I know this discussion has been hit on before, but i need to vent a little bit more on this subject. Being a current PDGA member, a co-TD, and a certified official I feel as though I have the right. I am really confused about one thing. Why Professional disc golfers are allowed to play in advanced events if there rating is below a 970? I do not see the reasoning behind this decision. My rating varies as so do my scores. Currently it is 908. I personally choose to play in the advanced division as I believe it should make me a stronger player. The Pdga mission statement says something to the effect of growing the sport. I don't see it that way. Adding the novice division was a joke. The division that should have been added is the" I refuse to go pro" advanced division with a rating starting at 951. The intermediate division from 900-950. the rec division for anyone below a 900 AND anyone wishing to play that is not a CURRENT PDGA member. This keeps the baggers who should be playing pro from the loop hole of not renewing their membership and playing in whichever division they choose. The PDGA wants this sport to grow. How? More pro golfers are what this sport needs. More pro golfers are what is going to get the big dollar sponsors. Letting them stay in the am field is the pdga's way of growing the sport? Maybe i am not seeing it the way they do. I do appreciate what these volunteers do for us. on the other hand I do not agree. Or are they volunteers. I should have done a little research on this but, do the PDGA board members collect a paycheck? From the 08/09 finacial report it shows board and committees $28,791. This to me looks like expenses only and they do not collect a paycheck. Just reinbursements. Personnel, $328,036. This is for office staff, accountants, and consultants. Doesn't look like a very wealthy income to me. It seems as though they must really like their job. So thank you for all your hard work. It is appreciated. one rule that i do agree with is the am's playing pro. am's are allowed to accept merchandise in lieu of cash. I like this rule with the intent of the player wanting to go pro, but is waiting to play World's before he moves up. If he so chooses to stay and play advanced after worlds has passed, i do not agree with. Yet under the current guidelines this is perfectly legal. Honestly if I didn't need to be current to run events for the PDGA, i would not renew my membership. I don't see the point when the little guy doesn't have a voice. The ams are the ones that keep this sport alive and yet everything is catered to the pros. The ams buy most of the gear. The ams buy most of the plastic. The am tourneys are always at full capacity. Even with $1500 added cash I have seen pro events not come anywhere near filling. Sad but true. Is there a place where current pdga members can read or listen to actual pdga board meetings and what is actually discussed? I would be quite intrigued to know what is actually being discussed and voted on. I also would like to know how a member could bring something up for vote. I am guessing but you probably have to go through your state representative and not talk to your board members directly. Kind of like our governments smoke and mirrors game. Enoough with the rant. Please do not turn this into a smoker/ non-smoker battle. I would like to hear some feedback from every type of player. Pro,Advanced, intermediate and rec players. The baggers can also voice their opinion if they so choose. Again thanks to everyone involved with the PDGA for all of their work. All of your time that you put towards making the PDGA what it is. Thank you. I still do not agree with everything but, I still support you.
I agree with you 100% in your comments about Ams. Up here in Minnesota, disc golf is VERY popular. About 5% of the world's courses (according to the PDGA directory) are found in our State...and it is a 12-month community and sport here, even if we do have to wear about four extra layers of clothes and quick slide the gloves on and off between shots in January/February. :-)
That said, I'm not sure we have a "bagger" problem here per se...but we DO definitely have a situation where we cater most of what we do towards the 5-10% (top players) instead of to the 90-95% out there who are the very life-blood and future of the sport. How many of the top players are even buying their own plastic, gear or swag? It's the Ams that are keeping a lot of the vendors and organizations in business, so I wish more were being done to serve their needs and wants.
What we did here in Southern Minnesota to try and help is form a discgolfersR.us-like site just for our region (South Zone - www.smdga.com)...where the focus and priorities are about polar-opposite of the norm. Ams make up the VAST majority of the members (134 and counting). Ams make up most of the chatter on the site and most of the attendance at our full calendar of events (approximately 30-35 tournaments/year). Open/Advanced are respected and given their due...but they also go out of their way to serve their Am brethren as well.
It's just a really good, healthy vibe...kind of like the missing "Yin" to the pre-existing "Yang" that is the PDGA and our State organization. Several folks at our State-level organization don't like what we're doing as they seem to feel it is in "competition" with HQ. However, we don't see it as competition at all...but rather filling the void that we all had wished they (and the PDGA?) had been serving.
We've got a few 'baggers, just like everybody deals with! However, most of it is sincerely unintentional...where new people expected the competition to be a lot more advanced (again, not used to much more of a heavy Am/Rec presence at events). I love it though...EXACTLY what I wish other regions in the State/country were doing as well.
