Should PDGA National Tour events be on multiple courses?

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Every few weeks, we get a tweet from Jussi Meresmaa with a question with the hopes of a discussion to soon follow. Yesterday, Meresmaa tweeted and posted on Facebook as he was checking out the results of this weekend’s Disc Golf Hall of Fame Classic in Georgia.

It is a question we’ve heard more and more recently as some tournaments have opted to use multiple courses over the span of a few days instead of remaining at one course and having people battle the same course for 3-4 rounds. We’ve seen some on Twitter chime in with their thoughts in response to the question:

We’ve also seen some comments on Facebook that bring up the idea of using multiple layouts on the one course. As with most tournaments on the PGA tour, the hardest pin placements are on Sunday’s final round. You could use a mix of pin placements and tee pads for the first few rounds to give a different look to start the weekend.

Meresmaa’s Facebook post led to some good feedback as well including from Nate Heinold, who was the tournament director for the recent Ledgestone Insurance Open:

I think one main benefit people forget about is the ability to have a larger field. At this point in our sport’s growth, we can’t be turning players away. Having two or more courses allows you to have 300+ players. We get a lot of funding from Convention Bureaus for our NT and the more players we have the more they are wiling to support the event.

For the sake of the Tourism Bureuas, they like hard numbers. All of their applications ask for how many players and how many people travel with each player. None of their applications ask for spectators. I hope we get there someday, but at this point in time they know that players spend money in the area and its a quantifiable number (ie, they can look it up right on pdga.com)

Nate Heinold, LEdgestone Insurance Open Tournament Director

Disc golf professional Shasta Criss chimed in with a point that we’ve heard many pros say:

I know that trying to learn 3 courses for a tournament, in less than a week, gives you no time to do anything else in that area.

Shasta Criss

If you are unfamiliar with the area and want to compete at the top level, knowing each course like the back of your hand is vital. On the other hand, some have argued that if you have a variety of courses that show different styles of course design, this would play to the more all around golfer and would test every part of their game.

Meresmaa asked a great question and the feedback has been great on both sides of the argument. Keep the DISCussion going below in our comments!

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3 Comments

  1. In responce to the comments from shasta criss. Paul mcbeth (higest rated player ever) has said time and time again that the main reason that he wins is beacuse he puts in the time and ends up more prepared than anyone else. As a professional disc golfer. I feel that its your job to spend that entire week practicing. Your not traveling to every state and some countries to go sight seeing. Thats the kind of thing that your suppost to do on your own time. If your a pro disc golfer then you should be doing exactly that….disc golfing. If you would rather practice one day and sight see the rest then just be happy looseing. That is all. Not trying to targer these comments at you shasta but rather i was just refrenceing your point.

  2. Bob in Phlly on

    A really great question to ask as I really was thinking about this especially at the worlds and my comparison in mind was the Steady Eddie NT earlier in the year where they played the same course. I am a bit of a traditionalist in disc golf where we try to parallel the good things that our very successful peers in ball golf do and that is to keep it on one course for the NT level tournaments. Ball golf has the advantage of moving the tee markers and the pins which i think is very doable in disc golf tournaments and would then allow the golfers to have the challenges without having to learn all new courses.

    Personally for me, trying to follow Worlds from here in Pennsylvania was just impossible, it was so confusing on the PDGA Live and PDGA website I pretty much gave up in the early going. I saw Zach Melton leading but he played a different course than McBeth so I was not sure what was going on, and so on and so forth.

    As for having more players in the tournaments, I think you have to designate the players at their various levels and put them on peer courses for the whole tourniment. MPO and FPO on the main course and move the rest around to secondary courses. Keeps everyone in the same area but we can then follow the top cards easily.

    Best regards, keep up the great work.

    Bob in Philly

  3. I don’t see how turning players away affects the ability to use one pro course with multiple pin placements. The only difference would be to keep the pros on one course and the other divisions on the other courses. If you have multiple courses at your disposal for the same tournament, that does not mean that all divisions must play them all.

    Part of being a dominant is the ability to make adjustments. This is the same reason baseball, basketball, and hockey all have multiple game series. It’s about making adjustments, knowing your game, and executing.

    To Shasta’s point he was speaking to tourism boards and sponsors only requesting player totals and basing their giving based on that (as Heinhold stated). If you have to learn multiple courses, you will not be out doing other things and stimulating tourism dollars. That is a valid point as well.