Glowin' in the Winter
"Neither snow, nor sleet, nor dark of night shall keep disc golfers from their appointed rounds."
It's that time of year when Daylight Savings slips away and many of us descend into darkness as the workday ends. There's a nip in the air even if that means dropping below just 50 degrees south of the Mason-Dixon line. Many in northern climes decide what brightly colored discs they'll use to replace their go-to white discs they don't want to lose once the snow flies.
The PDGA knows many members don't shy away from playing in any conditions. It's always disc golf time. There's just a new set of challenges as the seasons change through the year. What you may not realize is events and now leagues can be sanctioned year-round including rounds at night. And ratings will be provided whether the rounds are in the dark and/or in the snow as long as regular PDGA rules are followed, i.e., no mulligans.
Question: Can only PDGA Approved glow discs be used for sanctioned play in the dusk and dark?
Answer: The PDGA office has approved a blanket waiver so any PDGA Approved disc may be used with glow stick or LED light attached, preferably to the underside of transparent discs, after sunset in your time zone. In addition, LED lights taped to PDGA Approved discs can be used during daylight specifically when there is sufficient snow cover on the course and the LED might make the disc easier to locate. Non-PDGA Approved discs such as those with built-in LED lights cannot be used at any time during sanctioned play.
Sanctioned night play opens up some new event formats that could even be used during summer play. For example, how about a C-tier event where the first round is on Friday night and the second and possibly third round (B-tier?) are on Saturday? Players from a few hours away could travel after work in time for a round starting at 7:30-8pm Friday night. Stay overnight, even camp when it's not too cold. Finish early or late afternoon on Saturday with time to get back home. Sunday is free for watching football.
A few winter leagues at night have already popped up around the country including a sanctioned league in Georgia. Even Minnesota has had a Tuesday night league for the past several years during the coldest and snowiest nights of the year.
Another creative event format (more suited to metro areas) could work well for players who have trouble making weekend events any time of the year due to their work or family obligations. Pick two weeknights like Tuesday and Wednesday. Play one round each night and sanction as a 36-hole C-tier. Yes, that's always been allowed. Nights don't even have to be consecutive. Combine Monday & Thursday as an option.
We hope you have fun this winter whether you continue to play outdoors, perhaps with some new holiday gift gear, or maybe just practicing putting in the basement, or keeping your reflexes honed on Wii disc golf. Of course, our members in the South Pacific are just now cruising into their summer season ...but it still gets dark there, too.