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2018 PDGA Competition Manual – Updates & Explanations

2018 PDGA Competition Manual – Updates & Explanations

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - 14:10

Crafting an official revision of the PDGA Competition Manual is no simple task. The PDGA Competition Committee put in hundreds of unpaid, volunteer hours on the 2018 revision, working to clean up and clarify the verbiage while simultaneously creating new items and editing existing ones. The 2018 revision contains updates and edits based on nearly five years of feedback (last revised on January 1, 2013) from PDGA members, tournament directors, Board of Directors members, PDGA staff, State/Provincial Coordinators, etc.

Many small changes have been included simply for clarity in the 2018 revision, but there are a handful of significant changes that PDGA-sanctioned event competitors and Tournament Directors (as well as their staff) should start familiarizing themselves with now to avoid any issues when the revision takes effect on January 1st, 2018. We believe firmly that the 2018 revision strengthens the integrity and fairness of the PDGA competition system as a whole while also protecting event competitors and Tournament Directors.

The most significant changes included in the 2018 revision, and a brief explanation of each, are listed below.

Download the 2018 PDGA Competition Manual for Disc Golf Events »

Critical Info - 1.10 Distribution of Prizes

After many hours of conversation and deliberation by the the PDGA Board of Directors, a motion to suspend Competition Manual 1.10.A and to edit Competition Manual 1.10.B was upheld. The motion will be in effect for the entire 2018 calendar year while the Board and Competition Committee address the valuable feedback received by our PDGA members. We expect these rules to be refined for 2019 with two general goals in mind; 1) ensure that all players that cash in a professional division are properly tracked to maintain the integrity of our professional and amateur divisions, and 2) minimize the requirement for TDs to come up with large quantities of merchandise, sometimes unexpectedly, to payout Amateurs cashing in Pro divisions.

Item 1.10.A remains visible on the PDGA website but has been crossed out to avoid confusion with “Suspended for 2018” appended.

1.10.A: Any player accepting cash in a Pro division at a PDGA-sanctioned event (except leagues) must be a current Pro-class PDGA member. If they are not a current Pro-class PDGA member, and wish to accept cash, the membership fee for either their new Pro membership, upgraded membership (if a current Amateur), or renewed Pro membership is taken out of their winnings by the Tournament Director and forwarded to the PDGA. Suspended for 2018

PDGA Competition Manual for Disc Golf Events - 1.10 Distribution of Prizes

Item 1.10.B has been edited on the PDGA website and will remain as follows for the 2018 calendar year.

1.10.B: An Amateur playing in a Pro division may NOT accept merchandise in lieu of cash in Major, National Tour, and A-Tier events; they may only accept a trophy (if one is available). All cash payouts at or below that place would move down one place causing an additional place to be paid.  

PDGA Competition Manual for Disc Golf Events - 1.10 Distribution of Prizes

2018 Competition Manual Breakdown

The text in each of the sections below is an explanation, not the rule itself. See the 2018 PDGA Competition Manual for Disc Golf Events to read the official text.

1.02 Tournament Registration

  • 1.02.A – The pre-registration requirement is now extended to A-Tiers to enhance transparency to the players.
  • 1.02.C – This rule has been updated for events that have divisional or class caps to allow for first-come first-serve registration within those caps.
  • 1.02.D – An addition has been made to allow that waitlists may also be maintained based on caps.  (Example: if MPO is capped and a player withdraws from MPO, the first player on the MPO waitlist would be moved to the registered list.)  This has been the practice in the past, but the wording need to be changed to match.
  • 1.02.G – The addition that pre-registration & waitlists must be posted and updated online at least weekly for all events.  This is to provide transparency to players on where event registration and waitlists stand.

1.03 Withdrawals and Refunds

This updated section, previously only online, is now added to the print version including the option of the $10 flat waitlist fee in 1.03.B, C, D, & E.

  • 1.03.H – An addition that requires TDs to provide a full refund if a player’s division has been vacated by the TD due to less than four players registered and the player doesn’t wish to play in a different division than they originally registered for.

