Ideas to Get More Women Involved in Disc Golf
- Hold leagues designed exclusively for women players
- Increase women’s participation in weekly leagues or monthly events
- Involve women’s service organizations
- Increase women’s participation at tournaments
- Host women’s clinics
- Hold special events to attract women players
- Provide Feedback
One way to get women interested in participating in the sport of disc golf is to create and run a league designed solely for women players. By running a league just for women, it gives a woman player a chance to work on her skills with other women in an encouraging atmosphere. Women’s leagues may be run separately or in conjunction with an already established league.
There is no right or wrong way to run a women’s league. League organizers must work with the resources they have available and with the established disc golf community in their area. The main functions of any women’s league is to introduce new women players to the sport of disc golf, to help all women players increase skills and confidence, and to encourage women to become active members of local disc golf organizations and the PDGA. Before hosting any event, make sure to follow all park regulations and obtain any required permits.
General Guidelines for Running a Women’s Only League
Charge low or no entry fees.Charge a minimal fee to cover expenses. Consider charging no fee at all. It may be necessary to find sponsorship to provide basic equipment and awards for players. Local players and clubs may be able to supply new and used discs and local disc retailers may be able to offer discounts on equipment. Local businesses may be able to donate prizes or offer discounts for participants.
Offer participation prizes.Reward a woman player with a brand new disc when she plays in her first league outing. Women will enjoy receiving a free disc just for trying league, plus they will be able to play whenever they want if they have their own disc. Make sure the disc is appropriate for beginning players, such as a lightweight Leopard, Valkyrie, Archangel, Shark or Aviar. Returning players can be given other participation prizes such as mini marker discs, a copy of the Rules of Play, stickers, or key chains, etc.
Make league non-competitive.Score keeping should be optional for beginning players. This highlights the idea that disc golf is a fun sport. Reward newer players with participation prizes. Offer CTP prizes or putting prizes for all the players. As players increase in skill level, they may keep scores and compete against each other.
Use flat payouts.Award participation prizes to all players instead of rewarding only the players with the lowest scores. If payouts are given, at the end of each league session or season’s end, use flat payout schedules that reward the highest number of players This is not about how much can be awarded for winning, but how many new women are brought to the sport.
Provide appropriate equipment.Ensure that women players have the opportunity to play with discs that match their skill level. Offer lightweight, beginner-friendly discs like the Valkyrie, Leopard, Archangel, Shark and Aviar. You may also give new players used discs or have loaner discs available. By providing suitable discs for new women players, you increase the chance they will have a more enjoyable experience.
Group players accordingly.Arrange for at least one experienced woman player to accompany each group of new women players. If there are not enough experienced players, play as a large group. It may take longer, but it should be enjoyable for all. Playing with more experienced players will help the new players to understand the basics of the game, rules and etiquette.
Consider course layout.Think about hosting your league at a recreational course in your area, playing from shorter tees or only playing nine holes. A championship level course, or course featuring difficult terrain, may not be suitable for beginning players. If a smaller course, or shorter tees are not available, set up short tees and mark with flags. You may consider having the newer players complete only 9 holes. As players gain skills, think about meeting at a larger course, playing longer tees, or completing all the holes. Be flexible and understanding of the limits and needs of the new players.
Publicize league.Announce the league by posting flyers at all area courses. Include women’s league information on any local club/league websites. Make announcements at all local leagues and tournaments. Mention there is a minimal fee or it is free to play and equipment will be provided. You may also post league information on the dedicated area of the Women’s Forum on the PDGA discussion board.
Hold women’s clinics.Hold a brief women’s clinic before each league session. Show a new technique or discuss a new topic each week that covers one of the basic skills or rules of the game. Click here to get more information on women’s clinics.
If there is not enough interest or an organizer willing to run a separate women's league in your area, invite women to participate in already established weekly or monthly league events. This will allow women players the opportunity to gain skills.
