Whew! The Challenge at Goat Hill Park survived 2020! When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit it looked like disc golf would be an afterthought for 2020. Who knew that the sport would become a haven for recreation and competition-starved people across the U.S. and the world? Well, it did. Disc golf is now being played by many more people than in the past. Disc manufacturers can’t keep up with the demand for discs. The appetite for video content is insatiable – the Disc Golf Pro Tour ended up with 10 times as many subscribers as they expected for 2020! We were able to successfully hold two separate events under the umbrella of “The Challenge at Goat Hill Park – Driven by Innova“: the Disc Golf Pro Tour Silver Series event in June was one of (if not the first) professional A-tier events held once the PDGA reinstated event sanctioning.
Fifty-one MPO players and six FPO players attacked the Goat Hill Park layout, socially-distanced and spraying down the chains with disinfectant after each hole (OK, turns out that wasn’t really necessary…), and when all was said and done There were 1-2 finishes for Innova Disc Golf in both divisions. Young guns Anthony Barela and and Thomas Gilbert held a battle of the long-arms, with Barela eking out a one-throw victory with a hot finish (Check out the post-produced video coverage by Central Coast Disc Golf on YouTube). And in a mild upset, Ohn Scoggins took down perennial Goat Hill champion Jennifer Allen by two throws – Ohn led by two after the first round and the two players matched each other with 948-rated 65s for each of the final two rounds. It was a huge effort to pull together the A-tier event with two weeks notice, but the Challenge crew was up to the task!
We followed up the A-tier event with a two-day B-tier in late August. 151 players took part in that event, with golf carts provided to all players after a tremendous fundraising effort. The B-tier was contested for age-protected pro divisions and all amateur divisions, with David “Super” Bretado cruising to an eleven-throw victory over San Diegan Matt Jankowski. This event was also a smashing success. While we weren’t able to have all the amenities and festivities as 2019 (because of COVID), So Cal’s players were very happy to be able to return to top-notch tournament disc golf.
So now…on to 2021! The A-tier portion of The Challenge is back to it’s traditional early May dates, this year being played on May 7-9, 2021. The 3-day A-tier will be for MPO and FPO divisions only. Registration for this event can be found on DiscGolfScene and will officially open on Feb. 1, 2021 using tiered registration based on PDGA player rating. There are already some players registered – these players have signed up via the Disc Golf Pro Tour’s Tour Pass option. Oh yeah, and speaking of the Disc Golf Pro Tour, The Challenge will once again be a stop on the DGPT’s Silver Series, with players earning points toward the DGPT Tour Championship. We also expect that The Challenge will once again be a USDGC Qualifying Event – sending the top five MPO finishers to Rock Hill, SC for the United States Disc Golf Championship in the fall.
DGPT is currently planning on having two post-production video crews for BOTH MPO and FPO divisions – that’s four crews total! And we are currently working with the Disc Golf Network to bring live coverage of (at least) Sunday’s final round of The Challenge. Get ready to see many of the same sights you have become accustomed to on Disc Golf Network broadcasts: baskets on raised stands, “sponsor walls” tucked behind OB lines and the DGPT archways on Tee 1 and possibly Tee 10. There will also be a parallel B-tier event on Saturday and Sunday for all age-protected pro divisions. This allows us to buy out the entire Goat Hill Park facility for the weekend – no ball golfers on the course with our players. B-tier registration will be available on DiscGolfU.com in mid-February.
And what about amateur players? Well, we haven’t forgotten about you! We have secured a date of Saturday/Sunday October 16 & 17, 2021for the B-tier, amateur portion of our event: The Challenge at Goat Hill Park (Part 2) – Presented by Innova Discs. Getting this date was tough! Along with the growth of disc golf, traditional golf is also seeing a resurgence and Goat Hill has booked tournaments and other events on the course throughout the spring and summer. Our plan for October is to once again rent out the entire course for the weekend, allowing us to have a field of over 200 players. And we’re considering having golf carts available for players once again this year – watch for a Facebook poll in the future on this issue.
Putting on an event (really two…no three!) like this is not easy. It requires the effort of many people and a lot of fundraising to pay the bills and present the prize money. Watch for our upcoming call for volunteers! We’re looking for people for lots of different roles: course setup and breakdown, spotting during the tournament, registration and check-in help, hospitality for players, fundraising and recruiting sponsors, crowd control – you name it! And we’ll take care of you with food, drink and some tournament merchandise! We’ll be rolling out a volunteer sign-up form soon.
And yeah, the fundraising part…starts now. The boxes full of beautiful tournament-stamp discs arrived today. We will be setting up a disc sale page connected to this web page so you can pick up those beautiful Halo discs, Transitional Star discs and Glow Champion drivers, midranges and putters. Watch for announcements on Facebook and Instagram for the opening of the vending page.
So get ready for The Challenge at Goat Hill Park 2021 – Presented by Innova Discs!!!!