A Healthy Debate

Ideas for DG development, good news stories, requests for help etc
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Re: A Healthy Debate

Post by Jester » Mon May 19, 2014 8:47 pm

rhatton1 wrote:See page 1 of thread :)
tl;dr :wink:
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Re: A Healthy Debate

Post by rhatton1 » Tue May 20, 2014 8:22 am

rhatton1 wrote:
I like the idea of the suggestion above but think we need to get a quantity of players beyond an arbitary cut off rating before payouts can be mandatory for tour events, even the proposed 4 or 5 event system above.

We currently have no 1000 rated player (the general international standard of pro player) we have a little grouping of around 7 around the 970 - 990 mark (including Jester and Luton in this grouping despite their current ratings :D ) There are a few up and comers looking to break into this with regular play notably the Scots boys, Si luard coming back should probably start to find his way up there as well.

This is still a tiny selection of people that even then aren't really yet good enough to compete regularly for cash payouts (beyond the return maybe of the entrance fee) at an open level (no offence guys :D ) If you get a tipping point of 25 or more players over the 970 mark ( shooting 1000 rated + rounds on their good days) then this becomes a lot more viable as an option. It's hard in effect to sell a prestige event without a prestige player. The top ranked UK based player at the Open was 8th and that wasn't against the cream of European competition with only 5 1000+ rated players at the event.

I'm normally a fan of a "if you build it they will come" mentality but in this instance until the ability levels improve across the board I think the current model works better for the player profiles we have at the moment and to introduce the above too soon would risk alienating players from a currently welcoming national tour set up.
What I posted last week - however I'm not sure after this thread that my mind hasn't been changed to thinking that an added to purse is a bad idea in general, despite attempts to paint me as too conservative or stupid to change my mind, look at that I've changed it now anyway, what d'ya know...... :wink: . I'm still yet to see a convincing argument in its favourTBH yet have seen a number that would attest to its potential to cause discontent. Standards being raised at tournaments and a pro payout seem to be intrinsically linked in every argument for the pro payout, I see no reason whatsoever that standards can not be raised without a pro payout when fields are already nearing capacity (I believe there is an argument that if money for a pro purse was directed to development of the course it would actually be easier to raise tournament standards without the pro purse, especially in full fields at somewhere like Croydon or Bristol - QP is a slightly different prospect with the private ownership) . Pro payouts appear to be an unnecessary distraction and the argument that it happens elsewhere in the world is not good enough. Just because it happens elsewhere does not mean it necessarily works elsewhere in expanding the game or making the sport better for the majority.

And still no one has told me why they play ultimate despite no money being involved in the game.....

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Re: A Healthy Debate

Post by bruce » Tue May 20, 2014 4:46 pm

It's 0730, 19th May. I'll let you know what time it is when I actually post this... Wow. 1745, 20th May

Board members debating
Before the PDGA discussion board died a death, one of the prominent criticisms was that the PDGA board sat in some ivory tower and didn't communicate with the membership. If the dominant view here was that board members should refrain from engaging in public discussion and debate on the future of the organisation, I'd step down today to retain that right.

I'd like to think that my opinion is valuable, whether you agree with it or not. I have a global perspective that only a few others in the UK can match, as I used to get regularly involved on the PDGA discussion board before it died, I've played across Europe, I attend regular 3-4 hour PDGA Europe teleconferences and I'm on the PDGA rules committee.

I try to be reasonable, objective, fair, and willing to change my mind. Occasionally I am brief and direct, because I have better things to be doing than spending [do the maths yourself and insert number here] hours every day replying to forum posts. Try to remember that if I have, or support, an opinion that disagrees with you then that is a 2-way process, you are exactly equally involved in that.

That said, I'm going to be specifically critical here. There are a large number of classic fallacies in this thread; appeal to emotion, false dilemma, making broad generalisions and strawmen, argument from incredulity, slippery slope etc. These are very easy mistakes to make and I don't want this thread to derail into an argument about arguing, but there is a reason I prepare long posts over a long period of time and that is to give myself a chance to avoid these pitfalls. There is a wall of text here to respond to, and doubtless I'll not mention some of it specifically and be accused of cherry picking or misrepresenting or similar and I promise you I'm not, I've read it it all and I'm commenting as a whole.

