Nate recently took the time to answer fan questions from Facebook. Nate is the tournament director and founder of the Discraft Ledgestone Insurance Open. Enjoy the answers! Registration for the Discraft Ledgestone Insurance Open began 2/1 exclusively at Disc Golf Scene.
- Will rope remain part of the Lake Eureka design?
Nate Heinold: Rope will continue to be a part of the Lake Eureka design. Because it’s an open air course, rope is needed to define certain fairways, help spectators stay out of fairways, and to add the appropriate difficulty to the course. The course no longer has stroke and distance out of bounds.
- Will the professional players be playing the same baskets compared to 2017?
Nate Heinold: We will be using new baskets at Lake Eureka in 2018. Be on the lookout for the new Discraft Chainstar Pro baskets!
- Will we ever see the pros playing a different course besides the Lake Eureka temp course?
Nate Heinold: The Lake Eureka course will continue to be the featured course of the tournament for the MPO players. The property offers everything the tournament needs. The course offers spectators great access to watch the players, there is ample parking, there is a great cell signal and the facilities are excellent. The 2019 course schedule has not yet been determined. With Pro Worlds being hosted in 2019 in Peoria in addition to the Ledgestone Insurance Open, other courses will be in use. Northwood Park will be used by MPO in Pro Worlds, as well as Lake Eureka. Northwood Park will undergo some changes, with the Northwood Gold layout being ready this fall.
- Will there be live coverage of this year’s event?
Nate Heinold: SmashboxxTV and the Disc Golf Pro Tour will be providing live coverage of the MPO cards. They will also be showing FPO edited coverage during the live broadcast.
- What kind of tee pads will be utilized at Lake Eureka?
Nate Heinold: In December 2017, the Eureka City Council approved permanent concrete tees for the course. By the time the tournament comes around for 2018, there will be concrete tees in the ground.
- Will the St Jude dunk tank be returning this year?
Nate Heinold: Yes! Tournament players will have the opportunity to dunk certain pros and of course the opportunity to dunk me. Players who have gotten in the dunk tank in the past include Dana Vicich and Jeremy Koling. Who knows who will get in this year!
- How many Discraft limited edition discs has the tournament released?
Nate Heinold: Just over 66,000 discs have been released through the tournament since the end of the 2014. We first started releasing Ledgestone fundraiser discs for the 2015 event. This figure does not include the discs that will be released in 2018.
- Who decides what divisions play certain courses?
Nate Heinold: I make those decisions with feedback from a few of my staff. I try to weigh what divisions need to play with other divisions, and then look at the courses that best fit their skill level. I also take into account feedback from players. We also use UDisc and advanced statistics to make sure that the courses that are being played are challenging enough or appropriate enough for those divisions.
- When do you start planning for the next year’s event?
Nate Heinold: First of all, it takes about a month after the event to get everything done for the current year’s event. So after I do all of that work that is necessary, I then take the next 4 to 6 weeks off before starting the planning that is needed for the following year’s event.
- What’s the hardest thing to manage with the tournament?
Nate Heinold: AM check-in. This is a tough process because we have so many players to check-in and we give them so many items. We try our hardest to make the process goes as quickly as possible, but it does take time. Its not as simple as just showing up to check people in. I start work on this process at least a month before the event. I have to coordinate the shipping of several pallets (not boxes, pallets full of boxes!) to a location about 30 minutes from where I live. So I have to go back and forth a few times to this location to make sure things are in the right place. After all of the player pack items have been shipped from the various vendors, we then have a team of about 10 people who spend an entire day putting the player packs together. Then the madness start as we attempt to check in 700 people in a 5 hour window. So we have a whole different crew of about 10 people to help with that process.
- Bonus Question: How do I get on Team Discraft?
Nate Heinold: Discraft looks for players who already are representing their brand. If you don’t throw any Discraft now, the chances are you won’t get considered. Discraft looks for people who play a lot of tournaments every year. They also look for people who are stepping up in their local disc golf communities to make an impact, whether that’s running tournaments, designing courses, volunteering as a state coordinator, etc. They look for players with a good attitude and who show great sportsmanship. Player rating does matter, and it certainly helps if you are near or over 1000 if you are competing at the MPO level. If you have those qualities, they are probably already watching!