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Menacewarf 03-16-2012 07:21 PM

Executing The Dream
 
Since the first moment I played I think it was the grass roots enjoyment which attracted and allured me to disc golf. Almost immediately I think the dream was also born to have my own course. It never seemed particularly feasible out west, though not impossible. Just not something that would happen too quickly.

Well since then I have moved back east, with a partner who owns almost 20 acres of fairly dense mixedd regeneration forest. I have bought 9 baskets and the snow will be melted in days. I just need fresh chains for the chain saw and....my knee to heal.

4 days ago on a cross country ski trip in Baxter I fell bad on a windy trail down a hill and injured my knee cartalidge. Today, I got a ,we'll see if it heals right from the doc at the ER today, thus some optimism, though still uncertainty.

With all the pieces in place I am so close but will alas still be stuck fiddling around with overhead photos and Google earth for at least a few more weeks. That and admiring my stack of basket boxes.

Has anyone gone through this process and come out on the other side with words of wisdom? I'll chart the course, and preliminarily my knees progress, as it goes.

DavidSauls 03-16-2012 07:25 PM

Which process? Building a private course, or tearing up a knee?

Menacewarf 03-16-2012 07:33 PM

Well the dream is of course the private course so that is my focus but I would be glad to hear about experience with medial meniscus damage in the mean time.

DavidSauls 03-16-2012 08:26 PM

My brother and I bought some land to move out to the country and build a disc golf course. Click on my signature.

We started playing in 1995, starting searching for land in 2001. Spent 3 years searching for the right land to build homes and make a good disc golf course. Bought land in 2004, started building 1 hole at a time, got to 18 holes in 2007, built a pond in 2009, reached our current layout in 2010. Here we are.

One advantage we/you have is being able to take time to plan. You don't have to come up with the entire 9 or 18 holes, the way course designers do in public parks. You can study the landscape as you go along, and change things that don't work out.

If you're like other private course owners I know, you'll find that you work on your course a lot more than you play.

That's the much-abbreviated story.

goosefraba1 03-17-2012 01:01 AM

Wow.... that hits home just looking at those pictures. My grandparents live in St. Mathews SC (close to orangeburg). Nice seeing pics of the landscape.

DavidSauls 03-17-2012 08:02 AM

You should visit your parents more.....and stop by, we're on the way (if your route is I-26).

For Menacewarf, I'm not sure how much of our experience is instructive. I will point out that wooded holes are harder to build, but much easier to maintain, than open holes. Keep the chainsaw handy; it's surprising how many trees or parts of trees fall, usually in bad locations.

If you open it to the public you have to deal with the consequences. 98% of visitors are great, but the other 2%.....

For us it gives double use of the property. The fairways are also walking trails/ATV trails/hunting areas that we'd never clear just for those purposes.

If you have vines in your woods, you'll be amazed how much you come to despite them.

Budget for supplies (string for weedeaters, etc.), fuel (mowing?), repairs and replacement of both power equipment and manual tools.

In our case, because we bought land suitable for a very good disc golf course, it's allowed us to meet lots of lots of wonderful people, both at tournaments we host and among the society of traveling disc golfers. I'm in South Carolina and I've had at least a half-dozen guests from Wisconsin and Minnesota, and had tournament players here from Connecticut and Alaska. It's been a great pleasure.

Menacewarf 03-17-2012 09:46 PM

Thanks for the reply's David! I admire your course and hear you loud and clear on much of what you said.

The bit about the organic design is very inline with my design principals. I was lucky enough to study a good bit of landscape design long before I was into disc golf and have very much enjoyed learning the flow of the landscape on the 5 or 6 courses I have designed with tone poles in the west. Of those only two really came to be played much and one still exists but from this experience I have learned the thrill of design is discovery.

Having a somewhat blank slate in terms of forest to hack through is at the same time inspiring and a bit daunting in terms of labor. I expect many holes which do not have old logging roads or other clearings as a bassis to begin as very tigh technical lines until I get a handle of the overall master plan. This way I can have a course to play on without committing to anything right away.

What I have learned is to find the 3,4,5,6 amazing holes on the property, and then find good ways of filling in the gaps. It sounds derogatory to the rest of the holes but using this method I have found the landscape will still provide for sound holes if explored thoroughly most of the time.

