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Day After Thanksgiving Ace Race

The Ann Arbor club - Ann Arbor Area Disc Indeuced Sports Club (a3disc) - has been holding an Ace Race, affectionately called "The Original Ace Race," for nearly 20 years. It is always on the day after Thanksgiving.

We promote it as a great way to spend Black Friday - that is, a great way to NOT spend the day after Thanksgiving shopping at the mall! (Here at www.DiscGlfersR.us, we recommend purchasing as many holiday gifts as you can from disc golf vendors, many of whom carry stuff that can be nice gifts even for non-disc golfers.)

It's a lot of fun and somewhat easy to run, compared to a regular tournament, so I am going to describe some pertinent parts of it here and see what suggestions for improvement and ease of management others can offer.

Entry Fee & Prizes

Most of the entry fee is put into a pot that is distributed among all of those in competition. A portion of the entry fee stays with the club for expenses and investment in local courses. Some years we've had more than $1,500 distributed among several competitors who got aces during the ace race. I think that last year we charged $20, of which $15 went into the ace pool. We've had upwards of 120 competitors at a single event.

In addition, the club donates a bunch of discs, as do other sponsors like (often) Discraft. People who are competing also bring in extra discs for, ahem and apolologies to America's 44th president, Barack Obama, "weath redistribution." The discs (and other items) go into what is called the "dot pot," which is shared among those who "hit metal" on a drive.


We use orange wire flags and spray paint to mark even-shorter tees on longer holes, so that most every thrower has a chance to reach the basket on a drive.

We try to schedule the start so that we can get through two rounds of 18 and still leave time for those who want to put together a doubles round later can still have some daylight. (And the folks who win can maybe go do some shopping!)


We have 18 large cards at registration. As players pay, we randomly note their names on cards, rotating them so that large goups of buddies can't end up on the same card—which causes some people to think of potential for cheating: "Hey, that hit the pole, didn't it guys," wink-wink.

We accept donations of discs at registration also, making sure that someone notes who makes donations so that they can be recognized appropriately. Some people bring even a single disc to donate, like I said, this is a redistribute the wealth tournament all the way.


At the beginning of play, the person listed first on the card throws first, then the second, then the third. At the next hole, the first thrower is the person listed second, then third. At the next hole, the first thrower is the person listed third, then fourth, etc.

Only drives are allowed; one shot per hole. It violates the rules to throw any addition shots. If by some chance a player forgets and throws a second shot that makes any metal noise at all, that player forfeits their next throw. (Listening for metal hits is an important part of the game and extraneous noise can harm fair play.)

The two rounds of 18 follow each other without any break between rounds. Players can briefly pick up food and drink from their cars as they go past Hole 1.

Each ace is noted on the scorecard with an "A" and each "dot," that is each metal hit, is recorded with a dot marked by the thrower's name.


During play, the items in the "dot pot" are counted out so that we know how many there are. If circumstances permit, they are laid out on the grass in a pattern that lets players wander around the outside edge of the prizes area to see what they might want when it is their turn.

After the cards are turned in, the number of Aces is recorded and verified, as well as the number of "dots." Then the prizes are awarded. Some prefer to do the dots first, others the Aces first. I think doing the Aces first gets more excitement from the crowd, but it may be easier to do the dots while someone counts and recounts the cash very accurately.

Anyway, those who get Aces get the money split. If there are 6 Aces and $1,200 then each Ace is worth $200, even if one person has more than a single Ace.

Doing the "Dots"

We add up how many people had how many dots. Some may have 5-6, others none. In a rotating sequence that starts with those who had the most, each person gets to quickly pick the prize for their "first" dot. For those with a single metal hit, that'll be it. For those with several, they'll get several picks, depending on how many prizes there are. Be sure to have enough prizes so that each dot gets one; often we have enough so that a single dot can end up with more than one prize as we rotate through the selection.

That's it. You might find it fun to do one of these. And, if you don't win money on Black Friday, I suggest staying away from the mall! Actually, I suggest that no matter what: Go spend money at disc golf retail 'bricks and mortar' stores and shops, or online.

Last updated by Terry "the Pirate" Calhoun Oct 27, 2008.

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