Congratulations on building up the nerves to play in your very first tournament! Whether you’re just playing for fun or you’re playing to win, there are a few things to know before your first tournament so that you, and your fellow players, have the best time out there!
Choosing the Right Division to Play in: There are so many choices, but for your first time you’ll want to give the Amatuer divisions a try to start. Check the PDGA’s list of Player Classifications and Divisions. If you are over 40 years old, you may also have the choice of playing in one of the “Age protected” or Masters divisions. There needs to be 3 players signed up to create a division, so if you find yourself in a division of less than 3 you may be asked to change divisions. Work with the TD to find the best fit for you and your competition level.
Do you know the Basic Rules of Disc Golf?: No worries, you can find everything you need right here on www.pdga.com! And, if you sign up to become a PDGA member, they will supply you with a rule book that you can carry with you on the course.
Pay attention to “Who is Out”: This means you need to pay attention to where everyone in your group throws, and knowing who is the farthest from the basket. The person that is farther away will always go first, so you need to be aware up until and when it is your turn to throw.
Remember to Count your own Throws: You are solely responsible for knowing your own score and reporting it aloud to the scorekeeper within your group at that time. Keep track of the number of times that you throw, including any penalty or Out-of-bounds shots you may have accumulated. If you have issues with keeping track- Check out this Scoreband or there Scorebeads to help!
Have and Use a Mini Marker: You can purchase one online, but I’m sure you can find someone who has an extra they will give you or let you borrow. This is optional, as you can always just throw right behind your discs, but if you want to use that same disc you must mark it with the mini before picking it up. Mark it at the top of the disc directly in line with the basket, you may then pick up your disc and throw. You need to have one supporting point behind that mini marker for it to be a legal stance, so practice standing behind or running up to your mini to be sure you can do this before the tournament day.
Pack a Lunch: No, we’re serious. Be prepared and pack a lunch (and snacks to put in your bag) if the tournament is two rounds. Especially if you aren’t sure if lunch is provided, or if there are any healthy and more importantly QUICK lunch spots nearby. Its easier to bring your own food so you aren’t rushed and miss your second round. And don’t forget to bring Water!
Know when to be Social: While the best parts of this sport include meeting new people and getting to know them, it is a game that relies heavily on focus and concentration. So, be aware of the volume of your voice so that it does not distract others on the course, as well as the players in your group. Being aware of who is throwing, and when they are throwing, and fitting in conversations between that is fine.
If you don’t know, Ask!: If you are unsure of what to do in a certain situation, it is best to ask the other players in your group before you proceed. We were all new players once, so it is likely that the other players will be helpful with a rules or marking call.
HAVE FUN!: While this game can be intense if you have a competitive nature, remember why you play and have fun doing it. Introduce yourself to new people, network with the local club, and get involved. Disc Golfers are generally very welcoming and friendly, so take the time to make friends.