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Setting Pingolf target scores

Deciding on target scores for Pingolf tournaments can be difficult. Below experienced tournament director Dave Stewart shares some of his tips.

A successful pingolf tournament is all about time spent at machines, not "what score is achievable". It takes just one long-playing machine with a target score that takes a long time to achieve to cause the entire tournament to backlog. The approach I recommend that works really well is the following:

Get three or more players who are representative of skill of the competing players to play each game for exactly 3 minutes, uninterrupted, as many balls as they need. Preferably the games are all 5-ball play. Don't use two 3-ball games on any machine that builds state as the game proceeds, because you lose all that state if you have to start a 2nd 3-ball game; that messes up target score calculations and will likely lead to a machine that creates a backlog.

At 3-min mark, record their score and number of balls. If their game ended before 3 min, then record their time used to play all balls. Take the average score recorded by those 3 players, round it to a score with lots of zeros, and make that the target. E.g. 13,465,100 could be rounded to 13,000,000. With this cutoff, you can do about one tee-off per 5 mins (or a pair every 10 mins, or a 3-player every 15 mins, or 4-player every 20 mins).

If you want to do 4-player every 15 mins, then cut off about 20% of that score, e.g. make it 10,000,000.

If you want to do 2-player every 15 mins, then add about 20% of that score, e.g. make it 15,000,000.

You can then estimate length of tournament, based on how long it takes for everyone to tee-off, plus 9x the tee-off-time-delta for the last tee-off group to finish. You can accelerate a tourney by having one group tee-off per hole and "rotating" holes. If 27 players and 9 holes, then that means 3 players start per hole.


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