Old 08-21-2014, 11:18 PM
KRATC KRATC is offline
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I am very excited about the Carrollton course. That area really needs a good course. With Flyboy pulled, the closest course is Deerlick (or maybe White Oak). By the looks of it, this will be a fantastic course. If it is similar to W.R. Jackson, I think it will be a perfect addition to the west Atlanta scene.
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Old 08-22-2014, 06:17 AM
rhatton1 rhatton1 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2011
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Do you have any regrets about any of your holes designed in the past - any you look back on now and think, I wish I did that differently.

I'm designing a Gold standard championship course with a few holes playing around some lakes. There are a couple of par 5's that play alongside and cross water on 2nd or 3rd throws (or 4th 5th or 6th depending on how well the driver went )

I think the carry over water and the decision making involved is reasonable on these holes for anyone around 850 upwards (probably playing the par 5's for a sensible 6 or 7 as opposed to the top open players having a massively risky chance for 3 and a reasonable risk for 4) my problem is on the British tour we tend to run all divisions at tournaments and so we will have low 800 raters and below also playing. For them I am afraid it really does come into the stupid hole design category/slog. Our bottom division (up to 880) would incorporate half the division that this would be reasonable but tough design for and half where it is too much and the alternative to attempting the crossing is quite a few extra shots round the edge of the lake. I could realistically see the bottom players on tour taking 10's + on these holes.

Have you got any ideas for ways around this - as it is not the first drive you can't have drop zones. I would prefer all players to play from the same tee and to the same basket to preserve ratings, and I know the top players n the division will want the challenge.

I don't want to alienate 20% of the touring membership here but we don't have enough gold standard courses and I think our top players suffer as a result, which is why I am designing with this in mind.

The same course has a blue and red layout which are fine for beginners on the red and intermediate players on the blue but it is the tournament play I am slightly concerned about.
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Old 08-22-2014, 11:01 AM
1978 1978 is offline
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Originally Posted by johnrhouck View Post
Ah -- forgive me. I was thinking Trophy Club, not Trophy Lake.

Thanks for explaining the signs. Obviously that kind of information can be very helpful.

It did occur to me that, on holes where you encounter water on your second shot, you never really know what the distance to carry is, just as on most multi-shot holes you have to figure out on your own which disc to use and how hard to throw it. So there is an element of the sport where estimating distance without a laser, caddy book, or tee sign is part of the game. Tough call. Thanks again.
Can't this be solved by incorporating permanent distance markers into the course? Painted rocks, tree signs. How often do you do this, if you support it and do you have a standard like they do on ball golf courses? At Nevin I started utilizing 4" strips of a non rusting metal and 2.5" vinyl numbers to mark stumps, roots, and trees with distance from pin. It gets difficult to do 100-150-200-250 if there isnt an object in that range... Also, I bought a fixed amount of the numbers 0-9, so I did 158' or 263' to use slow down use of common numbers. What are your thoughts on distance markers once off the tee?

1000 numbers from U-line is pretty cheap and you can use the inside of a soda can for the metal plate. cut a 4" x 3" piece and round the corners. Tack to tree or stump with shingle nails. For stumps or non-signature rocks I used number stencils and non-annoying colors like black, brown, and dark reds.

I personally dont want anything that could impede a disc like poles, but like to know how far I am on a second or third shot.

Last edited by 1978; 08-22-2014 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 08-23-2014, 08:22 PM
bacavett bacavett is offline
Join Date: Aug 2014
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Originally Posted by johnrhouck View Post
I'm so glad that you find those articles helpful -- that's why we do them. I appreciate Randy Signor and Brian Graham and the rest of the PDGA for wanting to make that kind of information available to their readers. And I appreciate Rick Rothstein for that same thing going back into the '90's.

It can be tricky to make holes in the open that are fun and challenging. Two things I've noticed that stick out to me:

1. Some courses have a wide open Hole #1 and then a bunch of holes in the woods. I would think very hard about walking an extra 100 yards and starting the course closer to the trees.

2. When you have a few scattered trees, you get more mileage out of them when you use them by tee than if you use them by the basket. If you use them on the tee, you can actually shape the shot. When you use them by the basket, unless they're good and wide, you just create a flukey situation where one good shot hits the tree and an almost identical good shot misses the tree.

The good news, as I mentioned in my last article, is that I'm finding property owners much more willing to plant trees than they've been in the past. Just in the last year, Little Elm planted over 40, I think; Trey Texas did more than 50 over two courses; and Tall Firs (which opens in a week from today) did about 130.

Of course, the trees need to be big enough to make a difference, so I insist on at least 2 1/2" caliper and 8' of height. Bigger is better, but those can make a difference off the tee, as long as a player is throwing backhand or sidearm and not something upside down. By the basket, I'll want to use them in groups to get good width, and focus in areas where the shot will already be low. Don't forget to plan for future growth of those trees.

I've also found property owners more willing to move dirt, and that can help in open areas. Simple mounds can create places being on or behind the mound could result tricky footing and/or a tricky shot and/or a blind shot. I haven't used that technique yet -- fortunately, I haven't needed to.

It's actually coincidental that you ask about this topic, as my NEXT article is going to be solutions for open areas. Tall Firs used to be a golf course, and a lot of it is wide open. It's also only about 23 acres, including the pond (and it's surrounded by homes, which makes it much smaller), so putting in a championship-style course was a challenge.

The classic answer for creating fun and challenging holes in a wide open area is artificial OB, and the classic example is the USDGC. I've been watching some of the Smashboxx.tv and DGPTV coverage from Blue Lake, and obviously there's a ton of it there, too. But that's not something you'd want for casual play. I try to reserve artificial OB as a last resort. I did use it at Tall Firs, but we made the in-bounds areas as wide as we possibly could, and you'll only be OB if you made a really bad shot and are in someone else's fairway.

The big thing at Tall Firs was finding a way to give players an incentive to stay in their own fairway while not giving them a penalty stroke for a small mistake. So what we did on several holes was to create a zone in between fairways that would be undesirable but not too penal. I'll explain it in the next article, and once I've written it, I'll explain it here, too. For now, I hope that helps a little.
That's a great point about using the trees closer to the tee. I hadn't thought of that. The course I have been co-designing currently (and what prompted my initial post as it's quite open) I initially was looking at trying to put the trees near the green as guardians to make approaching the basket more challenging. This however made holes that were wide open drives and then approach shots that as you said would be "flukey". So i'll definitely be revisiting the park with a fresh eye and looking at how I could mix up my current design putting the tees near the trees.

The park we're working at is perfectly setup for pay-to-play so it is definitely in the plan to have much of the revenue generated go back into the course adding trees (specifically Leyland Cypress and Hybrid Poplar) and possibly moving soil around as well to balance out the openness of many of the holes to make them more challenging.

That's great to hear! I'll definitely be looking forward to checking that article out. I did look at the Tall Firs course you mentioned (which looks great by the way) and it's very reminiscent of what we're dealing with; our park was also an old golf course.

I'm glad you mentioned that, as I was watching the live coverage of Worlds as well and as they played Blue Lake I was getting a lot of ideas on how to handle all of the openness of our park. I was thinking of using a lot of artificial OB (widening the fairways of course to compensate; nothing more frustrating than spending 5 minutes looking for you disc in a brush patch) but wasn't sure how well that would work and so was pleasantly surprised to see how they did it at Blue Lake. I think that's the route we'll end up having to go, at least until we can start putting in trees and moving dirt.

Thanks again you've been quite helpful and i'll be sure to look for your new article.

Last edited by bacavett; 08-23-2014 at 08:24 PM.
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