Ledgestone TD Nate Heinold is happy to announce the release of the 2020 Ledgestone course schedule. The 2020 schedule includes some major changes, including all AM divisions playing three courses. “We did extensive research after the 2018 and 2019 Ledgestone events to gauge how many courses amateur players truly wanted to play.” said Heinold.“[It] showed that amateur players valued playing more courses instead of playing the same course twice by a margin of 2 to 1. This year’s schedule reflects that.” This is the 3rd announcement in our series of the Ten Days of Ledgestone.
Other changes include the removal of Westwood from the course schedule and the return of Kennel Lake and Eureka Permanent. Kennel Lake was first featured in the 2015 Ledgestone event but has not returned since. “Our Kennel Lake temporary course went over really well in 2015, but a temporary course is a lot of work and with us focusing on Eureka we felt we couldn’t put the resources into two temporary courses. We are now thrilled to announce that Kennel Lake will be permanent,” said Heinold.
In addition, the permanent course at Lake Eureka returns after a 2-year absence. The course is undergoing a massive transformation, including two new open holes, brand new baskets, 2 wooded par 4’s carved from 4 holes used in the previous layout, and other upgrades. The city has also committed to trim the rough before the event. Read more about Kennel Lake and the Lake Eureka permanent changes.
In the biggest change for top male competitors, MPO will play Northwood Gold for two rounds, followed by the final two rounds at Lake Eureka. “Playing two different styles of courses will test more aspects of a player’s skill set,” commented Mike Krupicka, Assistant TD. While the tournament will attempt to go live at Northwood for MPO on Thursday/Friday, it is not expected to include all of the holes. During the 2019 PDGA Pro Worlds, Smashboxx TV broadcast the last 7 holes live.
FPO will play all four of their rounds at Sunset Hills. “We wanted to get FPO over to Northwood, but that would essentially mean no live coverage for FPO during the final two rounds. By keeping FPO at Sunset for all four rounds we ensure they will continue to get live coverage,” said Heinold. In addition, Sunset is a spectator-friendly course well suited to galleries.
While staff had the option to put FPO at Northwood on Thursday/Friday with MPO, the combination of the two divisions on one course would limit entries to both. “It is the tournament’s desire to allow as many FPO players to compete in this event as possible. Our 2019 FPO participation doubled from 2018. The long-term growth of the FPO division will require them to play a different course than MPO at most events, and this is the start of that natural evolution,” said Heinold. With only so many daylight hours, the maximum pool size at Ledgestone is generally up to 200 players, but the tournament attempts to keep that to 180 or less. Combining MPO and FPO into one pool would cut down on the growth that has been seen in both MPO and FPO the last few years.
MA1 players will appreciate their course schedule: for the first time, they will have the opportunity to play the Lake Eureka Temp course (Friday), followed by rounds at McNaughton (Long tees) and Northwood Gold. “MA1 players will get to play the same courses as MPO, which will give them a taste of what it feels like to compete on the biggest stage in the game,” said Heinold. Other divisions won’t feel short-changed as many divisions will get to play Kennel Lake for the first time. “This course will be no slouch and will include five par 4’s, including a phenomenal stretch to finish the course with three straight par 4’s along the lake.”
MA3 will go back to having two pools to accommodate more players. Their course schedule will include Sunset Hills, the revamped Eureka Permanent Course and a mixed layout at McNaughton. McNaughton (aka McNasty) has long been a local favorite course, with Ken Climo calling it one of his top five courses in the country. MA2 will experience Northwood, Bradley Park and Kennel Lake, while age-protected amateurs will experience a variety of courses in the tight woods of Eureka Permanent, the park style course at Bradley, and the longer course in Kennel Lake. MA55 is the lone exception, playing Eureka Permanent, Bradley and McNaughton.
Creating a course schedule is no easy task. Many hours are devoted to the process of deciding who plays what course, how many players go into each pool, what days the pools play the courses, etc. “The course scheduling process is actually quite complicated. Not only do we need to think about how many players should be in a specific pool of players, we then need to figure out who those players should be grouped with on a specific course on a specific day to make sure the course flow is good,” said Heinold. Careful attention is paid to what courses are suitable for which divisions, but at the end of the day it’s about numbers. “MA40 and MA50 players may wonder why they are playing Kennel Lake and not McNaughton (we can assure you that you won’t be disappointed with Kennel Lake). On the Sunday round we couldn’t fit any more players into the McNaughton pool and MA55 is going to be a smaller division than MA40 or MA50, so the numbers added up perfectly,” continued Heinold. While some players may not get to play their favorite course, all AMs (and age-protected pros) will play different courses each day. The selection of courses has been made to try to give as much variety as possible, while remaining appropriate to divisional skill levels.
The 10th Annual Discraft Ledgestone Insurance Open will take place August 13th through 16th in Central Illinois. Registration will take place exclusively at Disc Golf Scene and will open in early 2020. Registration for AM players and age protected professionals will take place at Disc Golf Scene and registration for the DGPT event will take place here. Don’t miss what is expected to be a record breaking year for the Ledgestone event!