By: Jacob Arvidson
The Ledgestone Insurance Open’s rise to greatness in just a decade has been nothing short of remarkable. The event has gone from unsanctioned fundraiser, to National Tour event, to a founding Disc Golf Pro Tour event, to the largest disc golf tournament in the world.
Its growth over the past five years proves how big this tournament has gotten, how much money is involved, and why it’s an event you can’t afford to miss.
The Ledgetstone tournament first began selling limited-edition tournament discs in 2015 to raise money for the event. With the help of Discraft, the Ledgestone Insurance Open released 13,500 discs in 2016. That number has increased every year since, with the only exception being 2019. In 2019, the tournament took place in June instead of its usual early August time slot to make way for the PDGA Professional Disc Golf World Championships in Peoria, Illinois that July, resulting in a scaled-down version of the normal Ledgestone event. Now in 2021, the number of limited discs released has surpassed all the previous years combined, climbing all the way to 200,000. A major release of 20,000 most recently dropped as part of the Wave 4 Drop one week before the tournament kickoff. On-site pro shops will release more sets as Ledgestone Week continues.
Accommodating as many players as the Ledgestone Insurance Open does requires using a large number of courses. Strangely enough, 2016 used more courses (10) than any other edition of the event until 2021. This year 12 courses will be used: Eureka Temp, Bradley, Camp Kearney, Eureka Permanent, Kennel Lake, McNaughton, Northwood Black, Northwood Blue, Sunset Hills, Washington Park, Westwood Park and Wildlife.
Each year, aside from the scaled-back 2019 tournament in (due to Worlds), the number of amateur and professional players has continued to grow as more and more players recognize the Ledgestone Insurance Open as a must-attend event. Since 2019, the number of players has more than doubled with over 1,950 competitors playing this year’s event across all divisions.
As the tournament has grown, so has the number of staff members needed to keep everything flowing smoothly. In fact, the 74 staff members employed in 2021 total more than those in 2016 to 2019 combined. Although Ledgestone employed 30 staff members in 2016, that number was trimmed down for 2017 to 2019, before ramping back up to match the growing number of players in 2020 and 2021.