Handicap League Play. This is a fun way to expose women players to disc golf. All players have a chance to win playing in a handicap league. New players, including women have the best chances at winning in a handicap league. If there is a handicap league in your area, encourage every woman you know to try it. If you are interested in starting a handicap league in your area, Disc Golf United can provide the information and resources you need.
Established League Play. Offer a women's division in conjunction with an already organized league (preferably NOT a doubles league). The women players will participate just like all the other players, but within their own division and grouped with other women players. Offer to help the current league director add these divisions. Help collect fees, group players and calculate payouts. Offer to find additional sponsorship, if necessary. If the only league in your area is a random draw doubles league you may be able to accommodate women players. If there are at least four women players present, have the women players compete against each other. Otherwise, women players must compete like all other players. When pairing women with male players there is a risk that a new woman player could be paired with a player that does not have a desire to play with a new player or even a woman player. This can be very discouraging for women players and is the main reason why this format is not recommended for attracting women players. Before hosting any event, make sure to follow all park regulations and obtain any required permits.
Suggestions to Increase Women's Participation.
Offer women's division(s).Women may be more likely to play league if they know that they will not be competing against the men.
Group Women players together.Arrange for at least one experienced woman player to accompany each group of newer women players. If this is not possible, have an understanding male player accompany the group.
Lower league fees.Charge a lower fee or no fee at all. It may be necessary to find sponsorship to provide some type of payout or awards to the women players.
Award participation prizes.Offer every new women player a new disc on her first league session. This will allow women players to receive something for taking the time to try disc golf and league play. Consider offering special CTP's or other prizes just for the women's division(s).
Provide appropriate equipment.Ensure that women players have the opportunity to play with discs that match their skill level. Offer lightweight, beginner-friendly discs like the Valkyrie, Leopard, Archangel, Shark and Aviar. You may also give away used discs or have “loaner” discs available for the new women players. By providing suitable discs for new women players, you increase the chance they will have a more enjoyable experience.
Publicize women's play.Announce the availability of women's divisions on all league flyers, course bulletin boards and league/club websites. Encourage current league players to bring the women in their life to league. Post league information on the dedicated area of Women's Forum on the PDGA discussion board.
Relax scoring requirements.Allow new women players to play without keeping score or having players keep score, but not have to turn in scorecards. Women would simply be playing for experience and/or participation prizes.
Present Women's Clinics.Consider holding a brief women's only clinic before or after each league session. This will help women learn the basics of the game. Click here to get more information about hosting a women's clinic.
Raise awareness among male players.Many of the rules and customs of disc golf are second nature to men as they may have more experience playing sports. Remind men to have patience with the women players and provide as much encouragement as possible.
Introduce disc golf to female
organizations like the Girl Scouts, sororities, women's church groups or any
local women's service organizations that are active in your community. Offer to
take these groups to a local course and teach the basics of disc golf or hold a
clinic. Be sure to have some experienced players available to help. Helpers
should be willing to accompany groups through the course. It is a good idea to
provide discs for the participants. The discs can be loaners or each player can
actually receive a disc for participating. Discs can be new or used. Discs can be donated by area players
or local disc vendors.
Women's clubs and organizations are often looking to get involved in local service projects. When talking to these groups, encourage them to do a service project at a course near you. Before or after completing the project, suggest they play a round of disc golf or participate in a brief disc golf clinic or demonstration. These groups may be able to enlist some local businesses to provide support for the service project/disc golf event. These business sponsors may be willing to provide lunch, discounts, or cash to buy supplies for the service project. Sponsors may be able to fund the purchase of discs or tee shirts for the participants. It is often easier to find sponsors when a service organization or charity is involved. Before beginning a service project, make sure to get permission from proper authorities, follow all park regulations and obtain any required permits.
Ideas for Service Projects
Beautification project.Enhance the course/park by planting new trees or flowerbeds. Plantings may include plaques recognizing volunteers or providing educational information about the plant life. Encourage the group to come back on a regular basis to care for the new plants and check on the growth.
