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All,

This is my first blog so you'll have to excuse me. I know a blog is supposed to be several days worth of info jotted down on different days. But this is my first time and this is from 2-3 yrs of jotting it down in my memory. I'll first tell you the reason why I'm starting this blog. I've started this blog to get some things off my chest about the PDGA and the current state of Disc Golf. I'll also address Innova later on. To me, the PDGA needs to wake up and start moving this sport into the right direction. What direction is that you ask? Mainstream. We need to move foreword instead of backwards. The PDGA continues to lower the value of their membership fees. Example:No publication (big loss there, but I'll get into this later), no national tour pins (this is the first year), advertising, and no enforcement upon TD's to report results. That's just 4 examples of what irks me. But let me continue.

To encourage more people to play, who are non-members, what does the PDGA do? Charge non-members a $10 fee. I still miss the logic in this one, but since the PDGA continues to lose regions of the US to other organizations, I guess their smarter than me. I don't understand how you can penalize new comers to the sport by charging them more money. Shouldn't the PDGA be doing things to encourage enrollment? My idea would be to offer (the PDGA) a free one year membership to one non-member at various tournaments around the country. This would be a great way for them to test the waters as to what the PDGA has to offer. Too bad that it isn't much.

Now I'll get back to losing the publication. The magazine is a great concept. Some decent pictures and OK articles. But lets be real. We get the magazine once every 3 months. That's 4 issues per year. By the time I get mine, it's old news. Gee thanks for telling me about world's 2 months after it's happened! I've already read it all, or at least everything that is of interest. If your going to make a publication, make it once a month. Don't have old news or stupid interviews that ask "belly button ring or tongue ring?" Who cares? The self help articles are insightful, usually because there written by professionals, and I really like the courses and holes they show and talk about. The rest of the stuff is crap. Take a serious approach at making this a full time publication. Believe me I know what it takes since I have a degree in photojournalism and worked for a major newspaper for many years. By the way, doing a publication every 2 months is still spinning your wheels. Where's the TV time on a major network? You mean to tell me with all the money you take in you can't get ESPN, Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News or Fox Sports to cover one event for 5 mins of air time? How can the US championship of paper, rock, scissors, which had a $50,000 purse, get a 30min segment at 9pm est time on Fox sports and we can't? Rock Paper Scissors! I guess those guys at the PDGA are smarter than me.

No national tour pins: I won't spend a lot of time or thought on this one. This year would have been my 1st year of receiving one since I placed in the top 15% (points) in my home state. But guess what? The PDGA decided to do away with them this year. Why? Who knows. I guess it was to cover costs on those really cool renewal dog tags! Thanks for another small item that will get misplaced or lost among the PDGA stickers I get every year.

Advertising dollars: Where to begin with this one. Why oh why do you actually spend advertising dollars on disc golf related websites? I know, I know, because it's a disc golf web site so it makes since. So did giving 40 billion to AIG. It doesn't make sense anymore. Why? Because 9 out of 10 disc golfers know about the PDGA. The 10th guy doesn't know and doesn't care to know. Let me tell you how I found the PDGA, Google search engine, it's under disc golf. Get out of the box, cave or wherever you spend your days and start spending ad money in places where people who don't know about us can learn about us. Makes since doesn't it. How about SI.com, CBSsportsline.com. You get the picture? Right? Probably not.

Tournament TD's not reporting results: Very frustrating. I played in 4 tournament this year that never were reported. So I took my complaint to the PDGA. Guess what? There still missing. I got 1, yes 1, reply back from the PDGA. We'll look into it. That was 5 months ago. I heard that the TD at one of those events did not have a good round rating, so he decided not to report the results. Think about all those poor saps that paid the extra $10 bucks to play in a PDGA event. Guess who got the money? The TD. See the results don't get posted because the TD doesn't send in the final money. The round rating is up because he paid the sanctioning fees. Good job PDGA!

This is my last entry for now. I want to address some of the players.

First off, get a job! Stop being a leech on society. Just because your a mediocre pro or are in your 6th year of college doesn't mean sh*t! Just because you can bomb a disc 400+ feet doesn't make you a bad ass. I'm getting tired of you 20 something year old pro/adv punks that think because your good at an unknown sport that your some kind of hero or god. Don't smart off to me when I try to help or carry on a conversation with you like a human being. Don't stand behind me at an Ace throw off in northern Ohio throwing tomahawks over my head because you think your cool,I was hoping that the one disc that came close to hitting me would have.Most of you guys think your something special, I have news for you, you aren't. Get off your high horse, put down the bowl and be friendly. I would hate to put you in your place. Not really.

