How to Run a PDGA Event
This is a companion that follows the PDGA guide for How to Plan For a PDGA Event. This document assumes that the TD is running a two-day event, but the guidelines apply regardless of how many days your event might be.
Note: These are merely suggestions and best practices.
- Days Leading Up to Event
- Day of the Event
- Players' Meeting
- Between Rounds
- Evening - After Day 1 Ends
- Morning - Before Day 2 Begins
- After All Rounds Are Complete
- Awards Ceremony
- Post-Event Guidelines
- Appendix A
- Appendix B
Days Leading Up to the Event
Some things to think about: has the park department or your volunteers done what they promised in terms of maintenance on the course and course preparation? Do you need to pick up any keys for gates, buildings or shelters? Are all trash cans are empty? Are tee signs are legible and accurate? Will the restrooms be open (need to get the key)?
Be certain to sweep the tee pads. Check out-of-bounds areas to be sure the OB line is visible, fair, and intact. If the OB line is not clear and distinct, mark it with string, paint, or flags. Check all mandatories to make sure the restricted space is marked clearly. Marking a restricted space typically involves a sign posted on the mandatory object and a line on the ground marked with either paint, string, or flags.
Check each basket to make sure all of the chains and chain rings are properly bound. Be certain your course is ready to play (so players can practice) several days before the event. Be certain traveling players can tell which layout to practice. See Tour Standards document for further information: http://www.pdga.com/documents/pdga-tour-standards.
If you are using temporary courses, holes, tees & pins, please refer to Appendix A for guidance on how to use these different options and suggested ways to mark the course. Have recent weather conditions affected the playability of a course such that alternate holes or even courses need to be considered or prepared as backups? Will alternate holes be needed due to weather conditions? Please see Appendix B for more information on inclement weather.
Staff & Vendors
As a TD, you need to understand that you can’t do everything yourself. Be a delegator. It is a good idea to have one person to manage all the volunteers. Check in with your appointed Coordinator to make sure they are ready for fulfilling their duties for the event, and that they know what time they need to be where. Contact your backups if you’re unsure about any of your staff. Make sure your food and merchandise vendors know when and where to set up for their part of the event.
Equipment & Merchandise
Is someone helping get player packs distributed? Are your merchandise supplies ready or will your vendor handle them? Is your TD supplies kit packed and ready to go? Do you have cash for payout and enough small bills for making change? Have you picked up all of the printed materials you’ll need like scorecards, leaderboard cards, coupons, signs, spectator programs and course info sheets? Picked up trophies or plaques? Water cooler containers ready to go and already filled, as well as someone to check on them periodically throughout the round(s)?
Do you have your PDGA TD report, touring pros list and current member list ready? Is the final list of pre- registered players posted online? Are group assignments and/or group tee times posted at the course and published online (if that’s your format)?
Day of the Event
Watch the weather channel. Take an EXTRA umbrella. Know what conditions you will face. If inclement weather threatens, your local weather office can give you the latest updates by phone, but you should use suggested websites for monitoring lightning and severe conditions. Take extra dry clothes. Have an extra cooler with some cold fluids in it in case of extreme heat. See Appendix B for more details.
Get to the course at least 2 hours before tee time. Check the tee pads. Are they safe? (be sure to carry a shovel for last minute tee drainage situations). Check the OB lines (are they fair and visible?).
Set up tournament central. A shelter near the parking lot and start of the course is ideal. Set out the water stations – you should have at least three large water coolers per course, and more on warmer days. One of these should be located at or near the farthest point of the course from central. Set out sponsorship signs and banners. Post sponsor signs at each tee or on and around tournament central.
Use a couple of tables. Set out pens or pencils for the registrants to use. You may also want a box of baggies, so that players can keep their scorecards and personal items dry (wallet, keys, phone, etc.).
Once you are set up, players will be all over you trying to check-in. Be sure to have ample staff on hand to assist with registration. Request that pre-registered players form a single file line in front of the registration table.
Make it easy for your pre-registered players to check in. They should only have to sign their tournament waiver form (if applicable) and pick up their player packs. It is a good idea to post what time the player’s meeting will begin.
PDGA Fees and Memberships
For A Tier, NT, and Major Championship events all competitors MUST be current PDGA members (and current Officials for NT and Majors). For all other events, all competitors who are not PDGA current MUST have paid an additional $10 in order to participate. Please ensure that anyone paying the $10 fee writes their name and mailing address on the form provided so that you have a record of fees collected and so that the PDGA can send that person an application to join.
The TD can use the Tournament Manager system to his/her advantage here. On the “Players” tab, any information that prohibits a player from being eligible to play in an event or a particular division will be highlighted. For instance, if an MPO player has mistakenly signed up for FPO, the division code will be highlighted. If a player is not a member, the PDGA # (or lack of one) will be highlighted.
