There isn’t many more things in disc golf that bother people like bagging, or sandbagging. Playing a tournament in a division beneath your skill set is usually frowned upon. So why do so many people do it? What can be done to correct this issue?
The PDGA has guidelines for each amateur division (see below).
Advanced – 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. Score range: < 58
Intermediate – available to amateur players of all ages with player ratings < 935. Developing players who have played 2-3 years with improved consistency and accuracy. Throw 250-350 feet, make 5-7/10 putts from 20 feet. Score range: <63
Recreational – available to amateur players of all ages with player ratings < 900. For players who have played 1-2 years and are gaining consistency and experience. Throw 200-300 feet, make 4-6/10 putts from 20 feet, learning different shots. Score range: 63+
Novice – available to amateur players of all ages with player ratings < 850. For beginning and casual players who are learning basic Frisbee® and disc golf skills. Throw 175-250 feet, make 3-5/10 putts from 20 feet, can throw backhand with some accuracy. Score range: 68+
When you first start playing tournaments, more than likely you will start in the Recreational division. Many players go this route because they are unsure of their skill level compared to their peers and because they are probably not a PDGA member yet. We get it. You never played a tournament before and you’re not sure what division you belong in.
This is understandable for new tournament players. BUT when you win that tournament in the Rec division, you better get ready to move up. There is no need to continually play the Rec division after proving you’re better than that.
The main scenario you see when it comes to “Bagging” is players playing in divisions that they clearly do not belong in. Advanced players in Intermediate, Intermediate in Rec and so on. They want to win easily and collect larger payouts. This discourages players from playing tournaments and working on their game. How can these issues be fixed?
Most tournament directors are local players themselves. Many times they are familiar with players and have some idea of the skill level players have. Holding players accountable to play in the division they belong goes a long way to prevent bagging.
TD’s can just utilize the PDGA scale shown above, and place players in divisions according that. The issues arises when you have non current players without a rating.
Honesty and Promotion of Division-
We think the best way to start handling this issue is to promote honesty among players and to promote the idea of moving up and playing in the division they belong. This begins when players join their local clubs, and club members promoting these ideas.
Will there always be Baggers? Yes. What can be done. Other than what has been stated here, not much more. It is up to us to hold players accountable and make sure they play in the correct division.
Your ideas are always wanted! Comment below.