I spend plenty of my life watching the disc golf pro scene on YouTube and Disc Golf Network, it’s kind of an occupational hazard when you work at a disc golf course with two televisions. I love the live coverage and how in real time I can see players competing. It builds the drama and tension as they walk down the fairway or to the next teepad. I’m also a fan of the condensed coverage so I can see more players play in a short amount of time. Post round coverage gets what takes 4 hours into about 1.
I’ve developed some opinions about the Disc Golf Pro Tour. Where it’s at, and where it’s going is important to me. I figure I’d share some thoughts in the blog this week and hear what everyone else has to say about it.
1. I couldn’t make up my mind about the Dynamic Discs Open Courses due to the insane wind.
I’m firmly Team “woods disc golf is real disc golf”. But I know that I’m not everyone and everyone is not me. To Kansas players, open disc golf with long distance, wind, and artificial OB is their game.
So I was excited to see bombs this past weekend. Maybe some big flex shots, or rollers that made me question how I throw a disc. Also, if every course was in the woods it would get a little boring, it’s important to show off the scenery of everywhere in the country.
I was looking forward to seeing the new and improved Jones Supreme course, I believe that’s what the World Championships are being played on. The DDO has seen some monster scores in previous years. Where players average 8 to 10 under per round. This year Ricky won it at -10 for the event.
I saw so many posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit about people “Loving to see the pros struggle with a strong course like us.” But I think that this hot take is a bit… misguided.
The pros didn’t struggle with the course, they struggled with wind that made watching the event difficult. Here’s 2x World Champion Ricky Wysocki, one of the greatest putters the world has ever seen. Laying up on a 30 footer. He couldn’t attempt his birdie putt from the edge of circle 2 because he’d run the risk of it going over the basket and OB, or rolling down the hill, or doing anything because of the wind.
I’m interested in seeing the course again in August/September. Hopefully the spring winds have died down.
2. FPO on the DGPT is really coming into its own.
I love watching FPO. *Honk*
So far this season it’s produced some amazing finishes, and the DDO was no exception. We’ve had thrilling memories from this season. If I was to pick a favorite moment so far it would be Mandujano’s shot on 17 at WACO where she made a difficult approach into the green with her driver, sealing her first DGPT win.
What used to be a field of 20-30 competitors at events has turned into fielding more FPO players every event. The USWDGC sold out incredibly fast this year. Women still make up 8% of the PDGA and have for the last 2 decades. But I’m hoping that the increase in viewership is an indicator that we’ll see more women in disc golf. We don’t have just the Paige and Catrina show anymore, there are a handful of women who stand a shot at winning every single tournament. It’s still not as deep a field as MPO, but we’re getting there. I hope that in 10 years we’ll be able to see 25+ women who stand a chance at winning a tournament, similar to the men.
Sabattus Disc Golf is committed to increasing FPO participation (through sale of Tour Series Discs) and introducing more women to the sport.
So going forward we’ll be working with New England Women’s Disc Golf to provide women free rounds on Wednesdays. Come on in and tell us you’re here for Women Wednesdays and women get a free round.
If you’re not watching FPO you’re missing out on half of the DGPT content. Watch it live or post produced and you’re in for a great show. There are great finishes, awesome storylines, and there’s a lot of talent coming up in the next few years.
3. We need certified full time officials for the game to grow.
I’ve already written about what we need for officials. Disc golf seems to have a controversy almost every weekend about the rules.
I think we’re still years away from this being a possibility mostly due to money. But it would make everything significantly better if players didn’t have to call whether a disc is in or out. Whether a disc made or missed a mando. Or try to figure out if they should proceed to the drop zone or throw from where it last crossed in bounds.
Baseball players don’t call fair or foul, disc golfers shouldn’t have to either. Arguments could be settled with qualified individuals. If an official had a problem, they could radio the TD to make a decision within a minute or two.
As a sports fan, I’m used to waiting a minute or two for a decision. It’s commonplace in football when a coach challenges a call, it’s starting to become common in soccer with VAR (big fan), and I wouldn’t mind seeing it in disc golf with an official taking a minute to make a ruling consulting with a TD.
Having 18 officials, one for each hole. Would greatly increase the consistency in the product the DGPT offers. Yes we’ll have officials miss calls from time to time, just like any other sport. But it would take the onus off the players to be both playing a tournament and officiating it at the same time.
4. I want to see an additional exclusive event from the DGPT, maybe ditch the All-Star weekend.
It would have to be early in the year to make it not conflict with other big events like Worlds or USDGC or the DGPT championship. Players migrate all over the US, and world as they play on tour. There’s not a lot of time to squeeze any extra tournaments in, and this would be something that would have to replace an existing tournament.
What I would like to see is an invite only tournament for MPO and FPO that you have to have won a DGPT Elite Series Event in the last 2 years to qualify. This could replace the All Stars and be something like a “Winner Winter Open”. I don’t have a better name at the moment, so that’s what I’ll be calling the pretend event.
It would add some prestige to the event. I think that may be the way professional disc golf is trending. Having an event that you have to qualify for by beating the competition would be a little extra fun.
If they wanted more participants they could add players who won the Silver Series events as well.
Last year the de facto top 2 players in MPO (Paul, Ricky) skipped the event. Creating a best of the best tournament may increase participation from top pros who otherwise skipped the event.
5. There’s a need for a play by play commentator with professional experience.
Right now the disc golf commentators are okay. I want good/great for us in the near future.
What we eventually need is someone with a real education in the sports broadcasting world more than we need multiple disc golfers in the booth. Elaine, Philo, Nate, and Val are all former players with decades of experience and 12 world titles between them. They make great color commentators, but need a little finesse and direction.
As a Red Sox fan I’ve been fortunate to listen to Joe Castiglione my entire life on the radio for games. I’m sure that whatever pro sports team you listen to has a radio or tv announcer that you like as well. Joe has a masters degree in radio/tv from Syracuse. It’s something that definitely set him up for success as a play by play caller. It’s something for the DGPT to think about, maybe hiring someone young out of school with a degree and experience in television or a pro from another sport who is looking for a change.
Those are 5 of my thoughts on the Disc Golf Pro Tour as it stands. I’m a big fan of the DGPT and their events. If you’re interested in seeing one of these events live I cannot recommend it enough. When I attended an event I had a blast, here’s a blog from last summer about when I saw the GMC.
What do you think the DGPT needs? Or is it fine as it is?
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397