Originally published at: https://discgolf.ultiworld.com/2018/11/28/four-tiers-join-2019-dgpt-test-event-circuit/
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Four A-tier tournaments will operate as Disc Golf Pro Tour test events in 2019, and judged to determine the potential of joining the tour in upcoming seasons.
Throw Down the Mountain, the 303 Open, Challenge at Goat Hill Park, and Mid-American Open will run concurrently with the DGPT during the season, with Pro Tour staff examining the events’ organization and infrastructure, extracurricular engagement, general look and feel, and the excitement level of the local disc golf scene. Geographic feasibility is also as much a factor as quality of the event.
Passing the DGPT’s Test Event “checklist” does not, however, immediately mean a tournament will join the Pro Tour the following year.
“It depends on a few factors – namely scheduling and the number of events on tour,” said DGPT VP of Communications Seth Fendley. "Other factors include the sustainability of the event year-over-year and the courses on which the tournament will be played – will they draw crowds, can they handle spectators and a full field, etc.
“The idea of test events is to always have an option should an event need to go away for a year, for instance, Green Mountain Championship taking last year off due to hosting Pro Worlds.”
Test events were chosen based on varying circumstances. Thrown Down the Mountain was contacted by the DGPT as a potential event due to player request; the Mid-American Open reached out to the DGPT.
“Goat Hill and 303 were both slotted to be test events last year, and ultimately 303 held off for a year,” said Fendley. “Goat Hill opted to return as a test event for a second year in hopes of building some support.”
In addition to the Challenge at Goat Hill Park in 2018, the St. Louis Open and Block House Open were also slated to be test events. The BHO in Fredericksburg, Virginia never formally became a test event, and the SLO was not extended an invitation to the DGPT for 2019.
“With the St. Louis Open it was decided internally, by the DGPT staff, that the event would not be added to the Pro Tour schedule in 2019,” said Fendley. “We would definitely welcome [it] to be a test event again in the future if they are wanting to be added to the schedule.”
This year, test events will fall in between other DGPT stops, as well as PDGA National Tour events, aligning perfectly for pros looking for paydays.
Throw Down the Mountain, which will be played on one of Paul McBeth’s favorite courses, Gran Canyon, starts the test events March 22-24 in Brooksville, Florida. It falls a week after the Waco Annual Charity Open, and several weeks before the Jonesboro Open.
Both the 303 Open at Camenisch Park (Combination of Hylands & Badlands) in Denver, Colorado, and Challenge at Goat Hill Park in Oceanside, California will be May 3-5, one week before the San Francisco Open.
The Mid-American Open features one of the country’s best courses in Harmony Bends situated outside Columbia, Missouri. Its August 2-4 date will follow the Idlewild Open and lead-in to the PDGA Professional World Championship in Peoria, Illinois.
If you’re wanting to catch a glimpse of these events or venues, the DGPT does not require media coverage but doesn’t shy away from acknowledging its importance.
“Our hope is that by recognizing an event as a test event is that it would encourage both players on tour and the media crews on the road to consider those events during an off week,” said Fendley. “Obviously one of the requirements for an event is that it has good cell signal, but that testing is traditionally done by tournament or Pro Tour staff.”
The Disc Golf Guy has previously covered Throw Down the Moutain tournaments, and Central Coast Disc Golf has filmed at the Challenge at Goat Hill Park and Mid-American Open.
To go along with the test events, the DGPT is also collaborating with the Utah Open as an affiliate event. The Utah Open was previously featured on the Pro Tour, but is in the process of switching course locations and preparing for a Pro Worlds bid. An affiliate event is, in essence, a step in between a test event and a DGPT event.