#11  
Old 08-13-2012, 01:46 PM
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optidiscic optidiscic is online now
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I think being involved in building, designing, and maintaining other courses def helps.....also a negative/pessimistic viewpoint is imperative.

So many designers have the same attitude as they do when they disc golf

Too optimistic and forgetting what could go wrong:

Theres rarely anyone driving on that road
That walking path is not used often
The twshp will eventually help with mowing
I know a bunch of disc golfers who will help me mow
This 400 foot anny rhbh is a safe shot...I mean no will turn a flick over into that property
disc golfers are respectful of nature and don't litter

I could go on and on......the best designers turn off disc golfers because they think of everything that can go wrong....the disc golfer will say this would be a great hole....over this road and then across that field and down into those woods (ignoring the traffic, the soccer field, and the types of trees that will not hold up to disc golf)
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  #12  
Old 08-13-2012, 02:00 PM
biscoe biscoe is offline
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i agree with opti on the pessimism thing... you have to be able to envision worst case scenarios.

i would say that the life experience which helped me the most is simply running a small business. you are forced to adapt constantly and not be married to any one given solution to a problem. you also learn to sacrifice one aspect of something in order to better the whole...and to envision worst case scenarios.

being raised a farmer has probably been a help in spatial relations, patience, recognizing the things which are beyond your control, etc.
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  #13  
Old 08-13-2012, 02:19 PM
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denny ritner denny ritner is offline
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Dave, thanks for the spin-off, great topic!

My experience has been that there's no substitute for disc golf course design experience. I think the best way to get that experience is to work under a mentor as a laborer, then co-designer, then lead designer with them signing off on your design. A lot of times, designing temp holes for tournaments is good experience. I got my experience by creating temp courses for tournaments. I designed five courses on golf courses that were used for tournaments. I also designed the course for the first disc golf cruise. These temp experiences were very useful as they allowed me to make mistakes and learn from them without suffering the consequences of the dreaded re-design, re-design, re-design trap that sooooo many designers are caught in.

I also have a golf background, which has strongly influenced my disc golf course design philosophy. I have worked on grounds crews on five golf courses and caddied on four courses, including caddying for a few touring pros. I spent A LOT of time daydreaming about being a golf course designer.


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Originally Posted by mashnut View Post
Something else that might be useful is landscaping experience to understand how various foliage and terrain will react to foot traffic and what types of plants will make god obstacles or reasonable amounts of maintenance.
Good point. Also important to know where high water lines will be during various seasons and heavy precipitation events and how that will influence safety and erosion concerns.

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Originally Posted by optidiscic View Post
I think being involved in building, designing, and maintaining other courses def helps.....also a negative/pessimistic viewpoint is imperative.

So many designers have the same attitude as they do when they disc golf

Too optimistic and forgetting what could go wrong:
Excellent point. I've seen too many times where designers make assumptions about what the "typical" disc golfer will do and design for that. i.e. a hole that parallels a heavily trafficked road going into the direction of traffic with the road on the right, "because players will fade to the left away from traffic", but when they grip lock a heater it goes right into the windshield of an oncoming car.
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  #14  
Old 08-13-2012, 02:45 PM
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ZAMson ZAMson is offline
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imma full-bore talk about me me me since it's a design-minded people thread. begin self-obsessive mode; my apologies.

when i started disc golf i was balls-deep in my thesis year of an art degree. i was big into spatial topics like the use of 3D space in 2D arts and studio-produced music. i was also big into linear experiences, including albums and performance art. my first round was on Houck's home course, Rolling Meadows at Circle R, and the design-yness was overwhelming. i tried to study design in a way that i could spot it and appreciate it in nearly anything. never ever expected to find it in a disc golf course, but it's there. from whatever angle he has attacked the thought-problems of course design, the dude has nailed a truly artistic window.

it's surprising how naturally design-blind people can be. i learned first-hand in art school that some people can't see gradations from white to black, and some people can't see simple shapes correctly. it doesn't really affect daily life, they just don't "get" design like others do. if i hadn't seen it for myself, i would not believe that such extreme deficiencies existed. the most shape-blind dude i ever met was also legit color blind, but was a really talented music writer and performer.

a twist on my personal type of design-mindedness. i've been told i'm oddly left/right-brain balanced when it comes to tasks that should favor one or the other, particularly on visuals and sound. twist: i have no perceptible sense of smell and a greatly diminished sense of taste. are my visual and auditory senses making up for those? i think so; it's not full-on synesthesia but i have no problem relating visual and audio concepts, or visualizing one in the other's context. i think this is why i can sense design in things i've never studied and accounts for an innate visual and sonic design-mindedness.

summary: designers are weird people.
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  #15  
Old 08-13-2012, 02:53 PM
Cgkdisc Cgkdisc is online now
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I listed three items in post #3 without explanation as I was heading to lunch. Here's how those items have and continue to help with design:

Game Design - A key aspect of game design, if the game is intended to require more skill than luck, is balance and fairness. Balance and fairness for an intended skill level would be one of my fundamentals for course design. Although some of my holes are unusual or tricky, my goal would be that they can be played with skill versus luck by those with the intended skill level. I think some designers, usually newer ones, tend to be more sadistic than necessary in their designs relying on OB that's too close to holes or fairways or gaps that are too small. or bushy to execute.

