become a mainstay on tour over the past 3 years. There have been many parts and pieces that have contributed to the popularity of the event, including the quality of the two 18-hole courses, Brewster Ridge and Fox Run Meadows (co-designed with Steve Brinster and TD Jeff Spring), and fantastic venue and host, Smugglers’ Notch Resort. Add in the full support of Discraft and you get a perfect recipe for an event that looks to break barriers every year, and has now been awarded the 2018 PDGA Pro World Championship!
The 2016 edition of the GMC saw the event break through to the Disc Golf Pro Tour as its final stop and Tour Championship, all the while serving as a PDGA A-Tier event. This season, TD Jeff Spring and DGPT Director Steve Dodge have opted to separate the events, in order to let the GMC stand alone. This also gives the DGPT Tour Championship its own venue, which will be in Jacksonville, FL in late October at New World Disc Golf. This is the largest field of players to date at the GMC with 141 in the MPO and 21 in the FPO. Most of the biggest names are present in each division, and of course the two defending champions. Ricky Wysocki is looking continue his dominance collecting a fifth win and maintaining his spot as the only MPO champion of this tournament. Catrina Allen only knows the sweet taste of victory here having won both years she has played this event prior. You can read more on the MPO field here and more on the FPO field here .
Lets talk about dominance at Discraft’s Green Mountain Championships. Both of our defending champions have clenched every win here with a handful or more throws on their competition. In chronological order, Wysocki has won by 9 throws in 2013, 4 throws in 2014, 9 throws in 2015, and 6 throws in 2016 – playing against many of the familiar names we’ve seen at the top of the leaderboards all season. Ricky simply plays well in Vermont it seems, his worst tournament round on record at this event over the years was round three in 2014, a still impressive 1027 rated 54 on Brewster Ridge. Catrina is no stranger to leads here either – winning by 6 throws in 2015 and 16 throws in 2016. Ricky seems to be at the peak of his game right now and Catrina, despite some tough moments this year, is building and maintaining some great momentum for the season. Bringing home the victory for both players will make for especially satisfying wins this late in the tour season.
I had a chance to catch up with Jeff Spring and pick his brain on the tournament, the courses, and some predictions. I am personally always curious about folks’ favorite and least favorite holes on a course. They tend to be great to watch and are often important must get birdies or the deeply challenging holes that create the score separation between the leaderboard and the rest of the masses in hot pursuit. Here’s what Jeff had to say about on the topic:
Jeff: “Holes 4, 10, 11 and 16 are favorites on Brewster. Holes 5, 7, 9, and 18 are favorites on Fox Run. Least favorites…hmm…that’s a hard question to ask a course designer, but I’ve heard that there are love/hate relationships with hole 9 on Brewster, and holes 6 and 8 on Fox Run. I personally have small issues with most holes out there and am always planning on making tweaks to improve each hole.”
For those of us who don’t live close enough to watch the course evolve, changes in the layout always make for interesting additions to an event. From last year to this year there are plenty of changes to both courses that you’ll see in the footage but what stood out most to me from our conversation was Jeff’s description of the new hole 12 on Fox Run:
Jeff: “The biggest change of all has to be the new hole 12. This is now a tough carry, all over water. If competitors do not make it in bounds, they will have to move to the drop zone and attempt to get up and down for their 4. The gold carry is about 350 ft, so we will most likely see some shots in the drink.”
Having played both Brewster Ridge and Fox Run myself I must admit that there are no gimmes’ out on these course and every hole offers a unique challenge and each course has a character quite different from the other. Jeff sums it up best though so I’ll let his words to the talking:
Jeff: “These two courses challenge all parts of your game. Yeti has described them as “yin and yang” and I think that is an apt description. Brewster has tighter lines and gaps that players must hit. It’s a classic New England wooded course and you just need to be accurate on every hole. Fox Run lets players air it out. Its nearly 9,500 and at par 62, that’s a challenge! Players must be able to throw far, but they can’t lose accuracy. There is OB on every hole, so the minute you lose your focus or commitment to one shot, you may be paying the price. I’ve been to the USDGC for 5 straight years, as well as over to Jarva and the European Championships. The way those courses set-up and used OB was an inspiration for this course. I believe the OB is very fair on every hole, but is there to punish bad shots.”
With the best players in the world converging on Smugglers Notch this week we are sure to see some hot rounds. The current records are held by Nate Doss, with a 28 (-12) on Brewster Ridge, and Ricky Wysocki and Paul McBeth, tied for the record on Fox Run at 49 (-13). Jeff thinks we’ll see someone best Doss but that the record on Fox Run will likely hold. With that though it’s time for some predictions from the club house. Jeff has been on site watching everyone practice and following the tour all summer and was happy to throw out a couple names:
Jeff: “It’s hard to predict that anyone other than Rick will win, but I think that McBeth is looking very focused during practice, Nate Doss and Simon will be up there too. Brinster is co-designer on Fox Run, and we are all waiting for him to break through and this could be the year. If I had to pick anyone over Ricky, right now it would be Simon. I expect to see Cale Leiviska and Dana Vicich in the hunt as well. In the FPO its going to be some combination of Val, Catrina, and Paige.”
the 5th edition of Discraft’s Green Mountain Championship is not only a disc golf tournament, but the once again positioned as the main event in Smuggs Fall Fest, a festival that also includes craft beer and cider, local food, music and other adventure and recreation opportunities. Jeff Spring has continued building the event around the idea that featuring disc golf as part of a larger whole will expose more people to the sport and create and incredible overall experience. Club Wyndham continues to agree with Jeff and is once again a prominent lodging partner for the event.
Another returning partner, Fiddlehead Brewing Company, is back with the third installment of a three part IPA collaboration with Nate Doss and Bevel Brewing. This final installment is called Overstable Double IPA and Smuggs is hosting a limited edition can sale on Friday 9/15 and Saturday 9/16. This will be the only canned release of this beer so make sure you don’t miss out on bringing it home to share with your friends!
The rest of FallFest will feature an expanded brewery slate including Zero Gravity and 14th Star Brewing to add to the variety of craft beer options. Citizen Cider returns as a delicious offering and one of Vermont’s very best cideries. The resort sits nestled in the heart of Vermont’s Green Mountains and serves as the stage for this preeminent celebration of Northern Vermont culture as FallFest LIVE runs both Friday and Saturday night and brings foot-stomping, heart-warming music. This year’s line-up brings us some of the best artists from throughout the Northeast including Kat Wright, Red Baraat, The Brothers Comatose, Zach Nugent Dead All Stars Ft members of Jerry Garcia Band, moe., Disco Dead, and Dead Set!
The week kicks off on Tuesday at nearby Cambridge Elementary School with a EDGE clinics for approximately 150 4-6th graders and Innova Champion Discs’ long drive contest. With the help of the after school enrichment program, Cambridge Connections, the students of CES have been learning to play the sport over the last 6 years. Innova is donating their third EDGE package to the area and this year it will be going to Lamoille Union High School.
With so much going on make sure you make it out Smugglers’ Notch for Discraft’s Green Mountain Championship if you can. Otherwise don’t miss our live coverage of all four rounds starting on Tuesday. Until then get out there and smash some chains!