With that being said let me address the other 90%. Thanks for being decent hard working, tax paying contributors to society. I'm talking about the many disc golfers that work their ass off 5,6,7 days a week and come to a tournament to compete and meet some new friends. I can't mention everyone because there's too many names but I'll try. I'm talking about Brad Schick, great guy even though he throws discraft. Des and Jay Reading. Des gave my daughter a hug and didn't even know her name. 3 people that don't have to give anybody the time of day, but they do. Thanks!

That's it for now but I have plenty more. If I offended you, sorry but I have no regrets. Disc golf right now is a hobby. At the rate that it's going that's all it will ever be to anyone. I'm not just talking about a lowly AM like my self but when the sports greatest Pro is only banking $60K or less, maybe a little more, that's pretty sad. Don't get me wrong, I want the sport to be big, huge, but with an organization like the PDGA there's little hope. If your wondering why I'm a member, two reasons, A tiers and World's. So enjoy my $50 while you have it.

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Tags: PDGA, pdga

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Comment by Chuck Kennedy on January 17, 2009 at 10:13am
First, I know it might seem I'm a PDGA employee, but I'm not and never have been. I've never run for the PDGA Board nor our Minnesota Frisbee Association Board. It was only a few years ago that my business partner Roger and I got any pay for doing the PDGA Player Ratings which we had done free for 5 years before the PDGA could afford to start paying us a little bit for doing them.

The PDGA has little money and time to support much more than member services. We have had around 12,0000 active members. There are five fulltime employees working 2000 hours per year for 10,000 total. So each member gets less than an hour for all members expect the PDGA to do for them each year for $50. The PDGA staff mostly talk, email and write, mostly in member related communications and all of the outsiders who want to know about disc golf ranging from the media to Park Departments, reps from other countries and business people who want to learn how they can make money in the sport. We really should be surprised how much they do get done versus how much more we think they should do.

The reason several other things do get done is volunteers on all of the committees for rules, tech standards, education, competition, courses, disciplinary, environmental and ratings. I'm either on or head five of them so that may be why some think I'm an employee. The Super Class initiative was mine and it got done because very little time and no money was required from the PDGA. We developed it as volunteers and the PDGA "blessed" it when we got it all together to give it some publicity and legitimacy.

The point is that the value of the PDGA is coordination and communication of initiatives developed by volunteeers. They have very little extra time to do these wonderful ideas many suggest they do. I and others have a backlog of several cool ideas we've developed that the PDGA would like to do but doesn't have the resources to do them yet. So they sit in dry dock. The major overhaul in the website will eventually pay off because it had been the big bottleneck holding up several of these ideas. So expect to start seeing some cooler things once that overhaul gets completed.

As far as the $10 non-member fee, note that many sports require players to be members to play at all. Ultimate has the same $10 non-member fee for lower level events and membership required for higher levels like the PDGA. The fee is no barrier to newbies playing in competition. There are leagues and non-sanctioned events everywhere for newbies to see if they like competition. People enter PDGA events because they want a more official form of competition and they want their stats tracked. There should be no apology required from the sanctioning body to either join for those benefits or pay a small fee if you don't want to join but just play an event.
Comment by Mike on January 11, 2009 at 4:09pm
Yeah, good blog. There are many of the same things that you said that I have heard from many, many others. If I have heard it 40 or 50 times from different people, I would think the PDGA would have heard it 400-500 times. Like Eirik said, they can push back or make changes. Everything I have ever read or heard is that they like to push back more than make any changes. If your not part of the board of directors your opinion means little to them, they always know a better way of doing things (that's why our sport is so huge, and every player is a member of the governing body). Really, they should be wanting to make membership attractive, especially to new players but also wanting to attract all players back to renew yearly, that is a lot of money that could be used to do bigger things (advertise to non-players, help sponsor more events). It shouldn't even be a question of members to wonder if it is worth their money to pay $50 for the 3-4 sanctioned events they will be playing. We should have the option of if we want the magazine or not, like you said most of us know about the big news within a few days of it happening, I could care less about the Cosmopolitian side of disc golf. The players are the players, and yes we have some real s$&t heads we run into occasionaly. I have had this experience with anyone from rec players to masters that think they are a god and want to preach to you. I just have learned how to tune these people out I guess. Well, keep it coming. I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say about Innova, LOL!
Comment by millman on January 10, 2009 at 10:15am
Lancaz,

Thanks for the feedback. I agree with what you have to say about all of us doing our part. Th unfortunate thing is that there are only a few of us doing our part. By saying a few that could mena 10 or 1000. Either way it's still just a few. In my opinion the PDGA should be sending out press releases for all majors, NT, World's and huge A tier events. Do they? Who knows. When I worked for the newspaper industry I would get a press release from major college programs and Pro sports team. We already knew the event was going on because of advertising for the event, but they still sent out a press release. The PDGA could do the same but chose to leave it to the unpaid, undermanned, volunteer TD and club members to do it.