At my most successful temp/tone course which is still played the best hole on the course was the last one found, squeezed into an unused area in order to accommodate the loss of another hole due to high water. The landscape provides

Sadjo 03-17-2012 11:17 PM

When designing your course, I suggest doing what Houck suggests...find all the 'natural' holes on the property and map them...whether they cross over each other or share fairways. You could end up with a lot of great potential holes.
Also look at each hole in reverse. That perspective might give you better holes than expected.

Menacewarf 03-18-2012 03:50 PM

I agree with the idea of looking at each hole in reverse. I hope perhaps I may be able to design two 9 hole loops using the same 9 baskets but in opposite directions. Of course it would have to work out just right and I wouldn't want to force it but I could see a scenario where it could work with perhaps just a few extra baskets.

Does anyone have any experience with renting a brush hog for clearing saplings?

On a different note my knee has finally begun feeling like it is improving durring the last two days after an initial three days of painful stagnation. This gives me a lot of optimism the course will begin gettin carved out within a few weeks.

My partner helped me set up and drag a bunch of baskets in the yard so I at least have a putter course to limp around and play and I get to look at all my baskets!

Steve West 03-18-2012 06:28 PM

If you do have an old logging road, or other long clearing, don't automatically run a hole down the middle of it. It may work better as two or three basket locations or first-throw landing areas, with the holes being at a large angle to the road.

Menacewarf 03-18-2012 07:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve West (Post 1306420)
If you do have an old logging road, or other long clearing, don't automatically run a hole down the middle of it. It may work better as two or three basket locations or first-throw landing areas, with the holes being at a large angle to the road.

Very good advice. Keep em coming!

cooker 03-18-2012 08:22 PM

When brush hoggin dense thicket or long grass for the first time, lift your blade high for the first pass to avoid rocks and logs.

Menacewarf 03-23-2012 08:16 PM

I have been limping around scoping out the work and am about ready to break ground.

Here is hole one befor I put up any removal ribbons.

http://i1264.photobucket.com/albums/...f/5f2c7ae0.jpg

Hole 2 looking back through the gap.
http://i1264.photobucket.com/albums/...f/25686bbe.jpg

Excited to have things moving. Think I can get holes 1 and 2 playable with 3-5 days of saw work.

DavidSauls 03-23-2012 08:28 PM

Looks like, in its current condition, a tough place to walk around with a bum knee.

Menacewarf 03-23-2012 10:26 PM

First priority is getting the moving around a little easier but I am optimistic that this soft spruce will buck up quick. This spot calls for some big brush pile because of the blowdow but further up the hill where the krux of a 9 or 12 hole loop lies there is a more pleasing mix of 30 year old trees to saplings suggesting to me there will be a lot less waste to deal with. I see a lot of potential with some sapling blinders on and a commitment to a month or three of sapling removal.

Menacewarf 03-23-2012 10:26 PM

Thanks for the concern and good humor. I'm getting around.

duckychucky 03-25-2012 07:53 AM

May I suggest with as much room as you have, instead of a "backwards loop", designing the holes to have 2 distinct fairways. By making the holes "V", "Y" and "U" shaped you can have 2 very different layouts without playing backwards. Of course you probably want to work on the main fairways first to get the course playable but leave room in your design to add the 2nd fairways later.

DavidSauls 03-25-2012 08:30 AM

I think 9 fairways, played forwards and backwards, is a better formula IF you don't ever expect to have many players on the course---if you only expect to play it yourself, or with friends and guests.

It has the great advantage of giving you less fairway to maintain, thus more time to play.

It guarantees balance between lefty & righty holes.

If your concept is to buy 18 baskets and put them at either end of the cleared fairways, it also means maximum diversity. A hole with 2 distinct fairways leading to the same basket may have very different drives, but tends to have the same putts and approaches. It only feels like a half-different hole. Going down a fairway backwards feels completely different. (Ignore this paragraph if you're intending 9 baskets, and clearing enough between basket and tee to play backwards as well).

duckychucky 03-25-2012 10:57 AM

"U" and "V" shaped holes will approach the basket from different angles and will give you much different putts, "Y" shaped holes only change the drive. And if you put in 2 fairways AND a backwards layout you can have 36 "holes"

Menacewarf 03-25-2012 11:33 AM

Good thoughts on all this.

This is related to my current dilemma, but I won't really have to decide for at least a few days.

I have very good ideas for the first two, and last two holes of a loop. This is where I'm going to throw 20-30 hours of effort this week.