Payouts
No one is good enough to merit it
Let's be clear here, every successful sport ever has progessed from amateur to professional at the elite level. And that's what we are talking about here, despite Rich's snarky observations about the quality. We're talking about players who are within a shot or two of the level considered world class. Forget the 1050 rated players of this world, the only reason they are rated that highly is because they are, wait for it, professional sportsmen. They broke through 1000 rating by talent, and won enough money/sponsorship to be able to dedicate their time to moving up to the next level.

Development is not just courses in the ground, it's also player development. Simon Lizotte joined the PDGA aged 12 (2005), turned Pro 3 years later and won $1285 in 2008. He broke the 1000 barrier in Jan 2009. Last year he won $7000, finishing ranked 11th in the world, and to date this year he has won over $6000. I simply do not believe that would have happened without cash payouts. Parents nurture their children's talents with an eye to their future, and money is a critical link in that decision making process. Would a child as talented as Simon have flourished in our system?

People will resent it
Comments about 'resentment', 'nastier side of sport' etc seem to me to just be scaremongering, I don't see these things at EuroTour events, or in ball golf, tennis, squash or any number of other sports. Where Rich points to anecdotal evidence on reddit etc, it is exactly that. As in all walks of life, the people complaining about something invariably do so far louder and more publicly than those who like it or are ambivalent about it. I say this not to discredit their view in any way, but simply to point out that the simple existence of doubters/haters does not de facto legitimise their position, witness climate change denialism, creationism etc.

We're not big enough yet!
It is fair to question whether payouts cause growth, or are a product of growth. The answer there is that I don't know. But take a look at the two documents here: http://www.pdga.com/pdga-documents/inte ... mographics

There are 7 counties showing significant and consistent growth from 2008-2013: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Norway & Sweden. The other document shows which countries have payouts in their EuroChallenge events. For me that's a startling correlation that requires some explaining if the two things aren't linked. Note that within those countries there are some that are bigger than us and some that are smaller. Now this does not tell us whether payouts were started in 2008 and drove that growth, or that the growth has got them to the point that they have payouts in 2013, but given our starting point, is having a goal to move to this model in 2-3 years time unrealistic on a size basis? I don't think so.

I just don't like money in the game
Well I'm sorry about that. We're part of the PDGA, and we sit in their model. We could go it alone and try to forge ahead without them, but I'm pretty confident in stating that without the PDGA, European disc golf would be nowhere near where it is today. In order to keep up with the rest of Europe, at some point I believe we will simply have to make this step. Failing to plan for it would be a bigger error by the board in my view.

It's a distraction from/we could use the money for development
This is the false dilemma, fallacy fans. Having one does not prevent the other. Having our TDs gather sponsorship does not prevent them from doing development, and payout doesn't prevent us from raising development money. Sure, for the exact moment in time that they are doing it, it does, but hey, so does playing in a tournament. In 2013 we had 727 total players in our 20 PDGA events. I reckon a typical DG weekend costs me ~£200 in fees, travel, accommodation, food etc, but to be generous I'll say the average cost per person per event is £100. If we cancel all events and just get the players to donate their unspent costs instead, we'd raise over £70000. Plus we'd enhance our green credentials, which would be a good news story for the website.
I think you can see where I'm going with this, not everything the BDGA does is directly related to raising money or getting a course in the ground.

Ultimate isn't professional
To answer Rich's specific question about Ultimate:
http://theaudl.com/
http://mlultimate.com/
Professional Ultimate, on ESPN.

It's a strawman anyway, the professional models are completely different between team and individual sports. Team sports pay players to be on the team, individual sports pay players based on their finishing position in events.

Why force it?
Finally we get to a really sensible objection. I'm not sure on the value of forcing TDs, at this stage, to meet a specific target. If they want to do so (and I'm one who does) then great and actually I think we should encourage it, but I fall short of the idea of mandating it.

