It’s Time to Move Up
Playing in tournaments is a ton of fun, but as you progress in your game you will reach a crossroads. You have gotten to a point where you are able to consistently challenge the top of your division and possibly even win a few, but you don’t think you are quite good enough to move into that next division up yet. Looking at the scores, you would probably be middle of the pack or at your best, you could push towards the top but you know you are not at a spot where you can win there yet. What do you do?
This is always a tough decision because you feel like you are playing where you belong and being in contention at each tournament is a lot more fun than showing up just to get your teeth kicked in and walk away losing by 10 or more strokes. First I want to point out that there is nothing wrong with you staying in the division that you are in. People will call you a “bagger” and try to force you to move up so that they can have a shot, but if you are within the PDGA guidelines to play in your division then you could counter that if they want to compete maybe they should move down a division. Okay, don’t actually say that. That would be rude. The point I am making is that if you are allowed within the rules to be in the division that you are in, people can complain until they are blue in the face but you are not in the wrong.
With that being said, I think it is time for you to move up. Let me explain. Being around people that you can consistently beat or feel like at your best you are beating is fun, but it isn’t helping your game out as much as playing with people who are better than you would. Obviously, you can accomplish this during the week but it isn’t the same as tournament play. I am suggesting you make an intentional move up so that you can study other players and be forced to either play better or lose. This is the type of pressure and tournament situation that will help develop your game and push you to be the best player that you can be. The players at the top of the division above your current one are there for a reason. Moving up will allow you to see the differences between their game and yours right in front of your eyes and help you understand how they handle tournament situations and deal with adversity mid-round which is something that casual rounds don’t always show you.
The overall concept is very simple. Playing with better players will make you better. This is true in casual rounds and in tournament rounds. I am not saying that you need to ditch your friends as soon as you become better than them, but if you want to push your game to the next level you need to play with people who are already there. Find ways to get on those cards at your local weeklies, see if the local pro or dominant advanced players will take you out for a round during the week and give you some advice, and pull the trigger on the decision to move up to that higher division! You won’t find success right away, but if you stick with it, years from now you will be happy you made the decision!