Originally Posted by mfcastillo17
As a TD, this is something that I always try to avoid as much as possible. I don't particularly care to play with ams in a tournament round. But sometimes it is unavoidable. For example, a full tournament with 90 players on an 18 hole course (meaning a fivesome on each hole), the divisions don't always shake out to be equally divisible by 5. When I'm presented with the situation (for the first round anyway), of course I will mix pro divisions to try and resolve it, but if it still doesn't work out evenly, I hand pick an advanced player that I know has proper etiquette and will not upset the group. Under no circumstances will I ever mix players on the same card that are throwing from different tees, and never a lower division than MA1. That would be a nightmare and certainly unfair to all players on the card, the am included.
THIS is the reason that the wording in the competition manual says that divisions should be segregated from each other "as much as practicable". If extenuating circumstances such as how the numbers shake out necessitate a couple mixed groups, so be it. Add my name to the list of people that think mixing every group should be unacceptable at a PDGA sanctioned tournament.
Here's the thing that is rather unique about our sport. We mix divisions together on the same field of play. You don't see that in other sports. In ball golf, for example, nearly all events are one field of players...the word division doesn't even apply. Instead of divisions, they have entirely separate events, i.e. US Open, US Women's Open, US Senior Open, etc. It's not the US Open featuring the Men's division, the Women's division, and the Senior division.
With that in mind, when I go to a disc golf tournament and enter my division, as far as I'm concerned my division is the entire
tournament. I'm not competing against the MA3 players or the MM1s or the MPSs. So to be grouped with them without extenuating circumstances is equivalent to Tiger Woods going to this week's PGA Tour stop and being grouped with a random person out of the gallery as his playing partner. Would that ever happen?
There's also a factor of rules enforcement. Whether it is right or not (I think it's not), I've seen and heard many players over the years that don't want or like to call rules violations on someone out of division. They're not direct competition, so they couldn't care less if a player falls on every putt or foot faults every fairway shot, and they're too focused on their own game to do any teaching of the rules to those players. And it's not just the player who knows the rules and lets things slide for the other players in the group. It's players who don't know the rules well enough to call a violation, or even if they do know the rules, are too intimidated by the superPro (or even just a veteran amateur) on their card to actually call him on something.
And maybe while my competitor is playing with that lax group of intimidated ams, I'm playing with players that call everything (which in a vacuum, I'm totally cool with). My competitor is potentially gaining an advantage where I can not, all determined at random. All mixed groups does is create a total imbalance of rules enforcement. At least when a first-round group is a random mix of players from within the same division, they treat each other equally. They're all direct competition, whether all of them wind up playing well enough to be in the hunt to win by the end of the day or not.
Save the mixing of groups for leagues and local minis and other non-sanctioned play.