Last time I played Baker Park, it was a nine-hole course, not terribly well designed, with InStep baskets and no tees, signage, or elevation, so it was really a pleasure to encounter this well-thought-out redesign boasting 18 MVP Black Hole Portal Baskets, 4’x8’ concrete tees, benches at half the holes, and solid, consistent, informative signage (each bolted to the new theme: rocks). This new design incorporates all of the park that’s not otherwise engaged, and accesses rolling elevation, varying lines of flight and distances, as well as alternate basket positions for half the holes. So the recreational to intermediate disc golfers in town (and us out of town baggers) will find plenty of reason to replay numerous times, without things getting stale. After finding baskets in the ‘longs’ on the first half of the course, I was pleased to see they hadn’t simply put all of them there, since at least one of the longs (the island green on 15, which crosses a driveway), may best be utilized for special events and tournament play.
Opening with a fun, reachable starter ace /deuce run, you find out pretty quickly that you can’t get comfortable just yet, as hole 2 in the long, plays well over 500 feet, with newer trees planted along the left side to keep you honest. I think the ‘front six’ are where the old course used to cross fairways. These new holes flow very well back to your parking area at the practice basket, after which a little walk brings you to the more sloping sections beginning with hole 7. Hole 8 has enough of a drop to make this older right arm happy, and 9 is a truly scenic ace run, backstopped by a signature stone wall. Be sure to go over to your left to 10, not up right to 11 yet. 12 through 14 get you around the southeast corner of the park, and after the tester on 15, you’ll finish with three short, rewarding runs. In all, I really enjoyed throwing this new ‘Rock’ (hopefully we can get the name changed here on DGCR, so as not to have anything to do with that older incarnation of ‘Baker’.
There were several places where you’ll want to have the map to be sure you backtrack correctly to the next tee (with the exception of 10 & 13, usually to your right as you flow counter-clockwise around the park). Signs could use basket position indicators (we don’t all use ‘that other app’), and baskets could use ‘next tee’ signage. Hole 7 crosses a path, 10 has a park bench hidden by shrubbery, and right at the ‘green’, 12 probably needs a mando left (to at least encourage folks not to hyzer out over the busy road), and 16’s mando does not truly protect the shelter on the right from an errant throw. I thought it was interesting to see the shelter at 18’s basket encaged in chain link…
My family hails from New Castle (though I have only a few remaining relatives there), so I’ll be sure to play a round at the Rock whenever I’m in town. With this redesign, I actually look forward to it. Maybe someone will want to join up if the skies are clear next April 8th (I’m hoping to be in town for the total solar eclipse!)