My indecision is about the rest of the loop. there is a fairly intuitive 9 hole loop that doubles back once. This though, burns some space in the midst of the loop, say 3 or 4 holes.

I'm Pretty sure the answear will come to me the more I am up ther. My gut is to cram the holes in for max flexibility but I have to see In reality how much space is left after the first loop is done.

In flux, but I will post some pics and an update after I break ground tomarrow.

Menacewarf 03-26-2012 06:30 PM

A nice cool windy day to start,kept me from sweating too bad and would have made discing unpleasant. I got 4.75 hours in and essentially finished hole one for now, and cleared a path to and for hole two. I was beat by the end and didn't remember good before and after photos but have a few.

Problably 1.5 hours of that time was saw work, and the rest piling logs. The good news is that this is one of the few spots with this many blow down. The bad news is many of the other areas are filled with saplings with an over story (which will be nice with saplings gone) The saplings are easy saw work but will make a lot of work to drag and pile. That is looking to be well more than half of the work I have ahead of me.

What the entire fairway of hole one looked like.
http://i1264.photobucket.com/albums/...f/9a17b14f.jpg

Generally the condition now. Some spots are cleaner.
http://i1264.photobucket.com/albums/...f/cef06ac6.jpg

The design issue was bugging me for most of the day while I worked but after looking around again I think I figured out a way to allow for an initial nine without chipping into area for other holes , an additional loop of 3 which would come after hole one.

Much better photos to come tomorrow.

Menacewarf 03-29-2012 11:16 AM

The owner, one's basket, and a giant pile of brush in the background.

http://i1264.photobucket.com/albums/...f/55b255f8.jpg

Haven't quite figured out the singular pad but down in this direction. Don't like the RH Hyzer line over near the car in this pic. Too easy and brush underneath I'm not ready to clear. Will either restrict with pad or a Mando. The left to right route is fun, and pretty fair. Basket is a bit further up hill now too.
http://i1264.photobucket.com/albums/...f/c0c86ea7.jpg

Menacewarf 03-29-2012 11:31 AM

Here is what will be the first layout, a "quick nine" maximizing use of the existing road in order to get playing as quick as possible.

http://i1264.photobucket.com/albums/...f/eea072b5.jpg
Remaining for work before I have a playable nine.

#2 Carve the entire fairway from saplings. 15-20' x 200' drag and pile
#4 Carve a putting area . Light saw work 60-70' diameter
#5 Some fairway and a putting area. 15-30' x 100'
#6 Entire fairway some felling and saplings , long hole with some existing clearings
# 7 Fell a few trees and clear a putting area

Overall looking good for my golfing addiction, within say a few weeks.
The weather and my knee have been somewhat difficult this week so this plan has been the bulk of my accomplishment. I'm hoping to really log hours next week.

Menacewarf 04-02-2012 08:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DavidSauls (Post 1305002)

For Menacewarf, I'm not sure how much of our experience is instructive. I will point out that wooded holes are harder to build, but much easier to maintain, than open holes. Keep the chainsaw handy; it's surprising how many trees or parts of trees fall, usually in bad locations.

Lucky, or unlucky for me, all of the holes are pretty much wooded. Right now it feels like a lot of work to cut fairways, clear fairways, and clear the surrounding areas. Not too bad but I have the curse of an eye that looks at the big picture. Maybe 8-10 hours on the hole from scratch to get playable, and half that on holes with fairways.

Quote:

Originally Posted by DavidSauls (Post 1305002)

If you open it to the public you have to deal with the consequences. 98% of visitors are great, but the other 2%.....

For us it gives double use of the property. The fairways are also walking trails/ATV trails/hunting areas that we'd never clear just for those purposes.

Not sure about the public. Don't want to rule it out or count on it.

Love the dual purpose work idea and that is a main motivating factor for me.

If you have vines in your woods, you'll be amazed how much you come to despite them.

Quote:

Originally Posted by DavidSauls (Post 1305002)

Budget for supplies (string for weedeaters, etc.), fuel (mowing?), repairs and replacement of both power equipment and manual tools.

In our case, because we bought land suitable for a very good disc golf course, it's allowed us to meet lots of lots of wonderful people, both at tournaments we host and among the society of traveling disc golfers. I'm in South Carolina and I've had at least a half-dozen guests from Wisconsin and Minnesota, and had tournament players here from Connecticut and Alaska. It's been a great pleasure.

