What is so special about this event?
For me, it is about "coming home". I went to school at Illinois State University, which is about 25 minutes from Eureka. These were my home courses for 4 years. For players, I would say that what makes this event special is that there is something for everyone. Whether you're in it for the competition, the camaraderie, the player packs, the payout or the courses; each one of those things is exceptional at the Ledgestone Insurance Open.
You had previously used the Lake Eureka property for an A Tier before. What drew you to this property?
I resurrected the Greater Peoria Open for a few years while I lived in the area and during my final year as TD, we added 9 holes to the permanent 18. The reason for doing it was the opportunity to play some beautiful holes on a spectator friendly layout (the 9 temp holes).
What is your opinion on stroke and distance?
I believe that stroke and distance can work. It has to be tastefully done though. I'm looking forward to the warm up event at Lake Eureka on 5/14/16 to see how the changes play out. Stroke and distance is not always the answer, but it can work well in some places.
What do you think of the redesign of the temporary course at Lake Eureka?
The redesign looks to have addressed issues associated with the 2015 layout. I think we'll see a better course and more opportunities to see the players attack the course. Players will really have to choose between risk and reward as opposed to last year where we saw a lot of players play it safe.
Why should players come to play this event?
As I mentioned earlier, this event offers something for everyone. Players are getting huge payouts and player packs. There are extra events going on all week from one round C-tiers to ice cream socials to distance competitions. And if you love competition, you'll get an opportunity to compete in huge fields, no matter the division.
What will your primary role be at the event?
During Ledgestone week you'll see me all over the place. I'll be doing course set up, talking to media, giving directions to out of town players and basically assisting wherever I'm needed. I'm hoping that I find some time to step inside the Smashboxx, whether it is during the live broadcasts or a late night podcast. I guess you could say I'm here to help, whether it is helping Nate or you the player.
Will you get to play in the event?
I will not be playing in the event.
How has this event grown to be so successful in a short period of time?
It is crazy to think that in a few short years this event has went from a mostly local unsanctioned event to the behemoth event that we see today. The driving force behind that is really one person: Nate Heinold. He's taken it upon himself to make this event what it is today. Helping Nate make the jump from a huge A-tier to historic NT/Pro Tour status is Discraft. Without Nate and Discraft working together this wouldn't be possible. Nate is a madman!