Poll 50: Booze during tournaments

To continue our series of polls of items on the course and about the rules, we’re going to touch on a pretty interesting one here.


weekly_pollIt seems like this discussion has likely come up many times before. And in the end, the result is often the same — no alcohol during tournament play.

Let’s clarify this, though.

These questions are more about PDGA-sanctioned tournaments. After all, it’s tough to police the non-sanctioned tournaments, especially if it’s an extremely lax setup.

So having your cordials during an event is illegal by PDGA standards. Never mind that many courses are in public parks and might have already made it illegal for you to have alcohol on park premises.

But for here, we’ll stick with tournaments. In the player Code of Conduct, a part of the PDGA rulebook, Section 3.3.10 says:

“Possession of alcohol from the start of play until the player’s scorecard is submitted is not allowed. Such possession shall result in immediate disqualification at PDGA events sanctioned at B-Tier or higher. The Tournament Director may, at his sole discretion, elect to issue a warning to the offending player in lieu of disqualification solely at PDGA events sanctioned at C-tier and below. If a player has been previously issued a warning for alcohol possession at the same event, all subsequent violations shall result in immediate disqualification.”

That’s pretty implicit, no?

So let that stew for a bit. Before we get to the question and its merits, let’s go back and check last week’s question, which asked: Should people be allowed to smoke while playing in leagues and tournaments?

It was a lot closer than expected, that’s for sure.

Of the 287 people who votes, 152 (153 percent) said no. On the other side, 135 (47 percent) said yes.

As usual, we’ll go over some comments here. But you should definitely go back and check out the other comments as there were some good ones and a solid discussion.

Smoking is definitely looked at differently now than it was many years ago. Many parks don’t even allow it on premises, either, making discussion about this not necessary in some places. The sides were drawn decently on this one, so let’s see what some had to say.

Bill Nicholson said:

I’m a nonsmoker and don’t care to be around it. That being said, we are playing outside, and if the one smoking is courteous to the others in the group, then let ‘em smoke. It is important that they be careful not to litter – dropping butts on the course will probably gain more disapproval than the actual smoking itself.

It seems those are definitely key proponents — being courteous to others and not littering.

Downtown says:

So long as you are respectful of others and you take all your trash out with you, it should be allowed. Don’t get me wrong, when we get to the point where it is televised we should revisit the subject. While at the worlds last year they said we could not smoke because we want to grow our image. I play am. not pro. I never saw the first camera or spectator, oh and we are often in the woods where nobody is around. I have no problem with not smoking during a round, when you show up with cameras, journalist and spectators. Some people are a little over sensitive, especially ex-smokers.

If growing the image is the concern, then it probably should be uniform. Saying one can smoke here and not there will make it an even bigger argument. In reality, having cameras around shouldn’t be the deterrent. In other places, one could be puffing along and pass up two families or something. That can do damage, too — if one looks at it from that angle. Excellent thoughts here, though, especially from the standpoint of worlds.

Derek O’Neil says:

In reality I’m fine with people smoking during a round, I would prefer the were down wind from me and had the courtesy to assess the wind for their smoking as closely as they would for disc selection and line for their throw, but ultimately its not that bothersome. However, disc golf needs to grow, especially with youth. The more 10-16 year olds get hooked on disc golf the better, but if I were a parent I would be very cautious to allow my children into an environment that is so pervasively populated by substances such as tobacco, alcohol (which is prohibited during tourney rounds), and especially the illegal stuff. The first place to start is the sanctioned tourneys, this is where the public face of disc golf lies, if the PDGA prohibits all substances that cannot be consumed by all participants, then it would be a better environment. If children and young adults are to be shepherded into the sport for its growth and prolific future, then smoking and other forms of tobacco should be banned.

That definitely has to be a major concern — having the younger generation see how the sport is perceived.

J.Green said:

I’ll start off by saying I simply don’t like the smell of smoke. It’s unappealing and it sticks to you even if you don’t smoke. That being said, I still think smoking should be allowed in tournaments and leagues. The reason a lot of people get into disc golf is due to the relaxed atmosphere at the course and for smokers, that is part of their routine I guess. Of course, if someone in the group has a breathing problem or a legit reason as to why they don’t wanna be around smoke, I would hope the smokers would also respect that.

That’s probably the biggest thing — there needs to be the respect factor. There are people who physically get ill with the smell and if somebody is puffing away all round, it takes away the enjoyment from another. It’s one thing to smoke while playing, but if it interferes with others enjoyment, then this discussion definitely needs to be looked into even more.

Travis said:

Although I’m a non-smoker I think people should have the right to smoke as long as they A.) don’t throw their butts on the ground and B.) are respectful of others AND the surroundings. I know a few smokers and they generally smoke while they are not around the flight, which is fine with me. Now, if it’s a wooded course and in July when fire season is high, then please don’t smoke if it’s not safe.

They also need to make sure they are not breaking the law as some parks have adopted a smoke-free mentality. I don’t want to see a course pulled or shut down because some yahoo needed his fix.

