The Deerborne Gutshot disc golf tournament was held at the Deerborne Disc Golf Course in Elkford on July 10 and it was a roaring success.
Tournament director and Elkford local Kevin King built the course in 2014. The first tournament was a smaller, free event held in 2015, funded by the Elkford Town Council.
There were smaller-scale tournaments in both 2016 and 2017, before King started running the Gutshot as a Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) sanctioned event in 2018. Cranbrook’s Casey Hanemayer, the highest-rated disc golfer in the country at the moment, won that first sanctioned event, beating out a field of 24 players.
The event has continued to grow since its inception. Ben Cummings won in 2019 against a field of 33, Noah Higgins beat out 50 players in 2020 — players capped due to COVID — and Hanemayer won it again in 2021, shooting a course record -13 in his first of two rounds.
“The event has seen some terrific growth year-over-year and it has become a tournament that players from all across the region will make a point to come play,” King said.
“We had players from all over BC and Alberta this year, including Canada’s highest-rated disc golfer. It’s always flattering to see all of the best players in the region come to my small town to compete for the custom gold Grip6 trophy belt and the cheque that goes to the winner.”
King said he begins planning for the Gutshot in the early part of the year by establishing a date and starting to seek out hole sponsors.
This year he was able to find sponsors for every hole on the course and a title sponsor in EKCCU as well as other various sponsorships, which allowed the tournament to have a complimentary lunch, closest-to-pin and long putt prizes, and other random draw prizes.
“I pour a lot of hours into planning the Gutshot and I try to add something a little different every year.
“I like surprising everyone which is getting harder to do as there are more and more disc golf tournaments being held every year, but I think I’ve been successful in giving people a reason to come out each year.
“I had some feedback from a player today who mentioned that it was the best event they had ever attended which really hit me square in the feelings. It was a labour of love to plan the event and I have already started thinking of ways to grow the event even further for next year.”