Old 04-17-2018, 11:20 AM
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Zanguini Zanguini is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Arkansas River Valley
Years Playing: 2.9
Courses Played: 4
Throwing Style: RHBH
Posts: 434
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Default First Tournament Experience

First Tournament Experience
Last weekend I competed in my first tournament. So, I would like to take a few moments to describe what how I prepared, what went on, how I did, and some thoughts I had on the tournament. I would also like to read about some others first time tournament experiences so feel free to post about your own experiences too.

I have been playing for about 9 months now. I am a novice but over time I have gained some knowledge I cannot throw far, but I do at least hit a what distance I can achieve consistently (250-300). At my home course I generally pick up a + 7 or so and have for the past few months sometimes higher sometimes lower. So, I felt that it was about time that I tested my self in a tournament. I played in the Vintage Open an newly hatched A-Tier in Arkansas. In preparation I played the course the tournament was supposed to take place for Ams at as often as I could, which ended up being once or twice a week. I also went on YouTube to find some instructional videos about what happens on tournament days. About 2 weeks before tourney day the location of the tournament was changed to my normal home course, so all the prep work I had laid at the other course I thought had been wasted. But extra rounds cannot ever be a waste as I did learn a few things during the time. On YouTube most instruction about tournaments is about mental preparation and strategy. I only found one that was about the mechanics of a tournament from Danny Lindahl(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoCbzD6Vb20&t=26s).

The Tourney and Environs

The week leading up to the tourney I played a few times and was able to observe some pros checking out the course. I watched (from a distance) McCray walk over the course throwing only infrequently about certain shots while I was playing a round. The Thursday before the tournament I watched AJ Risley go through his putting practice. I then watched Eric Oakley (mere hours after I watched him on ProTour Talk) nearly empty his bag in front of me teeing off on 16 gold the TD added just for the tournament. And then watched him as I shot my one shot find all his discs and play his next shot from them whether they landed in the fairway or not. I did this for three or four holes. He even praised a particularly difficult shot I made off the tee pad of 17 Gold. Check in for ams was Friday night before the tourney (the pros had started that morning.) I checked in and received my player pack, which was a T-shirt, a disc (and opto River) with the tourney stamp, and a DD Commander Bag. I watched as the pros (Risely, Catrina Allen, Kevin Jones, Ricky Wysocki, Weston Isaacs, James Conrad, among others) that were there were all laid-back competing in a putting competition and tossing a generic frisbee back and forth across a half-crowded gym. I watched as the gym grew excited as Ricky won the putting championship and seemed genuinely touched about his prizes, and then I laughed with everyone when he discovered one of his prizes was an Innova bag.

For me going into the tourney I knew I was not going to win in the division I was competing (rec), but I was still going to compete to see where I lined up. The day of the tourney was just a completely brutal round, were it not for the tourney I would not have played. Temps in the 30s and 40s winds with gusts exceeding 40mph at times. My score, well let’s just say my score shouldn’t me mentioned in polite company. But knowing the conditions once I started I just resolved myself for the whole thing being a learning experience and try and have some fun with it. I met a young kid obsessed with plastic, I met an older veteran who competes in most tourneys in the state just to meet new people, I met a local business man who plays to let off steam from his stressful job (he won rec) All complimented me when I shot well and commiserated and offered tips when I did not. I also met a guy who tours like a pro but plays as Am40 and that is what he does.

After the tourney, back at the gym where the awards were to be given, I watched as the only two competitors in Junior 18 who ended up being tied have a putt off to determine a winner, it took 20 mins. They ended up splitting the discs which were part of their prizes evenly anyway where the only difference ended up being the number on the trophy they received. I watched and listen to the good-natured ribbing of announced winners of rec, intermediate, and advanced rankings. I participated in a charity raffle where one guy won most of the prizes because he bought a hundred dollars’ worth of tickets. I was a little amazed that some of the pros even showed up to watch the Am prizes being given away. And later finding out the some even watched part of the final round.


All-in-all I found my tournament experience, beside my awful play, to be a positive one. Pros were more approachable than I realized. The tournament was decently organized. Only complaint about the organization was that the announcement of the start of the second round was only done through Facebook. I was surprised at my player pack which I thought was just going to be a shirt and disc or two. Which ended up being a bag. And that it was a decision made by the organization to reduce the prizes for to basically only trophies (and left-over discs from the disc selection for player pack) to increase the value of the player pack. Most people I met were nice, it was kind of a shock to see 90+ signed up on the am side. The Expo which was what they called check-in and putting competition was a laid-back atmosphere. I am sure that the tournament organizers wanted more pros with tables, but I felt that it was appropriate, Ricky had his table and the DD guys shared a table. The local Disc Golf Club also had a table. As well as a vacuum cleaner salesman… For what it is worth I enjoyed myself and plan on doing the same next year.
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