If you live near, or regularly play at a local disc golf course you might have noticed what they call a ‘bag tag’ event taking place. But what exactly are these mysterious events?
A bag tag is a small item usually clipped to your disc bag, hence the name, which can be used as a prize when challenging others. It introduces some long-term competition to a local group of players in a club or friendship group.
Bag tags are usually offered out by local clubs in annual bag tag events. At these events a number of tags will initially be available for purchase. The prices for a tag will be set by your local club but are generally in the region of $5-$50 for a tag.
Each tag is numbered with a unique number, usually from 1 and then ascending to the maximum number of tags available. Your goal is to acquire the tag with the lowest number on by the end of the event!
By introducing tags it encourages players to challenge each other and enter competitions to try and get better tags which keeps people playing the sport and engaged with a bit of competitive spirit!
What are the rules of bag tag?
There aren’t any set rules for bag tag events. The rules are generally set by the club or organizer and distributed to the participants and can sometimes include local twists or rules to try and encourage players to mix and regularly play for tags. Here are some of the common rules:
Players cannot usually make their own tags or players without tags cannot join the competition once it’s started. This rule is usually in place to ensure that the club or organizer receives the full proceeds for the sale of the bag tags. It also keeps the pool of players consistent which should ideally help the lower number tags find their way into the best players hands (or bags!)
Players must not conceal that they have a tag. Usually there are rules stipulating that players must keep their tags on the outside of their bag or similar. This makes it clear to all potential challengers who has a tag. The tags are often colour coded with the lowest number tags have bolder or brighter colours to help attract attention.
Any player with a tag can challenge a player with a lower number (higher ranked) tag to a game and the challenged player must accept within a set timeframe, usually 2 weeks (schedule allowing) or the tag is forfeit to the challenger. This helps stop players with the lowest numbered tags hiding away. We want them out in the open so we can all try and get their tag!
The player who is challenged can usually select the course where they want to defend their tag. I think this rule is usually use just to ensure that the challenged player has some hope! Otherwise they can’t turn down challenges and might end up being challenged on really obscure courses that they’ve never played or their challenger has worked hard to practice on!
Of course local clubs may have different variations of the rules but these are typical rules of most events. The events will then usually run for a year with the winner announced at the end of the event and a prize awarded to the player holding the lowest numbered tag.
Where does the money I pay for a tag go?
At the start of the event the tags are usually purchased by players wanting to participate. The use of the money is completely down to the organizer, a few common ways it can be used are:
If a course is hosting the event, the money might be put towards upgrades to the course, a new water hazard, upgraded baskets or clubhouse are all common causes to put some funds towards. This is often a great way for players to invest in the facilities they use and helps keep the cost of play down for everyone.
The money might be collected and used to purchase a prize or trophy for the winning competitor. Who doesn’t love having a big trophy with your name on!
Occasionally the money is put into a prize pot with the winner receiving 60%, 2nd place 25% and 3rd place 15% or another combination depending on the number of entrants.
Why would I want to get a tag?
There are any number of reasons that you might want to challenge a player with a high ranking (low number) bag tag, here are just a few that would motivate me:
Prestige! I keep my bag tags on my bag permanently if the rules allow, if not I keep them at home on display. Whilst I’ve not won a tournament yet I’ve got a couple of low numbered tags which I like to show off.
For banter. A few of my friends are also into disc golf, I like to make sure that when I have a tag which is superior to theirs, they know about it. If we’re all in the same tournament we’ll regularly play against each other anyway, even if we didn’t have tags to play for so this just keeps a bit of healthy competition between us that I think our wives enjoy watching!
Common bag tags
There aren’t any set bag tag designs, different clubs and organizers will use different things.
I’ve seen playing cards used, where each suit is ranked and then each suit has an internal ranking. This is a quick and easy way to make some tags, although they tend to need laminating as they soon get destroyed and ripped otherwise.
Customized keyrings. It’s fairly quick and easy to get customized key rings made up now, they can display the club tournament name on one side and the numbers on the other. They are usually encased in a bit of plastic so are pretty hardy against the weather.
The most creative tag I’ve seen was a laser cut tag, where each tag was made of wood and had a number etched into the surface by a laser – pretty cool and certainly a tag style I would keep on show!
I hope this article has cleared up some of the common question people have about bag tag, keep an eye out at your local clubs for their upcoming tag tournaments and get involved. Happy throwing!