The Community of Disc Golfers and About All Things Disc Golf

I just wanted to start a discussion about the future of this game. Or lack there of as some would like to look at it.

More and more I see the best players in the world playing less tournaments each year. Opting out instead for the security of a $10/hour job. I believe this to be a huge waste of talent. It is up to each of us to look in the mirrors and say "What have I done for Discgolf lately?" What can we do to get over that "Hump" ? I have been hearing for almost 10 years now how close we are to major sponsors etc etc. I just don't see the major steps being taken that are needed to become truly a legitimate sport.

I'm as "guilty" as anyone I've been relying on someone else to shoulder the load. Well no more, if we want to see something tangible we need to go out and work full time for the sport. It doesn't pay that well to start but the retirement package could be sweet.

I could go on and rant but give me some of your feedback. Am I totally crazy and should just continue to play the game for what it is, fun? Or is there something more out there for those of us that truly LIVE this game. Thanks for your time.

Andrew Rich
Team Innova Member
Roots Roc Reggae

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More courses (public or private) mean more exposure and more players. If you can't afford to pay $5-10 for a round, dont play at the private acourses! These private courses do have overheads and (in most cases) are a lot better maintained.

There will always be public courses as long as the community wants to play dics golf. If the sport wanes, both public and private courses will evaporate. Its all about MONEY, whether you like it or not. There is no reason why at this level the PDGA cannot continue to run both the Pro and Am divisions, and I agree that separating the two divisions would do far more harm than good. The Am side of the sport DOES in most tournaments help to fund the Pro divisions, and this occurs in most sports. So theoretically, the more players we can get into the sport playing Am tourneys the more lucrative the Pro tour can be.

One thing I don't understand is this argument of more money in the sport meaning we will become snobby like ball golf. Granted, there is some behaviour that I believe we will have to be seen not to tolerate in order to be accepted by the mainstream sports community and corporate sponsors, but this DOES NOT MEAN that we will become a ball golf clone.

Like Mark says, Disc Golf is not like Ball Golf, because Disc Golf is "cool", and appeals to a different demographic in general. Our sport does not require a $500 set of clubs, balls, tees, bag.. then you have up to $100 green fees to play on the more prestigious courses, and sometimes several thousand dollars a year to become a member of these courses. I can't see the disc golf market accepting any of these changes, especially considering most pay to play courses charge in the vicinity of $10-20 a round, and our basic equipment costs say $60 for a set of durable discs that will last you many years. Personally, if there was a local private course here that I really enjoyed playing, I would not hesitate to pay $100 for a season pass, but I'm also aware that this might not be affordable for everyone, which is where the public courses are good.

To accelerate the growth of the sport and encourage a bigger pool of pro players, we need to get corporate sponsors on board, and the sort of money they are prepared to pay potentially means TV and radio advertising, and at best partial (or full) funding of a TV program of some sort, aired at a decent hour, which hopefully will attract a new generation of players, ones without any pre-conceived notions of how the sport should portray itself, and hopefully who can dare to dream about how big disc golf can become.

There's enough motivated people in disc golf at the moment to start the wheels turning, but if we wish to see the fruits of our labour during our disc golfing lives, we need to turn those wheels a bit quicker. The sport has already gained a lot of momentum in terms of increasing tis profile, but we're at the brink now, and we need to continue this momentum to "break out" of our niche and show others what a fantastic sport this is. I think thats what Andrew is trying to say, and I for one agree.

So you're especially critical of this comment:

Not so much a comment about the PDGA...as I don't know the leaders of that organization nearly as well as I do folks on a State and local level. You can't expect people flipping burgers, pounding back a few beers and smoking a few blunts to magically land major sponsors, media deals and what-not. We need the "suits" to buy-in, get involved and help as well...or we can forget about reaching even half of organized disc golf's potential.

...but then you say:

People at state and local levels and even CEO's are great, but they are not usually people with great business savy either. Anyone can be great when they have the tax payers money to throw around like a Boss. They can buy any skill they need and back it up with any pocket they fill with money. It just takes some want and will to make things happen, and at this point in the game, disc golf will still be great in the years to come.

