If you’re a veteran to the disc golf tournament scene, chances are you’ve played in your share of both good and bad events. A good event is one that meets or exceeds your expectations, while a bad event may leave you scratching your head. We’re not talking how good or bad you played, but more the quality of the event. How did you respond to these good or bad events? Regardless of which side you land on, providing feedback is vital for future success.
For those of you new to the tournaments, let this be a template for you to consider as you dip in to the tournament scene.
Before you sign up for a disc golf tournament, you need to consider what your expectations are. Are you playing for fun because you like the course or are you going for that win?
The best way to set yourself up for a good time is to do some research before the tournament. Don’t be afraid to contact the tournament director with your questions. They will be able to provide you with the best information. Seeking information out via social media can be helpful as well, but remember that you may be getting opinions versus facts.
Navigating the Fees of a Tournament
Every tournament director is different. Every tournament is different. In the case of PDGA events, as long as minimum standards are met, along with what was promoted by the event, there really is no issue.
Some tournament directors cover tournament costs out of pocket, some with sponsorships and some use entry fee money. There is no wrong way to do it. These are often reasons why the payout may be less than what you envisioned.
Other costs to consider are portable toilets, park fees, trophies, tournament supplies. PDGA events have per player fees that are taken from entry fees, too. It is up to you to do research prior to playing an event. If payouts are important to you, make the extra effort to do the research. Assuming typically ends up with hurt feelings.
Good or bad, providing feedback is important to help tournament directors get better. There are various ways to get your thoughts across.
- One-on-one conversation with the tournament director or staff. Keep in mind, immediately following the event may not be the best time for this. Staff may be busy and in the case of negative feedback, you may need some time to cool off and carefully consider your words.
- Private message or email. This is a great way to articulate yourself, remember to provide details. If you don’t immediately receive a response, remember that many tournament directors take time away from their work, families and lives to run tournaments.
- PDGA evaluation form. This is available to submit for every single PDGA event.
Before providing negative feedback, consider what your expectation were and where and why they fell short. Is it on the tournament director or did you have an unrealistic expectation?
Don’t immediately jump on social media and rip a tournament or tournament director. Make sure that your expectations were within reason. Follow the above steps on how to provide feedback.
Once you have spoken with tournament staff, you may still feel the need to make a negative social media post. Just make sure you aren’t making a kneejerk reaction before you hit that ‘post’ button. Take a moment and collect your thoughts. It's best to not say the first thing that comes into your mind.
We strongly encourage you to not yell at tournament staff, try to be as polite as possible when things don’t go right. If staff is busy counting scores or working on the event, don’t interrupt with your complaints.
You just played a tournament that had great value. There were sponsors helping make the event a success. It is now up to you to let these sponsors know that you appreciate them!
The best way to do this is by patronizing these sponsors. Go to the brewery that sponsored a tee sign or buy a disc from the store or manufacturer that presented the tournament.
It is so important for us as disc golfers to recognize tournament sponsors and give them our business. When you do visit these sponsors, make sure you tell them you are there because they sponsored that tournament. Do this every single time. This may lead to bigger and better sponsorships for the next tournament.
If you’re from out of town and unable to visit these sponsors, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call thanking them, or send an email or message their social media account.
“My name is Johnny Discgolfer and I played in the disc golf tournament that you sponsored. I don’t live in town, so I can’t thank you in person, but next time I’m there playing disc golf I will stop in. Thank you for sponsoring disc golf!”
Be a Professional
Finally, be professional. Positive feedback is easy to provide. Negative feedback might be the most valuable, but if it comes off unprofessional, you're creating an uphill battle.
Remember that tournaments are typically ran by a lot of volunteers. Respect their time. Respect their efforts. Odds are, they know where the tournament might have fallen short of expectations. It still doesn't hurt to start a discussion, but providing alternatives or new ideas goes a long way. Instead of pointing out problems, you are also providing solutions. This is how things grow over time.
- Dana Vicich