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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.

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For the Amateurs out there who play above their rating and wonder if those who do not are sandbagging, perhaps there is another way of looking at the issue.

When the PDGA adopted the handicap rating levels as ceilings for the lower Amateur divisions, the competition landscape was forever changed. Based on the customs and practices which existed before the handicap ratings went into effect, many players knew what division they belonged in. It was the custom in some places that winning a division automatically meant it was time to move up. Win one Am 3 tourney and boom, welcome to Am 2. Win one Am 2 event and viola!, it is time for Am 1. Win one Am 1 tourney and go Pro or forever be accused of sandbagging.

But there is a new system in place. And the new system doesn't care how good you think you are. The new system doesn't care what place you finished before. The new system only cares about how well you actually threw and gives you a numerical rating.

It is a different way of looking at things but still a fair way of doing things. And every day more golfers are changing their thinking to the new way, sometimes because they are new to the tournament scene and never learned the old way.

How many times have you heard something like, "My rating says I'm a 900 rated player but I know I'm better than that." This may come as a cold splash of reality but, sorry, you really are what your rating says you are. Granted, in some fast-improving players their rating has trouble keeping up with the skills but it is only off by a few months. For the most part the ratings are accurate and no respecter of persons.

Some players can throw 1000 rated shots. This does not make them (me included) 1000 rated players. Some player can throw the occasional superb round and this, too, does not make us 1000 rated or in the world class elite.

The PDGA has chosen to define Amateur divisions by rating. We can argue with the cut lines. But until your rating tells you you belong in a division you are just masquerading there. You do yourself no favors unless your skills are expanding so quickly the ratings cannot keep up.

Being the player with the best skills in a division does not mean you will win. It means you should win. But there is a particular skill to handling the pressure of a front-runner just like there is a particular skill to handling the pressure of being the newbie in a division. You need to learn all those skills along the way. For most of us there is plenty of time to develop our progression.

For the rare phenom, they will go Pro in their first year. The phenoms don't need our help or advice.
Thats what happened to me in 1978 : " For the rare phenom, they will go Pro in their first year. The phenoms don't need our help or advice."
I agree. If everyone would play their rating...we would all get along just fine. And the AM1s that would rather play for prizes than cash would stay where they feel comfortable and the AM1s that are tired of winning plastic will go pro. Just hang in there. EVERY AM1 I have ever met who continues to win prizes after prizes after prizes eventually gets tired of winning these things and goes for the cash. Bigger and Better is Human Nature.
First, I know Mike. Mike gives to the sport.(alot) Second I don't have a problem with how Chuck puts things( I mostly agree)But,Russ you and I disagree.My opinion is the opposite of yours.I have a clue, and your verbage is insulting and weak. Now tell me again how money winning pros playing in Am. is fair ,or helps the sport.
Thanks Belli, I am not arguing with Chuck, I just have a different opinion. I do what I do locally for the sport because I love the game. Just like on this site, not everyone agrees with what I say or do. Note that I never bashed the PDGA.

On a related note, I used the link that Chuck provided to look at PDGA board minutes. Thank you. There were things discussed in these meetings that I had no idea were being worked on. Thanks for everything you are doing to grow the sport. It is nice to know that our club's meetings go similiar to the PDGA's. Not everything goes through and not everything is approved 7-0. Saw quite a few things passed with a 4-3 vote.

I could not find the area or meetings that talked about the restructure of the division point system. If anyone knows which month or summit meeting it was please let me know. Thanks.
I'm not sure you would see that in the PDGA Board Minutes. Much of the discussion on that and other issues is done within the Committees. The Board only sees the results and proposals from the Committees' work and little of the hammering out process. There are no minutes kept for the Committees that I'm aware of.
This is for Steve Belliveau

Because some of them aren't really Pro's. I know a few people who have jumped the gun so to speak. They played in the Pro division and placed just high enough to cash. So they took a measly few dollars and thats it they are pro? That doesn't make any sense, now does it. The ratings system says 970 is pro, if I'm not mistaken those above that cannot play in the Am division. So if a guy who is rated 941 plays pro and cashes should he forever be Pro? It's your type of thinking that is insulting, not mine. The PDGA set these ratings, not me. If they say above 970 is Pro than that is obviously what it is, whether you or I like it. I have played Pro before and I am 883 rated should I be considered a Pro just because i played there? So why screw someone who really isn't Pro because they had your outlook that if they cash they are Pro. They aren't really pro!!! The sun shines on a dogs rear every once in a while!!! .Besides regardless they still have to pay as a Pro when signing up for the PDGA renewal. So why not let them play as an Am every once and a while. They are Am by rating!!!!
Better yet if it offends you or anyone else, than you obviously have a huge Ego and think you are better than your rating as Mark stated. Play where you belong and we would all get a long a lot better!
There is simple solution to all of this and it is PLAY YOUR RATING! Quit thinking you are better than you really are!
I think it's interesting that ams seem to be more concerned about pros playing am than pros are. And yet pros are the ones who potentially lose "donators" in their division due to this policy. I think the pros realize that allowing lower rated pros to occasionally play am actually helps them overall. Why? Because many of these crossover players turned pro earlier than they might have done since they knew they could try out the pro division and still sometimes play am in the higher tier events until they got their rating over 970. That's what it takes to even have a chance to cash in A-tiers and higher, and then only playing your best ever golf for 4 rounds.

