Competition Manual for Disc Golf Events

Rev. Jan 1, 2022

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Introduction

The PDGA Competition Manual for Disc Golf Events outlines procedures and guidelines for PDGA events and is to be used in conjunction with the Official Rules of Disc Golf and the Tour Standards document. These procedures and guidelines are required for all PDGA-sanctioned events unless specified otherwise. If a Tournament Director finds any provision in any of these documents unacceptable, they may request a waiver by contacting the PDGA Director of Event Support at [email protected] or by calling 762-253-2200.

The Spirit of the Game

Disc golf is typically played without the supervision of a referee or umpire. The game relies on the player to show sportsmanship, integrity, consideration for other players, and to abide by the Official Rules of Disc Golf. All players should conduct themselves in a disciplined manner, demonstrating courtesy and sportsmanship at all times, irrespective of how competitive they may be.

Make the call. Accept the call. It’s not personal; it’s the rules. That is the spirit of the game of disc golf.

Disc Golfer’s Code

  1. Play Smart:

    NEVER throw into a blind area or when players, spectators, pedestrians or other facility users are within range. Use a spotter.

  2. Respect the Course:

    Observe all posted rules. No littering, graffiti, or abuse of equipment or flora.

  3. Represent the Sport:

    Be positive and responsible. Teach others.

Section 1: Tournament Procedures

1.01 Player Eligibility

  1. All members in good standing of the PDGA are eligible to compete in any division for which they qualify based upon class (Professional or Amateur), age, gender, and player rating. Exceptions must be approved in advance by the PDGA Director of Event Support. Please see Section 2: Division Qualifications for more specific information on division eligibility.
  2. Membership Requirements:
    1. Current PDGA Membership is required to compete in any Major, Elite Series, A-Tier, or B-Tier event.
    2. In all other PDGA-sanctioned events, players who are not current members may compete by paying a non-member fee (not required for Leagues, see 1.14.C.1).
    3. In PDGA-sanctioned events which permit non-members or non-current members to compete by paying a non-member fee, such a fee will not apply to players competing in Junior divisions or where the requirement has been waived by the PDGA Director of Event Support (e.g., WGE or Competition Endowment Program events).

1.02 Tournament Registration

  1. Pre-registration is required for PDGA Majors, Elite Series, and A-Tier events, and is recommended for all other Tiers.
  2. A player is not officially entered in the event until their entry fee has been received and confirmed by the event.
  3. All openings in the field of play will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis unless divisional or Pro/Am class caps have been publicized up front with registration, in which case each division or class will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. See exceptions to first-come, first-served below.
    1. Exceptions

      Some exceptions to first-come, first-served are appropriate to reward local clubs and volunteers for their grassroots work and service, to give the Tournament Director (TD) a useful tool to raise money for a tournament that benefits all of the event’s players, and to allow TDs to prioritize growing specific demographics of the sport in their area as they find appropriate.

      1. None of these exceptions apply to PDGA Majors or PDGA Elite Series events, as those events already have established registration criteria through their event agreements with the PDGA. A-Tiers that are held concurrently with an Elite Series event may utilize these exceptions.
      2. In all cases, any use of Exceptions must be completely transparent and publicly posted in a timely fashion and in a manner that provides the opportunity for any player to meet the requirements to be included within the specific Exception(s).
      3. The below-listed permitted exceptions (2, 3, & 4) classed as Unlimited, Limited, and PDGA Affiliate Club, are the ONLY exceptions allowed for PDGA-sanctioned events beyond a complete 100% first-come, first-served registration.
    2. Unlimited Permitted Exceptions

      These Unlimited Permitted Exceptions are not limited by percentage of event spots, but the specific early registration tiers for the Unlimited Permitted Exception must be first-come, first-served to any player who meets the specific requirements of that registration tier.

      1. TDs may offer early registration tiers based on PDGA Player Ratings to give higher-rated players priority (Examples: Elite Series events, USADGC).
      2. TDs may offer early registration tiers based on qualification through PDGA-sanctioned qualifier events that were publicly available to all players. (Example: PDGA Worlds, USDGC, USADGC, or a Points Series Finale).
      3. TDs may offer early registration tiers based on specific divisions that are otherwise underserved. These are limited to female-only divisions, junior divisions, or senior (age 50 and older) age-based divisions.
    3. Limited Permitted Exceptions

      Usage Requirements:

      1. TDs may use one or more of the three below-listed Limited Permitted Exceptions, but at no time may they allocate more than one-third (33%) of an event’s player spots in total to any combination of the Limited Permitted Exceptions used. Two-thirds (67%) of the event spots must remain for first-come, first-served registrations.
      2. If the event has assigned Pro/Am class caps for registration, no more than one-third (33%) of the Pro spots and one-third (33%) of the Amateur spots may be allocated in total to any combination of the Limited Permitted Exceptions used. Two-thirds (67%) of the event spots must remain for first-come, first-served registrations for both Pro and Amateur.
      3. If the event has divisional registration caps, no more than one-half (50%) of the spots in any division may be allocated to any combination of the Limited Permitted Exceptions used. One-half (50%) of the event spots must remain for first-come, first-served registrations within any offered division.
      4. The Limited Permitted Exceptions are as follows:
        1. Affiliate Club Membership Exception

          TDs may offer early registration to the paid members of local disc golf clubs who are hosting, running, or otherwise facilitating the event’s success and who are registered as PDGA Affiliate Clubs. Club membership must not be exclusive and must be publicly posted so anyone can meet the requirements to be part of the Affiliate Club Membership Exception if they so choose.

        2. Event Sponsorship Exception

          TDs may offer early registration to players who agree to sponsor the event (or an event sponsor’s designated player) at a level determined by the Tournament Director. The sponsorship opportunity must not be exclusive and must be publicly posted so anyone can meet the requirements to be part of the Event Sponsorship Exception if they so choose.

