Last year, Vibram Disc Golf decided to take a concept that has worked well for Discraft and more recently Legacy Discs (the ‘Ace Race’) and find ways to improve upon it. By all measurement, they succeeded, and this year it promises to be bigger and better. School of Disc Golf likes the idea so much it is hosting the first Birdie Bash to be held in Santa Cruz County. More on that below.
Birdie Bashes are designed to emphasize fun and casual over serious and competitive. Each player receives two Vibram discs of his or her choosing, and uses those discs exclusively to compete for points that are awarded for aces (3 points), birdies (2) and hitting metal on the first or second shot (1). The basic model is superior to the ace race model, in this writer’s opinion, for a number of reasons but two in particular: players get to choose their discs (rather than all getting two of the same disc); and they can score points in a number of different ways rather than just nailing an unlikely ace.
According to Vibram’s head honcho Steve Dodge, last years inaugural series included 90 events and 3,400 competitors worldwide. The expectation this year is 150-200 events and 6,000 players. The company also sent out a comprehensive questionnaire to last years’ participants, and 95 percent said they had ‘fun’ or ‘lots of fun’. And Vibram listened to and acted upon feedback on how they would be able to make it even better.
“One other huge statistic is that these events are a great way to get casual discers into the ‘organized’ disc golf scene,” said Dodge. “Over 50 percent of the players said that the VBB was their first tournament. That was a great thing to hear.”
And what specific changes were made for this years’ events based on feedback from last years participants and tournament directors?
- The addition of a women’s division
- All players packs will be pre-assembled by Vibram to ensure everyone receives the correct discs and shirt size (also making things much easier on TD’s)
- A smaller grand prize in order to provide more/better ctp’s and card prizes
- A Spirit Award
Players will appreciate all of those changes, but the Spirit Award in particular is special to Dodge. “Disc golf embodies the culture of the disc – where people compete WITH each other instead of AGAINST each other. Positive attitude, respect, acceptance and honor . . . none of these rules out some amazing competition,” said Dodge. Players will each be able to vote for a fellow player for the Spirit Award, with suggested criteria including the following:
- Is fair-minded and respectful
- Has a positive attitude
- Is happy when someone else makes a great shot
- Listens and considers
- Is respected by their competitors
- Treats others as they would want to be treated
- Believes there is someone else more deserving
- Instantly helps to find a lost disc
- Is happy to be surrounded by so many friends while playing disc
- Has fun
The Birdie Bash in Santa Cruz will be held at the Aptos High School course on March 29, 2014. Click here to sign up online for the Aptos event, and click here for additional details, on playing in and even hosting a Birdie Bash in your area. And stay tuned for a follow-up post in April with a summary of how it went.