If a moment could be represented in the form of an entire year, 2016 would be a defining moment for disc golf. On top of having record growth once again in both PDGA membership and events, the sport saw new levels of media exposure, new well-organized professional tours, new distance world records, and so much more. No matter which moment or moments defined disc golf in 2016 for you, there’s no denying that it was an incredible year.
After three long, viciously hot and humid days of disc golf, the 20th Brent Hambrick Memorial Open as well as the 2016 PDGA National Tour have finally come to an end. The event left both the BHMO and NT titles up for grabs in the Open and Open Women’s division, yet it only took three competitors for us to award the four titles thanks to none other than Catrina Allen #44184.
When I began writing this article, it was still sunny, hot, and extremely humid with a 15% chance of precipitation in the Columbus, Ohio area. With the professional divisions already having finished round 2 of the Brent Hambrick Memorial Open (BHMO), our only concern was the 90+ amateur players still at the course playing their afternoon round. Not even 20 minutes later, a quick glance out the hotel window revealed a dark sky, gusting winds, and rain absolutely pummeling the earth.
Twenty-seven holes might not sound like much, but when every tee pad is full it certainly makes for a very long morning (and afternoon) of disc golf. Today, 100+ professional division competitors at the Brent Hambrick Memorial Open (BHMO) took on the 27-hole layout of the course that goes by the same name: Brent Hambrick Memorial DGC. The BHMO is the last and most important stop on the 2016 PDGA National Tour, as points from this event cannot be dropped when summing up the total NT Points Standings for the series.
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” says…everyone. Everyone that’s ever been to the Vibram Open at Maple Hill anyway. The Vibram Open is perhaps the most beloved annual disc golf event of the touring pros, with more reasons than we can fit into any article. One could argue that the Maple Hill Gold course alone is enough to lure the best in the game, but that’s not why they make the trek to Leicester, Massachusetts each year. To quote Tournament Director Steve Dodge #22042, “We embody the concept of family. My mom does the parking, my sister and niece help with the scoring, my brother does the filming, and everyone here is a part of our family. It’s a family farm.
The Beaver State Fling presented by KEEN is widely known as a “can’t miss” event, each and every year. The combined beauty and difficulty of the Riverbend Disc Golf Courses housed within Milo McIver State Park is enough to pique the interest of most, but the quality of the event itself is what really sets it apart. The staff, volunteers, sponsors, and vendors all join forces to put on a tournament that is so good, in every way, that whether or not you will come back for it again the following year isn’t even a question.
Series points from a player’s top five PDGA National Tour finishes from the first six events plus the points from the 2016 Brent Hambrick Memorial Open are totaled to determine the National Tour Elite Series Champion. Players that competed in all of the first six events will have their lowest score dropped. In those cases the dropped score will be crossed out in the table below, as it does not count towards the score in their Total column.
All times listed below are Mountain Standard Time (MST).
Round 3 of The Memorial Championship presented by Discraft is doubly significant. First and foremost, it means the end of the event for the 300+ competitors in the amateur divisions, as only the pros play a final round on Saturday. Secondly, it means that roughly half of the 300+ competitors in the pro divisions will be awarded the opportunity to compete in said final round. With roughly half of the pro field being cut, only the best of the best will earn the right to tee off at Fountain Hills Park for one last chance to move up.
As we arrived at Fountain Hills Park yesterday morning, we were immediately reminded of why The Memorial Championship presented by Discraft is such a special event. The beautiful scenery is captivating; almost mesmerizing to the point that a competitor can lose focus just by gazing at the mountains, fountains, glorious rock formations, and the all-too-intimidating lake. Add to that the fact that it was nearly 90 degrees in the beginning of March, and we had a tasty recipe for the kick off to the 2016 PDGA National Tour Elite Series.
The official first day of spring is still a few weeks away, but the disc golf world uses a slightly different calendar. Spring begins when the first ray of sunshine hits our skin when we arrive in Phoenix, AZ for the Memorial Championship presented by Discraft.
Are you as excited as we are about the 2016 National Tour Elite Series? If you aren’t, you should be! In the spirit of recognizing and supporting the premier professional events in the sport of disc golf, the PDGA would like to invite you to come out and watch the action of the 2016 season as it unfolds. Come witness the best in the game as they compete for individual event titles, as well as the title of the 2016 National Tour Elite Series Champion!
The PDGA is seeking bids from vendors for the live streaming of the seven events on the 2016 PDGA National Tour Elite Series. Bids should be submitted in electronic form to the PDGA Media Manager with the subject line “2016 NT Live Streaming Services Bid”. The deadline for bid submission is 5:00pm EST on Sunday, February 14, 2016.