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It seems that the sport as a whole is starting to really take off, more and more people are getting involved, and there seem to be a lot more places to play than there were 10 years ago. That being said, it seems like DG is missing a real universal sense of community. I have been hearing a lot of people's frustrations with the PDGA. Just wondering what everyone thinks about where the sport is headed, and what complaints there are now about organizations (or lack of organizations) out there.

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Negatively charged chains and Positively charged discs? How about a course built in a forest of trees with holes in them? Loosing the nerf gun and giving the Gladiators a bag full of discs. Immagine how sweet it would be if the Gladiator flipped a tomahawk at the contestant and drilled him in his neck. Dude, that would be sweet!!!
The one thing holding disc golf back is the one thing that draws a lot of people to it. It's inexpensive. If people had to lay out a lot of cash in order to play it, like golf or snowboarding mentioned above, a larger company would be more interested in selling disc golf stuff. If that were to happen, other sponsors would likewise want to get in on the potential for more cash. We just don't make a lot of other people rich, including ourselves.
The egalitarian nature Terry spoke of reminded me of something. Back in the mid 90's I could call Ed Headrick, and he would remember me. That is kind of funny thinking back on it, but the community was small enough that the guy who invented the modern sport knew who a guy running a rinky-dink league in St. Louis was. As the sport gets bigger, you lose some of that feeling of family we used to have. But we want the sport to get bigger, so the fact that we have to work harder to keep that sense of community is really a sign of our success.

One of the reasons the sport remains unrestricted by class is the fact that there are no tie-wearing power brokers running the sport behind the scenes. The sport is player-organized. You can play in a tournament and end up on a card with Brian Hoeinger or Brian Graham because they play. I remember Disc Golf Journal did a piece on Hoeinger right after he took the PDGA Director position...It was a "In the Bag" article that talked mostly about what Gazelles he liked to throw. The guys on the BoD play. Dave Dunipace plays. Regular Joe disc golfers see these guys on courses and talk to them. To make it to the “big time” we will probably have to give that up and hire a big-bucks corporate administrative type to run the organization. We would probably gain some money and exposure from that, but we will lose something at the same time.

What is next? Who knows? The sport has had slow, steady growth for a number of years. That is a very encouraging sign, as many activities spike in interest all fall off. Really, it is possible that NOT being on TV has saved our sport. Had someone put disc golf on TV in 1993 and spiked a bunch of interest, maybe it would have been a fad that crashed after a few years resulting in closed courses and the death of the sport. People would have golf discs in the garage next to their roller-blades.

Instead we have an underground sport that slowly grows each year. Will we ever go “big time?” I don’t know, and I really don’t care. So long as I can still buy a new Roc when my old one gets flippy and the park still has baskets so I can meet up with some old friends and some new friends and throw 18, I’m good.
I agree. I wasn't trying to say it needs to get bigger. I was just stateing why i think it isn't getting bigger(like main streem sports) or how i think it could get bigger. In my honest oppinion I hope it never does. I don't want to have to pay to play. If Its got that big do you really thing city parks would keep the courses open ? No they would close them and open City pay courses just like they have ball glof courses. We would be paying greens fees and wouldn't be able to bring our own refeshments. We would be paying the city to hold a tourney at the courses.
I'm the opposite. I'd love to see pay for play. Hopefully it would mean better course and some supervision to keep the shenanigans to a minimum. I'd gladly pay for that. But, we don't have to agree on everything. I do agree with you in that I'm pretty skeptical that we could go "big time" without altering the game to the point that many current players will be turned off and turned away, so I guess it falls under the "be careful what you wish for" category.
I've been catching up on this thread a bit and wanted to comment on one issue the notion of Pay for Play.

I agree with the observation that money is a problem. Even significantly more money might not take us where we want to be. Take softball for example. There's bunches of money there and it still isn't enough (although we've seen good movement in the women's venue).

