Jones West - Par 55
Jones Park has two courses, the West being the easier of them. Just about every hole is reachable off the tee, and there are probably 5-6 holes that you really have to birdie to shoot well. Even the only par 4 is only like 440 feet long, but there really isn’t any line to reach the basket in one shot. The course is mostly open, with a lot of big bushy evergreen trees to snag your discs and leave you without a look at the basket. There are also a couple of small ponds that border a handful of holes, but are easy to avoid if you play it safe.
Jones East - Par 60
The East course at Jones is significantly harder than the West, with less easy birdie holes and a handful of very difficult Par 4s. These holes are long, have lots of trees, and are very heavily lined with OB, including near the greens. Specifically, Holes 3-9 are the ‘Gauntlet’, including 5 of the Par 4s and a couple of Par 3s that have tons of OB as well. If you can survive the gauntlet without any huge mistakes, get some other birdies on the course, you can shoot well. Taking 4s on those long holes don’t hurt you much at all, provided you don’t compound your mistakes and end up with a 6 or worse.
Municipal Golf Course - Par 65
If you’ve never played Disc Golf on a ball golf course, you’re missing out on an incredible experience. Besides the obviously increased length, the long sloping hills and smooth terrain are beautiful for disc golf. Municipal is very open, with some OB ponds and cart-paths that shouldn’t be an issue if you can control your drives. That sounds easy and all, but when you’re trying to throw a max-distance drive, it becomes more difficult to control and place your shots. Not to mention the 15-30 mile per hour winds that love to do bad things to your discs. Because it’s so open, all of the Par 4s should be reachable in two shots, but it’s a matter of whether or not you can place those shots well and make a putt. They are just too long to call par 3s, though. There are still a few shorter birdie holes, so you have to try to get at least a few of them.
Emporia Country Club - Par 61
The Country Club is similarly long to Municipal, but with much tighter fairways surrounded by OB. There is also a lot more elevation, and the fairways make it very difficult to stay in-bounds. There are a handful of Par 4s which are reachable in 2 shots, but are much harder than the ones at Muni. The signature hole is 18, which is only like 270 feet but an island green completely surrounded by water. The safe play is a forehand (which I can’t throw), or a putter/mid shot that you have to place very carefully.
Peter Pan Park - Par 55
Peter Pan is definitely the easiest course in Emporia, and I went in hoping to shoot well in the 40s. There are a lot of easy birdie holes, and only a couple of holes that are really difficult to reach on your drive. The middle of the course does play around a lake, with the signature Hole 11 on a 15-foot wide peninsula. The hole is short though (only around 230 feet), so players are forced to either go for the small green or lay up and then pitch on for a 3.
Round 1 – Tuesday, July 9th – Jones West – Par 55 – Score: 57 (+2) (28th in C-Pool)
I shot fairly well on the round, getting 4-5 birdies in the first bunch of holes, with my only big mistake being an OB drive on Hole 3 leading to a 5. I did, though, miss several more birdie holes that I absolutely needed to get. On Holes 12 and 14, both holes under 270 feet, I was less than 15 feet from the basket on my drive but was unable to have a putt because I was deep into a bushy pine tree. After those holes, I threw OB drives on 16 and 17, taking 5s on each. Those 3 OBs (that became 5s) were all it took to ruin a round that could have been pretty good.
Round 2 – Tuesday, July 9th – Jones East – Par 60 – Score: 56 (-4) (-2 Total, 5th in C-Pool)
I played much better at Jones, throwing some great drives, avoiding the OB, and making a couple of putts. I didn’t get many of the birdie holes, but I did get a couple. The biggest thing was shooting 2-down on the Par 4s, including a Birdie 3 on the ridiculous Hole 6. On Hole 7, though, my drive was crushed, 100 feet from the basket, but inside of a big pine tree. I had to pitch out, lay up to the island green, and ended up missing my putt, taking a 5.
Round 3 – Wednesday, July 10th – Municipal Golf Course – Par 65 – Score: 57 (-8) (-12 Total, 13th in A-Pool)
I would say that I played my best round at Municipal, save for a 6 on Hole 9, where I threw a bad upshot and then 3-putted. On the front 9, I grabbed a couple of 2s but missed a couple of easy ones as well. I managed a 4 on the very difficult Hole 3; there is an OB creek across the fairway, at about 380 feet, which forces players to decide to either lay up short or try to drive across. After about 300 more feet of fairway, there is another creek that you have to get over and to the basket, which is only about 20 feet past the creek (there’s a sidewalk just as far behind the basket, so you can’t go long). I made it across the first creek on my drive, but didn’t feel comfortable driving for the green, so I laid up twice and took a 4. I destroyed the back 9, shooting 26 which was 7-under the par 33. I three’d all of the Par 4s, and birdied one of the 3s. Unfortunately, I didn’t get Hole 12 or 14, both of which are easy Par 3s under 300 feet. Hole 18 at Muni is the signature hole, 600 feet, with the drive partially over a lake which then runs along the rest of the fairway. After 450ish feet, there is an OB creek which players throw over to get to the green. I threw a great drive, left my upshot short, but was able to make a 35 foot putt to save 3.
Round 4 – Thursday, July 11th – Emporia Country Club – Par 61 – Score: 63 (+2) (-10 Total, 28th in A-Pool)
I did alright to start with, missing a couple of birdie putts but staying in-bounds and not making bad mistakes. I 3-putted on Hole 16, and then it was downhill from there. After that, I got 4 bogeys in a row, including an OB-4 on the 18 island green. I missed a lot of putts this round, probably 4-5 putts inside the circle which could have saved my round from that bad stretch.
Round 5 – Thursday, July 11th – Peter Pan Park – Par 55 – Score: 51 (-4) (-14 Total, 28th in A-Pool)
I missed a bunch of the birdie holes, and took a couple of silly bogies. I made a jump putt for 3 on the long, wooded Par 4, and managed a few other birdies. I wasn’t terribly upset with my round, although I knew I could have played much better.
Round 6 – Friday, July 12th – Municipal Golf Course – Par 65 – Score: 66 (+1) (-13 Total, 47th in A-Pool)
Back at Muni, but this time things didn’t go as well. I got a couple more of the birdie holes, but did poorly on the long Par 4s. I didn’t place my drives or second shots well, missed some more putts, and went OB several times. I did throw a couple of drives 550-600 feet with tailwinds, getting 3s on 10 and 18, but otherwise I did very poorly. On 18 I decided to be aggressive and threw my Star Tern across the creek in the fairway. The drive was probably 530ish feet, leaving me around a 60 foot putt, which I almost made, but tapped in a 3.
Semi-Finals – Saturday, July 13, 2013 – Jones East – Par 60 – Score: 61 (+1) (-12 Total, 57th Overall)
Completely exhausted, I had to drag myself out of bed for yet another 8 AM start. I bogeyed my first 3 holes, missed most of the easy birdie holes, and took a couple of 5s on some Par 4s. Once I started my round poorly, I decided to just have fun and try some more interesting and aggressive shots, which cost me a couple of strokes. I wasn’t terribly upset about it, as it wouldn’t have made much difference if I shot well and finished 15 or so spots better.