Alright, so you're signing up for your first tournament or perhaps you've been playing a couple years now and your skills have improved, so...
What division do you sign up for?
Well, in order to answer this question we must first address another:
How do disc golf ratings work?
Every disc golf course that is used for competitive play will have a course rating derived from it's Scratch Scoring Average (SSA). The SSA determines how many strokes it should take to play that course for par.
Therefore, your rating is derived from how well you play the course compared to it's course rating.
Players won't receive their first rating until he/she has competed in an event that is sanctioned so that a rating can be procured. These events could be a sanctioned tournament or league play.
PDGA ratings are posted during scheduled updates, so take note that your rating following your first event may not appear right away, or even for a couple weeks possibly.
What are the ratings and divisions?
Entry level rating and defined as a rating of less than 850. These players are learning most of their skills and haven't yet become proficient in many of them.
Putting is still challenging from short distances, backhand drives are inconsistent and for shorter distances, and/or lack of knowledge on rules of the game could classify you here.
Rating of less than 900 with with better skills and knowledge of the game compared to Novice players. Capable of longer throws and these players can make a fair amount of their shorter putts and as well as some of the putts closer to circle's edge.
Rating less than 935 and can play quite proficiently throughout all aspects of the game with improved consistency.
Putting is quite solid from 20-25 feet and with higher capability to make longer putts. Driving distances and scrambling are with longer and better ability for increased scoring opportunities.
As per PDGA.com, "the top amateur division, available to all amateur players. Required division for male amateur players under 40 years of age with ratings >= 935. Tournament experienced players who have played disc golf for several years, and developed consistency. Throw 300-450 feet, make 5-7/10 putts from 25-30 feet, have different shots in their arsenal."
Short of being a professional player, this division is the best of the best. It is comprised of the best local players in your area.
Any other divisions?
There are more divisions available such as Junior for kids under the age of 18 years old.
Male and female divisions also help to make each division more competitive for each gender and each have their breakdowns of novice, rec, intermediate, advanced, and professional.
Master divisions help bridge the gap for players older than 40 years old to keep those players competitive among players of their age range.
Finally, the professional division is for players looking to play for monetary rewards. Once a player has accepted a payout, he/she is entered into the professional division and may not play as an Amateur following that event.
The Professional division can also be selected as a player's division upon sign up for that year's PDGA membership.
As a side note, not all offered tournaments or leagues offer multiple divisions as it is up to the discretion of the Tournament Director (TD) when submitting approval for the event.
What if I don't have a player rating?
A good way to figure out where you stack up if you don't have your own PDGA rating yet is to take the average of your past few rounds. If you have generally been playing from the short tees, then use those scores, same if you enjoy playing from the middle or long tees.
If that average is well above par, consider signing up for Recreational.
Whereas if you're closer to par or just below it, then Intermediate could be a good place to help you play with a competitive bunch.
Finally, if you're crushing the courses quite often and shooting under par consistently, then Advanced might be your spot for competitive play.
The good thing is that no matter which division you sign up for, you're playing for your own best score so that you can get an accurate representation of your rating.
Didn't play your best round to give yourself a fair rating? You can always sign up for the division that you feel suits your skill level best and then build on your player rating by playing more sanctioned events until you get a truly accurate rating taken from an average of your multiple ranked tournaments.
Key tip is not to be afraid that you're going to be playing in too high of a division. After all, what do you have to lose? Sometimes it's best to play with players who are better in order to get better yourself.
Where do I get my PDGA membership?
Click here: www.pgda.com to get your player profile and membership started! It also comes with a full year of UDisc Pro included!
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Side note, What is a sand-bagger?
A player that purposely enters into a division below their capabilities is often referred to as a "sand-bagger."
Why would someone want to do this? -
To greatly increase their chances of securing a win and taking home the offered trophy or merchandise up for grabs.
So don't be a sand-bagger!
Enter the appropriate division based on your skill level that will force you to play competitively among the other players. This will, in the long run, help improve your game play and show where you truly measure up as you progress through your disc golfing career.
After all, this game is supposed to be fun and nobody likes a sand bagger!
Have any other questions regarding player ratings and divisions?
Be sure to leave a comment or drop us a message, we'd be glad to get you an answer!
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