Course Clean-up.Hold a clean-up day to remove trash or debris from the course and surrounding park. They may want to provide permanent trash containers throughout the course. The group could volunteer to come back on a regular basis to empty the containers.
Conservation project.Perform work to maintain conservation of the course, or improve the environment for local plants or wildlife. Work may include constructing or improving walking trails, fairways and tee pad areas to prevent erosion or increase drainage. Consider planting native grasses or vegetation to help erosion and/or provide suitable habitat for wildlife. Mulching fairways or planting grass to prevent erosion can be helpful. Help maintain local wetlands or other special habitat on or near the course. Set up bird feeders and/or birdhouses to help native bird populations
Course Improvements.Raise funds to construct/provide improvements for the course or park such as benches, bridges, stairs, a practice basket or Skill Shot course. The women's group may be interested in helping to raise funds for a new course in the area.
Tournament Support.These groups may want to volunteer to help with a local tournament or event. They could assist with player registration and check in, setting up the course before the event or spotting during the event. Consider allowing these groups to provide and sell breakfast, lunch or snacks to players to raise funds for their organization.
Charitable Fund Raising.These groups may be interested in raising funds for a local charity by hosting a tournament event. There are many different ways a fundraiser could be held. The event could be solely for group members and their families, or for all players in the area. Players could raise money based on the number of holes played, or the entry fees for all players could go to fundraising. Each group member may raise funds to participate. Perhaps a sorority may consider holding an event for all sororities and fraternities. The house that raises the most funds, or has the most participants would be the winner of the event. Be creative, the options are limitless.
To make any gathering more fun for the participants, consider having each member bring a pot luck item for a get together picnic in conjunction with the event. If child care is a concern for participants, one or two group members could provide child care while the others are helping with the service project or fund raiser event.
There are several ways to help increase the turnout of women players at tournaments and leagues: reduce entry fees, boost women's payout and offer all women's divisions. These strategies assume there are already competitive women players in your area that may not be attending events. When women players enjoy a tournament, they are likely to let other women golfers know it is a women friendly event.
Suggestions to Improve Women's Participation in Tournaments.
Reduce Entry Fees.Make entry fees lower for the women's divisions at your local tournaments. You may even consider zero entry fees. This may require some type of sponsorship money to cover entry fees or provide payouts. Additional sponsorship will ensure awards for the women participants. At every tournament, the fees should be significantly lower for the Intermediate and Recreational/Novice divisions than the Advanced and Pro divisions.
Boost Payouts.Try to get sponsor donations aimed specifically at increasing the payout to the women golfers at your event. Often, because of the low number of women players, the payout is minimal. Payout is lower still when reduced entry fees are used. When women golfers realize that there are good payouts at an event, they are likely to let other women golfers know about the event and increase turnout in the future.
Pay more players.Use a flat payout schedule to determine awards for Recreational and Intermediate divisions. Consider paying every woman participant in these divisions. The Advanced and Pro level players do not need such a flat payout, as they are generally more competitive and realize they need to play well to win. Avoid the temptation to pay the first place Advanced or Pro player less, in order to pay more players. If you are truly committed to boosting the payout and/or lowering entry fees for women players, please find additional prizes, sponsorship and support to provide payout for all the women competitors.
Offer all women's divisions.Allow all women to play the division of their choice regardless of the number of registered players. For events without pre-registration, do not worry about having trophies for all the women's divisions. Simply offer a generic trophy stating “First Place – Women”, as opposed to a specific division. You can always order additional trophies or nameplates after the event if necessary. If you have a left over trophy, they can be recycled with new nameplates for the next event or donated to an area women's league.
Publicize incentives.If you're offering special incentives or entry fees for the women players, make note of it on tournament flyers, course bulletin boards and club websites. Have flyers available in advance and try to give them to all women players you see at the course and at every event you attend.
