I’ve had the pleasure of walking the Municipal Golf Course’s temporary disc golf course three times this year, although I have not yet had the chance to get out there without the purpose of caddying! Municipal, located just outside of Emporia, KS, uses only half of the ball golf course, and plays a total distance of 8,608 ft for the long tees and 7,987 ft for the short tees. Course par is 65.
Throughout the week, this course will be used for the PDGA Amateur World Championships. The A and B pools of Advanced Men played it today, with a hot round of 55. Tomorrow the C pool of Advanced Men and Advanced Grandmasters will play the course. The Advanced Men will play it once more on Thursday or Friday.
Because I have not personally played this course and because I’m trying to spend as much time out experiencing Worlds while I’m here, I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves (they are worth a thousand words, right?). For an overall course map and hole-by-hole distance and OB information, head over to the Dynamic Discs website: http://www.dynamicdiscs.com/2013amworlds/courses/. Dynamic Discs has been very supportive of my efforts to keep you all updated on the Amateur and Junior World Championships by allowing me to use bits and pieces of their course map here on Dogleg. Thanks for being so great!
And now, to the course!
Hey Dogleggers! I’m very excited to have the opportunity to spend this week at the 2013 Amateur and Junior World Championships in Emporia, KS! This small town is booming with disc golfers, with more than 540 competitors here. During my time here, I plan on bringing you daily updates on all things worlds. Tomorrow [Tuesday] I plan on posting a course guide of the Municipal Golf Course, where the Advanced Men division will be playing in the morning. Other than that, I’d be happy to take requests on what you’d like to read. Just let me know in the comments, or tweet me @MLeeFry.
Since driving in from Columbia on Saturday, I’ve been to 4/5 of the courses, hung out at the field events, attended the players meeting, and socialized in our campground (which is PACKED with disc golfers!). The photo collages below make up just a small portion of what’s going on here in Emporia, and I look forward to updating you on more throughout the week!
If I had a dollar for every time a disc golfer told me he wished his girlfriend played disc golf, I’d have enough money to install a course in my backyard. If I had a dollar for every time I have played disc golf with another girl…well, let’s just say I would be thankful disc golf is free to play.
The ratio of male to female disc golfers is astounding. As of this month, only 6.7% of PDGA members are women. Of the 3,523 players registered as professionals, 250 are women. These ratios mean that many tournaments offer more divisions for men than for women. This was even the case at the 2012 Amateur World Championships, where there were 3 fewer women’s divisions; no lady champions were named for the Junior <19, Senior Grandmasters, or Legends divisions. It is clear that there is a lot of room for growth in women’s disc golf. For a sport that is so focused on progressing, girls could be a huge resource.
A great place to start utilizing this resource is to get your girlfriend (or wife, or other special lady in your life) interested in disc golf. This seemed to be the trend at my first tournament, the 27th Annual Ice Bowl in Columbia, MO, the home of the Ice Bowl. Of the 55 players at the event, 6 played in the women’s division; all of us had a male significant other who was also competing.
So, then comes the big question, “How do I get my girlfriend to play?” As a disc golf girlfriend, here are 10 tips I recommend trying. No guarantee, but they worked on me!
1. Match her personality
One of disc golf’s best qualities is that it is a sport for everyone. It can be tailored to fit any level of skill, competitiveness, timeframe, or budget. The first step to getting your girlfriend to play disc golf is showing her that it is a sport for her. If she’s generally not interested in sports (like me), present it as a fun game and a great way to get outside on a nice day. If she’s more athletic, make it competitive, but still friendly. To get her interested, you have to make sure that the way you talk about disc golf appeals to her as an individual.
2. Easy on the terminology
The words we use to describe disc golf make up an entirely new language. You’ll need to pay attention to which terms she already knows and which ones are still new. You don’t want to confuse her, but you also want to make sure you’re not condescending by explaining too much. For me, it took a lot of effort to learn the lingo. I wasn’t familiar with basic golf terminology like “par” and “birdie,” so learning things like “hyzer” and trying to memorize that Wizards and Magics are putters was sometimes overwhelming. So, in the beginning, make sure you clearly define what each term means, and don’t get frustrated if you have to explain it several times each round.
