Best Tournament Practices

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Best Tournament Practices

Postby Mark Ellis » Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:17 pm

This thread exists to identify the things which make a tournament good or bad. Obviously we would all like to play in perfect weather with huge payouts and TV coverage but, realistically, those issues are beyond the ability of most tournament staffs to bring to the table. Still there are some things we love or hate. For example:

Casual Tees Can Prevent Casualties

I have played in a number of tournaments where the the Tee Pads were horrible. Heck I played in a World Championships where there was not a single good pad on any of the courses I played. But sometimes the designated Tee Pad was the WORST SPOT to tee from. Why? Because the Tee Pad was slippery and/or dangerous. A Tee area may be covered in ice or under water or be one of those charming rubber mats with sand on top of it, in short, an injury waiting to happen.

The solution? Move the pad to a better spot or allow casual tees (no closer to the hole just off either edge or directly behind). This is not rocket science. If at all possible a flat, dry spot to tee is a good thing, especially for a long hole where a powerful drive is called for. I quit one tournament where the cement tees were covered in ice and we were REQUIRED to throw from them. No effort had been made to clear the pads and right next to the tees were safe places to throw from. I face planted 4 times in the first round. The TD refused to allow casual pads for the second round. I went home.

This issue has become more important to me as I get older. I no longer heal quickly and full recovery is not a certainty.


Different Tees or Baskets Every Round

Most tournaments are held on a single course. This is fine. I always prefer to have a second chance at a course in the same set up. So rather than moving baskets or shooting from different pads every round just give me a second chance at the same holes. I want revenge on any hole I messed up the first round and improvement is always possible no matter how well or poorly I played.

Locals always have an advantage on their home course come tournament time. Moving baskets or tees between rounds just gives the locals more advantage, which they don't need to deserve. TD's sometimes change the course merely to show off. It is like they are saying, "Look how cool our course is, we have all theses different options. Aren't you impressed?"

I come from an area where there are oodles of world class courses. No matter how cool your courses are, my concern is playing well during a tournament, not seeing new variations.


Delayed Awards Ceremonies

Having both played in and helped run many events, I know that Awards Ceremonies which don't happen soon after the last round become irrelevant. If no one sticks around for it, who cares? Who wants to wait for hours to get on the road home?

There are two major events which I still assist in: The Amateur National Championships and the Michigan State Finals. Both fill every year with Am Nats bringing in around 150 players and State Finals around 400. In each case, within 5 minutes of the last card coming in we host a diversion for the crowd which takes up about a half hour ( Lizard Games for Am Nats and Skins Match for States). Within 5 minutes of those events finishing we start the Awards Ceremonies. Boom. No delay. And the Awards Ceremonies themselves are fast, efficient affairs. Well, Ok the choosing of prizes takes a while but that is because we let the winners pick their prizes with funny money. If we wanted to give out pre-chosen prizes, we could cut the time in half.

No doubt there a many practices you like or hate. Let the TD's know your opinons here. Who knows, maybe a few will read this and be open minded enough to consider them.
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Re: Best Tournament Practices

Postby curt » Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:42 pm

One thing that really sets tournaments apart for me is having lunch on site. It is really nice to know I can just eat at the course, relax, and wait for the next round. It is an extra bonus if lunch is free, but I don't mind paying a few bucks one bit.
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Re: Best Tournament Practices

Postby Mark Ellis » Tue Nov 01, 2011 8:42 am

[quote="curt"]One thing that really sets tournaments apart for me is having lunch on site. It is really nice to know I can just eat at the course, relax, and wait for the next round. It is an extra bonus if lunch is free, but I don't mind paying a few bucks one bit.[/quote

The lunch break brings up a variety of different issues. I have run tournaments where the courses were so far from civilization that players could not drive to obtain food and be back to the course within an hour. As a TD I do not expect players to be able to plan ahead enough to bring food with them-no matter what kind of advanced notice I gave them-because, after all we are talking about disc golfers. So I arranged to have lunch provided by the tournament. In part as a service to the players but most importantly to protect the timing of the tournament, which as a TD is my problem. Then I learned an important lesson about lunch: disc golfers will eat a ton and leave nothing for the late arriving groups. So TD's need to have an enforcer doling out the food.