Raise awareness among male players.Many of the rules and customs of disc golf are second nature to men as they may have more experience playing sports. Remind men to have patience with the women players and provide as much encouragement as possible.
A women's clinic can be held prior to a regular league session or tournament, or as a separate event. The main reason to hold a women's clinic is to provide instruction for women players, particularly those that are new to the sport. Try to provide one on one instruction whenever possible. You don't need to be a professional player to hold a women's clinic for new or beginning players. However, consider having professional players (men or women) at the clinic to provide more in-depth information and to assist more experienced players.
Suggestions for Hosting a Successful Women's Clinic
Publicize Clinic.Announce the availability of women's divisions on all league flyers, course bulletin boards and league/club websites. Encourage current league players to bring the women in their life to league. Post league information on the dedicated area of Women's Forum on the PDGA discussion board.
Have a lesson plan.Outline topics you will cover in the clinic(s). A good format would include 5 to 15 minutes of brief instruction followed by 9 to 18 holes of golf. When working with beginners: less information is more helpful. It can be overwhelming for a new player to concentrate on many techniques. If you are holding a one time only clinic, expand the time for instruction but still concentrate on explaining the basic techniques. You may include a longer demonstration so players can get an overall view of the many skills involved.
Play a round.After demonstration is complete, have players break into foursomes. If time permits, have experienced players quickly review each participants' throwing form and offer simple advice. Next each group of women players can play a round of 9 or 18 holes disc golf. Have an experienced disc golfer play along with each group to provide advice and answer questions. It is not necessary to keep score, as it is more important to be encouraging and make the round fun!
Suggested TopicsRemember with beginners less is more. Many topics have been included for those that plan on running clinics on a weekly or monthly basis.
- Warm up. Discuss the importance of warming up before playing. Demonstrate basic stretches for upper and lower body.
- Rules of Disc Golf. If necessary, please explain the basic rules of disc golf, including scorekeeping, marking the lie and order of play. Discuss basic courtesy rules and warning others of errant shots. Be sure players know not throw when others are in the way, and to be respectful of other park users and park equipment.
- Equipment Basics. Show the basic golf discs: a driver, multi-purpose disc and putter. Explain how each is used. Encourage players to use multi-purpose discs at first. Explain that lightweight understable drivers are best for beginning players.
- Drives. Explain and demonstrate the backhand drive and forehand drive. You can find basic charts demonstrating backhand and forehand drives here: Backhand Drive, Forehand Drive. Stress the importance of a smooth level throw and release. Explain the basic flight of a disc will fade left for new players, and that this is normal. Explain that nose up shots will fade faster than level shots.
- Putting. Explain and demonstrate the traditional backhand putt and straddle putt. Explain the advantages and disadvantages of each.
- Basic grips. Explain and demonstrate the most common backhand and forehand grips. Demonstrate basic backhand putting grips. You can find photos and brief explanation of grips here.
- Approaches. Demonstrate the X-step as well as a basic stand-and-deliver throwing technique. Here you can find explanation of the X-step.
- Vocabulary. Explain hyzer, stable and understable. Warning: this can be very confusing to new players. They are still trying to master a level throw.
- Proper Release. Discuss the various release angles and results. Demonstrate a flat and level backhand throw. Demonstrate a hyzer release angle and anhyzer release angles for drives. Discuss and demonstrate angles of release for upshots and putts. For more advanced, demonstrate release angles for forehand and specialty shots.
- Advanced Throwing Techniques. For more advanced players, or for one-on-one instruction; discuss and demonstrate proper techniques for the backhand roller, forehand roller, cut rollers, overhead and specialty shots. Here is a link to information on the Backhand Roller.
- Advanced Grips. Review and demonstrate specialty grips and throws like the hook-thumber and grenade. You can find photos and brief explanation of grips here.
