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Doofenshmirtz 05-03-2018 05:12 PM

Course Optics/Visibility
 
I'm interested in hearing about those of you who have designed courses and whether you have taken into account how a hole looks from the tee or how a course looks as it is walked.

For example, in a course that I am designing I have designed some holes based, in some part, on whether and how much the basket is visible from the tee box or near the tee box at least on the par 3 holes. For example, on the first hole, I chose a straight fairway based partly on the idea that when I play a new course, I like to be able to see the first basket from the tee. I think the hole works better that way anyway (because it has OB directly behind the basket and a somewhat narrow gap about midway down the fairway on a 250' slightly downhill hole).

On a couple of other holes basket placement will also be chosen in part on visibility from the tee box. Some of the clearing that is being done is also for the aesthetics of the course because the course is in a very pretty area but has a lot of underbrush that doesn't come into play but gives it an almost jungle feel that I'd rather avoid is some places.

Any thoughts?

chevis 05-03-2018 05:33 PM

absolutely try to get the basket visible from the tee, even if it's only in the winter. navigation is so much easier when you can see the basket from the tee.

MarkDSM 05-03-2018 06:41 PM

Curious why ‘no blind placements from tee’ would be a design concern in regards to navigation.

My rationales for blind is fine if safety is reasonable:
The vast majority of course plays are locals and repeat plays.
Allows for reward of advanced flight paths like huge hard fades, long s-curve flights, and turning rollers.
Walking up fairways to check lines and distances is normal expectation of competive play.
Map and sign reading are part of playing disc golf.
Blind positions allow for flexibility in alernate pin positions which add some variety in replaying a course.

I do agree that hole one being clear sight is good in general. In my perfect world numbers one and two are pretty straight fairways, no big obstacles first 2/3rds of the fairway and no nasty OB. Number two basket near number one tee and parking is ideal. Great for waiting for friends, warm-ups and extra play after a round when traffic allows.

Steve West 05-03-2018 07:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Doofenshmirtz (Post 3303717)
... the course is in a very pretty area but has a lot of underbrush that doesn't come into play...

I've never met an underbrush that can be seen and doesn't come into play.

Doofenshmirtz 05-03-2018 09:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve West (Post 3303752)
I've never met an underbrush that can be seen and doesn't come into play.

You've never been to this course.

DavidSauls 05-03-2018 11:13 PM

Yes and no. Only one (private) course where I can take partial blame for the design. Yes, some holes are designed with consideration for optics---how they look from the tee, and what the view is from the tee. No holes designed to make sure you can see the basket from the tee; for that matter, on many or most, you can't see it.

BogeyNoMore 05-04-2018 12:41 AM

Most "championship caliber" courses feature many (if not the majority of) holes that are blind from the tee... and I'm fine with that. How else do you create interesting and complex holes that force you to hit a landing spot for a approach to the green?

I never mind walking even long fairways on a course I'm unfamiliar with, to figure out just what I'm trying to do, as long as:
1) it really is a good hole.
2) it's obvious where I should look.

Decent signage showing intended route, distance, and pin position... so players know which direction to look, after walking 300' down a 450' fairway to spot the basket.

If the basket's in the thick woods/shadows... PLEASE USE SOME COLOR! for crying out loud... even if it's just spray painting the pole a florescent color.

Searching for plain Chainstars or DGAs on long, heavily wooded courses is a buzz kill.

DavidSauls 05-04-2018 08:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BogeyNoMore (Post 3303849)
Most "championship caliber" courses feature many (if not the majority of) holes that are blind from the tee... and I'm fine with that. How else do you create interesting and complex holes that force you to hit a landing spot for a approach to the green?

Exactly.

It can be difficult to design a hole where there's enough open space to see the basket, but not to throw to the basket along that sightline. Sometimes you have woods with just the right density to see through, but not throw through, but not often.

The longer the hole, the more difficult that is.

denny ritner 05-08-2018 05:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DavidSauls (Post 3303898)
Exactly.

It can be difficult to design a hole where there's enough open space to see the basket, but not to throw to the basket along that sightline. Sometimes you have woods with just the right density to see through, but not throw through, but not often.

The longer the hole, the more difficult that is.

On par 4's and 5's, sure. On par 3's MOST of the time a sight-line can be created. I see a lot of holes where the baskets are intentionally hidden when they could be visible a couple feet one way or the other. I do NOT see the upside of this.

