European Open 2019 as a spectator

The famous hole 1 at The Beast.

This year’s European Open was second for me, as a spectator (never attended as a player though). As usual, European Open is held at the famous temporary course, The Beast, located in Nokia, Finland (a heavilly modified version of the permanent 12-hole course Nokia DiscGolfPark). Personally, I would consider Beast one of the best courses in Finland, would it be a permanent course.

This year, the European Open was held on July 18-21 (with Presidents Cup held on July 17) with 4 rounds and about 150 players from over 15 countries (Tyyni 2019 had almost 1000 players, but didn’t attract all of the best).

Historically, the European Open has attracted the best players in the world, so one can expect good golf and amazing shots during the competition. Paul McBeth, the reigning champion, has won the European Open 4 consecutive times, so he can easilly be considered a winning candidate.

During the recent years, I have been increasingly more interested in watching tournament coverage live, as a compilation or on-site. When the best of the best are coming to Finland, I couldn’t resist.

Arrival

When I arrived at the venue, I decided to start with shopping at the temporary Innova Pro Shop during the event, that sells a wide range of discs, all from basic discs to rarities and discs with European Open stamps, and other disc golf related merchandise. Of course I had to buy “a couple” of discs.

For those interested, row by row, from left to right: Nate Perkins Neo Method (signed by Avery Jenkins), Simon Lizotte Shadow Titan Forge Method, Teebird3, Glow Roc3, KJ Nybo Glow Roc and FD.

Following the action

After filling my bag with plastics, I chose, which group to follow. There were many tempting groups, but I finally chose the group with Avery Jenkins as the most interesting player. Avery has been a professional player since 2000 and is highly popular and a central figure in the disc golf scene, so it felt natural to follow his group.

As long as you follow the etiquette , you are allowed to be very close the action itself, sometimes only a few meters from the players. You can either follow a specific group (or card as it’s customary to say) or select at which holes you want to enjoy the action from, or both!

What makes the European Open so special too, is the size of the gallery following the players, especially the feature, chase and lead cards. Hundreds, if not more than thousand, of people actively following the players on-site is a amazing scene. Some of the people are just random people that have heard that a big tournament is in town!

The gallery is at its biggest usually on the last day when the lead card is playing. During my visit, there were somewhat big galleries positioned on several holes, even if it was not the last day.

During the final day of the tournament, the gallery following the lead card was indeed… BIG!

This is by far the biggest and best gallery I’ve ever played in front of.

Ricky Wysocki
The video above was filmed during the last round of European Open 2019.

The gallery is allowed to walk with the players, as long as the spectators don’t interfere with the players. I was able to walk and talk with the players, at least occasionally, in between throws. That’s one of the beauty with disc golf, the players may be the best in the world, but they still interact with the spectators. They talk and joke with fans and gives autographs to fans. They are not raised to some pedestal and shielded from the rest of us.

Small pop-up cafe found on one of the fairways.
Hole 16. Colten Montgomery after a lucky inbounds skip. The disc hit the ground just outside of the haystack and then somehow managed to skip over the OB line (the haystack).
View from the top of hole 18, near the basket.
Hole 18 basket.

Final thoughts

I had time to attend the event for one day (about 2 hour drive from home). I arrived at the Beast in such time frame that I wouldn’t be able to follow the lead card, but that was okay. I was there for the atmosphere and the event itself. I was lucky to find a tee time, where Avery was teeing off. The weather was absolutely perfect; warm and sunny. The shop was full of cool discs to choose from, and of course, the round of 18 holes of disc golf watching Avery & co was an event that I will long remember.

Avery was very professional and considerate towards fans, even if he was frustrated after a tough round. Something that needs to be appreciated.

Video coverage

Here are some videos from the first round of European Open 2019, both MPO and FPO. At least, take a quick look!

European Open 2019 – MPO, round 1, first 9 holes.
European Open 2019 – MPO, round 1, last 9 holes.
European Open 2019 – FPO, round 1, first 9 holes.
European Open 2019 – FPO, round 1, last 9 holes.

The peculiar sport called disc golf

For the love of the beautiful game

I’ve been playing disc golf since summer of 2011. Simply put, disc golf is similar to (ball) golf with the minor exception that instead of trying to hit the ball in a small hole with your irons, you try to throw a plastic disc into a basket.

Nothing (well almost nothing) beats the feeling you get when you’re out on a disc golf field on a beautiful and warm summer day, watching your discs fly way off the intended flight path, straight into a pond or a dense thorn bush. When you get better, you get the very same feeling, but without those ponds and bushes…

If I have a day off, I’ll most likely wake up before sunrise and throw discs until I no longer can see the disc. I live and breathe disc golf.

I’ve been increasingly passionate about the beautiful game and everything around it. From playing to watching LIVE competition broadcasts, from collecting discs to dyeing them.

