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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