i have been playing for about 6 years and never played any tourneys. i am now working a job that will allow me to play tourneys and want to know how to determine which division to play in. can anyone help?
Are you a PDGA member?
Do you play with any PDGA members who have ratings? If you do, can you compare your level of play to theirs, you may be able to "guess" what your rating might be.
Here is a PDGA document that has suggestions for "where" you should play based on a PDGA rating. You have to play tournaments to get rated (and be a PDGA member). I started playing Rec, then Intermediate, and eventually moved up to ADV Masters (age protected am division). I now play Pro Grandmasters ... which is a bit of a stretch for me, but because of my "good round ratings" I think I can hang with some of the Grandmasters and I am working on my consistency.
Ask your friends, or people you play with if they have a PDGA rating and what division they play. Go play some club doubles in your area, and see how you play against some PDGA rated players. Just suggestions ... you might just want to go play a tourney in Recreational Division to see if you like tournament play. Or just go for Intermediate and see how you do! Heck, if you're a really good player (you should know), get into and advanced division and play it up!
I would suggest that if you cant get a better idea from asking around then at least start with Int.
I did rec in my first tourney ,and it was out of town and I didnt know anyone and won easily. I really should have been in Int and I'm sure everyone thought I was a "bagger", I felt pretty bad about it, but came away from it with some knowledge,but it left a bad taste in my mouth.. next tourney I did Int and had more fun because even though I finished middle-of-the-pack, I was in the division I belonged.
Talk to the TD of the first tournament you want to play. If it's a course that you are familiar with and have played a few times, ask him what kind of scores typically win Am or Advanced on that course. If it's not, maybe he can give you an assessment based on where you have played before (if he's familiar with that course). A good TD will usually have a fairly accurate idea of how the course is played by various skill levels, so he's probably your best bet right off the bat. Short of that, see if you can locate results from other tournaments at that course and look at Am and Advanced scores there.
However you determine the numbers, take your typical score on the course (not your best, just your average), add a couple strokes to it, and see how that stacks up against what the TD said or what you found. The reason I say add a couple strokes is that if you are unfamiliar with tournament play, the first few times out you probably won't be shooting your typical average round. Between the competitive environment, nerves and especially the pace of play, I find players new to tournaments generally don't play to their average right out of the gate. There's a bit of adjustment involved, especially if you've been playing for quite a while on a casual basis.
I always believe that it's better to choose the lower division for your first tournament, if there's any doubt at all about which division you fit better into. Less pressure, slightly lower expectations in terms of score, all that kind of stuff. If you shoot well and win, well, you know better for next time. If not, then you've probably found your level for the next few tries. Either way, after that first experience you will surely have a better idea about the whole thing and where you best fit into it.
Welcome to tournament play! Your experience playing with your buddies has done little to truly prepare you for tournaments unless your buddies are tournament players. You will find out that tourneys require more than the ability to toss a disc in the general vicinity that you are aiming (of course, this skill does help a lot).
You should enter the lowest division that is offered by your first tournament (probably Recreation or Amateur 3) Only move up to a higher division in subsequent events once you have won the lowest division or your handicap rating (you will get this by playing in PDGA sanctioned events-if you are a member) forces you to play up.
Tournaments are great fun and nothing to shy away from. Your game will drastically improve by playing (and preparing for) tourneys. If you had started 6 years ago you would be vastly better now. You don't need to be good to start playing in events. That is why they offer different divisions. You only need the desire to become good.
Before your first throw on the first hole of your first tournament your heart will be pounding in your chest. The thrill of playing under pressure is what makes tourneys worthwile. Good luck.
Good advice by everyone. I would add that tournament play, especially anything below the Advanced division lead card, can be just as much fun as casual play. There is that added bonus of getting to meet new, invariably nice, people.
I second Mark Ellis' advice: If you have never played in a tournament, play in the lowest division offered. If you end up kicking butt . . . then you know for the next time to move up.