It's like this. You play at a public ball golf course. It's fun yeah, it's cheap of course but look at the amount of people you're trying to play through cause you have groups stacked in front. Now go play a private or hell a semi private course and look at the ease of play. The ability to play multiple rounds because you can make it around the course faster. I love my home course. It's a true test of skill. Filled with risk and rewards and the local club is on top of it when it comes to maintenance. However it's always packed with the casual players which I have nothing against. I love that people are playing the sport that I love. However sometimes their etiquette is lacking. They leave trash on the benches cause there is not a trash can at that tee. Or you have the massive group of 7 that doesn't know the polite thing is to let the small group of 3 play through. So yes I would pay to play, but I would have to get my money's worth. A pro shop, snack bar etc... And the course would have to be AWESOME.
I would pay, for sure! The way I feel is that if it the money i pay goes to the maintenance of the course then its worth it. There is nothing worse then having to play a course that has not been trimmed in over three years!
I don't think I would likely pay to play more than tournament fees for two primary reasons:
1. Money. I used to drop probably $2,000/year playing ball golf. Then I had kids, and I just couldn't afford it. What attracted me to disc golf are the same things that attracted me to ball golf, only with the added "bonus" features of being cheap to play and MUCH, MUCH more environmentally friendly. I'm spending several hundred/year on tourneys, gas (travel) and equipment as it is...so if I had to pay $2-$5/round to play on top of that, my 200+ rounds/year would sink me into the poor-house.
2. Honestly? I like hanging with the "huckers" playing shirtless in seven-somes out on the course. Those are the folks who have absolutely ZERO interaction with groups like a state Association or the PDGA, but who can grow/evolve into some excellent players with the proper encouragement and exposure. If I were hiding out on a private course specifically to avoid interacting with those types of players, that would be one less opportunity for those players to be introduced to the State orgs or the PDGA in the disc golf community. Truthfully too, I selfishly prefer to play with people who "keeps it real" instead of having 60 discs in their bag and taking 3-4+ minutes to take their friggin' shot. Some people take themselves W-A-Y too seriously out on the course. :-P
I would pay from $5 to $10 a round if the course had multiple tee pads, concesion, CLEAN RESTROOMS , and was a designed like a ball golf course in the manner that the first, nineth, tentht, and eighteen holes all were designed together. IMO that's the biggest thing holding disc golf back, money!! Lake Russell in northeast Georgia is and excellant and very challenging design. Disc will not grow without money, lots of it.ZMAN.
I agree with most of the comments. If the course was well maintained and their were other benefits, then sure I'd pony up a few bucks. Some of the courses around me are in parks that require a yearly membership or a daily rate to use the park. So I have paid. Also a few years ago somebody got the idea of putting up a pay disc golf course.....ugh, what a waste. Imagine the course from Caddyshack 2 set up for disc golfers. It had rings, and other obstacles you had to throw through, around to get to the holes. It was a nightmare, and not really much fun at all. Lasted about two months and it was gone, Thank God.
i would not have a problem paying a small fee to play. as long as it went toward replacing tee signs and baskets when they break or when people vandilize them. And to help with cost of putting in new courses. there are some nice parks to play disc golf in here in fort worth but there is some people dont respect them like they should. I would like to one day buy property around my home town Lipan or Granbury and put a 9 or 18 basket course.
The courses in my area are overrun with casuals during nice weather evenings and weekend afternoons. I stopped playing leagues in public courses during summer weeknights years ago because of the frustration of dealing with huge, mob, groups of folks who show no respect to the game or the course. A 4 or 5 hour round is obnoxious in a tournament but completely unacceptable on a Tuesday night. It is one thing to wait for players who are trying their hardest to play well in a tournament and are slow (although we know going very slow does not make them better, just slower) but it is another thing to wait because a group of 15 or 20 are screwing around, don't care and won't let anyone play through. Thank goodness I have friends who have private courses.
When a group has boom boxes, baby strollers, dogs, 3 times as many beers as discs and no one who can throw 200 feet you know it is going to be a slow wait. You don't even get to watch any good shots. And by sitting in one place you are the designated feast for the ravenous mosquito population.
I live within a half hour of 5 courses and within an hour of a dozen. When Hudson Mills (Ann Arbor) started charging $2 a day to play, many locals were incensed by this, refused to pay it and instead went to Kensington (Milford) about a half hour north. So Kensington became even more overrun with resulting vandalism and trash problems.
I was entertained by how upset some players became at the idea of paying $2 to play. They were morally outraged. Like they had some inherent right to play for free. Maybe free disc golf is a constitutional right.
I would welcome a nice pay-to-play course. I would love to join a disc golf country club.
I hope to someday to install "private" courses.
So I do not have to suffer with the embarrassing actions of some to destroy and vandalize our public parks.
See it way too much from casual players.
I like what you said Mark:
"I was entertained by how upset some players became at the idea of paying $2 to play. They were morally outraged. Like they had some inherent right to play for free. Maybe free disc golf is a constitutional right."
How about this? It would suck if all you had nearby was a very nice, but 5$+ a round course to play. If you could have that and another (or multiples of each type) less well maintained, overcrowed hooligan course around to play when you cannot afford 5$, then I don't have a problem with that. Since I can play what I consider a top notch course for free without having to even hop in the car, I find little reason to go out and pay 2$ and 4$ in gas to go play another, spending an hour in the car on top of that.
I guess I'm with Ben. I've got seven free, entertaining DG courses within a 30 minute drive (including my baby that the city lets me go hog-wild with three blocks down the road). If somebody wants to add a private course to that mix and thinks they won't lose their shirts in the process, more power to them. I'm not probably going to support it much financially unless it is WAY better than those other free courses I can walk/drive to. However, as long as for-pay isn't the ONLY option within a 15-30 minute drive, I could live with it.
I'd still probably play the free courses 95% of the time anyway...for financial and for networking/outreach purposes. I'm not opposed to pay-for-play. I'm just opposed to the occasional "elitism" and/or country-club mentality that sometimes accompanies it. i.e. Fleeing the inner cities for the 'burbs...instead of sticking around to make the inner cities better. Same idea...just disc golf instead of overt classism and racism. ;-)
Dealing with some of the local officials make wanting to volunteer to work on the course hard to do. Goes for adding courses also. They are willing to offer some land but EVERYTHING must be done with hand tools. The land would need major clearing. I have talked with a pay to play (church camp) course further away and they are more than willing to let me work with power tools to get the job done.
The Pay to Play courses I have played on have all been more relaxing. More relaxing because I am not dealing with trash (refuse and people). The courses are not always better in design.
I see the benefit of both and I think both need to exist in this present world.