First of, I hope you guys realize how good you have it in Iowa. Very few states are this far ahead of the game in terms of planning and organization. Second that with the way you all do communicate and talk about things to the fact that you have some very smart and awesome people. (Excluding clue, he's smart but a jerk!)
Reading through was pretty interesting. Lots of points that have been brought up since I started playing in '96.
I think there are some answers, but I wonder if those that have the power will have the courage to actually do something. The PDGA wants more and more tournaments. They have and will continue to relax the mileage limits etc to encourage more tournaments. This will not change. But there are things we can do to make it better. The to sanction or not sanction argument has always been a good one. I've been on both sides of this debate. Even if you don't think the pdga does anything for you locally, if you have a pdga sanctioned event it is. Just the insurance alone is a great benefit to tournament directors. Any TD that run's a tournament without insurance is taking a big risk in today's world. Now I wish just as much as the next guy that the pdga would step in and help build more couses and such, but right now that isn't a reality.
1. More tournaments = Bad for pro's, but good for am's. Almost every tournament's largest division's are int and adv. Am's don't usually have the ability or desire to travel long distances. So having more tournaments is good for the am population. It gets more people playing.
However that is the opposite for pro's. Pro's will travel and generally like to travel. Whether it be for new/fun courses, competition, or money. So with more tournaments your pro fields get weaker and smaller. The other big thing that drives down the pro field is burn out. I'm a perfect example. I used to be good
Through age and having a real life I have gotten worse of the years. I never really developed a good mental game, etc. Therefore I don't play many bigger tournaments anymore because I know I just can't compete.
Solutions - Lower the entry fees and pay out a smaller % of the field. Entry fee's have sky rocketed as a result of wanting a higher payout for those at the top and to pay down farther to try and keep those in the middle encouraged and not losing money. If we lower the entry fee's we will get a bigger turn out instantly. People like me who still would like to play, but can't justify paying 50-100 per tournament would gladly play if it was 20$. (Just an example). You'll get more people playing first of all. Now if we do the right thing and only pay out the top 20% then the payouts at the top would still be well worth it. You would really feel like you won something. For those that don't cash the loss is not nearly as painful and therefore you don't get as upset and burnt out.
Vendor's will still make the same money and getting more people to an event will generally lead to more sales too.
2. Divisions are a mess. You have lots of differing opinions and ideas out there, but I think we can safely agree that they aren't perfect right now.
Solutions - 1. We need a true pro class. In order to be pro you need to maintain a rating about a certain point. (I would say around the 980 mark). Also you should have to do some other things like apply with the PDGA to be a pro and pass a rules test. Our old system of "choosing" to be pro or being declared pro by accepting cash is way out dated. Playing well in a few tournaments to cash is not a basis to be a pro. Being a pro should also be something that has to be renewed every year. Either by and application process to the pdga or something. I don't think it's something that should be grandfathered in from year to year.
(I'm sure you would have a few 1000 rated players choosing to be am's, but so what. If they don't want to be a Pro that is up to them. Being a Pro is something that should be a little harder to attain and maintain. There is no way I should be considered a pro, lol) **(also to be a pro, your pdga fee should be higher then for am's.)**
2. Everyone not a pro is an am. I see no problem with having multiple am divisions. You can seperate some by skill, by age, or what have you.
3. Pro's can only play in B tiers and above. We have plenty of B tiers and higher around for a Pro to make it almost every weekend. Now this probably wouldn't work as well all around the country. But, if this was in play I bet you would see some tournaments striving to be a B tier instead of a C tier. Pro's would end up gathering together more and result in larger fields, payouts, competition, etc. (am's could choose to play up in everything other then NT's if they would like).
4. Pro division is the only one that gets added cash. (Men and women) Masters should still be there and would be the same except that they would not receive the added cash. If a master feels they can compete for that, then they join the "pro" division.
I think we all realize a change in divisions will not be coming anytime soon and there isn't a ton we can do about it other then to not sanction tournaments. But what I think we can do as a start is work on the entry fee's. Start lowering them across the board or really start advertising and promoting a trophy only option for a very low fee.
Just a few random thoughts from an old washed up disc golfer.