Frequently Asked Questions
FAQs about the approval, design, and construction of a disc golf course.
Go to the PDGA Course Directory and enter your zip code or the zip code near the places you plan to visit. The Directory will present you with a list of all courses in the directory in order from closest to farthest from that zip code.
First try to contact the person listed as the contact for that course if that information is available. If you’re certain a correction is needed, use the update procedure available for each course in the directory. If the coordinator doesn’t know you, he will usually try to confirm the correction with the course contact in the region.
The Course area on this website has many documents to help with approving, designing and installing a new course and is located here. Check the Disc Golf Course Designers group to see if any members are located in your area. They can help you through all steps of the process. If there’s no one on that list nearby, do a search of courses near your zip code and contact some of the people listed as contacts for those courses, especially courses in public parks. One of the first steps regardless whether you get additional help is to contact the Park Department that oversees parks in the community. Usually, there’s a master plan that has determined the future plans for park development. That will indicate which parks might be suitable for disc golf and whether the option will even be available. Depending where you live, it’s possible you’ll have different nearby parks managed by up to four different authorities such as city, county, state or federal. So you’ll potentially have to contact up to four different authorities to find out what options and properties may be available for a course.
The initial steps are the same as getting a course approved for a public park. The Course Development area on this website has many documents to help with approving, designing and installing a new course. Check the Disc Golf Course Designers group to see if any members are located in your area. They can help you through all steps of the process. If there’s no one on that list nearby, do a search of courses near your zip code and contact some of the people listed as contacts for those courses. The websites for target manufacturers can not only provide information on their target models, but they have helpful advice on course design and installation. Contact information is available here.
The chart that can help estimate acreage is available here. The very shortest beginner courses may need only half an acre per hole on average. The more wooded the property, the less space is needed because the woods can provide a safe buffer between fairways. Championship courses might need more than one acre per hole but again that can vary based on the amount of woods involved.
We’ll assume the land is available already, but that’s an additional major expense if it’s not. A barebones installation with light duty baskets, natural tees and simple wooden signs and do-it-yourself design (not recommended) can be installed for about $350 per hole. A full service community course with a heavy duty basket, dual cement tee pads, nice dual tee signs and two sleeves for basket placements on each hole could run up to $1000 per hole which includes a basic design fee on a property with little clearing to be done. The design fee could be $2000-$3000 higher if the course requires lots of fairway clearing thru woods and the designer is involved in supervising that process. An added cost might be if the clearing is done by outside hired professionals versus park staff and volunteers. Additional amenities that may be considered would be an information sign board at the start of the course and benches at several or all holes. A very nice course can be installed for $20,000 in most places where not much clearing is required.
Much depends on whether holes are mostly in the open or in the woods. Wooded holes have much higher upfront costs for clearing, depending on who does the work. However, maintenance can be minimal other than occasionally trimming some new growth limbs and possibly spreading wood chips on the fairways every few years. Open holes require some level of regular grass mowing but every 2-3 weeks may be fine. Hard surface tees may need to have dirt or gravel added in front of the tees every year or two to deal with wear. If natural tees are used, then it may be necessary to move them every few years and fill in the worn areas. Some park departments regularly dump wood chips around the baskets every year to reduce the natural wear that occurs from player traffic.
Yes. However, it’s imperative that a professional designer be involved for the design phase so the course is not only suitable for those who will play it but also as safe as possible. A contact list of designers who can help find someone to help if they themselves aren’t able to help directly is available here. Typically, Eagle scouts have been doing something to improve an existing course versus building a course. Some of these improvements might be building several sets of steps to reduce erosion in places with grades, creating and installing tee signs with nice graphics, or building benches for each hole.
Yes. They can be acceptable for the lowest tier competitions. Ideally, the PDGA would prefer that those who produce homemade baskets submit a sample and get them PDGA approved as long as the basket doesn’t violate any current patents. The submission process is here.
Information on PDGA Membership
A full list of member benefits can be found here.
The entire membership process should take 3-4 weeks. This time frame includes processing your membership, assigning your PDGA number and shipping your membership package. We ship using Business First Class. This rate generally takes 3-10 days once shipped. Thank you for your patience.