Won't somebody think of the Tour points!
As Jester rightly points out, the scoring system can evolve around whatever tour structure we have. Which leads me nicely onto...

Tour Structure
I had an interesting chat with Dominik Stampfer at the British Open about how they score their tour. They have adopted a tier system, whereby they have 4 B-tier events and a raft of C-tiers. I forget the exact numbers but the scoring is something like your best 2 B-tier (100 for 1st, minus 10 for each place) and best 3 C-tier scores (50 for 1st, minus 5 for each place). At some point soon I hope that we will have enough events going on that we are forced to look at this kind of model. This ties into what Seamus was saying about BDGA sanctioning of 1 day events, I disagree with Jester and Phil slightly here and I think they can be tied into the Tour at some point. Once we have a wide enough spread of good players. Having to beat Seonaidh and Hamish to get 50 points at Dunbar, or me and Del at QP, or Jester and Dan at Croydon, once the level is good enough for them to be relatively comparable challenges then why not adopt them?

To immediately contradict myself however, I also believe that at some level of event saturation that the overall tour stats become irrelevant, and we would drop them completely. The model that Phil is putting forward for me is more suitable to that time, where we effectively have a smaller number of Majors instead of an overall tour, and it would absolutely be right for these showcase events to aim for B, or even A tier status.
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Re: A Healthy Debate

Post by Del » Fri May 23, 2014 11:29 am

Will having payouts in Open give a direct boost to the sport? – not immediately, the same people will play, but just go home with a bit more cash. In the longer term it will entice some to make more serious effort, particularly youngsters I think, because £100 1st prize would be a relatively big deal financially and also younger people are probably keener to make their mark on the world.

Will the sponsor-payout model give an indirect boost to the game? – Yes, I think this will be the more evident benefit effective in the short term. I’m with Tom in being loathe to ask sponsors for money without offering a commensurate benefit to them. You have to offer sponsors some exposure, and for local sponsors that means getting local publicity via articles in papers and interviews on radio and driving traffic to the tournament website where sponsors are credited. If you can get spectators, all the better. Whether that all adds up to good value for money for the sponsor is questionable, but it does mean that we engage with local business and with local media and people, and that can grow the sport.

Should we move along the path of having prize money? - I do see this as being a path and there is a spectrum of opinion about the point where we get on that path and whether that path is the route to growth or a concomitant of growth. At the moment we just have prize money at Eurotour, but if TD’s want to award prize money rather than trophies or merchandise to Open division, I have no problem with that. What I would not want to see is the raising of entry fees on the BDGA Tour to generate that prize money. Taking money from some players to give to others is not generally what sport is about in my opinion, and can be a turn off, especially if you are generally not in the money. I think 1 high entry fee Eurotour event a year is all we need at the moment. If Seamus or other TD’s can generate a big prize fund without raising fees then I would be very happy to see that, I really would, but cash sponsors are hard to find.

Should we offer all the PDGA divisions? – I don’t think so, winning a trophy for beating 3 people doesn’t make sense to me, but if we have regular fields of 60+ then there’s room for 4 meaningful divisions. There’s nothing to stop TD’s offering prizes for any demographic or level of experience that they wish to recognise. Juniors are nearly always given prizes even if they don’t have a specific division. I would like to see the Am divisions, at least, run on a handicap basis, so that whatever your usual level of play you have a reasonably equal chance to win if you play better than usual. It is not fair that if your rating is x where x is the maximum for an Adv Am you can pretty much expect to get rewarded if you play at your usual level, but if your rating is y, where y is the start of the Adv Am rating range, you could play a blinder and get no prize.

Just to back up what Nick said. If we could take a tenth of the time and effort which has been expended on this thread and direct it to keeping the BDGA website up to date that would be a great benefit.
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Re: A Healthy Debate

Post by Sky » Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:05 am

I'll Start off by saying that admittadly I lost track of this topic as it got a bit heavy on the reading...... :shock:

To keep it short on the on-topic subject - I think having cash payouts is a good thing both for the players and the sport in the UK. And from what I can tell the PDGA payout model doesnt allow for this to be subsidised from other divisions? I don't think TD's should be forced to adopt cash payouts if this is soemthing they are against, but should certainly be allowed to do this if they wish to.