3. Make sure she has the right discs
An important aspect of disc golf strategy is using the right disc for your throwing style. For beginners and for women, chances are that the right discs for them will not be the ones you use. Most beginners should start with just a putter and maybe a midrange; at such an early stage, most people throw putters and drivers the same distance. A putter can be used to get comfortable with playing—learning courses, developing good form, and snapping the wrist. Once these skills have been mastered, it will be easier to recognize patterns of how other discs fly. When she does need a driver, start with low weights and fairway drivers (I used an Innova Starlight Roadrunner until I lost it in a pond, then moved on to Discmania’s Jackal). These discs are easier to control, especially if she’s still working on building power and strength in her throws.
4. Start easy
Once you’ve been playing for a while, it can be hard to remember how much work it takes to play a round at your favorite par 64 course. Keep in mind that it is unlikely that your girlfriend will have the same disc golf endurance when she starts playing. You’ll probably want to start at a course with shorter holes that aren’t heavily wooded or surrounded by poison ivy and thorns (common course conditions here in the Midwest). If your options are limited, start by playing 6- or 9-hole rounds at a difficult course, and progressively play more as she gets more comfortable and develops her disc golf muscles.
5. Ladies first
Let her take the pad in casual rounds, regardless of whether or not she’s earned it. Be a gentleman. Easy enough. The only exception is if she asks you to go first, which may be the case if she’s unfamiliar with the hole and wants to learn from your shot.
6. Use “lady par” to score
When anyone first starts playing, it is unlikely that they will be able to regularly par holes. In order to make scoring more encouraging, add 1 to the par on each hole. A standard par 54 course becomes par 72. Playing and tracking progress will be a lot more fun if she has scores to be proud of—no one wants to announce a round with 13 double bogies, even if its better than they normally play. Adjusting the par will more accurately reflect how well she is doing as a beginner.
7. Make it a date
Pack up a picnic lunch or take a trip to a course that is especially scenic. If she’s not quite hooked on disc golf yet, she may feel like a third-wheel when she’s out with you and the course. Make sure she knows that the important part is adding disc golf to your relationship—not the other way around.
8. Encourage her to play with other girls
For a girl, learning to play disc golf only by watching experienced males is like being raised by wolves. No matter how much time and effort you want to put into helping your girlfriend, her body is fundamentally different than yours. A man’s center of gravity is in his shoulders, whereas a woman’s is in around her hips. Generally speaking, women typically have less upper body strength than men. Obviously, the process of pulling one’s arm across the chest for a backhand throw is significantly different for the two sexes. Your girlfriend will be able to get more detailed tips from girls who already throw, and not feel like as much of an “outsider” in the disc golf community. A great place to start is to introduce her to girls in your local disc golf club, then encourage her to invite her friends to come out and play too.
9. Resources and Networks for Women
In addition to introducing your girlfriend to individual female disc golfers, make sure she knows about the groups and networks that have been created to expand her opportunities. Start by finding ladies leagues in your area, or a disc golf club that has bag tags specifically for women. Beyond the course, the Internet is a great place to stay up to date with the female disc golf community. PDGA Women and DiscGolf4Women.com both have a strong presence on Facebook and Twitter, and have a variety of resources for ladies of disc golf to get more involved in their community.
10. Return the favor
If she’s willing to take a chance on disc golf, it’s only fair for you to do something equally out of your typical realm of interests for her. Suck it up and watch a chick flick or go to the mall with her. Let her know that you appreciate her giving disc golf a try. She’ll be more willing to play again in the future, and be more likely to get hooked. Eventually, she’ll be the one begging YOU to go out for a round.
Go to Dogleg’s Twitter @DoglegDiscGolf and Retweet our latest “Love is in the Air” tweet for a chance to win. If we get at least 50 retweets, we will be giving away a FREE Dogleg Disc Golf Tee! To be eligible, you MUST retweet it!
Grip and Rip DGC began as an outcropping from the Dogleg crew’s drive to bring another course to our hometown of Jasper, AL. The new course is still being decided by the local city council, but they are pretty close to making a final decision. When researching all the details for starting a club, I found the PDGA to have a helpful How-to guide.
We cut our teeth with Discraft’s annual Ace Race tournament, which proved to be a valuable learning experience. Skills learned included: managing costs, gathering sponsorship’s, taking pre-registration monies, registering with the local park, setting up the course for tourney play and coordinating schedules with football season (if you are not from the Southeast, then you wouldn’t understand =)).
With all this Ace Race tournament director experience, I decided to take the PDGA’s Officials Exam to better understand the rules for sanctioned play. PDGA Rules – The rules are interpretative in some cases. I am more of a casual player, so I don’t necessarily agree with all the tedious rules (just my preference). The 10 official’s exam can be taken an unlimited amount of times and is only $10, which is good for 3 years. The PDGA now has a Pre-Register Tool that allows tournament directors to collect payment online. It does cost $2-3 for the player to use, but the players list updates in real-time.
