Know your responsibilities as a disc golfer so we may propel the sport further into the mainstream
You may not know it, but you have responsibilities as a disc golfer. This is because the responsible disc golfing athlete wants to grow the sport. Growing the sport will accomplish several disc golf goals – one of which is more pay for the pros. The pros need to be able to make a living. More pay for the pros means the athletic bar rises as the pros aspire to do more and do it better. This naturally leads to us to want to watch/follow the pros, which in turn makes us want to play more disc golf and so on and so on etc, etc. Growth in this sport starts from the grass roots. So, Disc Golfers are responsible for taking the proactive steps needed to represent the sport at all times and support the sport whenever possible. So what exactly are we as disc golfers supposed to do?
Step one is supporting the people and companies that support the sport. Start with the PDGA and buy a membership. Also purchase products from the makers of Keen and Vibram, the manufacturers of our discs, your local sponsors such as the lunch providers or the disc golf retailer. Locally we have the Funky Buddha Brewery. They support our endeavors and I stop by there for a growler regularly. Any person or entity that contributes to the sport of disc golf should benefit from your patronage. Buy their products and services and stop by their establishments.
Disc golfers should also respect and maintain their local disc golf courses. Stop it with the graffiti! Ever wonder where all of those cigarette butts come from? Beer cans and cigarette butts are the number one and two sources of litter on the disc golf course. Disc golfers can exemplify the spirit of our great sport by picking up a can during a round and reminding smokers that “butts are litter also”. While you are at it, consider chipping in on the local course maintenance days.
Support not only your local disc golf club, but the clubs who maintain your favorite courses. Show up at their league on occasion and participate in the local mini tournaments. Buy a tshirt or a fundraiser disc. You do this so you have a place to play whenever you are in [fill in the location]. You may also require a hand from them when you have your local leagues and tournaments. Just remember that a 30,000 dollar tournament will most likely take regional cooperation!
Add “coming prepared” to the list of the responsibilities of the disc golfer. You are responsible for having your towel, your hydration, your minis, and your pencils. Got Sharpee? Make sure you have got your cooler stocked and your quiver is full of your favorite discs BEFORE the round. Don’t be the guy running off to the car to grab a putter during the tournament.
Be the virtuous disc golfer. First impressions are important. Open consumption of drugs and alcohol by a bunch of disc golfers wearing “wife – beaters” while cursing up a storm over a missed putt should be frowned upon. Don’t make people wonder if you might be homeless by your mannerisms. Please store the Natty Ice discretely in a cooler. If you decide to curse and drink, try not to advertise it to the families watching from the picnic tables.
The responsible disc golfer returns other people’s discs! I have said this repeatedly: “A found disc is not your new disc!”. I did not willingly leave my disc at the park anymore than you willingly left your wallet at the park. Think karma on this one folks. If that doesn’t convince you then think “jail time”, as in “against the law” because keeping someone else’s discs is against the law here in South Florida.
As we examine the responsibilities of the disc golfer we need to understand that this is good for the sport. The course you are playing on did not magically appear. The people in your disc golf club do not want to play with anyone who does not take an active interest in our sport. It is not the PDGA’s responsibility to get more pay for the pros or to be everything to every disc golfer. It is ours alone and it starts from the ground up.