Author Topic: Course Design Ideas  (Read 2255 times)

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coops

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Course Design Ideas
« on: October 26, 2012, 11:40:08 AM »
We need to start dreaming bigger though! After traveling and playing a number of very challenging courses I've discovered that we just really don't have anything that compares. BV is tough but open, Cliff is OK but only a few holes make you pucker, Wyco is fun but isn't long enough, Blue Springs is getting there, but isn't long enough, etc...

Given the opportunity of different land I would think it would be much easier to build a challenging course there and to employ several 'tricks' to keep the other course as beginner friendly. (Among such tricks is simply listing a 'public' par on the tee signs. It doesn't mean anything to people who play a lot, but to the casual golfer that little mental hurdle to beat can make them feel better and keep them coming back.)

jack

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Re: Course Design Ideas
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2012, 12:00:20 PM »
How much bigger do you want to dream?

We have gone from 5 courses in 2000 in the metro area to over 25 with another 5 in the works currently (not counting Lawrence).

If we go much bigger we won't have anything that is good.  The course that I am working on is going to be almost exclusively wooded for 18 holes, something that we don't have here, it will have some pucker.

If we don't bring in some "new people" though how will we grow to help ensure that we are stewards to the courses?  As it stands now, there are still relatively few that actually help with the maintenance of the parks, the upkeep to ensure that each course is treated with respect.  We may have grown as a club to over 100% in the last decade, but our course total is over 500%, so we are not mirroring the growth as an organization.

As for not comparing to other locations......man you living on a cloud bud, KC is tops in the country with courses with very few places close.  The only thing that we lack is Mountains and an ocean.  If you really don't think that KC has challenging courses you still have some traveling to do. 

Although maybe not one course in particular, our stable of courses, and the ability to modify them to varied positions gives us some of the best options and choices that any municipality can experience.  There is a reason that KC has hosted the world's 3x, and it isn't because we have a boring layout of places to play.

All I am really saying is that the busiest park and most utilized in the metro is probably SMP, so to not make that a course that people should use as a launching pad is missing a prime target audience to help us to generate a larger portion of individuals that may be able to help us achieve the goal of having challenging courses in the area......  Until we see more participation in our club and help pushing things, do we need to worry about it?  How many touring pro's do we see from KC?  Touring Am's, more than touring pro's.  Who is our top tour guy?  Loomis (over 40) G$ (Over 40), Myself (Over 40) CD (Over 60).......you see where I am going, we don't have that younger energy even leaving the area to really understand what a gold mine we have.

Until we see more organizational development and help within our own community, I think that we are missing the point.  Let's make it so that everyone can play it, and not leave thinking that stinks, but rather, aw, that was fun, I would like to walk in the park again and throw plastic at metal. Once we get there and we get more energy (thinking that we should be doubled, close to 600 current members locally here folks, with as many people playing) then I think that we can really start to create that ownership within the parks again, and have a true reflection of every course.

****I failed to mention that we as a community also help support and sustain 2 independent disc golf retailers in the area*****
« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 12:17:29 PM by jack »
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MUTigers

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Re: Course Design Ideas
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2012, 01:02:16 PM »
Being one of the new people to disc golf in the area I thought I would contribute to this discussion.  I think it would be great to look at holding tournaments at different courses around the area, outside of the usual suspects.  Me personally, as I attempt to learn the game and continue to practice I play 90% of my rounds at the closest course to me.  I want to spend as much time at the course rather than traveling to a different course.  I still will make an effort to get out for a weekend round every now and then to try out a new course but I have enough challenges being a beginner play on my "Home course" as is and am not always up for adding the new challenge of learning a new course into the mix.  I feel like I am probably not alone in this but if a tournament was held at more of the outlier courses around the metro you may get more new/beginner players out to play in these.  If it weren't for the RAC, I'm not sure when my first tournament play would've been, it didn't matter that I had only been to Rosedale once before, it was a tournament encouraging players like me to get out.  But if a tournament was held at my home course (Legacy) I would have been confident long before the RAC to play in it.  For me I don't think a tough course would discourage me from playing in a tournament, its being unfamiliar with the course in general, easy or hard, that would keep me from playing until I got a few tournaments under my belt and was more confident in playing tournaments.  Anyway, all I can say is design and build away!  I'll eventually get out and play them all.  P.S.  Has a tournament ever been held at Legacy, and while talking about land and potential additional courses, Legacy has it as well.

coops

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Re: Course Design Ideas
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2012, 01:09:59 PM »
I don't mean bigger, as in number of courses in a given range. Obviously KC is one of the top disc golf areas by that measure. I'm talking about bigger as in challenge. When you look at the reality of KC golf, I believe part of the reason we don't have many high level pros coming from KC is because most of our courses are par 3 courses. Our golf doesn't teach you to play to certain positions and to try to birdie the hole with a three. (Yes, there are exceptions to that in the area. Many of the best courses, though, have more than one or two of those holes per course.)

