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Disc Golf Returns to the National Senior Games


Cover Photo By: Tracy Joyce

Let’s define ‘Seniors’ as those great people over 50 years of age. Did you know that in year 2000 there were only 35 Senior PDGA members, and they made up just 3% of our membership? Turn the clock forward from 2000 to 2013 and there are now 3,500 Senior PDGA members and they make up 17% of the PDGA membership! Wow - 35 to 3,500 in 13 years! That is growth, the fastest growing demographic of the PDGA in fact. By the year 2020 there will be two and a half times as many people that are over 50 as there are now. Just look at the size of the Masters division fields compared to five or 10 years ago.

Years ago I had a conversation with late and great Tim Selinski #2026 at one of the early US Masters Championship tournaments. He saw it back then and realized that there were enough older players to support a stand-alone tournament, for Masters division and older players. Those Masters players are now Grandmasters, Senior Grandmasters, Legends, and beyond.

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The senior divisions are quickly reaching a critical mass where they can support their own Senior Tour just like our golfing brothers in the PGA. It is the natural growth of the sport. This is one of the goals of the PDGA Senior Committee, to develop a Senior Tour with a national championship.

Disc golf was included as a demonstration sport for the first time in the National Senior Games in Cleveland in 2013. We are continuing that relationship as disc golf is going to be in the 2015 National Senior Games in Minneapolis in July. To get a 25% discount on your entry fee for these senior games, register on-line before the end of February.

If disc golf is given full sport status in the NSG, players will need to qualify in their State Senior Games (Olympics). In order to make that happen, we need to get more states to offer disc golf in their State Senior Games. Currently there are only 11 states that offer disc golf. Clearly we need to expand on that number. That will only happen if people are willing to step up and get involved in their State Senior Games now.

A recent idea is to form a world-wide PDGA Senior club. This would be a great forum for senior communications and event promotion, and would ensure all seniors get a ‘club’ discount on their PDGA membership. We plan to discuss this further within the Senior Committee.

To help manage and help this growing segment of our membership, the PDGA Senior Committee was formed in 2010. The Senior Committee is looking to expand its committee membership to cover all areas in the US and abroad. Please contact me, Bill Griffith, at [email protected] if you can help, or if you have questions or comments.

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Comments

Looking through the states which host Senior Olympics, disc golf is listed for Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Though there are some states without a list popping up, I noted some states with awesome courses and thriving disc golf communities that surprisingly DON'T offer Senior Olympic disc golf yet: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin all shocked me a bit. I'm guessing they'd all like to catch up with my home state (Ohio) soon!
--Jeff A (sisyphus)

The MInnesota Seniot Games has offered disc golf for at least the last three years. We are proud to be hosting the Nation Games this summer. Come on up. It may be -4 today, but July promises to be warm and sunny.

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