Collecting plastics

They say you can play the game with only three discs (one putter, one midrange and one driver), maybe with even less. Bollocks, I say. You need more of them, a lot more..

No, in reality, you could manage with only a couple of discs (you’d actually have a good chance of getting real good with those few discs). It’s actually a pretty good strategy to minimize the amount of different type of discs in your bag. It makes it much easier for you to learn the differences between the discs. Knowing your discs can make a huge difference in the final scores. However, that says nothing about having multiple discs of the same mold and plastics…

But, as an amateur, it’s sometimes very fun to be in a dedicted shop and watch and feel the discs, and then buy some and just go crazy on a driving range…

The discs come in different plastics, molds, colors and stamps (basically a logo or a picture of a cat or something, or just a splash of colors, anything really). Some are very boring and cheap (yes, I’m looking at you, DX). Then there are those with a very compelling and even “seducing” stamps.

Some people collect discs and actually don’t throw some of them at all. They might put them on walls and on shelfs because of some aspect of the discs that make them valuable to the collector. It might be a discs signed by a pro player, it might be a rare disc that was produced in small amounts, it might have the name Anthony on it (having Anthony labelled discs automatically makes them worth 10 x the money). I’ve seen discs been sold for more than 200€ (again, easy if the discs mentions Anthony) in Facebook groups.

I’m not an expert in disc valuation, but here are some things that may make a disc more valuable:

  • again, Anthony….
  • if the disc is labelled with a multiplier value (“4x World Champion”, “1X yadda yadda”). The lower the number, the more valuable it might be.
  • if the disc is 1st run (certain people think that certain 1st run molds are wayyy better than other versions of the same mold).
  • a Pre Flight Number (PFN) disc. A PFN disc lacks the flight rating values (speed, glide, turn and fade) that can often be found on discs in one form or another.

I have (or have had) about 160 discs. I have lost, sold or given to charity quite a lot of discs. Why do I have so many (pfft, there are people with several hundreds, if not thousands of discs, so in that perspective, I’m still a noob)? Well, I like (looove) throwing plastics. I also do like to try out new molds and manufacturers’ discs. Since a few years back I’ve taken a deeper interest in getting better at this game, so I’ve bought multiple discs of the same mold to make practising easier (I don’t have to go and get the disc after one throw).

Nowadays I don’t buy so many different new discs. I try to concentrate on certain molds and plastics. I’ve grown fond of a few discs that I have several copies of.

Wall of discs

Some of my nicer discs. I tend to swap out some of them periodically so that more of my discs get a chance to be exposed. Note the top left Simon Lizotte signed disc (Discmania MD4) and the Will Schusterick signed Frozen manatee disc (Prodisqus something…).

Disc dyeing

My latest discgolf related hobby is dyeing discs. While you can buy very good looking discs, one thing is mostly true: they are not unique. Thousands of discs with the same stamp are produced and sold.

You can, however, have unique stamps by making them yourself. You should know though, that the process of making stunning looking custom stamps is behind a long path of trial and error. The outcome depends on the type, quality, wear and color of the selected plastics. Some plastics are hardly dyeable. Other plastics are dyeable but need to be processed for hours or even days, before they look nice. You also need to know how to properly make the color (dye) stick onto the disc. Color theory is another thing. White blank discs are preferred as your starting point. Other colored discs will change the outcome of the color (yellow color on a red disc may yield something else than expected).

And it can be very messy. Touching surfaces with fingers containg even tiny amounts of dye powder will not make your partner happy. Not mentioning the possible damage caused by dropping liquid dye on a carpet or a sofa, or god forbid, on your master bed. You have been warned…

Disc dyeing tools

Most of the tools I currently use for dyeing discs, along with a few dyed discs. I do have a record player in the basement for spin dyeing, which I don’t use very often. I’ve wanted to own a record player for many years. Never would I have guessed that I would some day own a record player for the sole purpose of spinning discs…

Example discs

Here below are some of my favorite stamped discs and some of my custom dyed discs.

Konopiste Open 2016

An example of a beautifully stamped disc. Actually bought from Teemu Nissinen.

European Open 2017 VROC3

Another example of a beautifully stamped disc.

ROC3 - Talin Tallaajat

A blank ROC3 disc with shaving cream dye method as the base and then a painted logo using a stencil sheet. The TT logo failed because I used acetone and it loosened the stencil sheet from the disc and some dye “bled” on unwanted parts. I love the pink color though!

ROC3 - Talin Tallaajat

A blank ROC3 disc with shaving cream dye method.

Champion Leopard 3 - Talin Tallaajat

I removed the original stamp using acetone and then masked the TT logo using a stencil sheet. Finally I used a mixture of iDye Poly Black and Sinol and just painted the logo.