Ace Pool (if applicable)
An ace pool is a fund where players pay a $1-$5 fee and all of the aces during the event split the money in the pool Ace pool entry should be included as part of the pre-registration process. If you’re offering an ace pool on- site, use a large envelope to collect the cash, and assign a volunteer to oversee this task. Players put their money in the envelope and sign on top to indicate they are in. Announce in advance whether the pool will be won on the first ace, longest ace or split in the event of multiple aces.
Tee Assignments & Scorecards
Scoreport and scorecards should already be filled out based on pre-registration numbers. You can take last minute on-site registrations, although it is quite a time-consuming process and will affect the grouping process. The PDGA requests that the players be placed in groups randomly but within their selected division, which allows some flexibility.
After all players are checked in and the Scoreport has been filled, you will want to distribute the scorecards to each group. Place the scorecard(s) behind the first player’s port card on each hole. Be certain to announce early and often that the first player (in each group) is responsible for picking up the scorecard(s). The typical process is to prepare one scorecard for each group listing the names of all players in tee-off order. This is the common procedure for lower tiered events. Some events prefer to record scores in different ways. There is no right or wrong here, but at a minimum, be sure that each player has scores recorded for every throw on every hole.
CTP Markers (if applicable)
Distribute closest-to-the-pin (CTP) markers to the group that starts on each particular CTP hole. Use a large nail and baggie (with paper and pencil inside) as marker; the nail is the actual precise mark.
Other Park and Course Users
Put "Course Reserved" signs close to any public entrance to the course. Place some maps to other area disc golf courses at the base of the sign so that casual golfers will see they have another place to golf. Encourage people to take one (especially non-tournament participants).
Though the event host (parks department or land owner) NEEDS to be aware of the event, the possibility of conflicts with other park users does exist. It is very important that tournament staff, volunteers and participants be extremely courteous to the other park users. If they are on the disc golf course, walk up to them and kindly explain what it is you're doing, how much fun it is and that they may be in danger. Always give strollers a minute or two to wander off the fairway on their own accord.
Once the course is reserved, TD’s and officials have permission to keep people off of the course. The concept of reserving facilities in a public park is an everyday occurrence. Softball fields are reserved for the softball leagues, tennis courts are reserved, picnic shelters, etc. Be nice, but insistent; parks are full of things that people can reserve. Let them know when the tourney will be over or if they can play during lunch break.
PDGA EVENTS START ON TIME! Start the players meeting on time so that you can get the groups out to their holes in time for the posted start. If some players do not attend, they are still responsible for the information provided at the player’s meeting, so don’t let that hold you up.
Welcome everybody. Mention the local club. Mention ALL SPONSORS! Invite people to join the PDGA! Recognize staff and officials. Ask that everyone thank them profusely. Announce upcoming events.
Go over a few of the basic rules for any new or novice players. This should include general course or park rules, two-meter rules (if applicable) and rules that apply to the whole course. You can go over hole-specific rules briefly, or better yet, have a caddy book or rules sheet that explains everything for you. Remind players that no alcoholic beverages or drugs are allowed. "Respect Park Laws and the PDGA Rules of Play!" Have fun.
Note: If there is a rules discussion or some other controversy during your event you will need to investigate. Listen to all parties involved. Be proactive! Follow the PDGA rules. Stay calm, do what is fair, consult other officials in attendance, and give the benefit of the doubt to the player where there is doubt. Do your best to remain calm and to make an informed decision.
Go over which course layout will be used. Make the Out of Bounds (OB) and any special conditions well known. Detail how they are marked. Announce the CTP (Closest to the Pin) Holes. Go over the two minute warning and the start signal.
Describe and demonstrate where scorecards should be placed when players come off the course after completing a round.
Mention Sunday's tee time (if it's a two day event). Stress that there will be NO player's meeting on Sunday (unless you require one). Players need to get to the course, pick up their scorecard(s) and get to their tees.
If the weather looks threatening, go over exactly how play will be halted if conditions warrant. Cover how to handle the hole being played when the signal to stop is given (players mark their last shot or mark score for a hole just completed). Distribute your plastic bags so that players can keep their scorecards dry. Above all respect thunderstorms and other nasty weather by erring on the side of caution. Get players to safety quickly! Read Appendix B about how to handle lightning.
Explain how much time will be taken between rounds. Urge players to get off the course, turn in the scorecards, and hustle out to lunch. Leave the tournament staff to their task of verifying scorecards and recording scores.