        3. Volunteers Exception

          TDs may offer early registration to volunteers for their work in prepping the course etc., for the event at a level determined by the TD. That volunteer opportunity must not be exclusive and must be publicly posted so anyone can meet the requirements to be part of the Volunteer Exception if they so choose.

    4. PDGA Affiliate Club Permitted Exception – “Club Members Only” Events

      1. PDGA Affiliate Clubs with large numbers of members may run a PDGA-sanctioned event where registration is open only to the paid members of the PDGA Affiliate Club.
      2. Club membership must not be exclusive and must be publicly posted so anyone can meet the requirements to be part of the Affiliate Club if they so choose.
      3. Registration must be first-come, first-served to all the Affiliate Club members.
      4. Since they are not open to the general public, such events will be designated as an “X” Tier (XC, XB, XA, etc.), and the event name must include the phrase “ – Club Members Only Event” (example: “Shooting the Breeze with the Augusta DGC – Club Members Only Event”).
  4. Waitlists will be maintained (overall, by class, or by division) based on the caps that have been publicized in advance.
  5. Entries received via online entry shall be date and time-stamped based on the actual time the entry fee was received at the online entry point.
  6. In the event that multiple entries are received simultaneously, the player with the lowest PDGA number shall have priority.
  7. Events must post pre-registration lists and waitlists on pdga.com and/or the official tournament registration site, and update those lists at least weekly.
  8. Only paid registrants should be listed on the published tournament list.

1.03 Withdrawals and Refunds

Event Policy

  1. Players MUST email or phone their withdrawals to the Tournament Director only at the contact information posted for the tournament. Discussions with persons other than the Tournament Director, including other tournament staff, shall not be considered official.
  2. Players who have paid MORE than a nominal waitlist fee of $10 to be on an event’s waitlist who do not get into the event, or who officially request to withdraw from the waitlist prior to the event’s published closure of registration and waitlist replacements (within one week is recommended), will receive a 100% cash refund minus the $10 waitlist fee. Waitlist players who ONLY paid a nominal non-refundable waitlist fee of $10 will not receive a refund.
  3. Players who officially request to withdraw from an event at least 30 days before the start of the event will receive a 100% cash refund (minus up to a $10 handling fee).
  4. Players who officially request to withdraw from an event 15 to 29 days before the start of the event will receive a 100% cash refund minus up to a $10 handling fee ONLY if their spot in the tournament is filled through either the waitlist or a walk-up entry (if offered). If the player’s spot is NOT filled, the TD has the choice to provide EITHER a 50% cash refund OR just the player’s pack the player would have received if they had attended (minus the cost of shipping). In the case of a player in a Pro division for an event without a Pro player pack worth at least 25% of the Entry Fee, the TD will provide the 50% cash refund.
  5. Players who officially request to withdraw from an event within 14 days of the start of the event and prior to the event’s published closure of registration and waitlist replacements (within one week is recommended) will receive a 100% cash refund minus up to a $10 handling fee ONLY if their spot in the tournament is filled through either the waitlist or a walk-up entry (if offered). If the player’s spot is NOT filled, the TD has the choice to provide EITHER a 25% cash refund OR just the player’s pack they would have received if they had attended (minus the cost of shipping). In the case of a player in a Pro division for an event without a Pro player pack worth at least 25% of the Entry Fee, the TD will provide the 25% cash refund.
  6. Players who do NOT officially request to withdraw from a registered spot playing in the event prior to the published closure of registration and waitlist replacements and don’t play (aka a no-show), forfeit their entry fee and do NOT receive a refund or player’s pack. This does NOT apply to a waitlist player; 1.03.B.
  7. Tournament Directors for Major, Elite Series, and A-Tier events may petition the PDGA Director of Event Support to change the timeline for items C, D, and E.
  8. If granted, the policy must be clearly published with all registration materials.
  9. If a TD vacates an offered division due to a lack of registered players for the division (see 2.01.K), any player for that division that does not wish to move to a different division that they are eligible for, will be provided a full refund.

Note: It is highly recommended that high-capacity events do NOT include personalized items within their player packs due to the complexity that creates for withdrawals and refunds. Personalized items should only be offered as merchandise for purchase during registration for a separate non-refundable fee that is not part of the tournament entry fee.

1.04 Event Check-In

  1. Pre-tournament check-in is required for players in Majors, Elite Series, and A-Tier events and is suggested for all other Tiers.
  2. Any player who does not check in by the time specified by the Tournament Director shall forfeit their official place and entry fee. Exceptions will be made only at the sole discretion of the Tournament Director.

1.05 Practice Rounds, Beginning Play, Late Arrivals

  1. Players are responsible for scheduling their practice rounds prior to the event. Availability of the course and its tournament set-up for practice rounds may vary (see Tour Standards for details). The course or courses are closed to practice during the tournament and at all other times designated by the Tournament Director.
  2. Two types of starts are used to begin competitive play:
    1. Shotgun Starts (rounds where multiple groups start simultaneously): At a scheduled time, scorecard(s) shall be distributed to the players at Tournament Central. After the scorecards have been distributed, groups shall be given adequate time to reach their assigned holes. A loud noisemaker, such as an air horn, shall be used to indicate that there are two minutes remaining until play starts. The signal shall be a series of two short blasts. At that time, players are to end practice and move promptly to their starting hole’s tee. An extended blast of the noisemaker begins the round and signals the scorekeepers to call the throwing orders.
    2. Staggered Starts or Tee Times (rounds where groups start one after another on a certain hole): The player shall start at the time announced by the Tournament Director. Players are recommended to check in with the starter ten minutes before their tee time. Players may practice until the starter indicates the two-minute signal for their group provided their practice does not distract players on the course.
  3. A throw by a player between the two-minute signal and the start of the round shall receive a warning if observed by two or more players or an official. Subsequent throws by the player during this period, if observed by two or more players or an official, shall result in one penalty throw added to the player’s score, regardless of the number of throws.
  4. It is the sole responsibility of the player to know the course rules, be at their starting hole, and be ready to play in time for the start of their round.
  5. Players who are absent for their starting hole or any subsequent hole have committed misplay (see 811.F.5 and 6, Misplay).If a complete round is missed, or if a player does not finish a round, the player may, at the discretion of the Tournament Director, be disqualified.
  6. Late-arriving players, for either Shotgun or Tee Time rounds, are responsible for checking with the TD, Tournament Central, or the Tee Time Starter to learn their correct starting group and are solely responsible for starting play with that playing group or the group created by the TD due to the player’s absence. Failure to do so is a misplay (see 811.F.10, Misplay).
  7. The Tournament Director must provide two scorecards to each group, to be kept independently of one another. These scorecards may be of the same medium or of different media. The two scorecards must be reconciled by the group and submitted by whichever method the Tournament Director has designated as the official scoring method for the tournament.
  8. Paper scorecards must always be made available to each playing group, regardless of what the Tournament Director has declared to be the official method of scoring.

