I’ve become certified (or certifiable, pending on perspective)

Note: This story originally appeared on my personal blog Sept. 16. However, being that readership and this readership are quite different, I wanted to bring this post here and share.

I’m certified.

OK, OK, that probably wasn’t the best way to describe me at this point, eh?

What I meant to say is that I’m a certified PDGA (Professional Disc Golf Association) official.

It’s not something I really needed. I don’t plan on being a tournament director, nor do I plan on playing in a National Tour event as a pro anytime soon. I’m thinking my whopping 672 rating probably wouldn’t go too far in those events.

Still, I had thought a couple of things in regard to this…

  • It would give me a way to learn the disc golf rules a bit better
  • It would give me something to do on a rainy day and make for a good blog post

Over the past few days, I’ve peeked at the PDGA rules book and competition manual. I’ve learned a lot of things I didn’t know about the game. Not all of it makes sense to me, mind you, but I at least know a lot of rules now.

Some things to know about the rules test — it’s 10 bucks, not timed and open book. So even if you never looked at a rules book, you should be able to pass this test. One needs 80 percent to pass.

My strategy going in was to take the test slowly. I would read the question and answer based off my knowledge. If I wasn’t sure (or with some, even if I was), I’d look it up in the rules book to make sure of the answer.

Easy enough.

I did all the “paperwork” online and got started this morning. The 25-question test ended up taking me about 45 minutes and really made me think a bit. But, I also learned many things… such as —

  • You can’t play a PDGA event barefoot. (Crap!)
  • Booze during a B-tier event or higher is grounds for disqualification from the tournament. (So that means you should be able to avoid people stumbling around and tripping over themselves!)
  • I learned about your lies when play is suspended because of weather.
  • And, what happens if you throw a disc, it hits a dog out of bounds and comes back in. (Besides the rule, hope it’s not a pit bull!)
  • Discs can be illegal in several ways.
  • Or, what happens if you break a branch to “improve” your throwing stance/look.

There are also rules about if your disc lands on top of the basket (and not in the basket itself) or if it gets wedged in the basket. There are courtesy violations and, did you know, that a player can’t bring a dog along with him during a tournament (unless it’s a service dog, of course)?.

It was a pretty good eye-opening thing to do.

When all said and done, you are approved or not right away. I passed quite easily, scoring 92 percent (23 out of 25). The two I got were ones I should have gotten right now that I see the answer — the questions the way they were written confused me a little.

The one question I got wrong was:

While looking for Player K’s drive they find it in deep crevice approximately 10 feet below the ground.  They can see her name on the disc, but she can not get to the disc. How should she mark her lie?

The answer I gave included a one-stroke penalty because of the distance the disc was down. I had the one part right, but there isn’t a penalty.

The other question I got wrong was:

Player E has a lie directly in front of a cement garbage can preventing her from standing behind her mark.  The TD has said all garbage cans are a permanent part of the course.  By the time she walks up to her lie, she sees that the park maintenance crew has now parked their truck in her way, obstructing the line of play between her lie and the hole.  How can she proceed?

I took some time with this one, even with the rule book. But some parts of it confused me — the wording in the rules. In the end, I knew what I wanted to say and had the idea of the rule in mind, but got it wrong. I now see, with the rule they quoted, where I went wrong. Crazy stuff. Basically the person can stand behind that can (it can’t be moved, which I knew) and the truck can be moved (which I knew, too). But with how it was all worded, I got confused and picked the wrong one.

Still, I wasn’t too upset. I figured 92 percent was pretty solid. And in the end, I became a PDGA certified official.There are more than 3,000 certified officials in the PDGA, according to its website. The certification lasts for three years.

As I said earlier, I don’t plan on being a tournament director or playing on the tour (where having this certification is a must, in both cases), but it helped give me a better grasp on the rules and what disc golf is all about. That’s a good thing as some things make better sense. And if I am going to play in tournaments, I like to have a better feel of the rules. It makes life easier that way.

P.J. Harmer is the lead blogger for Rattling Chains. If you have any comments, questions, thoughts, ideas or anything else, feel free to e-mail me and the crew at: pj [at] rattlingchains.com. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitterand like us on Facebook!


0 thoughts on “I’ve become certified (or certifiable, pending on perspective)

  1. Pingback: Becoming certified — now on RattlingChains.com « talkdiscgolf.com

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