I haven't played at SMP a lot, but if you are right and if it is seeing a high traffic level already, I think you are proving my point that that course is suitable for beginner/recreational play. Now, imagine you get that much traffic on a course that is already beginner friendly, though still challenging, and couple it with a big, bad, par 68 on the same piece of land. Now, when people go there to play, they have the opportunity to have fun or to be challenged, or both! They can start and learn on one course and graduate, on the same property, to a tougher course and can get better because of that.

We should really take a look at all of our courses and discuss which ones are beginner friendly. After an honest examination most will agree that it is easier to list the ones that are prohibitive to beginners to play.

Hard courses beginners probably don't want to play:
BV
Cliff
Woodhenge
Wyco
???

Courses a beginner can enjoy and be challenged at:
PC
SMP
Rosedale
DU
Swope
WW
Young
Jesse James
Beaver Creek
California Trail
PHill
Legacy
And many more that I can't think of.

See the point? There are a lot of courses where people can learn and can improve without being demoralized.

The important point should be though, that a course can be challenging to pros and also be easy to adjust to the skill of a beginner or recreational player. Think of what John Theiss did at Young. Multiple tees allow for more advanced players to play alongside their lower level friends, family, brothers, sisters, aged grandmothers, etc... All sorts of other courses have taken to this sort of design as well. (Think Renaissance or Maple Hill.)

And yes, I haven't traveled as extensively as some, but when I do I travel to play high quality events and courses. We have nothing like Maple Hill, Renny, Twin Parks, Winthrop. We are caught in a pre high-speed driver era when the longest throwing disc on the market was the Roc. We need more 4's and 5's, period.


Utz

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Re: Course Design Ideas
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2012, 01:36:28 PM »
Quote
We are caught in a pre high-speed driver era

You've summed up KC area courses in a nutshell. In order for us to maintain our supremacy we will need new courses that are challenging. We have PLENTY of newbie courses that are still hard, and wonderful courses to grow on.
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jack

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Re: Course Design Ideas
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2012, 01:49:29 PM »
I don't mean bigger, as in number of courses in a given range. Obviously KC is one of the top disc golf areas by that measure. I'm talking about bigger as in challenge........We have nothing like Maple Hill, Renny, Twin Parks, Winthrop. We are caught in a pre high-speed driver era when the longest throwing disc on the market was the Roc. We need more 4's and 5's, period.

I disagree, and you are proving the point as well.  You indicate 1 course in each location for the places mentioned.  I also think that many of the "beginner" courses you listed can be made into "not beginner friendly" as well..Swope (gold or Non-gold, just tipped out its plenty hard), Rosey, WW, even SMP...DU can be made tough, and I don't think that it is a "newbie" friendly course.

The idea that a course needs to be made only to match the high speed driver is a complete fallacy.  Courses can be made with precision to many other factors, some which may include distance....

I do however agree that to have a shorter course and a tougher course available is a good thing.  I just wish that Smithville wasn't the same tract of land (same terrain essentially) over and over.  I think that they are fun courses out there, but they don't offer as large of a variety for the simple fact the land doesn't give it.  Not a fault in the design, just a personal opine of the entire property.

Hence some of what I am trying to look at I think agrees with your argument:

Cliff Drive West (Current)-
I am hopeful to get an additional 6 holes in there over the next 6 months.  I think that you will enjoy the challenge that they will bring.  I know that I am excited about it, and hope to continue to work towards a stronger course that isn't really a "newbie" one.  I never had a desire to make this an easy one, and always envisioned expansion as we continue to enjoy this very unique piece of property.

Cliff Drive East-
I want to have a much shorter course across the street from #5 pad up and through and around the museum.

Blue Valley-
I want to remove the Executive 9, and incorporate 2 additional 18 hole courses within much of the same area as the existing "Monster" and then be able to hold events with 3 courses, of which you wouldn't play the same course once.  Many designs and holes that were used prior to the installation are still in my head, and there was approval to do so in the past by P&R and money allocated, and I am working towards that again.