1.06 Grouping and Sectioning

  1. Professional and Amateur players should not be grouped together. Divisions should be grouped together as much as practicable.
  2. All players within a division should be grouped for the first round via one of the following methods:
    1. Random grouping; players within a division may be randomly grouped for the first round.
    2. Player Rating grouping; players within a division may be grouped by player rating to set first round groups. Highest-rated player starting on the lowest number hole, the second-highest-rated player starting on the following hole, etc. This process would continue until all starting holes have been filled. For example, a division of 12 players across 3 holes set by the ranking of their ratings would be:
      • Hole 1: Players 1, 4, 7, and 10
      • Hole 2: Players 2, 5, 8, and 11
      • Hole 3: Players 3, 6, 9, and 12
    3. In the case of a division that is large enough to be in multiple pools or sections, the players should be split by rating (example: 72 highest ratings in Pool A and 72 lowest ratings in Pool B) and then randomized within each pool for the first round.
    4. C-Tier events have the option to randomly mix divisions for groupings (first round ONLY) with the exception that Junior ≤15, Junior ≤12, Junior ≤10, Junior ≤08, and Junior ≤06 divisional players should only be mixed with other players from those same divisions.
  3. For all subsequent rounds, players should be grouped by division as much as practicable.
  4. Within a division, players should be grouped by lowest score (see 1.09 Ties for breaking ties). The group with the lowest scores starts on the lowest-numbered hole, and so on. If tee times are in use, the group with the lowest scores has the latest tee time.
  5. Ties breakers for same total score (see 1.09.).
  6. To promote fairness, groups shall not consist of fewer than three players, except under extenuating circumstances, as deemed necessary by the Tournament Director. In cases where fewer than three players are required to play together, a designated Tournament Official (see 1.12.A) must accompany the group and may play as long as that does not interfere with the competing players.
  7. Groups shall not be more than five players and should be limited to four players whenever possible.
  8. When there are more entrants than can play together in one round, the field of competitors may be split into sections or pools. Players within a division must play the exact same layouts during competition.
  9. If conditions affect play differently among sections, the Tournament Director may consider using a sectioning procedure to determine advancement. In that case, a proportionate number of advancing players would be taken from each section by score and their scores would not be carried forward.
  10. First round “Super Groups” for media purposes are NOT allowed unless for video coverage and previously approved by each player within the group and by the PDGA Director of Event Support.
  11. A ghost group is a designation for a secondary group of players that is assigned a starting hole already occupied by a card of players. Ghost groups are only to be used to resolve emergency situations, such as a hole being unexpectedly rendered unplayable by flooding, downed power line, or other circumstances outside the control of the Tournament Director.
    1. A ghost group will always tee second on the hole as the lowered-numbered hole for both first-round groupings (see 1.06.B) and subsequent rounds (see 1.06.D).
    2. Ghost groups should start on a shorter length hole after a longer/more difficult hole to minimize the impact on course-flow and speed of play.

1.07 Suspension of Play

The safety of everyone at PDGA-sanctioned events is of paramount importance. TDs are highly encouraged to make use of all available resources such as lightning detectors and online weather maps (that display storms and lightning strikes moving into the area) in order to suspend play before conditions become dangerous to the players, staff, and spectators. (see PDGA Mid-Event Weather Suspension & Cancellation Guidelines Policy)

  1. If, in the opinion of the Tournament Director, lightning, excessive rain or hazardous conditions exist that make it impractical or dangerous to continue play, the tournament shall be suspended. The signal to suspend play shall be made in the same fashion as the signal to start, but using three short blasts. These blasts should be repeated at least once within one minute and the Tournament Director should make any necessary efforts to ensure all groups can hear the signal.
  2. Players must immediately stop play and mark the lie of each member of the group. A natural object is sufficient to mark the approximate lie from which the player shall resume play. Players shall take shelter. When appropriate, players should return to the first tee area, clubhouse, Tournament Central or to an area designated by the Tournament Director. There will be a minimum thirty-minute suspension of play after the suspension signal.
  3. Players shall resume play from their approximate lies as established when the round was suspended. The approximate lie is determined by a majority of the group.
  4. The Tournament Director will evaluate the conditions and assign a time not less than thirty minutes from the suspension signal for the players to return for a resume time or delay renewal.
  5. Play shall be resumed using the same signals as at the start of the round: a two-minute signal consisting of two short blasts, then a single extended blast two minutes later to indicate the round has restarted.
  6. The Tournament Director may postpone the incomplete portion of the round for a later date within the scheduled tournament if, in the Tournament Director’s opinion, the conditions will not improve or if darkness will fall prior to the projected finish time. (see PDGA Mid-Event Weather Suspension & Cancellation Guidelines Policy)
  7. Partial round scores shall be carried forward to the completion of the round whenever the round is resumed.
  8. A player who stops playing before a signal to stop has been given shall receive two penalty throws if, in the opinion of the Tournament Director, the player stopped playing prematurely.
  9. The Tournament Director will make every effort to ensure all rounds of the tournament are completed as scheduled.
    1. If a total of three full preliminary rounds or less are scheduled, all players must complete a minimum of one round for the event to be considered official.
    2. If a total of four full preliminary rounds or more are scheduled, all players must complete a minimum of two rounds for the event to be considered official.
    3. If those criteria are not met, the event should be rescheduled. If rescheduling is impossible and/or players are unable to participate, a full refund will be issued minus player’s package, PDGA, and other associated event fees.
  10. All suspended rounds shall be completed, unless conditions exist that make it impossible. If such conditions exist, the results shall be final as of the last completed round as long as the necessary round requirements are met. (see PDGA Mid-Event Weather Suspension & Cancellation Guidelines Policy)
  11. The completion of a suspended round is a higher priority than a future round and thus future rounds shall be canceled in order to complete a suspended round.