Blindfold Chess - I'm not sure this can be taught but practice can improve it for those who have the photographic memory. Chess requires mentally testing multiple sequences of moves to see which will work best. Course designs will usually end up better if designers can think thru multiple sequences of hole choices along with the trade-offs involved with each sequence. Having this mental flexibility will allow you to design faster compared with designers who talk about spending lots of time walking around the site before doing any design. They may not have the natural photographic memory skills and need to see things all the time for design. In my case, much of my initial design work is done in my head and on paper off the site because I can virtually "walk thru" the property in any direction and even look at it from above in my mind. I'll then go back to the site to see if what I cooked up works or needs tweaking. Having the mental flexibility to generate design ideas while walking the site and killing them just as fast with alternate ideas is a related skill. I know BionicRib has seen this in action with our Round Lake redesign project.

Orienteering Experience - Basically, practice in this area including drafting class in college (old school 1971) and CAD for engineering projects develops your ability to transpose back and forth between 2D (maps) and 3D (site) versions of the terrain and your design ideas.
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  #16  
Old 08-13-2012, 03:16 PM
Steve West Steve West is offline
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Before getting into disc golf design, I had an interest in the design of ski areas. There are many similarities: Natural terrain dictates, drives, and enhances the design. All users need to start at point A and end at point B going along a specified "trail", but they can go all over that trail on the way. They need to be varied to be interesting, but share a "style" at any one area. Flow from one trail to another is essential, as is traffic control. They all need to fit together to form a coherent whole; the quality of the area is more important than any one trail. Some areas need to be cleared, others left too thick to use, and others should have just enough trees to still be usable. More difficult is more interesting up to a point where it becomes too difficult. Easy trails are needed for most people (beginners), but the experts will play more often and have more influence on where to go. Economical design is important, but the most economical isn't the most fun.

On a different note, when I'm in the final phase of design, it feels a lot like Sudoku, where every piece needs to be in its place in relation to all the other pieces.
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  #17  
Old 08-15-2012, 11:39 AM
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Dave242 Dave242 is offline
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Wow. Excellent posts by all. Of the skills/aptitudes/experience I had never thought of, these have given me the most food for thought:
Bisco small business experience
Zamson all of that excellent post on art and visualization
Cgk all 3 areas. Thanks for expounding since I missed the point on all in your 1st post
Steve ski area design is cool

I've done work in product design (mainframe computers) and database design (business processes) and some home remodelling that all involve lots of design trade-offs in technical stuff coupled with a fair amount of negotiating and planning discussions. These themes have ben mentioned.....that's why I like the concepts you guys brought up. Good stuff!
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  #18  
Old 08-15-2012, 11:51 AM
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so we're bashing people with a background in architecture and applauding people with a background in drafting and CAD?

sorry, i must be confusing architects for people who draft and use CAD.
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Old 08-15-2012, 11:54 AM
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bradharris bradharris is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cgkdisc View Post
Game Design - A key aspect of game design, if the game is intended to require more skill than luck, is balance and fairness. Balance and fairness for an intended skill level would be one of my fundamentals for course design. Although some of my holes are unusual or tricky, my goal would be that they can be played with skill versus luck by those with the intended skill level. I think some designers, usually newer ones, tend to be more sadistic than necessary in their designs relying on OB that's too close to holes or fairways or gaps that are too small. or bushy to execute.
I really like the concept of using game design. Although I've never had the opportunity to design a course myself, I have thought of courses in comparison to video games. In video gaming, games that are too easy and don't present a consistent challenge get boring very quickly. Likewise, games that seem unnecessarily difficult and present seemingly insurmountable challenges to advancement can turn a player off. A good balance of challenge, attainable obstacles and a sense of achievement keeps players coming back.

The most important concept which translates best to course design, is you want the player to feel in control of his own outcome. A player will become frustrated by a game if there is seemingly know way to defeat an obstacle other than sheer luck and timing (ie, maybe the guard will have his back turned when I come around the corner this time. Nope, I'm dead again). In terms of course design, placing trees or OB in the throwing line takes the control out of the players hands and lets the course dictate score (ie, well, I missed that tree this morning, hopefully I'll sneak by in the afternoon round too!).

While it may seem like an easy concept to grasp, it's very difficult to put into practice, especially over 18 holes.
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  #20  
Old 08-15-2012, 11:56 AM
Cgkdisc Cgkdisc is online now
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Expanding on Zamson's post, my experience as a sometimes professional photographer I believe sharpened my design skills from an aesthetic standpoint. Your visual composition expertise comes into play as you look down the fairway from different points to determine where trimming and perhaps scrub tree removal is desirable for aesthetic reasons going beyond just the need for fair fairways. There's also an innate sense for where the pin should compositionally be located as if you were shooting a photo from the tee or landing area.

Last edited by Cgkdisc; 08-15-2012 at 12:00 PM.
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