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You WILL IMPROVE and get Better Quicker by Moving Up. BUT, if you feel your not ready, it's your call. The one thing about this sport is people REALLY like the Sand Bagger term....
Your ready to move up.
Play Rec until your rating starts with a 9. It's a fallacy that players play better by playing up. Players get better by practicing.
If everyone would just play their rating you'd always be playing people pretty close to your skill level. First tourney I played up in I was rated rec and played int. Did pretty well and then looked online and found that everyone in the int division that tourney was rated below 900 anyway. So no one was playing any stiffer competition by playing up we just all paid an extra $5 in entry fees, Which was fine with me since I took third. :-D
Glad you figured it out Michael. Do what YOU are comfortable with! :)
If you win, or do well there are always going to be people who cry "BAGGER!" Move up when your rating makes you move up. The only reason I moved up from rec. was because I turned 50 last year and could play exclusively with guys my own age.(Advanced Grand Master)
By default, stay where your rating puts you.
Don't move up because you believe you'll improve faster, or due to peer pressure. The former is dubious and the latter is weak.
Do move up if you want to---if you like the challenge of being an underdog, or a larger division (if the case) or the particular people you'll be playing with. Heck, I used to play "up" on some long courses just to watch people throw 100' further than me (and try to beat them).
The ratings are there for a reason. They are calculated based off of multiple thousands and thousands of rounds.
I don't think that there is any one answer that will fit everyone. I know people who have moved up and it has helped them out. But it's not for everyone. Depends on your motivation.