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So I have been contemplating being a pro at this day and age in the PDGA era, and I have come to some conclusions. 

 

1. We make absolutly no money to support ourselves as the pro payouts are generally terrible. 

2. Unless you tour to hit the 'big' events, don't quit your day job. 

 

Why is this? Why is ball golf supporting so many pros and disc golf is not? I have heard the no corporate sponsors bit and agree, but why is this sport so cheap for pros? 

What do you think about making the sport cheap for ams and casuals but somehow upping the ante for professionals. Start pay to play at some of the better courses and increasing entry fees substantially at tournaments. If you want to pay 40 bucks to play a tourney, play am, have fun goofing around and make open pro more serious. 

 

What does everyone think?

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Chuck,

Agree with you all the way.

The problem is the pipe dream theory.

When the tournament way back in 2001 (long time ago for the newbies on this site) we had a captive audience watching the 3 way tie playoff between Climo, McCrae & Eric Tracy.

There was approximately 100-140 some people walking around spectating.

There was the local newspaper there, and when it was all over the reporter told me that we had a bigger audience on the LPGA property than the  LPGA women ever did, during the Sprint Series there.

Now if you can disguise it right, with proper camera angles that 140ish amount of people can look like thousands milling around. Seen it done several times when working for MTV, BET & CMT during spring break at Daytona Beach for years. The camera crews pull it off with the correct editing.

Sure you remember the news clips in the 80's. Spring Break! Daytona Beach 100s of thousands came every year until the drinking age changed. And guess what, so did the "Big Time" sponsors and corporate people.

In other words you can make things more sensational than they really are.

And exposing ourselves will not draw millions to go pick up a disc and play (which generates real revenue).

The problem is getting the proper people with influence involved.

It's one thing to make an event look huge with clever editing. That's good for DVDs or news clips. However, any sponsor thinking about contributing bigger bucks will still check the real numbers. We've checked into getting a half hour show like those fishing shows you see on cable. It's available to us but we can't get the sponsor money together after talking with our manufacturers. There's lots of money in fishing gear and funding those fishing shows is a small percentage of their marketing budgets.

10 years ago called the Florida Sunshine Network (yes they are on cable) a cost for a day of shooting, editing and getting a production together.

Back then it was 50K.

I was only kidding about trying a discguised look, just making a point. (Even though its true and happens all the time, even Nascar has done it in the last 2 years. Sales are down due to a bad economy....)

Point being, no matter how many watch, which would be very few, not many new disc golfers will come from one show.

It has to be a series of events or shows. Big money. Right.

Enthusiasm has to have come from a ground swell. Now if everyone were to buy 100 or more discs each that plays, then the manufacturers might consider something ..... maybe.

Okay I'm done. Where's the fork?

Another issue with getting a true National Tour going is that the courses we play on are not ours.  For the most part they're in public parks which have to be reserved in advance and there's always the possibility that a troop of cubscouts or a wedding will have reserved a hole or two on the course.   Until we can get courses on our own land where the scheduling isn't a problem, establishing any kind of logical order to a tour is gonna be damn difficult.

 

As to coverage and spectatorship, disc golf is actually fairly hard to manage as it often winds through tight woods and such.  On most courses, there aren't that many places to PUT a large crowd.

 

On the sponsorship front, sponsors will pitch in only where they think they can make some money.  Many people get into dg precisely because it doesn't cost much money.  Hate to say it, but alot of disc golfers are either broke or cheap.  There ISN'T alot of money to be made sponsoring us.

Yeah, I got you. 
Do you think disc golf will EVER be main-stream? I can see it being on espn kinda like Billiards. You don't see it ALOT but you still know it's a big deal to players. You seem to know what youre talking about. What's your opinion?
good idea    set it up  would you
I'm onboard with you Donny...Unless you get sponsored just have fun. I only play Pro or Open. Sometimes I win, or sometimes I don't. Disc Golf is not at the pay level as golf because we are a different game. We are the game that listens to the Dead and Zepp...And have designated 'burn' holes...

All touneys should have a spectator raffle thay  is free with entry fee ticket or purchased into so  the spectators  have a chance to win , or sell raffle tiks only @nt venues for a grand prize @ the end of the year( car , vacation )  go big they say!

We need a disc golf revolution! Maybe we use the cheapness to our advantage.  Disc golf needs to become a public nuisance.  We go out and play disc golf everywhere, parks, schools, churches, in the streets!  This is what I used to do when I was a thrashing skateboarder.  We would grind rails, curbs, bumpers.  We would get as much skating in as we could knowing full knowing that we were going to be told to leave. Unfortunately piss a lot of people off, but have a great time doing it.

 

Flash foward ten years, what do you see?  100K  plus skate parks in every other city. Coverage on ESPN? I think yes.

The best thing is that people have accepted skateboarding for a legitimate sport!

Pro disc golf will NEVER be as successful as other pro sports until the pdga is purchased and managed like a business. I will use the professional bowlers assn. as an example. It was nearly bankrupt in 2000, then some NIKE and Microsoft execs purchased it and bailed it out. Then they did what rich people do best, they raised more money by selling their product. Now Lumber Liquidators sponsors the Pro Bowlers Tour. Pro bowling had a successful history and is perfect for TV, two things disc golf is not. So there it is, this is what we need....a great big check and marketing savy. Sharpie, Gatorade, Ccoa-Cola, Budweiser, McDonalds...take your pick, they're all out there and can all make us rich...good luck.

Wow, there is a lot of negativity here. I think you've got to give the PDGA the benefit of the doubt. Going mainstream requires capital, something that is sparse in a 'cheap' sport like ours. People are just starting to realize that this free model will get us nowhere fast. Take a course in a public park and compare it to a private one like Blue Ribbon Pines. For a small fee they provide an unreal course and disc golf experience. They could easily charge $7-10 and make a more reasonable profit. Public parks have their place too, but you get what you pay for. The point is we need more high-end courses to show what our sport can be.

 

Then the internet broadcasters need to take a more active role in the tournaments. I know it would slow down play, but it's tough to sell a sub par production for more than $5. If the cameras would actually follow a card for a round and convey the stories and the drama, that would be a much more valuable product. 

 

Nobody wants to hear it but disc golf is still young and small. Eventually equipment manufacturers will see that the growth of the sport is directly tied to their bottom line. Then they'll beef up their marketing displays in mainstream sporting goods stores and push greater visibility.

Until then, ask not what disc golf can do for you...

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