Pittsburgh prepares for the 2015 PDGA World Championships

We might have just had the first Major of the 2015 season and the first National Tour stop is still a few weeks away, but we’re already looking to August and the 2015 PDGA World Championships in Pittsburgh. The Worlds planning team released the promo video shown above to help get people excited for the upcoming tournament.

We talked with the 2014 World Championships Communications Director Maria Montano to learn more about the planning for Worlds and a partnership with ALS of Western Pennsylvania.

There is quite a bit of work that goes into putting on the World Championships. When did you and the team really get started on this year’s event?

2015 PDGA World Championships“The host club, Pittsburgh Flying Disc Society, has been working since 2004 to bring the World Championships to Pittsburgh. When we partnered with Marshall Township twenty years ago to build the Knob Hill disc golf course, one of our goals was to someday have a collection of world-class courses we could use to host the Worlds.”

“We ran A and B-tier PDGA tournaments on the courses, and a National Tour event in 2012. We worked closely with the parks and recreation departments that oversee the various courses as well as the Butler County Tourism and Convention Bureau and VisitPittsburgh to put together a great bid in 2012 and were stoked when the news came that we would host the tournament in 2015.”

In terms of your overall timeline, do you feel like everything is on schedule? Are things coming together as you hoped?

“We feel like all the course prep is going really well. It helped that two out of the four courses are already considered some of the best in the country. We are making improvements to the tee pads, signage, pin positions and targets on the courses, and expect all four of them to shine. We have some dedicated volunteers and course promoters that have put in hundreds and hundreds of hours into course design and maintenance over the past several years.”

What is next on the list of things to do for Worlds?

“Our sponsorship and fundraising team are working overtime to showcase the sport of disc golf to new audiences, and build lasting relationships that will move the sport forward. We want to make this event very special for the players, the PDGA, and for the Pittsburgh region. We have secured the host hotel, the Marriott Pittsburgh North in Cranberry and are lining up host campgrounds and other accommodations for those that will be coming into town for Worlds Week.”

“The PDGA is taking the lead on negotiating sponsorship relationships with the disc golf industry, and we expect to have agreements in place for our Finals and Competition Course sponsorships by the end of this month.”

“We are hammering out the World’s Week schedule, including a feature role for disc golf at the Regatta at Lake Arthur at Moraine State Park, as well as other social events at attractions in the area.”

“We are pulling together four preview tournaments to give folks a chance to come and play the courses–in their tournament layouts–before the World Championships in August.”

  • Throwdown and Hoedown: Moraine State Park and Camp Kon-O-Kwee– March 21 – Online Registration
  • Worlds Invasion: Deer Lakes Park – May 23rd. Mr. Disc Golf Tour
  • Worlds Invasion: Slippery Rock University – May 24th Mr. Disc Golf Tour
  • Papa’s Shake and Bake: Knob Hill Park – June 20th

The video shows the courses that will be used for this year’s Worlds. What kind of courses will the pros encounter this year?

“The four courses to be played at Worlds this year—Knob Hill Disc Golf Course, Moraine Lakeview Disc Golf Course , Deer Lakes Disc Golf Park, and Slippery Rock University Disc Golf Links—all feature elevated tees and greens and a mix of grassy and wooded fairways”

Knob Hill Disc Golf Course (White Tees: 5,979 ft – Par 58, Blue Tees: 7,519 ft – Par 62) is true to its name, with striking downhill shots, tricky approaches to fast greens, a mix of open and wooded fairways, and a water hazard that will require accuracy from the tee to pin on every hole. The course opened in 1994 and has been expanded to include White and Blue tees with three pin placements for every hole. This year our Marshall Township partner will install concrete Blue tee pads making this gem of a course even better.”

