Disc Golf Etiquette

Collared Shirts and B.O.

I was having a bagel at my local shop a few weeks ago before a round when a father and son walk into the cafe.  They were obviously related, tall, fit and professionally dressed.  Light weight Khaki pants, dry-fit collared polos, and clean hats.  Father and son day at the ball golf course.  How could I not look at myself and compare.  I had on a black Off-Axis polo, a new pair off canvas khaki colored shorts, a pair of Merrel hiking shoes, a mostly clean Nike hat that matched my shorts, and a black pair of socks that matched my polo.  That is my disc golf attire.
The PDGA has a rule about collared shirts during A-tier tournament rounds.  No TD I have ever known has enforced this rule.  They should enforce it every time.  Having rules that we don’t follow only undermines the efficacy of all rules.  Not only is it a rule already, it is also exactly the kind of rule that we need to bring disc golf to a respectable level of acceptability and popularity.
This got me thinking about the most egregious failure to follow this rule.  It was at the Shady Oaks  course at the 2012 St. Patrick’s Open and was an A-tier event.  A guy in the intermediate division, who actually ended up winning the division, wore the same disgusting t-shirt with the sleeves torn off all three days of the event.  The shirt had been white at some point but was brown by this time.  The db had terrible manners, actually moved my disc from it’s lie at one point, and used horrific language the entire day.  He smelled like he had not showered all week and it only got worse from there.

While on the safari nine of the extended course, we picked up a spectator.  This is what this sport needs – an audience.  An audience will bring sponsors, sponsors will bring more golfers, which will bring more sponsors.  The db, of course, started an argument with the man.  The spectator soon left with a bad impression of our game.

I did pretty well in the event but should have been one better.  The winning db should not have been allowed to compete.  The rule is clear.  The TD would not have even had any reason to refund the entry fee.  Instead the db did compete, a spectator was discouraged, the entire intermediate division was shamed by his appearance and odor.

Until we recognize that this type individual, and the ruling bodies that permit this type of behavior to continue, are the reasons there are not enough open competitors and there are no mainstream big money sponsors, things will never change.  Represent your club, your course, your sport by maintaining professional hygiene and following the rules of the events we are participating in.  TD’s please enforce these rules.  Take a shower, dress appropriately and remember:

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




Categories: Disc Golf Etiquette

2 replies »

  1. Great article, Justin. Until players take a little more pride in their sport, the sport will not receive the respect it deserves. I am all for requiring collared shirts at all B-tier and A-tier events. Also, would it be difficult for Tournament Directors to include a quick reminder during the player meetings that we are indeed projecting the overall image of disc golf to the general public every time we step on a tee pad? No, that is not at all difficult! It would be a simple yet very helpful thing to do as a means to instill in the players that we need to elevate the sport, and that this can only be accomplished with the help of every player.

    We are playing in city parks most of the time, and we share these spaces with the people who, honestly, use them as much if not more often than we do. Every single player who goes out for a casual or tournament round who swears, yells, litters, stinks, unleashes a dog or who otherwise functions to portray our sport in a negative fashion is hurting the game he or she loves, and that hurts every player and the sport of disc golf as a whole.

    Perhaps TDs need to be certified by the PDGA if they want to direct anything above a C-tier event. And, perhaps, as part of this certification, they need to be informed/trained by the PDGA about the importance and necessity of educating tournament players about how to properly represent the sport both in tournaments and in recreational settings.

    It has to start somewhere. Until there is a culture of respect in DG that encompasses the rules, the sport and the general public, DG will continue to be seen as a fringe sport worthy of potential course closures as well as denials for the installation of new courses in cities and counties across the USA. This will stall all efforts to grow the game and bring disc golf to people and communities that do not have access to it.

  2. Several great points Marc. We do play almost entirely in public spaces and that requires greater responsibility. I too think the next step has to be taken by tournament directors and local clubs. We are a grassroots sport and changes have to be made at the grassroots level.

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