Tour format idea

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bruce
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Tour format idea

Post by bruce » Mon Nov 02, 2015 5:08 pm

I had some chat with Barney on the round yesterday morning about the Tour. 4 or 5 years ago the Tour was all there was, aside from casual/club rounds. Since then we've had occasional 1 dayers, then regional series. For 2016 it looks like the Tour will be outnumbered by around 3-1 by other PDGA sanctioned events. So if the Tour wants to stay relevant I believe it needs to adapt to reflect the changed market. The PDGA has followed ball golf in that they have abandoned any real points race in favour of having Major events and I suppose you could argue the existing Tour fits that model, but I feel it's too big for that really with the internal competition between Tour events (i.e. which ones shall I go to to get my 4 counting events) added to the external competition (i.e. should I play my local one day this weekend and one in 2 weeks, or travel 200 miles for the Tour event in between), the current tour model will stagnate. We would be in a far healthier position with 4 events that are max capacity, with actual competition for places at them. However, it does feel like there is still a desire to crown an annual Champion in the various divisions.

The model I'd propose (for 2017 onwards) would be to embrace the regional series, reduce the "big" 2 day events to 4, and have the whole set act as qualifiers for the British Championships (BCs). The annual champion is the winner of the BCs.

As an example structure, you may decide you want BCs to have: 24 Open, 12 Masters, 8 Women, 8 Juniors, 20 Amateurs - 72 places
You have 4 Majors, and 4 regional series'.
So for Juniors and Women, top of each division at each Major and in each overall series gets awarded a place. If that person has already secured a place at a previous event, it goes to the next person down (series' are the last thing to be decided).
For Masters, top 1 in each series, plus top 2 at each Major (same flowdown rules)
For Am, top 2 in each series, plus top 3 at each Major (same flowdown rules)
For Open, top 2 in each series, plus top 4 at each Major (same flowdown rules)

Obviously this can all be tweaked depending on division sizes, could be scaled to a 90 person BCs, can add 5th/6th regional series etc.

With only 4 Majors plus BCs to schedule, they could run May, June, July, Aug, Sept and get the best of the weather/light. The regional series' can run Sept - Aug, all year round (loads of sports have a 2015/2016 format, no need to keep it all in one year).

For those getting alarmed about the Matchplay, I would use the BCs in place of PowerStats to select your Top 16, but move the Matchplay to be the season opener, in March/April. The not Top 16 alongside could simply be one of the local series events.
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Re: Tour format idea

Post by seamus » Mon Nov 02, 2015 8:03 pm

Great idea!! but 2017 is too late.
What about TD choice? let the TD decide what is the best course of action to fill their events.
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Re: Tour format idea

Post by bruce » Mon Nov 02, 2015 11:28 pm

seamus wrote:Great idea!! but 2017 is too late.
What about TD choice? let the TD decide what is the best course of action to fill their events.
I'm not sure I understand Seamus. Really the only remaining point of the Tour is to crown a Champ. Arguably to also strive for high standards but I'd hope TDs are motivated to do that anyway. In order to crown a champ, you need some form of consistency across events and a method for picking a winner. It's really too late to make those kind of changes for next season, so 2017 has to be the target.

Unless you mean just bin the overall champion idea completely and let every TD crack on with whatever sort of event that they see fit to run, be it a one day to temp baskets or a full on A tier event?
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Re: Tour format idea

Post by seamus » Tue Nov 03, 2015 10:01 am

Bruce if you and I are the only two that care about Tour reform the Bdga is in trouble.
bruce wrote: Unless you mean just bin the overall champion idea completely and let every TD crack on with whatever sort of event that they see fit to run, be it a one day to temp baskets or a full on A tier event?
Yes, crack on with whatever the TD's see fit within the boundaries set by the Bdga. Personally I think this year no decision to change is worse than the wrong decision to learn from.

The main issue is there is no need to host (3) 2-day events in the northern section of the Bdga, (4) if you include Burnlaw.
Two day events are attractive to a very small section of the player base. It's a niche market and the cart before the horse scenario in this area. I'm just saying 2-day events are no way to grow the sport but a way to capitalize on a well grown sport.
Choosing 4 regional two day events supported by one day events is more inclusive and allows for better growth and support. What are the issues for introducing this in 2016?

