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August 05, 2021 3 min read 1 Comment

I’m definitely a minimalist when it comes to clothing. One of the things I love about working at Sabattus Disc Golf is that they let me wear shorts every day of the year. I couldn’t do that when I was working in a gelato factory. Early tangent for my blogs, but we definitely need more disc golf shorts. Something that has a pocket designed to hold a mini, maybe a pencil pocket, and works well with Grip6 belts. Maybe a towel loop as well?

I’m not much of a designer so I’ll leave my thoughts to the professional shorts designers.

Let’s talk about something else clothes related that’s bugging me; it’s tank tops. They’re great and the PDGA is wrong to ban them from men’s play.

PDGA guidelines regarding clothing during tournaments.

(There’s more to this dress code, but this is the relevant portion I want to talk about)

Disc golf throws aren’t always pretty. We’ve all had to do that weird straddle or patent pending shot with a tree or a bush in the way. The way we contort our bodies to hit a small gap takes a lot of bending and twisting.

You know what’s really cumbersome? Sleeves!

Basketball
Volleyball
Gymnastics
Ultimate Frisbee
Lacrosse

These are all sports where tank tops are part of the uniform. They all require arm movement at lots of angles. It wouldn’t be a new trend to allow players to wear tank tops.

Andrew, baseball pitchers have worn sleeves forever. In fact, they wear long sleeves too!

Yes, but baseball pitchers are more concerned with keeping their arms warm and they only throw every 5 days. The motion of pitchers is consistent from throw to throw, that’s how they deceive batters. Baseball pitchers are used to making the same consistent throw over and over again so a sleeve won’t affect them as greatly. You don’t throw off the mound one pitch and then make the next one from 15 feet to the left with the batter in the on deck circle.

Disc golf isn’t the same every round, no matter how you play. You’re going to have weird tree kicks, wind gusts, and other things that push your disc to somewhere you’ll have a unique throw.

If I throw something on a big hyzer, the shirt I wear is going to slip the sleeve down my arm when I pull low to high. Throwing something on anhyzer, I would have to bunch my shirt up. I don’t want it to be pulling on me and slowing down my arm when I throw a sweeping turnover shot.

Players often pick at the shirt on their putting shoulder to get it adjusted correctly. It’s just an extra step that we shouldn’t have to do. This isn’t Victorian England (1837-1901) where people get offended with a little shoulder showing.

I know that this is only at PDGA Elites Series/National Tour sanctioned tournaments and that’s probably 0.1% of all disc golf played. But it seems unnecessary to me to have this be a rule open to interpretation. It falls to TD discretion at A tiers and lower and what if I show up in a tank top? I have backup clothes in my car in case I need a change because I get soaked or muddy. I shouldn’t need an additional shirt in case the TD feels like my outfit isn’t appropriate.

What’s the punishment for wearing a tank top? It’s a courtesy violation under 8.12 of the PDGA rulebook. But you get one warning and then after that it’s a violation. So far I’ve found an example of 1 player who has been publicly warned for it. This was on the DGPT where they follow PDGA guidelines for basically everything.

As I work in a pro shop and see plenty of players every day, I know that many of us wear tank tops to play. I own a few, and I’ll be honest, playing disc golf in them is awesome. I wish I could do it in a tournament. There’s no real reason for the PDGA to ban them. They do allow untucked shirts, and shirts that promote alcohol, tobacco, and drugs (provided you’re not a junior player). So if this is under the guise of professionalism I fail to see it.

It’s another thing to allow women to compete with a different rule than men. If a guy wants to wear a collared shirt without sleeves it should be allowed. And yeah if someone in MPO wants to wear a tennis dress it should be allowed as well. Make the same rules for everyone, and let’s move on to chucking some plastic together.

I get that the P in PDGA stands for Professional, but it doesn’t have to stand for uPtight.

May your discs miss all the trees and let your shoulders be free,
Andrew Streeter #70397


1 Response

Molly Orman
Molly Orman

August 10, 2021

The biggest issue I see with the rules is that the women are allowed to wear sleeveless, collared shirts and not men. That should be just made to say that sleeveless, collared shirts are allowed. However, a collared, sleeveless shirt isn’t a tanktop.

If the feeling of a sleeve that isn’t too tight really makes it that difficult for a player to compete, it might be worth looking into whether they may have some sensory challenges going on, on which case they could possibly get a dress code waiver approved as a reasonable accommodation if they had it diagnosed.

As for dress codes at A tiers and below, if a TD is going to enforce any dress code beyond that which is in place for those events (i.e. the wear shoes and a shirt), it should be made clear before the day of, otherwise it’s an unreasonable expectation.

My personal favorite quirk in the pdga event dress code is that while it does list some specifics about how pants or shorts are meant to be worn if they’re worn, it does not actually require them to be worn at all. So a player who was cited for a courtesy violation for having holey pants or shorts that weren’t longer than their untucked shirt could theoretically resolve that by just removing them.

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