The countdown to the inaugural Disc Golf World Tour event continues and today marks the beginning of the second phase of registration. From December 17-23, players rated 970 or higher can register for the La Mirada Open. This follows the first registration window when the top 100 pros in the Disc Golf World Tour rankings had their chance to sign up for this prestigious event.
While registration is being handled for disc golfers around the world, there is a flurry of activity taking place in Southern California as preparations for the La Mirada Open continues. The man leading the charge in California is Jeff Spohr.Spohr started West Coast Disc Golf in 2012 and has run a number of events and tournaments since. Spohr also serves as co-owner and Director of Disc Golf at La Mirada Pro Shop along with being the co-owner of Huntington Beach disc golf course while running their disc golf operations. Spohr clearly lives and breathes disc golf.
Now, Spohr turns his attention to a new challenge: the La Mirada Open. We talked with Spohr about what he’s been up to and what it will take in order to win the first DGWT event in March 2016.
What were your thoughts when you were first approached about hosting an event for the Disc Golf World Tour?
“I was extremely honored to be asked to be part of the Disc Golf World Tour. Jussi is well known in our sport for being a great promoter and constantly working to move the sport forward. I am very excited to be part of his newest project.”
You also get the honor or running the first ever Disc Golf World Tour event. How does it feel to be a part of this curtain raising event?
“Having the first DGWT event at La Mirada is amazing. One of my main goals when asked to take over disc golf operations at La Mirada was to bring the world’s top players back to the course. I knew that required hosting a prestigious enough event to get the touring pros to fit it into their packed travel schedules. I believe the La Mirada DGWT is that type of event and look forward to watching the world’s best compete at one of my home courses.”
Let’s talk about La Mirada itself. It is one of the most storied disc golf courses in the world. What makes La Mirada so special?
“La Mirada is the second oldest permanent disc golf course in the world. The course has hosted many great events from the original La Mirada Open, US Masters, to the Golden State Classic. The course has been home to innovators in our sport and has been played by most of disc golf’s great players. Even through changes to the park and the course it’s still one of our best gems in SoCal.”
La Mirada is no stranger to many disc golfers, especially those at the top level of the sport. In your mind, what will it take in order to walk away with a win at the La Mirada Open?
“With many top level players already signed up, it’s going to take some amazing play and consistency over the three days to walk away as Champion of the La Mirada Open. I look forward to seeing Jussi’s spin on the layout but can guarantee it will require every shot. With the layout of the park, any course design we have always includes the threat of OB, elevation challenges, and holes that require great course management. I look forward to seeing what we can come up with to challenge the World’s best.”
For those who are familiar with the course, are you doing anything special with the layout? Any surprises?
“We are planning a new extended layout for the event. Jussi is working on designing a championship level course at the park using both 18 hole courses (Lakeside and Back 18) and combining them into one 18 hole course. We have experimented with many different “big” layouts at La Mirada and I’m excited to see Jussi’s design.”
Where is your focus currently and what is up next on your list before the tournament arrives?
“My focus right now is promoting the event and getting players and our local disc golf community excited. Jussi arrives at the beginning of January in SoCal and that is when the next phase of planning and work will start. Right now I plan on enjoying the holidays with family and friends and coming into the new year refreshed and motivated!”
As previously mentioned, the second of four registration phases begins later today:
- Phase 1, Dec 10th – 17th, 2015. DGWT Rankings Top 100 players.
- Phase 2, Dec 17th – 23rd, 2015. PDGA members with a minimum rating of 970.
- Phase 3, Dec 23rd, 2015 – Jan 7th, 2016. PDGA members with a minimum rating of 940.
- Phase 4, Jan 7th – 28th, 2016. PDGA members with a minimum rating of 900.
Each registration phase opens at 16:00 UTC. Below are the times for different time zones:
- 8:00 Pacific Standard Time (PST, UTC -8).
- 11:00 Eastern Standard Time (EST, UTC -5).
- 17:00 Central European Time (CET, UTC +1).
- 24:00 Australian Western Standard Time (AWST, UTC +8).
As we head into this second phase we also talked with Director of the Disc Golf World Tour, Jussi Meresmaa:
Only the Top 100 were able to register so far. What has the initial response been like?
“We had most of the big names but other than that first phase has been quite slow. I think it´s because our event is newcomer to the sport and people does not recognize it yet.”
In terms of registration, what type of feedback have you seen from competitors?
“Actually no feedback at all. I guess that means everything is okay.”
You are opening up registration to anyone rated 970 or higher. What do they need to do in order to sign up for the La Mirada Open?
“Disc Golf World Tour brings another level to the registrations. I recommend that as everyone signs up as a player to the DGWT. With that process, we are able to serve more people (fans, spectators and players too). Sign-up can be made here: http://www.discgolfworldtour.com/register/player-register/”
“After successfully registered to DGWT, additional Player Pages will open to you. There you can see the latest news, additional event info and actually register to our events. So, it’s two stages that might take a little more time, but it’s worth it.”
“Main reason for this was that we did not want to show ‘registration’ forms to general public. It’s not valid info for majority of our website visitors. In the first week, we had over 21,000 individual visitors in our website. We wanted to create another level to this sport in this too. You cannot see the ‘registration’ pages for major sports events like Wimbledon or US Open in tennis.”
“There is a fast track to registration without the need to create an account on the DGWT website. You can go directly to the registration on Disc Golf United: http://www.discgolfunited.com/discgolfworldtour/”
With less than 90 days to the inaugural Disc Golf World Tour event do you feel things are progressing nicely? What is up next for you?
“Things are hectic! As they should be. There are a lot of things happening every week. I’m looking forward to flying to California in early January to start local preparations. We know local promoter Jeff Spohr has been working intensively and can’t wait to be on site with him.”
“It’s going to be a test but I’m sure our staff will manage it. Lots of new things are coming, so we are aware that things will get better over time. Every major/NT organizer knows how much work takes to make a premier event and our expectations are high as possible. I hope to see as many of you readers there as possible.”
Anything else you want to include?
“Please, sign-in to the DGWT website as a user to stay updated what happens on tour. Make yourself either a ‘Player’ or ‘follower’ account. Thank you.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on the registration schedule so you don’t miss your chance to be a part of the event to officially kick off the Disc Golf World Tour. As Meresmaa said, register your account today so you are ready to go when the time is called!
Thank you to both Meresmaa and Spohr! While we talked with just these two leaders on the DGWT, we all know there are teams of people working along side these two in order to make the La Mirada Open a reality in March.