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Old 07-12-2018, 02:43 AM
Casey 1988 Casey 1988 is offline
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Originally Posted by DavidSauls View Post
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?
Yes, my home courses have that. One of them is a cool tunnel woods shot on the State park course Powerhouse Ally near Pierre South Dakota, then the other hole, on the in town course Steamboat (soon to be gone hole due to a water treatment plant put in where most of the good holes on the course are) is a wooded hole that makes you play a placement shot to a spot only as wide as 15 meters round. If you miss on the in town hole you are looking at playing off to the right back through the trees or under a Russian Olive bush. The Powerhouse Ally course if you miss you are playing in 4-4.5 feet tall grass and/or dead tree/brush or even live tree/brush almost all in the 4-4.5 tall grass.
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  #52  
Old 09-16-2018, 01:11 PM
curmudgeonDwindle curmudgeonDwindle is offline
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Default Fun Factor Holes

It seems to me that the higher the player's skill level, the more they would like 'skill' to determine outcomes. Golf is an interesting game because it asks the individual to do the impossible - master himself (hell, even Mr. Spock had issues in this area). What does this have to do with 'fun factor holes'?

While it may be said that there are different 'types' of golfing fun, I believe the most fun holes are those which are on the edges of one's skill and competence. The ones one perceives as just a bit beyond one's competence. The ones that tempt one to 'push the envelope' just a bit farther than yesterday or maybe even try an 'uncomfortable' shot shape or delivery style.

A personal example: I lived out west for a while and I learned the 'power' game. I became a very strong thrower but when I moved back east, I found holes demanding a straight, flat shot with supreme fade control a bit outside of my comfort zone, even shorter ones. I found these types the most 'fun' and still do...Stoney Hill has a shortish hole like this (I've forgotten the number - #16?) where you begin on a little ridge, through a narrowish gap to an open pin with a left-to-right downslope. It also includes some railroad ties around the pin. It's a solid, fun hole.

Another example: At the old Seneca Creek, I believe it was #7. Whenever I stepped on that tee, I didn't 'know' what to do, and this was a hole well within my range for a pin drive (>300'/<400'). This was unusual, as it was easy to see several different 'good' lines to try, but none seemed demonstrably better than any other. I must have played that course over 100 times, casually and in tournament, and felt that way every time I played it. That's a fun hole.

Last example: The new #1 at Kilbourne. It's about 400' with an into-the-woods dogleg left starting about 320' out from the tee. This is a very difficult shot shape to execute (hard turn at flight's end) with a counter-spin delivery air shot AND it's the starter.

A quick note about risk/reward:

This idea seems predicated upon successful execution. Imagine there are two parallel continuums, one for risk and one for reward. IMO 'correctly' designed risk/reward shots are where the parallel continuums 'match'. The amount of reward a player receives need be directly proportional to the amount of risk he successfully shoulders. Viewed this way, this idea becomes the cornerstone of the strategic school of course design (and sometimes the heroic school)....fwiw...
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  #53  
Old 09-18-2018, 08:15 AM
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rhatton1 rhatton1 is offline
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A related but separate view of this that I'm dealing with on one of the courses I'm working on is really cool or neat trees. Either an abnormally big or gnarly tree or just a really neat looking shape. I'll cut down 100 trees to make the fairway, but I'll never cut that one down, even if it screws up the line a little bit.

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Totally this. I love a good weird looking tree. The problem I have encountered a few times this year is that with good forest management the weird trees should be thinned leaving only the straight limbed boring ones. I've had a toe to toe argument with one of the contractors on a course I was designing who wanted to cut down a particular funny looking tree and leave the straight limbed one next to it, annoyingly I lost the fight as forestry commission licenses and best practice beat my course "vision" over here...... at the moment....

For me aesthetics are really important to a "fun" hole. The meandering Stream in Houcks PEI Hillcrest course sums this up perfectly. Everyone that sees it wants to throw that hole, all it is a 200' fairly straightforward turnover putter, but Damn I want to throw it. I want to empty my bag at it , it's just so pretty.

I tend not to like holes with baskets just out in the open. One of the first things I am always looking for whilst designing is something to frame or define the basket so it becomes the thing the eye focuses on, be that an island green, the woodline leading down or the tunnel shot with perfectly framed basket. Good course design is an art form, it's finding the beauty in a piece of land and enhancing it with the core elements of our sport - basket/tee/mowed fairway. I love mowed fairways through sparse trees (silver birch groves are probably my favourite tree for this) they give an order to the wilderness that appeals to me.

I think most of us inherently feel the same landscapes are visually appealing so for me it's always a good place to start to produce a fun course. Make it pretty. If there is a striking view from the property makes sure at least one if not lots of the holes showcase it. There's nothing better for a player on a bad round to be able to look around, forget their golf and just enjoy the view. I love the idea of signs reminding people to do this.

