Story/photos by Chris Yucus, Ledgestone Staff Writer
LAKE EUREKA -- Sure, baskets get all the glory. Sometimes teepads catch some heat. But one of the unsung heroes of Ledgestone’s world-class Eureka Lake Temporary course is the rope.
It turns out laying a few miles of out-of-bounds markers for the championship-level course is trickier than it looks. And like the rest of Eureka Temp’s setup, it has to happen fast.
The whole course springs to life in about 24 hours within a public park in Eureka. The process starts with the baskets going in the ground the Friday night before the opening of Sunday’s Flex C-Tier event.
Brent Gustin (left) and Bob Selburg of Joan’s Trophy install the tee pad sign for Hole 13 at the Eureka Lake Temp course.
Ledgestone Tournament Director Nate Heinold rode a mower Friday evening, setting the stage for Saturday morning’s rope-a-thon. The seasoned TD has learned that if he doesn’t do a little preemptive landscaping, things can get a bit shaggy later in tournament week when the bright lights are shining on the pros.
“Usually they can’t get close enough to the ropes to mow. So the grass by the ropes gets too long, which doesn’t look great on camera,” Heinold said.
It takes two crews of about a dozen volunteers headed by Ledgestone Assistant TD’s Jamie Kemp and Michel Munn all morning Saturday to tackle the massive endeavour of setting up the thousands of feet of rope.
Ledgestone assistant TD Jamie Kemp looks over a rope line in progress on Hole 12 at the Eureka Lake Temp Course.
Ledgestone assistant TD Michel Munn unrolls a spool of rope while setting up OB lines at the Eureka Lake Temp Course.
They’ve learned a few tricks along the way to make sure the lines “line up.”
“I am a stickler when it comes to the stakes on the course being straight,” Heinold said. “We essentially line all of the rope up as straight as we can get it and then we put the stakes in.”
Ledgestone Tournament Director Nate Heinold surveys the rope line for the island green on Hole 12 at Eureka Temp.
While the Ledgestone crew honed their razor-straight rope lines early Saturday, a team from Joan’s Trophy & Plaque Company in Peoria tackled their end of the full-scale cosmetic makeover for the park. One crew unloaded Ledgestone banner after Ledgestone banner from a trailer to be placed around the course, while another pair of workers pounded posts for tee signs.
After the posts were in the ground and signs ratcheted on, a worker checked each one to make sure they were level.
That’s the kind of eye for detail Heinold appreciates, and a big part of the reason he has this particular team to help transform a public park in Eureka into a world-class disc golf course for Ledgestone.
Early Saturday morning Heinold carried his son under an umbrella as he stopped to check the progress at Hole 12, aka ‘The Water Tower Hole.’ A light rain hadn’t slowed the crew working on the ropes for the hole’s island putting green.
Heinold paced off the distance from the base of the tower to the rope line that encircled it. He’d love for it to be that close, he told his crew, but they would have to push it back a little.
Up came some stakes, out moved the rope.
It would be one of the first revisions he would make, but certainly not the last before tournament time. When installing that much rope, there’s bound to be plenty of knots along the way.
“Every year we put out more than 10,000 feet of rope. And every year it gets tangled up,” Heinold said.
But when everything finally gets straightened out and the crews head to a celebratory dinner at Michael’s Italian Feast, there’s no denying the results are something special.
All that rope tied up in a neat bow.
A Ledgestone crew sets up OB rope lines at the Eureka Lake Temp course.