Registration opens today for the Discmania Open!
Consider this post your official invitation to the 2023 Discmania Open. This is Discmania's version of the European Open, except in Canada! This event is a disc golfer's dream island vacation, filled with wonderful people, incredible beaches, fantastic food, and even better disc golf courses.
What you should know
To begin, we should explain a little bit about what the Discmania Open is and how it came to be. In the simplest terms, the Discmania Open is the signature North American event for Discmania. It is a week-long celebration of all the good things in our game. It was built on close to 20 years' experience from our core TD team and, and in many ways, is the extension of the three recording-breaking Canadian National Championships that we have run. Even these statements are an oversimplification of our event! Truly, the Discmania Open is the result of years of hard work and partnerships that have come to fruition in our area. It is a testament to what can be accomplished when people work together to make something bigger than the parts. We have always considered it to be our gift to the greater disc golf community and, like all gifts, they are best enjoyed when shared with friends. Yes, this will be a DGPT Silver Event, but we will also be offering divisions of all kinds for competition during the Discmania Open.
For those folks out there who have not had the fortune of joining us during any of our previous national championships, let us paint you a picture of what makes this more than just a tournament. If you have been one of the lucky ones to spread your toes on our shores before, let this serve as a reminder of all the wonderful things you can indulge in again when you come back.
Setting the stage
Atlantic Canada is home to a rich tapestry of culture and kindness. We have deep connections to the ocean and the land. We are generous and welcoming by nature, so much so that if you were to walk into a stranger's house by accident while you are here, they are more likely to invite you for dinner than they are apt to ask you to leave. In fact, it could be argued that they would more likely offended if you didn't stay for dinner, or at the very least a cup of tea, now that you are already through the door! What we lack in resources we make up for in resourcefulness. We still believe, and practice, the idea that it takes a community to raise a child, and although we are fairly new in the disc golf world, we have hundreds of years worth of history when it comes to welcoming come-from-aways (CFAs) to our shores. Many of the tough decisions we face on a summer's day have to do with "What kind of ice cream are you choosing after supper?", or "Which beach do you want to go to when it gets hot this afternoon?". These are hard choices, I know. Life here is modest but meaningful.
In many ways, our host province, Prince Edward Island, is the epitome of these things. In all of our previous events, we have encouraged our players to find oceanfront cottages for their accommodations. These are almost always rented from the family who owns them and offer the best way to have a genuine experience here. Your days are filled with disc golf, but your evenings and nights should be filled with campfires, sand flats, seafood, and saltwater. If you have never experienced eating lobster like a local, now is your chance.
It would be one thing if the only draw to our event was the backdrop which we have set for you, but the truth is our strength lies in our courses. The newly redesigned Rose Valley DiscGolfPark course showcases some of the best Island landscapes with epic disc golf shots and ample room for spectating. It doesn't hurt that the Barnone Brewery is on site as well. We will have unique layouts for both the MPO and FPO divisions and, as a Silver Event on the Disc Golf Pro Tour, we will have live coverage for the world to see what we offer. Our second DiscGolfPark course is the newly rebuilt "Kings Pine the Second". This is one of our "future forest" courses that showcases intelligent design and sustainable forestry practices. Although hurricane Fiona did inflict significant damage, our team was able to make the best out of a bad situation. The rebuild won't be done until midsummer, but we are excited to once again share with you what we have created. Our event will also feature the fan-favourite Huck It course in Middleton. Course owner Charlie McCardle and his family always go above and beyond to welcome disc golfers to their piece of paradise, and we are sure you will feel that hospitality when you make your trip there. This year we will feature at least one brand new course: Glenaladale Disc Golf course. This is another wonderful addition to the PEI disc golf landscape, and will play a central part for some of the female divisions for our event. Each course will be well equipped with water stations, bathrooms, disc vendors, and hot food. It is worth noting that, although Hillcrest Farm Disc Golf is not officially part of our event this year, we still strongly suggest players make time to play this course while they are here. As we have said many times before, the Blue layout at Hillcrest was a PERFECT course and everyone is excited to see what the post-Fiona redesign looks like.
