How the PDGA Works
In the Spring of 2022, PDGA.com featured a series of articles about some of the departments within the organization, explaining those departments’ current responsibilities and future goals. (Find links to those stories in the PDGA Staff section of this article below.)
Later, in July, PDGA members received a number of communications detailing the 2022 candidates for the Board of Directors, and inviting each active PDGA member to vote in the annual elections.
Since then, the PDGA has hired additional staff, adding to several internal departments. Also, PDGA members have elected one new board member and re-elected a sitting board member to serve another term.
While changes and additions to the staff and the board are common and expected, you might be curious about how these groups work together to lead the global, governing body of the sport of disc golf.
Let’s start at the top.
The PDGA Board of Directors
The top level of the organization is the PDGA Board of Directors, a group of elected volunteers who serve three-year terms. Each year, current PDGA members vote for two or three Board members from a self-nominated pool of candidates. Any current member in good standing can run for the board, making it a highly democratic process. The board engages in strategic planning – which means big-picture, multi-year plans and goals for the organization – and oversight of PDGA operations. The board hires an executive director, who is tasked with managing the day to day business, and hiring and managing a staff to execute those organizational strategies.
The PDGA is a 501(c)(4) non-profit. This means that no one owns the PDGA, and that money that goes to the PDGA doesn't accrue to owners or shareholders. When the PDGA makes more money, it goes to improved services/benefits for members.
The PDGA Europe Board of Directors exercises similar planning and oversight functions of the global board, but for the member countries of PDGA Europe. They also manage a small paid professional staff with analogous roles to their global counterparts.
PDGA committees are the laboratories of PDGA policy. Committees (with a few exceptions) are groups of volunteers selected for their subject-matter expertise. While Committees work with a staff liaison and a board liaison to communicate their ideas and proposals, they are self-governing, setting their own meetings, drafting their own agendas, and using debate and discussion to generate their own proposals and serve as valuable sounding boards for ideas from staff and the board.
Each Committee has its own jurisdiction. Some are technical or legislative. Examples include:
- Rules Committee, overseeing the Rules of Play.
- Competition Committee, overseeing the Competition Manual and Tour Standards.
- Majors Committee, planning and advising the production of PDGA Majors.
- Diversity and Outreach, focused on inclusivity and growth in specific areas
Other committees and subcommittees represent the interests of specific groups of members: women, seniors, pro touring players, etc. Finally, medical and disciplinary committees handle various aspects of player health, safety, and well-being.
There are also "working groups," which are like committees, except that they only convene as needed. The Tech Standards Working Group, which approves discs and targets, is one example.
What about PDGA Coordinators?
When PDGA members are invited to vote in annual board member elections, they are also asked to vote for PDGA Coordinators.
PDGA Coordinators are volunteers, responsible for scheduling B- and C-Tiers in their assigned areas – which may be a country, a U.S. state or a Canadian province. International Country Coordinators may also approve A-Tier events in concert with the PDGA International staff.
The paid professional staff of the PDGA is led by the Executive Director, who is selected by the board. The staff are split up in the following directorates:
Media & Marketing covers events, produces video projects like “The Holy Shot” documentary and PDGA commercials, and creates website and social media content. This team also manages the PDGA brand, facilitates corporate partnerships and focuses on the "presentation" of the PDGA at events and on video.
Membership & Growth focuses on expanding the global membership of the PDGA via a variety of outreach programs and promotional activities. This department also evaluates the "member experience" and makes constant adjustments and improvements to PDGA member benefits.
Operations serves as the nerve center of the PDGA, overseeing tech standards, discipline and medical committees, accounting/insurance, and the International Disc Golf Center, which is the headquarters of the PDGA.
Technology is responsible for digital tools including the newly improved PDGA app, the digital scorecard, the tournament manager/tournament central platform, PDGA Live Scoring, PDGA ratings, and PDGA.com.
The Operations & Logistics department headed by the Director of Competition is the mobile wing of the PDGA concerning high-level events. They manage the bid process and planning for PDGA Majors, and travel from event to event assisting local organizing committees with PDGA Majors and serving in a variety of roles at other tournaments, including DGPT events. They set up and break down assets, provide marshaling, and work with the local TDs.
Event Support & Training (EST) staff respond to TD/player questions, answer the PDGA Event Support Helpline, & train TDs in best practices & the use of PDGA digital assets. Their primary focus is on the types of events that involve the majority of PDGA members – local A, B and C-tier tournaments as well as PDGA leagues. The EST is your primary connection to the PDGA world, and are best able to access answers to questions or help you understand rules, regulations, and processes. The EST is available 7 days a week and best reached via email.
As PDGA needs increase, jobs are frequently posted as announcements on the PDGA.com homepage.
Considerable information about the structure of the PDGA is available on the website. Those with specific questions for the PDGA are invited to visit the FAQ page, or to contact the PDGA directly. If in doubt, reach out to the Event Support Team which will be happy to answer your question or direct you to the correct party.