How does that jive?!

My thought is simply this: Disc golf happens from the bottom-up, NOT the top-down. The PDGA is a wonderful organization for ensuring standards/rules and for trying to bring a little more organized competition into the disc golf community. However, it is the State and local folks who make stuff happen...and who are the face and the driving force behind the sport. The PDGA can make the rules of disc golf as thick as the Encyclopedia Britannica and sing the praises of a few of its Pros to the high-heavens! However, for 99% of disc golfers out there, they simply don't care. Is it THEIR fault that they don't care? I would argue no.

How the PDGA serves "locals" in my tiny region of the country is by serving the State and Local leaders who serve them. Maybe 20% of the players who are active on the local/regional tournament scene have ever had a player rating...and usually the only direct interaction they have with the PDGA is an extra $10/tournament fee if they want to play in any sanctioned event (they don't even know what "sanctioned" actually is, why it is important, or care about player ratings)...as well as more advanced players occasionally getting out their rules book and stroking them for any variety of stuff that doesn't affect competition or give players any competitive advantage/disadvantage. Translated as nicely as I can put it: they look to STATE and LOCAL organizations to lead/guide.

State and local organizations are the face of disc golf for probably well-over 90% of disc golfers out there...NOT the PDGA. My comments and reference to "Not so much a comment about the PDGA..." has more to do with the face of STATE and LOCAL organizations. Who are the actual boots-on-the-ground when it comes to our sport for all those courses out there who never get to host any A-tier or B-tier events.

I knew my posting would probably generate a couple strong responses. However, at the State and Local level, we've got a ways to go in attracting more people with BUSINESS talent/experience...who can help us find more money for the sport which can be used to improve our courses...get us more media coverage...increase the size of purses, etc. We're all experts and we're all idiots...it just depends upon whatever is being discussed at any given time. That said, we need more EXPERTS in things most of us are not good at in order to really maximize our potential. As a sport. As an organization. As individuals.

An additional $0.05. ;-)
I agree i think this sport needs to hit the main stream and get big. I would to do anything to help the sport expand and get bigger. Disc golf is all i do and think about everyday and the same goes for alot of other im sure. There are some unbelievable players out there that deserve to be noticed but just aren't and thats to bad. Look how many players are in the pdga and all the rec players out there there is tons of people, i cant believe no one is willing to step up and try to get something started. We need more tournament and less lazy people to help out with everything.
Lots of solid points so far... HAVE TO keep the Am level. One comment I saw hit it hard, the AM tournaments help support the Pro ones. I know thats how our club runs on a basic level. But we also make sure the Ams are getting something in return. Our handicap weekly surcharges support both the yearly regional sanctioned pro/am event and the actual club for things like bag tags, membership parties, added prizes in tournaments for club members etc.
The other best point made was "hook the youth". More youth in sport gives those peple more time to turn on more friends as they grow when social circles are developed. The Orlando Disc Golf Club is currently working with all the regional Cub Scouts to have events for awareness and teaching of the sport. Additionally, we are also arranging to hold rec seminars at one of the local after school programs. And we always make sure we have junior and rec divisions in our major tournaments and give every participant something during awards.
Pay to play or not...yes both. Nicer courses for pay, local government ones for free.
To grow the overall sports money - the first thing thing you can do (and the PDGA is making great strides in this) is support the larger national sponsers that HAVE already supported the sport. Think about all the national sponsors like Microtel and Woodchuck Cider and promote/use/buy thier products, even if it cost a little more. And more inportantly, if you have an opportunity to contact those sponsors or correspond with them, thank them for contributing to disc golf.
Qualified people - I think that well over half of my Board have college degrees and some of them have masters. We represent all sections of society and come together to support our sport.
We are doing good things, just need to keep them going.
Zach Clark said:
I agree i think this sport needs to hit the main stream and get big. I would to do anything to help the sport expand and get bigger. Disc golf is all i do and think about everyday and the same goes for alot of other im sure. There are some unbelievable players out there that deserve to be noticed but just aren't and thats to bad. Look how many players are in the pdga and all the rec players out there there is tons of people, i cant believe no one is willing to step up and try to get something started. We need more tournament and less lazy people to help out with everything.

