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San Francisco Open Event Preview Q&A

As we look toward the 2019 season we took a moment to speak with the TD of each Pro Tour event to learn a little bit more about what makes the event special. Read below to see what San Francisco Open TD Sean Jack has to say about the San Francisco, CA event.
How old is the event?
2018 was our inaugural event.

Did you imagine the event being one of the premier events in the world?
Absolutely, from the start. That was the vision expressed by Team SFO at our first meeting. The Bay Area has a storied history in disc golf but without a modern premier pro-centric event (Santa Cruz is not in the “Bay Area”). The installation of the course at Gleneagles paired with our relationship with Steve/DGPT provided us with a great start. However, it took excellent vision and hard work by a talented team to execute a professional event in our first year.

What makes your event unique (course, atmosphere, side-events)?
Gleneagles DGC is a championship caliber course with sweeping views of the Bay Area, massive elevation changes, and unique spectator experience. Steve Dodge has always been an inspiration for me as a TD. I competed at the Vibram Open on several different occasions. While the golf is great, the games and festival atmosphere made it an unforgettable experience. The 2018 SFO included 8 days of activity in addition to the 3-day competition: doubles, putting comp, Kids Disc Golf, $20k ace challenge, freestyle exhibition, drone racing, and more.

Are there any new extras (off-site or on-site events) or changes to the event for 2019?
We are looking to bring in a professional DJ from Amsterdam to MC the $20k ace challenge. He has a weekly show called Dirty Disco Radio that many of our San Francisco Club members listen to on the course. We have donated to his cause and even sent him discs. He is now a big fan of our club and disc golfers. He even gave a shoutout on one of his episodes where he called the show “Dirty Disc Golf Radio”. We also will focus more on engaging with the local youth community and Bay Area disc sports (outside of disc golf).

On the sponsorship side, we are always looking for opportunities to partner with businesses outside of the industry. As such, we are excited to announce that the 2019 SFO will be the first premier event ever to have a presenting sponsor in the cannabis industry. Nailing down “AbsoluteXtracts presents the San Francisco Open driven by Innova” was not easy.

Team SFO, the DGPT, AbsoluteXtracts, and Innova all worked together in good faith to make sure everyone’s concerns were addressed. This required complete transparency with all involved parties. We are grateful for the patience and flexibility of everyone involved. As most TDs know, it’s challenging to secure non-endemic sponsors and this industry could be a great source of support for us in the future.

Are there any changes to the MPO course?
Yes, likely Holes 4, 7, & 8.

Are there any changes to the FPO course?
I don’t think so.

Has being a Disc Golf Pro Tour event helped you grow?
Not grow, but rather exist – without DGPT, the SFO might not have ever happened. The media package and touring professional players allowed us to have one of the most successful inaugural events ever.

What is your favorite funny or entertaining story from running this event?
Never satisfied with anything other than 1st place, Ricky Wysocki did not attend the award ceremony at the conclusion of last year’s event. Since he did not pick up his trophy, we thought it should stay in the Gleneagles clubhouse, where it has been available to order with your beverage of choice…. as a triple pour! Another anecdote, the SF club president (Jon Toby) was the starter all three days. He researched each player and had interesting introductions for each player. For example, did you know that Val Jenkins was the winner of the Disc Golf Cruise and Jeff Faes won a car on the Price is Right!?

Are there any particular shots/scores you remember from past events?

  • Simon’s putting woes on Hole 18 on Saturday took him out of the event.
  • Ricky’s meltdown on Hole 15 on Sunday took him out of the event.
  • Sarah Hokum’s ace on Friday that made SportsCenter!
  • Paul’s eagle on Hole 9 on Sunday was incredible.

How great is your staff? and Why?
We are very lucky to have an amazing staff. Everyone on our team LOVES the game and showcasing our town to the players and fans. Led by DGPT co-TDs of the Year for 2018, Team SFO started meeting 6 months before the 2018 event. We empowered each member to take ownership of a substantial project: food program, volunteer coordination, course preparation, website, merchandise, spectator onboarding, etc. This approach has fostered a strong sense of pride and ownership of the event by the Team. As such, we consider players, volunteers, staff, and fans as our family. We are extremely excited to put on another great show in May!