If your membership package has not arrived within 4 weeks of being processed, please notify the Memberships Manager, Sara Nicholson: firstname.lastname@example.org or 706-261-6342. To expedite the process when emailing, please make sure to include your mailing address. Once your address is confirmed, we will place a reship/redo order.
Contact the PDGA office at email@example.com or 706-261-6342.
Yes, if it is within the current calendar year. Just send an email listing the event(s), division and place of finish to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add the event(s) to your stats. There may be a delay in seeing an event in your stats if the tournament report has not been submitted by the tournament director. A good way to check this is to see if the online results state "Unofficial" or "Official". If it states "Official", the tournament report is in our possession and the event can be added.
The PDGA is a non-profit organization run by a volunteer Board of Directors, and hundreds - if not thousands - of volunteer hours to create all the programs managed by still more volunteers and 6 paid staff. With these funds the PDGA:
- organizes and manages a 1,300+ competitive event schedule world wide supporting each event with hard copy and electronic information;
- manages a points and ratings system for 18,000+ members;
- produces a full color glossy publication for all members;
- supports an annual World Championships;
- provides awards for outstanding achievement by a player, TD, volunteer, touring players;
- produces a hard copy and electronic version of a Course Directory with 3,200+ entries;
- keeps track of demographics which we supply to journalists, PR promoters and other interested parties;
- funds the PDGA Innovation Grant Program, created to increase and promote the awareness of the sport of disc golf and the Professional Disc Golf Association;
- manages a fabulous website where members can check their own personal stats pages at www.pdga.com and access the PDGA DISCussion board - sure to inform and entertain;
- manages live, hole-by-hole, online coverage for Majors and National Tour Elite Series events;
- sends out hard copy and e-notices, membership info, ballots and other mass mailings;
- manages the rules of play including revisions and updates every 3 years or so, as well as annual reprinting;
- manages a Competition Manual, a companion to the rules of play;
- produces an Information Kit available to members and non-members alike. The kit contains stats, demographics, testimonials, brochures and is useful for anyone interested in installing a course in their area or promoting the sport in general;
- prints a glossy promo brochure "What Is Disc Golf?" available to anyone upon request;
- annually produces for sale a high quality video of the annual PDGA Pro World Championships;
- organizes and subsidizes an insurance policy available to Tournament Directors of PDGA sanctioned events;
- created and manages an officiating system which includes a written exam;
- sponsors a Marshals' Program;
- provides sponsorship to Major, National Tour Elite Series and SuperTour events in the form of a financial contribution, banners and flags, Marshals, event registration assistance;
- finances and hosts monthly teleconferences and 2 annual Board of Directors face to face Summits;
- offers a great "Welcome" package for new members;
- gratefully acknowledges 10 and 20 year PDGA members with a bag tag;
- continues to fund initiatives that work towards airing disc golf on TV;
- in April 2007 we opened the International Disc Golf Center here in Columbia County, Georgia, housing the offices of the PDGA, the Hall of Fame and Ed Headrick Museums surrounded by 3 Championship courses open to all;
- provides standardized rules governing the running of an event - i.e.: Payout;
- provides a method for preventing divisional sandbagging - i.e.: monitoring non/non-current members' player ratings to protect current members competing in a PDGA sanctioned event.
Birdie Club members receive a Birdie Club logo disc and Birdie Club Bag Tag. Ace Club members receive an Ace Club logo disc, Ace Club logo shirt and an Ace Club Bag Tag. Eagle Club members receive two personalized Eagle Club logo discs and an Eagle Club logo Columbia softshell jacket. This is a lifetime membership. All members of these clubs are listed on our website and in DiscGolfer Magazine, the PDGA's official publication. Thank you for your support.
Yes. Simply call our fulfillment house 888-840-7342 and they will be happy to make the upgrade for you.
Although some Tournament Directors offer to accept memberships at an event, it can sometimes lead to a lengthy process. The membership will arrive with the tournament report which may not be due until 30 days later, depending on the Tier status of the event. Your best bet, for future renewals, is to renew online www.pdgastore.com or over the phone 888-840-7342 for the quickest processing.
You will receive 4 issues of DiscGolfer. If you renew/join after issues have been released, the back issues will be included in your welcome/renewal package. If they are not included please contact the memberships manager, Sara Nicholson at email@example.com.