1.08 Reduction of Field Size (Cuts)

  1. The field may be reduced (cut) for a semi-finals or finals at the discretion of the Tournament Director, provided that is announced prior to opening player registration for the event. The only exception may be due to the PDGA Mid-Event Weather Suspension & Cancellation Guidelines Policy being invoked to finish an event.
  2. Unless otherwise announced in advance by the Tournament Director, all ties for a semi-final or final cut will be broken by the use of a tiebreaker (see 1.09).
  3. Making the cut line at or above the payout line is required so that all payout positions who make the cut get paid. If additional players below the payout line made the cut due to ties, only those players remaining at least tied for a payout position would get paid. The only exception may be due to the Severe Weather Policy being invoked to finish an event (see PDGA Mid-Event Weather Suspension & Cancellation Guidelines Policy).
  4. Any eligible player who chooses not to participate in a semi-final or final shall receive ranking and cash or prizes equal to finishing last in the remaining field.
  5. Consolation rounds for players not making a tournament cut are discouraged as consolation rounds are post-event and are NOT official, and will NOT be reported or affect the rankings of the players in the tournament. Any such consolation rounds may NOT affect the scheduling of official tournament rounds.

1.09 Ties

  1. Between rounds when the groups are being reset, tied positions shall be broken. The player with the lowest score in the most recent round shall have the highest ranking when the positions are reset. In the event of ties for lowest score across all previous rounds, the ties shall be broken by the lower PDGA number having the higher ranking amongst the tied players and then alphabetical by last name for any tied players without a PDGA number.
  2. Except where noted below in 1.09.D, final ties for first place in any division must be broken by sudden-death play. Also, if ties are being broken for the reduction of field size, they must be broken by sudden-death play. Under no circumstances should any other method such as hot round, head-to-head scores, etc. be used to break a tie for first place.
    1. Sudden-death play shall begin, wherever possible, on the same course as the previous round on hole number one unless a different course, hole, or series of holes is designated by the Tournament Director prior to the start of the tournament. Team Play must use the same format as the previous round.

    2. The specific order in which players tee off for sudden-death play shall be determined by random draw (e.g., numbered playing cards, selecting tee positions from a hat, etc.).

    3. In the case of a tied hole during sudden-death play, the teeing order for the next hole will rotate from the order used on the just completed hole.

  3. First place cash or prizes must be awarded to the division winner and listed in the event results. Cash or prizes may not be evenly split between any players tied for first place except as noted in 1.09.D.
  4. Exceptions to the requirement for first place tiebreakers:
    1. A tie for first place at a flex start event where a tied competitor has already left the event.

    2. A tie for first place caused by the necessity of calling an event due to dangerous conditions where there is no time left on the regularly scheduled final day of competition to complete the event or break a tie for first place. Under no circumstances should players be expected, or asked, to return on a day following the last day of the regularly scheduled rounds to finish the event (see PDGA Mid-Event Weather Suspension & Cancellation Guidelines Policy).

      If a sudden-death playoff cannot be held during the last day of regularly scheduled rounds for the competition, the tie for first place will stand with the players declared co-champions and the cash and prizes for the ranked places split between the players if two players are tied for first place, they split the first and second place cash or prizes).

  5. Final ties for other ranks shall be officially recorded as ties. Prize money distribution to tied players (other than for first place) shall be determined by adding the total money allocated to the number of positions represented by the tied players and dividing that by the number of players tied. Trophy distribution for ties may be determined by sudden-death play or by any related disc golf skill event determined by the Tournament Director, but only for the purpose of awarding trophies; the players must remain officially recorded as tied in the results.

