My first out of state
tournament was the 1988 Laurel Springs Open. I was feeling like a part
of something special - the friendship and the people I met. It was a lot
of fun. I knew I like doing it and would be doing more of it in the future.
Road trips and small tours are very beneficial for most players. I've
learned a great deal in my years of traveling and would like to share
some of my travel tips.
Preparedness is essential
to shooting well. At the 1988 LSO it rained and we had camped out. Everything
was soaked and it was tough. Bring everything with you - lots of clothes,
discs, your bag, cleats, umbrella, sports bottle, toothbrush, toothpaste
- bring it all. It's all part of preparedness and if you don't have everything,
you may not play as well and your expenses will likely be higher. Be wary
of where your drives end up. Unnecessary equipment costs can really mount
if you lose your disc or worse, your whole bag.
Go home often.
I don't like to stay away from home too often. Three weeks is the
longest I really like to spend on the road. I just like being at home
- home keeps your sanity and you're always more comfortable. And I want
to see my son often. Even before I had Koeghan I liked coming home to
keep the mind, body and soul fresh. Most of the better players do not
do extended tours, but do make it to the biggest events.
Going home is just like how I play on the course - touring is the stress
or tension, going home is the release or recovery.
A big advantage of having a home base is income - you can go home and
earn an income, then hit a tournament and hopefully earn more. Try to
live off tournament income alone. The reality is if you're not making
first or second place in most events, you're probably losing money after
all expenses are paid.
Look at the maps and the PDGA schedule and keep your tour centrally located.
Try to hit as many sponsors as you can to make it more affordable. Then
perhaps your winnings can actually be winnings instead of paying for expenses.
If no one else is planning on going to a particular tournament, I might
not go. I might not want to travel a thousand miles by myself. The courses
have a lot to do with it as well. I make a lot of my touring decisions
on what courses I enjoy playing. I played a Super Tour event where 36
holes were played and only two were over 300 feet. It's not fun for me
to go and play something like that. Super Tour events need to be on super
Rooming with two or three people, driving with two or three people - sharing
is the key. Don't go out to the extravagant places to eat. Take as much
food as possible or get food and keep it in coolers. Hit the occasional
restaurant to keep the taste buds satisfied, but if you do it every meal,
you're looking at higher costs.
Be a tourist
See the scenes and sights in the area. Don't just go to play disc golf.
Be open for more experiences. If you pass a historical site, go ahead
and check it out. It may be more fun than you think.
I would recommend
to all players, ams and pros, to take small tours. The prime benefit of
touring is the experience, experience to improve your golf game - different
courses, different situations, different competition, learning from other
styles and different climates. Putting up a hill for the first time, throwing
off a cliff for the first time, whatever. It will all make you a better