On a side note, what I was really thinking was the use of BDGA 'development funds' and perhaps this is something for another topic.....

Would it not be benificial to both Player development and also sport development to set aside and use a proportion of the BDGA available funds to help our top players make it over to represent Team GB in the European championships? I'm under the impression at the moment that the players foot 100% of the bill (Travel/Accomodation/Fees/Food etc.) ??
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Re: A Healthy Debate

Post by seamus » Mon Jun 16, 2014 8:37 am

Sky wrote:I can tell the PDGA payout model doesnt allow for this to be subsidised from other divisions? I don't think TD's should be forced to adopt cash payouts if this is soemthing they are against, but should certainly be allowed to do this if they wish to.
At the end of the day it doesn't matter where the money comes from to support what you are accomplishing at your event. Once you pay to enter an event the allocation of the funds is at the discretion of the TD, there is no such thing as AM money, only Pro purses (or Am purses) get that recognition. If you wish to keep all the money and hand out paper airplanes as trophies there is little stopping you, although I would not expect that anyone would return the following year. A NGB cannot force a TD into any action only reward them with levels of sanctioning for their efforts and success or strip the event if standards are not met.

Yes I agree a Bdga development fund could have a positive impact in many areas of disc golf. I suspect due to such a small pool of tournament competitors a starting point might be sponsoring a team uniform for the folks competing in the European Championships 2015 and build from there.
Personally I'd rather see some money go toward The Nationals payout, but without a fund there is no opportunity for debate.
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Re: A Healthy Debate

Post by seamus » Thu Oct 16, 2014 9:38 am

Here is a blog post by Kirk from Infinite Discs out of Utah. Its an intriguing look at the explosion of our sport measured by manufacturer and retail growth. To think "Over half of the brands creating new models today, did not exist before October 2012" speaks volumes for the future of disc golf.
One of the downsides to having so many new brands is that it makes it difficult for your local retailer to fill and empty the shelves efficiently, but that's business.
Don't get me wrong its very refreshing to see new money/ideas pumped into the sport, it keeps the big manufacturers on their toes to experiment and push the boundaries of disc design otherwise they'll find less shelf space at the pro shop quicker than a speed 14 disc.

My Advice,
-Think Global buy Local

http://infinitediscs.com/blog/pdga-appr ... ease-rate/
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Re: A Healthy Debate

Post by seamus » Sat Jul 11, 2015 9:58 am

Back in the day if you could produce a 1000 rated round it meant you were a scratch golfer and made no mistakes on the course. This is how I explain the ratings system to most people, if you produce a 1000 rated round or have this rating or above you should be considered a scratch golfer. I know technology in equipment as well as player commitment have increased the likelihood of better performance but something has to give.
The ratings formula needs to be adjusted or scrapped all together for professional players because we are starting to look foolish. There is no such thing as 110% effort or A+++, Bradley Wiggins did not produce an effort of 110% to break the hour record but he did redefine the hour distance standard in the sport of cycling with a 100% effort.
Is a 1000 rated round the new 900? or should the ratings formula be brought back in line with performance?
What if the performance by Paul McBeth yesterday in the SO was rated 1000? (a 100% effort) Or are we all OK giving him an A+++ and calling it 110% effort for lack of a better system.
Any thoughts?
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Re: A Healthy Debate

Post by seamus » Thu Jul 30, 2015 9:49 am

Let's call it.

