Disc golf is catching on as a sport. And when a sport catches on, you want to know who is the best. This happens in all sports. Also, to make it a fair competition for all, rankings and ratings come into play at some point. But the big question is, how do you get your disc golf rating?
There is a disc golf rating system followed by the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA). This rating system is for amateurs, professionals. Besides this, there is the Matrix rating system and the UDisc ratings and ranking system. But, the most reliable is the PDGA ranking.
A PDGA rating measures the kind of player you are and what PDGA competitions you can enter and participate in. The PDGA has 30 divisions in which individuals can compete.
These PDGA divisions are divided into Professionals, Amateurs, and Junior divisions. Some divisions are for Mixed competitions (both male and female), but some are Female-only divisions. The Professionals play for monetary prizes, but the Amateurs and Junior play for trophies and prizes.
The Professional divisions are based purely on the year of birth and gender. For Amateurs as well, there are age and gender groupings. But they are also classified as Advanced, Intermediate, Recreational, and Novice players.
PDGA ratings are much sought after by professionals and amateurs alike. It gives you an idea of where you stand in the great scheme of things as a disc golf player. Some professional competitions require a PDGA Professional rating for entry.
To get a PDGA rating, you need to be a member of the PDGA. There are advantages to being a PDGA member. Here are some of the benefits of registering and becoming a member:
- You get a lifetime member number
- A membership card
- The Official Rules of Disc Golf and Competition Manual for Disc Golf Events
- Free of subscription UDisc Pro which is the PDGA official mobile app
- A 50% Disc Golf Network monthly subscription discount
- 10% discount at the PDGA Store
- A PDGA sticker
- A reusable scorecard
On the day of writing this article, the subscription rates were $50 per year for Amateurs, $30 per year for Juniors, and $75 per year for Professionals. The membership can be purchased or renewed for 1 through 5 years. The membership for a year end on December 3st of the year. However, registrations submit on or after the 1st of October end only at the end of the next year.
Anybody can become a member, but you would join as an Amateur. Once you are a member, you can work your way up to Professional.
As you can see, there are advantages and benefits to becoming a PDGA member. Once you are a member, you are all set to get your rating. However, let us take a slightly closer look at the various divisions and how people are put into these divisions.
Professionals in the Male and Female divisions can compete in the following divisions based on their age:
- Open – for those aged under 40 years
- Pro Master 40+
- Pro Master 50+
- Pro Master 55+
- Pro Master 60+
- Pro Master 65+
- Pro Master 70+
- Promaster 75+
- Pro Master 80+
Female Professionals can also compete in these women-only divisions:
- Open – for those aged under 40 years
- Pro Master Women 40+
- Pro Master Women 50+
- Pro Master Women 55+
- Pro Master Women 60+
- Pro Master Women 65+
- Pro Master Women 70+
For each of the Professional divisions, there are guidelines for how they are placed in each of the divisions based on the number of years they have played, the average distance of their throws, their putting ability, and the variety of throws and techniques they have. There is also a Rating Guideline that places professionals into different divisions.
Amateurs also have the same grouping. However, they are also classified into Advanced, Intermediate, Recreational, and Novice divisions. They have similar rating guidelines.
Juniors are classified based on age into the following divisions:
- Junior less than or equal to 18 years of age
- Junior less than or equal to 15 years of age
- Junior less than or equal to 12 years of age
- Junior less than or equal to 10 years of age
- Junior less than or equal to 8 years of age
- Junior less than or equal to 6 years of age
Once again, the Juniors can compete in mixed or female-only competitions.
The PDGA has a Scratch Scoring Average (SSA) for each competition course. This would be the average score of a round of disc golf on an 18-hole course. Your rating is the average of your round scores on a course compared to the SSA.
If your round score is the SSA, you are a “Scratch Player” with a rating of 1000. Those whose average round scores are lower than the SSA get a rating of over 1000. Those whose average round scores are more than the SSA get a lower rating.
In the PDGA ratings, your most recent scores are more significant. That is because while calculating your rating, the most recent 25% of your scores count double once you have at least 8 rounds in the last 12 months. If you have fewer than 8 rounds in the last 12 months, the system returns to the last 24 months.
Any incomplete rounds or any games where the player’s score is more than 100 points below their average are not counted for the rating.
Every registered player gets a rating. So the more games you play, the better chances that you get a higher rating, especially if you are improving.
However, you will have to participate in PDGA approved events for your particular division to get a rating.
Yes, most certainly, your ratings will specify or dictate which PDGA events and divisions you can participate in. The whole point of the ratings was to create a system where the competition is fair. The idea is to have a level playing field where more competent players compete with each other rather than having a professional competing with a ranked newbie.
The rating system ensures you have good competitions where the players are at the same level rather than having better players thrashing those who are not so good.
Of course, there are some Pro-Am tournaments and events where professionals and amateurs compete in an event. However, these events ensure that the competition is still challenging.
Disc golf is really catching on. More people are playing the game now. To keep the playing field even, it is essential to have a player rating system in place. The Professional Disc Golf Association has a player rating in place for its members who participate in PDGA events and tournaments. This ranking system has various divisions in which players can participate depending on their skill level. The PDGA rating system is highly regarded, and disc golf lovers are very keen to get a good rating that showcases their level of disc golf competence.