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PDGA Statement on COVID-19 Pandemic

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 - 12:51

UPDATE April 14, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. ET

Please refer to the PDGA COVID-19 Information and FAQs (Updated Jan. 29, 2021) for the most up-to-date and relevant information. 

UPDATE May 14, 2020 at 12:02 p.m. ET

The PDGA has outlined a five-step process to reinstate event sanctioning on a regional basis. As a result of this process, sanctioning is now available in Iceland and Norway. Please see more here.

As part of this update, the PDGA has also released new Requirements and Best Practices for Sanctioned Play During COVID-19 and an Addendum to the 2020 PDGA Tour Standards and International Program Guide.

UPDATE April 17, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. ET

The PDGA Board of Directors and PDGA Medical Committee are closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and are announcing several updates to PDGA operations.

“The health and safety of members, staff, and all of our communities continue to be at the forefront of our decision-making process,” PDGA Board of Directors President Justin Menickelli said. “We are heartbroken for those who have been affected by the virus and send our best wishes to healthcare workers and other essential personnel who have bravely guided us through these uncertain times.

“We know our members want to compete, and we also want them to be safe doing so,” Menickelli continued. “We look forward to once again coming together as a community, and we appreciate the patience and support of all of our members.”

Event Sanctioning Suspended Through May 31

Due to the uncertainty regarding the pandemic, as well as the widespread implementation of country, regional, and municipal stay-at-home orders and World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines limiting mass gatherings, PDGA sanctioning is suspended through May 31, 2020. 

Tournament directors affected by this extension have the option to postpone or cancel their events. Please contact the PDGA Tour Staff to initiate this process.

In the coming days, PDGA staff will work with PDGA-appointed Country Coordinators representing their national associations and elected State and Provincial Coordinators to develop a process for submitting waiver requests to sanction tournaments in regions where government authorities have eased restrictions on sporting events. Waivers will not be granted to individual events nor will waiver requests be accepted from individual tournament directors.

PDGA Major and National Tour Events Postponed Through July 31

All PDGA Major and PDGA National Tour events originally scheduled through July 31, 2020, are postponed. These events draw larger attendance, require more travel by players and staff, and require considerable resources that make them more susceptible to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. After communicating with key stakeholders, including event hosts and sponsors, these tournaments will be moved to a later date on the calendar, or outright canceled. 

Events that are impacted include:

PDGA staff is working with the hosts of all of these tournaments to determine their next steps, and any updates regarding their rescheduling will be released at a later date.

“We appreciate the hard work involved and all of the sacrifices the TDs of these events have made,” PDGA Director of Operations Mike Downes said. “We are saddened that these tournaments will not run on time, but we still hope to help them put on a show in the near future. We also share in the disappointment of our members who hoped to make these events a part of their summer.”

This does not apply to Disc Golf Pro Tour events during this time period. DGPT staff, in coordination with PDGA staff, are still evaluating the status of those tournaments and will issue an announcement at

Finally, everyone at the PDGA encourages members, fellow disc golfers, and their friends and family to follow the latest guidelines from their local authorities. Please be safe and take care of yourselves, and we will see you on the course soon.

UPDATE March 20, 2020 at 12:02 p.m. EDT

On the advisement and counsel of the PDGA Medical Committee, the PDGA has extended its suspension of event sanctioning through April 30, 2020

The Medical Committee has reviewed data on the spread of COVID-19, the illness related to the novel coronavirus pandemic, in the United States and other countries. This data has shown that extending the period of time during which the PDGA does not sanction events can help contribute to slowing the spread of the virus and encourage people to practice social distancing and other recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Medical Committee also recommends that several vulnerable populations isolate themselves from contact with others per the WHO and CDC. This includes:

  • People who are 65 years or older
  • People with a compromised immune system
  • Those suffering from respiratory or cardiac conditions
  • Anyone who is pregnant

The Committee and PDGA staff will continue to keep informed about the situation and provide further updates with regard to continued suspension or reinstatement of play as soon as they are available. Additionally, we ask our members to heed the advice and directives of national, regional, and local authorities.

