A-Tier Alert! - The White Rose Open Preview
Tournaments are one of the most fun aspects of the disc golf season. They allow competitors to come together from all over and challenge themselves against one another. Tournaments can be big, and they can be small. Today, we are going to talk about one tournament in particular, the White Rose Open.
Historically, this tournament has been classified as a B-tier level event. However, for the first time, it has earned itself the classification of A-tier. What does this mean? A-tier events are considered to be regional and have a set of strict requirements that must be followed. For instance, every player is required to be a member of the PDGA, a minimum of 54 holes must be played, the event needs to last multiple days, and the payouts need to adhere to very specific amounts for both professional and amateur divisions.
Typically, A-tiers are held when a B-tier tournament has been run successfully over the course of several years with a proven track record of success and enjoyment by the players. When sitting back to think about ideal locations for an A-tier event, it’s hard not to consider the location for the White Rose Open. This year, a total of 4 courses are being used for the event. These courses are:
- Codorus State Park – Blue
- Codorus State Park – Red
- Codorus State Park – Purple
- Grip-Er & Rip-Er @ Hickory Heights
All of these courses are unique in their own ways and present different challenges to the competitors. The blue course at Codorus State Park is personally, my favorite of the 3 on the property. In my opinion, this course is best suited for tournament play and requires and equal amount of power, accuracy, and consistency. The course forces you to make decisions and contains several well placed holes that will spark movement amongst the field. The short tees are perfect for amateur competitors at all levels, and the long tees will challenge the professionals and highest ranked amateurs to perform well.
One of the stretches of holes on the Blue course to keep your eye on is holes 7 through 11. This is a part of the course where players are greeted with two inviting par 4s in holes 7 and 11. Both of these holes can be birdied, but forcing too much can lead to high numbers and completely disrupted rounds. This section of the course often proves to be too much for most competitors to stay consistent through. We’ll see how it all shakes out, but the players who get through this stretch clean will definitely be in the conversation.
The Red course is a split between holes in the open and tight wooded holes forcing narrow gap hits and long flights requiring sustained straight-flying shots. Holes 1 through 7 are more in the open where you will be dealing with wind off of the lake. There are strokes to be gained here, but many strokes can be lost to poor decision making. This stretch also contains one of the hardest holes in the Codorus State Park complex, hole 7. It doesn’t feel like there are any good shots to be made on this hole, but if you make it out with par, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. A birdie on this hole is legendary, and you’ll likely be the only one of the tournament.
Once you enter the woods on hole 8, the Red course challenges you in a different way. The rough is truly rough, and playing clean is a must if you’re going to survive. For a number of these holes, the key is discing down to something you can control and taking your medicine when necessary. It’s not strange to see some hot scores on Red, but it’s also common to see some big blow-up rounds.
Purple is a unique course that has you playing in the open a lot more than the other two courses. You need to execute good power shots and manage your wind reads to be successful here. There are a few stretches of the course that can be tough, but this is the course you need to get your birdies on. The absolute must on this course is nailing your par 4’s. Purple has 5 par 4 holes. 3 of them are very soft, but all are very much gettable. Don’t miss your opportunities here.
Finally, the Grip-Er & Rip-Er course is all about its name. Success on this course requires some big shots and a clear understanding of how to shape lines in the wind with elevation changes. You’ll throw some of your favorite tee shots all year on this course, and let me tell you, it doesn’t go easy on you. This course will chew you up and spit you out if you let it, especially if you’re not ready for its sheer length. Playing this course once is challenging enough, but playing it as part of a three round event is very physically demanding.
All in all, this year’s tournament is shaping up to be a big one. I can’t wait to play in it and see how things go. I typically play these courses pretty well, but the competition is really stepping it up lately. It’s exciting to see the game growing. It’s even more exciting to be a part of it!
Gary Daddario (www.thumberlife.com)