Best Tournament Practices

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Re: Best Tournament Practices

Postby Mark Ellis » Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:38 pm

JR wrote:Forgive the jaded reply because i get cold fast and warm up slowly. Having been bored to death filming top cards this happens in all of the larger finals in Europe i've been to. The top is so much faster than the rest and it's boring even when you're not playing. So you need to stay limber? Answer: Booze. :-D Sarcasm.


It's Ok I'm jaded too. :) I understand the slow pace of tournaments even though I don't normally play that way and certainly don't like it. Slow is one thing. Stupidly slow is another.

A normal tournament round with a full field on a challenging course takes 10 minutes per hole. When I was more active in running tournaments I timed this out in order to plan for my events. (In 2000 we ran Pro/Am Worlds in Ann Arbor on 6 courses with 800 players. By comparison, this last summer North Carolina ran Pro/Am Worlds with 1100 players on 14 courses.) So 3 hours for an 18 hole course or 4 hours for a 24 hole course assuming no weather delays. That is a damn slow pace but inevitable for tournaments because for some reason players think they throw better if they take longer. This, btw, makes no sense to me.

Without backups, a quick moving 4-some can handily play a challenging 18 hole course in 2 hours. I'm not referring to casuals who run through a course but Pros following the rules and competing where they take the time to measure their shots.

This last event added an hour and a half to the already slow tournament pace. It drove me crazy. It's like adding 90 minutes to your normal drive time to work without any accident or construction to blame it on. I was walking up and helping to spot on every hole just to keep moving and try to avoid stiffening up.

One year one of my events made a strategical mistake that lead to similar backups. For the Amateur National Championships, held for the last decade at Milford, Michigan, we modify the qualifying rules annually. In order to play Am Nats you have to earn it, exemptions cannot be purchased. One year the top 5 Amateurs in each State, based on handicap ratings, qualified to play. Unbeknownst to us, there were only 5 Amateur PDGA Members with handicap ratings in Alaska, including a guy and his wife and they both signed up. The guy was a good player. The lady's game was not ready to play the Toboggan course at all and one round brought strong winds. When you shank on the Toboggan you may lose skin just getting to your disc. How she survived without a blood transfusion is still a mystery.
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Re: Best Tournament Practices

Postby StayGold » Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:11 am

So after reading that women are very slow during a tournament, me being a woman, I would like to know how to fix this problem. I'm hoping to play in my first tournament soon and I don't want my card to be the last ones coming in. Any advice or tips for how to speed everyone along? Maybe just conciously thinking about it will help us out?
“You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.” -Wayne Gretzky
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Re: Best Tournament Practices

Postby nohr » Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:33 am

If a person has a bad shot make sure they watch it finish and not just turn around and be bummed. A lot of time is wasted looking for discs. A lot of people have a bad habit of this. Literally tell them "watch the disc finish!".

Keeping track of where everyone is at and who is supposed to shoot next can help alot also. Just say things like "whos out?" or "your out go ahead" "Ok we all have tap ins?". I have seen alot of players that have no idea they should be throwing until someone tells them.

You can try walking fast to your next shot and see if the others will follow suit.
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Re: Best Tournament Practices

Postby Mark Ellis » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:22 pm

StayGold wrote:So after reading that women are very slow during a tournament, me being a woman, I would like to know how to fix this problem. I'm hoping to play in my first tournament soon and I don't want my card to be the last ones coming in. Any advice or tips for how to speed everyone along? Maybe just conciously thinking about it will help us out?



My opinion is that the slow pace women play in tournaments is a function of social patterns and not due to women throwing more shots or losing discs.

If women's groups were occasionally slow it would be one thing but it seems they are almost always THE slowest groups-and there are some God-awful slow groups of guys out there too. Some guys just play slowly (damn them)and some guys play so poorly it takes them longer (far more tolerable an excuse). But many women are not slow by themselves, only when surrounded by other women.

Guys are socialized to be overtly competitive. In a tournament the competition comes first, the friendship comes second. Women are socialized differently. If they come off as too competitive it can be viewed as being bitchy. So in tournaments the social aspect seems to take precedence over the competitive for women.

For example, consider two groups playing; one all guys, one all women. A hole is finished and the guys take scores: its business. The scores are taken efficiently. When the women takes scores there is a lot of discussion, praise and sympathy and social reinforcement. This takes up a lot of time. Now it is time for someone to tee off. In the guy group if whoever is up does not step quickly up to throw, someone will tell him he is up. In the girl group no one steps up quickly and no one pushes the pace. No one wants to be seen as being too aggressive.

The next time you are at a tournament watch and see if you recognize this pattern.

If a woman is in a group of guys she often has no problem adapting to the quicker pace. And she has no problem switching to guy-type competitiveness, with jokes and insults and razzing and with no offense taken.

Given the cause of the slowness of women's groups I'm not sure there is any easy solution except to split them up and this runs counter to the tradition of tournaments. I would guess most women would be opposed to this idea as well. So at least women should be placed where their inherent delays do the least damage to the pace of play. For example start the men Pros on holes 1 and up. Start the women on holes 18 and down. Put the lowest Am divisions behind the women ( so hole 17 and down if there is only one card of women).

If there happened to be any really slow card of guys (we know who they are, btw) I would put them right behind the women as punishment for their pace, no matter what division they happened to play in.
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Re: Best Tournament Practices

Postby nohr » Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:00 pm

So mark, Talk less?
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Re: Best Tournament Practices

Postby Mark Ellis » Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:18 pm

nohr wrote:So mark, Talk less?


No. Take care of business, then talk.

Rounds last hours. There is plenty of time to talk. Talk while walking down the fairway. Talk when there is a back up. Talk before the round and after. Golf is fun. Golf is social. If there is nobody behind you, no group waiting, talk as you wish. If there is no group in sight in front of you and a back up behind you then you are the problem.
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Re: Best Tournament Practices

Postby StayGold » Fri Sep 07, 2012 8:30 pm

I had a feeling it had a lot to with the social aspect. Thank you for the advice!
“You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.” -Wayne Gretzky
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Re: Best Tournament Practices

Postby Frank Delicious » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:45 pm

Going back like 10 days but man those tee time rounds at worlds this year were sooooo slow.
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