1.04 Event Check-in

  • 1.04.A: The player check-in requirement is now extended to include A-Tiers, not just Majors and NTs, and is also still recommended for ALL tiers.  This requirement on the players enhances the manageability of events for TDs concerning no-shows and waitlist replacements.

1.05 Practice Rounds, Beginning Play, Late Arrival

  • 1.05.E – The previous separate rules (embedded within the event start types) on “par plus four” for late-arriving players are now moved out to a single rule for simplicity and clarity.
  • 1.05.F – An added rule that late-arriving players are responsible for checking with the TD to join their correct playing group.  Joining a different group, which can save late-arrival “par plus four” penalties to gain a competitive advantage, is grounds for disqualification.

1.06 Grouping and Sectioning

  • 1.06.B.2 – For clarity, an example is now provided for proper first round grouping by player rating.
  • 1.06.B.4 – An addition made that allows TDs, if they wish, to mix divisions for the first round of C-Tiers ONLY (with exceptions on younger juniors.)

1.07 Suspension of Play

References to the new PDGA Mid-Event Suspension and Cancellation Guidelines have been added.  In the event of dangerous conditions these guidelines provide for the safety of everyone present at a PDGA event and provide a method for TDs to handle suspensions and or cancellations of an event in a consistent manner to protect the participants as well as the integrity of the competition.

  • 1.07.D – The addition of a required minimum of a 30-minute delay (for player/staff safety.)
  • 1.07.I – Due to the use of varying formats these days, the minimum requirements for an event to be official are now based on scheduled rounds rather than the scheduled number of holes.

1.08 Reduction of Field Size (Cuts)

References to the new PDGA Mid-Event Suspension and Cancellation Guidelines have been added.

  • 1.08.C – Added the requirement that the cut line be at or above the cash line.
  • 1.08.F – The use of consolation rounds is discouraged and this rules notes that consolation rounds for any players not making a cut are NOT part of the official event record and thereby do NOT affect the player rankings in the event.  Consolation rounds may NOT affect the scheduling of official rounds.

1.09 Ties

  • 1.09.A – Removal of the concept of a TD-chosen “consistently applied manner” for breaking ties.  The rule is now specific in that any between-round ties are to be broken by one consistent mandated method of using hot rounds through all rounds, then by PDGA number, then alphabetical by last name for those without PDGA numbers.
  • 1.09.B – Emphasis that ONLY a sudden-death playoff can break first place ties, no other method is allowed.
  • 1.09.D – Provides new exceptions for NOT breaking first place ties for flex start events where the tied players may no longer be available, and those events that have had the finish canceled due to dangerous conditions.  Also notes that adding a day to an event to “finish” is not allowed.  This protects players from unplanned, stressful, and costly schedule/travel plan changes.

1.10 Distribution of Prizes

  • 1.10.A – Suspended for 2018.
  • 1.10.B – Edited for 2018.
  • 1.10.E.2 – Players are responsible to contact the TD if they left early and didn’t collect their winnings. This protects the TDs by placing the onus on those players who left an event prior to awards to reach out to the TD to arrange for receiving their payout.
  • 1.10.E.3 – If a TD uses electronic payment for winnings, they must do so within 48 hours of completion of the event. This protects Pro players by requiring that those TDs who don’t provide cash payouts at the event awards ceremony must provide electronic payouts within 48 hours, so players don’t have to wait for payment beyond what a check in-hand would have provided.
  • 1.10.E.4 – Amateur prize vouchers must be redeemable at the event or via online fulfillment. This protects Amateur players by requiring that if merchandise vouchers can’t be redeemed directly at the event itself, they must be redeemable online (so players are not required to travel somewhere to receive their payout.)
  • 1.10.E.5 – Prizes that remain unclaimed for six months (through no fault of the TD) are relinquished. This protects TDs from those players who fail to cash checks or redeem vouchers in a timely manner (six months) so the TD can then close out the books on an event.

1.11 Officials

  • 1.11.D – Adds clarity that having passed the exam to become a Certified Official does NOT make an individual a Tournament Official able to make rulings at a specific event.

1.12 Tournament Officials

Adds clarity concerning exactly who is a Tournament Official that may make rulings at a tournament.