One Great Lakes Open I ran we hosted on two courses, one being Kandahar, a ski resort course. After climbing the steep hills they treated lunch like a swarm of locusts would. I thought I had enough food for a small army and I did but not enough for a full field of disc golfers.

Some players are far more sensitive to food issues than others ( you don't have vegan pizza and reverse osmosis lemonade??). Like a walrus I have accumulated enough reserve energy to get me through a long winter. So I don't eat during rounds and if I had to skip lunch it would be no big deal. But others have different needs and there are some players who not only need the food but expect a one hour break between rounds.

There have been numerous tournaments where I played in a small division (Pro Masters or Grandmasters) and with the agreement of the whole group and the TD we started the 2nd round early to avoid incoming weather. Even the old guys in my division could slam a sandwich on the way to the first hole and be good to go.
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Re: Best Tournament Practices

Postby Frank Delicious » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:04 am

A local TD around here has been doing a free ring of fire after the last card gets turned in and it usually goes 7-10 rounds. It is a great diversion to keep people around for the payout and takes a lot of pressure off the TD and any volunteers totaling up scores. Usually by the time it is done, the awards are ready to go. I really wish more TDs around here would adopt that as waiting around for 30 mins to an hour for is really tedious most of the time.

What I wish more TDs would do is mark a 10 meter circle around every basket for tourneys. Having that 10 meter circle laid out is just so convenient. I hate getting stuck in a card with someone who constantly asks if they're outside and will argue it if you don't say yes (this happens a lot to me). The circle prevents this from being a problem and also speeds up play.
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Re: Best Tournament Practices

Postby veganray » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:32 am

Frank Delicious wrote:I hate getting stuck in a card with someone who constantly asks if they're outside and will argue it if you don't say yes (this happens a lot to me).

ALWAYS say yes to this question, even if the thrower is only 3m from the basket. A savvy competitor always wants to encourage his opponents to do foolish things that will increase their scores, like jump putting.
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Re: Best Tournament Practices

Postby Trey133 » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:55 am

Frank Delicious wrote:What I wish more TDs would do is mark a 10 meter circle around every basket for tourneys. Having that 10 meter circle laid out is just so convenient. I hate getting stuck in a card with someone who constantly asks if they're outside and will argue it if you don't say yes (this happens a lot to me). The circle prevents this from being a problem and also speeds up play.


Whether the person is clearly inside or outside the circle, I always just tell them to walk it off. If they don't ask I won't question it but if they're going to bring me into the equation I'm making them walk.
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Re: Best Tournament Practices

Postby Triflusal » Tue Nov 01, 2011 12:48 pm

veganray wrote:ALWAYS say yes to this question, even if the thrower is only 3m from the basket. A savvy competitor always wants to encourage his opponents to do foolish things that will increase their scores, like jump putting.

isnt this a failure to enforce the rules?

http://www.pdga.com/rules/3-3-player-misconduct (number 11)
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Re: Best Tournament Practices

Postby Chuck Kennedy » Tue Nov 01, 2011 12:57 pm

What I wish more TDs would do is mark a 10 meter circle around every basket for tourneys. Having that 10 meter circle laid out is just so convenient. I hate getting stuck in a card with someone who constantly asks if they're outside and will argue it if you don't say yes (this happens a lot to me). The circle prevents this from being a problem and also speeds up play.

It's not environmentally friendly plus takes time and money. But the biggest reason against it is it's not official. Players still have the option to check the distance and Feldberg is one who will sometimes take out the tape measure. If the Rules were modified such that a painted 10m circle was "official" regardless of actual measurements, then I could begrudgingly see it being helpful.
Last edited by Chuck Kennedy on Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best Tournament Practices

Postby Frank Delicious » Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:05 pm

You can get environmentally friendly turf paint.