Also I would like to gain permission and approval to put in another course out there in the woods to the South/Southeast of #6 long pin and #7 pad.  It would be all wooded.

Hodge Park-
Just gained approval to start to work on the design there, and it will be HEAVILY wooded, with minimal shots in the open, but it won't be long, it will be technical.  You don't need to have distance to make a course challenging, and that is my hope.

Raytown-
This could be the course that you are looking for.  The land will be ripe for usage, and the belief is that we can make this course a premier one in the area.  Conversations are slow, but it will happen.  Just like here at SMP (initial conversations and approval for the course was in 1999.....) sometimes you need to ensure that everyone is on the same page to make it all work.

Now if we could look at additional areas out there, then we should.

....I think it would be great to look at holding tournaments at different courses around the area, outside of the usual suspects...... I want to spend as much time at the course rather than traveling to a different course.  I still will make an effort to get out ... to try out a new course but I have enough challenges being a beginner play on my "Home course".....I am probably not alone in this but if a tournament was held at more of the outlier courses around the metro you may get more new/beginner players out to play in these.  If it weren't for the RAC, I'm not sure when my first tournament play would've been.....  P.S.  Has a tournament ever been held at Legacy, and while talking about land and potential additional courses, Legacy has it as well.

There has been some events at Legacy, but maybe not this year.  This is another issue, with all the courses how do you hold an event at every course every year?  As it stands now though there are events at most of the courses within town (or those that we consider courses local) so it's a matter of timing for every individual.  I think that we move forward and DD is trying to get events everywhere it is only a matter of time.
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robm

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Re: Course Design Ideas
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2012, 02:07:24 PM »
Great conversation.
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jack

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Re: Course Design Ideas
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2012, 02:12:26 PM »
Great conversation.

I do agree with that sentiment in its entirety!
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coops

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Re: Course Design Ideas
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2012, 02:49:51 PM »
Perhaps we're arguing the same thing but are differing on what we mean by challenging. Yes, all of those courses can be tipped out and can become much more challenging, but (most of them) are not championship caliber courses.

Swope Gold - Championship caliber, only played once a year

Rosedale All long - Challenging, far from championship caliber

WW Long - (oxymoron?)

And so on...

And how many time are these courses which are beginner friendly completely tipped out? Almost never. (Even beginners should have to play a hole that is too hard for them once in a while.)

And as for the fallacy of a course needing to be designed for the big wings, I find that a hard argument to support for your side. Think of the thing that almost everyone says about the top quality courses, "You have to use every shot in your bag". If a course isn't designed for the use of the big wing it doesn't require every disc in your bag.

It doesn't have to be, nor should it be, driver off the tee every time though. Think of some of the best courses and holes in our game. Maple Hill only has 8 or 9 holes where you are taking a big shot with a big disc. The others, though providing options to throw hard if you want to, demand accuracy and consistency. Another prime example of a specific hole would be 888 at Winthop Gold. The hole was designed to be played putter, then mid, then driver (though the second two might be combined with one big driver). How many holes do we have in KC that are over 800' long and you don't need to, or even want to, throw a driver off the tee? I can't think of any.

And this Hodge park course. You can design it how you wish but I hope you would use the example of Charlotte disc golf and put in some long, long wooded holes. You know, those kinds of holes that are 5-600 feet and look like DU. The ones you throw a mid on just to not screw yourself for the second shot, or try to get a little lucky and take a driver off and get rewarded. We need those kinds of decisions in KC.

coops

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Re: Course Design Ideas
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2012, 02:51:59 PM »
Great conversation.

I do agree with that sentiment in its entirety!

Yep. These are the kinds of discussions that need to happen around here. It is better when there are multiple opinions on how to do things from the get go.

jack

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Re: Course Design Ideas
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2012, 03:11:28 PM »
Perhaps we're arguing the same thing but are differing on what we mean by challenging. Yes, all of those courses can be tipped out and can become much more challenging, but (most of them) are not championship caliber courses......And as for the fallacy of a course needing to be designed for the big wings, I find that a hard argument to support for your side. Think of the thing that almost everyone says about the top quality courses, "You have to use every shot in your bag". If a course isn't designed for the use of the big wing it doesn't require every disc in your bag....... How many holes do we have in KC that are over 800' long and you don't need to, or even want to, throw a driver off the tee? I can't think of any.

