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'J Beast' Award A-Tier Tournament
By Steve Andrews
Springdale Parks & Rec
When the City of Springdale decided to go all-in and redesign its disc golf course in 2016, Matt Loyd envisioned big things for the future.
Loyd is the owner of the Dynamic Discs pro shop, located on the J-Beast course at J.B. Hunt Park, and is hoping to make disc golf a mainstay throughout Northwest Arkansas.
After expanding the course and hosting some smaller tournaments over the past three years, Loyd's plan has now taken its first giant step forward. J-Beast has been awarded its first A-Tier professional tournament by the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA), to be held in the fall of 2020.
"The A-Tier is the largest tournament that the PDGA awards, without it being a national tour stop," said Loyd, who will also be the tournament director. "When the City of Springdale committed to making this into a nice, quality course three years ago, that's when we started to get the ball rolling on hosting some of these events."
The tournament will be Northwest Arkansas Open, which has been held the past two years as a smaller local and regional event, but has grown enough for Loyd to apply for an A-Tier event. It was awarded on his first application.
The added stipulations for the higher-level professional tournament include certain financial incentive to the players. The amateur division has to provide a player pack worth 100 percent of the entry fees, and the pros have $3,000 added to the total of the entry fees. The course also has to meet A-Tier standards, including a quality set of tee pads, baskets and signage, in addition to other things, such as enough parking and access to hotels.
"Northwest Arkansas has everything to offer when it comes to the amenities for visitors," said Loyd, who has already directed 70 PDGA tournament events. "It also helps if the PDGA knows the tournament director and knows the disc golf scene in that area, to be able to trust them to give them an A-Tier level event."
The three-day tournament should bring in between 150-200 participants, from all over the country, according to Loyd, who also expects 10 or more states to be represented.
"That added cash brings a lot of people in," Loyd said with a chuckle. "People will travel a long way, knowing there is $3,000 added cash to the pot."
He is also working with the surrounding cities to possibly accommodate the large number of disc golfers that want to participate in the event.
The final day of the tournament will be held at J-Beast, and the pro shop will be the headquarters. But, depending on what new courses get built between now and then, some of the tournament may be held in Fayetteville, Farmington and possibly Rogers.
"It all depends on what we are able to do and how the courses look next year at this time," Loyd said.
He is ultimately hoping that the area can eventually host a national or major tour event, which would bring in 500-600 disc golfers, who would stay in the area almost a week – bringing in up to $1 million to the local economy, through food, gas, hotels and entertainment.
"That's even another step up in quality of course, and it would take the cities continuing to support disc golf and really having a vision of where this could go," Loyd said. "That's just seeing the big picture of what we are trying to accomplish with the disc golf scene in Northwest Arkansas. Getting this A-Tier is such a huge step for us."