Disc Golf Etiquette

The Party Group

This post is on the etiquette of the party group.  We have all seen the massive party group out on the course, carrying as much beer as plastic, loud, raucous, and frequently blind to the impact they have on the other golfers on the course.

Worst case I’ve seen was a group of at least 15, if not 20, at Condon Park in Grass Valley while playing with my golf partner Marc a couple months ago.  This group was so loud we could hear it 6 holes away.  At one point, I missed an easy lay-up approach because of the hoots and hollers – of course I should have refocused, taken a minute, and made the approach.

We finally caught up with them on hole 17 as they walked off the tee-pad right in front of us.  I could tell that there were a couple responsible people in the group who were looking at us as if to say, “I think you guys should play through but unfortunately I’m in this huge group of douche bags.”  They were so large it took them 15-20 minutes to minutes to play the hole.

When the same situation occurred at hole 18’s tee pad, Marc and I bailed.  We played 16 holes in an hour, then played hole 17 in 20 minutes and were not going to wait another 20 minutes to play 18.  Marc, not being the confrontational type, walked to the parking lot through a secondary route.  I walked right through the group so I could express how irresponsible I felt they were being.  I learned they were a local group that played there daily.  They expressed no remorse about interfering with our round.  Several douche bags were aggressive with me and made comments, in essence saying, “This is our course, you are an outsider, shut the hell up.”

I personally think we should be exactly like ball golf and limit groups to 4 or 5.  Why do ball golf courses prevent groups of more than 4 or 5 from playing on their courses?  Because it negatively impacts the enjoyment of the game by other parties.  This is part of our definition of the goal of etiquette from my first post.  We will always have the party group on the free courses; we play a pretty laid back sport.  However, here are some etiquette guide lines if you find yourself in the party group:

Always, always let others play through.  Stop and make sure every time you leave a tee that there are not people waiting on you.  Be conscious of other groups in the area and do your best to keep the volume down.  Do not, under any circumstance, scream and yell, unless you hit an ace of course.  Pick up your trash; big groups get a herd mentality and sometimes we do things we wouldn’t normally.  Most importantly, if you are in a group as in my example, police the group yourself.  While I appreciated the knowing glances from the more conscious members of the party group, they should have expressed themselves and kept the other members of the group in line.

This type of behavior would never be allowed on ball golf courses.  If we allow an understanding of etiquette to guide our decisions we can keep these attitudes off the disc golf course and elevate our sport to the gentlemanly class of ball golf.  Enjoy your next round and remember:

Don’t be the douche bag on the course today.

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Categories: Disc Golf Etiquette

4 replies »

  1. I completely agree with you. This is an issue that can be so easily vanquished but for some reason people are just born being a dick. There will always be a dick in one of those party groups but as long as you don’t let the dick be the leader of the group it should be ok. You will be surprised how easy it is to take lead and allow people to play through your big group.
    The dicks in the group often don’t have the balls to step up once you allow people to play through.
    Mondo

  2. It’s all about stepping up. That’s what this blog is about, providing people with an opportunity and venue to step up.

  3. Just wanted to weigh in with a recent experience. We were playing Grass Valley early last Saturday. We (me, Sean, my brother, and a friend of Sean’s) teed off around eight AM, and it was pretty slow in terms of groups. Really nice, as you’d expect. On hole 11, the pin was playing in a crazy position – 460 feet away, a blind pin, and down a narrow entryway. It was made for backups, and of course this is what happened. As we were finishing the hole, my brother stood in the open fairway about 275 feet from the tee to act as a warning to players behind us. Behind us was a respectful foursome, and they were not pushing us at all, but I had noticed a twosome coming up on hole 10 a few minutes prior.

    As the foursome waited patiently, the twosome apparently came to the hole 11 tee, and one of them took it upon themselves to throw on my brother. Now, this is dicey. I suspect they wanted to power through the two foursomes–I get that–but why did they not have the common sense and decency to warn our lookout that they intended to throw? The foursome knew we were there because they had just come down the fairway to see where the hole was playing. So, I know the twosome knew we were there, too.

    Well, my brother reacted as most people would, and yelled at them to, “stop *^%#ing throwing!” The thrown disc had of course landed near him. We were all incredulous that they had thrown on Scott, and as we walked off to hole 12, we all had our ideas about what may have happened.

    Several important things: no one (from my group or theirs) ventured to try and figure out what happened. Was it simply a misunderstanding? Did they not see my brother? (doubtful). In any case, no one apologized, nothing was clarified, and there were no more problems for the rest of the round. However, it is important, in my mind, to try and imagine what may have happened. Were these two new players, i.e., did they not have a clue that what they were doing was wrong? Were they trying to “power through?” Were they emulating ball golfers who regularly tee off while players are well up on the fairway? It is hard to discern.

    What I know is that is cast a slight pall over the rest of the round. It probably didn’t need to. What if the premature throw had been addressed right after the hole had been completed? Would we have helped two novice golfers understand, (a) don’t throw on people, ever, and (b), when other disc golfers confront you, it is because they want to help you learn how to play the game correctly, and not to make you feel bad?

    That would have very likely been the outcome, I imagine. They would have apologized, we would have said, “It’s cool,” and the sport would have been strengthened because they would now know what to do in the future.

    I believe we all have an obligation to grow the game, and those of us who have been playing for awhile perhaps have a stronger burden to help those who are just now coming along to better understand the etiquette portion of it. I had a chance, and I didn’t take it the other day. However, I have intervened in the past and it has always been positive. Hopefully, I will take the time the next time a situation arises. It is always good to help new and novice players understand how the game is supposed to be played.

    (Note: Pick your spots. If they are douchebags en flagrante’, then, consider carefully. In my opinion, it is always best to avoid a horde of obviously jacked-up douchebags. Jacked-up d-bags aren’t worth the trouble.

  4. Thanks for the story Marc. You have touched on a topic that I have planned to be a post – what is the right way to address issues on the golf course. In our minds things are often worse than they really are. I think you are right, we all have a responsibility to the game. I also think that these “confrontations” can be made to work for us and the game. Thanks for keeping it positive.

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