Mar 19 2010, 02:14 PM
Lately we have been having a wonderful problem up here in the great northwest. Due to our amazing courses and dedicated TDs, we simply have way too much demand for our tournaments.

Last year, the Great Northwest Open filled to capacity in something like 3 hours, and it crashed the PDGA registration server in the process. Shortly after that, the Beaver State Fling filled up the AM side so quickly that AMs started pouring into the Pro side just for the chance to play. This had the unfortunate effect of denying a lot of Pros from the event.

Knowing this year would be likely be even worse, registration was rearranged such that the Pro side registration opened two weeks before the AM side. As expected the Pro side of the event filled to capacity (160) in something like 26 minutes. Within an hour or two we had over 130 pros on the wait list.

To accommodate this overwhelming increase in demand the weekend was split into two weekends, one Pro and one Am.

Not long ago registration for the AM event opened and it filled 160 spots in 6 minutes and there are still a LOT of people on the wait list.

So, as you can see, we have an issue up here. We have the demand, but not the capacity. What would be some solutions to the problem?

I think it would be easier to implement a tiered registration system for the Pros. (ie: first week of registration is for 1000+ rated players and above. The second week is for 990+ and above... etc).

Dealing with the AM side though is more difficult. We all want to grow this sport, but at the same time we don't have the room for everyone. I am running an event up here in July with even smaller capacity, and I plan to make it Pro (Men, Women & Masters) and Advanced (Men, Women & Masters) only. However there is no way for me to prevent a recreational player from signing up in Advanced. No, I do not think I should be excluding people, but I simply do not have the room for everyone.

As this sport grows this will become an even greater problem. How are we all going to deal with it? How can the PDGA help us manage these larger fields?

Anyway, I just wanted to start some dialogue on the subject and see how everyone feels about this issue.

Mar 19 2010, 03:24 PM
Sort of joking, sort of serious.
Limited supply, high demand,
Raise your entry fees.
You may scare off a few,
it sounds like there are plenty of others standing in line behind them.

I do not agree with prioritizing the pros based upon ratings.

best of luck
steve timm

Mar 19 2010, 04:10 PM
You are already splitting by division groupings by having Am and Pro weekends. Just continue breaking it down into smaller division groupings such as only Advanced Divisions on one day/weekend and another grouping would be Novice thru Intermediate Divisions another day/weekend.

One idea that's been discussed is to limit moving up to just one division based on rating. For example, Rec players under 900 rating could move up to Intermediate but not Advanced. Novice players could move up to Rec but not Intermediate. That's presuming an event was offering all of those divisions. You could ask the PDGA for a waiver to have that "move up" provision since it's still in the idea stage.

I agree with Timm that using ratings as a prioritization method would not be fair. Tour card versus no tour card could be considered for timing priority.

Mar 19 2010, 04:19 PM
We joked about this in a thread a few years ago, in regards to the Earlewood Classic, which has similar problems on a smaller scale.

We talked about auctioning spots (or saving 20 spots for sponsors, and auctioning those sponsorships). We talked about a loyalty system---those who've played the most consecutive years, get priority. We talked about earlier registration (but where's that lead? I understand Virginia Teams has a 14-year waiting list). And so on.

It's a nice problem, and ultimately the solution is more tournaments nearby to draw folks away.

If the PDGA would relax the equal access rule, TDs could experiment with different solutions.....but I suspect that would result in more problems than it would solve.

I'm not sure how helpful limiting division jumps would be, and probably detrimental in the majority of places where tournaments don't fill.

Mar 19 2010, 04:34 PM
I'm not sure how helpful limiting division jumps would be, and probably detrimental in the majority of places where tournaments don't fill.
If the Rec division isn't offered, then "jump rules" wouldn't apply to prevent Novice players from entering Intermediate. The fact that Rec & Novice aren't offered in many places is more detrimental to attendance and farirness than proposed jump rules to even out divisions for fair competition.

Mar 19 2010, 05:45 PM
I'm sure others have thought this through more than I. If an 898-rated players wants to play Advanced, what's the harm? Even if there's a Rec division, or an Intermediate division he can bump up once to? Around here, there's a nearly-universal tendency for everyone to play above their rating.

Presumably, a "1-jump-max" rule would apply to Ams playing Pro. Or might it?

No skin off my nose either way. I'm a 51-year-old, low-900s (sometimes high 890s) rated Am, so I'm eligible for 7 or 8 divisions, with or without such a rule.