1.13 Youth Safety

This section has been part of the Competition Manual since 1/1/2017, but was previously only in the online version.  It is now also included in the print version.

2.01 Division Qualifications

  • 2.01.C – This rule allows that after the event start a TD may move a player from an ineligible division to an eligible division, but ONLY if the divisions played the exact same layouts.  This will help reduce the need for DQs when a player starts in an incorrect division.
  • 2.01.F – Reiteration that Amateurs may only accept cash in Pro divisions by becoming a Pro class player or accept a trophy (if available) to retain amateur status.
  • 2.01.H – Clarification that females may play in Mixed divisions (no longer known as “male” divisions.)
  • 2.01.L – This is a rephrasing of the long-time “bump” rule, as not everyone knows what “bump” means.

2.04 Pros Playing Am / Ams playing Pro

  • 2.104.C – Added clarity that Pro points earned by an Amateur player don’t count for EOY awards or Worlds invites (standard practice for years, just as Am points don’t count for Pros.)

2.05 True Amateur

An added section referencing True Amateur events and the previously published “True Amateur Event Guidelines” document.

3.00 Player Code of Conduct

  • 3.01.C – Added that the failure to interact properly with your player group due to the use of personal headphones is a Courtesy Violation.

3.03 Player Misconduct

  • 3.03.C – Added that it is a requirement that players alert the TD to any player misconduct in a timely manner at the event (as opposed to expecting a TD to do something after the fact when it is too late to properly address.)

3.04 Dress Code

  • 3.04.D.2.A – The addition of the tennis dress rule formerly only in the online document, now added to the print version.

3.05 Carts, Caddies and Groups

  • 3.05.A – Clarity that golf cart use at an event can’t be an opt-in for players.  (Any golf cart fee would need to be included within the normal entry fee to ensure that not only those that can afford a separate fee for a cart get to ride while others walk.)  Also further clarity that this can be by division (a TD could provide carts for just the older divisions if they wished.)
  • 3.05.B – An addition that a player’s caddy does NOT need to meet the same tier requirements for Membership or Certified Official status that the player does.
  • 3.05.D – An addition to make it clear that a player’s caddy is NOT part of the playing group for the purpose of making playing group rulings.
  • 3.05.G – An addition of a rule to limit exactly who can accompany the playing group at Majors and NTs.

3.08 Tournament Director Rights and Responsibilities

  • 3.08.B – An addition that TDs must follow the Tour Standards and Sanctioning requirements for the tier level of the event.
  • 3.08.H – An addition of the PDGA reserving the right to demote an event or suspend a TD for not adhering to the requirements of the Sanctioning Agreement, Tour Standards, or Competition Manual.
  • 3.08.I – An addition of possible disciplinary action or suspension for a TD’s specific failure to meet the event reporting requirements or financial obligations for their event.

Although each of these 3.08 additions have already been in practice for many years, the Competition Committee felt that it was important to include them directly within the Competition Manual for ready reference over just the inclusion in the TD sanctioning form.

Download the 2018 PDGA Competition Manual for Disc Golf Events »


Submitted by ERicJ on

For consistency shouldn't 2.01.F be updated to reflect the changes in 1.10.B?

Also, if you're allowed to have motorized golf carts in some divisions, but not others (3.05.A)... will those divisions' rounds be rated separately?

Submitted by ERicJ on

One division gets to ride in carts while all the other divisions have to walk an especially long and hilly course... it might be a bit of a stretch but could be argued that they're not playing the same course. It's a clear cut case where one division has an advantage over the others. But unlike the situation with significantly differing playing conditions across tee times being messy to handle for ratings, this case of splitting out cart-riders is trivial.

Submitted by cgkdisc on

If the TD wishes to enter divisions as playing separate courses, they can do it. However, consider that the increased variance from splitting props into smaller groups my offset any beneift from the theory that the playing conditions are different. You then have players upset that the TD tampered with their ratings when the same score doesn't get the same rating on the same layout like they would otherwise. Players in different divisions are never playing the same course even when they are playing the same tees and pins when you consider the probable landing area distances off the tee for different divisions. That's why they play different tees in ball golf so everyone lands in roughly the same area with decent drives.