| Lauren DeLuca
Some much-needed good news came to the Disc Golf community today when Disc Golf Pro Tour (DGPT) made the big announcement that they will return to Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) Elite Series sanctioned play this June. The Tour came to a grinding halt on March 13, 2020, in the middle of the Waco Annual Charity Open in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Disc Golf Pro Tour’s announcement came on the same day as the PDGA update that 23 states and 11 countries are now available for PDGA sanctioning. While we’re starting to see sports and other businesses open up again, COVID-19 is still a major concern and both the PDGA and the DGPT have presented detailed plans outlining new policies and best practices to keep players and staff safe during events.
The Disc Golf Pro Tour will restart in the Midwest in Emporia, KS, with a brand new event — The Dynamic Discs Open on June 26-28. The San Francisco Open and Portland Open have both been canceled in order to stay in alignment with local government guidelines. The Portland Open will be replaced by another new event — the Preserve Championship in Clearwater, MN on July 3-5. The Jonesboro Open has been rescheduled to Oct 1-3. With these changes, the DGPT will continue to have an Elite Series consisting of 11 events, as originally planned. The Tour also plans on keeping 7 of 9 original Silver Series events for a schedule of 18 total events in 2020.
To protect the safety of players, staff, and volunteers, the DGPT has outlined a detailed three-phased approach to resuming play. When the Tour resumes in June with Phase 1, there will be strict precautions in place. The Phase 1 guidelines include:
- Spectator-free events
- No caddies
- Sanitization of common surfaces and hand sanitizer available during play
- Enforcement of social distancing measures, requiring all players, staff, and media to stay at least 6 feet away from each other at all times
- Group sizes will be limited to three
- Field sizes will be reduced for speed of play and to allow for better social distancing
The DGPT will also provide optional COVID-19 testing for all players. If any player shows possible symptoms of COVID-19 or has come into contact with someone who has tested positive, testing and a negative result will be required in order to participate in the event.
Once state and local governments declare that it’s safe for gatherings of 50 or more people, Phase 2 of the DGPT safety procedures will go into effect. During Phase 2, limited spectators will be allowed and players will be grouped into foursomes. Testing, social distancing, and sanitization procedures established in Phase 1 will continue in Phase 2.
While it will be quite different than what we’ve seen in past years, we’re unbelievably excited to see the Tour return. As a DGPT partner and with several members of our Savage Squad participating, we’re unbelievably excited about this news and for the future of Disc Golf. We can’t wait to follow the coverage and cheer everyone on while social distancing in our homes.