I am just a joiner not a loner I guess...

I'm 38 and just picked up the sport about two years ago.... No chance of winning but I started to learn more and get better when I finally joined the local league and now maybe my exposure to more advanced players and pros - my game will get better even quicker... just a thought.
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Postby Mr.SmOOOth » Tue Dec 19, 2006 9:23 pm

The age range IS pretty rough. I am 37 and play against youngsters all the time, so I definately feel your pain. I am playing open in our local tournament series so the players ages are closer to my own. Still, first year playing open, I'm mostly a donor!
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Postby black udder » Tue Dec 19, 2006 9:29 pm

yeah, right with ya... I love playing dg w/other folks, but when it comes to shelling out $ my competitive nature comes out and...why do we play the game? To win... "for fun" has just never been the words that come out of my mouth LOL

Mind you, that doesn't mean I'm a poor loser, just means that if somebody's keeping score, then I need to try and be the best. Doesn't happen much with the guys I play with, but it's always fun. I don't mind donating a $1 a round to my buddies, but $20-50 to a stranger is another story.

There's a course near Newport News, VA, a new one. They just played the Fall Colors there. This course has several holes 400+, holes I'm just not reaching in 2-3 strokes, let alone 1. I'm still a little uncertain as to how many folks are really throwing over 400' (as in, is this something expected and the rest of us are just "giving up" accepting 300') or is 400' an accomplishment and 500' and beyond reserved only for the best in the sport.
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Postby Jwt4412 » Tue Dec 19, 2006 9:39 pm

Funny thing, recently I played a course in Alabama in a town called Florence with my full bag - I brought it with on the plane.

Anyway on my home course which is pretty flat or throwing up hill or from top of one hill to the top of another - I throw 320' tops and that is if I get lucky and get a hold of one... usually 280'-285'...

But this course in Florence had a couple of holes - down hill... I was throwing shots -- if you go by the tee signs [as bad a shape as they were] that were going 360' to 380'...

I didn't get better, but the course was just that much different... hell, I threw a black disc 30' into the woods [after 4pm] and it was lost forever. It was a distance I would have never reached the tree line back on my own course but this hole was 16' to 20' down grade from the tee... Disc was gone. Felt good but I'd rather have the disc back and be comfortable with the understanding that I can only throw 320'.

The distance on the tee-sign said 371' with a dog leg right... I was 30' into the woods and deeper than the basket...
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Postby some call me...tim? » Wed Dec 20, 2006 7:49 am

Udder, what about the advanced masters division? I've only played in one sanctioned tourney, and since it was my first one, I played in the intermediate division (right where I belonged, as it turns out :wink: ). Looking at the results of that tournament though, while I couldn't hope to do well against the open masters (I would have finished 1 place above DFL), in the advanced masters, I would have actually taken 3rd. (I placed 6th in intermediate, btw.) I imagine you could do pretty well in the adv. masters, but if you've got your heart set on winning money, then I suppose that wouldn't do the trick.

I can't really say why to join the pdga, as I haven't done so yet, but I do plan to. I don't really expect to win any tournaments (not at my skill level now, at least), but I hope to at least do well. My prime motivator is fun though. And yeah, I hear you about being able to have fun just playing with your buddies and whatnot, but I really enjoy the aspect of meeting a bunch of new people that are into the same thing as you. Is it worth ponying up the $50 for a membership? (hey, wasn't it $40 last year?!) I guess that's a judgement call, but for me, DG has pretty much consumed my life now. I plan on playing in quite a few tourneys next year, so for me, yeah, it's worth it. I at least want to have a player rating for all the money I'm donating dammit! :D
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Postby garublador » Wed Dec 20, 2006 8:11 am

It sounds to me like you're not the type of player that the PDGA has the goal of appealing to. From what I can tell, they're looking to eventually take professional disc golf to the level where it's similar to professional golfing, tennis or bowling. Us locals, who won't ever play at that level would be happier playing in a league or local, non-sanctioned tournament. In other words, even though they are trying to appeal to everybody now to get a grass roots type support going, the PDGA won't be for everybody.
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Postby Blake_T » Wed Dec 20, 2006 8:17 am

udder:

joining the PDGA is up to you. it saves you $5 per tournament on sanctioned events and gets you a subscription to disc golf world news. you only need to be a member to play A-tier events.

from the sound of it, your appropriate division depends on what you want to learn.

to see players w/ developing D but still compete: Adv am
to see players w/ a barrage of skills: Pro masters
to play where you probably should right now: Adv masters

it's all up to you. if you do reg, you support the PDGA.
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Postby black udder » Wed Dec 20, 2006 12:21 pm

Couple comments...

I didn't intend this to be about why should I join/not join the pdga, etc. I'm thinking big picture. What I want is for disc golf to get bigger, for folks to be able to make a living on the circuit, to be able to watch a round on TV, etc. However, in order for that to happen, a lot more people need to play and the PDGA needs the funding to be the foundation of disc golf.

As for who the pdga wants. Who do you think? I'm pretty sure that if only the touring professionals were the only members, it would be a much smaller membership. Should the pdga be just like the pga? If you go to one of the larger tournaments (DGA, Players, etc.) should you expect to play if you are not ranked or pass a cutoff round?

Right now, I believe anybody can sign up for an event in the open field and compete against the likes of Doss, Climo, Jenkins, Schultz, etc. I know some guys that are playing in our "pro" leagues and tournaments, but they're not on the level of those guys. Perhaps DG needs a sort of recreational pro and a touring pro?

As for me, I was planning on joining the pdga this coming year and playing in some tournaments within a few hours distance. I've been loving the sport for years, but have only been playing what I call seriously for the last year or two.