Bdga Forum
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Re: A Healthy Debate

Post by BaggerBlakehill » Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:56 am

I read it Seamus and thought you had a great point. Sadly though, I don'treally have the experience to be able to make any significant comment, sorry. If you wanted my comment though, I'd say that I don't see why there should be any kind of ceiling for a round rating. Maybe I've misunderstood how it works so this might be totally pointless but why not call a round of par 900 rated. If you're a 900 rated player, Ii think it's fair to expect you to make par on basically most courses. This then allows the pro players to really stretch their legs and get that higher rating. How the system would work from there I have no idea though lol Maybe it's a case of how many people you beat also factoring in their rating too.
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Re: A Healthy Debate

Post by bruce » Thu Jul 30, 2015 11:37 am

Actually, the 1000 rating was based on the average score of selected top players at Worlds in, I think, 2001. So it was never 'mistake free' golf, it was intended to indicate the average score you might expect a world class player to shoot. And by dint of being the average, you expect them to exceed the level maybe half the time.

Now you might argue that DG has moved on a bit, and world class could be considered to be 1010, but looking at the PDGA World rankings, a 1000 rating has some players inside the world top 75 rankings:
http://www.pdga.com/files/world_ranking ... _-_men.pdf

In fact, there are only 141 players in the world rated 1000 or higher, so it seems a pretty good marker to me.Ball golf still has a 0 handicap as the mark of a 'scratch' golfer, and no one is calling it foolish that pro golfers have negative handicaps.
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Re: A Healthy Debate

Post by BaggerBlakehill » Thu Jul 30, 2015 1:20 pm

Personally, I think the whole ratings thing is a bit naff anyway and is just a bit gimmicky. I mean, if DG wants to be so different to ball golf that it chooses to use a fundamentally different system to rank player ability, why bother even using the word "golf" in the sport's title, counting "strokes" and using terms like "putter" and "driver". I mean, it's kinda like rugby being played the way it is now but calling itself oblong-football where the game is played on a similar surface and players pass the ball around in a similar manner with the object being to get it into the scoring zone but instead of scoring goals, you score tries. Maybe only I'll see my point on that one though as it is fairly obscure lol

Another thing I don't like about having ratings rather a handicap is that unlike a ball golf handicap that's essentially useful to every player for every round they play, a disc golf rating is only officially useful when playing competition. For example, if me and Robb H are out playing a round at the weekend and our ratings are 881 & 815 respectively, does that mean I give him a stroke for every 1 point, 5 points, 10 points, 50 points(!!!) his rating is below mine??? Every time a handicap comp is run, someone has to do some magic calculation to attribute player a HC based on what they say their last few round scores were and what they think they might shoot for this round. It's all just a bit meh if you ask me (which I'm not sure you did anyway :) )

So yeah, that's my view on ratings. Don't get me wrong, I like to see what my round ratings are after a tourney round but only because it's there and it's been calculated. For me, I could shoot way over my rating every round but if I still feel like I played poorly and got beat by 20 other people, I'm still going to be disappointed.
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Re: A Healthy Debate

Post by seamus » Thu Jul 30, 2015 6:43 pm

I liked SSA (Scratch Scoring Average) better than rating anyway, I just like the idea of rating a course not the player.
Its better to have a flawed system than no system, so I accept player round ratings, like quantum physics I just don't understand it.
Thanks for the explanations.

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Re: A Healthy Debate

Post by bruce » Fri Jul 31, 2015 8:51 am

I think a lot of people just don't understand ratings...

Nick, for handicaps 10 points roughly equals 1 shot over 18 holes. Unfortunately, like any handicap system, it's easier to save shots when you're taking a lot of them than it is when you're taking not many so most leagues apply some kind of %age adjustment.

Seamus. SSA is a by-product of ratings. How do you expect to rate the course without knowing how good the players are playing it? Should I base it on the score Nick gets or the score Del gets? Additionally, SSA changes, dependant on the conditions and time of year. So QP plays several shots easier on a calm winter's day (no wind, no leaves), than a windy summer day.