Another issue is that Bdga Tour players can travel to Amsterdam, Estonia, etc., for the same money as a long distance internal event. If Euro Disney and Orlando Disney cost the same on holiday which would you choose? A good way combat the expense issue is giving TD choice to host one day Bdga events, this would cut player expenses down by more than a third and encourage local travel over events outside the UK.
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Re: Tour format idea

Post by LostMeow » Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:33 am

seamus wrote:Bruce if you and I are the only two that care about Tour reform the Bdga is in trouble.
I think that's pretty unfair.
My issue is that, for me, the case has not yet been made strongly enough for what exactly is wrong with the current system. Especially not to rush reform to a hurriedly-considered alternative.

As I see it:
We have 8-10 venues with good standard courses and TDs willing, able and enthusiastic to run 2-day tournaments. And we have players willing, able and enthusiastic about travelling to and playing at said tournaments.
We also have growing regional tours which have been perfectly capable of fitting their events in-between the existing 2-day Tour events. The player base for these is slightly different but there is some overlap.

I'm not saying we should stagnate and not try anything new but on the other hand I'm not seeing such immense problems with our current system that we would want to rush into an ill-considered alternative for 2016.
We are looking at potential, well-considered changes for 2017.

Problems with a rushed change to fewer 2-day Tour events:
Of the 8-10 Tour venues, which get chosen to be the Major events? This is going to be a potentially divisive question. What criteria are we going to use to select them? These need to be carefully considered, clear and transparent.
There are venues which depend on these 2-day events to tempt players to travel. I'm sure I'm not alone in enjoying the weekend away experience (it's not always that expensive) and I wouldn't travel to many of these places for a 1-day tournament. Removing Tour status could cause the terminal decline of DG in some areas. Perhaps that's for the good long term but it surely isn't something we should rush into.

8-10 weekends (for Tour events) out of 52 doesn't seem like that many to me. It leaves a lot of other weekends for 1-day events.

Why do I play Tour?
Not because I'm going for the title. Because I enjoy playing competitive weekends of golf in well-planned, organised tournaments. On other weekends I get to play 1-day tournaments in the SE area, but with all due respect to the people involved in planning (and I'm one of them), they're not the same.

Occasionally I get to play across the Channel - events that are comparable in price and travel-time considerations to voyaging up North to Scotland etc., but also a chance to play different courses at the next level up and see different players.
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Re: Tour format idea

Post by abonjour » Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:17 pm

Unhelpful comment first - MORE golf please! 2 day events are way more enjoyable! Pleeeaaaasssseee don't get rid of them, I've been getting excited about trying to make 8 or 9 events next year for the first time! :D

More sensible reply:
bruce wrote: Really the only remaining point of the Tour is to crown a Champ.
Is this really the case? Surely the Tour exists additionally as something for new players to strive to be able to play in the future against new people in different courses? I started by playing my first QP Handicaps then progressing to 1 day events (both Hyzer Cup legs in my case) then progressing to full Tour events and it was that opportunity to go 'up the ladder' as it were that was my main reason/motivation to start playing more than just casually.

For me it's this progression that needs to be met by whatever model is chosen because I would be surprised if that's not a relatively common goal for new players. The impression I get of the some of the suggestions is that we think the Tour (or equivalent) is of no value to newer players and that only getting them to regional tournaments is important? Apologies if this is wrong but this is how it's coming across to me.

I do agree that Regional series are good and should be part of the structure. I also think that there's no need to have Tour events for the sake of it. Do we really need QP and Bedworth or Ashton Court and Mendip for example? (no offence intended to any of these courses/tournaments - I've really enjoyed playing them all and my 'uhelpful comment' is my real feelings! :) ). Perhaps it would be better to simply streamline the Tour rather than cutting it quite so drastically?

I guess what I'm saying in a long winded way is that I kind of like Bruce's proposal but perhaps cutting 2 day events to 7-8 to allow for regional series might be enough?

Disclaimer - with only having played for a couple of years my opinions are probably not very well informed. But thought I'd share my opinion given I've recently gone through the process of being new.

