Tee marker proposal

Written and designed and prepared by Peter Lizotte, active disc golfer ,T.D ,  promoter and developer since 1975 in the provinces of Quebec and British Columbia, Canada
Innova customer since 1983, PDGA # 9189
( 819 821 9363 )
To Who it may concern, regarding product development-
Tee-pad markers in some form, are mandatory for the proper play of Disc Golf and surprisingly, there aren't any convenient tee-pad marker 'sets' available through any of the major Disc Golf manufacturers. It is my hope to convince you that a simple tee-pad marker set, offers Innova Champion Discs a great opportunity to add another important piece of equipment to your extensive line of disc golf products. This tee-marker set could be sold alone or as part of a package, with portable baskets for example.

Over the years, enthusiasts and T.D.'s alike who aren't blessed with permanant concrete pads have come up with something to imitate a proper tee-off area, be it rocks, cones, branches, little flags or logs. But not much has surfaced in the way of equipment that is economical, light-weight , highly visible , readily available , simple to transport and easy to install and tear down.

Of course there are permanent tee-pads made of cement and rubber, and tee-signs that identify holes, but that is not what I am advancing in this document. I'm addressing the need for portable tee-off identification equipment that could be
used for the following examples:
 
a) casual lay-outs, away from established courses,  such as schools with portable baskets, the summer camps or neighbourhood parks and natural object or tonal courses. There are 100's of those being played off the radar just here in Canada.
 
b) tournament lay-outs, positioned away from the established t-pads, often done to lengthen holes and  'final - 9's" .
 
c)They would also serve to add a visible vertical presence in a permanant concrete tee area from a far. Permanant concrete horizontal tee-pads aren't always easily noticed. This would help identify the next tee area,  thereby speeding up the navigation of the course by players unfamiliar with the lay-out. Quite franky I was quite surprised at what was being used at the NT events, although this was several years ago.
 
I'd like to introduce a piece of disc golf equipment that I have made and used for the past 15 years that fills this void. There is nothing amazingly inovative about it, but I believe it to be an immense asset to the game both because of its ascribed functionality and for the many bonus and fortuitous benefits it brings to the game. Understandably, you at Innova will be more apt to have interest if you determine the market potential is large enough to justify its manufacture. I'll rely on your expertise for this assessment.
 
What I have found most compelling about this piece of equipment is that it is very simple, deceptively useful, and completely effective and durable. Its been tried and tested for 15 years. It's inexpensive to manufacture as all the materials used are already manufactured and available. Its just a matter of printing, cutting and bending wire.
The true reason why I would like to see this equipment marketed is because it's so beneficial to the sport, the players, the organizers and the promoters.
I'd point out that during this prolonged growth period, many don't realize how much disc golf is being played away from established courses on private land or in city parks all around the world. In this sense I ask you to consider this equipment out of the context of established "hot-beds" such as Texas, California and the Carolina's.
This is equipment that will help sustain and help establish growth in the many many areas that don't operate within optimal disc golf conditions.

I
n order to get to the point, the many attributes that this equipment offers are listed below at the end of the document in detail. Its not hype, it's about observations I've made. Pictured to the right are the materials for a set that I am making for a club.
Here is a list of the 3 materials used to make these Tee-Markers:
 
please clic the high-lited links below for further information.
The ones I've made are hand painted, a printer would be used for larger volume manufacturing. The printer's are usually equiped with the proper cutting machinery. The coroplast section of the tee-markers I make are 5.5" by 6" inches. I hand bend the wire to form, a machine could do this.
 
Note: of the 2 most common methods of printing on coroplast, traditional screen printing is less expensive than the vinyl adhesive technique.
 

 
Materials :
1. ) - 4 mm Coroplast about 4 sets of 9 holes can be cut from a standard coraplast 14' by 8' sheet
The coroplast is the main component of this equipment. A 4' by 8' sheet will be printed on from a master file that has all the numbers and colors on it , then the individual signs will be cut from it. 3 sets X 18  and 1set X 9 fit onto 1 sheet of coroplast.
One of the main assets of coroplast is that inherent in its construction are the hollow channels that strengthen it ,they are the perfect size to allow hanger wire to fit through vertically and support the sign. No fancy work to be done here !
 
