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2018: Growing the Women’s Side

If there’s one thing that’s true, it is that making the leap to become a disc golf professional is a difficult endeavor. With the increasing number of Premier Events (PDGA Majors, NTs, World Tour, Pro Tour), for dozens of men, the dream is beginning to shift towards a possible reality. On the women’s side however, it is a very challenging task.

The geography of the overall tour has improved dramatically in the last several years, the payouts have increased, and the media exposure has gone through the roof. The one thing that has not changed is the number of women playing in the pro field. This is a self-fulfilling downward spiral that disc golf has been attacking for decades.

With smaller field sizes come smaller payouts and fewer spots that are paid out. This makes it harder for women to tour, resulting in yet again, smaller field sizes. The cycle then continues. Any growth, or even any maintaining field size, should be considered exceptional in this climate. The list of female athletes who have won Majors and NTs and are no longer competing dwarfs that of the men.

2018 Plans

In 2018, the Pro Tour will enact six additional programs to help encourage the size of the women’s pro field.

1. Women’s tees: through our venue agreement, we will encourage every event to utilize the UDisc statistics and, when appropriate, shorten the women’s tees to give them a comparable playing experience to the men. At the Vibram Open we tested this out. Ten of the 11 shorter tees received universal praise from the women.

2. Women’s Hospitality tent and port-a-potties: At each Pro Tour event, there will be a 10 x 20 enclosed space that is specifically for the pro women. Inside this space will be chairs and tables with sunscreen, lotions, chocolates, pain reliever, and maybe some flowers. We want this to be a place where they can get away, relax, and be women. As an additional aside, we have added port-a-potties out on the course as an additional request of each venue.

3. Spread out the pros: In an effort to encourage local and Regional women to play, during round one, we will be spreading out the top Pros across all cards. It should be noted that we will be doing this on the men’s side as well, so this should actually help grow the field on both side. If you participate in a Pro Tour event, you will have an opportunity to play with one of the Sport’s best.

4. Reduced entry fees: We will be encouraging each event to reduce women’s entry fees. This will do two things. First, It reduces the barrier of Entry for local and Regional women who want an opportunity to play with the best in our sport. Second, it will increase the percentage of cash added to the women’s payout relative to the pay in. The added cash is divided proportionally based on the number of men and women at the event. Therefore, the women will get a larger percentage of added cash based on their entry fees. This is a relatively equitable way to get more money into the women’s fields.

5. Increased and improved video coverage: We are looking for a partner to support our 2018 plans to grow the women’s side of the sport. This partner will be underwriting the cost to professionally edit the women’s coverage that is spliced into the live feed as well as the creation of shot by shot coverage as a quality stand-alone piece. We believe this will increase the number of people that see women’s disc golf and that can only lead to increased participation among women.

6. Inclusion on the big scoreboard: At each Pro Tour stop, we feature the top men’s cards on the scoreboard. It is time for us to do this for the women as well. We will be working with each event to ensure that the scoreboard will have the people needed to do scoreboard scoring for the top FPO card during each round. In addition to the increased media coverage, this will give fans and players one more way to share and view their favorite players.

We’ve got one more event in 2017. Please tune in Thursday through Sunday at noon Eastern to watch the best in the world. We will do our best with our modest resources to cover the women as much as possible. Your support and patience as we improve is sincerely appreciated as are all of the well wishes.

Here we go!

4 Comments

  • Frank

    October 17, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    First: Growing the womens side ist a great idea and I like it that you are really taking that as a challenge (espc. compared to the DGWT). We discussed the special Tees already some months ago. I don´t like them and I know many women who don´t like them either. To the hospitality tents: it´s a great idea but can´t you make them less clichéd? Sunscreens, chocolates, pain reliefer and flowers.. do you think that´s what makes the difference between women and men? Maybe make the tents pink and add little kitty stamps?

  • pj

    October 17, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    I think the DGPT has gone above and beyond what it should have to do in regards to promoting the women’s game, and for it’s efforts, it gets lack of participation in it’s championship event, and snarky comments from the likes of “Frank”.

  • Frank

    October 18, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    @PJ You are right they are trying a lot of things two promote women but I´m pretty sure not even the DGPT thinks they have found the perfect solution for everything. And until then I´m free to discuss their ideas. To the Tees: I really liked to see the women in between the MPOs on the video coverage but only as long as the FPO where playing the same holes and I could really compare the divisions direct. Now with so many different Tees I only see some women make some throws. Could be a completely other tournament. For me this isn´t interesting anymore. I discuss this stuff a lot with women in our sport and many of them seem to don´t like especially those two points.

  • Nick Blakehill

    October 22, 2017 at 4:16 am

    I’m sorry PJ but you can’t deny that Frank is right about the fact that the tent idea sounds kind of cliche. And to be totally honest, I’d like to assume that if there’re providing women with sunscreen, lotion and pain reliever, that Dodge would do exactly the same for the men otherwise it’s totally unfair. I mean men are just as susceptible to sunburn, sore hands and muscle strains as the women. The same thing kind of goes for the porta-potties too. Yes, a guy CAN duck behind a tree and take a leak but SHOULD he at a major tournament where there’s likely to be lots of people (players, spectators and kids) milling around? It’s a decency thing frankly (no pun intended).
    Don’t get me wrong at all, I think the fact that the DGPT is trying to make things better and grow the women’s game is awesome, I just think some of the ideas could do with a little more consideration.
    The different tees I personally agree with. The women play a slightly different game to the men because they simply can’t throw as far as the men. I’d like to see different tees but only so they allow the women to effectively make the same initial landing zone as the men do so it then brings it back to the hole playing the same way from the second shot (for par 3s and 4s at least I suppose).
    Regarding entry fees, I don’t know how a reduction in fees will ultimately increase prize money but I’m guessing Dodge has done his maths and worked it out and if we can see more women playing and prize money rising, then that’s great.
    The coverage thing for me is a biggie. I personally really dislike having the women’s rounds squeezed into the men’s live coverage. For one, not all the shots are included and for two, it lacks that sense of concentrated climax because you’re constantly shifting focus between MPO and FPO. I totally agree that filling the MPOs walking time has massively improved the live coverage but I just don’t like it. On a few occasions now I’ve avoided watching the live coverage so I can watch unspoiled post produced rounds. I stay off social media so I can avoid finding out who’s won and then watch the rounds once they’re released. Hopefully someone will step up and support 2 camera coverage for next year.
    Anyway, that’s my thought on it :)

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