I think the last thing any of us really want is for disc golf to hit the mainstream and get big. I enjoy playing Worlds and Nationals. No way I'm getting into either if ther are 100X more tournament players. You can walk up to Feldberg and get his autograph at a tournament. Try walking up to Tiger. I once got a pro world champion to give a lesson to my junior league simply by asking. This stuff doesn't happen in mainstream big time sports.

Disc golf will get big time eventually. It's a cheap, fun game to play and its growing rapidly. 40 or 50 years from now when it is big time, these will be the good old days.
Part of me lines up with Bruce on this. Part of me wants us to go big time, too, though, since we've already gotten to enjoy being part of the 'good old days' - I look at it this way, if disc golf does go big time then we have had the privilege of playing in these Golden Years.

Now, if I were 20 years old and 1000-rated, I'd be wanting to start raking in the dollars and be quite frustrated.
Stork and I were talking the other day that even if we got instant widespread visibility because some high profile celebrity(Will Smith, Tom Cruise, Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus) was really into disc golf and promoted it everywhere, we don't have the courses in the central parts of our major metro areas for new young players to check it out. That will hurt us now and in the long run compared to sports where facilities are available in major population centers like basketball, baseball, football and even soccer. The property just isn't there whether for public parks or building P2P courses except possibly for failing golf courses in those areas.
Ball Golf courses are not necessarily "in the central parts of our major metro areas for new young players to check it out." When people want to golf, even hack players, drive to the course wherever that may be. They don't need to be in the epicenter of a city. When you are in another city you look up a course to play at same as we avid discers do when we are in a different area. Last month my friends and I were playing at Riverside Park in Grand Rapids, MI. When we got to hole 4 there were three older players dressed in business attire carrying two discs each.. When we asked them to play through they thanked us and explained they were on lunch. I could see the disc golf course turn into a good place in the future to take colleagues that share that interest with the way the sport is growing. In my home town they have put a short 18 hole course in at the rec/workout center facility, and down the road from that there is a subdivision that built a small course in their private park/playground area for the kids to play. I believe that that kind of trend will bring more interest and credibility to our sport than some celebrity nut job seen playing disc golf, as you know it will be just be seen as "playing frisbee golf" "Frolf" "hippie golf"...etc.
I think it make disc golf a biggie some big sponser is going to have to step up to the plate . the pdga, innova discraft or somebody is going to have to convince some rich dude or casino or trump to put up 1,000,000 buckeroos and have a superbowl weekend tournament with the best 20 world players invited to partake .......... complete live espn coverage with the winner crowned and the pot shared up proportionally ............ make it like the lions and the slaves in the roman coliseum ........... go big and get attention ........... any of you rollers out ther know of any promoters willing to take it on? ......... all it takes is one coke or pepsi or budweiser to say yes.
Prophetic words about "the pot being shared." Such an event might involve drug testing. Are we ready for that?
its not me or boom boom that would be playing, the question is are the top 20 players in the world ready for that? if they are not, im sure for a chance at a good chunk of 1,000,000 they could be in about a month.
I don't know...I'm still not personally convinced. That $1,000,000 could build over 100 solid courses out there (assuming no land acquisition costs)...and those 100 courses would probably have as much (or MORE) of a chance at helping to grow our sport as having one tournament where a few elite get their fat pay day...be it on ESPN The Ocho or not. None of those courses would be places the elite players would likely be caught "slumming" on...but for the 95+ percent of the rest of us, they would do just fine. Give a great course designer like Chuck Kennedy his fat pay day to design those 100 courses rather than lining a few players pockets. :-) I have zero doubt that the positive impact on the sport would be higher/greater in the end than any one tournament might have...

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