As the excitement and anticipation builds in preparation for the 3rd stop on the Disc Golf Pro Tour, the Play it Again Sports Jonesboro Open presented by Prodiscus, we have asked the back to back Champions of the two previous years, Ricky Wysocki and Paige Pierce, to share their thoughts with us about Disc Side of Heaven and the Jonesboro Open.
Paige Pierce: When I first heard the Disc Golf Pro Tour was going to Jonesboro, Arkansas, honestly, I did not know what to think. I had never played in Jonesboro before nor had I heard anything about the golf there. I did know that there must be a good reason for Steve to want to have such a big event there though, so I was hopeful!
After my first round there I remember thinking how long the holes were and how rough the edges of the fairways were. I also remember being very thankful that a lawn mower company was a big sponsor of the event and thought that was very fitting ha. On a more serious note though, I enjoyed the mix of elevation and the few holes with the water features.
I am a huge fan of par four golf where you have to figure out where you want the disc to land and then have to essentially play a par three from there. It is a course that gives you the option to go for a big distance shot but still requires control. I was excited about that!
Mostly when I look back on the 2017 Jonesboro Open I think about the battle down to the last hole with Sarah Hokom. These are the moments I find the most passion in.
Looking back at 2018, the thing I remember most is the snow round! None of us knew it was coming and then we woke up and boom! I was so excited to have such unique conditions. Although I am not a fan of playing in cold, it was very memorable and not to mention made for some amazing photos! The single shot that sticks out in my mind from 2018 was in the first round on hole 3 I went live on Facebook and threw my brand new Lucid X Convict. It was the first time I even saw the mold at all and I had them delivered to Jonesboro that morning. I was excited about the release as I was told they would be just like my current signature disc the lucid convict, but that they would be able to hold a bit more snap so even though it was mid tournament and I hadn’t thrown it even once yet I thought it would be a fun idea. I put it to 25 ft away pin high on the right and then made the putt!
As far as a favorite hole on the course, I really love hole 18, it is super long and demanding with lots of options and the initial gap you have to hit is so intimidating! Brad saved the hardest one for last and I love that feeling of knowing that anything can happen on that final hole of the tournament. It keeps you on your toes and really makes every hole up until that point that much more critical as you will need to get every stroke possible just in case things go south on 18.
I just want to give a shout out to the entire operation at Disc Side of Heaven. As I mentioned, it wasn’t a course I had even heard of and now it stands out as not only a great course but also as a great event! Brad and crew really take care of every little detail and are very dedicated to making the entire experience the best it can be for everyone attending. I cannot wait to see what 2019 has in store!
Ricky Wysocki: My first memory of Disc Side of Heaven was the beautiful rolling hills and great complement of course design to utilize the hills to make the course have a great visual appeal as well as a great challenge. Also as a top player some courses you step up to just fit your eye and this is one of them. This course requires you to control your angles extremely well coming into the sloped basket placements. I feel like I have very good control of my speed and angle allowing me to land soft and with the right angle on the greens to get a lot of birdie looks and let my putting take over the tournament.
My favorite hole is hole 9 it has all the elements of a great challenging tee shot, challenging approach and a fast tough green. Every element of the hole from the first to the last shot prove a different kind of challenge.
It’s funny my memory about the first Jonesboro Open Championship in 2017 is actually how challenging a couple of the holes were. I remember specifically hole 10 being a huge challenge for me and I don’t think I birdied it at all the whole event.
In 2018 I remember the weather being really cold. This actually sparked me because I usually seem to play well in inclement weather. I enjoy the challenge of not only braving the elements but also being able to perform at a high level. I feel a huge confidence boost anytime I win an event the previous year and come back to repeat. I feel a huge confidence boost over the field knowing I have what it takes to win and just knowing that if I play to the best of my ability I can win again.
I am pumped about going back to Jonesboro. I’ve had a lot of good memories, obviously winning back to back events there, but also being featured on some local radio stations and treating the Disc Golf event like a mainstream sport in the area, which it deserves to be.
So just looking back I remember loving the challenge and wanting to come back to conquer the course again and especially hole 10.
The 2019 Play it Again Sports Jonesboro Open presented by Prodiscus action begins on Friday April 12 at 7:30 am at Disc Side of Heaven. For spectator information visit: https://jonesboroopen.com/index.php/2017/12/14/jonesboro-open-spectator-information. For complete live streaming coverage visit: https://www.dgpt.com/watch.html