Since being announced this past October, countless hours of work have gone into the Disc Golf Pro Tour. This week, the disc golf community gets to experience the fruits of that labor for the first time. This Thursday marks the beginning of the Vibram Open, the first event on the Disc Golf Pro Tour which also includes stops in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and Vermont.
It certainly takes an army to put on any event on the Disc Golf Pro Tour and an army is exactly what Tour Director Steve Dodge has put together. From broadcast teams, live stats, and more, Dodge has tried to cover every aspect of what is needed to make the DGPT a success.
We talked with Dodge before the inaugural DGPT event to get a preview of what to expect this week.
After months and months of planning, it is finally time for the Disc Golf Pro Tour to officially get underway. There are likely many thoughts and emotions going through you right now, but what stands out the most from your view in terms of getting the Pro Tour started?
“Besides seeing how the festival is received, the biggest thing for me is the amazing number of people that have given so much of their time and skills to help make this possible. The final details are falling into place and we would not have been even close without so many people’s assistance. From logistics support, to great TDs, to amazing courses, to financial discussion galore, great app and db development, an amazingly vibrant crew of disc golf media, fantastic partners (aka, sponsors) both inside and outside the sport, and every person that supports us with their eyeballs. There is almost no doubt that I am going to be choked up on Vibram Sunday as I try to say thank you.”
From the time you began planning the tour to today, what has surprised you the most?
“The amazing support. By the end of this Q&A, I’m going to sound like a broken record, but everyone has been so supportive. Even my daughters have helped out by picking out some of the Blue Orange games for the activity tent as well as giving me advice on inflatables (yes, they are very excited to try out the Velcro Wall, sponsored by Keen!)”
Of all the features and plans in place, what are you personally looking forward to seeing in action?
“There is no way to pick one thing. I am very excited to see who wins each of the events and qualifies for the Tour Championship. I am also very excited for the Tour Championship semi-finals, when there will be 16 of the best men and 12 of the best women competing, with the winner of each semi-finals card advancing to the finals. That round of golf, in my opinion, will be the single most exciting round of golf ever covered live.”
“Regarding the Vibram Open specifically, I am excited to see how the integration of the UDisc scoring and statistics app will add to the live coverage provided by Smashboxx TV. If we are able to pull off seamless integration of real time statistics, the live coverage will have taken a large step forward. That, in addition to the the player and hole lower thirds, is going to be very exciting to watch.”
“Regarding the Pro Tour specifically, I am excited to see how the Festival of the Flying Discs is received. In addition to all of the disc games (Disc Tac Toe, Silipint Knockdown, DiscChinko, Build & Destroy, Around the World, and a couple MPH games), we will have family activities (face painting, disc and tee shirt dyeing, bouncy house, velcro wall, family games, a Goal Zero recharge station, and more). We have created an event page on Facebook and the Pro Tour website for the Vibram Open edition of the festival and seem to be getting good traction and regional excitement. If folks are in the area of any event, please come and check it out and let us know what we did well and how we can improve.”
If someone has no prior knowledge about the Pro Tour, what should they know about the Tour to help encourage them to come out to an event or even just follow it from home?
“We will have to wait and see, but we believe we will be putting on the best complete live coverage of any disc golf event ever. We are also hoping to prove to current and future partners that people will tune in to watch disc golf. So, two reasons to watch: it is going to be exciting and compelling coverage, and everyone that watches will be helping us tell the world that disc golf is here for real.”
How can people follow the action from the Vibram Open, or from any DGPT event this year?
“On cellphones or tablets: spectators can watch via the UDisc App. In the app, you will be able to watch the live stream, review scores and statistics, and, if in portrait mode, be able to watch the live stream and review stats/scores simultaneously!”
“On desktop or laptops, the best way to watch is via the event website and the Pro Tour websites. It will also be broadcast on several partner websites and if anyone with a disc golf website would like to embed our live YouTube stream on their page (and get paid to do so), they can fill out this form to make some money and help us grow the sport. Additionally, there will be a link to the live scoring/statistics via a website.”
“And of course, all of these can be ChromeCast to your big screen TV so the whole gang can watch.”
Finally, the Maple Hill Open has been a marquee event for a number of years. How is the course looking? Any changes for this year’s event?
“This is the first year that there are no significant changes to the course. The ponds are full, the winds are consistent (in their own way), and New England is ready to host the sport’s best once again. We could not be more proud to be kicking off the Pro Tour at one of the most challenging and beautiful venues that disc golf has ever seen.”
Anything else you want to include?
ATDG will have interviews with Nate Doss and Paul Ulibarri this week as we follow their time through the DGPT. We’ll talk to the pair of pros before and after each DGPT event to get inside their head as they compete for the DGPT championship. Stay tuned!