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Re: Tour format idea

Post by abonjour » Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:20 pm

+1 for a lot of Tom's reply.

Rushed changes are rarely a good idea imo.

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Re: Tour format idea

Post by seamus » Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:48 pm

Its like deja vu all over again.

I first heard of the 4 Bdga Major idea before we hosted Nationals in 2013, I supported it then as I do now.
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Re: Tour format idea

Post by rhatton1 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:53 pm

+ 1 for Tom's reply. Especially the first line.
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Re: Tour format idea

Post by bruce » Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:58 pm

I don't have time for an extended reply, but just to note there is no reason to restrict series events to 1 day. A Northern Flights series of weekend events at Burnlaw + Mull with a one day event in the middle could still be part of a northern series. If you combined that with a Major at Dunbar, a keen touring player line Tom could conceivably qualify for BCs in the northern series
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Re: Tour format idea

Post by Phil Wood » Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:02 pm

LostMeow wrote:
seamus wrote:Bruce if you and I are the only two that care about Tour reform the Bdga is in trouble.
I think that's pretty unfair.
Ditto Tom.

Especially as this is the plan i have floated at the last two AGMs and been selling to TDs as a viable option for the future. Telling a TD they may only get an event every 3 years rather than every season may mean the TDs appetite to host lessens, All factors that need to be considered, i wouldn't want us to get to the point in 5 years where we only have 4 TDs willing to host the bigger championship events. The current competition between TDs breads improvement and we would want to lose that spirit.

As for 2017 being too late, bar the SE and Scotland, there has not been established regional golf. We now have the midlands and SW starting in 2016 giving them a chance to potentially fill the void of a reduced tour. There may be teething problems for these tours, they may get better numbers than tour events, who knows. So yes, i believe next year would be too soon to implement the change. The first TD's can be enthused to host the bigger events and will have time to properly plan.

There are plans afoot for 2017, which im pleased to say mirror a lot of what Bruce has put above - Reduced tour much higher courts standards to host, B-tier, sponsored, player packs etc. but it needs fair discussion with the player base.

Also improving the formality/professionalism of regional tours, as well as consistency between them. We will be able to explain to the player base that the regional tour will be there. They will have experienced it, know what it feels like and be comfortable that they still get the competition they (as per Andrew B's comments) that they lust after. There is also no reason why regional tours cannot include a number of two day events...

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Re: Tour format idea

Post by rhatton1 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:03 pm

seamus wrote:Its like deja vu all over again.

I first heard of the 4 Bdga Major idea before we hosted Nationals in 2013, I supported it then as I do now.
What i missed then and still do now is:

1. Why is the new proposed system better and not just different? What are the goals it's trying to achieve that makes it better?

2. What is so broken about the current system that needs changing so drastically? Where is the current system failing?

3. Why do more one day events and other events make the tour any less relevant? - surely they just aid in driving more players towards the overall tour?

I'm not saying I am a supporter of any of the above so please don't attack me personally for asking the questions - I just haven't seen any (or at least don't remember seeing) good arguments for the above questions.
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Re: Tour format idea

Post by richard » Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:10 pm

Maybe Seamus would be able to expand on his point of view... Lay out a theory that we can also mull over
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Re: Tour format idea

Post by bruce » Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:23 pm

rhatton1 wrote:3. Why do more one day events and other events make the tour any less relevant? - surely they just aid in driving more players towards the overall tour?
The principle factors that players surveyed last year identified as to why they didn't play more events were:
Time (65%)
Money (41%)
Distance (48%)

It stands to reason that the existence of local DG events that take less time (1 day, or simply less travel) and are also cheaper, will provide a compelling alternative and IMO will hurt attendances, particularly at the events that take the most of the above 3 things.