March 17, 2020 at 11:34 a.m. EDT

After careful deliberation, the PDGA Board of Directors has decided to suspend PDGA sanctioning of all events for a minimum of 15 days through March 31, 2020. This decision takes effect immediately and will be re-evaluated in the coming days as information and guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) develops.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented all communities with an unprecedented challenge, and that goes the same for disc golf. With many municipalities mandating that gatherings be limited to 50 people or less and White House statements on March 16 calling for that number to be 10 or fewer, it is difficult to run disc golf events while still remaining in compliance with the recommendations of the WHO, CDC, and other public health experts. With the interest of not only the health and safety of members but also the greater public in mind, suspending sanctioning is the responsible choice. 

“The health and safety of the disc golf community is our top priority,” Board of Directors President Justin Menickelli said. “Undoubtedly, this decision affects many stakeholders. We understand the burden this may put on tournament directors who have invested time, money, and energy into their events; on players who are now forced to alter travel plans; on sponsor relationships; as well as thousands of members who look forward to playing in sanctioned events each weekend. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic touches more communities and puts several age groups and those with underlying health conditions at risk, it is requiring sacrifices from everyone. We know our members will keep this in mind and be great ambassadors for our sport. Eventually, we will get back to business as usual, and we look forward to seeing thousands of disc golf events resume on courses around the world.”

With regard to refunds, players are encouraged to be patient in working with tournament directors, who are handling numerous requests at this time. Please see the PDGA Competition Manual for Disc Golf Events section 1.03 online for more information on withdrawals and refunds. PDGA staff has also complied a list of frequently asked questions. Please keep an eye on for the most up-to-date information.

As a reminder, please be sure to follow the guidance issued from the WHO and CDC for preventative measures to limit the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands with soap regularly and thoroughly (30 seconds) or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap is not available. This measure is particularly important before meals, especially in a buffet-style service.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections and stay at least two meters away from infected people or people who are showing symptoms (such as coughing).
  • Avoid mass gatherings.
  • Ventilate hotel rooms regularly.
  • Seek medical care if you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.
  • Stay informed and follow the advice of your healthcare provider.

March 16, 2020 at 4:02 p.m. EDT

The PDGA is aware of guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding mass gatherings of more than 50 people, as well as more recent White House announcements recommending groups of no more than 10 people. Staff and the Board of Directors are assessing this rapidly changing situation and its impacts on disc golf events and will offer more guidance as soon as possible.

March 13, 2020 at 11:38 a.m. EDT

The Professional Disc Golf Association Board of Directors, in close concert with PDGA Staff and the PDGA Medical Committee, has been actively monitoring the developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular its impact on mass gatherings and other sports organizations. Staff has also fielded many inquiries from concerned players, tournament directors, and other disc golf stakeholders and takes those concerns seriously.

The PDGA will continue to consult with the appropriate medical experts to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. The main priority of the PDGA continues to be the health, safety and wellness of our players and spectators as we continue to monitor all developing and relevant information on the COVID-19 virus. We will update our position statement as new information comes to light.

The PDGA has also made the following decisions and directives:

PDGA Major, Elite Series, and Euro Tour Events Suspended Through April

Beginning Saturday, March 14, 2020, PDGA Major events, as well as PDGA National Tour, Disc Golf Pro Tour, and Euro Tour events, will be suspended through the end of April. This will cause the immediate postponement of the following tournaments:

  • Texas State Disc Golf Championships (Tyler, Texas), March 26-29
  • Spring Forester (Varazdin, Croatia), April 10-12
  • Jonesboro Open (Jonesboro, Arkansas), April 17-19
  • Dynamic Discs Glass Blown Open (Emporia, Kansas), April 29-May 2

We have worked closely with the hosts of each of these events and did not come to this decision lightly. We are evaluating when they can be rescheduled, and more information will be released as soon as it is available. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause for those who planned to attend these events, and we express our gratitude to the host teams, who have put countless hours and poured their hearts into making these tournaments stand out. We share in their pain and disappointment, but also their awareness that this situation affects vast communities beyond disc golf.

As of now, the rest of the PDGA Elite Series, Euro Tour, and Major events remain on schedule, but flexibility and understanding are most key throughout this fluid situation.

Waco Annual Charity Open Shortened, Spectators Restricted

The Waco Annual Charity Open, a Disc Golf Pro Tour event, will conclude after round two on Friday, March 13, 2020. Spectators will be restricted from the event, including fellow competitors who have completed their competition. Round two, which has already begun play, will be conducted with only essential staff onsite. Again, we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause for those attending the event and extend our gratitude to tournament staff for their flexibility and cooperation.