Once you arrive
If you haven't figured it out by now, PEI is a dream destination for disc golfers and non-disc golfers alike. Once you have made your way here and checked into your accommodations, we suggest you make time for at least three authentic Island experiences.
First, find a beach and enjoy it. Now, this can mean different things to different people, but the most common ways to really take in the beach here are: long walks on the sand flats when the tide goes out; swimming in the warm salt water when the tide is in; or simply posting up under an umbrella and reading a great book with the sound of the waves in the distance. No day is ever wasted at the beach! Next up, eat some fresh seafood.
Now, we realize seafood is not for everyone, and, as many of you might know, PEI is also known for its potatoes so we won't be upset if you choose to eat those instead. The local way to eat seafood, especially lobster, is to head to the docks on one of the many seaport towns (Victoria-by-the-Sea is always a good choice), and find out what time the boats come in. Buying a lobster a few hours after it has come out of the water, directly from the people who caught it, is about as fresh as it gets. If you can find a pot and place it right on the beach, cooking those same lobsters in the salt water from the ocean and eating them on the beach is the true definition of local.
The last thing we suggest is taking the time to talk to the people who live here. Maybe it is the people serving you food, or the fishers who caught the lobster. It could be any number of random people you meet along the way, but there is very little the locals love more than a good conversation with a CFA.
About the courses
As we have said before, the courses are the real centre piece of this event, so we wanted to give you a little more insight into each of them.
Rose Valley DIscGolfPark course is situated in the centre part of Prince Edward Island. Its rolling hills and wide open fairways on holes 1-3 and 16-18 can be both physically daunting and mentally straining, especially in times of high winds (which are not uncommon). The remaining holes weave in and out of mature hardwood forests, and balance precision and power shots. Our team has added a few scenic par 3s and adjusted some of the long, straight-up hill shots to make the course feature more variety and easier navigation over the hills. We have even added one unique par 3 for our brand-new hole 15 that we expect to be a highlight on the new layout. Rose Valley is very much a Pro Tour level course. This year, we have created MPO- and FPO-specific tee pads and layouts that we believe will demand high quality shots out of all of the players. Hole 4 has always been one of our favourites. You can see it here at the 13:22 mark. Players tee off from an elevated tee pad nestled in the woods and look to make a long downhill shot into the open fairway before placing a second shot back into a dense forest. Last year, Thomas Gilbert shortened his tee shot so that he could throw a monster spike hyzer second shot over the trees and gave himself a great look for a birdie 3. Either way, players have to execute shots and make decisions. There are several other holes in the back that are both challenging and beautiful. As a part of the redesign of Rose Valley into a full DIscGolfPark course, we are making small adjustments to many of the wooded holes, including lengthening the former hole 15 into a par 5, and widening a few of the fairways to allow for better spectating. By the time the course is fully ready, this will be a par 64 course that measures somewhere in the neighbourhood of 9000 feet for the MPO layout. Quite possibly the best part of Rose Valley is the finishing hole, where the natural bowl-shaped hillside allows for a few thousand people to watch players finish out their round. We look forward to seeing a healthy amount of spectators taking in the action here!
Glenaladale is our newest addition, but it fits right in with our overall vision of quality over quantity. Located about 15 minutes east of Charlottetown, it normally features a 20-hole layout with turf pads and DiscGolfPark baskets. For our event, holes will be combined to make a wonderful and challenging 18-hole layout. Glenaladale will be the starting course for all FA divisions on day 1 of competition. This course is your perfect throw-back style of disc golf. The distances are shorter but the shots are fun. Their local group of designers and club members have done a lot of work to make the disc golf there thrive, and, thanks to their efforts, it is doing just that.