Also no one I know carries a tape measure for checking distances and having an "unofficial" circle painted is way better than having people step it off. It seems weird that there is no way to let tourneys officially mark the 10m circle, expecting every player who wants to make sure to not jump putt inside the circle to carry a tape measure seems dumb.
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Re: Best Tournament Practices

Postby Chuck Kennedy » Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:20 pm

It's been suggested to the Rules Committee but it hasn't made it in print yet.
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Re: Best Tournament Practices

Postby Mark Ellis » Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:01 am

Chuck Kennedy wrote:
What I wish more TDs would do is mark a 10 meter circle around every basket for tourneys. Having that 10 meter circle laid out is just so convenient. I hate getting stuck in a card with someone who constantly asks if they're outside and will argue it if you don't say yes (this happens a lot to me). The circle prevents this from being a problem and also speeds up play.

It's not environmentally friendly plus takes time and money. But the biggest reason against it is it's not official. Players still have the option to check the distance and Feldberg is one who will sometimes take out the tape measure. If the Rules were modified such that a painted 10m circle was "official" regardless of actual measurements, then I could begrudgingly see it being helpful.


A 10 meter circle is not official?? Really. Ok, who says the TAPE MEASURE is official? Who says the PERSON using the tape measure is certified to use it?? The arguments quickly devolve into absurdity.

If a TD announced that the 10 meter circles were official wouldn't that be enough? It sure would save time on the discussions. Although in my groups usually the discussions are pretty brief. "Hey, am I outside the circle? "Sure, whatever, go for it."

Such precision seems out of place when we are talking about jump putts. No one knows if a jump putt is done legally or not, since we don't have slow motion replay to see what instant their foot left the ground. And the jump putter is shooting at a basket that arbitrarily spits out perfect putts. Cure those two problems and maybe I will become concerned whether a putt is an inch inside or outside the circle.
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Re: Best Tournament Practices

Postby Mark Ellis » Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:37 am

Is the Internet Harming Doubles Tournaments?

I have no idea if this is a problem in other States or not. We used to have big, well attended Doubles Tournaments in Michigan. Of late those events are dwindling in number and size. My guess is that the internet is at least partially to blame. In the old days, ya know, before words and paper and the intraweb, players didn't know what teams were going to show up and so boldly appeared with partners at doubles events. Now it seems the first teams to register for doubles tournaments are the SUPER TEAMS which scares away the lesser teams (at least lesser on paper, which btw, has now been invented although may soon fall into disuse).

I realize the same problem can extend to singles-and probably does to some extent. But in singles we know that even a great player can have an off day. Super Teams are more scary because the few errors which occur can get neutralized so easily (at least in the Best Shot format).

My idea to counteract this problem is a format change to a Doubles Tournament which is Random Draw Within Division. The problem with random draw -and we see this at Doubles Leagues all the time- is a player can get paired with anyone, even a raw beginner. This discourages the better players from attending.

Random Draw Within Division hugely increases the odds of a player drawing a partner similar to their ability. Would this be enough to entice more players to attend? I'm not sure it has ever been tried.
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Re: Best Tournament Practices

Postby Chuck Kennedy » Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:45 am

There's no wording in the rules regarding pre-marked distances being legal demarcations such as a painted 10m circle. However, tape measures are called out in 805.A for use in measuring any official distances up thru 10m and 802.04 also cites measuring devices (not marks) such as tape measures. I'd like to see the 10m rule made flexible if a painted circle is provided by allowing some variance in the distance the line can be marked from the basket to give "greens" some variety. Allow TDs to mark the circle as close as maybe 7m to the basket and out to maybe 15m max based on terrain and have that line be the official putt jump line.
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Re: Best Tournament Practices

Postby Chuck Kennedy » Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:59 am

In Minnesota, we've used doubles team ratings caps to define fair divisions. Especially in "Open," teams couldn't have a total rating for two partners higher than 1975 with no player rated higher than 1025 allowed (none over 1025 in MN anyway). Then the next divisions were 1875 (Blue/Advanced) with no player over 975, then 1775 (White/Int) with no player over 925, then 1675 (Red/Rec) with no one over 875. Of course teams in every division could include women and players over aged 39 based on their ratings.
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Re: Best Tournament Practices

Postby Dag » Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:31 am

A local tournament this past summer (Mokena) took an interesting approach to doubles competition. A team rating, cumulative of the two players, was used and the field was divided into four equally sized flights based upon their team rating. Competition was between teams in each flight. It's still possible to game this system but it does make things a bit more equitable. The event format is explained more thoroughly on a local message board here.
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