I'd like to share my thoughts on this course after playing it yesterday, July 3rd.
One of the most incredible courses ever made, for sure. The tee pads and tee signs are especially impressive.
Before any hole-by-hole details... "Here's the official distances from the survey Bruce McQueen was so kind to do for us."
1. 516 -19 Par 3
803 -13 par 4
2. 509 -66 Par 3
3. 369 +56 Par 3
696 +67 Par 4
4. 621 - 74 Par 4
5. 306 +29 Par 3
430 +27 Par 4
6. 319 +2 Par 3
534 +2 Par 4
7. 618 - 48 Par 4
744 -50 Par 4
938 -50 Par 5
8. 517 - 18 Par 3
624 - 12 Par 4
9. 395 +10 Par 3
746 +21 Par 5
10. 449 +34 Par 3
11. 539 - 75 Par 4
12. 499 +49 Par 4
533 +8 Par 4
13. 816 -59 Par 4
14. 406 +15 Par 4
15. 404 -11 Par 3
16. 440 +47 Par 4
17. 520 +2 Par 3
739 +22 Par 4
18. 569 0 Par 4
856 -4 Par 5
I had originally asked what these multiple distances meant. I now see that they are for different pin placements. Drastic differences in hole length for different pin placements (with different pars even) are not really along the same lines as most of the course design philosophy I've heard. Never-the-less, these seem very effective for this huge course, and the pars seem acurate.
I'm curious if more pins yet will be added as there is already plans for short tees. The holes certainly have room for more. I would agree though, that extra pins that are not close to as good as those existing wouldn't be worth throwing in just for the sake of filling up the course.
The current course, with the pin placements used in the Wide Open, plays par 68. I lost my Wide Open tournament course pamphlet, which showed hole distances and pars. The old scorecard, http://kcfdc.org/images/BVP18scorecard05.pdf
looks to be a little outdated in terms of hole pars. Just at a glance, hole 7 is a par 3 instead of 5, yet the entire course somehow adds up to 72, instead of 68.
Anyways, my impression was that the course was maxed out at 10,800 feet. As someone pointed out though, hole 7 is not on long. I also notice that hole 5 was on short, though I didn't notice the long pin. I'm pretty sure 8 was on long. Hole 12 was on the shorter, but tougher pin placement.
I'm just now looking above at the hole pars listed for the holes. They appear to match exactly what I read on the tee signs at the course. This suggests, however, that the course par when the length is maxed out , is 72. With 5 and 7 on short currently, the current course par would be 70. Where is the difference between calling the current course par 68 and 70? Any info here would help.
Also, is the current lenth 10,800 or is that the longest length? Is this course indeed the longest in the world, under a specific criterion?
I do notice the huge difference between pin placement pars for the entire course. While the "tips" play par 72, the shortest placements would yield a course par of 60. While the maxed setting is probably the best, as it boasts one of the world's most challenging layout's, it would be neat to see several regular layouts that could all have names corresponding with the course pars for the different layouts.
Putting in short tees will draw a lot more traffic to the course. Obviously, putting in more tees would be a lot of more work. The trickiest part would be coordinating them so that they work well for each of the pin placements the course has now, or will install in the future. My suggestion would be to make them standard size, rather than huge and elaborate in shape. Also, they wouldn't need tee signs of their own.
The only thing that I would say would have to be updated is the tee signs from the long pads. The short tees should be located on these signs (in red?). The signs are obviously great now, but if they are updatable, then they are even better. One thing I would make very clear is that the current tees are the PRO tees and the alternates would be AMATEUR tees. Hole pars and course pars would be for pros, from the pro tees. Making amatuer pars from amateur tees would be cool and all, but it would take a lot of organation (and perhaps tee signs for the am tees) to keep players from confusing hole pars and course pars and skill levels, etc. Some detailed stats on this kind of course would be very interesting though, especially hole scoring % stats for the Wide Open pro field.
Me and my friend played the course. He is very new to the sport. I am about a 945 ranked player. I shot 73 there, which I guess is close to par for my rating (I don't know, the round ratings are gone from the PDGA tourney results). I played very risky lines though, that resulted in several times OB. What I learned playing the course will be very helpful whenever I get the opportunity to play the course again. My friend was right with me scorewise, on the front nine, but had much trouble on the back. Though the course par is higher on the back, I believe the extra trees in play on the front make this the more difficult nine holes.
We played the course in about a 15 mph SW wind, which seems like pretty typical conditions for the course other than perhaps 90 degree heat.
Hole 1... Is a great starting hole with both a downhill and uphill drive required. A big arm could 3 it, but 5 is much more likely. The headwind, terrible rough to the left off the tee, and OB behind the green make this hole seem a bit towards a 4.5 pro scoring average.
Hole 2... Is very fun to drive. Going long is scary because of the road, but leaving your drive short can be just as bad. Second shot advice: lay up!!
Hole 3... Perhaps the most intimidating hole from the tee. The only hole with water in play. I don't like how two righty hyzer drives is the only way to play the hole. Taking out some trees to the left or maybe just some branches would offer much more to this hole. I did throw two perfect drives before duffing an uphill putt and making 5, while my buddy threw 3 safe, short shots and caned a huge uphill putt for a 4. I didn't notice the short pin. If it is off to the left, encouraging dual options from the tee, I'm sure it is good. Sculpting a shot through the trees up the hill is very difficult. I'm guessing the long pin averages 4.5 for pro players.
