A touring player recently asked us, “Why make a standard and let it go by the wayside in two events this year?”
The short answer: So that events know the Pro Tour’s expectations.
The long answer: To increase the consistency across Pro Tour events. The basket used to be one aspect of the course rating and to meet this criteria, events must utilize approved baskets. Four events (Waco, Jonesboro, Idlewild & GMC) decided to upgrade their baskets. This is the positive side of things. One event (Nick Hyde) partially upgraded their baskets (to 24 chain Discatchers). The Memorial upgraded the baskets on one of the three courses and the Ledgestone asked for a waiver.
The Ledgestone Insurance Open presented by Discraft: This event asked for a waiver to utilize their St Jude powder coated Chainstar baskets. The argument was that these baskets are used to raise money for St Jude via the raffle and the event wanted to showcase them during the event. The event made it clear that I could have pushed and had them use the Pro Tour’s Mach X baskets but I made the decision to grant the waiver.
Over the past several years, these baskets have been the centerpiece in raising well over $70,000 for St Jude. Winning a basket that was used in a National Tour or Pro Tour event is pretty cool. I did not want to take away any of the shine of winning one of these baskets.
In retrospect, I made the wrong call. There would have been other ways to raffle off these baskets and still make them special. Additionally, while the St Jude aspect to the event is fantastic, it is not the centerpiece. The centerpiece is the competition of all of the players. I should not have detracted from this competition and the lesson has been duly learned.
I do not want to rely on the concept of “growing pains” but this is exactly what this situation is. I have talked with Discraft and they have a solution in the works. I have talked with the touring pros and apologized for making this error. Going forward, every Pro Tour event will be played on Pro Tour approved baskets. The Pro Tour Basket Standard is no longer a criteria events will be rated on, it is now necessary to meet the standard in order to host a Pro Tour event.
Note: I fully expect that the number of approved Pro Tour baskets will increase during the off-season. Additionally, we will be working to develop new testable catching standards for all baskets that meet the PDGA Championship approval to see what baskets are approved for the Pro Tour in the future.
Note: In full disclosure, Discraft is a premier partner of the Pro Tour. In 2016, they were the first disc golf company to partner with us. Hopefully we are able to present and discuss this topic in an honest way while respecting the support and trust that Discraft puts in us.