1.10 Distribution of Prizes

  1. Any player accepting cash in a Pro division at a PDGA-sanctioned event (except Leagues, see 1.14.C.2) must have a PDGA number for tracking purposes prior to the start of the event (players receiving a PDGA number after event registration must alert the TD prior to the event). Non-PDGA-numbered players are only eligible for trophies, and any cash payouts at or below that place would move down one place causing an additional place to be paid.
  2. An Amateur playing in a Pro division may NOT accept merchandise in lieu of cash in A-Tier and above 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.
  3. The required Added Cash for a Tier level must be allocated across all Pro divisions based on the percentage of entry fees brought into the overall Pro portion of the event by each division. Added cash above the minimum may be allocated at the TD’s discretion.
  4. Events with more than two rounds must post payout (including all added cash) prior to the start of the last round.
  5. Any prizes (money or merchandise) declined by a player must pass down to the next finishing position(example: If a player placing third declines their prize, the player in fourth place will receive the third-place prize, the player in fifth will receive the fourth-place prize, etc.). Tournaments are allowed to retain prizes that have been declined by all players within a division only after the declined prizes have been passed through all finishing positions.
  6. The usage of skins (and other similar formats) is permitted at PDGA events but those scores are not allowed to determine a player’s overall standing in the event and prizes are not credited towards a player’s winnings.
  7. Any prizes that a player has earned will be distributed at the completion of the event once the results have been tabulated and verified.
    1. Tournament Directors may award prizes earlier at their discretion.
    2. Players who leave before the official distribution of prizes do not relinquish their winnings, but they are responsible for contacting the TD as soon as possible to arrange for claiming those winnings and are also responsible for any associated shipping costs.
    3. If a TD uses electronic payments (such as PayPal) for Pro cash prizes, those prizes must be distributed within two business days of the completion of the event. TDs must provide cash or checks to those who do not have the ability to receive payment electronically.
    4. If a TD uses merchandise vouchers for Amateur payout, they must be redeemable at the event or afterwards via online fulfillment.
    5. Any prizes (cash or merchandise) that remain unclaimed (through no fault of the TD) six months after the completion of the event are then relinquished by the player. TDs must make a reasonable effort to provide the payout to the player by contacting them, offering to ship, etc.

1.11 Officials

  1. To be a Certified Official, an individual must be a current PDGA member, pass the PDGA Certified Rules Official Exam, and register as an official with the PDGA. Upon significant changes to the Official Rules of Disc Golf, the PDGA Board of Directors may require Certified Officials to pass an updated exam to retain their Certified Official status.
  2. Tournament Directors (and Assistant TDs) are required to be current Certified Officials in order to sanction or run any PDGA event.
  3. All players must be Certified Officials in order to compete in any Elite Series or Major PDGA-sanctioned event. The exam is based upon the Official Rules of Disc Golf and the Competition Manual.
  4. Being a Certified Official does NOT make an individual a Tournament Official who can make rulings at PDGA events.

1.12 Tournament Officials

  1. Only the Tournament Director, those Certified Officials that have been designated by the Tournament Director, or a designated PDGA Marshal, are Tournament Officials for a given event.
  2. Only Tournament Officials may make rulings at PDGA-sanctioned events beyond those calls allowed by the rules to be made by the players or playing group themselves.
  3. Spectators are not Tournament Officials and may NOT make rulings. Players in the event who are not designated Tournament Officials and are not actively playing in the round (either have finished or have not yet started) are considered spectators.
  4. Each Tournament Official must carry copies of the tournament/course rules, the Official Rules of Disc Golf, and the Competition Manual at all times.
  5. If an appointed Tournament Official competes in the tournament, they may NOT officiate for any ruling within their own division other than as a member of a playing group as allowed by the rules.
  6. A Tournament Official’s ruling supersedes the ruling of the playing group, but an appeal may be made to the Chief Official who is the Tournament Director, or their appointed Chief Official.
  7. The Tournament Director may empower volunteers to act as spotters for a specific spotting purpose, but the ruling of a spotter does NOT supersede the ruling of the group.
  8. Video evidence or other media is not allowed for the purpose of making rulings for sanctioned play. Such evidence can only be used to document player misconduct (as defined in 3.03). Evidence of player misconduct may be evaluated at any time by the PDGA Disciplinary Committee.

1.13 Youth Safety

  1. Parents/guardians must be responsible for their children during PDGA-sanctioned events. Neither the PDGA staff nor the event staff are responsible for the children of tournament players, spectators, etc. during events. Parents/guardians may not leave unaccompanied children at or near the scoring area, clubhouse, or any other tournament venue. Any child younger than 13 years of age who is accompanying any player group and is not a caddie must be supervised by an adult who is not part of that player group and not a caddie.
  2. Players in the Junior ≤12, Junior ≤10, Junior ≤08, and Junior ≤06 divisions must be accompanied by a parent or guardian during tournament rounds. Additionally, any player younger than 13 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian regardless of the division they play in. A single parent or guardian may be responsible for multiple junior players in the same group if agreed upon by all of the parents/guardians prior to the start of the round. Players in the Junior ≤18 and Junior ≤15 divisions may be accompanied by a parent or guardian during tournament rounds.
  3. During PDGA-sanctioned tournament rounds, parents/guardians accompanying junior division players:
    1. MAY assume the roles of a caddie; assist junior players with disc selection, throw selection, rule interpretations, or scorekeeping.
    2. MAY NOT make or second rulings such as foot faults, courtesy violations, etc.
    3. MUST encourage good sportsmanship by demonstrating positive support for all junior players in the group.
    4. MUST place the emotional and physical well-being of all junior players in the group above the personal desire to win.
    5. MUST refrain from the use of abusive or profane language.
    6. MUST refrain from using drugs, alcohol, or tobacco.
  4. Failure to adhere to the parent/guardian responsibilities outlined in section 1.13 shall result in the disqualification of the junior player or removal of the offending player, caddie, or guardian. Junior players under 13 years of age whose guardian has been removed may continue to play if a substitute guardian volunteers to take their place with the consent of the removed guardian.
  5. The PDGA highly recommends that Tournament Directors create their tournament schedules to ensure that all players in the two youngest age groups, Junior ≤08 and Junior ≤06, be scheduled to play no more than 18 holes in one day. Additionally, TDs should use their discretion to possibly limit the amount of daily play concerning the Junior ≤10 divisions (age 10 and younger) depending on the length and strenuousness of their course.

