I got to take a little mini vacation to Vermont last weekend and watch the Green Mountain Championships at Smugglers Notch in Vermont. I followed the lead card for FPO on Fox Run Round 3 and the MPO for Brewster Ridge Round 3.
If you’re thinking about attending a DGPT event in 2022 this blog is probably all of the encouragement you’ll need.
I watch live disc golf on the Disc Golf Network, and post production like Jomez and GK Pro as well. It’s fair to say I’m a disc golf enthusiast. It’s a job and a hobby that have combined in my life and I get to do what I love every day. Getting to see the pros play in person is a different experience entirely.
So when I got the chance to spectate Smugglers Notch I took it. For 40 dollars (plus a couple dollar processing fee), I was able to get a t-shirt, and spectate the 8 best players in the tournament.
What does spectating give you that the Disc Golf Network doesn’t?
Fair question. It’s pretty similar honestly. But when you’re in the gallery you can walk to the exact spot a player was and see their lie. Do you ever call your friend over to come look at the gap you had to hit? It made me appreciate some shots much more by being there in person and realizing how incredible some of their shots are.
You can hear it all as well. If you saw the video of Hailey King not moving from a falling tree, I felt it. Gotta be there to see the action live.
What are the don’ts of spectating?
Well the DGPT has a list for you of don’ts. Here’s their official etiquette guide.
The biggest ones are:
- Don’t be in the way
- Don’t ask for autographs during the round.
- Don’t make noise, if you’re talking you should be out of earshot for players.
- Don’t interact with the players, unless they interact with you.
Now that that’s out of the way, it’s all about having a good time. Here are my do’s.
- Bring a backpack. It’s a tournament round which means it’s like 3 hours. Bring a snack, sunscreen, water, and a jacket.
- Wear comfortable footwear.
- Bring a stool/chair if you want for backups. It can often be wet on the ground and the players get benches if they’re available.
- Take some pictures and videos. This will be a memory for you, guaranteed. I wish I had taken more to be honest.
- Cheer when appropriate. Clap when it’s a good shot, or a par or better. These are pros, and probably don’t appreciate a bogey being clapped for. There was a distinct difference between the FPO gallery and MPO gallery when I attended. The MPO had at least 3 different people yell “yeah Rick.” On literally every drive. Nothing like it in FPO, but there was solid applause.
What’s it provide education wise?
Not much honestly. This is purely spectatorship at its finest. I’m not going to learn much of anything from these players by watching them compete. Sure I could learn from talking with them, receiving coaching, going to a demo they teach and asking questions. But this is them performing. They throw further, putt better, literally do everything we do on a disc golf course but so much better. It’s just exciting to watch in person.
But it’s incredibly fun. Watching Ricky throw a pig in person was great. Seeing Hailey King shoot the course record on Fox Run and tied the second highest rated FPO round ever was absolute insanity. I heard the disc cut through the air as Andrew Marwede ripped fairway drivers down the long tunneled woods of Brewster Ridge. Even though Heather Young had a tough round it was still fun to watch her.
What are the costs?
Well like I said I had the 40 dollar fee to attend a single day and get a sweet t-shirt. Then it’s the basic travel costs. There was the 10 dollar option for 1 round, 20 dollars for both, or the 40 for the extra. Eventbrite had all the information and it was easy to book.
Are there any other tricks or things to tell?
Volunteer and you can spectate for free. I got to see volunteers on almost every hole. They’re what keeps this sport moving for big tournaments. The flaggers who saw Paige’s disc cut roll in and out of bounds moved her up 15 feet because they paid attention. The ones who helped Heather Young find her disc in the brush kept things moving as well. Volunteers rock, and if you see one say thank you.
The folks who held the plastic line holding spectators back from the MPO card got the best seat in the house. They didn’t have many people in between them and the players. They got to be as close as you can get and see every shot.
I didn’t have any luck getting autographs. I’d brought 3 discs with me, an Envy I hoped James Conrad would sign, a prototype Passion that I was hoping Paige Pierce would sign, and a Holly Finley Mako3 that I bag. The only one I had a shot at was Paige, but after she finished her round I didn’t see her. I’ll have to be a little faster the next time.
You’ll see pros all around town as well. I ran into Drew Gibson getting lunch, remember they’re there to eat and get away from disc golf for a few minutes. It’s possible you will be starstruck seeing pros for the first time. I for instance in 2016 told Paul Mcbeth that he is Paul Mcbeth, and one of my companions blushed as Ricky Wysocki passed us and they lost the ability to speak for a few moments. It’s natural the first time.
I won’t be one to tell you how to spend your vacation. But make sure to check out the surrounding area you’ll be staying. If any local businesses are supporting an event it’s always nice to stop in and support them back. I love Vermont and took the chance to camp nearby and hike as well. If you are planning to attend a disc golf pro tour event make sure there’s something else interesting for you and anyone you’re with nearby as well. Also, I learned that house nachos in Vermont means that they put maple syrup on them. It was life changingly good and I’ll do it again, but with Maine syrup.
Attending a DGPT event is something special. It’s all people who can’t get enough disc golf in their lives, it’s like a convention. And I managed to see a few people that I knew from around New England, so it’s a big family. If you’re thinking about it I can’t recommend it enough, and I hope that you enjoy your trip.
May your discs miss all the trees,
Andrew Streeter #70397