Directors Cup a Success
“Thank you” is a phrase that most tournament directors don’t hear too often. Being a TD of a PDGA sanctioned event is a thankless task that is more often than not a volunteer position. Our sport thrives on volunteers who donate their time, effort, and sanity for months at a time. Well, the PDGA recognizes how difficult this job can be, and last weekend, it was our chance to say “thanks” to all those hard-working individuals who consistently make an effort to promote the sport and host an event in their area.
The Professional Disc Golf Association invited all Tournament Directors, State Coordinators, PDGA volunteers, and other representatives to the International Disc Golf Center (PDGA Headquarters) in Appling, GA for the inaugural PDGA Directors Cup. The Directors Cup is a new educational event designed for volunteers that help make the PDGA and the sport of disc golf a success. The weekend included seminars and discussions geared towards enhancing the tournament experience for both TD’s and players, as well as two rounds of disc golf for six ratings-based divisions on the scenic and beautiful championship courses of the International Disc Golf Center. The intention of this event is not only to offer appreciation to the countless volunteers who run this sport, but also to provide a platform to share ideas, offer assistance, and just kick back for a free fun-filled weekend. Attendance was great for the first year event, seeing participants from more than 20 states, a few from Canada, and even two dedicated TD’s from Sweden, Henrik Ryden and Daniel Svensson.
The weekend kicked off on Friday with a meet and greet with IDGC Manager and Directors Cup TD, Jason Allind and PDGA Executive Director Brian Graham. They led the attendees on a tour of the IDGC, showing off the beautiful amenities such as the Hall of Fame and the Steady Ed Headrick Disc Golf Museum. Next up was PDGA Events Manager Mike Downes and Tour Manager Andrew “Big Dog” Sweeton, who led a discussion on best practices in Tournament Management. Lastly, a very productive Q & A session with all the members of the PDGA Staff capped off an educational start to the event.
Saturday morning, attendees were greeted by Georgia’s first freeze of the autumn season, presenting some beautiful colors in the thick Georgia forest. Pat Govang, former PDGA Commissioner and avid disc golfer began the morning discussions with a presentation on the future of the PDGA. Govang was hired by the organization to assess the wants and needs of the PDGA and its members, and to develop a strategic five year plan based on the desires of the members of the Association. The results of his findings will be available in the weeks to come. Ratings guru Chuck Kennedy was up next, walking guests through his process of developing and evaluating ratings. Jason Allind and Memberships Manager Sara Nicholson were up next, presenting some great info on how to manage local clubs and community outreach projects, as well as how to utilize the ever-expanding medium of social media to your advantage. Leading a discussion on PDGA International was the International Program Director and former PDGA Executive Director Brian Hoeniger. Lastly, Technology Director Steve Ganz walked us through the ins and outs of the very detailed online registration and tournament management processes. All in all, attendees were delighted with the abundance of information shared by the staff of the PDGA. Questions were answered, ideas were shared, and friends were made.
After a great lunch provided by the local Augusta Disc Golf Association, it was finally time to play some golf. The first round of play was on the Steady Ed Headrick course, which was designed by Chuck Kennedy and Tom Monroe. This beautiful lake-front course provides a unique challenge by weaving through the tall pines and oaks of the Georgia forest while meandering over some demanding terrain. Former World Champion Joe Mela jumped out to an early lead by shooting a tournament best 49 (-10) in the Gold division. Alan Kane (former PDGA Events Manager and current Collegiate contact) led the Blue division after a scorching 52. Leading the White division was the familiar face of Harold Duvall. PDGA Memberships Manager Sara Nicholson shared the lead in the Red division with Georgia local Mike Trello, while Stephen Robertson of Alabama led the Green division and John Birkrem of New Jersey had the lead in the Purple division. At the completion of the round, participants were treated to more of that southern hospitality by enjoying some home-cooked barbeque. There was a fly-mart and a disc swap, and players blew off some steam until long after the sun had gone down.
Sunday morning, players were tested by the long and demanding layout of the Jim Warner Memorial course designed by Jim Kenner and Pad Timmons. With a great deal of elevation change and tricky pin placements, shooting around par is no easy task. Proving once again that he was the man to beat was Joe Mela, who shot a five under par 58, giving him the win with a five stroke margin of victory. Bryan Gort took home the win in the Blue division, while Craig Nettleship came from behind to win the White division. Jason Pierre also came from two strokes behind to win the Red division. Both Stephen Robertson and John Birkrem held on for the victory in the Green and Purple groupings, respectively.
A big “thanks” goes out to So Many Roads Art and Captured by Addie Photography, who provided the beautiful trophies presented to the winners. Ignited Photography developed and donated the Directors Cup logo. For a complete list of scores, click here. Next year, the event will only get bigger and better, so if you are one of the “movers and shakers” in the disc golf industry, we hope to see you then! And once again, thanks for all you do to promote the sport of disc golf!