On the other hand, the Pay to Play venue hold more promise than we might think in my opinion. I've always been staunchly against pfp I simply wasn't interested and it defeated the reasons I play this sport. But, over the past 3 months a local golf course has begun a relationship with a local leader in the club. Now we're going to have Texas States at that golf course. Without going into too much detail, what I've seen impresses me on many fronts.

a) The venue in and of itself brings credibility
b) The eyeballs now seeing us and commenting on what's going on his huge
c) The venue presents the sport in a very professional manner
d) The club sees a value in what we bring and that is paying off for them. They have repeatedly upped their commitment based on both traffic at the site and on commitment from the club. That is, "wow, you guys are working really hard to make this happen at no expense to us, what can we do for you?"

One key to this is it's a local effort. Reese's Fly 18 is a great idea, but being local and on site allows the guy (Neal Dambra) who is driving this effort to respond quickly and directly to concerns.

Last point, there was also an opportunity. The club essentially overbuilt. They had at least two courses sitting fallow that they could easily commit to this project. That said, my understanding is there are a lot of underutilized courses around right now.

Finally, land is cheap in Texas so the cost structure is good, that is, their initial investment, while high, was likely low enough that their fees to us are pretty low. They do push cart use (I suspect without knowing that's where they make their money) but they are polite about it and even the cost there is reasonable.

I don't know that this would be a good growth area for the sport, but I do see potential.
I recently threw out a hypothetical that seemed to upset everyone who heard it, so as I repeat it here bear in mind this is not meant to be inflammatory. It's just supposed to make you think a little.

In St. Louis County there are four major courses on County Parks & Recreation land. The rest of the courses in the County are 9-holes and the 18-hole dinosaur in Hazelwood. So, St. Louis County Parks & Recreation has a monopoly on good disc golf courses in St. Louis. All of the River City Flyers time and attention has gone toward improvements and events at these four courses.

So imagine that next week that the Director of St. Louis County Parks & Recreation calls up the President of the River City Flyers and says, "We have noticed all the use that the disc golf courses are getting, so we have decided to get involved in the sport. As of today, all agreements between your Club and the County are void. Your Club will no longer have access to our courses for your events. We will be establishing points on each course to charge a course admission fee and sell discs. We will be handling all leagues and tournaments through our recreation department. We understand that your Club has been vital to the success of these courses, and we thank you for your efforts."

Is this good or bad for disc golf?

Certainly, this would be bad for the River City Flyers. Considering RCF was going to use these courses to host an A tier, this would not be great news for the PDGA. But in other ways things might improve. St. Louis County has one of the largest parks & recreation departments in the Country. Certainly such a large agency recognizing disc golf as a viable activity would have to be considered a positive thing for the sport. The marketing that is already in place to publicize County Parks & Recreation events to the community will now publicize disc golf. Things such as establishing disc golf days at each of the County Parks & Recreation day camps, bringing after-school groups to the courses and developing youth disc golf events now become possible. Maintenance of the courses would become a much greater priority. In other words, disc golf would head closer to the mainstream.

Take it further and say the experiment was very successful and profitable. St. Louis County Parks & Recreation writes articles for parks & recreation publications, makes presentations at the NRPA Congress and convince a lot of other departments to step up into disc golf. More and more Clubs would see themselves pushed aside from courses they cared for and in many cases established. Because of the high amateur pay-out scale at PDGA events, no need for insurance coverage and a focus on local as opposed to regional events, many of these agencies would choose to run their own unsanctioned events. So the current makeup of the PDGA and local clubs driving the sport would be altered, with the control transferred to local parks and recreation departments. However, the sport would move into the mainstream. Because they would generate profit, more agencies would look to establish courses. With these agencies promoting the sport to a wider audience, the number of players would grow. With courses now looking to sell discs on-site to generate profits, discs and equipment will be easier to find. More and more folks will have golf discs for a friendly weekend round.

So many local Clubs would shrink or fold. Players would lose control of their courses and events. The PDGA would lose membership and sanction fewer events. The sport would be larger than ever, with more courses, more players, and more local events to compete in.