And this Hodge park course. You can design it how you wish but I hope you would use the example of Charlotte disc golf and put in some long, long wooded holes. You know, those kinds of holes that are 5-600 feet and look like DU. The ones you throw a mid on just to not screw yourself for the second shot, or try to get a little lucky and take a driver off and get rewarded. We need those kinds of decisions in KC.

Every shot, not every drive, and I agree with you there.  Having played in Charlotte for World's, and few other instances, and such, there will be some holes along those lines.  As for the 888, it is slightly manufactured, so it is hard to think that needs to be an every day course.  Realization that most courses aren't in their "Top Level positions" on a daily basis is one thing that I think needs to be looked at.  In fact what Utz started (not bad for a young guy, if only he was old enough to cash often in league....) for the best 18 holes in KC shows I think that we can have it, but it may not be at one location.  So how do we get there?  How to make it that pinnacle of a course in KC.....we work towards it.  I really believe that if done properly you probably see that closest to the Raytown course that is being explored once completed.  It has most everything that you are talking about, it will quite honestly be an issue of just how far will the city go towards making that happen.

As for Hodge, I just don't know if the land will enable the 700-800' corkscrews through the woods, and I don't know that it should, because how many people would play it daily?  The goal remember is to get people to play.  I will keep this in mind though, as I look at the land, but with only about 30 acres given to disc golf it isn't really good to give up 2 great holes to have one superb hole, then a boring hole so that you have that is it?

Who'da thunk SMP would get this many hits on the web?

Love the digression!
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coops

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Re: Course Design Ideas
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2012, 03:50:28 PM »
So we agree then. We don't need every course to be super hard, we just need one or two or three to be super hard.

I think, in the end, it comes down to variety. The base SMP course fits within the variety of KC disc golf for having multiple pin positions and being moderately challenging but yet maintaining that air of beginner friendliness. If the park would give us more land, I think we need to swing for the fences and put something out of character for KC there. At least two par 5's, 4-8 par 4's, and the rest can be varying degrees of par 3's. Then, if it needs to be adapted from there, there can be a goal to have two tees on each hole, with one being shorter and much easier, just like at Young Park.

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Re: Course Design Ideas
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2012, 03:51:41 PM »
Like I said earlier I am new to all of this, so I am not trying to come across as being sarcastic when I ask why can't all of what you would consider local courses be used in tournaments each year?  I haven't followed the tournament scene closely and will in 2013 as I look to play in some, but in looking at some of the more recent tournaments that encompass 2-4 courses in one weekend tournament it would seem that you would be able to incorporate all the courses in a matter of 10 tournaments.  Just trying to learn about it all.  Thanks.

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Re: Course Design Ideas
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2012, 04:06:28 PM »
I would very much love to see a highly technical additional course in SMP, however I feel that getting more small beginner friendly courses should be the clubs main focus.  I love the technical courses but there is no way to get my fiance out to those  courses.  I have used Rosedale down under to introduce beginners to the game for years.  I know I have seen lot of new players get discouraged when they play their first round and they consistently have to throw 6 time to get to the hole their host gets to in one or two.  In my experience I also know most new players don't want to be seen teeing off the short tee as it has the stigma of the ladies tee in golf.  I really saw this problem when I took a group from work for their first game to Prairie Center shortly after the recent course updates.  I really do want to see a new A tier course at SMP and it hurts writing this but if I do not believe we should make any existing courses harder until we are able to populate the city with more short beginner level courses.  I know of some people that I could get out to a 9 hole confidence building course that are scared to go out to the existing courses.
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Peter Bures

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Re: Course Design Ideas
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2012, 06:29:22 PM »
So we agree then. We don't need every course to be super hard, we just need one or two or three to be super hard.

I think, in the end, it comes down to variety. The base SMP course fits within the variety of KC disc golf for having multiple pin positions and being moderately challenging but yet maintaining that air of beginner friendliness. If the park would give us more land, I think we need to swing for the fences and put something out of character for KC there. At least two par 5's, 4-8 par 4's, and the rest can be varying degrees of par 3's. Then, if it needs to be adapted from there, there can be a goal to have two tees on each hole, with one being shorter and much easier, just like at Young Park.

That's my dream, essentially. Along with a potential sanctioned event next year that I mentioned, I'll do my best to plug the idea of a championship level course at the park.  I don't know how far we're likely to get with that, especially in the immediate future, but that's why we're talking about it. We can't implement any amazing ideas without dreaming about it first.