Here's what would happen if the policy went back to disallow the lowest rated pros to play am. These players would stay in Advanced maybe several years longer than they do now. So they would still impact the Advanced division even more than when they just occasionally crossed over to Advanced as pros. There's no chance the Advanced rating will be capped so they could stay forever. Some of these players who only play a few events a year will drop out of competition, not wanting to hear the bagger calls in Advanced and unwilling to always pay the higher pro fees.

Older pro division players, especially volunteer types like myself, could drop out since Advanced always gives me a bigger division option to enter when no other Pro GMs show up. I'll only donate in Open in Super Class and just maybe sometimes in Master. I've already donated enough time to make their disc golf lives better. Pro women would then have little alternative when no one else shows up but to do the typical one woman victory lap.
It is funny that you mention playing where your rating puts you. I see that you just started doing that. Up until this year, you competed in open, advanced, and int. All the time your rating never crested 900. Curious to know why you did this after such a strong rant about playing where your rating tells you to play. I personally play advanced because I won a few PDGA events and was always in the cash in intermediate. I got tired of hearing the bagger chants. I took second place in the Fabulous Florida tour in 2007 in the intermediate division. Whatever my rating said it was time for me to go. So I play advanced, I have yet to compete for 4 rounds. Maybe 1 or 2 but not 4. I do not enter as many events now due to money and doing more for my local club. I never said that I was better than my rating. You assume that. I play there because I choose to. I voice my opinion because I can. Just as you do. I guess things are a little different here than where you are. I noticed in one tourney this year that the rec field was the biggest division. Wow, I have never seen that here. It is always the Int. division. Usually around 40 or so. then adv. The pros usually have their own weekend and people who couldn't make the am weekend usually donate and play. I gueess with the likes of Kenny, JOhn E Mccray, Bryan Moore, Garrett Gurthie, and other Florida players these guys have no chance of cashing. So I guess there is something to be said about the class of player in said events. Thanks for your opinion, and thanks for playing your rating.
Mike, you are correct about me just starting to play my rating. The reason for this is I was on the verge of quitting the sport completely. After this years BG Am's I was pretty much done with it all. That was until I talked with Chuck and others about how ratings work. until a few months ago I had no idea. I have listened to people for several years now tell me that I belong in advanced or Pro. They do it too everyone here in Louisville and they have everyone believing they are better than they really are. They always go back to the crap about if you can throw x amount of feet or you can hit x amount of putts from inside 30 ft. you belong in x division. Well that obviously isn't true. So I am now playing my rating and have never had the competition that I do now. Everyone I have played in the past 3 events have been of my skill level. I'm not out there getting my rear handed to me every event. They suckered two newer players into playing advanced at the most recent event held over the weekend. One of them was rated 826 and the other 869. I beat both of them yet they played Advanced and got beat by 36 strokes and 44 strokes. That just doesn't make since, now does it. Why would anyone want to take that kind of abuse just because everyone pumps you to believe you are better than you are or you have an ego so big that you can't see the light. That's why I am trying to make my point that you belong playing your rating. It is essentially screwing the entire sport when people do this. It takes away from the competition when everyone is playing everywhere except where they should. Not to mention those like me who never knew about how ratings worked because you are lied to and told that ratings don't mean anything. I just feel like this has all got to stop before more people leave the sport and never come back because of a handful of people trying the best to persuade everyone that ratings don't matter. Not to mention that some of this comes from those TDing events. It's just not cool.
On a lighter note, a good friend of mine put it best.............
"you play with Pro's and Advanced all the time in casual rounds. You learn just as much from them playing casually as you do during a tournament. So if they beat you 8 out of 10 times casually, why do you want to have to play them in a tournament? Play your rating in a tournament and play people that are equal to you in skill, not way ahead in skill. Because the only thing you could possibly learn from them in a tournament is Mental Focus and that can't be taught, you just have to figure it out for yourself."
Ive been reading this thread for awhile now...interesting stuff. The whole idea of calling someone a bagger becuase they played well in the division they played in is just silly. It doesnt seem to matter who or what rating the person was, if they win their division and had the option to play in a higher division they are a bagger according to some. Which means that everyone who plays any AM division and wins is a bagger becuase they could have played AM 2, or AM1 or even Open if they choose too.
My rating for the last 3 years has hovered around the 955 area, for 2 full years all i played was open becuase my fellow discers encouraged me too, " play with better players and you will play better." thats the mantra right. So i donated at evey event i played. Did i learn anything from playing with the top Pro's.....yes....i learned that im not a very good putter...if this game was bassed soley on distance i would be rated alot higher, but unfortunetly theres the whole putting thing. I also learned that other then the first round of a NT event i dont even get to play with the top pros, after i shoot my typical 940-970 rated round, im playing with all the other donaters and im not learning a thing.
So this year i played my first AM1 event ever...Fountain hills thrills, That was hands down the radddest experience ever....did i win...no, was i a contender...yes. I learned a thousand times more about my game and my mental strength battling for a top 5 spot then i ever learned battling to crack the top 50 at an NT event. I followed that tourament up with a top ten finish at the Memorial A-teir. Again i battled from something like 35th to crack the top 10 on the last day. Is this Bagging...if so call me a bagger, but im becoming a better player, learning tournament play and mental strength, and preparing myself for turning Pro, when i will no longer be a donator, but a contender.
You rock, I would vote for you as commish.In my home state (Fl.)I don't think we have any "a" tier events anylonger.I wonder why? So if you want to be an am. don't take the money! Its wrong to accept acash payout and compete as an am. If ratings are the true test then cap the adv. too. At the worlds the top three in my div.were rated too high to play there.They could come back and do it again this year also.How can this be helping the sport?

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