Where are all the disc golfers?
That question, by itself, is probably pretty easy to answer. Head to your local course and find a few.
With disc golf being a fast-growing sport, I would think there would be a lot more disc golfers interested in the game as a whole, not just throwing discs around the course.
The reason I ask this is because of several things I’ve noticed lately. One is the statistics for hits from this website. We go up and down quite rapidly. Part of that, of course, is pinned on us going to basically three stories per week. But even before that, we saw a slight drop.
That, to me, isn’t alarming. See, we do this because we love to do it and if people read and comment, that’s a bonus.
Then there’s the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA).
The PDGA is the governing body of our sport. If you have played in sanctioned events, you know all about the PDGA. In fact, I’ll bet most of you who read this blog know what the PDGA is and what they do (for the most part).
The PDGA is ruled over by an elected board of directors. This board helps shape the sport as a whole. The board includes professionals and amateurs and people who have made disc golf their life.
The association held its annual elections for three board seats through the month of July. Members had that month to cast their ballots online. I first got notice in early June that the PDGA would be sending its ballots out July 2, so I knew it was coming.
On July 2, I received my ballot. At that point, I knew I would vote (I always do), so I put a reminder on my calendar for the final date. I wanted to see what would happen through the month.
On July 17 and July 26, I received friendly reminders from the PDGA. I voted soon after the second one came.
And that was that.
The results were announced Wednesday. Avery Jenkins, Rick Rothstein and Karolyn O’Cull were elected to the three available spots. Jenkins received the highest total with 1,976 votes (66.78 percent).
That number stood out to me when I first read the results. He was the highest vote-getter with 1,976 votes? That number has to be low, right? I realize it’s active PDGA members who vote, but my membership number is 46084. I know people who are in the mid 50000s. So there are a lot of members.
Sure, they aren’t all active… but many have to be, no? The PDGA released the election statistics and the numbers are quite alarming.
There were 15,561 ballots sent out to voters. That’s a heap of possible votes. Of those, 2,990 were returned.
That’s 19.21 percent.
In certain states, it was pretty bad, too. Utah and Arizona were, statistically, the worst states. In Utah, 12 of 91 ballots (13.19 percent) were returned, and in Arizona, it was 34 of 244 (13.93 percent).
Larger states, though having a slightly better percentage, are worse.
See California, a disc golf hotbed state, which had 1,187 ballots. Of those, 177 were returned (14.91 percent). Michigan, another solid disc golf state, had 857 ballots, with 138 returned (14.91 percent).
This isn’t good.
The reality is this — if we, as a disc golf community, want to see the game continue to grow and want to be involved with things the PDGA does, we need to vote.This is where you can tell the PDGA what you think.
I’ll admit this — not all of my votes won spots on the board this election cycle. One or two, yes. All? No. But I read each person’s bio. I voted for the people who I thought would be good on the board.
It took me, maybe, 15 minutes.
That amount of time is nothing in the big scheme of things, especially if you want to help promote the sport and see it continue to grow. No matter what you think of the PDGA, it’s an important piece for this game growing. And the best way to have your voice heard? Vote.
The board is the piece that we, as disc golfers, can control. We need to be more involved with the selection of these board members and understand their views, thoughts and everything else on the game of disc golf.
This sport will continue to grow. The PDGA, which has done a lot of good for the game, will be a part of disc golf for a long time. Realizing that, there’s one way we can all make sure we’re involved with the PDGA, outside of paying our member fees.
P.J. Harmer is the lead blogger for Rattling Chains. E-mail him at: pj [at] rattlingchains.com.