Professor Rizbee’s Disc Golf 101: How to be a better tournament player

By Allen Risley — For Rattling Chains

In my 30-plus years of disc golf experience, I have played in hundreds of organized events, including weekly doubles leagues, course monthlies, PDGA-sanctioned events and world championships. And I’ve organized and run a lot of those, too (except for the world championship. I don’t know if my therapist has enough appointments for me to take that on).

As I’ve been playing and organizing, there are certain truths that have become evident – truths about how to conduct oneself as a tournament player for the best possible outcome for all. Now, this is not a list of how to help you win a tournament – there are enough articles and blog posts out there that purport to be able to do that.

Instead, this is a list of ways that you can enhance your own tournament experience as well as that of those around you. Sure, some of these tips might actually lead to you scoring better and maybe even winning, but the real aim here is to make everyone’s tournament experience more pleasurable, because if we’re not working, we might as well be having fun, right?

Sign up as early as possible. Why do that? Why not wait to see if the field is going to be good, or interesting? Well, what if everyone did that? Would anyone ever sign up? By signing up early, you can be the reason that others jump in – a leader, not a sheep.

Pre-registering for a tournament makes it a ton easier on tournament directors. (photo courtesy Allen Risley)

Pre-registering for a tournament makes it a ton easier on tournament directors. (photo courtesy Allen Risley)

Also, signing up and paying early helps out tournament directors by making money available for them to buy the trophies and player pack items, pay for insurance, or pay park fees. Many TDs burn out after a running a few events, and one reason is that they drive themselves crazy worrying about whether they’re going to lose their shirt because no one is signing up for their event. Help out the TD.

Show up on time. Most events list a start time, whether it be for check-in, the player’s meeting, or for the start of play. Know what those times are and be there on time. It’s even a better idea to be a little early. Why? Show up late for check-in and you might lose your spot in the tournament. You also put the TD in the position of worrying about filling your card, shuffling cards and players, etc. – all the things that raise a TD’s blood pressure and lead to burnout.

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A long road to create the PDGA course directory

By Allen Risley – for Rattling Chains

As a big fan of Disc Golf Course Review, I had to read the profile of its history that ran on Rattling Chains.

The article — and its follow up –was great. Steve Hill did a fine job of highlighting the the various tools available on DGCR – tools I have made a great deal of use of over the past several years. Whether it’s searching for new courses to play, tracking the courses I’ve played, building a road trip itinerary or searching for plastic through the marketplace, DGCR is a great resource. And I’d like to feel I played a little part in making DGCR happen.

You see, I compiled the first PDGA Course Directory.

The original PDGA Course Directory. (photo by Allen Risley)

The original PDGA Course Directory. (photo by Allen Risley)

I had to chuckle a little when reading about the frustrations of DGCR founder Tim Gostovic in regard to planning disc golf road trips using the “check the entire Internet” method. Imagine how frustrated he would have been back in 1984, when there was no Internet to check! Hell, at that point there wasn’t even a complete list of courses in printed form to check, much less one with a search function.

Early disc golfers – those with 4-digit or lower PDGA numbers – typically used word of mouth, a dog-eared copy of the PDGA Pro Tour tournament calendar, or an old copy of Frisbee World or Flying Disc Illustrated magazine to find new places to play.

And paper maps — lots of paper maps.

There weren’t a whole lot of places to find. Back in the early 80’s there were only a few hundred disc golf courses in the ground. In Florida for example, where I played, many of our tournaments were played on temporary courses set up just for the weekend using objects, homemade targets or portable DGA baskets. So even the tournament listings weren’t a sure bet to use to find a new course – it may have been packed up in someone’s trunk right after the trophies were handed out.

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