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2019 Season Recap

2019 Swan City Showdown Players Meeting

With the onset of snow and continuous below zero temperatures the 2019 disc golf season has ended for the fair weather discers. Some enthusiastic members of our club will endure the self punishment and play throughout the winter winds, wearing so many layers that they resemble the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man more than an athlete. As our play begins to plummet more than the temperature this seems like a good point to reflect on how well we did as a club in the past year of tournament play.

In 2019 the Grande Prairie Disc Golf Club made some big strides as a local and provincial power on the tournament scene. As a club we competed in over 220 rated rounds and grew our PDGA membership to 13 players, almost doubling our member base. Our 7 pre existing PDGA members all saw increases in their 2019 rating and as a club we took down 10 wins, 15 seconds, and 11 thirds while competing across 3 provinces, 1 state, and participating in 18 different events. 

BONUS: As a club we were also able to collect 4 1000+ rated rounds (these may have all come from 1 member but clearly this is more of a group achievement). Good Job Grande Prairie Disc Golf Club!!!

(Left) 2 x TD of the year Greg Hearn, (Middle) 4 x 1000+ Mike Heckbert, (Right) 1 x 990 Michael Curtiss

Tournament History

In 2017 when we started our first shaky steps into the sanctioned tournament scene I had an idea to seed the north with propagators, these are rated players used to establish the round ratings for the tournament field. These Propagators need to be rated over 700 and have a minimum of 8 rated rounds in the last year. Back in 2017 we had to beg and plead for propagators to come up from the south, we were able to get 7 players to come up and propagate our first PDGA tournament. Fast forward 2 years to Battle of The Peace 4 where there were 15 propagators, we can exclude Gregg Barsby the California Pro leaving 7 from Grande Prairie and 7 from the BC peace region. I am extremely proud with how quickly we have been able to grow the local tournament scene and how other peace region clubs have also taken up the initiative. Within the peace region (consisting of Grande Prairie, Dawson Creek and Fort St John) there were 5 PDGA events totalling 11 rated rounds. I hope this growth allows our local club members see the benefit of joining the PDGA, and as we continue to host events more frequently we’ll provide more opportunities for local players to compete, improve ratings, become propagators, have fun and beat Mike Heckbert. 


First off I have to commend Greg Hearn and Jeremy Sproule who proved to be our 2 biggest weekend warriors. Greg managed to compile 26 rated rounds while competing in 12 separate events. While Jeremy’s  24 rounds over 10 events required some serious travel as he missed all the Grande Prairie events. Greg and Jeremy’s seasons saw them play multiple events throughout Alberta, play an event in BC and also travel across the country to play in the Canadian Nationals, in a hurricane, on PEI. They would have played even more rounds had Hurricane Dorian not swept in and blown there course down, canceling their final round of Nationals at Huck It DGC. 

Greg Hearn & Jeremy Sproule at Canadian Nationals - 5,140 KM from Grande Prairie


*Disclosure - round ratings data is only from our PDGA members. 

Without the advanced stats from Udisc I've had to go back to basics and look at the average round rating for each player. To focus on how much if any we've improved I’ve chosen to break the season into two halves, the first half will cover all events from the Alberta Open to the River City Cup and the second half will cover everything from Swan City Showdown to the Battle of The Peace 4. This division may seem weighted towards a shorter truncated second half, when in reality we packed a lot of tournaments into the end of summer. In total more than 120 rated rounds were played by the GPDGC since August 24, including the Swan City Showdown, Falcons Flight, Canadian Nationals and random flex starts associated with Canadian Nationals and Battle of The Peace 4.

Looking closer at the data we can see some interesting stats arise. I looked at the average round rating for the 9 PDGA members with data throughout the season, and of those only 1 player saw a slight decrease in their average round rating from the first half of the season to the second half. This decrease was only 10 rating points per round, which in the real world would only have equated to about 1 stroke. The other 8 players saw a wide range of improvements from statistically microscopic to exponential increases in their average round rating. Mike Heckbert’s was to no one's surprise the most consistent player throughout the year, his 1 point improvement shows how strong his game was throughout the year both mentally and physically. While Michael Curtiss’ showed the greatest improvement from the first to the second half, he improved by 74 rating points equalling about 7.5 strokes per round. His 893 average rating to start the season was highlighted by extremely inconsistent putting and a season low 833 round at the first event of the year. When asked the reason for his second half turn around he said "I was almost able to go ‘Full Ricky’ (technical term) and finally got out of my head long enough to make a few putts". 

What does this mean?

It means as a club our level of play consistently got better throughout the year. It means that our original 7 current PDGA members all saw the rating increase since the start of the year. I’ve included a chart below so you can track everyone’s progress. Only 2 players were able to increase their rating at every update. Liza Curtiss started the year rated 718 and continued to improve month after month finishing the season at 769, her 51 point increase was 22 points better than Mike Heckbert who’s 29 points improvement was the second highest. Everyone else saw there ups and downs but managed to finish the year higher than they started. We also saw a few players receive their first official rating during the season, Jayden Wilson quickly became the second highest rated player after a strong showing at Swan City.

(Graph 1)

How Did the Other Club Members Do?

Our club showed up often and in droves! We had 22 non PDGA club members (probably more but counting is hard) come out to our local and regional events and play 77 tournament rounds rounds. That counted for 33.5% of our total rated rounds and even better they took 9 podium finishes within their respective divisions including 2 wins, 5 seconds and 2 third place finishes.

Next year with tournament scores going digital who knows what kind of pointless stats we'll be able to manipulate to make ourselves look good. See you all in 2020!

Bonus Award - Best Dressed

(Left) Hollywood agent Dylan Bressey talking to his client, (Right) Forestry Dylan prepping for a day of tree planting.

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