With more events happening in the region, many players will find themselves having to choose between divisions during the registration process. For many players, choosing a division involves a fair bit of thought, for some however, the decision is simple. Choosing the best division definitely gets easier as players become more in tune with their skill set, the competition level in their community and their expectations / preferences for competitive play.
Having trouble picking a division? Here’s a quick breakdown to help with divisions for both sanctioned and non-sanctioned play:
Sanctioned PDGA Play:
PDGA play has a long list of set divisions for tournament directors to choose from according to what fits their event and community’s needs best. These divisions are further explained in great detail HERE.
MA3/FA3: Play here if this is your first event or you’re not at all comfortable yet in a competitive setting. Casual players with more than a few years experience may also consider MA2 / FA2.
MA2/FA2: For MA2, play here if you can throw the disc with some degree of accuracy for at least 225-250 feet or more. Players in the MA2 division will often hit 5-7 putts out of 10 from 20 feet. These factors will change a little for FA2 with 3-5 putts out of 10 from 20 feet and a minimum accurate distance of roughly 150-175ft.
MA40/FA40/MA50: Play here if you fit into either the MA2/FA2/MA1/FA1 division characteristics but would prefer to play with other folks who are in your age bracket (either 40+ or 50+). Larger tournaments will also have masters divisions for professionals.
MA1/FA1: Play here if you’ve had some experience with competition and feel confident in your accuracy, distance and putting, but aren’t necessarily ready to play pro yet.
MPO/FPO: Play here if you are a professional. This guide is likely redundant if this pertains to you, but here’s a high-five anyways for taking the plunge to pro!
Often, non-sanctioned events will offer simplified / condensed divisions with a different format than players will see in PDGA-sanctioned play. The names of divisions can essentially be whatever they choose so some decoding may have to be done.
Competitive / Open: Professionals, players that might normally play MA1 and other top compeition
Intermediate: Experienced with an average skill set and relaxed need for competition. Players from many sanctioned divisions can fall into non-sanctioned intermediate divisions.
Recreational: First time players, beginners, very casual players.
Masters: Usually limited to players age 40+ but not all tournaments offer divisions for 40+ and 50+
First, players need a goal going into the event to be able to choose effectively. Are you playing to win or playing for fun? Do you want to play under pressure or play more casually for the event?
Knowing the field and the community you are registering as part of is hugely key during the registration process. This is easy for players entering local events but quite difficult for players traveling to areas they have no knowledge of.
Players that remain amateurs when their scores suggest they should pursue the MPO or FPO divisions can tend to draw the dreaded “sandbagger” talk but there’s another important factor to consider. Some players just prefer not to play in the open / pro divisions because they don’t wish to play for money and prefer to remain an amateur. This is a fairly common outlook in disc golf so be careful not to judge other players for the divisions they choose to play in barring situations like very good players playing vs. newer players in the recreational division. Just because someone can go pro doesn’t mean they have to.
Knowing when to make a jump to a higher division or perhaps dropping to a lower division can be really tough to figure out. Luckily, like everything else in disc golf, there’s a few great YouTube videos to explain it perfectly.