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Old 04-13-2021, 12:05 PM
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Doofenshmirtz Doofenshmirtz is offline
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Default Is this course doing it's job?

I recently completed a course for a local city. It is an 18-hole course that replaced a 9-hole, beginner-level course built in 2012. When I met with the recreation director back in 2016, I asked what he wanted and he very clearly indicated that he wanted the course to be suitable for tournaments. He did not simply want a larger, beginner-level course.

The available property was large enough but sits at the confluence of three creeks. The creeks meet at the middle of the park and drain off in a fourth direction, making an "X" that unevenly divide the park property into 4 triangles, with one triangle holding a playground and splash pad and community center. The park is also bounded by streets and private property on all sides. Because of the creeks, streets, fenced in park areas and private property, the design was always going to have a lot of OB. Keeping throws away from the playground and other fenced-in areas also limited space and dictated not using some of the otherwise available area.

The property is also divided between heavily wooded areas and somewhat more open areas that still have lots of trees. It's a fairly technical course with OB on 15 of 18 holes. Although many holes have OB, OB isn't much of a factor on 5 of the 15 holes with OB, due to being short and OB being somewhat distant from the fairways.

This past Saturday was the first tournament and official (although not "Grand") opening of the course. One occurrence was the late withdrawal of 4-5 MPO players after one of them played the course in advance of the tournament and then texted the others that the course was too technical and that they shouldn't waste their time playing in the tourney (the tourney filled in 24 hours, which is about average around here lately). On the other hand, there were a few comments about liking the course because even people who didn't have a lot of distance had a chance to win.

So after considering all this and looking at the stats, I started wondering just what makes a course a good course for tournaments. Is scoring spread important? Satisfaction of the participants? Looking at individual holes, is difficulty or lack of difficulty important? In some ways, I am trying to figure out if there is anything pointing to my needing to make changes and whether I should or should not be satisfied with the what I did for the city.

The following are the results in the MPO and MP50 divisions. I've calculated the spread (using Standard Deviation) of scores and given a "difficulty" rating (Avg. tenths of a throw above/below par). There were two rounds with "b" positions being played in the second round. I'm not particularly worried about the "b" pin positions, but because 14b plays much shorter, it contributed to a little less of a backup at the 14 tee box.



Any thoughts/input will be appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 04-13-2021, 01:15 PM
Steve West Steve West is offline
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It kind of sounds like the only concern is that some MPO players skipped it because they only know how to throw far.

So what? Let the course attract whoever it will attract.

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Old 04-13-2021, 01:26 PM
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ru4por ru4por is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve West View Post
It kind of sounds like the only concern is that some MPO players skipped it because they only know how to throw far.

So what? Let the course attract whoever it will attract.
Agree. This is why we throw very few Pro/Am tournaments anymore. A few bad apples create too much stress for TD's.
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Old 04-13-2021, 01:52 PM
DiscFifty DiscFifty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doofenshmirtz View Post
the tourney filled in 24 hours
You literally have no problems.

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Old 04-13-2021, 01:58 PM
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Doofenshmirtz Doofenshmirtz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve West View Post
It kind of sounds like the only concern is that some MPO players skipped it because they only know how to throw far.

So what? Let the course attract whoever it will attract.
Overall, that part (pros skipping due to it being too technical) really doesn't bother me, but I didn't want to just dismiss it either. However, I admit that I did want a larger MPO field to show up to get a better picture of how the course would play for higher rated players. The course isn't an unknown anymore so late withdrawals should not continue to be a factor. I guess I'll just have to wait and see what happens attendance-wise for future tournaments.
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Old 04-13-2021, 03:14 PM
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jeverett jeverett is offline
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Overall, it sounds like you're on the right track! In general, I think there's a fair amount of consensus that scoring spread, player satisfaction, challenge/difficulty, and fairness are all important considerations in course and/or tournament layout design. I do have a few suggestions, although it seems like you're already doing some of this..

First, I'd recommend trying to define the 'target group', or who the course/layout is intended for. i.e. No course or layout is going to be "the best" at fairly spreading out the scores for all possible players, so defining a particular group (and removing the data from players outside of that group) that you're going to optimize around is important. You've included MPO and MP50 data separately, but I would recommend trying to define a single, unified group of players/skill levels that the course and/or layout is going to be optimized for, and from my experience using PDGA player ratings is the easiest way to do this. For my own course, for example, I use the group of players that average a 950 PDGA rating (i.e. blue level), or more specifically all players with ratings in between 920 and 980. This nicely cuts across MPO, MP40, MP50, and MA1 divisions for the local tournament, and gives a large enough sample size for statistical tests. You could certainly use the group averaging 1000 PDGA rating if you wanted to (and have enough players in the group for this to make sense; our local event does not), or you could pick some other group or range that fits better with the particular tournament participants you got.