Hole 4... One of the best holes on the course. Dual fairways! I'm not sure how defined the one on the right is as I played the left. Only thing bad is how it is a bit of a crap-shoot, not being able to pick a visible fairway from the tee. Eagle 2 would be possible here. Awesome green! I wish we had more holes like this!
Hole 5... This hole didn't offer anything to the lefy. I new saw the long pin, but I assume it was up and to the right in the rough.
Hole 6... Very tough hole, with multiple options from the tee. Tough to penetrate the tree line and get on top. OB behind the hole makes the hole tougher yet. Didn't see the short tee, but if it is in a good spot, this could make a great hole as well. Too bad people dump their garbage in their own back yards on this hole!
Hole 7... I can't believe we played the short placement for this hole! I can't wait to see the long ones! Are they already in? If the wind was slightly more behind us (rather than from left to right), bigger bombs would have been possible.
Hole 8 ... Gotta play out over the road. Unlike my throw though, your disc should skip back in play with the prevailing tail wind.
Hole 9 ... I saw Alexi Bubis 3 this hole! I 4'd it, but not easily. A lot can go wrong on this hole with the headwind, uphill drive, and thick perimeter.
Hole 10 ... Should be a simple 3 it seems, but the unduation around the basket makes the upshot pretty critical. Great hole to measure your uphill drive against.
Hole 11 ... I threw into a tricky headwind / right to left wind. I went low and turned over late in the flight, just as I wanted. 30 foot from the pin on a 550' par 4. With my mulligan drive, I threw staight out and eventually hyzer over the big trees to land also within 30 of the basket.. The difference was that with my real shot, I had a very small window throught the trees to play my upshot, while the other drive was clear. I ended up hitting a tree right in front of me and making a good lay-up to save 4! While I thought this was stupid at first, a smarter drive landing short could have played a spike hyzer over the trees. I dunno though, I think at least a small window for the low left line is in order.
Hole 12 ... The shorter placement on this hole is actually much more difficult. 50 feet uphill, it is easy to underestimate. Wide open hole, I made a pretty easy birdie 3 though. Players playing heavy, overstable discs will not do well here. The other placement is actually an alternate for hole 13 as well? I don't think I like this. If it is in 13's fairway, it is not only in the way, but not the right direction to the next tee. And which one do you call the "long" placement?
Hole 13 ... Also a tricky cross wind hole, which may play as a straight head wind hole when the wind is coming straight from the south. The second shot is the critical one here as you can lay it up or you can overthrow OB.
Hole 14 ... I played the route over the road. The tee was pointing an opposite direction, but I saw this as the only chance to make use of the wind and get a chance at two. With the immediate uphill and a low ceiling tree, I caught just enough tree to send my drive OB. Maybe this hole is good to force the hyzer, but stubborn players like me have to learn the hard way.
Hole 15 ... This hole looks tougher than it should be. Just don't go weak or overstable on the drive and you should get a 2. The tee sign shows an alternate tee that appears to be even longer than the regular tee, but we didn't see it. What is going on here?
Hole 16 ... We looked to the right of this tee and got quite a sight. I huge towering pole with a tiered concrete square surrounding it. A drain at the bottom suggested it to be... a fountain! How tall is it? At least 100', maybe the biggest in KC? Why wasn't it on? The water may have hurt after falling so far, but the mist would have felt fabulous. With the terraced concrete, setting up a basket in this square would yield interesting results as a golf hole... Back to the golf hole. A roller is great here, but it needs to be big. Big arms shouldn't have much trouble birdying these mostly open holes on the back unless it's really windy.
Hole 17 ... Huge and uphill. Got to have a huge arm to get a 3 uphill and into the wind.
Hole 18 ... Very difficult finishing hole. The big anhyzer is probably tempting to many. The problem is that it puts the player too low in respect to the basket. Though more aggresive lines will yiled more distance, only the hyzer route is a good choice. I still can't believe how Josh Anthon won that hole at the end playing an anny and then a roller. Not a likely winning combination for this particular hole. Hyzer, hyzer, hyzer is how I (and most players) will birdie the final par 5.
My overall summary for the course is extreemly positive. The rolling elevation and wind make second shots very critical. Some have said that a big drive is not an advantage. I would disagree with this. It is true that a player cannot let his concentration slip with a second shot no matter how far his first shot goes. The course does indeed encourage smart play, and that is something that not many courses do well.
Righty / lefty balance is much in the favor of righty, I think. Righty has the advantage on holes 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 14, 15, 17, and 18. The other 7 holes are fairly even or with slight advantage to lefty. I will say that the course is long enough so that the righty advantage is dampened a bit.
I can't say enough for the course's tee pads and tee signs. Huge contoured pads and signs that feature topography, elevation change and hole pars for each pin placement, plus the holes location on a map in relation to the rest of the course.... Something worth seeing for yourself! Who are the designers for this course? They deserve a lot of credit for this display of productive creativity. This course is a giant step for the evolution of course design.