Would that be a happy ending? It is a drastically different future than most people talk about, but does that make it a bad future? As I ask this, I'm not asking if you think it is probable. I can think of dozens of reasons why something like this would never happen, so it's not a question about whether you think this will happen or not. I’ll admit it is not probable, but it is possible. Given that it is possible, the question is this. If it DID happen, would you be happy?
I don't really have any expertise to add here but I can be as opinionated as the next guy so here is my 2 cents worth.
I don't understand why so many folks appear to view the pay for play/ play for free as an either or proposition? If the sport continues to grow some pay for play courses are inevitable. If the courses and facilities are nice I would use them in a heartbeat, especially if the free ones are jambed up with fivesomes. I also don't see Parks and Recs departments taking over courses and charging any more for them than they do other park features. When was the last time you paid to use a softball field, soccer field or tennis court or basketball court on Parks and Recs land? If you did pay it wasn't much.
For one I would much prefer the focus to be on how can we make the sport better? As a man in his fifties who usually shows up with his girlfriend to play I have not always been made to feel welcome especially when I was a raw beginner. You should be asking what can we do to make sure everyone who shows up to play walks away feeling good about disc golf.
For instance if a family shows up with regular frisbees and small kids because they heard there was frisbee golf in the Public Park what kind of reception do they get?
The sport is already big enough I can buy more discs than I will ever be good at throwing in any weight or color. How big do want it?
I want the sport to admired by people who will never play because the best and worst player on the course will always take a few minutes to help and welcome a beginner.
Keep your focus on quality and quantity will take care of itself.
I think you make a valid point here. As the sport grows, there are bound to be pay to play courses, which i think is a good thing. They will invariably draw a better crowd and will be better maintained. That said, there will always be free courses that are fun to play and a great place to start throwing some discs.

I have been on courses where you don't exactly get the warmest reception, and i think a lot of that has to do with overcrowding and miss-use of the course. Guys (and gals) who have been playing the sport for a while have a deep respect for the game and are easily put off by people who just come in to throw discs around and be jerks. Having said that, i do feel like there needs to be a way to introduce the sport to the uninitiated and to deepen the public's respect for the game as a serious sport.