Currently we do not offer prorated memberships. If you feel you are going to compete in several PDGA sanctioned events before October 1st, then it will be worth it to go ahead and join. Members receive discounted entry fees to PDGA sanctioned events. However, if you will not be competing much before then, join after October 1st and your membership will be extended through the following year.
Yes to both. We track all sanctioned PDGA event results for all members in our database. If, after renewing, you do not see an event added to your stats, please contact our Tour Manager, Andrew Sweeton, firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABSOLUTELY! Don't let the name fool you. 75% of our members are Amateurs.
Yes you may. Simply renew using the Affiliate Club Membership form/link and add the family member option.
On the top menu bar you will see "Membership". There will be a drop down box; click on "Member Search". The lists will be on the far right-hand side of that page.
Call the office. It may not have reached us. Also, the PDGA office staff is small. Only one person in each department so our inboxes stay full. We thank you for your patience as we do answer all emails. If your matter is time sensitive please don't hesitate to call us instead. We are here for you!
PDGA: 706-261-6342 (Mon-Sat 9:00AM - 5:00PM ET) or 888-840-7342 (After hours)
November 1st - All documents should be available by this date or the following business day, if it falls on a weekend. The online system will be ready at this time as well. Thank you in advance for renewing!
Information regarding the PDGA Tour
Please contact the PDGA office with your request for reclassification at email@example.com. Pro players can reclassify as amateurs provided they meet the following criteria:
1) The player has not accepted cash while competing in a Professional division within the past calendar year
2) The player has not previously been reclassified as an Amateur within the past five years.
3) The player's rating is...
- less than 970 for males who are Open age players (less than 40 during calendar year)
- less than 935 for males who are Master eligible players (40+ during calendar year)
- less than 900 for males who are Grandmaster eligible players (50+ during calendar year)
- less than 850 for males who are Senior Grandmaster eligible players (60+ during calendar year)
- less than 800 for males who are Legend eligible players (70+ during calendar year)
- less than 900 for females who are Open age players (less than 40 during calendar year)
- less than 850 for females who are Master eligible players (40+ during calendar year)
- less than 800 for females who are Grandmaster eligible players (50+ during calendar year)
- less than 750 for females who are Senior Grandmaster eligible players (60+ during calendar year)
Players who do not meet this criteria may still request reclassification but are expected to provide detailed reasons along with any supporting documentation. For example, a player requesting reclassification due to injury will need to provide a letter from an appropriate medical professional.
Yes and No. You may compete in amateur divisions at A, B, and C Tier events if your player rating falls within the guidelines: http://www.pdga.com/documents/divisions-ratings-points-factors However, you are now classified as a Professional with the PDGA and are ineligible to compete in Amateur Majors such as the US Amateur Disc Golf Championship and Am Worlds.
*Please keep in mind that you may accept prizes in lieu of cash in a Professional division and remain an Amateur.
Under the top menu bar you will see "PDGA Tour". There will be a drop down menu; click on "Tournament Directors". The forms will be listed in the column on the right-hand side of the page listed as "Documents and Resources". QUICK LINK: http://www.pdga.com/tdinfo/resources
On the top menu bar click on "PDGA Tour". There will be a drop-down option stating "Tournament Directors"; click on this and look on the far right-hand column to find "TD Payment".
Follow this link: www.pdga.com/rules/becoming-a-pdga-official
This document will help explain the different levels:
If you have further questions, please contact our tour manager, Dave Gentry. firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes. It can be found here: http://www.pdga.com/rules/3-4-dress-code
Frequently asked questions about the PDGA Sanctioned Leagues
PDGA league sessions include 6 to 10 weeks of singles play. No doubles yet. Players enter standard PDGA divisions or the league can be run where everyone participates in one handicap division as long as the TD reports players' raw scores to the PDGA site within standard PDGA divisions so players can earn ratings. The League Director or assistant must be a PDGA Certified Official and they are allowed to play.
Simply sanction multiple league sessions to cover the full length of your league. For example, if your league runs 18 weeks, just sanction two 9-week league sessions to cover it. The main reason for the 10-week limit is so scores get reported to the PDGA within 3 months of the time a league session starts so players can get official ratings for their league rounds without waiting half a year.
