FAQ with Ledgestone Insurance Open TD Nate Heinold

FAQ with Ledgestone Insurance Open TD Nate Heinold

How do you determine how much added cash goes to each of the Pro divisions?
We allocate most of the added cash to the showcase divisions, which are MPO and FPO. We of course still put a nice chunk of change into age protected divisions, but we believe in promoting our showcase divisions first and foremost. With the added cash that we have put towards MPO and FPO, we try to spread it out evenly based on the number of players in those divisions. For instance, this year we have allocated approximately $133 of added cash per player to MPO, while FPO will end up around $130 per player. The added cash to the MPO division alone will approach $45,000.
What was your thought process behind the design at the Lake Eureka temp course?

When I first really considered the property it was actually for Amateur players only. I had an initial design that didn’t have any rope and didn’t bring the water into play as much. After a few weeks of walking the property, I realized that it was a perfect venue for the finals. I felt that the course was very suitable for spectators and that heavily influenced the initial design of the course. After I established that I wanted this to be the showcase course, I set out to build the US Open of disc golf. In golf, the US Open is considered to be the toughest test of the year. US Open courses frustrate and challenge golfers. I wanted to build a course that rewarded par and heavily penalized very bad shots. Too often I see courses that do not correctly penalize a very poor shot. With Eureka, most holes have rope or water to keep the players honest. This course was designed to test players to their fullest abilities. I also wanted to bring the mental aspect into the game a lot more with this course. We have tweaked the course for 2016 and we believe players will enjoy the changes.

Out of Bounds Flag

How did the relationship with Discraft begin?
In October 2014 I was driving home from a basketball game when my good friend Justin Jernigan called me. Justin was on Team Discraft and Discraft had reached out to him to ask about my tournament. Justin then put me in touch with Bob Julio and we began to have some discussions about what a sponsorship would look like. Eventually we determined that Discraft would be a great fit as the presenting sponsor of the event. We worked out all of the details over a 4 week period and the rest is history. Discraft is now our largest sponsor and their partnership has allowed this tournament to grow into the largest tournament of all time.
What will video coverage look like at this year’s tournament?
SmashboxxTV will be doing live coverage, and we will have 6 video production crews filming and releasing recorded versions of rounds. We expect this to be the most comprehensive video production for a tournament that disc golf has ever seen.
What was your redesign process for the Lake Eureka course?
The first thing we did was a very thorough statistical analysis. We wanted to find any significant issues that came up from a mathematical perspective. We identified a handful of holes that didn’t work out and sought to modify those holes. We also sought to do a better job with the flow of the course, so we eliminated two holes that hurt our flow. These holes were actually two of the easier holes on the course as well. We sought out opinions of top pros and brought in an outside designer as well. We definitely listened to other people throughout this process and the voices of the players were heard. The course was also renumbered – hole 1 will be the shot over the dam and hole 18 will be the hole that players along the lake that was also the final hole of the final 9 last year.
What will the Amateur player packs look like this year?
As usual, our amateur player pack will among the best in the country. We have two different options that we are deciding between right now, but we promise that either option will make players very happy. We have consistently tried to make the amateur player packs worth a lot more than the entry alone, and this year will be no exception. We expect the amateur player pack to be worth more than $250 this year. Amateurs will still get the typical massive payout as well, with nearly $60,000 in prize money being awarded.
What is your thought process on how to build a good Pro payout?
I don’t believe in being top heavy: I believe in paying out a deep field and spreading the payout so more players get a piece of the pie. I could very easily have a $10,000 or $15,000 first place prize in MPO, but in my opinion that wouldn’t benefit enough players. I think it’s important to pay out deeper into the field, which will encourage more players to come play. I also think it’s important to make it a flatter payout near the top. Our payout isn’t super flat, but its flat enough to make sure that the top 25 each got at least $1000 and that the top 77 each get at least $500. While paying $15,000 to first place sounds sexy, the top players prefer the way I am doing it. This model keeps more players on tour.

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