PDGA eases down slippery slope in hopes of squashing sandbagging

Rule changes, in any sport, can be a slippery slope.

In disc golf, it can be much more magnified, considering there’s a smaller group of people who play the game under the enforcement of rules.

With rule changes, too, there is always looking at both sides of a situation.

harmer_sigThough I’ve only been a disc golfer for a few years, I’ve kept tabs on the PDGA rules. Mainly because I play in tournaments from time to time, but also because I like to see what is allowable and what isn’t.

Much like ball golf, disc golf is one without referees and is ruled by players. It’s up to us to keep things on the up-and-up. Whether it’s calling a foot fault at a tournament or just trying to help along other players to understand the rules, players are those who keep the game in check.

Kind of like ball golf in that it should be a gentleman’s game of sorts.

Something that seems to be a big topic in recent years is sandbagging. Basically, the idea of sandbagging is somebody purposely tanking a round for a bad score, thus hurting their PDGA rating. That, in turn, allows said player to play in a lower division should they wish, which in theory will give said player a better chance to win.

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Playing my part and being an ambassador to the game

By Andre Fredrick — Rattling Chains Staff

The sport of disc golf has grown exponentially since I first started playing. There was a time when I could play my local nine-hole course and have it all to myself. Sure, I had to be cautious of joggers, cyclists and the like, but the fairways and greens were practically all mine.

Nowadays the same course is filled players. That has meant the way the game is played, whether it be slower play or a lack of etiquette.

I suppose it’s easy to forget that we were all new to the game once. Likewise, it’s easy to forget that the sport is growing on a daily basis, bringing newcomers to it in a way that it never has before. The growing pains that stem from this surge in popularity come in various forms. Foremost, it has brought the casual player in contact with the veteran player.

More families are discovering disc golf, which is helping the game grow, but puts more people on the course. (photo by Andre Fredrick)

Clashes arise over the protocol and etiquette of the game. Seasoned players often have unreasonably high expectations of the novice player. Sometimes, they are expected to have the same respect and reverence for the game that we have. We demand that they understand the many rules that govern the game, be they in the PDGA handbook or some otherwise unspoken rule.

The simple fact is the casual player can’t be expected to always know these things.

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