DavidSauls 05-09-2018 08:03 AM

At our course, there are a bunch of par-3s where the basket can't be seen from the tee. None are intentional.

For a few, we'd like to cut peepholes through the thick rough---enough to see through, but not to throw threw. We intend to do so. But there's always a lot more work to do than gets done, and these never get high enough on the priority list.

A few others are the exceptions you cite (by using "most of the time")---the hilly terrain, or large trees, block the view.

You're right that there's no upside in not seeing the basket---but not much downside, either. After playing a time or two, you know where the basket is, and generally know where a decent shot has landed. We generally feel that the better holes outweigh their being blind.

esdubya 05-09-2018 03:37 PM

On the last course I worked on, after the pad locations were finalized I went through each basket location and made the fine adjustments while I stood on the tee-pad and a helper acted as basket. I wanted to create a sense of visual harmony and put the baskets in the best place for a nice view from the tee. One hole#1 for example the basket is perfectly visible through a Y in the tree trunks.

This was on a relatively open (previous golf course) property with no underbrush and large mature trees. Mind you this was just for the fine adjustments, like a few feet here or there. Overall basket and pad placement was done based on what would make the best hole, and make the best overall course with good flow.

I'd say try to make it visible from the tee overall, if it is only moving it a little bit and it doesn't compromise the hole or the putting area.

nate22 05-11-2018 09:55 AM

As a heavily wooded mountain course, this was very important to us, and the reason we went with the yellow bands.

All but 2 of the par 9s can be seen from the tee, and each of those has a rock within 5m of the tee enabling you to see it.

One of the baskets are visible from the tee on a par 4, as its a massive uphill. One you get to see as you walk to the tee, and another is under a massive tree you can see from the tee, right down the middle of the fairway. Another is up the mountain on a massive dog leg, you need to move around to see it but its visible (need to make a viewing spot and knock out a tree or 2).

So really only 3 aren't visible from the tee area, a massive C shaped hole, and 2 S bends

philstine 05-17-2018 11:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nate22 (Post 3306520)
All but 2 of the par 9s can be seen from the tee

:eek::eek::eek:

nate22 05-18-2018 01:24 AM

wooops, par 3s that is

Casey 1988 05-18-2018 04:20 AM

I say a course is fine having blind holes provided it has a way to get to the basket without having 100% of the blind baskets be needing to throw overhand sky shots to get to the basket. Then you might have what the 2017 Collage championship course was like and during the Tournament banning all Overhand shots even if they are forehand rollers as they were just trying to ban the overhand sky shots but forgot about the overhand/forehand ground roller.

goosefraba1 06-27-2018 10:29 PM

I don't see a problem with 1 or 2 blind Par 3s on a wooded course. Black Bear DGC has a blind par 3 on hole 2. It just makes for a great shot... and it wouldn't be as good of a hole without the basket and tees Exactly where they are. So, my answer is do what you can to make an interesting, scoreable hole.

Also, just echoing... there are bright colored baskets out on the market for a reason.

BogeyNoMore 06-27-2018 10:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Casey 1988 (Post 3308916)
Then you might have what the 2017 Collage championship course was like...

He makes a valid point... even if wasn't what he meant to say. A collage of different hole types is what every course designer should shoot for when creating a championship level course.

It's OK. I didn't go to collage either. :(

Casey 1988 06-28-2018 06:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BogeyNoMore (Post 3323973)
He makes a valid point... even if wasn't what he meant to say. A collage of different hole types is what every course designer should shoot for when creating a championship level course.

It's OK. I didn't go to collage either. :(

Mistske, Meant College course of 2017 where they had to ban the overhand throws due to the wall of plants and trees that were not as tall as other places due to weather and soil. So you could do an overhand throw. I would do a sky hyzer as any overhand shot was not allowed on that course. Also was a test to see if they could ban overhand shots in central Texas region due to how most of the more natural disc golf courses form with the wall of shorter trees.

Casey 1988 06-28-2018 06:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by goosefraba1 (Post 3323970)
I don't see a problem with 1 or 2 blind Par 3s on a wooded course. Black Bear DGC has a blind par 3 on hole 2. It just makes for a great shot... and it wouldn't be as good of a hole without the basket and tees Exactly where they are. So, my answer is do what you can to make an interesting, scoreable hole.

Also, just echoing... there are bright colored baskets out on the market for a reason.

