Ledgestone Insurance Open expands purse, payout, and plans for 2016

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The 2015 Ledgestone Insurance Open was certainly one of the most talked about events of the 2015 season. Simon Lizotte and Catrina Allen took home their share of the record $125,000 pro purse this past August while a monster players pack was part of the amateur side of the tournament. Today, Tournament Director Nate Heinold is announcing a number of adjustments for 2016’s event which is part of the Disc Golf Pro Tour.

We talked with Heinold to get some details on what he’s done to help improve the tournament for next year. The 2016 Ledgestone Insurance Open will run August 18-21 with a record 1,236 players.The 2015 edition of the tournament sold out in seconds for some divisions. With the chance to be a part of disc golf history, Heinold expects the 2016 edition to sell out just as fast. Registration is expected to open in February 2016.

Simon Lizotte

Simon Lizotte celebrates his win at the 2015 Ledgestone Insurance Open. (Photo: PDGA Media, LEL Photography)

The professional purse has been bumped up to $150,000, up nearly $25,000. For the amateur side of the tournament, the overall payout is nearly doubled to $60,000.The projected payout includes $7,000 for the MPO winner and $2,000 for the FPO champion. Beyond the payout, Heinold is still focused on the charity side of the event as they hope to raise $30,000 for St. Jude.

“The 2016 Ledgestone Insurance Open presented by Discraft will be the largest event in the history of the sport. The event will offer the largest player’s pack in the country and the richest payout in disc golf history. It will be a massive undertaking for our staff but we are excited for the opportunity,” Heinold says. “Discraft has stepped up in a massive way for the 2016 event. Without the support of Discraft and Mike Wagner and Bob Julio our tournament would not be able to continue moving forward.”
Heinold also told us about these changes based on feedback from competitors of all levels:
  • The infamous Lake Eureka Temp course has been tweaked and redesigned. We eliminated four holes, added four new holes and tweaked 5 more holes. We will now also start the course with the shot over the dam. View the updated course guide.
  • The structure of the tournament will be changing to help with flow: MPO and FPO will play four rounds of tee times, starting on Thursday. All other divisions will start Friday with tee times. Every player will play one round per day.
  • Amateur players will be able to use their payout money online after the event if they can’t stick around for the payout.
  • We will be using 8 courses this year instead of 10 – this will allow us to focus our volunteers on less courses.
  • The OB rules for Hole 5 at Northwood will be adjusted to be more fair and to allow for better flow.
  • There will no longer be a Final 9. As soon as the MPO lead card finishes the Awards and Raffle will take place, which will be followed by the AM payout. The pro payouts will be available shortly after.
  • The event will also feature the Disc Golf Festival as part of the Disc Golf Pro Tour.
  • Other side events include two XC Tiers, our Glo Doubles event, our ice cream social, a buffet dinner, two FlyMarts, Discraft Player clinics, a putting competition, a long drive competition, a hole-in-one contest at the player’s party, and more.

Finally, Heinold has also brought on Dana Vicich as an Assistant Tournament Director.

Vicich says he knows how much Heinold had on his plate last year and is anxious to jump in and make a difference, “I think it is safe to say that Nate Heinold is a mad man. He brought the disc golf world the largest purse in the history of the sport just one year ago. Am’s and pro’s alike were spoiled like never before. He did this with a lot of help, but not quite enough help. He took it upon himself to play a role in every single facet of the event.”

Dana Vicich

Dana Vicich helps runs a clinic at the 2015 Ledgestone Insurance Open. (Photo: PDGA Media, LEL Photography)

Vicich tells us he knows Heinold and Discraft have big plans to improve the tournament in 2016 and he’s ready to take some of the load off of Heinold’s shoulders.

“I’ve played in events across the US and World and have a good idea for what works and doesn’t. I’ve ran countless events from unsanctioned to A-tier. My college degree is in Recreation Management (Illinois State University 2007 grad). What I’m trying to say is, I’m more than qualified for the job,” Vicich states.

“I will be helping with scheduling, fundraising, course rules, media and everything else in between. And yes, I will be working with Nate on the Lake Eureka temporary course design. The 2015 layout had some great holes, but also a few that left many players with a sour taste in their mouth. I’m excited for the opportunity to play a major role in this can’t miss event!”

Best of luck to both Heinold and Vicich. With these updates and additional people on board to help out the future of the Ledgestone Insurance Open looks bright. Registration is expected to open in February 2016.

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