This summer, I’ve played disc golf with a ton of new people. I’ve had readers and podcast listeners hit me up to play. I’ve played with random people at my home course. I’ve played rounds with people who follow me on Instagram. It has turned out to be a really great summer.
It’s been really cool to meet so many people. Something I always ask the people I play with is whether they play in tournaments or not. It’s usually a good conversation starter regardless of the answer. I’ve been kind of surprised by how few have ever played in a disc golf tournament.
I always ask why this is. While the answers all seem to vary on the surface, they really boil down to one reason… People don’t think they are good enough.
First, this is a terrible reason to not do something. I can tell each of you who think this that you are wrong. I played in a tournament this year with someone who had only been playing 3 weeks. If he can do it, so can you.
Luckily, there are lots of reasons to play in your first tournament other than being “good enough”. Here’s a short list, I hope it inspires some of you to check out a local tournament:
- It’s not about winning. Only one person wins in each division. Does that mean that everyone else all went to their cars and cried? No! Pretty much everyone has a great time whether they win or not. Forget about the winning part for now and just get out and play!
- Speaking of divisions, skill level is the whole reason they have them. You will be playing with and competing against other people of a similar skill level. You won’t be placed in a group with Avery Jenkins, Ken Climo, and Simon Lizotte and expected to compete. You’ll be put in a group with 3 other disc golfers who also miss 10 foot putts and hit trees just like you (and I) do.
- Usually, those 3 other disc golfers turn out to be pretty cool people. One of my favorite things about playing in tournaments is getting to catch up with all of the folks I have come to know and love over the years I’ve been playing in tournaments.
- Even though you will be playing with some fun people who play at or around your skill level, you’ll still get to see what it’s like to play under pressure. It’s a way to test yourself and see how you do. There just isn’t another way to do this. Leagues are kind of similar, but nothing holds a candle to the butterflies in your stomach on the first hole of a tournament round.
- Because of this pressure, you’ll come away with a very clear picture of what it is you really need to work on. Nothing exposes your true opportunities like playing in competition under pressure.
- Not only will you be playing under pressure, but you’ll be playing by the rules. Getting in to your first disc golf tournament is a great way to see our great sport played properly and by the book. No cheating your lie. No mulligans. No multiple throws on each shot. For many people who only play casually, playing by the actual rules can be a whole different experience.
- While you are there, you’ll also get to see some of the local pros play. If you look around while you are there, you’re bound to see some amazing disc golf that you never get to see on your normal daily rounds.
- Lastly, how will you ever know if you like it or not? You might find out that you absolutely love playing in tournaments. That would open up a whole new world within our sport for you. And if you find out that you don’t love it? No harm, no foul, at least you tried.
There are actually a lot more reasons than just those, but the bottom line is that if you play disc golf, you should play in at least one tournament.
What are you waiting for? There’s plenty of good weather left. Get out there and give it a shot! A great place to look for an event coming up near you is right here on the PDGA website. Then let us know how it was. We’d love to hear about your experiences!
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