Nice to hear how good it still feels. Motivation.

Menacewarf 04-02-2012 08:27 PM

8 hours later on the second hole.
 
Here is the fairway of the second hole after the first pass or so from near the middle.

http://i1264.photobucket.com/albums/...f/2305d2d2.jpg

http://i1264.photobucket.com/albums/...f/0dd818ca.jpg


Here is where it is now. playable but I think I need to open up both ace lines by one more tree.

http://i1264.photobucket.com/albums/...f/cdff8524.jpg

http://i1264.photobucket.com/albums/...f/487f8aca.jpg

The idea is a tighter route straight at the basket, and a broader route which curves around in a RHBH anhyzer, still ace-able.

Menacewarf 04-05-2012 01:31 PM

About to go play!
 
After four straight days of hard hard work I have nine fairways and walkouts cut, cleared, and almost stump removed.

I feel relieved to get to take a break from the chainsaw. I sharpened my two chains seven or eight times this week, though much of this was because of stump removal. Regardless my hands and arms are worked. went through maybe 10 tanks of gas. No more saw work for at least a week for me!

Thoughts: I hate poplar seedlings!

Cutting bailouts for brush piling first saves time.

Anything up to 20 or 30 feet tall I was just suicide cutting waste high and going back for the stump.

Great time of the year for hard labor. No bugs, cool temps, and luckily this week, no rain.

As I suspected being flexible with the layout as I went was important to keep the course ballenced while working with the landscape.

Having my girlfriend to play the finished holes each evening kept me sane, without her, I wouldn't have had the energy after cutting and piling all day!

Well I'm off to play. Hope I can shoot under the par 29 for this layout first time through!

Pics to come...

Menacewarf 04-05-2012 05:05 PM

Opening Day
 
Shot a 4+. :|. About to play it again. I think it will have some teeth until I get the fairways edges a bit cleaner.

The basket for the northern most hole, a harsh dogleg par 4 which requires a accurate approach for a chance to bird.

http://i1264.photobucket.com/albums/...f/61c16f22.jpg

The inaugural layout.

http://i1264.photobucket.com/albums/...f/f191c826.jpg

timothyasteele 04-05-2012 05:43 PM

Great work! Would love to see the distances on all the holes. Any alternate basket positions to change it up every once in awhile?

Tim S.

Menacewarf 04-10-2012 08:58 PM

Video of Course
 
I put together a video so everyone can get an actual view of the holes.

It has estimated distances and net vertical estimates for the holes.
Also follow the sound instructions if you listen to the music because the photos have louder music due to stupid I Movie so the first 15 and last 30 seconds could blast out you speakers if you have turned up the volume.

Link

I definitely plan to be moving baskets around and adding holes and layouts. I want to do 10-20 hours of widening the cleared areas to outside of the fairways to improve the playability. Also stick removal and continued sapling and sapling stump removal. Likely get to this stuff this week.

Thanks if you check it out and/ or for any feedback!

Menacewarf 04-13-2012 08:11 AM

I spent about 4 hours two days ago on #6, what I call now "Trail Down". It was definitely playing as the most difficult hole and likely still is. If anyone watched the video I threw what looked like a good shot but went too deep, had to go back to hit the fairway, missed it and spent two more shots getting out on my way to a double. My fault on the course but I feel more strongly about the hole now with a much bigger landing area.

The area with the red lines is the now broadened landing area.

http://i1264.photobucket.com/albums/...f/9279eac4.jpg

This is what it looked like. Tons of annoying saplings between some nice sized trees.

http://i1264.photobucket.com/albums/...f/d80eefa5.jpg

Here is the biggest pile from this day. Notice the flagging. I flagged the to be cleared area permiter first, making sure to make it bigger then my first instinct. Then I cut this bailout for brush outside of this, and tucked it behind some trees and a rock wall. Then I started at the pile and worked out towards the fairway. In this case most of the trees were about 20' tall so I left them whole and stacked them all in the same direction to make it easy to cut them up later for firewood.

http://i1264.photobucket.com/albums/...f/6e3dfb43.jpg

Here is the expanded landing area with the new lines through showing up as anything left of the car.