One statistic that may be quite useful is 'scoring spread width'. I suspect that others here can probably describe this statistic better than I can, but basically it is a measurement of how much information is contained in the spread of the scores. i.e. A greater diversity of scores, with a higher percentage of the total, provides more information in terms of sorting players by (theoretically) skill. Here is how to compute scoring spread width for a hole, though:

1. Take the log (base 2) of the frequencies of each observed score for the hole. e.g. if your scores for a hole are 0.103 (frequency of 2's), 0.647 (frequency of 3's), 0.221, and 0.029, this would compute as -3.279283757, -0.628162383, -2.177881725, and -5.10780329.

2. Multiply each of the above totals by the original frequencies. e.g. 0.103 * -3.279283757 for the first one.

3. Sum the values you calculated in step 2. e.g. this example would sum to -1.373625445.

4. Compute 0.5 to the power of the value you calculated in step 3. e.g. this example hole would come out at 2.59120911 scoring spread width.

This will generally compute a value somewhere in between 1.00 and about 4.00. As examples, a hole that gets a 50/50% split of 2's and 3's scores a 2.00 scoring spread width. A hole that gets a 33/33/33% split of 2's, 3's, and 4's scores a 3.00. i.e. The larger the scoring spread width the better in this context.

Next, there are a number of potential ways you can look at that question of technicality or fairness of a layout. A fairly easy one, for example, is to calculate the Pearson correlation between player rating and round score. i.e. Do higher-rated players score better on the layout (and/or each individual hole) than lower-rated ones? In this case, the correlation will almost always compute as a negative value between 0 and -1, and values somewhere in the middle of that range are 'normal'. The local tournament, for example, generally sees correlations to ratings between -0.5 and -0.6 for the overall layout, meaning that higher-rated players are somewhat more likely than lower rated ones to perform better on the layout, but the effect isn't huge. With enough rounds/players, you can also calculate round-to-round correlations (e.g. do players that play a hole well (or poorly) continue to produce similar scores round after round?). Another simple measurement (if you are able to collect the data) that can be helpful with courses/holes with a lot of OB is to just identify the percentage of players that get OB penalties on each hole. As a quick rule of thumb, I generally find that when a hole gives out penalties more than roughly 1/3 of the time, players may start complaining that the hole is too luck-based or flukey.

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Last edited by jeverett; 04-13-2021 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 04-13-2021, 03:34 PM
txmxer txmxer is offline
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You as the designer are right to consider these things.

I as an observer do not have to be so kind. I’m not a fan of whiners and the upside for you is you avoided a handful of whiners at the event.

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Old 04-13-2021, 03:47 PM
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What did the people that played seem to think? I think the real test would be repeat customers.

I don't think you can really blame someone for skipping a tourney on a course they didn't enjoy. Or even really skipping a tourney based off an opinion that they value. Or skipping a tourney because the people they wanted to compete against won't be there.

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Old 04-13-2021, 04:25 PM
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- The shorter the holes, the more players can reach them in "regulation" increasing its popularity.
- The shorter the holes, the fewer long throwers will play since their advantage is reduced with potential non-cashing and embarrassment ensuing.
- With fewer long throwers entering, the shorter throwers have a better chance to cash thus increasing enjoyment even more.
- Shorter courses usually provide more holes where more players can buzz the basket/ace, again increasing enjoyment for regular donators.

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Old 04-13-2021, 04:33 PM
BillFleming BillFleming is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doofenshmirtz View Post
One occurrence was the late withdrawal of 4-5 MPO players after one of them played the course in advance of the tournament and then texted the others that the course was too technical and that they shouldn't waste their time playing in the tourney
A Mixed Profession Open (MPO) player said a course was TOO TECHNICAL? Sounds like a whiner. I'm MA3 (Recreational) and I've played technical courses. They can be annoying when you constantly hit trees or are in bushes...but they also teach/require planned shots, you can't just throw and expect something good.

I wonder if the player had an ulterior motive or really just wants wide-open courses.
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