Tarmo Laiksoo: EPT#3 Estonian Open 2023 Powered by Prodigy Disc
Another Estonian Open is taking place at the beginning of summer. Tell me more about the competition.
The Estonian Open is without a doubt one of the top events and highest-level A-tier competitions of disc golf not only in Estonia but in fact in Europe as well. It has been held since 2013 and has always hosted various world-class players from all over the world – Ricky Wysocki, Paul McBeth, Eagle MacMahon, Albert Tamm, Kristin Tattar, Silver Lätt and the list will not stop anytime soon. Year after year the competition has grown bigger and more professional. Together with the organizing team of the Estonian Open, we are grateful that Rasmus Sepp once started the competition, trusted us, and passed on the organizing rights.
The Estonian Open is also one of the stages of the European Pro Tour. How did you achieve that?
Yes, we are honoured to be one of the stages of the European Pro Tour for the second year in a row. We thank Juha Kytot (EPT CEO) and the entire EPT (European Pro Tour) organizing team for this opportunity. Ever since the Estonian Open has been organized by Rotmeister DG MTÜ, the main sponsor has been Prodigy Disc/Prodigy Disc Europe. In the second half of 2021 they approached us that in 2022 they plan to enter the market with a new, most professional, and highest-level competition series that European disc golf has so far seen and that they would very much like for the Estonian Open to be one of the stages of the new competition series. Of course, we agreed and the rest is history. We have managed to prove ourselves to the EPT organizing team that we know how to run a high-level competition. We already have even more ambitious plans for 2024 and beyond.
The Estonian Open is one of the biggest disc golf events in Estonia that brings together competitors from all over the world. Until now, who have been the main visitors of the Estonian Open – in which countries is it the most popular and have you noticed any changes over the years? What brings the contestants back again and again?
The top layer of Europe and the rest of the world has always participated in the Estonian Open and we are very happy about that. For example, in 2022, players from 12 different countries participated and in the MPO division there were 25 players with a 1000+ PDGA rating. I could be wrong, but I would dare to say that no other Estonian competition has had such a strong composition.
Statistically it has not been checked but most probably most of the competitors have been from Finland, Estonia, Sweden, and Norway. The most “exotic” country from which participants have participated is Australia (Luke Bayne).
I think that what attracts players back to the Estonian Open is the fact that the competition centre is excellent, the courses are amazing and always well-maintained. The competition itself is conducted at a very professional level.
A small advertising snippet – we are currently the only top European competition that is hosting both reigning world champions – Paul McBeth (MPO) and Kristin Tattar (FPO).
Registration for the Estonian Open is now open. How many competitors can fit into the competition and under what conditions? Is it still possible to join?
The Estonian Open can fit up to 144 players and two divisions are represented at the competition – MPO (Mixed Pro Open) and FPO (Female Pro Open). Currently, the 4 th round of the registration rounds is underway, where players with a PDGA rating of MPO 940+ and FPO 860+ are expected. The 5 th round of registration opens on the 13 th of March, where we are expecting players with a PDGA rating of MPO 920+ and FPO 840+, to register. Registration ends on the 24 th of April, after which we will also distribute wild cards. In addition, the Estonian Open Monday Qualifier, which is a PDGA C-tier category competition and where the winners of the MPO and FPO divisions will be awarded a ticket to the main competition, will also take place on the Monday of the competition week, March 29 th , starting at ~18:30.
What is different from last year is the fact that from 2023 it is mandatory to be PDGA Official Certified at all stages of the European Pro Tour (including the Estonian Open), meaning that the participants of the competition must have passed the TD (Tournament Director) exam. The exam must be passed at least 1 week before the beginning of the competition. Otherwise, the player will not be able to play! Link to the exam: https://www.pdga.com/rules/exam.
Let’s talk a little bit about the track as well. According to tradition, the competition takes place in Kõrvemaa, which is one of the most professional courses in Estonia. For those who have not had the opportunity to play in Kõrvemaa, how would you describe the course?
It's absolutely true – the Sportland Kõrvemaa Prodify Disc Golf Park is definitely one of the TOP3 tracks in Estonia. I received a similar question last year from one of the commentators of the EPT LIVE broadcast (Andrew Gum) and my answer remains the same – the Kõrvemaa course offers an interesting combination of pine forest and fairways covered with grass, which were cut by hand in 2016 and is constantly maintained. It’s a disc golf destination everyone should come to. In addition, the layout that was designed in 2016 by several top Estonian players and Seppo Paju, is just the icing of the cake.
What are your best memories related to the Estonian Open?
I think it would be the victory/thank you speech that Kevin Jones (Prodigy Disc), the winner of the Estonian Open in the MPO division gave where he said that this was one of the best organized competitions he’s ever participated in during his disc golf career so far. It is probably not possible for an organizer to get a better motivational “boost”. The organizing team of the Estonian Open would like to thank Discgolf.eu for these questions and interest. And for the readers – put the disc in the basket and see you in Kõrvemaa on June 2–4, 2023!
Photos: Celin Lannusalu @discgolfvisuals