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Test Event Q&A: Goat Hill Challenge

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We sat down with Allen Risley (the man who fathered A.J. Risley ) to discuss the event he held this past weekend at Goat Hill Park. Allen believes Goat Hill Park is up to the Pro Tour challenge
and submitted his event, The Challenge at Goat Hill Park driven by Innova, to the test. Enjoy our Q&A with Allen. He has just held the first ever Disc Golf Pro Tout Test Event.
Steve: When and why did you start the event?
Allen: I began holding The Challenge in 2011, shortly after what used to be known as Center City Golf Course in Oceanside, CA added disc golf baskets.  I was involved in the initial design of the course and fell in love with the property. I had taken over as tournament director of another popular ball-golf course tournament at Emerald Isle Golf Course in Oceanside in 2009 and 2010, but EI pulled their baskets in 2010.  I really enjoy disc golf on a ball golf course, especially if it’s an executive or shorter par-4 layout, and these two courses fit that description.
So it was a natural to move that previous event to Center City (Goat Hill).  I ran the first Challenge because I enjoyed the course and felt it deserved to be showcased.  And I enjoy running disc golf events and seeing people have fun playing disc golf.
The management at Goat Hill changed hands in 2014 after the property almost became a soccer park (I spoke at the City Council meeting where the decision was made to keep it as a golf course.) and is now being managed by a group led by John Ashworth (formerly of Ashworth Golf Apparel).  The course has improved dramatically in condition and the current management is very supportive of the role disc golf plays at Goat Hill Park.  We lost two years of playing the tournament while the status of the course was up in the air. Now we’re back for the third year in a row and the event continues to grow and improve.
Steve: With such a relatively small pro field, what makes you think you can expand it to 100+ pro players in 2019 and become a significant stop on the tour?
Allen: The size of the pro field has been limited for a few reasons:

  1. The tournament has always been an “all divisions” event, and there are more Am players locally than pros.
  2. It’s held on one course, with tee times, utilizing 2/3 of the available tee times, so the overall field has been limited.
  3. San Diego does not have as much geography to draw players from.  There are no players to the south of us, none to the west, very few to the east without a 10-hour drive.

Being part of a tour or series that encourages players to play most or all events is integral to drawing a large field to San Diego County.  Put Goat Hill in between GBO and Master’s Cup like it is this year and it would become a much more convenient stop for players. This event would be a pro-only event – we would create an Am-only event to be held a few weeks earlier for our local Ams.
Running a larger event is challenging, but we have a great pool of resources to draw from.  The venue is supportive of having a large, multi-day event with spectators. I have several other experienced tournament directors willing to get involved and lend a hand.  As a member of Team Innova, I also receive a great deal of event support from my friends in Rancho Cucamonga. This year’s event will have 130 players across all divisions. If we were on the Pro Tour, all of those spots would be MPO and FPO and we would get the entire schedule of tee times, so 200+ players is a possibility.