Very good points here. It seems like this theme is being covered a lot in the responses!

Kevin King said:

I’m a non-smoker and an asthmatic, to boot. If I were to smoke, I’m certain that I’d have the lung capacity of a mosquito.

Being asthmatic, I can’t be around people who smoke for extended periods of time. If I do, it starts to affect my lungs and that affects my ability to play the sport I love. I don’t have any qualms with politely asking smokers to butt out during a round, and most of the time, they’re courteous enough to accept my request.

These are valid points and it would be pretty awful if people didn’t respect that. Hopefully, most disc golfers are courteous enough to take this into consideration and put out the smoke.

Simpletwist said:

Interesting that the overwhelming response is from the non smokers. And also interesting the vehemence with which they spew their rhetoric. You’re outside people, OUTSIDE! Self-righteous intolerance is the worst. Of course the governing body is certainly within its scope to dictate a smoking policy and and consistent enforcement of a non-smoking policy makes it a non-issue.

But in the meantime, live and let live, move up wind.

It is really self-righteous for somebody to not want to be around smoke? Do non-smokers have the right to enjoy a smoke-free environment. It’s one thing to argue both points, but to say it’s self-righteous intolerance because one doesn’t want to be around smoke isn’t really the best argument, is it?

Ben T said:

If I pee in your coke (or beer, whichever you prefer while on the course), you have a choice to drink or not. Can you control the direction of the wind? I have no choice when the wind shifts just as you blow.

That’s definitely an interesting way to look at it.

charger said:

I am a smoker, and I always use discretion when I smoke during a round. I am respectful of non-smokers and do it away from them and I always pick up my butts. It is bad habit I do not wish it on anyone. I never smoke around kids. Basically if your group is not in disgust and is okay with it then it should be allowed. I could see this going either way and would support the decision to ban smoking during all sanctioned events.

It’s good to see a smoker chimed in with a response like this. This shows the respect and courtesy is there and that’s a good thing. And the way you go about it should be commended.

Anyway, there are many more great responses. It’s definitely worth going back and checking them out and joining the discussion.

Now for this week’s poll. We continue our “yes and no” questions based on course courtesy and rules.

Before people think about comparing this to ball golf, it’s totally different. Local tournaments in ball golf usually don’t outlaw alcohol, and some even put kegs out on the course. Do you see it at the professional level? No. But, PDGA-sanctioned tournaments are not just the pro tour — it’s all levels.

So what say ye, readers of Rattling Chains?

Should people be allowed to consume alcoholic beverages during a tournament round?

Place your vote and speak your mind below!

[poll id=”55″]

If you have any comments, questions, thoughts, ideas or anything else, feel free to e-mail me and the crew at: pj@rattlingchains.com. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!


0 thoughts on “Poll 50: Booze during tournaments

  1. I’m not a big fan of alcohol at a disc golf course. Most players that can’t go an hour or two without a beer I would consider an alcoholic and beer is pretty much “Asshole in a can” when consumed in large quantities.

    My main gripe is the constant battle I am having with a local player that drinks Bud Light in blue cans. I have been cleaning up after this Butt for over a year now. Alcohol is not allowed on the park grunds and normally I could care less. But if the player can’t be responsible enough to carry his empties out. (He always drops his cans at the same tee boxes about 4-5 along the course) I’ll call the cops and get him trespassed off the course.


  2. A recreational round of disc with beer doesn’t sound so bad. My call has always been “If you choose to drink during a round, choose to clean up after yourself.”

    For a tournament, however, I should think one would want to perform at one’s best. I don’t know that drinking during the Tourney would help. Drinking after the big game, I can see; drinking before? Ennnnh, maybe. During … drinking while throwing disc only make me *feel* like I’m doing better.


  3. Like the smoking poll, I voted “yes” on this…but I know we’ve all seen the guy out on the course who started drinking way too early and by the end of the first round they just become obnoxious. I don’t think that should ruin it for the guys who can enjoy a few (I don’t drink at all) and act like a normal human being. I’ve played in softball leagues where beer is allowed in the dugouts so I don’t see much of a difference.


  4. I am a non drinker, but I have no problem with people that do. I think it all comes down to “respect” again, if you can control yourself, and pick up your trash so others don’t have to, then have at it.


  5. I played in a non-PDGA tourney and a player in my group had a large McDonald’s cup and was sipping it with a straw. I didn’t think to much of it until he started having trouble finding his disc after each drive. He told the group he was sorry, and that he was “wasted”. One of the members questioned him, “how could you be wasted on diet coke”, he said, “this ain’t no diet coke”. So…. we were having trouble finding one of his discs and asked him what color it was. He said “I don’t know, I’m color blind”. It was a tough conclusion to the round for everyone.


  6. Sorry but I think drinking during any round is wrong. And I love me some craftbeer & Jack and sodas!! But if you can’t wait until you finish playing 18. That’s pretty sad. But I have no problem with players drinking before, between, and/or after a rounds. It always comes down to being courteous to your fellow players!


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