Requirements and Best Practices for PDGA Sanctioned Play During COVID-19
Requirements and Best Practices for PDGA Sanctioned Play During COVID-19
Last updated: Monday, March 1, 2021 - 09:26
1. PDGA-Sanctioned Event Requirements
- Event directors and all staff, players, spectators, etc. (event participants) must follow all government guidelines for the event’s location concerning conducting organized sporting events, including following any requirements for physical distancing (example: minimum two-meter [6 feet] physical distancing) upon arrival at the event and at all times prior to, during, and after their rounds at the event and in all event locations.
- Event directors and participants must still follow all normal PDGA rules concerning competition, such as properly holing out, etc.
- Anyone who has COVID-19, is exhibiting common symptoms of COVID-19, is ill, or is in direct contact with someone with COVID-19, must not participate and may be asked to leave the event.
- Event directors and participants who willfully and repeatedly violate government guidelines may be subject to PDGA disciplinary action up to and including penalties for a Class A offense.
2. PDGA-Sanctioned Event Best Practices
The below items are best practices for event directors and participants of a sanctioned event that may be used to further enhance government and public health agency COVID-19 safety requirements and guidelines.
2.1 Event Management Best Practices
- The event director should ensure that all participants at the event are aware of all current requirements of the government, as well as these PDGA Best Practices.
- The event director should check with their local government concerning the number of allowed participants at an event (including staff, players, spectators, etc.). Events with large numbers of participants may not be allowed, but if the event can explain that there will be no large gatherings at any given time and that the player group size is limited and spread out, the event might be permitted. Example: If an event with 144 players explains the mitigation steps to be practiced (no mass gatherings, 15-minute tee times with no more than four players in any one group and with all participants required to practice government required physical distancing), the government may allow it.
2.2 Event Operational Best Practices
- Events should avoid physical group settings such as player meetings, award ceremonies, vending, or any other ancillary activity that brings a larger group of participants together.
- For communication needs with participants, event directors should provide all information (course rules, FAQs, etc.) electronically (email, Facebook Live, YouTube, or another streaming service) wherever possible to avoid the need for larger gatherings like player meetings.
- Where possible, event registration should be done electronically without walk-up registrations.
- Event directors should implement organizational measures for the event to prepare for cancellation, postponement, rearrangement, or refunding of the event, to include limiting expenditures on merchandise by utilizing electronic voucher systems for trophies, player packs, and amateur merchandise payouts.
- Events should avoid designating a “Tournament Central” where players might congregate. Instead, there should be a segregated staff area where only staff are allowed.
- Player check-in should be handled via drive-up at one or more locations at a time, but one vehicle at a time per location without participants leaving their vehicle. If drive-up check-in is not practical, use multiple separated check-in locations with metering of players to provide physical distancing.
- When considering practice putting and warm-up areas, be sure to use multiple practice baskets or driving nets which are located far enough apart to ensure proper physical distancing measures. If it is not possible to safely establish a warm-up area, encourage players to use other methods for warming up their bodies.
- Flex start and tee time formats are preferred over shotgun starts, as they provide better distancing of players without as much potential for mass gatherings. In some cases where course length or a government limitation on the number of players allows for it, consider running two tee time rounds back-to-back using the same player groupings for both rounds (like a flex start event, this may require a tie for first place.)
- Scoreboards with player round cards should not be used. Event scoring and player tee times or hole assignments should be handled electronically through the PDGA Tournament Manager and the PDGA Digital Scorecard.
- For tee time rounds, the interval between playing groups should be as long as possible to keep playing groups separated. (Example: Instead of 10-minute intervals, use 15-minute intervals.)
- Players should be advised to show up for their tee times at a time less than the tee time interval to prevent larger groups of people in the start area. (If the tee time interval is 15 minutes, advise the players to show up no more than 10 minutes prior to their tee time.)
- Advise players before arrival to avoid congregating in any area (parking lot, practice baskets, bathroom areas, staffing area, etc.).
- Avoid using fivesomes to minimize the number of group participants.
- If paper scorecards are a necessity, event directors should use every precaution to distribute and receive them in a safe manner. Consider using a cell phone photo of the group’s completed scorecard as opposed to physically handing it off from a player to staff.
- Where possible, provide hand wash/sanitation stations.
- Events should follow government guidance on providing food service or retail operations.
- Events should ensure that drinking water is available as per PDGA Tour Standards, and made available or distributed in a manner that avoids or minimizes participants touching the same surface. Distribution of water bottles is ideal, either by instructing players only to touch the bottle they take or by assigning a gloved staff member to hand out the bottles without touching anything else with their gloves. Water jugs may be used if participants are instructed to use a towel or tissue to handle the dispensing lever, if hand sanitizer is also provided, or if a staff member sanitizes the dispensing lever after each use.
- Consider using electronically distributed certificates instead of physical trophies.
- Consider using electronically distributed online vouchers instead of physical player packs. If physical player packs are a necessity, they should be handed out in a distributed manner to avoid large groups, such as being picked up by players only as each tee time group comes off the course and they are already headed to their vehicles.
- Consider using electronic payout for Pro payout rather than physical cash or checks.
- Consider awarding Amateur merchandise payout through electronically distributed online vouchers rather than physical merchandise.
- If it is necessary to have physical items passed from person to person, consider how to do so as safely as possible, such as wearing gloves or utilizing regular hand washing or sanitation.
2.3 Staff and Participant Best Practices
- All event staff and participants should use a mask or face covering as a best practice to reduce the spread of the virus.
- Anyone who is in a high-risk category as noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, or similar country-specific agencies should not participate.
- Participants should not touch discs, bags, carts, or any other property belonging to another participant.
- Participants should bring and control their own food for the entire day. Players should carry as much water on the round as they can reasonably manage.
- If using a digital scorecard, the players in a group may agree on a single player to keep score electronically, or the digital scorecard should be virtually handed off to another player when it is their turn so they can use their own device whenever possible. Mobile devices should not be shared among players.
- If using paper scorecards is the only option, the players in a group should agree on a single person to keep score to prevent the passing of a scorecard from player to player.
Equipment Best Practices
- Players should consider uniquely marking their discs on both the top and the bottom of the discs, thereby helping to identify the owner of a disc without the need for someone to touch it to flip it over.
- Players should clear their disc from a target before another player putts out. A player should not putt into a target that already has another disc within it.
- Players should carefully remove their disc from a target and avoid touching any surface of the target while doing so.
- Once a disc has contacted a target, players should consider sanitizing their disc prior to subsequent use or placing it into their bag. The process of sanitizing equipment by a player must be done in a timely manner and not violate normal Excessive Time requirements found in 802.03 of the Official Rules of Disc Golf.
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