1.14 Leagues

  1. PDGA Leagues are the lowest Tier of PDGA-sanctioned events. Rather than a single tournament, Leagues feature one round per week, on the same day of the week each week, for six to ten consecutive weeks (e.g., eight consecutive Mondays, or ten consecutive Fridays). Leagues may skip a week due to weather or other extenuating circumstances upon approval of PDGA staff.
  2. Every player must play the same layout during a given League round, but layouts and courses may vary week to week.
  3. The Official Rules of Disc Golf and the Competition Manual apply to PDGA League play, with the following exceptions:
    1. Non-current members and non-members do not pay a non-member fee to compete in Leagues (see 1.01.B.2).
    2. Players may win cash prizes without having a PDGA member number (see 1.10.A).
    3. Amateur players may accept cash prizes without affecting their Amateur status (see 2.01.F).
    4. Where local law and event venue rules permit, players who are of legal age to do so may use or display alcohol between the two-minute signal and submitting their scorecard (see 3.03.B.5). However, players still may not drink to excess or be publicly intoxicated (see 3.03.B.6).

Section 2: Division Qualifications

2.01 General

  1. Players are not allowed to enter a division for which they are ineligible due to their membership status, player class, gender, age, or player rating. Please see the Divisions, Ratings, and Point Factors table.
  2. A player is solely responsible for knowing what division(s) they are eligible to compete in. Entry into an ineligible division may result in disqualification from the event and/or suspension from PDGA events (see 2.02 for exceptions).
  3. If, after the start of an event, a Tournament Director discovers that a player is in a division they are not eligible for, they may move that player to the correct division for subsequent rounds, but ONLY if both of the divisions played the exact same layout. If not, the player must be removed from the event.
  4. Players are allowed to compete in their scheduled round(s) once per event, unless the event:
    1. has different divisions competing on different days; and
    2. those days are listed as distinct entries in the PDGA calendar.
  5. A player must properly identify themselves by name and PDGA number when competing in a PDGA-sanctioned event. Players who wish to remain anonymous or who assume a false identity will be disqualified from the event and face potential suspension from the PDGA tour.
  6. Professional players playing in a Professional division compete for money. Amateur players playing in a Professional division may only accept money by becoming a Professional, or they may decline money and accept only a trophy (if one is available) to retain their Amateur status (see 1.10 A and 1.10.B). However, Amateurs who accept cash at PDGA Leagues do not become a Professional or lose their Amateur status by doing so (see 1.14.C.3).
  7. Players playing in an Amateur division compete for trophies and/or prizes.
  8. Female players may compete in mixed divisions if they wish, but male players may not compete in female divisions (see the PDGA Policy on Eligibility for Gender-Restricted Divisions).
  9. An Amateur player may compete in any Professional division for which they are eligible based on age, gender, and event format.
  10. A PDGA Professional member may only compete in Amateur divisions in select cases (see 2.04).
  11. A Tournament Director may, by indicating it on the registration form, restrict the divisions offered in their event. Absent such notice, the Tournament Director shall offer for competition any division which has four or more players that are eligible and who wish to compete. Tournament Directors may offer divisions with fewer than four players at their discretion (see 1.03.I).
  12. PDGA members shall be allowed to play in any division that they are eligible for, if that division is offered by the Tournament Director. All local rules which force a player to move up divisions based on previous performance are invalid and are not applicable at PDGA-sanctioned events.

2.02 Exceptions

  1. Players are allowed to enter a ratings-based division they would otherwise be ineligible to participate in only under the following circumstances:
    1. If approved before the event by the PDGA Director of Event Support.
    2. Players who have become ineligible for a division due to a ratings update may participate for two weeks following the update, provided they are pre-registered for the event in question, at the discretion of the Tournament Director.
    3. If competing in an applicable points Series (see 2.02.B).
  2. Players may be allowed to enter a ratings-based division they would otherwise be ineligible to participate in as part of a points Series provided that:
    1. The Series Director has contacted the PDGA and received prior approval from the PDGA Director of Event Support.
    2. The Series allows players to stay in the division for the entire Series.
    3. The player has not competed in a higher division at any time during the Series.
    4. The player’s rating does not exceed 20 points above the rating ceiling for the division they wish to compete in.

2.03 Reclassification of Professional / Amateur

Professional to Amateur

  1. Players registered with the PDGA as Professionals may petition the PDGA Memberships Manager or PDGA Director of Event Support for reclassification as Amateurs, but they must meet all requirements to reclassify.

Amateur to Professional

  1. An Amateur wishing to change their classification to Professional may do so by contacting the PDGA Memberships Manager.
  2. An Amateur player is automatically reclassified as Professional when the player has accepted cash while competing in a Professional division (see 1.10.A and 1.10.B). Accepting cash for winning an ancillary contest such as an ace pool, top-of-the-card round prize, or CTP contest does not cause a player to relinquish their amateur status.

2.04 Pros Playing Am / Ams Playing Pro

  1. Professionals may compete in Amateur divisions offered at PDGA A-Tier, B-Tier, and C-Tier events, for which they qualify based on player rating, age, and gender as detailed in the PROS PLAYING AM section of the Divisions, Ratings, and Points Factors table.
  2. Such players are awarded Amateur points for their performance but these points are not eligible for Pro year-end awards or Pro Worlds invitations.
  3. Amateur players competing in Pro divisions are awarded Pro points for their performance but those points are not eligible for Amateur year-end awards or Amateur Worlds invitations.

2.05 True Amateur

True Amateur is the designation used by the PDGA in reference to those amateur events, or the amateur portion of an event, which promote the true spirit of amateur athletics by presenting only trophies to the top finishers of the tournament rather than a payout in merchandise. Instead, all players in the event receive equal value through their tournament experience due to the tournament amenities that are provided (see the True Amateur Guidelines).

