Effective May 29th the PDGA has opened up sanctioning in the state of Illinois to coincide with the entire state moving to Phase 3 of the reopening guidelines. PDGA BOD member and Ledgestone TD Nate Heinold has worked closely with the PDGA staff and BOD to institute a process for opening up sanctioning in areas and regions where sporting events and gatherings are allowed. Nate has also worked closely with IL State Coordinator Mike Krupicka on a plan moving forward. Nate and Mike are releasing this joint statement today:
Mike and I both feel that exercise and disc golf are a safe (but not risk free) activity that people can engage in at this point in time. Mike and I are happy to see sanctioning reopen in IL but this does not mean that things will go back to normal immediately. As of right now the state has moved us into Phase 3, which allows for gatherings of up to 10 people. In terms of Outdoor Recreation the state just recently put out guidance that said the following:
Multiple groups permitted at once as long as 1) facilities allow for social distancing of participants and employees, 2) 30-ft. of distancing is maintained between groups, and 3) areas for each group are clearly marked to discourage interaction between groups
While this is encouraging, we both still believe that TD’s need to be cautious and need to abide by state and local guidelines. Even with this guidance from the state, it is our opinion that running an event with a typical shotgun start will not be possible in phase 3 considering the tendency for players to congregate together right before the start time. It is our belief that events should only be run as flex starts or with tee times until the state moves to Phase 4 of their reopening guidelines, which would allow for gatherings of 50 people or more. The last thing we want to see is someone’s carelessness resulting in the PGDA rethinking their waiver for Illinois or to cause unwanted attention at the state level. Players should keep their time at the course warming up to a minimum. Once players are done with the round, we know people will want to catch up with others and tell stories of that ace run, but we encourage you to do that elsewhere.
The PDGA has put out best practices for running an event during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those guidelines can be found here: https://www.pdga.com/pdga-documents/tour-documents/requirements-and-best-practices-pdga-sanctioned-play-during-covid-19
In particular, the following guidelines are critical to ensuring a safe event:
- All players and staff should practice two-meter (6 feet) physical distancing upon arrival at the event and at all times prior to, during, and after their rounds at the event and in all event locations.
- Events should utilize virtual player meetings and other digital means for check-in and payout to avoid physical group settings such as player meetings, award ceremonies, or any other ancillary activities.
- Digital scoring should be utilized.
- Where possible, provide hand wash/sanitation stations
- Players should not touch discs, bags, carts, or any other property belonging to another player.
- Participants should bring and control their own food and water for the entire day.
We urge everyone to be mindful of these guidelines and to be diligent when it comes to following them. We are very excited to see sanctioned disc golf return in the state and hope to see everyone out on the course soon!