Explain that you will take "X" amount of time after the last group comes off the course (usually 1 hour). Mention that if they are done while other groups are obviously still playing, then they have more than X-minutes before the next round starts. Players should not hang around waiting for the next rounds' start time to be posted. "Go to lunch and get back quick!" Then look for the start time to be posted.
Get the Round Started
Send players to their tees. Exactly two minutes before tee time, sound the two minute warning. Two minutes later, sound the signal to start! Head to your post where people can find you during the round.
Scorecards & Leaderboard
Either the TD or another event staff MUST be present at the time players are turning in their scorecards to eliminate risk of collusion.
Start verifying scorecards ASAP. Have at least two others on your scorecard verification team. Do your scoring in a private spot. This will limit the number of interruptions from players eager to see where they stand. Once the last group has come off the course (be certain!), post the starting time of the next round.
Record the first round scores onto the leaderboard cards. Sort the cards within divisions by ascending total scores. Ties will be broken by lowest PDGA number. If it’s after round two, then use the best score in the most recent round (and then next most recent round) to break ties. If tied players have shot identical rounds, use lowest PDGA number to determine who’s placed higher on the board.
Put the leaderboard cards back on the board by division, If the numbers make it difficult to have the same number of players on each hole, try forming threesomes or foursomes before you consider a fivesome. Don't make a larger group out of the slowest players. If some holes can be left open, the best idea is to make these the holes immediately before the most difficult holes on the course which take the longest to play. The top open group should tee off on hole one, the second open group should be on hole two, etc.
It is important to begin verifying scorecards as soon as possible. Get your staff moving! Get the leaderboard updated as soon as possible. One of the most exciting things in disc golf is watching oneself rise and fall on the leaderboard. Give your players a chance to see where they stand before they leave the course for the day. At the end of the day, upload scores to the event page at PDGA.com (must be done after each round at A-tier or above).
Make sure the hardworking TD has some food on hand. A well-stocked personal cooler is recommended or arrange for someone else to get you some takeout. Have someone check the water coolers. Do they need more water? Ice? Are the CTPs ready for the next round? It is certainly a best practice to post the payout for your event and to be prepared for the payout when it happens. This includes all cash and awards to be distributed.
Evening - After Day 1 Ends
Calculate the Purse & Prize Payout
If you have a laptop, use the Excel TD report template provided by the PDGA to help calculate your event income, expenses and payouts. If you have no computer, use the printed PDGA Payout Tables to determine how much cash to give away (and how many places to pay) in each division. Remember to take into account the PDGA fees as well as any other fees you may be deducting (i.e. Regional Series fees). Take your sponsorship money into consideration.
Prepare prize money in envelopes. Publish the prize money breakdown the next morning. You still may have to deal with some adjustment in the event players tie and you’re using checks.
Continue filling in your PDGA Excel report template with scores, course layouts and financial information. This will set up your file to upload scores to the PDGA site for online viewing. It is imperative that you record your layouts exactly as they are played by the competitors, so that ratings can accurately be produced. You can complete most of the TD report in 30 minutes. Get that part done prior to the final day of the event.
Plan for Tomorrow
Ensure that you have enough scorecards for the next day. Pack two extra rolls of toilet paper in the car. The bathrooms at the park will most probably be out by now. Get some sleep!
Morning - Before Day 2 Begins
- Arrive at the course two hours before tee time.
- Set leaderboard out.
- Set pencils out.
- Set out scorecard box.
- Replenish bathrooms with TP.
- Place scorecards on the holes on the leaderboard.
- Post prize breakdown.
- Set out water coolers.
- Prepare closest-to-the-hole markers.
- Two minutes before tee time, Sound "two minute" warning.
- Two minutes later, sound "start" horn.
- Get to your post
After All Rounds Are Complete
Consider running a CTP or ring of fire (a fun event) to occupy players while your staff is busy handling scores and prize preparations. Verify scorecards and update the leaderboard as soon as possible. Once all the cards are in, determine if any playoffs are in order. A non-competing marker will need to witness the playoff.
Ties will happen. Be prepared. Only first place ties are broken in PDGA events. If there is a tie for a place lower than first that involves a trophy or plaque, a disc-related playoff is in order (such as a CTP or mini contest).
Divide money or prizes for the tied places equally among the tied players. For example, if three players tie for 2nd, total the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place money, divide that by three and award the average to each player.
Thank everyone for coming again. Thank the sponsors. Thank the staff and volunteers.
It is a best practice to only announce the top 3-5 in each division (depending on the size of the division) at the Awards Ceremony. This will speed up the Ceremony and allow players to get on the road quicker. All other players who will receive an award or prize can claim after the Ceremony is complete.
Distribute the prizes. Get golfers on the road, distribute remaining prizes, and clean up.