Section 3: Player Code of Conduct

3.01 General

  1. All PDGA members should refrain from any conduct which is detrimental to the game of disc golf and to the PDGA, both on and off the course.
  2. All players must abide by the Official Rules of Disc Golf and the Competition Manual.
  3. Players are not permitted to have audible mobile phones or audible pagers on the course during any competitive round. In addition, personal music players and other devices must be used exclusively with personal headphones and the volume must be kept at a level so as not to be heard by other players, prevent the player from effectively interacting with their group during scorekeeping tasks, or provide a safety hazard for the player by not hearing “Fore!” calls from other players or warning blasts by the Tournament Director. Failure to interact fully with your playing group due to personal music players and other devices is considered a courtesy violation subject to courtesy violation rules and penalties.
  4. Animals may not accompany players with the exception of players whose disability or medical condition requires the use of an accredited service animal. Players are required to notify the Tournament Director of accredited service animal usage during play.
  5. The PDGA reserves the right to determine and enforce further disciplinary action upon its players and members, which may result in probation or suspension from PDGA-sanctioned events or permanent loss of PDGA membership. For more information see the PDGA Disciplinary Process.

3.02 Pace of Play

  1. All competitors shall play without undue delay and make every effort to keep up with the group in front of them. Players are expected to quickly move from the completion of one hole to the tee area of the next hole. Any undue delay should not affect the pace of play within the group behind them. Also, while advancing down the fairway, a player shall not unduly delay play by their actions.
  2. A player causing undue delays may be issued an excessive time violation by agreement of the playing group or a Tournament Official (see 802.03, Excessive Time).

3.03 Player Misconduct

  1. All players must adhere to a professional standard of sporting ethics, courtesy, and integrity while participating in a PDGA-sanctioned event and when commenting to the media. Conduct that violates this standard is subject to courtesy violations called by players (see 812, Courtesy), penalties issued by the Tournament Director, and any further disciplinary action deemed appropriate by the PDGA.
  2. If a player violates the above standard, the Tournament Director may opt, in their sole discretion, to issue a tournament warning for a first offense (except as specified in 3.03.C). Otherwise, the Tournament Director will immediately disqualify the player. Actions that violate this standard include, but are not limited to:
    1. Repeated and overt use of abusive or profane language.
    2. Throwing items in anger (other than discs in play).
    3. Overt rudeness or threatening behavior to anyone present.
    4. Willful and overt destruction, abuse or vandalism of property, including animal and plant life (see 803.03, Damaging the Course).
    5. Public display or use of alcohol, even where otherwise lawful or permitted, from the two-minute signal until the player’s scorecard is submitted at an event sanctioned at C-Tier level or below (see 3.03.C.4 for penalties at events sanctioned at B-Tier or above). This rule does not apply to Leagues, where, if local law and event venue rules permit it, players of legal age to do so may consume alcohol during the round (see 1.14.C.4).
    6. Excessive use of alcohol or public intoxication at the tournament site.
    7. Overt failure or refusal to enforce the rules of disc golf during competition (see 801.02.B, Enforcement).
    8. Obstruction of, or failure or refusal to cooperate with, any investigation by an official into the player’s conduct or the conduct of another player.
    9. Deliberately seeking to manipulate one’s player rating through intentional misplay or withdrawal (see 811.E, Misplay).
    10. Activities not listed here or in 3.03.C which are in violation of federal, state or local laws or ordinances, park regulations or disc golf course rules.
  3. The following actions also violate the above standard. Players who commit one or more of these violations will not receive a warning, and will be immediately disqualified by the Tournament Director:
    1. Cheating: a willful attempt to circumvent the rules of play.
    2. Physical attacks upon anyone present.
    3. Public display or use of illegal or prohibited substances in violation of any applicable law (national/federal, state/provincial, local/city/county, et al) from the two-minute signal to the time the player's scorecard is submitted.
    4. Public display or use of alcohol at PDGA events sanctioned at B-Tier or higher, or of marijuana at PDGA events sanctioned at any Tier level, even where otherwise lawful or permitted, from the two-minute signal to the time the player's scorecard is submitted.
  4. Players are required to report any player misconduct to a Tournament Official when available or to the Tournament Director directly at the completion of the round.
  5. Tournament Directors are required to report any disqualifications and player misconduct to the PDGA as quickly as possible.
  6. Disqualified players shall forfeit any prize money or merchandise and shall not receive a refund of entry fees.
  7. The public display or use of tobacco products by event staff, players, and by extension their caddies, is prohibited at all times at PDGA events of any Tier that solely offer Junior divisions (i.e., divisions beginning with MJ and/or FJ prefixes), including the PDGA Junior World Championships.

    Such public display or use is also prohibited at all other PDGA Majors and Elite Series events, as well as those events held concurrently with those Major and Elite Series events, from the two-minute signal until their scorecard is submitted.

    1. This prohibition includes all smoking and chewing tobacco products, as well as electronic and vapor cigarettes, whether tobacco-based or not. This prohibition does not apply to smoking cessation products that do not produce vapor, such as nicotine gum, nicotine patches, or nicotine lozenges.
    2. For players and their caddies, any violation of these prohibitions will be treated as a courtesy violation, and violators will be asked to put away the product until after the round has concluded. Subsequent violations are courtesy violations which receive penalty throws (see 812.C, Courtesy). Repeated violations may result in disqualification (see 3.03.B).
    3. At all non-junior events to which this policy applies, the Tournament Director may opt to provide designated smoking areas out of the public eye for players, caddies, and event staff to use during the round, and all rules concerning the pace of play still apply (see 3.02).
    4. At PDGA events of any Tier that solely offer Junior divisions, including the PDGA Junior World Championships, no designated smoking areas will be provided.
    5. In cases where local laws and policies conflict with this policy, please contact the PDGA Director of Event Support for guidance.

