In December we announced our partnership with the first EuroTour event in Czech Republic, the Konopiste Open. Czech Disc Golf has always been very close to our hearts here at Discmania and it's been a blast to see the scene, the players and the tournaments grow and evolve from year to year. Probably the biggest driving force for the sport in Czech Republic has been Mr. Přemysl Novák, who also happens to be the event promoter for Konopiste Open and the main designer for DiscGolfPark Czech Republic. With the tournament registration phase opening this Sunday (February 8th), with caught up with the man himself in the form of a little interview.
This is the 3rd time you and your crew are putting together an event at Konopiste, but the caliber of this event is looking to be substantially higher than in the previous editions. What does it mean to you and Czech Disc Golf to get this event in the PDGA EuroTour schedule?
We started to promote Disc Golf as an simple activity for everybody, easy to reach and a fun outing with friends and family. Besides this we need to show Disc Golf also as a regular sport with traditional aspects of a competitive sport. People are competitive, they want to compare themselves to each other and for many it is the main motivation to play and practice. So we started to organize some smaller tournaments for all players to cover this demand. But we knew we need something bigger.
Two years ago, when we pulled together the first edition of Konopiste Open, our main goal was to organize the pinnacle Disc Golf tournament in Czech Republic with large international potential. From that point it took three years to get the first EuroTour tournament to Czech Republic. We want to say hello to the European scene and to invite the best European players to see how the sport is played in our country. It's our pride and responsibility to treat them the best way we can do and while want to showcasing Disc Golf to the Czech players and public as a competitive sport which everyone can play and develop in.
Ladronka DiscGolfPark in Prague is a great course for both beginners and Pro's.
Give us a quick overlook on what's happening in the Czech Disc Golf scene
Disc Golf has been in Czech Republic now for more than 10 years, but until 2011 the scene was very small, maybe 50 to 100 people. We had 6 traditional tournaments and all of them were played on temporary courses, as there wasn't a single permanent course in the country. We started to cooperate with Innova Europe and DiscGolfPark in 2010 and one year later we had put 5 permanent courses in the ground.
Now in 2015, we have more then 40 permanent courses, most of which are easy, built by municipalities in the public parks with no cost for playing. This caused big boom for our sport, thousands of people are playing and lots of those who have yet to try, have at least heard of Disc Golf. Last year we had more than 90 Disc Golf tournaments (12 of them PDGA sanctioned), attended by more than 500 unique players!
What makes this event a "must go" for international players?
First of all is the place itself. The "Franz Ferdinand" course is located in a scenic 200 years old park, with a lot of huge old trees, sunny meadows and wildlife. In early May the temperature is usually around 20°C and we already have leaves on the trees ;-). We want to show Czech Disc Golf in the best way possible and the players will feel it in everything. We will organize the transfers from and back to the airport, both tournament hotels are situated right next to the course and we are preparing very interesting side activities. The tournament can be attended with a really reasonable budget. Also we'll make sure the course is in great shape by installing levelled TeePads and new DisCatcher Pro baskets on each hole. We've already got some news that some of the best European players want to show up to see the event, so the level of play is looking to be high class.
There's nothing like the sound of a brand new set of chains.
Discmania CEO and course designer extraordinaire Jussi Meresmaa has helped to design the "Franz Ferdinand" layout to the Konopiste Course. What has it been like to work closely with Jussi on this great property?
Oh man, it's been great! I've been mostly keeping my mouth shut, just watching and learning as Jussi does his thing ;-). Great lessons in course design and I am really appreciative of his help. Jussi took out all the boring stuff and replaced them with some gorgeous holes. The course is long, but every hole offers it's own kind of challenge and there is not a single hole that players would not be looking forward to play. There are several holes with hole-in-one potential as well as long par fives where you can shoot an 8 or and eagle depending on how you place your shots.
Prague is full of stunning sights to explore.
Outside tournament action, what can the players expect from this event? What sights or happenings in Czech Republic would you recommend the international visitors to check out?
Thanks to the golf start format, players will have more time to explore the czech culture. We are working to facilitate a big demand for the side activities, such a Konopiste castle excursion, a tour of a local brewery, an untraditional sight-seeing trip to Prague in the evening with an old double-decker bus and lots of other activities ;-)
The first phase of registration for the Konopiste Open opens this Sunday (February 8th). Sign up and start planning your trip - it will be an experience you will not regret!
-REINVENT YOUR GAME