I grew up in a medium sized town, which means we have a lot of second tier sports to watch without traveling too far away. A handful of the sports – not including high school – which played in Springfield during my lifetime were a minor league baseball team, an offshoot minor league hockey team and a women’s professional golf tournament. The latter may be one of the more recognizable, as the State Farm Classic received airtime on ESPN 2 for several years.
My brother played on his high school golf team and got to caddy for one of the amateurs in the pro-am tournament. Even though he caddied for the ams, he still could walk and talk with the pros in the group and talk golf with them.
I’ve always wondered why disc golf never did anything similar. Yes, many pros do go out and play with amateurs outside of tournaments, but there are still loads of threads online of players asking for advice. And besides, most everyone likes talking shop about disc golf, right?
While Pro-Am tournaments may have a way to go before they make their way into the disc golf scene, there are other ways to sweeten the tournament scene. Putting competitions, driving competitions, skins and doubles should be more prominent in big tournaments.
Because, let’s face it, it sucks when you’ve played yourself out of contention after two rounds in a four round tournament. And sometimes, a CTP or ace pot isn’t enough. In fact, those kind of incentives compound the frustration after going for the ace run and coming up short.
Logistically, these mini events make so much sense. The Friday before a big tournament is usually registration day, so players are already showing up early. Have one person coordinate the registration and event. Get some buzz going. And, for the love of all that is right, put some effort into standards.
Too many times in disc golf there are “course rules” or “club rules” that the majority (or sometimes minority) assume everyone else is playing by. Don’t do that. I’ve gotten into distance competitions where they announced halfway through that it also had a CTP qualifier. We thought everyone knew that.
Players will complain if you stick to the rules, but players always complain. And they’ll complain more if the rules aren’t set straight. But, if you run a quality event in addition to a tournament, people will thank you. Most players recognize going beyond the regular tournament experience, and especially when it’s done right. It’s the kind of thing that keeps them returning the year after with a couple extra players.
When I go to a tournament, I want to get away and have a full weekend of disc golf. I want the extras. I want it to feel like it’s more than just an expensive couple of rounds. When it’s done right, it goes a long way. It’s a big reason the Glass Blown Open has 181 pre-registered players for their mid-April tournament.
Now, this isn’t a knock on tournament directors, especially those operating smaller tournaments. They’re doing enough as it already is. No, this is a call for players within the club who aren’t in charge of the whole thing to step up and make their local event stand out. Believe me, your TD will thank you for the help.