3.04 Dress Code

  1. All violations of the Dress Code Policy shall be considered a courtesy violation (see 812, Courtesy).
  2. All competitors and staff are required to wear a shirt.
  3. All competitors and staff are required to wear shoes or other foot coverings. Players will not be allowed to play in bare feet. Sandals or slides are allowed.
  4. The following dress code for all competitors will be enforced at all PDGA Elite Series and Major Events. The PDGA also recommends that this dress code be enforced at A-Tier and lower Tier events, but that decision lies solely with the Tournament Director:
    1. All players in PDGA-sanctioned competition and tournament staff are expected to dress appropriately and to maintain a clean and well-groomed appearance at all event sites and associated functions.
    2. All players must wear a shirt covering their upper chest area. A well-tailored shirt with a collar and sleeves covering the upper arm shall be considered acceptable. Tank tops are not allowed for any competitor, but women may wear sleeveless shirts with collars. Women may also wear well-tailored one-piece tennis dresses with minimum one-inch-wide shoulder straps.
    3. No tee shirts will be allowed, except for competitors in the Junior and Amateur divisions during preliminary rounds. Juniors and Amateurs shall not wear tee shirts during semifinal or final rounds. Crew neck or v-neck shirts made of high-performance or high-tech materials, such as Dry-Fit, Cool-Max, and others will be allowed.
    4. Shirts that hang down lower than the bottom hemline on the player’s shorts shall be tucked in.
    5. No ripped shirts, shorts, or pants will be allowed on the course. That includes unhemmed, torn or cut “vents” at the shirt collar.
    6. No offensive, profane, or obscene slogans or logos shall be allowed on any clothing. Junior players may not wear slogans or logos referring to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs.
    7. This dress code will be in effect from start to finish at each event, including all tournament rounds.
    8. Players who do not make a cut, but wish to remain on site through the duration of the tournament, will be considered spectators and will not be required to conform to the Tour’s dress code.

3.05 Carts, Caddies and Groups

  1. Players are required to walk during their tournament rounds at all PDGA events unless alternate transportation such as golf carts are provided within the regular event entry fee (not as an opt-in) to all players within a single competitive division.
  2. A caddie is a person who carries a player's equipment or provides other assistance during the round. Players may designate one caddie at a time during their round. A caddie must be at least 13 years of age and must comply with the same Official Rules of Disc Golf and Competition Manual their player must follow, including the dress code, although a caddie need not be a PDGA member nor Certified Official.
  3. Players choosing to use a caddie will be solely responsible for their caddie’s conduct from the two-minute signal until the player’s scorecard is submitted. Any penalties for misconduct by a caddie (as defined in this section and in 3.03) will be applied to both player and caddie.
  4. Caddies are not part of the player group for the purposes of making group calls or rulings.
  5. Players must instruct their caddies to maintain a reasonable distance and not to interfere with a competitor’s throw.
  6. For those players wishing to use a carrying device, approved carrying devices include disc golf bags, foldable chairs and push cart companions. No animals, motor-driven or bicycle-type devices shall be allowed as a carrying device at any PDGA events.
  7. In PDGA Majors and Elite Series events, the group consists of the players themselves, each player’s individual caddie, any active Tournament staff such as leaderboard attendants, Tournament Officials, etc. and any credentialed media ONLY. No other people may be with the playing group. All others (including players who have already finished their round) are considered spectators and must remain in designated spectator areas away from the playing group.

3.06 Tour Player Media and Sponsor Relations

  1. All participants agree that the PDGA and its agents may publish photographs and images of their participation at PDGA-sanctioned events.
  2. All players at PDGA Elite Series and Major events are requested to be available to any and all media while on site except during or within 30 minutes of the start of a competitive round.
  3. Media personnel should refrain from interviewing a player until AFTER they have officially submitted their scorecard to tournament officials.
  4. The most current information about media at PDGA events can be found in the PDGA Media Policy document.

3.07 Tour Vendor Policies

  1. The Tournament Director may refuse to allow any vendor access to the tournament venue and its environs at their sole discretion.
  2. If applicable, sponsors/vendors are responsible for obtaining the required permits from the appropriate agencies/jurisdictions and must make permits available to the Tournament Director upon request.
  3. Failure to comply with this policy by a vendor may result in further disciplinary actions by the PDGA

3.08 Tournament Director Rights and Responsibilities

The PDGA recognizes that the strength of the organization and the sustainability of tournament disc golf are reliant on the partnership between the PDGA and the Tournament Director. In order to help the Tournament Director to better perform their job, the PDGA has endowed them with certain rights. The Tournament Director also has responsibilities to the PDGA and its players, including but not limited to the following:

  1. Any qualified, current PDGA member interested in running a PDGA-sanctioned event may be required to take and pass an online tournament procedures assessment test before being able to direct that event. That test will be based upon the Official Rules of Disc Golf and the Competition Manual.
  2. Tournament Directors agree to follow PDGA Tour Standards and Sanctioning Requirements for the event’s designated Tier level.
  3. Tournament Directors may be required to sign a statement acknowledging that they have read the Official Rules of Disc Golf and the Competition Manual, and agree to abide by and enforce their contents before being able to direct any PDGA-sanctioned event.
  4. Tournament Directors must disclose the financial information for their tournaments as listed in the PDGA Sanctioning Agreement. However, beyond the PDGA-required disclosures, any additional release of tournament-related financial information is solely at the discretion of the Tournament Director.
  5. Per Section 2.4 of the PDGA Bylaws, Tournament Directors may not refuse service to anyone based on their race, age, religion, sexual orientation, color, national origin, disability, gender, gender identity, or ancestry
  6. Tournament Directors must abide by active PDGA player disciplinary actions.
  7. Any issues that may arise during a tournament, whether or not covered in any existing PDGA document, including allegations of abuse of responsibilities by a Tournament Director, may be brought to the attention of the PDGA through the PDGA Disciplinary Process.
  8. Where an event does not meet the criteria or a Tournament Director does not meet the responsibilities set forth in the Sanctioning Agreement, Tour Standards, PDGA Privacy Policy, and Competition Manual, the PDGA reserves the right to demote the event in the future, or to suspend the Tournament Director from running future events.
  9. Failure to properly report the results of an event or to meet the financial obligations of the event may lead to further disciplinary action including the suspension of the Tournament Director’s PDGA membership and privileges.