stevenpwest
Jul 18 2012, 11:51 AM
Is there such a thing as a Certified Spotter? Should there be? What would the training (or test) consist of?

jconnell
Jul 18 2012, 04:57 PM
Is there such a thing as a Certified Spotter? Should there be? What would the training (or test) consist of?
There is no such thing. Probably wouldn't be a bad idea for there to be a standardized spotting code or something. Like universal hand-signals and maybe positioning guidelines. I don't know if we need certified spotters though.

I know the bigger tournaments I've attended, like USDGC and Vibram, have a spotter clinic where they go over what is expected and not expected of the spotters while they're on the course. Stuff like always signaling in-bounds or out-of-bounds even if they think it's obvious to the players, or not retrieving/moving OB discs until the players get up to see them, or not standing in one spot, pointing, and saying "it went over there".

There is an official Marshall program through the PDGA. They train them and send them to the bigger events to help with rulings and whatnot. I think that's the extent of what the PDGA should be doing, at least for the foreseeable future. Maybe when the tour gets to the point where there's an event every week and there are a bunch of guys and gals making their living on the tour (like 100s rather than 10-20), a certified spotter training course might be in order.

stevenpwest
Jul 22 2012, 05:28 PM
Maybe we could gather transcripts of some of those training sessions. Anything left over from Worlds?

John Hernlund
Jul 23 2012, 03:05 AM
Maybe once spotters are paid. For now, training spotters is something for the TD to worry about, and something they should do just in case one of them needs it.

stevenpwest
Jul 24 2012, 01:07 AM
I was thinking of something that would help the TD's with that task.

16670
Jul 24 2012, 10:08 AM
Be carefull what you wish for i can see it now this years new charge $10 mandatory spotters certification that you need before any a tier or nt

eupher61
Jul 29 2012, 02:51 AM
I remember a complaint at '09 Worlds where I was spotting. The hole layout (#15 Rosedale) is such that in order to see the tee throws, I had to stand away from the right-side woods. I had two complaints, one because I didn't know exactly where the disc Stopped (it did go into the woods, and I knew where it went in), and one saying I was a distraction.

I say BS to both of those. I'm standing 300' away, I'm not a distraction. Even 200'. I have to see the throw to be able to follow it. This was accepted by the player, no question, but that was the only complaint about it.
And, you threw it into the woods. I saw where it went in, but because of weeds, AND the need to watch the next throws, I didn't have a chance to see how far in it went. The gripes on this one carried over to these boards. It's not my fault you went into the woods, and it's just a fact of life that no person can see everything. What if I'd been standing in the woods and either of those hit me? Can you imagine the crying then?

Yes, spotters should be trained, but it doesn't take much. Every hole is different, sometimes every pin placement is different. There is no universal locater formula.

jconnell
Jul 29 2012, 12:48 PM
Yes, spotters should be trained, but it doesn't take much. Every hole is different, sometimes every pin placement is different. There is no universal locater formula.

Hear hear. Perhaps one "universal" suggestion to all TDs that have a staff of spotters for their event...leave each spotter on the same hole for the duration. I've played multi-day events where I see a particular spotter on one hole the first round, then he or she is on another hole the next round or next day.

Leave the spotter on the same hole and let them learn all the intricacies of the hole. By the end of the first round, they're bound to have seen nearly every possibility of where discs can go and how they get there, etc. They learn exactly where they need to stand so they have a good angle discs entering an OB or a particularly tricky wooded spot. Even better, if the hole's long enough they know exactly how far along a group has to be before they're out of range enough for the next group to tee off. A good spotter keeps a hole flowing at peak efficiency. And the more familiar the spotter is, the more efficient he/she can be.

araydallas
Jul 30 2012, 08:02 AM
Hear hear. Perhaps one "universal" suggestion to all TDs that have a staff of spotters for their event...leave each spotter on the same hole for the duration. I've played multi-day events where I see a particular spotter on one hole the first round, then he or she is on another hole the next round or next day.