Coroplast is :
  • robust and durable
  • weather proof and washable
  • inexpensive
  • compact and lightweight
  • available in many colors
  • printer friendly and recyclable at the end of it's long life
Proper sizing of an individual tee-marker will determine the efficiency in which the entire coroplast sheet will be used in order to maximize the amount of units produced on a sheet and cost per unit. This is one of the first issues to be determined on this project.
 
 

 
2. ) - 12 gauge galvanized straight hanger wire -               I buy it in 12 foot lengths, enough for 6-7 individual signs
The wire needs to be formed into a simple 'U' Shape and inserted into the hollow channels of the coroplast.
 
The wire :
  • serves to support the sign
  • is also available in many colours
  • can be ordered to form
  • is galvanized
  • and can be easily bent back to form when the sign has been stepped on during play.
 

 


3.) - Vinyl polyurethane tubing -

 

The tubing is used to prevent the sign from slipping down the wire. Its acts like a 'stop'. Pieces of the tube are cut to 1 cm pieces and put into place by tightly slipping up the wire until it meets the coroplast...securing the sign in place and preventing gravity from lowering the sign. Other materials can be used such as glue or another type fastener.

 
pictured to the right, I used tape as I haven't found the tubing in the area where I live
 
 

 


Packaging

I've used old cat litter pails with handles that I've found in recycling bins over the years. Potential customers could find these on their own, or the tee-marker set could be packaged inside these. A full set of 18 ( 36 units ) can fit inside a pail. If the wire is cut long, it will pose a problem. Attention must be given to the wire 'Leg' length if they are marketed in a pail with a lid. The set I've just made fits inside a bucket with a lid ( I actually made them a little smaller for this purpose. The set you see here is about 15 years old. The wire is now rusty, but it doesn't affect the function

 


What these Tee-markers bring to the game

Without making excuses for my crappy art work and the unimposing nature of the design, I remind you that the value of this hardware is in the fact that despite it's inherent simplicity , this design of tee-markers delivers, and the attributes are many!

How a T.D benefits from this equipment
  • They are lightweight , compact ,weatherproof and inexpensive.
  •  
  • Quick and easy to install and tear down
  •  
  • Speed up tournament play by facilitating navigation of the lay-out
  •  
  • They are an enhancement for event recognition and reduce delays caused by unattentive park users
  • They increase safety for all players and park users due to their colorful presence and visibility
  • Minimal injury to players or park users can be caused by this equiment as it easily bends or folds on contact
  • The signs are durable, weather proof and can easily be bent back into proper shape using a set of strong hands.
  • They add an extra layer of professionalism to the event and deliver an 'official' appeal which can increase a players attention with regards to respect of the rules.
  • They offer the T.D an excellant advertising opportunity, the bare backs of each unit offers display space to satisfy potential series, event , or hole sponsers. 
  • They are versiltile with regards to installation, I've used them on grass, sand, snow, pierced them into wood ,and when concrete  was present .( tee-off from a side walk ).. one just bends back the wire legs in a fashion to support the sign. If wind is an issue....I just cut a potatoe in half and push the wires in, using the flat end of the cut potatoe as a level support.

    How a Promoter benefits from this equipment

 

  • like for the T.D, the cost, weight, size, and ease of installment are all very helpful.

  • Once installed, these signs immediately identify the object of the game to the most common of folk during a demonstration away from a permanant course. They now connect and realize what the object of the game is. I've noticed that with only a basket and 2 "whatevers" on the ground, An audience doen't automatically understand the object of this activity.

