As I was riding thru the park Friday I noticed it had been recently mowed. I quickly checked #11 to see if it was missed again. It was, so I raced to the office to let them know. I was referred further up the food chain to someone in charge of implementing improvements (I think). I explained how they were mowing from basket 10 to tee 11 and missing the fairway, and he was fairly chagrined (that means embarrassed) at this.
He expressed an interest in hearing this type of feedback, so I filled him in on what I see as the major issues with the course, in particular mowing (mainly holes 2, 3, 6-7, 9, 12-16) and sharing Hole 9. I mentioned poison ivy and ticks in passing.
As to mowing, he indicated that perhaps swatches thru the prairie grass was a result of maintenance trying to economize in the face of higher gas prices (with which we can all sympathize). But if it comes at the expense of usability, he said he would look into it. He also indicated the idea of 'paths' was somewhat intentional so as to 'define the course' and guide people such as from Basket X to Tee Y, which they do (except they have extras such as from B5 to T8, and others that go the wrong way as a result of the recent move of 4 to 6). The deal is that they just don't know; it seems to them a Frisbee should land in the nice 14-16 foot swatch directly ahead.
Hole 9 is a BIG problem. Kiters have been using the hill that the fairway runs across for years. Furthermore when rocket launchers get a launch permit, they are given a map with designated launching areas and fairway 9 is a designated and preferred area. About once a month or so the club will convene there and have tents and such set up with lots of traffic across the fairway to cars. As we talked, he clearly understood the danger of trying to share that area.
It would seem the problem is in the course design; whomever laid it out just didnt know the other designated uses for that area. I've played around them a few times, but when the club is out, or you are sticking to the rules for league or tounry play, it really isnt usable. The course design committee might want to begin looking into alternatives before the tee pads are installed. I personally love that long, open hole but there is a potential serious conflict brewing.
He was very interested in what I had to say and very appreciative of the input. The bottom line is that this is the first summer they've had the course and JUST DONT KNOW what is needed. As an example, is the new out and back layout for 6 and 7 where the left of 6 is also the left of 7. With a wild throw, it is not hard to end up on the other fairway. Swatches or paths thru here make no sense because discs are doubly likely to land in between (RHBH) in the tall grass. The same is true of 12-13 and 14-15. No one can be expected to know that unless you've played.
The long discussion messed up what I had planned, so I dashed home and got my discs. The course had just been mowed before the Thurs downpour. Ironically and to MY chagrin, overall they did a GREAT job. Most of the specifics I had just complained about had been addressed. For example, instead of just a swatch down the corridor of #2 they basically mowed treeline to treeline; instead of swatches for #6 and #7, they mowed the entire are behind the admin building. They did miss #11 again (easy to do if you are just following previous mow patterns). The downhill holes are a bit narrow (though I only went into the tall grass 2ce and I suck).
Of late, they have been mowing one wide swatch down the 9th for the fairway and another farther up the hill for the rocketeers (this is that odd swatch extending past 8's basket). This time they mowed the whole thing from the road past the top of the hill. You would have to AIM and DRIVE at the rough to land in it now. It does still leave rocketeers and kiters in the line of fire.
The question is whether they plan to mow this way going forward.
The guy was very interested and attentive. As we got into more detail, he took my number so those in maintenance (?) could get details later. I play SMP about 3 times a week, so I know the course and what concerns ME, but I am new. Assuming they call back (which is likely - they have before on other matters), constructive collaboration from a more veteran perspective might be valuable.
Sorry for the length, but I wanted to fully inform you.