Ironic you would think the Board is Pro biased when the reality is it is more Am biased if anything. But then we don't really have ams or pros in this sport but simply players who are playing for each other's entry fees. The better skilled players split their entry fees for cash prizes. Not really a pro style living. The lesser skilled divisions split up their entry fees for pretty big merch prizes. Not really an amateur scene either. The fact the PDGA even "allows" big merch prizes paid to ams is a much bigger bias than anything else in the favor of Ams.
When looked at from the framework that our core division stucture has pretty well defined skill breaks, the fact that some divisions happen to be labeled ams and some pros is fairly artificial other than most pro divisions include better skilled players than most am divisions. Of course I said "most" divisions in both cases. However, there's that overlap area between 935 and 970 where players have the same skill level but some usually play for cash and some play for merch. Two sides of the same coin for payout - one side plastic and one side metal.
The Novice division should become the biggest division in the PDGA based on the skill level of all disc golfers. That is until the next new division below Novice is created which actually has even more players out there, that is if the PDGA follows its mission to grow the sport. Where the Novice diviision is offered, it has become the largest division with over 60 players in Illinois events that support it. The fact that the PDGA currently has more members in the 900 range indicates we have work to do to bring the bigger part of the skill pyramid into the competition umbrella rather than continue to feed the lump in the snake around 900. That would really be growing the sport and the recent Sumit meeting supports that Mission for the future.
Now who's worried about a 938 geezer like myself who's allowed to play Advanced once in a while when there's no GM or Master Pro division?
908 playing in advanced? no wonder you feel the way you do. The pdga has the ratings and levels you should be playing in clearly laid out. If you have the lowest rating in your division, you will most likely finish around the same. Most people crying" bagger" are the ones who are in the wrong division. Drop to am and see if its a blow out at your next tournament,its the division the pdga recommends for you.
I DISAGREE 100%!!! It is that type of thinking that is actually hurting the sport not helping it. I just had a discussion recently with Chuck Kennedy about this exact thing. Which is why I am glad that he chimed in with his thoughts. You an I pay yearly dues to the PDGA yet people like you constantly try to do things your way. You pump your local players to believe that they are way better than they actually are. This goes on here in Louisville and has for many years. It is people like you that are trying your best to fatten your pockets but you are going about it the wrong way. You can't have a reputable sport if the there are 2000 even 1000 Pro's. Pro means the "best of the best" the Elite of the sport. There are roughly 600 touring Pro's worldwide right now. There is no need to add even more. Come on man!!! You of all people should know this, especially with a moniker like NASCAR Mike. The guys in NASCAR survive on 43 pro's. Pro Golf does not have more than maybe 350 Pro players, yet they survive. So why do you and others always think that there should be tons of Pro's?
So this is my idea of how to get the sport to grow. Deal with the fact that the REC and Novice classes pull in 100's of players at every tournament. If you can get each and every tournament to draw in say 200 for those 2 classes, soon enough you "Select" few Pro's will have a gallery during your Final 9. With full galleries comes money!!! With full galleries comes advertisement, and revenue. Not by having everyone in the sport be your "Donation" to more prize money. I refuse to donate any more money to the pockets of those who are 10 times better than I am.
Now take the All Star Weekend for example, a local tournament to be held next weekend. This Advanced class is the laughing stock of the PDGA and the values they set forth. I won't call these pre registered players out by name but I will give you there ratings. Remember that this is the Advanced class(you know the Upper Elite of the Am's)
This is a JOKE!!!!
I am currently 892 and am playing REC where the PDGA ratings system suggests I play. Yet 4 of the 7 players signed up are rated less than me? So why is this happening? This is why...........
3 baskets to top 3 advance,4th and 5th place receive innova bags-
1st place int. wins a basket 2nd and 3rd place receive innova bags
1st place rec. wins a bag, 1st place am women wins a bag
*****all baskets discatcher sport********
This was also posted by one of the clubs members............
Re: All Star Weekend
Postby themick on Fri Apr 10, 2009 5:26 pm
we wanted to see people step it up and play higher divisions. it seems like int. and rec. are full of more baggers than any, so step it up and get paid its just like adding money to the open div. everybody does that. so we wanted to try it.
All I can say is keep doing this and you are only hurting the sport. When there are more 50% more people signed up for REC and Novice than all other divisions combined and you screw them with the worst prizes your Pro and Advanced guys will soon start suffering as well!!!!!!!! Because it is only pissing off those who keep this sport running!!!!