Yep since the early 1990's there have been bright colors for disc golf baskets. Before that the trend even from other companies other then Ed Hendrick making baskets and tone holes, was not bright colors, the early cone holes being the big exception.

I was just pointing out that some blind holes/courses that were once non blind holes/courses are due to course neglect and not the way the hole was designed originally. Wall of trees and or plants that grew up over time and make the hole blind when it was not ever blind, forcing people to do overhand or sky shots

Casey 1988 06-28-2018 06:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Casey 1988 (Post 3324014)
Mistske, Meant College course of 2017 where they had to ban the overhand throws due to the wall of plants and trees that were not as tall as other places due to weather and soil. So you could not do an overhand throw. I would do a sky hyzer as any overhand shot was not allowed on that course. Also was a test to see if they could ban overhand shots in central Texas region due to how most of the more natural disc golf courses form with the wall of shorter trees.

Fixed post :doh:

mrtho 06-28-2018 07:37 AM

As a player not a designer I don't feel that seeing the basket from the tee is mandatory, but do agree with the posters above about not hiding it just because. If you are sticking it behind a tree trunk just where it isn't visible then it can usually be moved a foot or two to make it visible without changing how a hole plays.

However on one of the courses I like to play there are two holes (9 baskets but each has 2 tees) that would be almost totally open if the basket wasn't centered behind a huge Willow that goes all the way to the ground. Another course has a hole with line of trees along the left of an open fairway and the basket is in a grove of trees at the end tucked off to the left so that the line of trees blocks your view. In both cases the hole would give up alot by making the basket visible from the tee and Im glad the designer put them where they are.

Long story short: design the hole where it is challenging then fine tune the basket in to view if possible without changing the way the hole is played.

curmudgeonDwindle 09-15-2018 09:24 AM

Course optics/visibility
 
I'm waiting out this hurricane, so bear with me, as some of what I'm about to say is 'obvious' but may be helpful in informing your general philosophical approaches to design. For me, its often helpful to review old lessons.

A golf course is a landscape designed for human pleasure - it is not strictly a 'utilitarian' landscape. A golf course is also basically a path (or trail) one builds that others will follow. One helpful mnemonic analogy for a golf course can be a narrative or story - that being case, what sort of story do folks enjoy? Perhaps some mystery, some unpredictability? Twists and turns? Are appearances deceiving?

What I'm driving at is that one needs elements of a predictable structure AND elements that break that structure to enhance interest and pleasure - in short, variety. There is nothing 'wrong' with a blind hole in and of itself, in fact, one of the most popular courses where I live features almost exclusively blind holes (Kilbourne). A straight-forward opener should be very inviting to the uninitiated, but the designer does well to consider what he's 'inviting' the players into - consider the opening sequence to 'The Angry Beaver' which consists of 3 straight-forward, short 2-shot holes before dramatically increasing the length, complexity and difficulty of the holes as players venture further into the 'deep, dark forest'. This may seem corny, but the point is that the most successful designs are unified - each individual element harmoniously supports all the others and most importantly supports the main idea of the course.

That being said, in my experience and from a practical pov, the designer should give indications of the 'correct line of play' - the 'fair-way'(which doesn't negate the possibility of deception, but more on that in another post perhaps). If the target is not visible from the tee, the golfer should perceive a 'safe' landing zone (or 'bail-out' area), to which they can play with a minimum of trouble. This is especially important for lower skill players and players opting for a conservative tack on a given hole. Hazards, like thick rough, ob areas, ponds and the like should not be hidden from the golfer off the tee. The reason for this is the tee shot is the only 'gimme' on the course; the assumption being you give the golfer the perfect place to make the most perfect shot he can on any given hole (criticisms of lousy tee pads are valid) - which doesn't mean you cannot tempt golfers with a juicy but dangerous birdie (McDaniel is an expert in temptation). So consider your blind targets' and hazard placements' with this in mind. These are general rules of thumb - there's nothing inherently 'wrong' about idiosyncratic holes on a course (#9 @ Hornet's Nest) or what I interpret to be a blind ob on your course's first hole, however, these elements are best balanced within the loose framework of design ideology I've already described.

In general, I'm not a fan of the penal design school, but it still has a place in the sport. I don't feel these types of designs serve the majority of the golfing public well and are best reserved for the top players competing for the most prestigious titles (and to keep their egos in check). This brings us to the most important consideration of all, which is who will read your story? or How might one make this story inviting and pleasurable to the largest number of 'readers'? Is this a story someone might like to read over and over again? Or is it a 'one-off'? Will the financiers of this story's creation be pleased?