TDs can run their leagues pretty much however they run them now using best average scores, a points system, best 4 of 10 finish positions or handicaps to determine nightly and final league standings. Payouts will not be reported to the PDGA so amateurs may even get cash payouts if the TD prefers and they will not lose their amateur standing.
Yes. Current PDGA members will earn ratings and even non-members will earn them even though they won't be able to see their official ratings until they join or renew. Players will see preview (unofficial) ratings each week when the TD posts the scores online just like regular tournaments.
If some weeks don't display preview ratings, it's likely not enough players entered that week with established ratings (propagators) over 799. At least 5 propagators are required to produce preview ratings. The good news is that once the league report is submitted to the PDGA, players will still receive official ratings for any of the weeks they couldn't see preview ratings.
Yes. Some TDs may either want to or be required to sanction their league for the PDGA insurance coverage. It takes at least 5 PDGA members with established ratings over 799 to produce Preview (unofficial) Ratings online each week. However, even if your league has fewer than 5 players with established ratings some or most weeks, the PDGA will use an alternate method to generate official ratings for the current and hopefully new PDGA members in your league once your final league results are submitted.
Yes. Players will earn PDGA points based on how many players they tied or beat in their division during each week of play. League points are 1/2 the amount of points of a C-Tier tournament.
There's no non-member fee to play in a PDGA league. However, non-members will not receive ratings they can see online nor earn PDGA points.
The TD determines the basic entry fee per day for each league division. The TD adds $1 fee to each of those entry fees which is paid by each player whether PDGA member or not. From that $1 fee, $0.50 goes to the PDGA and $0.50 goes to the TD to help with their league expenses, compensation and possibly final league prizes. The fee to sanction as a PDGA league is $25.
No and Yes. All players must play the same tees on a specific league day. However, everyone can play a different set of tees on the same course or even another course the following week. The league can move around so the same tees/course are never played twice over a 10-week league. If the courses being played in your league are particularly long and too tough for lower level divisions to play the long tees, we recommend sanctioning two leagues running on the same course on the same night. Have your higher level divisions in one league playing the long tees. The other league would include your lower divisions playing a shorter set of tees on the same course.
Yes. Players may play in a different division they are eligible for as they prefer each week. That's one reason why every player must play the same tees and course on a specific league day so ratings are calculated properly.
If the same league plays more than one day in a week, a separate sanctioning form must be submitted for each week day. For example, if you have a league that meets every Tuesday and Thursday, the PDGA would see that as a Tuesday league and a separate Thursday league for reporting purposes. That doesn't mean the league couldn't continue to locally process their league standings, results and payouts with those days combined.
PDGA rules must be followed in leagues just as they are in regular tournament play. The one exception allowed for league play is players of legal age may drink during rounds if the park rules allow alcohol to be consumed on the course. However, please drink in moderation since courtesy rules can be enforced to penalize unruly behavior.
Not really. PDGA Ratings are calculated using what's called a zero sum process. The total ratings points earned in a round by the group of players with established ratings (who generate the ratings) will always total the same as the total of their player ratings going into the event.
Let's say a player thinks they can boost their rating in league because they play a course very well. However, many other local league players also play this course well. So even though this player may average 2 throws better on this course, enough other league players also play well enough such that the ratings produced will not average any better from those better scores.
If a player tries to use league rounds to tank their rating, there are already statistical calculations in place to trap that behavior if the TD doesn't already see it and report the problem. Multiple DNF rounds will also be tracked the same way they are tracked for regular PDGA events to discover any pattern of abuse for potential disciplinary action.
Frequently asked questions about the PDGA Player Rating System
Your PDGA Player Rating (PR) is a number that shows how close your average round scores are compared to the course rating, called the Scratch Scoring Averages (SSA), of the courses you’ve played in competition. Players who average the SSA on courses played will have a rating of 1000 and are considered “scratch players”. A player who averages scores lower than SSAs on course they’ve played will have a rating over 1000. Most competition players shoot scores higher than SSA so their ratings range somewhere from 700-999.