I believe I do fit into advanced masters right now. The last tournament I played there was two of us and the competition really wasn't equal. I'm guessing that it'll be better in some of the larger tournaments.

Again -- not trying to poo on DG or the PDGA. Just wondering out loud about the state of DG in general and what might be needed for it to get bigger :)
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Divisions

Postby Texas Made » Wed Dec 20, 2006 1:22 pm

I will relate this to skateboarding-

I have been in a couple of contests and let me tell you, the divisions are often not divded by age. Its odd but no suprise some 8 year old kid that weighs 65-75lbs can wreck shop skating better than someone like me 27 and 200lbs. but this gives everyone a shot at the big title, its a toss up. Same with disc golf, our leauge minis consists of ages 19 - 47. One of the older guys wins alot, but the leauge isnt large enough to accomadate all those divisions, I like it though because it forces you to try harder. I am very competative, but I rarely bring that to the minis, the mear fact that my mind is filled with "I have to be competative" seems to have the opposite effect, making me make more mistakes with that mindset. I just clear my thoughts, take it hole to hole, and just try to play my best game. This way when I win every so often it has more worth to me, almost suprising. My game has gotten way better and I am prepared to reflect that. But Having a mind state that you have to shoot this particular score is enough to loose your focus....I have been and will allways play every course from the long tees and count everything as a par three. This builds confidence and skill, keeping you game evolving. if I shoot -4 to -6 from long tees and play everything as a par three, its a real ego feed for me when I see tournament results with advanced masters having the same scores as me.

Joining the PDGA is 50 50 and up to personal choice. But it is a good thing to be a member, keeping your name in the works is one of the best ways to create confidence and presence.

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Postby black udder » Wed Dec 20, 2006 3:48 pm

Texas... first up - joining the pdga. As I'd stated above, try to think of this as an argument you're making for somebody else joining the pdga. Why would you tell somebody else to join? I'm thinking that the pdga needs us all, and I'm with 'em next year, but usually, there is some tangible benefit for joining an organization. With the pdga, it's largely (aside from $5 off tournaments) a 'take one for the sport' attitude (which I'm not saying I'm against either since I love it so much).

I'd also recommend you play from the shorts on courses as well. They're not always just "easy" tees or shorter tees. Often times, they present different and unique challenges all of their own. A course close to me (Dorey Park) has a short and long set of tees. By walking through, you'd figure to be -18 at the end, but I haven't seen or heard of anybody doing it. There isn't one hole that's not possible to birdie or one hole that's over 400'. And this course has been played by some very good players.

Again, regarding the competitive nature, let's not think about this as being me, but you're talking to somebody else who plays DG and they haven't played in a tournament. How do you convince them that playing in a tournament is fun and worth the $30 or so when they *know* it's really only about fun. How do you convince them it's $30 more fun than something like, say, league play or playing with their buddies?

These are the questions I feel need to have some solid answers if the sport is going to grow like we all want it to. If you're a college kid with no disposable income, $30 for a tourney and $50 for membership could be a lot. If you're a parent with a new family living on, say, a teacher's salary. It could be more than is really allowable considering the return on investment (i.e. no chance of getting even plastic).

Now, you can always say, "well, maybe they just don't join the pdga or play tourneys, but I'm thinking why exclude people? More competition = more fun = more involvement = more popularity, right?

Like I said - I have no answers to the question, just wanted to get some other perspectives on it :)
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Postby Mr.SmOOOth » Wed Dec 20, 2006 4:52 pm

I understand that the cost of entering a tournament can be more than some people can afford. Some tourneys offer a 'players pack', maybe a disc, towel, mini, etc. That way you still score a little something for your entry fee if you don't cash. No matter how small the tournament is, the people running it still have to charge a certain amount to cover their expenses. The payout in discs for AMs and cash for Pros comes from the entry fees. The discs usually are bought at discounted prices but they still are an expense.
It's kind of funny that I pay $40 to play Open in my local tournaments but if I want to play in the Memorial which is a big National Tour event, I will have to pay$135. It seems like I would pay less at the bigger tourney, not over three times as much! It all comes down to expenses. Tournaments cost money to put on.
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Postby black udder » Wed Dec 20, 2006 6:36 pm

ok, great example.

Now, I won't claim to know much, if anything about tournament setups, so if I'm wrong, please correct me.

So. You say it's $135 for the Memorial. Now. Do you stand a chance of cashing at that event? If you're playing in Open, then I'd bet you're playing against Nathan Doss, Avery Jenkins, Ken Climo, David Feldberg, etc. The same guys that normally cash.

I'd say, having a chance to play around or two with them might be worth it in experience, but from what I understand you're paired with folks with similar scores, so after the first round, unless you're in contention (which you could be), you'd never play with them.

So - with the knowledge that you probably won't play with the 'greats' (and the assumption that you're not on their level yet), and the probability that you're not going to cash - perhaps not even come close (I hear the Memorial is pretty big). What is the incentive to play besides 'for the fun of it'? And that can be it :) Just curious if there's something I'm missing.

See in ball golf, everybody in the tournament could win. There isn't anybody averaging over par while 10 players are 5+ under. They're all shooting under and it just depends on who has the best day. Sorta like the DG guys I mentioned above. I feel they (and a few others) are competitive, but that most people in the open division are not at their level. That's what doesn't seem fair, since you are helping pay their payout.

Also, I'm assuming that you played the memorial. Did you enjoy the game? Was it more/less pressure due to the entry fee, the size of the field, etc.? Did you get to play with some better golfers and pick up some good tips? :)
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