Sanctioning of Other Events

Disc golf provides a fantastic recreational experience, even with social distancing measures in place. It is a no-contact sport that utilizes individual equipment and is conducted in an outdoor, open-air environment. PDGA-sanctioned tournaments will still be allowed to run where local authorities allow them. In municipalities and regions where mass gatherings have been prohibited, tournament directors and players are advised to follow the specific rules of those authorities.

Disc Golf-Specific Mitigation Strategies

As of the date of this Statement, nearly half of the reported cases of COVID-19 are in California and Washington. That said, this is subject to change over time and other communities are also certainly dealing with this pandemic. It should be noted that the elderly and individuals with underlying health conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, are approximately twice as likely to suffer serious outcomes compared to younger, healthy people. In areas where competition continues, the PDGA advises that, whenever practicable, tournament directors immediately implement the following disc golf-specific strategies to help mitigate the spread of the virus and help “flatten the curve” of community spread:

  • Do not hold gatherings of large groups of people. This includes player meetings, awards ceremonies, and any ancillary activities that bring a group together.
  • Hold player meetings online via Facebook Live, YouTube, or another streaming service.
  • Send pre-event emails with rules and FAQs instead of holding in-person player meetings.
  • Implement a “handle your own disc” policy.
  • Add more tables to check-in areas to spread people out.
  • Use gloves when handling cash, scorecards, player packs, merchandise, and other communal items.
  • Implement online merchandise payouts and awards ceremonies.
  • Encourage one player to keep score for the group in lieu of passing around scorecards or phones.
  • Limit the passing of scorecards by performing digital scoring.
  • Acquire extra practice baskets to keep players more spread out when warming up.
  • Limit food service at events. Those handling food and associated products should wear gloves and be properly trained/certified to handle and distribute food products.
  • Encourage players to bring their own food and water for the entire day.
  • Offer bottled water instead of water in coolers, or consider other alternatives to mitigate the contamination of food and beverage.
  • Utilize tee time starts rather than shotgun starts, again to avoid mass gatherings.
  • Provide handwash stations where possible, to also include hand sanitizer.
  • Increase communication to players about limiting high-fives, handshakes, and other physical contacts.
  • Discourage attendees from sharing food or drinks.
  • Remind players who are sick, or those with high-risk medical conditions, to not attend mass gatherings.
  • Ensure event organizers have arrangements in place to safely isolate and transport people who become ill onsite.
  • Implement organizational measures for the event to prepare for cancellation, postponement, or rearrangement of the tournament, to include refund policies.
  • Prohibit spectators from attending events.

Guidance For European Players Traveling To U.S. Events

The PDGA is disappointed that our European members who were planning to travel to the United States for events in the coming month are not currently able to do so. It is advised that European members seek guidance with regards to their travel from the embassy in their country of residence.

Withdrawal and Refund Policy Amended

The Board has approved an amendment to the PDGA Competition Manual for Disc Golf Events section 1.03 Withdrawals and Refunds Policy to handle situations where a Tournament Director (TD) has spent considerable funds in advance of an event on amateur player pack items for that specific event. The goals of this amendment are to ensure that TDs can continue to provide high-value tournaments while mitigating their financial risk and also ensuring that our membership is protected and provided value in return.

This amendment will remain in effect for all PDGA events sanctioned as of 3/12/2020, that are taking place between 3/12/2020 and 12/31/2020. This policy will be reviewed, and if deemed necessary, be renewed or modified for events in 2021 no later than 11/1/2020.

This amendment only affects those players registered in Amateur divisions. The current 1.03 policy will remain in place for players registered in Pro divisions. Please see the full policy here. Should a Pro-only event be outright canceled, a full refund will be provided per 1.03(H). 

Additional Guidance and Resources

The PDGA understands that these measures may seem drastic, but we take our responsibility as community stewards seriously and we hope that members and disc golfers everywhere will help us in addressing this pandemic. Please join us in following World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for preventative measures during this outbreak:

  • Wash your hands with soap regularly and thoroughly (30 seconds) or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap is not available. This measure is particularly important before meals, especially in a buffet-style service.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections and stay at least two meters away from infected people or people who are showing symptoms (such as coughing).
  • Avoid mass gatherings.
  • Ventilate hotel rooms regularly.
  • Seek medical care if you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing
  • Stay informed and follow the advice of your healthcare provider

COVID-19 Information:

Previous PDGA announcements related to COVID-19: