I am for the two meter rule, thats one of the challenging aspects of the game. I dont believe the TD should have the power to change the rules. Standardization of the rules is key to true respect of the game, in my opinion.
The Two meter rule has been debated for many years. I used to be a strong advocate for the rule but have changed my opinion.
The rule says that any disc suspended above the playing surface by 2 meters (6 feet, 6 inches) or more is given a one stroke penalty. The rule has been modified so it is now TD optional. So a Tournament Director can use the rule or not and can apply it selectively ( use it only on one tree on one hole , for example).
In a golf round the player who throws the best should get the best score. So rules should emphasize skill and minimize luck. The two meter rule penalizes a disc stuck in a tree (other places too but mostly trees).
We almost never purposely throw into a tree. We try to avoid trees. If a tree is smacked the results are unpredictable but usually negative. So a shot which hits a tree is a mistake by the thrower. And it makes sense that a mistake would get penalized by the rules. That is where the rule came from.
But trees are arbitrary creatures. They only catch some shots and not others. Actually they only catch a small percent of the shots they touch. And there is little correlation between how bad the shot is and whether it gets caught.
Now not all trees are the same. Some are hungrier than others. The evergreen types are especially hungry but let's set those aside for a moment because they are a special case. For most trees we could throw a hundred shots at the tree and be totally unable to predict which ones will stick and how high off the ground they will stick. So the penalty does not apply to bad shots so much as bad, unlucky shots.
For the evergreen, pine, cedar, Christmas family of trees, there is a different consideration. They catch more discs than other trees but they also grow thicker and lower to the ground than most trees. Since we must play a disc directly below where it comes to rest the evergreen trees already give a substantial penalty on the next shot. The penalty is not a stroke but a difficulty factor.
When the two meter rule was created the game was in its infancy. Discs did not fly as far and courses were much shorter. Now we have long holes that bend around blind corners. So now there are times where all we are doing is throwing as far and hard as we can and must throw pretty high to punch through windows. A shot which hits a tree is not a bad shot, it is the only realistic option we have and every good player will attempt the same line.
So the penalty is luck based. Poor luck is punished and good luck is not. Some have argued that luck evens out. Sure but not during a short period of time. During a critical junction in a final round one player gets punished and the other does not. The guy who got lucky will have his disc stick sometime, too, but probably the next day in a practice round where it doesn't matter.
It is sort of like poorly designed baskets which kick out some perfect putts. In a skill-based world the baskets would reward good shots but not poor ones. If we could choose between good baskets and bad baskets we would take good baskets because we are playing golf not Roulette.
I served on the PDGA Board of Directors for several terms. During those years the BOD voted on Rules modifications during a major revision. The hottest single issue was the 2 meter rule. We kept it alive, over the recommendations of the Rules Committee to kill it. I lead the charge to keep it. That was in 1997. Since then I have paid particular attention to how the rule affects tournament results, including, of course, my own. Until the latest revision of rules allowing TD option on the 2 meter rule, the rule has been brutal to me. No doubt mocking me for my poor judgment. But not just me. A one stroke victory or loss in a division is not uncommon and I have seen the 2 meter rule determine too many contests.
I was on the final hole in a tournament at Hudson Mills (Ann Arbor, Michigan) and held a one stroke lead in the Pro Masters division. Playing on hole #18 Original, a 450' righty hyzer around a corner, my closest opponent threw a marginal drive which would require an exacting upshot to save par. I was afraid of the 2 meter rule, having been burned by it and there is a good sized Christmas tree on the corner of the dogleg. So I threw the safest shot I could envision, a forehand roller. Yep, you can see this coming. There is a thin little tree next to the big Christmas tree. My roller hit the thin little tree and rolled straight up it, then vaulted into the Christmas tree and stuck 15 feet high. That was the match.
I admit one odd result is not reason enough to scrap a rule and the result is equally unfair whether it helped or hurt me. I just know there is a little bit of voodoo in this rule.
Trees have always been a part of disc golf, let's talk about buildings. I've played MANY courses where the small buildings r OB, yet the 2 meter rule for a tree is NOT. I don't mind being in a true OB area, punnishment for a bad shot, being in a tree and taking a stroke, unlucky when ALL the members in the group hit the same tree and only one sticks OB. All or nothing.
I'm old school and always in favor of the two meter rule. It's always in effect for the minis I run. If you don't have a safe lie because you can't climb trees or maintain your balance once you do get up in the tree, it should be a penalty, just like if it's surrounded by a water hazard. Sometimes on the course, my opinion varies.
The 2-meter rule is always strictly enforced in San Diego, at least at Morley Field, so I was surprised when I was playing at La Mirada and a local told my buddy that he didn't have to take a penalty for getting stuck in one of the trees. It just seems weird to me that "house rules" applies to a sport that is trying to be taken more seriously these days. I actually like the rule and its intent, but I would rather see it not apply at all than applying it sporadically.
I spoke with the TD at La Mirada and asked why they don't enforce the 2 meter rule. He explained that, on that course, hitting the tree is penalty enough. A course like Morley field has enough trees near baskets that you could potentially get stuck in a tree and still make par with the penalty, so it makes sense. At La Mirada the chances of making a par after hitting a tree are slim, let alone getting stuck in one.