As for age 50, son, seriously, you weren't here for the revolution when it went from 35 to 40. There are people that left Disc Golf when that happened that still haven't returned to play.
Playing with people who have a common interest and conversation pieces is something that one can enjoy. It is not easy to carry conversations about life experiences with people that haven't experienced life. Also their Frame of Reference is off. Not everyone remembers what Antenna TV was, or how the remote control used to be the youngest in the family to get up and turn the knob, and how they always broke, and you had your vice grips on there to change channels to one of the 4 you may have been lucky to get.
On your first point: No I wasn't here, but just because people got pissed off and left doesn't mean I'm wrong. People will always find reasons to be upset about one thing or another. I stand by the point that, in most tournaments and on most courses, players aged over 40 but under 50 aren't at a serious competitive disadvantage. Granted, at the very highest level, they would be. But heck, at the very highest level it doesn't matter how old you are, you could still be at a huge disadvantage because those guys are freaking good!
And on your second point: I reject the notion that length of time lived equates to living and experience. Yes, there are many immature players in the 18-25 range, but there are just as many immature players in the 40+ range. Just because someone has never experience the wonder of Hogan's Heroes or doesn't know about Pong or the Iran contra affair doesn't mean you can't have common experiences. And, if you really can't converse with people without those similar memories, maybe it would be a good thing to get you out of you comfort zone.
Beyond that, if you want to talk about old TV or what it was like when you had to walk 5 miles to school, uphill both ways, maybe you should seek out your contemporaries in a casual round and not in competitive play.
Cooper, it isn't that we think the conversation suffers because kiddos haven't seen Hogan's Heroes; we think it suffers because of the kiddos like to drone on and on about American Idol or Jersey Shore. It's not that they don't know what WE are saying that bothers us, it's that WE don't want to hear what THEY are saying. As you get closer to forty you will feel this more and more. Now this assessment isn't true for all kiddos, but the odds are greater the closer to 20 you get - thus the desire for an age protected division. And as far as coming out of a comfort zone to play... this is disc golf, it's all about comfort zones. That's why most people are here. Leagues and casual play are the places you "challenge" yourself against greater opponents. In a tournament where I'm paying over $100 bucks to play, plus another $100 for room and board, etc. I don't think I want to "mix things up" just to be uncomfortable.
I play tournaments for various reasons and in a smaller, cheaper one day tournament I might be willing to mix things up, but not every time. And certainly not when I have the choice of playing in a division I know I will enjoy both the company and the competition. What's my incentive for playing Open? I just spent the last five years playing in Advanced against mostly 20 year olds or (Dick Parkers who have played Am for thirty five years) and I proved to myself that I was ready to move up. I turned Pro and I played against Ken Climo, Barry Schultz, Phil Arthur, Jon Baldwin, Ron Convers, Pat Brown and Jon E McCray at Worlds last year. None of them are slouches. They are enough of a challenge that I don't need to play Open. Locally I have a lot of talented Masters players to challenge myself against. When I think I'm the most dominate Masters player in our area, then I might consider playing Open. I'm not the best masters player so I think I have enough to work on. And had Wyco only had two or three Masters players signed up, I would have played Open.
Cooper, you skipped most of your AM career, so did Tank. You both sort of jumped into the fire. I applaud you both. You're both good players. But not everyone can do that AND not everyone wants to.
As far as who gets the money. If I pay the same amount as the Open field to play in my division, I want the same consideration given to my division. And if there is ADDED CASH, well, as I've said before tournaments should have an announced PRIZE for first place so that everyone who signs up knows what they are gunning for. If the tournament said, "First place is $1200" then I think you would get a better turn out for the event, better competition and less complaining about pay out. I think the idea of pay out being compared to the size of the field is silly. It's done nothing to further the sport at all. First, Second and Third should have fixed prizes and the rest of the field can be adjusted accordingly if necessary.