Chuck and the rest of the folks at the PDGA are smart enough to see this yet the rest of you somehow can't figure it out.
GET A CLUE!!!!!!
first off, lets clarify the fact that this guy says i'm trying to fatten my pockets. LIAR! I do not make any money on any disc golf related event that i have a part planning. That is an insult to me considering My sponsorship dollars and the time and money i spend to have successful events. The fact that you even say this would provoke a fight if you said it to my face. Idiot. As far as Nascar goes, there are many more than 43 pro drivers. There are many race teams turned away every week because they did not qualify for the race. Do a little research before the poo starts flowing out of your mouth.
As far as our payouts, come to an event and posted is the payout. 50% of every am field is payed out. Players packs are provided and the club picks up the cost on this. The club picks up the bill to feed the competitors. the club picks up the cost of the trophies. All this is done thru sponsorship. This way all entry fees, besides PDGA fees go towards payout. I am sure other places people make money running events. HERE, we do not.
By the way did you notice that i actually support the PDGA. Did you notice that I thanked them for what they do. I know what its like to not have everyone agree with your decisions. That is why I have the right to voice my opinion.
Just wanted to add a little bit more.
You say that the PDGA promotes "Baggers". No actually the PDGA promotes those dumb enough to pay $100 to enter into the Open/Pro class a chance to redeem themselves and play where they belong. Why would you want to come place in the bottom 5 every time you go play? Why would you artificially fatten the pockets of those who are truly PRO? Is it so you can run back to all if your friends and say "I played Pro"? Some of you playing really have inflated Ego's!!!!!! I played in the BG Am's as an Advanced player because of this type of thinking. I placed 135th out of 142. Why would I ever play Advanced again? Why would anyone want to finish this far down the list? I won't ever do this again, I want to WIN!!! Not lose. So I know play that so called "Bagger" class REC, where my 892 rating says I belong.
Now back to the how to grow the sport. The PDGA is smart enough to see that you grow a sport from the bottom not the top. They need to add yet another division, say a "Beginner" division one lower than even the Novice players. That way you give those carrying 3 discs around your local courses a place to play. There are way more of those type players than those of us carrying bags, yet they are virtually forgotten about. Keep in mind that those are the guys buying merchandise. Not your upper tier Pro's. Take Golf, you know the sport we model ourselves after for example. There are millions of golfers worldwide. Yet only 350 people play Pro golf. They were smart enough to build from the bottom up. Allow those people who will never get close to an under par round to play in your weekly scrambles. Those people buy more golf merchandise than any other player, those golfers fill your galleries at pro events, those golfers keep the advertising companies on there toes when it comes to advertisement.
One more time GET A CLUE PEOPLE!!!!!!!!
You obviously never have played a am ball golf event. The U.S.G.A. ( governing body for ball golf ) uses handicaping to prevent ams from sand bagging. Handicapping is the best way to prevent sandbagging. Oh and you need to get a clue, do your research. There are way more than 350 pro ball golfers. Ever heard of club pros or how about the european tour, champions tour, even the nike tour,pepsi tour etc. Before writting about things you do not know about, educate yourself.
There's not the PDGA side and your side - just disc golf. The PDGA supports all "sides" with rules, technical standards, competition formats, promotion, course development and an official body that public officials and the media can reference to provide credibility as a sporting activity. But only a small percentage support the org despite the support if provides to the whole community.
I've been involved in over 100 course development projects as have many PDGA members all over the world. There are no sides when all players go and enjoy those courses. Most will never know the people who installed them for their enjoyment. At the basic level, there are no sides, just no credit given by some who artificially see sides.
William Burroughs said it best-
"Hustlers of the World unite! There is only one mark you cannot beat- the mark inside."
Sandbagging is the result of people afraid to test themselves against better competition or that simply have a need to win, win, win. IMO the PDGA as an organization doesn't promote AMs over Pros or vice versa. They're stated function is fairly well laid out by Chuck Kennedy in one sentence. Promotion of standards and the game itself. Everyone that thinks the PDGA to be evil and that its' mission is counterproductive to the betterment of the game should meet the very folks that have been volunteering their time and money for the good of the game for the PDGA. I have, and %90 of them are earnestly attempting to improve the game. I certainly don't agree with some of the changes being made but, I fully support the fact the change is being made. I am proud to call myself a member (even if I don't always play or become current) that pays for the privilege of having my butt kicked by "better" players. The road to perfection is bumpy, ain't it? BTW the original post is wondering what can be done about these Baggers and the reduction of fees and prizes for the lower divisions seems a reasonable approach. Any better ideas out there?