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-   -   "Fun Factor" in hole design (https://www.dgcoursereview.com/forums/showthread.php?t=130591)

DavidSauls 03-28-2018 12:13 PM

"Fun Factor" in hole design
We've had a lot of discussions about how hole design relates to competitive play---scoring spread, fairness, the somewhat mathematical analysis of whether a hole is good or bad, viewed from how it affects scores in competition. And extended that to overall courses: their balance and variety of competitive hole designs.

As well as some discussion about the values of amenities and aesthetics in a course.

But not a lot about simply how much fun a hole is to throw. Or, sometimes, not.

Have you ever played a course that seemed well-designed, yet in the end, wasn't quite as satisfying as its quality might suggest?

Just kicking around in my head the relative value of the "fun factor" of holes. Holes where, generally the drive, sometimes the putt, are just a lot of fun to throw. The first that come to mind are big downhill "top of the world" shots, but of course there are others, holes that bring a little extra joy when you step up to the tee, for whatever reason.

And while I was kicking that around in my head, I thought I'd kick it towards you guys, too, with this post. Thoughts?

Cgkdisc 03-28-2018 12:23 PM

Here's my background contribution on your excellent topic: Players vs Courses

BogeyNoMore 03-28-2018 01:13 PM

Thanks for starting this thread.

My initial thought was "novelty," but that's a cheap answer. There's way more to it than that, and it's definitely possible to over do novelty.

I'll have to think about it.

DavidSauls 03-28-2018 01:18 PM

Nice, Chuck. Though I'm thinking of fun as separate from challenge. Of course, everyone's taste and idea of fun are different.

But sometimes you see a holes that's reasonably short with a big elevation drop---many shots will make a run at the basket. It's fun to watch, and do; much for fun than an equally-aceable level hole. The scoring spread isn't much---lots of 2s or 3s---but it's fun.

I haven't played the hole in the chicken house, but I imagine it might have a fun factor, beyond what it would if a tornado removed the structure and just left it flat and straight.

Hampton Park, the former annual temp course in Charleston, SC, had a hole that teed between two massive live oak branches; over a cement pond with a 30' water fountain in the center, to the basket. I'm not sure what the scoring spread was, but it was a blast to throw.

I'm inclined to think a course can be forgiven for a couple of high-fun, poor-scoring spread holes. Of course, the best holes are both fun and competitive, but all holes can't be the best.

BogeyNoMore 03-28-2018 01:50 PM

I enjoy holes that have some sort of contrast, like starting out in the woods, and forcing you to hit a window that open up into a more open approach area, or a tee that start in the open (or maybe woods on one side), that plays to a basket tucked away into the woods, such that even if someone has the distance to reach the green, its only rewarded if they can place it well enough to put out, and there's at least some harsh reality for cutting in too early or late.

I particularly like holes that combine a few different design elements. #18 at The Claytons comes to mind.
an elevated tee that has you splitting the uprights between two defining guardian trees, over a river to get to the landing area.

Basket is through the gap, over the river, on the left.... so RHBH fade is what you want on this shot.

roggenb3 03-28-2018 01:52 PM

To me, fun has a high correlation to risk, or risk vs reward.

Holes where I have the option to go for a big water (or OB) carry are unequaled on the fun factor scale. Dangerous greens and landing zones are a close second.

drew2000 03-28-2018 01:56 PM


Originally Posted by DavidSauls (Post 3291254)
I haven't played the hole in the chicken house, but I imagine it might have a fun factor, beyond what it would if a tornado removed the structure and just left it flat and straight.

The chicken coop hole at North Georgia Canopy Tours is a pretty fun hole just because of the uniqueness. It's not a difficult shot - a straight 330 from longs, 250 from shorts (from what I can remember) - but has a relatively low ceiling that is higher in the middle and you have to keep it within walls of the 40 or so feet wide building. It is possible to skip the top of the disc off the ceiling and it makes a weird air bounce flight too.

BogeyNoMore 03-28-2018 02:01 PM

Holes with varying topography can also be fun. #17 at Mt Airy, with it's undulating fairway.

Also holes that basically have no appreciable net elevation change from tee to pin, but play over a ravine that becomes a real obstacle if you don't hit the gap.

(#15 at Highland Park:)

BogeyNoMore 03-28-2018 02:11 PM

Water caries with well-conceived "bail out" landing spots.

Flyboy #25: (385 ft)
Big arms get the big reward with a chance at an Ace or Birdie, but even noodle arms can hit the shorter landing spot up on the left, for a low percentage look at a birdie (but technically still there), much more likely par... but always a chance of hearing that sickening "sploosh."

Particularly fun because of the metal sign nailed to the tree just right of the tee that reads:


MarkDSM 03-28-2018 02:16 PM

For my fun, I consider the classic 200-250’ straight, 90 degree to the left for 100-125’ a must have. Good hucking hyzer and hard fader. Ideally in the middle of the back nine.

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