Usually when I mention disc golf, i get a "what the heck is that?" and after i explain what it is, i normally get a "are you serious?" I am NOT very good at disc golf at all, but I enjoy playing. I also respect the fact that you need a cannon to blow out 400 yard drives and that sinking 20ft+ puts takes a lot of skill. I think increasing public awareness about the sport and getting more people to try it out (and see how much fun it is) will help increase the public perception of disc golf as a meaningful, valuable and difficult sport which requires quite a bit of skill to master.
I think the thing is ...... we'd all like the pros to be paid more money for winning their tournaments ....... these folks are outstanding athletes ........ it's not just a lifestyle ........ climo, feldberg, doss, shultz are heros to me ....... they play as well as tiger does ........ they should be making more money for starters ........ for all of us rec players out there that like watching ball golf on tv wouldn't it be super to be able to watch disc golf in the same manner? ........ perhaps it's time to approach the PGA and run concurrent events with the PDGA ........ both US Opens same week ..... on the same course ....... disc golf sun, mon, tues and ball golf wed - sun ......... use all the overhead cams that are already on site ..... same as ball golf and really show the world how great these athletes really are ....... and look ma, no stick ............ if that's what it needs ......... it's bigtime exposure ........ maybe even get brad and angela to take up the game ......... sick as that is.
I'm not sure where to start? I agree with a lot of what has been said, but on the other hand I disagree with some of what has been said. First of all I have been playing for roughly 15 years now. Until around 6 or 7 years ago I did not know that this was an organized sport with a sanctioning body backing the sport. That is sad considering I played almost daily. I honestly feel that this was due to the jealousy of some of the founding members. Of course I am only referring to the city that I reside, so I'm only talking about a handful of guys.There seems to be this ever growing clique who only want people playing that they can manipulate. If you are in any way shape or form the type of person with opinions you are quickly shunned and made out to look like a bad guy. I have watched many people in the past few years come and go all because a handful of guys didn't like them for whatever reason. This has all but destroyed the sport in this city. Here's an example, 4 years ago there were 50+ people playing in our local Ice Bowls. The one that I was present at had a temp. of around 10 degrees, it was snowing and by the start of round two we had several inches of snow. This past month I attended the same Ice Bowl and there were 8 people, only this time the weather was much nicer. I believe the temp was in the 50's with plenty of sunshine. It is incredibly sad to watch something you love fall flat on its face like it has. So why has this happened? Is it because no one cares? Is it because the local club isn't doing an effective job? Is it because the TD's aren't doing a good job holding tournaments? I believe it could be any of these reasons. I believe that a select few are bound and determined to keep there names at the top for as long as possible. They have been around since the beginning and they can't stand the fact that they are fading. So they attempt to drive anyone who poses a threat out of the sport.
Just last year someone decided to hold weekly leagues in order to raise money for a local tournament. This person was in no way affiliated with the local club. This stirred things up real good. The local club and its officers protested this loudly. After plenty of arguing they came to an agreement that 2 of the officers would oversee this league and help in running it since the original guy had no experience in doing so.This lasted the first week. After that neither of the 2 officers showed there faces again. This league was posted to last 12 weeks. After week 8 the local club started demanding that all funds be turned over to them immediately. When the guy running the leagues refused they threatened law suits. Well it just so happened that one of the local players was a lawyer so they put the case in court. Needless to say after months of fighting this out in court the local club walked away victorious.To this day they still claim they ran the league and that the money was to go to the club not the tournament. Not once have they mentioned the name of the guy who ran the leagues the entire time without the help of there officers. Now how can anyone in there right mind justify this kind of growth. It is wrong and highly corrupted. I'm sure it isn't like this everywhere but it sure is here. If it continues to be handled in such a corrupt manor it will only impede the growth, yet some people have trouble seeing this. All they see is there names in Broadway lights, you know "IT'S ALL ABOUT ME"! Well it can't be all about you. It must be "ALL ABOUT US"!
Here's another example of the failed attempts to expand our sport. A good friend has a 10 year old boy who plays regularly. This kid is the only Junior playing in any tournaments. He shows up, pays his entry fee, wins his division because he is the only one in his division, and than receives 2 DX plastic discs that don't even amount to his entry fee. The father has repeatedly asked why this is. No one in the local club can give a reasonable response other than, "well I guess kids don't
There are without a doubt a lot of players out there that have no idea that there is a PDGA or a site like this, people who just show up and play that are outside of the "community of disc golf" that makes up much of what is special about the sport for a lot of people on this site. I remember when the KC discs came out. I ended up posting a "who is Ken Climo" sheet in the display to try to cut down on people asking the question. In 1997 there certainly were A LOT of people playing disc golf in St. Louis who were unaware of the PDGA. With the Internet now it is a lot less common than it was, but it still happens.

I think it is really easy to say "We should have $100,000 pro purses at ten events a year so that our pros can make some money" or whatever your numbers are. In an abstract kind of way, I agree it would be great for top players to be able to make a living playing disc golf. However, I'm afraid that the process of attracting that $1,000,000 to pay to our top players will inevitably alter the community of disc golf. I'd just ask people that before you decide what is good for the future that you make sure you understand what it is about disc golf that you like. If the network of Clubs working on courses and hosting tournaments is part of what makes you love the sport, you have to wonder about this: If a company really DID decide to drop $1,000,000 into the sport, do you think that company is going to leave it up to your local Club to pull of the event that has all their prize money?

Basically I'd like people to think about what is important to you about disc golf, and think about how you can try to protect that as the sport moves forward. What good does it do us if we reach a vague goal of making disc golf "mainstream" if in the process everything you care about is stripped from the sport.

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