- Advanced Putting Instruction. Demonstrate techniques for putting around objects and in uphill and downhill situations. Show turbo putts, putts on one knee, upside down putts, wrist flips, etc. Provide advice on concentration and confidence.
Increase women's participation in disc golf by hosting special events designed to attract women players. You may hold a mixed doubles event or a women's Pro/Am doubles event.
Host a mixed doubles event.A mixed doubles event is a proven way to expose more women to competitive disc golf. Mixed doubles events are more casual and offer a supportive atmosphere for women players. These events can be held the day before or after a regular tournament, or as a complete and separate event.
Basically, a male/female team of golfers enters the event together and pays a single entry fee. Payout can be made as a team, or separated by men's and women's divisions. There are several formats available. It is suggested that events keep number of holes to 18 per day. This allows time for socializing before and after rounds. Events should not be too difficult for new players who are not accustomed to playing 36 holes in one day.
Consider hosting a Pro/Am women's doubles event the day
before a tournament in your area. This event can be run in conjunction with a
traditional pre-tourney doubles event. Use a traditional Best Shot format and
pair the experienced players with the newer players. The purpose of this type
of format is for the more experienced players to share their knowledge and
provide advice to newer players. Pros do not necessarily need to be Professional
level players, they can simply be experienced Advanced players. By hosting this
event before a tournament, it gives the women players a chance to meet each
other plus the newer players have an opportunity to play the course and to
learn basic rules of play and etiquette. Again, the emphasis of this event is
for the women players to share their knowledge and have fun together.
Before hosting any event, make sure park regulations are
followed and any necessary permits are obtained.
Host a women's Pro/AM doubles event.
Basic Formats for a Mixed Doubles Event
1. Double Alternate Shot
In this format, each team member drives, then each player plays from the other player lie until each player completes the hole. The team then records the best score for the hole. There are separate winners for men and women's divisions. Winners are determined by totaling each player's scores for each leg of the event. Lowest women's score wins women's division, lowest men's score wins men's division.
One or two-day event – two rounds of 18 holes.
The following format is enjoyable for an event with two rounds of eighteen. It allows team members to play on the same card for the entire first round, and then with other players for the second round.
Holes 1 through 9 – Play with your own partner.
Holes 10 through 18 – Swap partners with those on the same card.
Holes 1 – 9 – Players grouped by total score from first round. The woman player with the lowest score is paired with the male player with the highest score.
Holes 10 – 18 – Players swap partners with those on same card.
There are several advantages for using the above format. First, it allows each woman participant to drive, upshot and putt on every hole. It also allows a novice woman player to play with her teammate for the first nine holes while she becomes comfortable with competition and the rules of the sport. The second nine holes, she gets to play against her partner. By the start of the second 18, she should be confident of the encouraging atmosphere and be ready to play with other players. This format also allows the woman a chance to play with other people besides her teammate and be exposed to different throwing techniques and philosophies.
One day event – one round of 18 holes.
Players may play with own partners, be grouped randomly or be grouped by pairing top level male players with lowest level female players.
1 through 9 - Play with your own
Holes 10 through 18 – Switch partners with those on same card.
You can find our more information about a successful series of mixed doubles events using the Double Alternate Shot format at: Paske Partners website.
2. Best Shot/Alternate Shot
Mixed doubles events can be run in the traditional mixed doubles format used at the World Championships. In these mixed doubles events, teams play together throughout the event and compete directly against other teams. During the first round competitors play Best Shot: both players throw and choose the best lie, both throw from that lie and then continue to choose the best lie until hole is complete. Second round is Alternate Shot: each partner alternates shooting until hole is complete and continues alternating on following holes. For example, female player drives, male player approaches, then female player has successful putt. The male player will then drive on the next hole. The scores from each round are combined and the team with the lowest score wins. There is no right or wrong format for running mixed doubles events. The main point is to expose more women players the sport of disc golf in a fun and encouraging atmosphere.