Dealing with ‘sandbagging’ – players entering a division below their skill level – used to be a challenge. Since 2002, PDGA Player Ratings have been used to group amateur players in competition divisions that prevent players from entering divisions below their rating. In addition, ratings provide one way to rank the world's top players on the PDGA Tour. Course ratings pave the way for statistical comparisons of courses around the world with the potential to help improve their designs and levels of challenge. Course SSA ratings provide a benchmark for players to compare their scores on different courses. Ratings also allow players to handicap their play against anyone all over the world. And based on member surveys, ratings are very popular and fun to watch, not only yours but everyone else’s, too.
Players who enter a PDGA event in a division tracked by the PDGA will automatically get their results entered into the ratings system. However, only ratings of current PDGA members will be published. Starting in 2009, players can earn a separate Super Class rating if they play in those events. See the Super Class FAQ for more information.
Your first rating can be calculated after just one valid round of tournament play. It will be posted on the PDGA website the next time the ratings are updated.
Your current rating can be found by looking up your name under the Membership menu. In addition, you can see unofficial round ratings in events you’ve entered, that haven’t been rated officially, if your TD has posted results of your event online at the PDGA site. If you don’t regularly have access to the Internet, all Tournament Directors receive the current PDGA member list with individual player ratings included so you could also ask a TD.
If you don’t see any scores during or just after the event, it’s because the TD has not posted the scores. If you see the scores but don’t see any ratings, it means the TD has sent the tournament report to PDGA HQ and the official scores are now posted. Once official scores are posted, any unofficial ratings disappear until the next official ratings are processed.
Ratings are now updated at least 10 times per year. For 2013 events, ratings are scheduled to be updated on March 26th, April 23rd, May 21st, July 2nd, August 13th, September 17th, October 22nd, November 19th and December 17th with the 2013 yearend update on January 28th, 2014 with any corrections in early February as needed.
Your rating only changes when you have new rounds that have been reported and rated since your last ratings update. If you don’t play, your rating continues to stay frozen at the same number.
If you have pre-registered, the TD may allow you to remain in that division as long as the event is within two weeks of the ratings posting date. If you did not pre-register before the new ratings were posted, then you are expected to play in the division where your new rating now resides.
Either an event you played quite a while ago just got reported for this update or it’s possible an event you entered needed to be corrected once an error was found in the previous calculations.
Our website allows TDs to upload results and have unofficial ratings calculated. These unofficial results and ratings are not connected to the official results processed by PDGA HQ. When the PDGA receives the tournament report, the scores and member names are checked then added to the PDGA database for display on the web. Since official ratings have not yet been processed, there are no official or unofficial ratings remaining online. Once the official ratings get calculated and are added to the PDGA database, they automatically get displayed with the official scores which have been there for a while.
The scores thrown by propagators each round are used to calculate the SSA rating for a specific course layout. A propagator is a current member whose rating is over 799 and is based on at least 8 rounds. As long as there are 5 propagators playing a course layout, ratings can be calculated. The average rating of all propagators will equal the average rating they get for the round – always. If the same course layout is used more than one round, the scores from multiple rounds will be used to determine an overall SSA, as long as the individual round SSAs come out close to each other, so everyone gets the same rating for the same score on the same course. If the SSAs are significantly different, likely due to varying wind conditions, the round ratings will be calculated separately. If a propagator shoots more than 60 points below their rating, their score will not be used in the SSA calculations.
All rated rounds you have played and have been reported to the PDGA within 12 months of your most recently rated round will be included in the calculation. However, if any one of those ratings is either more than 100 points below your average rating or more than 2.5 standard deviations below your rating – whichever number is smaller – that round will not be included. That works out to about 1 in 50 rounds getting dropped. Rounds where you DNF (Do Not Finish) are never counted in your rating. The most recent 25% of your rounds get double weighted which slightly boosts your rating if you have been steadily improving. If a player has fewer than 8 rounds in the past 12 months, since their most recent round, then we’ll go back up to another 12 months until we find up to 8 rounds but never go back any farther than a total of 24 months.
Every throw equals about 10 rating points on a typical 18-hole course with an SSA near 50. If your scores average 10 throws over SSA, your rating will be 100 points lower than 1000 which would be 900. So a player with rating of 950, who is about 5 throws better than a player with a 900 rating, should probably spot the 900 rated player about 4 to 5 throws if they are trying to level the playing field for the round.