Leave the spotter on the same hole and let them learn all the intricacies of the hole. By the end of the first round, they're bound to have seen nearly every possibility of where discs can go and how they get there, etc. They learn exactly where they need to stand so they have a good angle discs entering an OB or a particularly tricky wooded spot. Even better, if the hole's long enough they know exactly how far along a group has to be before they're out of range enough for the next group to tee off. A good spotter keeps a hole flowing at peak efficiency. And the more familiar the spotter is, the more efficient he/she can be.

Again, TD preparation creeps into the argument. Your contention works very well ... until ... players at the end of day one start in with "...there's hardly any OB on hole 6 and we have a spotter there who's good, whereas that spotter on 14 was terrible and I saw all kinds of problems..."

stevenpwest
Jul 30 2012, 08:25 PM
I remember a complaint at '09 Worlds where I was spotting. The hole layout (#15 Rosedale) is such that in order to see the tee throws, I had to stand away from the right-side woods. I had two complaints, one because I didn't know exactly where the disc Stopped (it did go into the woods, and I knew where it went in), and one saying I was a distraction.

I say BS to both of those. I'm standing 300' away, I'm not a distraction. Even 200'. I have to see the throw to be able to follow it. This was accepted by the player, no question, but that was the only complaint about it.
And, you threw it into the woods. I saw where it went in, but because of weeds, AND the need to watch the next throws, I didn't have a chance to see how far in it went. The gripes on this one carried over to these boards. It's not my fault you went into the woods, and it's just a fact of life that no person can see everything. What if I'd been standing in the woods and either of those hit me? Can you imagine the crying then?

Yes, spotters should be trained, but it doesn't take much. Every hole is different, sometimes every pin placement is different. There is no universal locater formula.

One thing it seems might go in the training is that spotters are non-essential. After all, players can complete a round even if there are no spotters. Maybe the spotter has no rights. Perhaps avoiding distraction trumps being able to find the disc. If a player doesn't want to use a spotter, should the spotter disappear without worrying about whether that disc is found?

eupher61
Jul 30 2012, 10:13 PM
One thing it seems might go in the training is that spotters are non-essential. After all, players can complete a round even if there are no spotters. Maybe the spotter has no rights. Perhaps avoiding distraction trumps being able to find the disc. If a player doesn't want to use a spotter, should the spotter disappear without worrying about whether that disc is found?
300' away, and it's a distraction? I don't think anyone can rationalize that. The spotter DOES have to realize s/he needs to not cause a distraction. But, the spotter has to be in a position to see the throws, too. That means being able to see the teepad (or wherever else the throw is being made.) If that means the spotter is in the line of vision for the player, that's just the way it is. Even 100' down the fairway, unless the spotter is waving their arms, walking around, whatever, a player should be able to overcome the minimal distraction of a person standing there.

Spotters are a convenience to facilitate speed of play. It goes along that lost discs are cut back, also. I've said before, I'm a musician...people throw things at me when I'm playing in bars, parades, and other places. I have to concentrate, and that has helped me in this sport. It really isn't that difficult.

stevenpwest
Jul 31 2012, 03:09 PM
If the player says it's a distraction, it's a distraction. Your only purpose is to enhance the playing experience. If the player chooses to not see you at the expense of slow play or lost discs, don't you do as he wants?

JoakimBL
Jul 31 2012, 03:40 PM
So when you are at the final at worlds and there are a couple of hundred people on the fairway, are you going to wait untill they all disapear?

stevenpwest
Aug 04 2012, 09:22 PM
So when you are at the final at worlds and there are a couple of hundred people on the fairway, are you going to wait untill they all disapear?

The question is what should a spotter do. If a player says "Spotter, you are a distraction, get out of the way", is the proper response to say "No, I NEED to see those discs, besides there are other people here."

Or, should the spotter get out of the way?

jconnell
Aug 05 2012, 12:04 PM
The question is what should a spotter do. If a player says "Spotter, you are a distraction, get out of the way", is the proper response to say "No, I NEED to see those discs, besides there are other people here."

Or, should the spotter get out of the way?

