I was doing some research a couple days ago. I looked back to the very first PDGA sanctioned event that I had played. It was the 2003 Brandenburg Open. I was looking through some of the names and thinking “Ah, yeah, I remember that guy”. The more of the names that I looked at the more I found myself echoing that same statement “Where’s that guy now?”, “I remember him”.
So then I tallied it up. There were 69 players at that event in 2003. Now, in 2011, 53 of those same 69 players have not played a sanctioned event this year. That’s 77% of the field. The majority of those players, also, haven’t renewed their PDGA membership this year. I thought “maybe it’s because it’s Brandenburg….maybe the small town just drew a more casual crowd”. So I looked at the 2003 ZGLO where we had 125 players. I lost count for sure but I know that AT LEAST 109 of those 125 players haven’t played this year. That’s 87%!
Looking through the names there were a LOT of players that were GREAT. There were great AMs on the verge of being PRO and some great PROs too. There is a World Amateur Champion that is on that list of people that haven’t played this year. There were a few, hardworking volunteers on that list that dedicated a LOT of their time to growing the sport only to fall away from the sport themselves. These weren’t all just a bunch of casual golfers.
Discussion…what can we do to increase the staying power of disc golf? What could we do to keep another 80% of the playing field from quitting in the next eight years? Imagine if we had those players in our pool of competitors today. Imagine how big our tournaments would be.