Most people tend to want to play down rather than up. generally people don't seem to like playing sideways across slopes. Playing across valleys always seems to appeal. Meandering waterways are what excite me the most when I get to a property on an initial visit. Diversity in a course is also very important, I want to try to get in as many different types of holes as possible and showcase as many different features of the land as possible so it all is memorable.


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  #54  
Old 09-18-2018, 10:35 AM
gradus gradus is offline
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A different take on "fun." I always walk off of Kilborne and Reedy Creek in Charlotte feeling good. These are very old wooded courses that make you feel like you're shaping shots, but in reality the holes are pretty open. They make you feel like a better player. I've played plenty of easy courses that don't give me the same feeling, but there is something about these mature wooded courses that make me feel good and think "fun" at the end of a round.
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Old 09-18-2018, 10:52 AM
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I have played Richmond hill more than any other course and i still love it because of the fun hole factor... For me, a fun hole has a few different lines, something to avoid, an elevation change and a risk/reward factor. Fun holes usually come in groups and they are usually very different shots off the tee (i.e. Richmond hill #15-#18)
Glad this got bumped
Bogey, #18 @ the Claytons is a fave.
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Old 11-17-2019, 10:12 PM
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Bumping to avoid duplicate threads.
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Old 11-18-2019, 06:51 AM
mojorooks mojorooks is offline
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Breakers in Holland, MI has some fun holes. One hole in particular you can try for the tight laserbeam shot, or a slight hyzer to go around. The harder laser gets you an easier birdie.
https://www.dgcoursereview.com/forum...1&d=1574073983

Another you choose the shot
https://m.discgolfscene.com/courses/...2871192f34.jpg
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Old 11-18-2019, 01:22 PM
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^ Good call. I love holes that force you to choose between very different lines, and execute.
Especially when one route is high risk, high reward, leading to more scoring separation, and the other is a fairly straightforward par. I can see holes like this carding anything from 2's -5's.

They force you to think about your "How am I playing today" and maybe even whether it's a tournament, league, or casual round.

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Old 11-20-2019, 03:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidSauls View Post

More generally, when speaking of course design, the "fun" of the hole is rarely mentioned. Except perhaps on "top of the world" shots. It's hard to put your finger on exactly what it is, and probably varies a good bit from player to player. But surely there are holes that are extra exciting to arrive at and throw, beyond just the challenge and scoring spread.
This reminds me of the changes to the Jackson course at IDGC. I've never played so this is just observations from video but in my mind the signature and joy of a Houck course are stands of trees in the fairway on longer (and shorter) holes. Stands that allow lines one way or another.

The new holes are all single track/single line holes, even the S curving longer par 4. They are immediately obviously not by the same designer as the rest of the course. Whilst these are mainly a fair looking challenge for the level aimed at and will beat into fairer, they look a bit pedestrian in comparison as holes to the rest of the course (aesthetically to me at least)

There is something about the stands of trees (or even one larger feature tree) in the fairway that enhance a hole and turn it from being good into great. It's the choice element on the tee, I think players don't like the demand that they play a certain line, to have the choice to play it different ways immediately makes it more fulfilling and something you look forward to before you get there "which way will I play today?"

The look of hole 1 at Harmony Bends excites me far more than a similar distance single line par 5 through the trees. I would never play that hole the same way twice, there are so many options, so many new lies to experience, it would make me want to throw and throw and throw on the hole, from the tee, from the first lie, from the second (and 5th, 6th and 7th lies most likely!) Would you feel the same way about the tee shot on a par 5 in the woods that was just a single line? I'd just want to throw once and get out of there.

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Old 11-20-2019, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by rhatton1 View Post
There is something about the stands of trees (or even one larger feature tree) in the fairway that enhance a hole and turn it from being good into great. It's the choice element on the tee, I think players don't like the demand that they play a certain line, to have the choice to play it different ways immediately makes it more fulfilling and something you look forward to before you get there "which way will I play today?"
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We have a few of those on our course. We call them "decision trees".

For the most part, they don't involve tee shots, but fairways shots on higher-par holes. This means you want your drive to not just land in the fairway, but in the sweet spot of the fairway to make the second shot easier.

Which, to me, is the fun of par 4s & 5s---that second shot is always a bit different, so you can't play it over and over and know exactly what to throw; and the better the drive, the easier the second shot, while a not-quite-perfect drive means a more challenging second shot.

Multiple routes off the tee are a bit trickier. They have to be roughly equal, so one doesn't become the favored route. And they tend to allow players to play to their strengths; if every hole has multiple routes you might get away with backhanding overstable discs all the time; whereas single route holes may force you to vary your game with forehands or turnovers.

But I do love to see players stand on the tee, two very different discs in their hands, pondering how to play a hole.

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