Driving Home The Point

Photo Courtesy of Bob and Charm Carver

Photo Courtesy of Bob and Charm Carver

Disc golf has grown exponentially in recent years, with hundreds of new courses being constructed and thousands of new players added. In addition to offering disc-golf programs for casual players, parks and recreation departments can do even more to attract new clientele to their parks.  

One of the first items in expanding events is to contact a local disc-golf club. This club might represent a local course, perhaps a community club involving several courses, or a county-wide club. These groups provide the volunteers necessary to make events possible, removing the burden from park staff. Meanwhile, the park benefits as more people (players and fans) visit, which in turn, when done properly, draws media attention.     

A disc-golf program can be expanded in four ways: 


Events are either sanctioned by the PDGA (Professional Disc Golf Association) or they are not. A non-sanctioned event, which may or may not have the appearance of a sanctioned event, is put on by local organizations or parks departments. This tournament can be led by anyone who knows about disc golf, but having experience in multiple tournaments as a player is helpful. A sanctioned event, on the other hand, is one that follows guidelines set by the PDGA and pays fees to the sanctioning body. This type of event must be led by a certified PDGA official, who runs the tournament and reports scores and other pertinent information for posting on the PDGA website.

Whether sanctioned or not, most tournaments last for one day and are divided into two rounds of play. If a course has 18 holes, then there might be two rounds of 18. A typical schedule involves players starting around 9:30 a.m., playing 18 holes, breaking around noon for an hour (usually for lunch), then playing 18 more holes in the afternoon, followed by an awards ceremony. Some larger tournaments might last for more than one day and include four to six rounds of play.  

Tournaments usually have three divisions, according to player abilities: 

  • Novice or beginner. This division is for new players or those who play occasionally. Players will have an average score on an 18-hole course considerably over par.
  • Intermediate. For players who have been playing a while, but perhaps have not developed the skills of advanced players. Intermediate players will have an average score slightly below par to slightly over par.
  • Advanced. These players have considerably more experience, and shoot consistently below par.

If a tournament continues to grow, more divisions can be added that might include juniors, women, seniors, etc.  

Registered players are often given a player’s pack, which might include a simple mini disc, while more elaborate packs include custom-imprinted discs. 

Most tournaments have a shotgun start in which players in groups of three or four start at various holes around the course. A two-minute warning is given with an air horn, and then a start blast

Photo Courtesy of  Bob and Charm Carver

Photo Courtesy of Bob and Charm Carver

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