Mar 19 2010, 06:00 PM
I'm sure others have thought this through more than I. If an 898-rated players wants to play Advanced, what's the harm? Even if there's a Rec division, or an Intermediate division he can bump up once to? Around here, there's a nearly-universal tendency for everyone to play above their rating.
The example that started this thread where higher divisions are getting jammed with players is one reason. Another is that lower rated players "on average" are less experienced and less likely to know and follow the rules. The more insidious problem is TDs not offering the lower divisions or players bailing on them when offered, forcing players who legitimately can be competitive in their lower ratings range to play up and ruin their experience of being competitive and becoming donators.

Mar 19 2010, 06:42 PM
I was just talking to Adam Smith about this. He says you don't have to do anything. The forces of economics will assert themselves and solve any supply and demand problems. Just do what works for you and others will do the same.

I'm glad for your problems. Enjoy them before they become other problems! :-)

Mar 19 2010, 07:24 PM
Raising prices would be a good start.

Maybe for the AM's you could have some sort qualifying procedures? They could be anything really.

Not sure about Pro's, but letting the touring card holders have priority wouldn't be a bad start either.

Mar 19 2010, 07:34 PM
I'm not sure how much price elasticity there is because we pay back 100% and more. Any player that feels they can contend will likely not be too worried about the entry fee. Yes, the donators will. If the TD/club is about profitability for the effort involved, then raising prices makes some sense. If you're about supporting growth in the sport, then you find ways to accommodate the demand. We're not talking about a limited resource in terms of courses in the areas where the demand is exceeding supply. You just run additional events at the same time just outside the mileage limits for PDGA sanctioning which is now only 25 miles for two C-tiers. We've got two or three events on several dates in Minnesota this year where none should impact turnout at the other.

Mar 19 2010, 07:53 PM
A problem with giving touring pro card holders priority is I don't believe they were even announced until 3/9, long after the tourney filled up.

Mar 19 2010, 08:19 PM
Just saying that in concept, when players do have touring cards, giving them priority is a better option than using ratings.

Mar 23 2010, 09:45 AM
As your scenario is in the NW and SC has piped in as having this also, we in the N.E. also have this "problem" sometimes. Bodes well for the sport!

A "1-up bump" max. is nothing more than a demure type of ratings (higher) preference. And raising the entry fee is a type of segregation via economic elitism. Neither is good.

It just may be time for the PDGA to eliminate its "radius rule" (no 2 tournaments within a certain distance apart the same day thingie). Yes, some smaller tournaments MAY be hurt a little (at first) by not drawing its 'fair share' of the big names, but it's a small price to pay.

Also, this just shows that we must be VERY nice to our TDs - as THEY are the ones who allow us the opportunity to actually play in tournaments.


Mar 23 2010, 10:27 AM
Note that the radius rule only applies if the affected TDs disagree. TDs/clubs can agree to have events closer than the PDGA guidelines.

Mar 23 2010, 12:44 PM
"Radius rule" point noted. But (unfortunately) I've known of a LOT of cases where as soon as a TD sees another TD has "beaten him to the punch" for a certain weekend time slot, the former "just concedes". Shouldn't happen but in reality it does.


Mar 23 2010, 12:49 PM
If a tourney is expected to fill, why not limit registration to members first? Is this allowed by the PDGA? Eta..... for non-NT events

Btw, congrats on your success.

Mar 23 2010, 12:52 PM
Thanks James!

Agreed (why NOT first limit to members?).
But I know (at least in the N.E.) even members (either PDGA, NEFA, both) sometimes "over run" the whole thing.


Mar 23 2010, 03:09 PM
To me, a 6-minute sell-out screams to get the registration out earlier. Unfortunately for "early in the calendar year" events, PDGA scheduling is still sorely lacking. There have been several pushes over the last 10 years to get the schedule sorted out six months in advance of all times, but it still ends up all happening late in the calendar year.

Due to the excessive demand, you could just pick your date in the September time frame, put up your registration flyer on October 1, and tell the PDGA you'll skip NT status or even go unsanctioned if they don't accept your date. I don't think that's an anti-PDGA stance since hopefully you will be trying to work with nearby events, other NTs, and the PDGA at the point in time that you need to hash things out.

If you opened registration on October 1, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't sell out in 6 minutes. Anybody that really really wanted to go to your tourney could sign up way early and make plans to get there, and anybody that waits for December or January or February would be taking the risk of getting shut out and would have no one to blame but themselves for waiting.

