I read somewhere that amateurs will be able to cash in at a pro tournament, and not endanger their amateur standing. Is this true? What was the reasoning behind this decision, and how does everyone feel about it ?
When I started playing disc golf, there was only one division. I never had the chance to play in an amateur division. When the PDGA started to break down the field, I didn't like it. The reasoning (or lack of reasoning) was that new players should have to pay their dues the way the rest of us had. Even if they were only contributing to a purse that they had no chance of winning. As I got older and smarter, I realised that building a larger "pro field" was best accomplished by helping the newbies to have a good time. A large part of that was to make sure that they had something to play for. Everything worked well for a long time, but now I see advanced ams taking prize packages that seem to me to be nothing more than "cash in plastic". Most of the winners already have more discs than they could use in 10 seasons, so they sell off their winnings as fast as they can. This process is also discouraging the top ams from turning pro. Watching pros buying stock from baggers with the cash that they just won has caused me to rethink my possition again. If we can't come up with prizes other than discs, I don't think that this problem is going to be solved any time soon. One idea that I have heard is to give the ams larger trophies. I don't like it, but it's an idea. My favorite solution, at least until I read a few replies to this, is to pay the ams in GIFT CARDS. Choosing the right retailer is important to making this work. Giving away a disc is a crapshoot anyway. No TD can know what model or weight is ideal for every am player, or what the finishing order is going to be. A gift card to a disc retailer helps to promote the sport in a tiered fashion. The retailer gets promotion at a relavent event. With this in mind the TD should be able to get the cards at a discoount. The player gets to order the disc that best suits his needs. Sure, they could still be sold for cash at the event, but I'll bet that most wouldn't . As far as amateur standing is concerned, I believe that more baggers would turn pro if they knew that they weren't going to be able to make as much cash as a pro by selling off their prizes. This would help cull the top of the amateur field. The money saved by the tourney means that the TD can pay further down the pro field, and everybody's happy. Wasn't that easy! I am looking forward to reading some better ideas than this one.
To answer the question; Ams can play in the Pro division without losing their Am status as long as they don't take any cash. Up until this year they had to play for Trophy Only if they wanted to play in the Pro divisions. That meant the cash slipped down one spot and one player got pleasently suprised with last cash. This year the PDGA is allowing Ams playing Pro to not only win a trophy but to take his cash winnings in schwag. I think this system will work to grow the Pro division. There is an incentive to step up and see what one can do in the Pro division without losing one's Am status
Having played AM the last four years, I've seen what you're talking about happen many times. I've won my share of plastic, and as you said, most of it is stuff I don't want or need, so I've found ways to turn it into things I can use.
I think AM players should be playing for trophies ... period. I would have been happy on every occasion of being in the top of my division to have won a "nice" trophy. I have several of them now, and I enjoy displaying them MORE than any of the plastic or other stuff I have won. I stress the word "NICE", because if an AM is only playing for the trophy, I think it should be something they are proud to display.
From what I have seen and experienced here in CO, I think that giving out plastic for some TD's is cheaper than giving out nice trophies. Often plastic given out has been left over discs from previous tournaments with tourney stamps, or discs that the TD cannot sell easily. I can honestly say that I have never played to win plastic ... I always look forward to winning a trophy.
2007 was my last year playing AM. I registered with the PDGA to play Pro this year. I'm not moving up because I've won a lot of tournaments, I'm moving up because I believe I will learn more, and that I have the skill and confidence to play Pro golf. I have a lot to learn, and I need to develop a more consistent game ... who better to learn that from than the pro players who are my age?
I'm almost 50, have a good job and make a good living, I'm willing to pay a little more in entry fees to play with the best players and learn how to be a better golfer.
I'm a newbie but I totally agree, if your AM you shouldn't win prizes, you should win trophies or ribbions, then when you turn PRO, that's when you when cash and prizes. This would make the really great Advanced AM's get off the buns and go PRO, if they wanted to make any money at Disc Golf. LOL, I suck so bad that I'll be happy to become a "bagger" in the Recreational Class so I'm just a "contribuator" to the fund. It just seems that a $500 plastic grab is like cash, you sell off the disc, ect. you don't want to newbies like ME and get CASH!.
Ball golf tournaments always have a pro-am day on Wednesday. The ams pay to play with pros. The pdga needs to use this to add to the pro purse. Ams need to only win trophies. If they want to profit from what has been created by the pros they need to go pro. When I got my first am win, in my 4th attempt the general rule in Austin was that you would turn pro. I was already masters age(35 then) and that led to the beginning of the masters division in Texas in 1986. The advanced am division was a mistake.