Also note that from a practical pov, dependent upon foot-traffic, underbrush will magically disappear by itself, but clearing some underbrush from areas with a high 'lie' potential will speed play and reduce frustration for all golfers, if not improve aesthetics. It would be wise to be careful you're not unwittingly increasing the likelihood of erosion in these cases.fwiw...

BogeyNoMore 09-15-2018 10:30 AM

^ Excellent post. In essence, designing holes that aren't simply good indivdual holes, but that work well together, to create a feeling, such that the course maintains your interest, rather than feeling repetitive.

I believe that's the key factor (or at least one of them) in creating a course where "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts."

I'm sure that's far easier said than done, but I think that's the intangible that gives some courses an extra half or full disc rating higher than you might expect looking at the individual holes.

Cgkdisc 09-15-2018 11:03 AM

Is your design philosophy more like a Party Host or Dungeon Master?

Gblambert 09-15-2018 11:48 AM

Our course initially had three long par 3 holes with doglegs where the baskets couldn't be seen from the tee pad. From a design perspective we liked having a few blind holes for variety and because they add a bit of difficulty to the course. Turns out though that the blind holes were slowing down play, so we later went back and cut sight lines on two of them.

Even with great tee signs, new players felt compelled to walk halfway down the fairway before playing the hole so they could actually see the basket before throwing. Cutting the sight lines eliminated these walks and it also seemed like the players were spending less time looking for discs in the brush that surrounds the baskets. We didn't keep before and after data to prove it, but it's been our experience that players get better scores on these holes now and spend less time looking for discs when they can see where the disc lands from the tee pad.

After cutting the site lines we also found that the holes were actually more fun to throw. Instead of only seeing the disc during the initial throw, we can now make the throw, wait a couple of seconds, then watch the disc pop into view at the end of the sight line.

curmudgeonDwindle 09-15-2018 07:23 PM

My personal design philosophy is like Johnny Appleseed...

DavidSauls 09-15-2018 08:00 PM

The story our course tells is like one of those serial mysteries, where you never know which way the plot will turn, or who will turn out to be the villain, in the next episode.

joecoin 09-15-2018 08:35 PM

My private course is first and foremost just that; private.

This has led me to hiding baskets so they are not visible from the road. The road I'm on is a public right of way, single lane dead end. Not much traffic, but it only takes one undesirable to cause headaches.

Mando 05-31-2019 09:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by curmudgeonDwindle (Post 3353432)

A golf course is a landscape designed for human pleasure - it is not strictly a 'utilitarian' landscape. A golf course is also basically a path (or trail) one builds that others will follow. One helpful mnemonic analogy for a golf course can be a narrative or story - that being case, what sort of story do folks enjoy? Perhaps some mystery, some unpredictability? Twists and turns? Are appearances deceiving?

What I'm driving at is that one needs elements of a predictable structure AND elements that break that structure to enhance interest and pleasure - in short, variety...but the point is that the most successful designs are unified - each individual element harmoniously supports all the others and most importantly supports the main idea of the course.

Hazards, like thick rough, ob areas, ponds and the like should not be hidden from the golfer off the tee. The reason for this is the tee shot is the only 'gimme' on the course; the assumption being you give the golfer the perfect place to make the most perfect shot he can on any given hole

This brings us to the most important consideration of all, which is who will read your story? or How might one make this story inviting and pleasurable to the largest number of 'readers'? Is this a story someone might like to read over and over again? Or is it a 'one-off'? Will the financiers of this story's creation be pleased?

Great analogy. I like it !

Mando 05-31-2019 08:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by curmudgeonDwindle (Post 3353432)
This brings us to the most important consideration of all, which is who will read your story? or How might one make this story inviting and pleasurable to the largest number of 'readers'? Is this a story someone might like to read over and over again? Or is it a 'one-off'?

And what if the author eschews the notion of writing with the goal of being a best-seller for an audience of imbeciles ?

curmudgeonDwindle 06-11-2019 12:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mando (Post 3457078)
And what if the author eschews the notion of writing with the goal of being a best-seller for an audience of imbeciles ?

You mean like Michael Wolff? or you could go the other way, with someone like Don DeLillo...

seriously though, despite what some might think, golf is a conservative sport, so 'the classics' will probably work best...


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