Interview with chief builder – Michal Grepl

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Hi Michal, just like your colleagues before you, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been playing disc golf?

Hi, my name is Michal Grepl and I’ve been actively involved with disc golf since 2011. But I first encountered disc golf in the USA in 2005.

What is your main role at the EDGC?

I’m in charge of making the course as attractive as possible so that it leaves an impression on players and spectators alike. I want the players to leave the field in a positive mood, regardless of how their round goes.

What is the condition of the Franz Ferdinand course now?

To be honest, the chateau park looked its best about four years ago. Since then, there have been a lot of changes, mainly due to weather and bark beetles. Lately it’s becoming clear just how old the park is. Right now the Franz Ferdinand course itself is almost ready for the tournament but we are still fine-tuning a lot of details. There is always room for improvement and we have a lot of work left to do.

And what about the second tournament course, Konopiště Meadows?

Meadows is also ready—all the tee pads and baskets are built, eighteen holes and one training basket. There is still work with a brushcutter to be done, a final mow of the fairways and placing the OB stakes.

Are there any changes on the tournament courses this year?

Yes, there are. On the Franz Ferdinand course, we’ve added FPO tee pads on holes 10 and 17. Some uprooted trees forced us to shorten hole 11 and make it a par 4. At Meadows, a change was made so that the original hole 18 wouldn’t disrupt the flow of the course, so a new tunnel hole 17 was created, which I really like by the way. The original hole 17 has been extended and has now become hole 18.

What was the biggest problem you encountered while building the two courses?

Probably preparing the fairways. When groundskeepers cut the grass in the spring, they left the trimmings on the ground and the huge piles were a big obstacle for us. This was the first time in six years that we had to deal with a problem like this. Luckily we were able to rely on Mr. Ctibůrek, owner of New Myslivna, who put us in touch with a local farmer who came and collected all the grass and turned it into bales. Silvestr Mikuláštík and his knowledge of what players need have also been a great help in improving the fairways.

This is the last year for disc golf in the chateau park. Any idea where the next big tournament like this could be held?

There is currently no ideal place… yet. It will be very difficult to find such a place, because here in Konopiště we already have the background, contacts, a lot of experience, and, especially, the name. With any new location, we will have to rebuild these things. However, we are intensively looking for a suitable location for organizing big tournaments.

You’ve been here several times. What will you miss the most? The atmosphere of Konopiště, lunches at Bejkárna, accommodation with Petr Slabihoudek or am I completely wrong?

I will miss the atmosphere that comes with organizing Konopiště. Whether it’s the relationships with operators or groups of workers or volunteers, the mood and energy created are amazing. It’s a fatigue I’m going to miss until we find a new place. I’ll also miss the weight-loss mode it puts me in—I’ve lost over 7 kilos since we started working on this year’s preparations. In the last two years, when there was no tournament in Konopiště, I gained 13 kg.

Any chance that you’ll share a name or two of the Czech players you’re rooting for this year? Or are you gonna be the third person who doesn’t want to put our players under even more pressure?

If you are a player of our national team, stop reading so that I do not put more pressure on you. It’s a duo of Peters, Petr Striegler and Petr Mrázek. Both have had amazing performances in the Open division recently and I’m looking forward to seeing them repeated here.

One last question I can’t miss. What are you looking forward to the most at Konopiště this year?

What I was looking forward to the most has already happened. It was the first week of construction. A group of friends who have a relationship with the place and the tournament get together. After a hard day’s work, we sit down, sing, have a beer, and play disc golf. At that time, the level of stress is the lowest. Then the course comes together in front of our eyes and only over time does the level of stress increase. Of course, I’m also looking forward to my wife Petra arriving with Barunka and Ondrášek.

The joint EDGF 2021 European Disc Golf Championship, European Masters Disc Golf Championship and European Junior Disc Golf Championship is organized by ČADG with the support of the following partners: NSA, Středočeský kraj, Discmania, Kostka Stav s.r.o., proDiscgolf.cz, město Benešov, Discgolfpark, Lesy ČR a.s., PDGA, EDGF, and Kofola a.s. We are grateful to all sponsors.