The forum. So more people use Facebook, ok. Some people don't. Why does it matter? I suppose if you're a new person coming here, it looks a bit dead. The whole website thing is a massive source of frustration. I'm updating the front page with latest tour details, but I have neither the time to do any further updates, or the skills to do any kind of redesign work. As I've said on many occasions, I'm not short on people complaining about it and pointing out its flaws, but I'm woefully short of people willing/able to do anything about it!
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Re: A Healthy Debate

Post by seamus » Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:32 am

I wish someone would write an essay explaining rating and how they function, it would remove my ability to complain.

bruce wrote: Seamus. SSA is a by-product of ratings.
I know, Personally I'd put more emphasis on SSA than player ratings.
bruce wrote:Additionally, SSA changes, dependant on the conditions and time of year. So QP plays several shots easier on a calm winter's day (no wind, no leaves), than a windy summer day.
I beg to differ, on that calm winter day at QP you're more than likely wearing an extra layer of clothing, heavier boots (if not wellies) and not playing as much disc golf as you might in the summer. I don't feel less foliage cancels that out at QP or anywhere.
Is there a measurable difference between throwing into a head wind v. throwing into a head wind in waist high nettles?
A better question is should there be a measurable difference and have that effect player ratings?


I'm not moaning about the web page, just concerned about this forum. Facebook is full of hacks, this forum is a better place for topic conversation.
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Re: A Healthy Debate

Post by Jester » Fri Jul 31, 2015 11:05 am

Seamus, I'm not 100% clear about what you're not clear on? Round Ratings are the evidence that proves the time of year a course is played and the associated weather conditions make a difference (I'm sure you've seen at a weekend tournament a course play several shots harder one day to the next or even one round to the next if the wind gets up?).

A course's SSA therefore can and does change dependant on conditions, as it is a calculation based on how easy/difficult the course is playing at that point in time. If you were looking for an 'average' SSA rating for a course though, perhaps you could take the average of a number of rounds played in different conditions at different times of the year?
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Re: A Healthy Debate

Post by bruce » Fri Jul 31, 2015 11:54 am

I'm pretty sure I've explained them on here before, and there is a FAQ on the PDGA site about them
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Re: A Healthy Debate

Post by bruce » Fri Jul 31, 2015 12:37 pm

Apparently Nick is having difficulty posting:
Sorry Jester but I actually disagree on that point entirely. It's not that the course plays any differently at all, it's simply the player's ability to deal with the conditions. If that's what someone wants to use to attribute some kind of measure of difficulty to then maybe we should have arbitrary numbers assigned to how fast the wind is blowing, which direction it's coming from, the length of the grass, the average foliage density etc etc.. The course layout hasn't fundamentally changed, only the conditions that the person is playing in and how they handle those conditions. I also think Seamus has a good point about how maybe scores in winter months are higher because players aren't practising as much as they would be in the summer. Just my thoughts on it
All of this misses the point. Any attempt to give a course an accurate 'no. of shots a world class player should take' rating (as Scratch Scoring Average is exactly that) is subject to all of these factors. A Scratch player on a calm day will take less shots than if there are 30mph winds, rendering a fixed SSA completely pointless. We already have a fixed number that rates the course difficulty, it's called 'par'. The ratings system takes all the other factors into consideration automatically, and is extremely good at it.
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Re: A Healthy Debate

Post by bruce » Fri Jul 31, 2015 12:41 pm

Here you go Seamus, a 1-pager on ratings:
http://www.pdga.com/files/PDGARatingsGuide_0.pdf
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Re: A Healthy Debate

Post by seamus » Fri Jul 31, 2015 4:40 pm

Cheers Bruce, it's a tidy article but you still have to believe in a little magic.
My question is this,
The four of us play 18 holes on a new course and report our scores, each of us instantly receive a round rating. We have lunch before playing another 18 holes, our scores are identical and after reporting the scores (only) we receive a different round rating. That's the magic I do not understand, Jester.
I can see the ratings being adjusted post TD report but before then its just a formula. There are no adjustments for wind or foliage, just course length and par, your average performance v mine, all of us propagators.
What I need is "Pdga ratings for dummies", I need to see the formula in action.
I'd love to see the formula that gets an accurate SSA from (3) 799 rated player propagators.
Chuck Kennedy ever visit this page?
Back to back, chicken shack.

ReBoot Disc Golf
www.rebootdiscgolf.com

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