Hole 15 at Moraine Lakeview

Hole 15 at Moraine Lakeview

“The Moraine Lakeview Course (White: 5,864 ft – Par 66, Blue: 7,064 ft – Par 66, Gold: 8,264 ft – Par 66) is a par-66 championship level course, with two par 5s, eight par 4s, and eight challenging par 3s. The course features a set of Gold tees rated at 1000, Blue tees rated at 950, and White tees rated at 900. Accuracy is a must, both off the tee and on approach shots. Good course management is necessary to score well; bad shots are penalized and good shots rewarded. The views and scenery on the course are spectacular, especially the signature Hole 15 (par 4) which overlooks Lake Arthur.”

“We spent November and December grooming and pruning the fairways and installing concrete tees on most of the Gold and Blue tees. Installing new tee signs and the rest of the concrete pads this spring will take one of the top rated courses in the country to the next level.”

“Deer Lakes (Red: 5,685 ft – Par 66, White: 7,257 ft – Par 66, Blue: 8,316 ft – Par 66) opened in 2006, and will challenge players to throw just about every shot in their bag. From the monster 825 foot par 5 hole 3 that features a downhill drive and an uphill finish while battling a tight 50 foot wide corridor, to the iconic hole 15, a 340-foot downhill shot over one of the park’s three lakes to a basket that sits just a few feet away from the shore on the other side, these spectacular views will test your nerve from drive to putt.”

“First opened as a nine hole course in summer of 2012 and redesigned as an 18-hole championship level layout in July 2014, the disc golf links at Slippery Rock University (Green: 5,470 ft – Par 66, White: 6,834 Feet – Par 66, Gold: 9,045 ft – Par 66) features many wide open holes up, down and around the University campus and athletic fields. The par 66 Worlds layout includes water hazards, many OB areas, as well as tall meadow grass that frame the fairways and greens on this links-style track. This course will host the semi and final rounds of the 2015 World Championships.”

You also announced a partnership with ALS of Western Pennsylvania. Tell us about the organization and how the World Championships are helping out.

ALS of Western Pennsylvania“ALS is a disease that hits close to home for our Worlds planning committee, and we wanted to do something unique for the World Championships by creating a charity partner that would be a focus to our fundraising for the year leading up to worlds as well as helping to raise awareness about the great work that ALS of Western PA does for our community.”

“Our teeoff event, the March 21 Throwdown & Hoedown, will include the Disc Golf Scramble to Defeat ALS. Teams of 3 will be paired with a professional disc golfer to compete on an 18-hole course at Camp Kon-O-Kwee in a scramble format. We are looking to get a total of 36 teams to raise money for ALS Association and as a bonus, the team that raises the most money will have their pick of the pros to be on their team.”

“Everyone will finish the days disc golfing at the Hoedown, featuring a wine and beer tasting, catered dinner and a Silent Auction fundraiser to benefit the World Championships and the ALS of Western PA. You can register for the Throwdown Moraine Preview Tournament, the Scramble to Defeat ALS, and the Hoedown online

How important to you was it to have a chance to give back while hosting such a great event?

“One of the members of our planning committee has a family member whose life is affected by ALS. They have seen first hand what the disease does to someone they love, and the amazing support the ALS of Western PA provides to help those living with the disease and their family members through an incredibly difficult time in their life.”

“Being able to support a charity like the ALS who does so much good for our community means a lot to all of us on the planning committee.”

When does registration open? Are there any plans in place to avoid any problems with top pros not getting in?

Qualification criteria and the calendar for invites for the 2015 World Championships are posted at PDGA.com. The invite list will be posted on March 27, with invites sent out April 3. International players will have the first window to register beginning April 17, followed by open registration for all invitees beginning May 8, including a spot reserved until June 4 for defending World Champions in each division. The PDGA is responsible for all of the registration, administration and payout for the 2015 Pro Disc Golf World Championships.”

Thanks to Maria for talking with us about this year’s World Championships. This is just the first in what will undoubtably be a series of previews of the 2015 Worlds.

Seeing the partnership with ALS of Western Pennsylvania is a great addition to what should be a very exciting event. Be sure find them on Facebook for all the latest from Pittsburgh.


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