Huck It is the most experienced course in our group this year. It has been home to all of the National Championships held on PEI since 2018. It has survived not one but TWO hurricanes (Dorian and Fiona), and continues to be developed, thanks to the tireless work of owner Charlie McCardle. The main course makes great use of the mature hardwood trees, side hills, and Southwest Brook which runs through many of the holes. Forehand players and lefties usually do alright here on most days, but any player that wants to score well needs to hit their lines and make at least a few precarious putts. All the benches, boardwalks, and bridges that are featured throughout the course are made from milled wood that was grown on the property. Hole 6 or 14 may be considered the signature hole, but overall, the place itself has a very special vibe. Not only is the course amazing, but Charlie and his team are almost always serving up fresh corn on the cob and other homemade Island delights during our big events. Huck-it is also the closest course to the Handpie Company store, so no trip to this part of the Island is every wasted.
Kings Pine was the real wildcard for this year. During last year's National Championship, the Kings Pine DiscGolfCourse played beautifully. At that time, it had only been only about five weeks since completion, and the ground was finally levelling off and the grass seed starting to thatch. Hurricane Fiona smashed this course and there were more than a few times that we didn't know for sure if it would come back. After a favourable winter and almost ideal conditions for a rebuild, we are very happy to say that "Kings Pine the Second" will be back as strong as ever. This is a Flickline Future Forest Course where we have first selectively harvested the forest to help foster a healthy ecosystem, and then built the disc golf course secondarily. It is a small but profound shift in our thinking, and although Kings Pine may have been the centre of last fall's storm, the course survived. Almost all of the signature holes were destroyed beyond repair, but as the saying goes, "above disaster awaits opportunity." There are some really interesting new lines and spectator areas that have opened up for us. Our hope is to maintain the same feel that we had before the hurricane, by focusing primarily on the health of the forest and then making the disc golf course thrive inside of those spaces. This is another course where some of the wood from the harvest went towards building the boardwalk, benches, and may even end up building a club house. The essence of this course has remained unchanged despite the devastation inflicted upon it. By the time late summer rolls around this year, we will once again have an 18-hole layout with multiple tee pads that challenges our players entire skill set. All Masters divisions will call this their home course, and play two out of their three tournament rounds here. It will also be the feature course for Ladies Day (a drop-in round and BBQ for women only, early in the week, which has come together through the support of Flickline, the Maritime Discy Chicks, and the Handpie Company).
If you haven't gathered it by now, there are some common themes for our courses and our event. Most of the holes people will play are wooded, and all of the course owners have created their course with some version of sustainable forestry in mind. The majority of courses we play on Prince Edward Island are privately owned, and this has allowed the game to progress here in a very focused manner. The Discmania Open is a chance for these course owners to highlight the amazing things they have done, and to hear direct feedback from dedicated disc golfers from all over the world. This is absolutely a case of, "If you build it, they will come." Each year, after our events, we analyze the week of competition and make adjustments for the following year. This idea extends beyond just the courses, too. Every year we are committed to improving the overall player experience with better food trucks, better side events, and more player-friendly experiences. In the past, we have filmed Champs vs Chumps, Throw with a Pro, and auctioned off private practice rounds with touring players. On Wednesday night, we invite everyone to downtown Charlottetown to the 'Beer Gardens' to host our players check-in and meeting. This wonderful venue is filled with great live music, wonderful food, and all sorts of games for people to enjoy while they take in the atmosphere. On Saturday night, we will host a skills competition, a fly-mart, and players party, all at Barnone (home of the Rose Valley course). The amateur side of our event is over by then, and we award all of their prizes here before turning the night over to live music and DJs. If you don't go home with at least a dozen new friends after a trip to PEI, then we haven't done our job.
As an added bonus this year, you can expect some special Discmania additions to the players pack, as well as at least one iconic Canadian item to take home. Our team has always prioritized quality, using handmade local content when we can source it, and this year will be no different. We are also hosting the Canadian Doubles Championship on Labour Day Monday (and Tuesday morning) for teams that make the cut. Registration for this event will open up later in the spring.
Overall, our goals are to take care of the players once they arrive on our shores by offering you high quality disc golf, food, and entertainment. We are certain that, when you make the trip here this year, you will not be disappointed!
If you want a refresher on the FAQ of the Discmania Open click here.