True the PDGA is in it's baby stages but that only works for the first few years, they've been around for a lot longer than that. It's time they grew up and started acting like the big kid on the block.
Comment by Lancaz on January 10, 2009 at 10:01am
Valid points, It is unfortunate that you are feeling so frustrated, however I hear what you are saying. I think sometimes we have to help out in our own way. Every club who is hosting a major event should be contacting any news source possible that is relatively close to that area. Sometimes news doesn't have to be blood and gore. The occasional possitive story does make the news. So I encourage all clubs to work hard on their own P.R. Contact your local TV studio, radio station, newspaper and cable network. They will never come if you don't contact them. Designate someone in your club to be responsible for that work. Maybe eventually ESPN, Fox, SI etc will get on board. State/provincial championships are the perfect venue, or a womens only event, whatever. If we contact them, it will eventually make the news.
I think that most DG'rs want to see the sport flourish, and informing people it exists to the first step. Most people up here (Canada) have never heard of it. There are just pockets of people who play and then tell their friends and that is were it stands. Advertising is key. You would think with the state of the economy that more people would be thrilled to participate in a sport that is virtually free to play. But I suspect very few people even know it exsits. I think us addicts of the sport should be ambassadors and doing whatever we can to help promote it. Stop complaining and help out. I think we all have that responsibility.
I would comment more, but then my 2 cents would be as long as yours. Not that that is a negative. I think there are lots of people with lots to say.
And as for the idiots who throw when people are ahead of them, or are ignorant, well EIRIK was right. There will always be idiots in all areas, not just in DG. So we just have to ignore them, and maybe someday they will grow up. You just have to hope they use their brains a little more often, and realize they are giving DG'rs a bad name. We had a guy who deliberately threw when a family was crossing the fairway (we have a course in a public park) his reasoning was that it was HIS course and to get off it. Now, that family complained to the Parks and Rec, and I had to deal with it. Those people should be removed from club memberships in my opinion.
I fully support the PDGA and realize that DG is really in its infacy. So we should all be doing our part to help the development and promotion of the sport. The PDGA has the right idea, it is just going to take time. There is so much to do!
Comment by millman on January 10, 2009 at 9:37am
Thanks for the comments guys. It's good to hear intellectual response's. The sad thing is is that I support the PDGA as well. Why it's sad is because I have no other choice as many of you face the same decision. I'll get into that on my next entry. Thanks for the positive comments so far.
Comment by Derek on January 10, 2009 at 2:08am
Thanks for posting your blog, a very good read with some good ideas to expand on.
Comment by Eirik on January 9, 2009 at 11:23pm
Good post. I am a supporter of the PDGA but with anything there are valid points on both sides. You mostly did a good job conveying facts without being ridiculous about it like some other things I have heard. The part about the golfers I could leave it for another time, you have to really accept people for who they are in this sport, such a diverse group. There will always be bad apples in everything you do. Sometimes trying to ignore idiots is the only way to go. With the PDGA stuff it is good to bring it up publicly like this and if Chuck Kennedy and Addie Isabell (two members here that are PDGA employees) don't respond you know you are right. I have faith that SOMEONE will try. The chances that the PDGA take immediate re-evaluation of their goals and such are slim, but when enough people push, they can either push back or make changes. Chances are they DO "try" to listen. I am interested to see how they react to this(if at all)
Comment by My_Hero on January 9, 2009 at 10:45pm
Nice blog. A little lengthy but i guess that's par for the course after a few years of holding back. :-) I've been a PDGA member for a long time; not as long as some, but much longer than the average guy (as their membership renewal rate seems to be around 35%.) One day the PDGA will wake up and realize that they need players a lot more than players need them. With or without them disc golf will prevail. Courses will still get installed. Tournaments and series will still thrive. Manufactuers will still push the envelope and continue to make discs (although without a governing body's tech standards and regulations things could get crazy.) I wish them the best, as i would with any organization that has something to do with my passion. It's kind of like any presidential elect, you may or may not have voted for the guy in office, but he's your president and you should support him.

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