  • The above statement is especially relevant to the multitude of casual players who would never consider themselves as promoters yet who promote Disc Golf world wide daily and unknowingly . Think of the many who have wandered by the activity, 3 guys playing in a field only seeing a baskets and not connecting because the branches, rocks or 2 discs used as tee-markers lead to no clues. This is a lost opportunity for promotion due to a simple lack of convienient equipment and visibility. Due to its compact size and weight, casuel players will bring this hassle -free equipment along everytime they play.

  • The reality is that a small percentage of disc golf developments have the time and budget for a ' Houck Design' type investment. Usually they happen on a small if not squeezed budget. Quite often the baskets consume 99% of the budget. Having signs such as these offer an alternative to a full commitment for tee-pad investment as the 'powers that be' prefere wait out a few seasons prior to making that decision. I sometimes feel a little embarrassed saying...." oh just grab some rocks and logs ", it works with some but others ( schools, beaurocrats ) react negatively at this image.

  •  

  • Note: the wire legs can be bent back to support the sign for indoor demonsrations in a Gymnasium.


      How a Player benefits from this equipment
      • clear line of demarcation....easy to call and spot infractions. Infact I made Tee-off lines out of 6 feet pieces of colorful cord with a 'loop knot' at each end that secures into place when one of the wire sign legs pass through it into the ground. Believe me , there is no clearer indication of a footfoul than when the chord moves.
    • Less risk of injury to a player. They simply crush to the ground when stepped on. The wire bends and takes the blow. Then, the wire is simply bent back into form.

    • Better establish an advantageous tee-off position as secured by the rules on unestablished tournament courses

    • Diminish conflicts and creative decision making

    • ( diagram to the left )
    • This demonstates the color chord option I use during some events with these Tee markers. Pictured are actually 3 pieces of chord that have loop knots at each end. The horizontal chord is secured by the inside legs of the markers and the 2 horizontal chords are also secured by the inside leg of the marker and an additional ' U ' shaped piece of wire ( 2" long ) . For practical purposes I generally only use the front horizontal chord .

     


      Marketing
      The tee-marker set could be marketed alone or with a portable course package. It could be sold as a 9 hole set-up or an 18 hole set-up.
      Options :Depending on your enthsiasm, deluxe sets could be manufacured to include:  blank spares ( sometimes some get left behind ) , bee warning signs, drop-zone signs. Another addition that I use , made with the same materials are signs that don't have wires inserted within but instead have 2 pieced holes separated by about 1 inch at the center of the sign. This allows for a   'zap strap' to be inserted allowing them to be fastened to trees or posts. These could includes 'mando signs' , next hole arrows, CTP signs...  'and the lst goes on. There are 100's of on-line Disc Golf stores that offer very little in the way of accessories, 3 kinds of towels and 3 kinds of mini's. I'm sure they would be willing to consider a new product that is so very integral to the game. Sets with differant colors following the tee-off color guide lines are an interesting option for a deluxe set also.
       
       
       
      In conclusion
       
      As mentioned , I've used this equipment for years and one could accurately say the materials and design have been tested. The set pictured to the right is 10 years old and has been lent to others and used well over 100 times in demos, tournaments and in casuel play. Not 1 unit has ever been broken.  

      Besides all the benefits this design offers for the game, it also offers Innova a product that completes a portable course package without inolving much added cost of shipping volume.

      Similar to the release of the “ Pro Discatcher “ and it's effect on course expansion, I believe this item would also enhance growth, understandably , in a more subtle manner.

      I'm not sure that marketing this set would propell Innova onto the cover of Forbes magazine. But I would think that there is a good possibility that it may be of significant value in terms of investment into growth ( the farm team ) and branding. ( if they can be produced cheap enough, an 18 hole set if available in one of your ' sponsership packages , would pepper a course with 36 innova signs )

       

      My Interest is simple, if you choose to manufacture the sets, I'd like to recieve a small percentage of complementary sets when manufactured in recognition of my contribution to the project.

      Thank-you for reading this I look forword to your thoughts.

       

      Peter Lizotte

       

      Here are some other variations of this product that are on the market

      Wright life

      Halex

      Fairway products

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