The official start of the 2022 tour season has arrived! The Las Vegas Challenge will kick off the Pro Tour out at the beautiful Wildhorse Golf Club in Henderson, NV. I know everyone is excited for the season to start so let’s go over all that you need to know heading into the weekend!
Just like in the previous years, the Las Vegas Challenge will happen across three courses. The Innova course is the main and most difficult course that will be played twice. The Infinite course is the shortest of the three and the Factory Store course is the longest. In case you need a quick refresher, the Innova course is probably the one that you think of when you think through this tournament. It has several of the iconic holes from the tournament including the most viral shot to come out of the tournament, Paul’s ace.
Speaking of Paul, the courses are apparently the reason that he is not showing up. In an interview on Ultiworld Disc Golf’s podcast, the Upshot, Paul alluded to the tournament having 3 courses being one of the factors that played into his decision to not attend the Pro Tour’s opening tournament. It appears that Paul isn’t the only one that sees this as a problem as the caddy book for this year’s event points out that if the Las Vegas Challenge returns to the Pro Tour in 2023, they will most likely be switching to a two-course format and pushing the am weekend back a week to accommodate the Pro Tour.
The Infinite and Factory Store courses are slightly less memorable, but definitely have their keyholes that stick out. This is mainly due to the fact that they are both only played once in comparison to the Innova course being played twice. The most famous hole between the two courses is the triple island hole on the Infinite course. This hole is one of the only courses on tour that you will see some players decide to jump-putt layup off the tee, although each year it seems like more and more players get aggressive in attacking the pin.
Keys to Victory (MPO)
Being Aggressive. OB rate out here did not seem to have a ton of correlation to finishing position with some of the higher OB rates still being able to be in the top 20. Instead, strokes gained tee to green was what mattered out there, and going OB near the basket was a better sign than being safe in the fairway all day.
Give Yourself Opportunities. This is a high birdie rate tournament and players need to be in a position to capitalize as often as possible. Circle 2 in regulation is a stat to look for out there. Players that are able to regularly give themselves a look inside of circle two will be able to pull ahead of the field.
Keys to Victory (FPO)
Controlled Distance. Players with big arms will be at an advantage out there, but the players that don’t will need to focus on keeping it in the fairway. Paige was able to win last year’s event with one of the worst OB rates because she was able to still get within circle 2 for a look at 75% of the holes. The biggest thing the top finishers had in common though was a great fairway hit percentage. Being in control of the disc is going to be important out there.
Give Yourself Opportunities. Same thing as the MPO. This is going to take a lot of birdies to win and just putting well will not be enough. Some of the best putting percentages last year finished outside of the top 20 because they were not in a position to score when making those putts.
How to Watch
Coverage will be available every which way this weekend! UDisc will have live scoring for the event. The Disc Golf Network will have every round coverage live and be offering it for free to all PDGA members. Jomez, GK Pro, and Gatekeeper will be out there to bring you next-day coverage for the rounds. And if you would rather wait and just hear the results, we will be diving deep into all the storylines and results on Monday’s episode of Grip Locked!