Great Lakes Open Preview: Taking On The Toboggan Hills

Recently, Discraft players have dominated in the company's backyard

The third event of the covid era Elite Series starts up this weekend at the famed Toboggan course in Milford, Michigan. The Discraft Great Lakes Open is a one of a kind challenge on tour, offering the most consistent and stark elevation changes we see throughout the season. Of course, no conversation about the DGLO would be complete without reminding you, dear reader, that Paul McBeth shot his historic 18-under at the Toboggan in 2018. This begs the question, why doesn’t everyone do exactly what McBeth did? I mean, it’s right there. You can watch how he did it.

DGLO  joined the Disc Golf Pro Tour in 2018, and with the exception of McBeth and Nikko Locastro and Kevin Jones, no Open division player has bagged a top 10 finish in both editions of the event. McBeth is heading into this weekend looking for the three-peat, and Locastro is looking to keep the good vibes going after his win at The Preserve two weeks ago.  Locastro finished third in 2018, and earned a three-way tie for eighth in 2019. Jones took McBeth to the wire last season and is coming into the event with a lot of momentum.

In the Open Women’s division, we have not had a repeat champion, or even a repeat podium. In 2018, Sarah Hokom took the W, with Paige Shue née Bjerkaas and Jessica Weese in second and third. In 2019, Paige Pierce finished in first, well ahead of Catrina Allen and Lisa Fajkus.  Pierce and Allen have a significant leg up on the competition at this event with their abilities to push the disc down range on the long and uphill fairways all over this course. It is worth noting that neither Pierce nor Allen was in attendance in 2018, but Allen won this event four times when it was an A-tier. Missy Gannon will also be playing this weekend. She is hoping to extend her podium-streak to four events in a row as she has emerged as a new force in the FPO field.

What We’re Watching

  • This is Discraft’s backyard, and Paul McBeth has stamped his legacy over these hills like a stack of Lunas. Do the reigning world and DGLO champs, and Discraft top players repeat as victors, or does a rival manufacturer get to rain on the festivities?
  • While Toboggan sometimes has the rep of an “amateur” course, and regularly gives up double-digit rounds under par to the Open leaders, it plays pretty close to par on average for the field. The Open Women usually averages about six strokes over par. Will the par change in FPO move the field closer to even, and will a potentially clear and hot summer weekend drop the MPO scores even lower?
  • This is going to be Ricky Wysocki’s first time playing DGLO since it joined the Disc Golf Pro Tour. He won the event by nine strokes over Garrett Gurthie when it was on the National Tour in 2013. Eagle McMahon and Simon Lizotte are also playing DGLO for the first time.

Previous Winners

PDGA TierMPO WinnerFPO Winner
2022DGPTCalvin HeimburgNatalie Ryan
2021DGPTEagle McMahonKristin Tattar
2020DGPTEagle McMahonPaige Pierce
2019DGPTPaul McBethPaige Pierce
2018DGPTPaul McBethSarah Hokom
2017AZiggy BierekovenKrystal Fromm
2016AReid FrescuraCatrina Allen
2015ABen CallawayCatrina Allen
2014ATyler HorneCatrina Allen
2013NTRicky WysockiSarah Hokom
2012AJon PerryCatrina Allen
2011BTyler Hornen/a
2010BMike RaleyDes Reading
2009AMike RaleyElaine King
2008AAl 'Sugar' SchackAngela Tschiggfrie
2007NTCale LeiviskaDes Reading
2006NTJosh AnthonDes Reading
2005NTScott MartinJuliana Korver
2004NTCam ToddDes Reading
2003NTBarry SchultzJuliana Korver
2002AShawn SinclairLeslie Herndon
2001AScott MartinElaine King
1999AKen ClimoJuliana Korver
1998AKen ClimoElaine King
1997AKen ClimoElaine King
1996AKen ClimoAnni Kreml
1995AKen ClimoBecky Powell
1994BJeff MaltonElaine King
1993BSteve KohmanMolly Morrow
1992ADan GinnellySharon Jenkins
1991CSteve WisecupElaine King
1990CDan GinnellySharon Jenkins
1989CSlate PaulElaine King
1988CJoe EaganElaine King
1987CSteve WisecupElaine King
1986CBob Huston/Kevin StewartGail McColl
1985CBob Harrisn/a
1984CJoe Eagann/a

The Course

Toboggan: MPO – 9348 feet, par 62; FPO – 8,392 feet, par 64

One of the biggest draws for DGLO is how, as Simon Lizotte put it in his vlog, the course looks like a bomber course where big arms can just let it rip without much worry about OB, “natural” or otherwise. Given the elevation and strategic use of the woods and standalone trees on the property, however, a 600-foot bomb could be less useful than a well placed 400 foot “chip” to a more advantageous angle for attacking the green. There are eagles and plenty of birdies to be had, but without a strategy for moving the disc up the fairway, there are plenty of big numbers to be had.

The Open field will be playing a slightly shorter course than in 2019, and the Open Women have gained some distance, more than 400 feet. MPO par remains the same while FPO jumped four strokes. The MPO division will be playing the same tee pad as FPO on hole 1, shortening the opener by about 125 feet. The major changes for the women is playing holes 3 and 17 from the long tees and as par 5s.

Great Lakes Open Toboggan Caddy Book

Extended Forecast

Overall very nice conditions are expected this weekend in Milford, Michigan for Discraft’s Great Lakes Open. High pressure and a subtle north surface wind will keep conditions very nice Friday. Winds will shift out of the south on Saturday and Sunday, leading to slightly warmer temperatures. Fortunately, no rain is in the forecast.

Friday: Temperatures to start the day will be around 60°. Those with early tee times may find it a bit chilly. However, temperatures should quickly warm into the upper 70s by noon. Expect the high temperature to top out around 83º. A north wind around 5 mph can be expected.

Saturday: Much of the same is forecast for Saturday. Temperatures will be slightly warmer at the onset of competition and should warm to a high around 85º. A southwest wind around 5 to 10 mph will be possible.

Sunday: Southwest surface flow will strengthen ahead of an approaching cold front. Highs on Sunday will top out in the upper 80s as that southwest wind becomes a bit gusty during the afternoon hours. Gusts in excess of 20 mph will be possible. Current indication is that the rain should hold off until Sunday evening.

How to Watch

The Disc Golf Network will have live coverage for all three rounds, and the final round will be simulcast on the DGPT YouTube channel. JomezPro will have MPO lead card post produced coverage, and Gatekeeper Media will cover chase card. GKPro will have FPO lead card post produced coverage. Alyssa Van Lanen will be on site behind her camera as usual, and UDisc Live will have live scoring.

As always, keep your eye on Ultiworld Disc Golf for all the latest and greatest in news and analysis.

  1. Christopher Wiklund
    Christopher Wiklund

    Chris is a contributor at Ultiworld Disc Golf. He lives and works on Cape Cod in Massachusetts where he plays as much disc golf as he can, and reminds people he lives on Cape Cod. He likes spending time outside when he isn't playing video games and watching TV.

  2. Jacob Wilkins
    Jacob Wilkins

    Jacob Wilkins is a disc golfer from Bowling Green, Kentucky who has a bachelor of science degree in meteorology from Western Kentucky University. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram for a solid mixture of disc golf and weather.

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