Almost every disc golf community has tournaments and / or events taking place several times every year. These events exist for a variety of reasons from raising money for course maintenance to giving the community fun reasons to gather and more. Events range from leagues, sanctioned / non-sanctioned tournaments, ace races, putting leagues and many other formats but they all have one thing in common; there is always a place for any skill range or level of experience.
It can be easy to know about the things happening in your community and then sit on the fence wanting to be involved but maybe being a little intimidated by the idea for any number of good reasons. We have talked to so many players over the years that had questions and misconceptions about competition. Let’s clear some of that up!
“I don’t think I am good enough to play in tournaments yet“
Many players believe that competing immediately means that they will be out there throwing against all the best players in the region but this is very much misunderstood. Most tournaments have a variety of divisions for varying skill sets and levels of experience. There are many resources out there on how to choose your division but we are also here to help, all local players can feel free to reach out to us anytime via our contact form. We have had people playing no more than 6 months enter events and have a great time. For many, disc golf tournaments aren’t always about the score but they are always about having a great time. We have opened our sanctioned MA4 and FA4 Novice protected divisions.
“Do I need to know all the PDGA rules to compete?“
Certainly not! While all players competing in any event should have at least the basic rules of disc golf in mind, there is just too much to learn all at once. There are many resources across Google, YouTube and other platforms that explain all the rules that newer players should know before entering their first event. To make it easier, most local players are very approachable and know the rules pretty well so never hesitate to ask. For those needing a bit more in-depth rule assistance, SNDG events always have several PDGA-certified officials on-site and available via our contact form. We have added a link below to explain a few of the must-know rules to know before heading out to compete!
Are there divisions for seniors?
Yes! We have been running our MA40 (40+) division for a good while and it has become quite popular. We have recently had requests to open our MA50 (50+) division in the coming events which we have decided to do. These are age protected divisions that sometimes carry a reduced event price. There are divisions up to MA70 that can be opened upon request which we will open if they come in.
What is the difference between sanctioned and non-sanctioned events?
Most of the time, in the disc golf world, sanctioned means that the tournament has been “approved” by the PDGA. In this case the event will maybe be a bit more official feeling and the scores get recorded on the PDGA event page but generally they aren’t very different. There aren’t that many differences between the two however as they do normally use the exact same rules. Where the differences in event feel start is when the sanctioning tiers go up from C to B and B to A and above to pro series events.
“Do I need a PDGA membership to compete?”
Well, yes and no. The majority of the sanctioned events we have in our community are C-Tier which does not require a PDGA membership. However, players looking to play A and B-tier events (like the NOC) will need a current PDGA membership to do so. Players playing a sanctioned C-Tier event without a PDGA membership will simply have to pay an additional $10.00 PDGA insurance fee at the time of registration. For non-sanctioned events, nothing is needed except for the actual entry fee. For our post on whether or not a PDGA membership is for you, smash HERE!
“How long do tournaments take?”
It really depends on the event, the size of the field and a lot more but generally tournaments do require a fairly sizeable time commitment for 1-3 days depending on the event duration. Some events feature two rounds in a day, some just one. Most events will post an accurate schedule somewhere for clarification. To get a feel for a tournament length round, head out in a card of four players playing by the full set of rules (OB etc). Tournaments can also add a little time to rounds with group backups and other factors.
“What do I need to bring to the course for a tournament or event?”
Apart from whatever discs you may need and perhaps a couple back up discs just in case, 2-3 disc golf towels, players generally bring snacks like granola bars, trail mix, jerky, power bars etc just in case. Bringing water, a hat, sun screen, bug spray, maybe a small first aid kit, rain jacket / umbrella, extra shoes and really anything you might take on any long outdoor day trip. Oh and always bring as much water as possible! We have added a link below to go a little further.
“What kind of things can players win?”
With tournaments, amateur players are always well compensated with prizes whereas professional divisions play for cash only. When playing in amateur divisions, the top 40-45% of each division is guaranteed to win something! We also add in random draws, prizes for early registration and more. For some events, there will be a players pack made up of anything from smaller items to discs, shirts and more. Many events also have mini games like longest drive, fun putting games and closest-to-the-pin (aka CTP) challenges.
“How do I register for disc golf events?”
Many events have moved to a convenient online service called Disc Golf Scene for their registrations. For those without a credit card or PayPal, events will often also have registration at a local disc golf store which in Thunder Bay is The Loop! If you see an event listed on our website that you cannot figure out how to register for, please contact us ASAP via our contact form and we will help to guide you through the process or just provide the missing details.
If there is any question under the sun that you might have before playing your first event please do reach out and ask. There are no dumb questions and across our staff here there is no disc golf related question we cannot answer. We do however suggest checking google, youtube and the PDGA website first as they typically can answer just about anything. All local-event-specific questions are definitely welcome 24-7.
SNDG QUICK NOTES:
Here are a few of our favourite links on playing your first event!