I don't think there is an easy or absolutely correct answer to this question in the abstract. I think it depends entirely on the situation: the hole, where the spotter is standing, where the player is directing the spotter to stand, the potential for danger in the throw (OB, deep schule, tall grass, etc), the flow of play (is there a back-up or are things flowing well), etc. Without knowing those kinds of things, I don't think one can say "yes, the player's wishes take precedence" or "no, the spotter needs to stay where he is".

If a spotter is hiding behind a tree or is off to the side of the fairway entirely out of harm's way, and a player is insisting that the spotter move further out of the way and further out of sight to a point where the spotter can't properly do the job he's out there to do, I'd be telling that player to suck it up and throw. But if the spotter is standing out in the middle of the throwing lane with a neon yellow tee shirt and can't stand still, then yes, the spotter needs to move as directed if the player finds it distracting. It's on both the player and the spotter to find the right balance in a given situation.

As a TD, I would be comfortable telling a spotter to do what they must to do the job, within reason. If a player asks them to move, they should acquiesce 98% of the time. That other 2%, when they're asked to do something that prevents them from effectively doing the job they're out there to do, I'd be fine with them drawing a line and telling a player that they've done all they can and won't do any more to "get out of the way". At some point, the player's idiosyncrasies should fail to take precedence over the quality and flow of the tournament. Where that line is depends on where the tournament is, really.

Patrick P
Aug 06 2012, 02:28 PM
For the most part, in my experience, having a spotter has been helpful in past events. But my last experience wasn't so pleasant to say the least. Playing on my home course, I arrived at a short 180ft hole slightly uphill and basket resting on a elevated 4ft pyramid. The first part of the short open fairway slopes down and then climbs back up with a wall of 20ft trees guarding a straight shot towards the basket. Past the trees is a 4ft tall fence nearly perpendicular to the pyramid that starts about 5ft to the right edge of the pyramid, roughly 15ft behind it, and then continues right. A line is drawn from the start of the fence all the way out to a tree 50ft past the pyramid. Over the fence and to the right of the line is OB. This line is about 5ft to the right of the pyramid running parallel. (Probably be a lot easier if I could provide a pic).

Most RH players throw a hyzer shot around to the right of the trees carrying over the fence and OB fading back inbounds. For a lefty, a hyzer shot is thrown around to the left of the trees and plays nowhere near the fence. However shots that fade too much can skip and land OB. Only a shot that is thrown very short or sawed off would the fence come into play.

Anyhow, the spotter is sitting in a chair about 80ft to the right of the pyramid about 15ft past the fence, mingling with players near the teepad of the next hole. I throw my shot way left on a hyzer route around the trees and it skips in front of the basket and lands 2ft OB pin high. Now if there was no spotter, then I would simply take my meter in, and be standing 3ft from the pyramid for an easy 3P. However, the spotter said my disc went over the fence on the right, and then skipped backwards towards the pyramid. I'm looking at this 19yr kid with coke bottle glasses telling me this impossible shot that now requires me rather than shoot 3ft from the basket, to backup near the hillslope, shooting uphill over the fence, with a headwind up into an elevated basket 15ft away.

I calmly discussed the shot with the spotter and my group and there was no way what he explained could ever happen. My cardmates were stunned and basically said the spotter made the call. I've shot this hole well over 500 times and I know that if I sawed off my shot it's going to either come crashing into the trees or cut through the trees and go over the fence. My shot was way wide and around the trees fading just in front of the pyramid crossing over into OB. I've done this same shot over and over without the fence even coming close into play. I missed the putt and that hole cost me big. The point is if there was no spotter, I would of been able to play it 3ft from the pyramid without no discussion on my card. If the spotter wasn't some blind newbie kid, jerking around so far away from the basket and was actually near the vicinity of the pyramid then there would of been no issue.