Post-Event Guidelines - Following Week
Complete the administrative work for the event starting first with the PDGA TD report. Provide the complete information requested. Be sure to indicate if an Amateur player competing as a Pro declined a cash prize in order to maintain Amateur status. Call the PDGA office if you have ANY questions about completing the report (706-261-6342). Make a backup copy of the report in case something unforeseen happens. Send your report by email to [email protected]. Post your results online at the PDGA site so players can see the results and their unofficial player ratings.
Email the PDGA report on time based on the requirements of the event tier. Make sure to send payment according to the current PDGA requirements to cover fees and memberships. Are the completed membership forms attached? Put plenty of postage on the envelope? Thanks for all your help!
Mail out any remaining prizes that went unclaimed after the Awards Ceremony. If you have a sponsor “thank you” letter, mail it out to all your sponsors.
Begin planning for next year's event. What can we do better? How can we make it more fun? Can we get better sponsorship? How can we attract more players?
Clip and keep all printed coverage of your event. These could be helpful in securing sponsors for next year's event. Next year will be bigger and way easier now that you've done such a great job and gained lots of experience!
Thanks for your help in making PDGA events more consistent!
How to handle temporary courses, holes, OB, tees & pins
Proper marking is one of the most important aspects when adding temporary elements for events. Even though the rules make it the player’s responsibility to know the courses, the TD should make it as easy as possible so players do not make a mistake such as playing wrong tees or holes, or not seeing the location of OB areas until it’s too late. Players need proper printed information, proper explanations at player meetings and proper signage where needed on the courses.
Temporary holes added to course or a complete temp course
The earlier these holes or courses can be set up before the event, the better. Even though portable baskets may not be available until the event, mark the tee and pin locations with paint and flags in advance so players can walk the course. If surveyor’s 4’ lathe stakes are available, pound these in the ground at the pin positions and spray paint the tips orange to make them easy to see. An added touch would be to have a course map with hole lengths posted for downloading from your website.
Hole numbering should be done properly for temporary holes added to an existing course. The only time additional holes should ever be numbered is when ALL temp holes are added after the last hole on the current course. The best method is to label temp holes with letters starting with A for the first one players who start on hole 1 will encounter, then letter B, C, etc. For instance, if all three holes are after hole 8, sometimes TDs will mark them 8A, 8B and 8C. However, just A, B & C would be better so that players don’t think 8A or 8B just refer to pin placements on regular hole 8.
When temporary extended tees are used on some holes, it’s extremely important to do everything possible to prevent the regular tee from being used accidentally. Put signs at the front of the unused tee, and/or place orange cones or trash cans on the unused tee so players won’t play from it. When temporary baskets are used to extend a hole, make sure to put a trash bag over the existing basket if it’s permanently mounted or remove it if that’s possible.
OB & Paint Marking
Make sure the OB boundaries are identified on or close to the ground using string or paint as needed, especially if the natural boundary like grass/cement or water/land is not well defined. The best paint color for marking important lines such as OB boundaries is white, especially with a green grass background. Although most can see orange or pink on green, there are a surprising number of people with red-green colorblindness who cannot see pink or orange on green. Orange or other colors of paint are OK for tee lines as long as there are also flags identifying their location.
How to handle Lightning
Since we play outdoors where lightning occurs, we’re prime targets for a lightning strike. Before your event, be certain that you have kept close track of the current (and future) weather conditions. Remember that the flash (bolt) of lightning moves at the speed of light. It’s pretty much instantaneous. So we’ll see it before we hear the rumble of the thunder. However, always remember IF you can hear thunder at all then you are always at risk of a lightning strike. Be sure to utilize any and all measures to accurately predict severe weather conditions.
Lightning detection and strike indicator websites are available for more accurate predictions.
Also, please understand that the thunderstorm itself is also moving, generally in the 25 – 30 mile per hour range. This all means that we’re in danger whenever the lightning is within 8 – 10 miles of where we are playing. Since we have to evacuate players from a pretty large “playing field” we’ll need to factor that in as well. When in doubt, halt play!
To stop play during a round, blow an airhorn (or any other device that was used to start the round) with three quick blasts. Repeat this procedure until every player is off the course and accounted for. It is a good idea to address this issue during the player’s meeting, letting players know how and where to take shelter in the case of a storm. Once play has been halted, the TD must wait at least 30 minutes after any nearby (within 8 miles) lightning strike to release players back out onto the course.
*Authored by Carlton Howard, PDGA Rules Committee Chair, February 1998
*Abridged by PDGA Office for Y2K Tour Planning Package, October 1999
*Updated by Chuck Kennedy, PDGA Tour Consultant, November 2007
*Revised by PDGA Office, 3/16/2015