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An Honest Look (USPMGA Masters Part 2)
14 Nov 2022 at 15:03 | Posted in: Competition | Views: 767 | Comments: 0
Hole 1 at Rumble - Where It Began This Year
For my recap on my overall play, check out
of my USPGMA Master’s blog. In here I’ll go through some of the things I saw as good, bad and frankly a bit ugly from the tournament this year. Many of these I also covered over on our
episode about the Master’s. I’ll start on a positive note:
- The competitors. It was a skilled field this year and it did see some new blood, not only playing but doing well in the money spots. It also saw a high level of amateur players this year, which has been a rarity in the most recent years. Being around players like that and the atmosphere they can provide on their own is a good reason to keep me going.
- Much better organization upon checking in and getting our shirts, hats, etc. In the past there’s been issues with sizes, etc - but that wasn’t a problem this year. Welcomed warmly and given some good information about the choices available.
- The courses as a whole were in the best condition I’ve seen them in a while. There were still a few things here and there but with all the carpet now replaced, they played fairly well and true.
The weather. I know this is something that can’t really be controlled but a handful of beautiful days does help offset some minor inconveniences along the way.
- Lack of credible information and access to information. I go more into this in a comment below around the rules but even simple things like understanding the rotation of the courses for the round robin or the actual times when things are going to start are not communicated well (if it all) and much of it is left to word of mouth from the players. It makes it nearly impossible for anyone new to follow what is going on and even people watching or following along have trouble keeping up with what is happening. The simplest fix is having the information clearly posted, and up-to-date, online.
- The over-discussion of gambling. I like to bet on sports and part of me would be excited to have our sport be big enough to warrant people betting on the tournaments. However, it dominated the official discourse this week. From talking about it on the local news spot, to it being almost the sole focus of the opening ceremony to having it come back again at the closing ceremony - it was too much. I get that you might be excited at the prospect but to discuss it well before anything is finalized and to make it the focus of your discussion during the week just didn’t seem professional. I know I wasn’t the only one who felt that way either.
- Disregard for inexperienced or upcoming players unless they were “good”. This comes in several forms. One example is giving “tee times” to everyone in the morning session on Saturday but then just running them out early causing confusion and missed starts, all because they felt the need to clear them off the course as quickly as possible for the “better” players. But I was also privy to some conversations talking about how the late sign-up amateurs were slow, didn’t know the courses and “wouldn’t be there once we have gambling” - which is just a shame to hear in terms of trying to grow what is still a very small sport. Just know that we always welcome new faces at our tournaments.
- Lack of live coverage or social media. Again this year, nearly all of the live streaming and posting about the scores came from individuals rather than the organization. With the resources the organization has, at the very least I would try to contact a local college to see if you could contract some help for things like that for the week. It makes a huge difference getting that live information out to people. We had 20+ people watching the Puttcast live stream of the final round (including some who were in the tournament between rounds!)
It’s just one thing, but it is a big one. Complete lack of rules availability and discussion. I have talked about this in several blogs before, even as recently as last year. In a competition this size there should be absolute clarity on all of the rules and there should be an easy way to access them during the tournament or have a chance to ask questions about them before the tournament. A simple example of this, especially for a new player, is even discussing the rule that you have to use a Chromax ball with the logo for the tournament. That is not apparent in any of the sign-up information (what little there is even of that) or when you arrive at the course for practice. I understand seasoned players should have a good grasp of the rules but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be clarified every single year - heck the officials in the Superbowl still explain the coin toss.
Here’s a short list of other rules that I still cannot point to a place where they are listed or discussed this year:
- What are your options when you go out of bounds over the berms at Pineapple? Can you play from the mulch without penalty or do you have to bring it in?
- Is there a stroke limit?
- On Rumble Hole 17, do you get relief out of the divot from the lower cup plug? If so, how do you get it (back, to the side, etc)?
- Was the rock going to be there on Hole 17 after not being there all practice week and for two years?
When I compare this to how rules at WAGM were dealt with or how we have a complete list of rules for the Matterhorn tournament, along with an extensive players meeting to begin, I just shake my head. I try to be as constructive with my criticism as I can but on this point I’m just frustrated with the lack of movement. It has such a major impact on the desire for people to play.
I try not to end my blogs on negative notes but I think it’s worth putting to paper some of the items that not only I talked about during the week. One of our main goals should be to grow the sport so I’m looking to remove whatever roadblocks we have within our control as players and organizers to that goal. I am happy to see that the players are generally behind this and I do think we have a lot of room to make this a more major sport. I know I’ll do my part in this.
The views expressed in this blog are solely the views of the writer and do not represent the World Minigolf Sport Federation (WMF), Minigolfnews.com or any other organization that the writer may be associated with unless expressly stated in the blog.
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