All amateurs with the exception of aged based divisions, like Juniors or Masters and older, compete in divisions based on rating levels. You may not play in a lower division if your rating is above a certain number. Current Amateur divisional ratings lines are; MA1 if 935+, MA2 <935, MA3 <900, MA4 <850 and Am Women; FA1 if 800+, FA2 <800, FA3 <750 (from the Player Division Table.) In addition, there are ratings events where everyone – Ams and Pros – play in a division based on their rating. Players are always allowed to enter divisions even higher than their current rating, just never below.
Hosting a PDGA event is the official way to get an SSA rating for your course. Your course gets an SSA rating when at least 5 current PDGA members with official ratings over 799 play it in PDGA competition. The rough SSA calculation for an 18-hole course with average foliage density is to take the total course length in feet, divide it by 285, then add 30. This will get within a few shots of the SSA and even closer if you adjust upward or downward for more or less than average foliage on the course.
The SSA is generated from player scores, so it will just end up a little higher in poor weather conditions. Player ratings can still be calculated properly regardless of the weather.
There’s no way to determine what an official SSA value would be for a course simply by taking measurements, looking at foliage, fairway widths and accounting for hazards. Not only that, it’s common for TDs to add temp holes, change tee or pin positions, or use new courses such that no SSA would be on file for that layout anyway. Using the scores of players with established ratings to produce an SSA has proven to be an accurate way to indicate how the course played that round. The only weakness of this system is that we require only 5 propagators to generate an SSA. Statisticians would prefer we use at least 30 propagators minimum for better accuracy. However, the PDGA has chosen 5 so that more players would get ratings. Some smaller divisions who play shorter layouts may not have very many propagators on a layout that round and would not get ratings in several events. The slightly higher inaccuracies produced with this system for individual rounds tend to even out over time. Plus, no round rating remains in an active player’s rating more than 12 months before it disappears.
Tech questions may be directed to Roger Smith or Chuck Kennedy by sending us a message from the Contact area of the PDGA website. Other ratings documents are also posted on the PDGA website: www.pdga.com/ratings
Questions about the current state of the PDGA website.
The PDGA's Discussion Board is a member benefit. You must be a member to post.
Once you become a current member of the PDGA, you may post on the discussion board. To monitor who is a member, we use a verification code in order to open an account to post. Once you type in your verification code, which is printed on your membership card, you will be transferred to a page with instructions on opening an account. At this point, you will then decide a user name and password. PLEASE NOTE: The verification code is only needed once in order to first open an account.
Common questions and answers about the Certified Official's Exam
Tournament Directors of PDGA Sanctioned events are required to be a Certified Official. Starting in 2011 passing the Official's Exam is now required for all amateurs and professional competitors playing in a National Tour Elite Series or PDGA Major event.
The Board approved the elimination of the PDGA Rules Proficiency Exam and replaced it with the PDGA Certified Officials Exam. Once you pass the exam you will be considered a PDGA Certified Official.
In 2011 all Certified Officials will be required to re-test. After passing the exam your certification will be good for three years.
There is a US$10 fee for all persons required to take the PDGA Certified Officials Exam.
The PDGA Certified Officials Exam certification is good for three years, unless otherwise noted by the PDGA Board due to a major rules revision.
The PDGA Certified Officials Exam will be an on-line examination, and will be available at pdga.com in early January 2011. It will be initially offered in English, and will become available in other languages as our international partners complete the translation of the exam.
You may take the exam an unlimited number of times until an acceptable score of 80% is achieved.
The test is not timed, and is open book. The subject matter will cover both the 2011 PDGA Official Rules of Play and the 2011 PDGA Competition Manual.
Please check that the confirmation email is not in your spam folder. If this is not the case please contact the PDGA Store at 888-840-7342.
The Certified Official's Exam can be found at http://www.pdgastore.com/store/officials-exam.html
This was offered during the 2011 tour to allow TDs to recertify due to the change. In 2012 you will need to pay the $10 fee.
Once the Touring Pros for a given year are calculated they are sent an email with information on how to take the Official's Exam free of charge. If you didn't receive this email please contact the PDGA Office at email@example.com or (706) 261-6342.