Some of the best disc golf players in the region are set to convene in Laramie today for the second JackalOpen 2019 presented by UniWyo Federal Credit Union, which is set for the Spring Creek Disc Golf Course at LaPrele Park.
Players competing in amateur and open divisions will play two rounds of 18 holes on a course that was redesigned a couple years ago. Amateurs will be competing for trophies and prizes, while the open players will be competing for cash awards.
Event director Brian Guice said earlier this week that the tournament field, capped at 72 players, is nearly full. All but about 10 competitors are coming from outside Laramie to play here.
Competitive disc golf players often travel the region playing tournaments. In Colorado, Guice said, one can find a tournament somewhere almost every weekend.
“We’re pulling people from out of town and getting people to town, which is great,” he said.
An after-party for those 21 and older will take place at the Cowboy Saloon.
“We’re hoping that people will stick around and come see downtown Laramie and enjoy the town,” he said.
The JackalOpen is a C-Tier tournament sanctioned by the Professional Disc Golf Association. Events are tiered depending on duration, number of holes and the size of the pro purse. The JackalOpen purse includes $1,250 in added cash.
“We’re putting in money to hopefully get the pros to come up,” he said “At the same time, I’ve added a bunch more prizes to give to the amateurs so they can come out and get more also.”
Guice, a member of the local High Plains Disc Golf Club, decided to organize a tournament after the course re-opened in late 2017. The club led the effort to update the Spring Creek Disc Golf Course, with funding provided by the Albany County Recreation Board. The original course, built in 2004, was confusing and hard to navigate for anyone not familiar with the layout.
“They used to show up, play a few holes and leave because it was long and didn’t make sense,” he said. “Now it has a more logical flow to it, and it’s a little bit more on people’s radar to come check out.”
Changes to the course included redesigned basket placements and new tee pads, signs and maps. The tee pads are level, 14 feet long and six feet wide in the front.
Disc golf is a sport played much like ball golf, except with a flying disc instead of clubs and a ball. Players aim to throw their disc from the tee pad to a basket using as few throws as possible.
Unlike its counterpart, disc golf courses are usually located at public parks and are free to play, with a small investment required for equipment.
Holes are designed to incorporate the natural features of the course, such as trees, shrubs and bodies of water. A good course will require players to make throws of a range of distances and using a variety of techniques to navigate obstacles.
Guice said the course was adjusted for the tournament to include some longer basket positions and stricter out-of-bounds designations to provide a greater challenge.
The course will be closed Saturday to anyone not participating in the tournament, but spectators are welcome to check it out. Guice described disc golf as a sport with serious players in a laid-back environment.
“It’s an amazing community of people,” he said.
The High Plains Disc Golf Club hosts regular league matches and led a disc golf camp for young players last week.