More importantly, the proposed system is more inclusive of the wider DG base into the BDGA structure. You rightly say that picking 4 venues from those available will be difficult, but in very short order, so will picking 10 venues from 20 available! Having a deeper wider Tour structure helps to include those other venues. It will be up to those TDs to provide the highest standard 1 & 2 day series events in order to make their case for hosting a Major.
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Re: Tour format idea

Post by rhatton1 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:36 pm

The other bit that just doesn't add up for me in rushing changes through is the numbers:

open players across all tour events
2015: 35
2014: 41 (many overseas one off players in there and many that split to masters this year)
2013: 30
2012 : 24
2011:31

It's mostly the same players on the lists, it's stayed pretty static in terms of numbers at the top level at around the top end of 20. Of those you've got probably 10 that aren't really open players (eg me,)

I can't be bothered to go and look but I doubt we've had a 20 strong open division made up of BDGA members (not foreign players) ever in any British based event?

If we had 100 or more and it was going to be an actual competition for places then I can see the need, as it is, pretty much everyone that wanted to play Open at the BC would get in (chances of all 30 something players being available on that weekend is low, jees even I could probably qualify by playing one qualifier and coming last) creating no need to attend a number of qualifiers. If that event was not held in the Midlands or Croydon chances are you wouldn't even begin to fill the field of the flagship event out - look at the struggle to fill just 16 places for Nationals every year. This isn't being negative, it's just being realistic. If there is data that shows this one flagship event will drive numbers up exponentially to a BC held more than 5 hours (ie not midlands or croydon event) travelling time for most players then it would certainly help the case.

We've still not filled a 90 strong tournament at a British Tour event, it just doesn't feel to me like there is a need to change things driven by necessity? If you have qualifiers for an event because there are too many potential entrants it's great, otherwise it seems exclusionary for no apparent reason? I don't think the BDGA can afford to be seen as excluding anyone yet.
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Re: Tour format idea

Post by Phil Wood » Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:51 pm

We don't have the competition for places, at the moment, you are right. But if there are only 4 large events per year i bet they would all sell out, or damn near close.

i personally would not have preset division sizes as Bruce has laid out, though i would stagger sign up as per a eurotour event, with a certain number of spots held back/protected for Women/Juniors.

By staggering the sign ups, lets say theoretically 900+ for all men, 800+ junior, and no limit for women, for the first 2 weeks of sign up, it means TD are likely to know well in advance of the competition what numbers they are dealing with, can be better prepared and run a better event. Also encourages players to get that rating if they want to play in the big events.


Is this format better or worse than the current? the answer tho that will vary from player to player. In my mind its better as it makes the quality of competition better. You are not looking at the best 4 from 10, its 4 from 4. The winner, i feel, is more deserving.

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Re: Tour format idea

Post by LostMeow » Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:12 pm

seamus wrote:Its like deja vu all over again.
And therein why no change has been adopted yet. It's not that we don't care, it's that not enough of us (myself included) have been convinced of the need for change. The rising regional tours might alter opinions. Let's see how they go first!

Are you angry that not enough people are going to events in the north because there are competing events in the south? I'm not getting it at the moment.
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Re: Tour format idea

Post by bruce » Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:43 pm

rhatton1 wrote: If you have qualifiers for an event because there are too many potential entrants it's great, otherwise it seems exclusionary for no apparent reason? I don't think the BDGA can afford to be seen as excluding anyone yet.
You can't have it both ways, it's either pointless as anyone who wants to play can trivially qualify as you initially argued, or it's exclusionary and unnecessarily so. Which is it?

I go back to my previous point, this is a more inclusive model. A Tour that includes 45/45 events (my model with 4*10 event series) is more inclusive than one that includes just 10/50 (current model plus 4*10 event series).
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Re: Tour format idea

Post by rhatton1 » Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:03 pm

What was the point of that it in no way helps?

Yes you can, you're being pedantic and arguing against one part of the point rather than the whole (that we aren't being forced by necessity to make people qualify for the event but are "choosing" to be exclusionary by changing to this without ever selling out a field) as usual.

I'm out, I've got more important things to do.
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Re: Tour format idea

Post by bruce » Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:35 pm

If you can't keep emotion out of the discussion, then you're probably better off out of it.

You're arguing the model is exclusive, I'm making the case that it's inclusive. As you've already noted, most anyone who wanted to qualify would be able to do so. In this model, 100% events and players would be in the running/contribute to the overall titles.
This year around 2/3rds of PDGA events in the UK did not contribute towards the national titles in any way, that number is only going to go up.
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