Sorry for the long diatribe, but I feel that in some cases spotters can help you and in certain situations they can really hurt you. A similar thing happened to my friend on the same day with this spotter. If you are going to use a spotter, then they should be a certified official, or a well-seasoned player, not just any volunteer that wants a free t-shirt. If you want them to be used to help spot a possible lost disc fine, but do not include these people into making calls that are anything related to the game. They should be treated as a bystander who can point their finger towards the location of a disc and that is it.

jconnell
Aug 06 2012, 03:14 PM
Sorry for the long diatribe, but I feel that in some cases spotters can help you and in certain situations they can really hurt you. A similar thing happened to my friend on the same day with this spotter. If you are going to use a spotter, then they should be a certified official, or a well-seasoned player, not just any volunteer that wants a free t-shirt. If you want them to be used to help spot a possible lost disc fine, but do not include these people into making calls that are anything related to the game. They should be treated as a bystander who can point their finger towards the location of a disc and that is it.

I hear you about bad spotters. It's always a bad thing when the spotter is less than helpful, even moreso when they are empowered to over-rule the group and aren't in a position to properly make a call. Either they need to be instructed how to do the task on the hole, or like you say, be little more than a bystander who can help point you in the right direction.

What I would have done in that situation is play a provisional. Play it out as the spotter instructed, and play out a provisional the way you felt it should have been played, then take it to the TD post-round and let him make the final call. I'd have described everything you posted, including pointing out that the spotter was out of position and potentially distracted (arguably he didn't even see your shot, just made a wrong assumption after it landed). Seems like your group would back up your version of things as well. You apparently had a good view of the shot from the tee.

Is it commonplace to have a spotter on that hole in tournament play? You say it's 180 feet long, so it doesn't strike me as a useful place to use a volunteer. Even at the biggest events I've ever been too, events with huge volunteer staffs, there were holes that were unspotted because there was simply no need. Seems strange that a local event would have such an overabundance of spotters to place one on a hole like that.

eupher61
Aug 12 2012, 11:37 PM
What I would have done in that situation is play a provisional. Play it out as the spotter instructed, and play out a provisional the way you felt it should have been played, then take it to the TD post-round and let him make the final call. I'd have described everything you posted, including pointing out that the spotter was out of position and potentially distracted (arguably he didn't even see your shot, just made a wrong assumption after it landed). Seems like your group would back up your version of things as well. You apparently had a good view of the shot from the tee.

Bingo. A perfect scenario for a provisional.

The competition manual does say that a spotter's call supersedes the group, even if a non-official. I think that is unfortunate. I'd like to see it changed so that a group can override the call of a non-certified official, acting as a spotter. If the spotter is has Official status, the call of the spotter stands.

That's how I'd like to see it.

wsfaplau
Aug 13 2012, 11:15 AM
That section, 1.11 D has an even bigger problem than spotters. It allows for non-playing officials (spectators) to make calls that over rule the group as well.

Patrick P
Aug 14 2012, 03:24 PM
When the spotter explained what happened, I was in disbelief and the card mates put their hands up in there and said they couldnít see what happened so the call was on the spotter. I thought about taking a provisional, but the group agreed that the spotter made the call and there was no way for them to see what really happened. I knew then that taking a provisional wouldnít make a difference. The TD puts faith and trust into his spotters.
Anyhow, I did explain to the TD afterwards what happened, and sure enough he said the spotter made the call and thatís the final call. What irked me the most though is one of the players on the card, who I so happened to lose to by one stroke, changed his story. At first he stated he couldnít see what happened. And then in front of the TD, which happens to be his boss, said that he clearly saw what the spotter saw. End of discussion. And the thing is when playing several occasional rounds with this spotter, he has made several statements that he is as blind as a bat, his words. And now he happens to be a spotter during our annual local event.

Anyway, with the unique OB on this hole, it probably is a good idea to have a spotter, and we have had good spotters in the past. I just had an issue with this particular spotter and his call.

Reading 1.11D, thatís a load of crap and needs to be changed. A non-certified official acting as a spotter can override a group of 4 certified officials playing on one card, seriously PDGA? Thatís like saying a drunk fan in a baseball stand can overrule an umpire on a call if a ball went foul or fair.

jconnell
Aug 14 2012, 04:39 PM
Reading 1.11D, thatís a load of crap and needs to be changed. A non-certified official acting as a spotter can override a group of 4 certified officials playing on one card, seriously PDGA? Thatís like saying a drunk fan in a baseball stand can overrule an umpire on a call if a ball went foul or fair.