I started building a GnR website with a forum to house all of the club’s activities. This proved to be more complicated than anticipated; so we setup a Facebook group under “Grip and Rip Disc Golf”. The events section is extremely helpful, since it allows local players to accept the tourney invite. The real-time feedback allows for us to judge the expected attendance ahead of tourney day.
Contrary to popular belief, tournaments are time-consuming to run, and yield little profit for the club. However, they are beneficial in growing the sport. Without groups of disc golfers coming together with similar interests, new parks wouldn’t be built and existing parks wouldn’t be improved. Just in the Birmingham metro alone, there are 7 new parks coming online in 2013! I really hope we can continue growing this beautiful sport.
The disc golf community received lots of exciting news last December. Clearly, as I addressed in my earlier posts, the discopalypse and announcement of Prodigy Disc Golf stirred up tons of gossip. Dynamic Discs released its new line of discs. But the announcement that has the greatest potential to impact the sport went unnoticed in comparison. On December 21, PDGA Executive Director Brian Graham announced that the PDGA would be joining with two other sports organizations to create the Emerging Sports Network.
The purpose of the ESN, according to its website, http://www.emergingsports.info, is to recognize and celebrate the “most innovative, exciting, and competitive sporting endeavors available today. Though each of these sports might not have millions of fans and dollars to support their play, they do not lack the passion or the skills necessary to create great broadcasting.” The other two organizations pairing with the PDGA to make up the ESN are the Upstate Watercraft Promotions-International Jet Sports Boating Association (UWP-IJSBA) National Tour and the Extreme Volleyball Professionals (EVP) Tour. Before the PDGA became involved, the two sports had partnered together to form the Beach Sports Network, which has now evolved into the ESN.
As a partner for the ESN, the PDGA will produce four 30 minute video segments this year. The first of the four disc golf episodes will cover the Memorial Championship in Scottsdale and Fountain Hills, AZ at the beginning of March. Between the three sports, 20 episodes will be created, then distributed by Comcast or another sports network. These episodes have the potential to be picked up by networks all across the country and to be seen by 66 million households.
The group who owns the rights to the ESN website and who will provide key help in producing the first disc golf shows for television is the Terra Firma Media Group, who specializes in strategic communications and “helping your company reach its audience.” Terra Firma already has a big role in disc golf. They run DiscGolfPlanet.tv and their clients include the USDGC, the Japan Open, Innova, Red Bull, and Kimberly-Clark.
I expect that partnering with the UWP-IJSBA and EVP Tours will have several, large effects on disc golf in the next couple of years. The most direct effect will be that disc golf will be more well known, and therefore, more people will want to play. This could eventually lead to more course installations and cooperation from Parks and Rec-type groups.
Although I do not see this until next year or later, I believe that if the ESN is successful, the PDGA will collaborate with the UWP-IJSBA and EVP to organize a tour made up of mega-events where all three sports are represented. Graham said in his announcement on Disc Golf Talk Radio that he hoped to have one of these events in the future, but I expect that there will be several if the ESN is a successful alliance. The other two sports have already synced up the time and place of several of their major tour events for the 2013 season, and this trend could easily transfer to include disc golf events as well.
These large events would put disc golf in a new position. They will attract better bids from Convention and Visitors Bureaus, which would cut costs for tournament hosting. They will also make tournaments more appealing for sponsors that apply to all three sports–like Nike or Gatorade. We can also expect that the cities that will host these big events will be on beaches, so they can accommodate jet ski racing and beach volleyball. Cities like Kansas City, who hosted the 2009 Pro and Am World Championships and is home to the Kansas City Wide Open (a national tour event), will be less likely to host these giant events. Large cities in coastal states will have a higher chance of hosting disc golf’s biggest events.
For Brian Graham’s announcement: http://discgolftalkradio.com/2012/news-from-the-the-pdga/
For the full interview with Brian Graham: http://discgolftalkradio.com/2012/interview-with-pdga-executive-director-brian-graham/
How do you expect the ESN to impact disc golf? Tweet @doglegdiscgolf with the hashtag #EmergingSN to let us know!
Below is a link to play fantasy disc golf. I will create a league for use to compete in, if there is enough interest. Hit me up if you want to join… its free!