http://i1264.photobucket.com/albums/...f/26b749a5.jpg

Menacewarf 05-16-2012 07:38 PM

It's been a while since I posted on this thread. *I'm happy to say I played my first two rounds on my very own 18 hole layout earlier today. * It turns out all of the expectation I had built into this moment was warranted. * It really is a glorious moment when after having carved eighteen fairways from the forest, you get to strip the gloves, drop whatever tool is in your hand, and grab for your golf bag.*

The course played very fair for my skill level ( rated at 930 but I'm convinced in my own head I would rate 950 if I played more rated rounds). *The current layout has four par 4's and one par 5 all of which played appropriately for me. *Hit the landing areas, make another shot and your looking at bird. *The par 5 is in reality just a par 4 which I haven't carved out enough yet but inadvertently is a pretty cool hole. * It is a tunnel between 15 and 8 feet wide which twists up a hill about 375 feet before a final sharp dogleg out into a open field. *To me it's a great par 5 because two amazing shots and a strong putt could get an eagle, while only one great shot and a few good ones get you a bird. *It might eat players up in a tourney because of the narrowness but with no pressure today I carded a 5 and a 4. *

One of the great surprises is how much the three stream side holes are characterized by the constantly churning babble and flash of the stream. * It almost entirely takes the sting out of the steep little walkout which lifts you out of the ravine those three holes sit in. *

It is very rewarding to have a course to play. *Still though, I have projects *on almost every hole which will continue to improve things. * I have a name I really like which will probably work. * The biggest weakness right now is tee pads. *I do have some plywood, some two by fours, and unlimited small diameter timber, which I am considering using as the long pieces of frames for framed, carpeted tee boxes. *I have heard I can get old carpet for free If I look around. * Any input on non cement tee boxes on relatively uneven ground?

I shot a +1 and a 0 , and while missing many many birdies, was not overly concerned about my score. I have many more tries to shoot a -10. * And it's only getting better :-D*

Menacewarf 05-16-2012 07:39 PM

----

DavidSauls 05-16-2012 08:28 PM

We've seen the "before" pictures....when do we get the "after" ones?

Congratulations on completing* the course. Obviously a ton of work, and a ton of justifiable pride

* - Well, not complete, private courses are never complete, but congrats on reaching the 18-hole benchmark.

jcrab66 05-16-2012 10:15 PM

yes, nice work and congratulations!

mashnut 05-16-2012 10:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DavidSauls (Post 1411556)
We've seen the "before" pictures....when do we get the "after" ones?

^This for sure.

I want to one day design my own private course, I love hearing from course owners about the process of designing and building their layouts.

Menacewarf 05-17-2012 10:15 PM

Thanks for the interest all. I am definately set to take a good set of photos or videos for sharing in the next week. I have been working hard on the current layout (about a par 60) yet I already have eyes on a new layout which is potentially a par 69 and might approach many of my own design ideals. So it is hard to take too much ownership of this layout when I am already coveting another but that layout is at least a few weeks out and I really should take ownership of this one.

The best way to characterize this layout is as an accuracy layout. Of course with the land I am working with it is all going to be accuracy based but this layout is truely one where a tuned in top pro could go 15- but on a bad day an advanced player could easily shoot well over par. In other words almost ever fairway is tight, easily a bogie with a bad drive, but also easily a bird to a great player.

I discovered a disc golf beauty today which I must relate. Two holes, both a bit awkward, not bad but not perfect, and as I contemplated, as I paced around puffing my E - Ciggerette I noticed an Island in the creek, almost a prefect small disc golf green, and the solution was quickly at hand. It will take a good day or two of work but the two holes will combine into an epic par 4 with a babbling brook island green to make you say "risk or reward?".

That is my excitement for the day. Pics or a vid coming soon! Thanks guys!

DavidSauls 05-17-2012 10:18 PM

You see. You see! Just what I said! No private course is ever "completed"!

DavidSauls 05-17-2012 10:22 PM

More seriously....you hacked out an 18-hole course on a wooded property, by yourself, in 2 months? That's an amazing accomplishment. By the authority vested in me, I hereby declare that you should take 2 weeks off and just play.

Menacewarf 05-17-2012 10:56 PM

Yup! It truely is tough to ballence the work with the fun but I assume that becomes the thing. I've already felt it. That doing this kinda thing turns your idea of work around where it actually becomes fun. I dunno... Sounds crazy when I re read it! :-)

Menacewarf 05-24-2012 10:26 PM

Video of current layout
 
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNpsR1255zM


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