Actually, I think it's more akin to pulling a fan (drunk or otherwise) out of the stands and having him umpire. But I see your point.

Problem is we are still a long long way from having certified rules officials roaming the course to provide assistance, be it with spotting holes or marshaling in general. I would think in most cases, the people that go to the trouble of taking the official's test are more likely wanting to play the tournament rather than camping out on a hole spotting. TDs usually have to take what they can get, volunteer-wise.

But I would think for the most part, people taking time out of their weekend to sit and spot a hole at least know something about the game...they play even if they don't play the tournament. So it's not as though they're completely unqualified to do it.

The key thing is that a player ALWAYS has the right to appeal to the tournament director. If you disagree with the spotter, an official, or your group on a ruling, you can appeal to the TD by standing aside to call for him or playing provisionals. So while the spotter's call can supersede the group, it is not an absolute power.

wsfaplau
Aug 14 2012, 05:39 PM
There is an A tier tourney in Colorado, in Ft Morgan.
The local judge plays and he allows kids to do community service and to be spotters at the tourney. Most of these kids have no clue.
The TD does say they are just for guidance and to give an idea what they saw.
They cannot overrule the group.
It seems to work out OK>

zrxchris
Sep 28 2013, 02:13 AM
Does anyone have any specific training point for spotters?
I plan to use volunteers at my event and need some training tips as to how they should do certain tasks:

marking discs (small flag?), wait for all to throw
Line of sight? (Halfway down fairway out of the way but where they can still see?)
Should the group signal that they will start the hole to alert the spotter?
If an errant shot is still really far away (90 degree shank off the tee) should they spot the 2nd shot too?

Anything else ?

cgkdisc
Sep 28 2013, 10:15 AM
Check this video on spotter training:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftDQcXKC7Tg

zrxchris
Oct 02 2013, 05:15 AM
Thanks Chuck!

PhattD
Oct 06 2013, 11:14 AM
I didn't read through all of the novels people were posting so if this has already been brought up I apologize.

1) I think having spotters trained is certainly better than having them not trained.
2) I think requiring them to be trained in order to use them as spotters is a terrible idea. I have never been to a tournament that had all the spotters they need and making it harder to get enough spotters will only make it worse.
3) I think we are already asking an awful lot from volunteers who spend an entire day helping us play a tournament and get a couple of discs, maybe a t-shirt and a couple of thank yous if they're lucky.
4) I think you could make a distinction between a spotter, whose only job is telling you where your disc is, and an official, who can actually make rulings, who is also acting as a spotter.

I'd hate to try and run a tournament and not be able to put a spotter on a blind hole with tall grass because of some spotter certification rule.

araydallas
Oct 13 2013, 09:19 PM
I didn't read through all of the novels people were posting so if this has already been brought up I apologize.

1) I think having spotters trained is certainly better than having them not trained.
2) I think requiring them to be trained in order to use them as spotters is a terrible idea. I have never been to a tournament that had all the spotters they need and making it harder to get enough spotters will only make it worse.
3) I think we are already asking an awful lot from volunteers who spend an entire day helping us play a tournament and get a couple of discs, maybe a t-shirt and a couple of thank yous if they're lucky.
4) I think you could make a distinction between a spotter, whose only job is telling you where your disc is, and an official, who can actually make rulings, who is also acting as a spotter.

I'd hate to try and run a tournament and not be able to put a spotter on a blind hole with tall grass because of some spotter certification rule.

Personally, I agree with the thought that it shouldn't be required, but only for the reason of not getting enough staff. When we've TD'ed, it's never been a problem getting spotters and training them (which is basically showing up an hour before players meeting and us showing them what to do and where to stand). Partly that is because in our area, high school students can get community service hours for doing it, and it is a relatively non-taxing job compared to other community service opps. We teach ours NEVER to make a call, that they are only to tell players where their discs are, and how the discs got there (flight path) -- that's all. The groups are also instructed at players meeting where the spotters will be and that the spotters do not make calls.