You also might talk to the Ginnellys (sp?) as The Memorial has fought this problem forever. They keep moving the starting day to earlier in the week to reduce demand.

Mar 23 2010, 07:59 PM
A lot of good ideas to ponder here.

I'm not a big fan of raising the prices to limit the field. In the case of NTs and A tiers I think we all want to see the best golfers playing, not necessarily the richest. That's why I think the ratings based invite system is a better (while not perfect) solution for the Pro side. Dealing with the Am side of things is a bit more complex.

Limiting events to current PDGA members is a good idea, but I don't think it will limit the field enough in my area.

Limiting the divisions offered is another idea, but once again I don't think that will discourage enough people.

CGKDiscs called not offering all of the divisions insidious, but I have to respectfully disagree with him on that one. We already run a number of smaller 1 day "Amateur Only" C tiers that cater to newer players, why can't we limit out B and A tiers to Adv and Pro players? The pro players are excluded from all of those smaller tourneys.

For my next event I am seriously considering having all interested players signup online for a lottery. I'll limit the number of slots per division and draw names into each open slot. This would give everyone an equal chance at playing. Is it within the PDGA guidelines? I have no idea, but unless I can think of a better solution I feel like my hands are tied.

Mar 25 2010, 11:08 AM
how about adding temp holes or while your at it a whole course for the tourny ?
that should allow desiring players the opportunity.
this option can double your capacity very easily.

Mar 25 2010, 01:48 PM
Some fast-filling tournaments don't have the options of adding temp holes or another course. Lack of space, lack of daylight (tournaments before daylight savings time, especially), lack of other suitable courses....and most importantly, lack of manpower to prepare and run an event on multiple courses.

More events nearby on the same weekend, waiving the radius rule, is perhaps the best solution. Though I'd think that a lot of the people who might run such events, are hoping to play in the "hot" event.

Mar 25 2010, 03:18 PM
how about adding temp holes or while your at it a whole course for the tourny ?
that should allow desiring players the opportunity.
this option can double your capacity very easily.

I am planning on adding a few extra holes already, but I might see if I can add a couple more. The problem is I could add another 18 holes, fill them AND still have a wait list.

Fun stuff!

Mar 25 2010, 03:46 PM
one time during a tourny that i was co/td we added 5 mini basket holes.
this allowed for lack of land but still allowed for extra players.
we put the mini holes between holes 9 and 10 of the standard course.
at first players thought it was kind of hoky, but after the round we had no complaints.
you can get very creative as holes dont have to be long, they can be up a steep incline or down or on an island with ob thrown in.

Mar 25 2010, 04:03 PM
Make it an invitational.

Mar 25 2010, 07:52 PM
Make it an invitational.

now thats an idea. duh why didnt i think of it?
probly cause i dont like to turn any one away when the desire and the ability are there.
but that would definatly cure the over demand.

Mar 26 2010, 09:25 AM
Wouldn't making it an invitational conflict with the PDGA rule that all openings be filled on a first-come basis?

I take the principle to be that every PDGA has an equal chance to enter.

Mar 26 2010, 05:09 PM
Call Steve Dodge and have a chat. He's wicked clevah!

Mar 29 2010, 10:44 PM
No love for the "get the entry form out way early" idea?

Mar 30 2010, 11:39 AM
No love for the "get the entry form out way early" idea?

Would work well in some cases, not in others.

Some events can't confirm dates long in advance. Especially lower tiers that must schedule around higher tiers. Other problems may be parks departments and personal schedule of the TD.

Some may not be sure of details. How much to charge? What divisions to offer? What sponsors to show on the flyer?

Some just may not want to deal with it---and be caretaker of thousands of dollars in entries---for more months than necessary.

In some cases, a pre-paid reservation system starting early, with no guarantees as to dates, etc., might work better.

Mar 30 2010, 11:52 AM
No love for the "get the entry form out way early" idea?

i run an event that filled to capacity in 4 hours 2 years ago with registration opening 5 months in advance of the event- made for a lot of pain in the butt on my part dealing with the drop-outs. i'm not opening registration this year until maybe 2 months in advance. vibram and the virginia/grange open have also seen this problem- they start out with a waiting list a mile long but in the end a ton of those people wind up getting in as the pre-registrants fall to the wayside. admittedly the tournament can benefit financially from this by not refunding full entry fees but as a "one man show" type of td i want to avoid the added work.