Old 09-12-2010, 02:02 AM
pwurz pwurz is offline
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Default Building a new course!

Hey everyone, I've been reading posts here for a while but am new to posting. I decided to finally get on here to promote a new course and get some advice. I recently moved to Cottonwood, AZ and realized it's a dead zone for DG 50 miles in every direction. Hardly anyone here has even heard of it! I decided to take matters into my own hands and within a month of living here, I brought a proposal to the city council telling the benefits of having a nice course in town. They loved the Idea and gave me money for 9 baskets to start along with about 50 acres of gorgeous riparian land along the Verde River! The intention is to expand to a 27 hole championship course within a couple years!
The DG community here in AZ has been extremely helpful but I was wondering if any of you have advice on trying to drum up interest in a brand new area? I'm fairly new to the sport but completely dedicated, and somehow I hit the Jackpot with my situation here. How many intermediate players out there ever get the chance to design a potentially A tier level course completely funded by the city!
Also I'm going to be running clinics for kids and interested people in town and there aren't alot of discs around. If any of you have some old beginner friendly discs you'd like to donate to the cause let me know! Thanks!
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Old 09-12-2010, 03:45 AM
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deBebbler deBebbler is offline
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Having just finished creating my first course this summer, my advice is as follows:

Measure twice and cut once. Especially if you are "adding holes" later. If you are planning 27 holes, have them all planned out before you cut one tree, sink one basket, or clear one tee.

Consider modularity (the abiility to skip holes and create shorter course versions) especially with 27 holes. Don't force players to have 3 hours to devote to your course every time. Three 9s that each dump out at the parking lot is a simple way to do this, and creates three Phases for you to implement.

Use as much as you can of what you clear to finish the course (chip cut trees and line paths to next tee, etc) to preserve the money you have for other things. Trust me, you will need it.

Involve local businesses. Some courses have local sponsorship on each hole. Not only can this gain you construction money, but it builds rapport with the local community. Furthermore, a permanent flyer advertising the course, posted in the business that donates, can be part of the deal.

Take as many pictures as you can of the process. I wish I had.

Have fun, my friend. I'm jealous of all the acreage at your disposal. What I wouldn't have given for just 5 acres more.....

Last edited by deBebbler; 09-12-2010 at 03:49 AM.
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Old 09-13-2010, 03:54 PM
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Make sure when laying out the design that you allow for multiple pin placements and tee pads in the future. Allow room to grow.

Map out the best possible 100 holes on the property...even if they overlap or cross each other. Then determine the best way to to get from start to finish.

After deciding on your layout...look at each hole backwards. How would it play from basket to tee? You might discover a hidden gem.
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Old 09-13-2010, 04:10 PM
tmahan tmahan is offline
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This is good advice. I'd try to avoid the crossing fairways if at all possible but I really like the suggestion about looking at your planned hole backwards (from pin to tee), you may be pleasantly surprised.
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Old 09-13-2010, 04:22 PM
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I don't think he is saying to cross fairways I think he is saying map out as many holes as possible and then find the best 9/18/27/36/1 million that will fit on the property.
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Old 09-13-2010, 05:30 PM
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Default Course in AZ

Have one course designed myself, unfortunately its in Mexico so cant really play it. Congrats, sounds like hard parts (funding, permits) are done, now for the fun!

I lived in AZ for 4 yrs, and I know exactly what you mean about the DG dead zone. 100% There are Phoenix courses, Tucson courses, a few scattered up north, and a LOT of in between with zero courses.

Dunno what kind of land you are working with, (rocky, grassy,) but I personally love desert DG courses!!! You mentioned the course is next to a river, one course that would be good to play is Mouer Park (aka Papago) in the Phoenix area. It is a desert course that plays along a river, and brings some interesting elements into play.

A few tips on course design, from my experience.

Ditto on planning out the whole 27 before building 9. and the looping back.

Be precise! Think carefully about pin placement before clearing stuff or digging holes.

Think about the best courses you've played: on many of the holes, there is something that makes the basket harder to get at:

-Hillside/elevation potential for rollaway
-Tree/elevation restricting the lane to basket.

Dont just rush to get the pins in the ground. If you want to do it right, choose interesting locations for baskets. (right behind a big tree, next to the river, on a cliff edge, on a hillside)

Once you have the pins adjusted, be sure you have the tees where you want them.

On several different courses, Ive heard designers say "Well we wanted Hole #2's tee in that other spot, but they had already poured it, so we'll just add a long tee on that hole later." Good courses, where a lot of planning and forethought went into the design.

What Im getting at is this: You can play the course with baskets in the ground, without cement teepads. Get the baskets in, and the fairways cut, then play the course, give yourself a cooling off period before cementing the tees. You can only see so much without playing the course, so you might find that you want to tweak the tee location after a few dozen rounds, and that easier if there re no pads yet. Level ground with a short painted wooden post is a fine (and inexpensive) interim tee marker until you pour pads.

Since this is a master plan, think about more than just leaving room for 27 eventual holes, also leave room for Alt tees and/or pins. The good courses usually have multiple pin placements which significantly change the hole (ever played vista del camino in scottsdale?) and keep people coming back. Start with the basics, 9 holes, one pin, but leave yourself room to expand. Just keep it in the back of your mind when you design the holes

Some other things:

When designing holes, play the hole in your mind: what will the scoring distribution be if you play the hole 10 times? Some holes have such an extreme sharp bend in the fairway that it forces a shot to the corner, a second drive or long upshot, and then a putt. Reward good shots, punish errant drives, but have a balance of risk reward.
Reasonable par, with a chance at a birdie, but also ways to bogey.
Its one of the main things that (IMO) separates the great courses from the ok ones.
If people like the course enough to tell their friends about it and drag them out there, then it'll build interest and more popularity means more $$ for that 27 hole master plan.

A curving line to a blind basket, with a small more direct window to cut the corner (risking it). Or split the fairway, forcing them to make a choice.

Have interesting lines. If a fairway follows a perfect RHBH curve, throw a tree in the middle of the fairway at the end, or have the basket protected in some way. If there are multiple ways to play a hole, itll add intrigue and keep players coming back to try to figure it out. If you can play the whole course with the same shot, that gets old. Throw different stuff at them, make them think. That builds better players (and courses) than just wide open pitch N putt.

Also, with that much land, for the love of pete make some (legit) par 4's or 5's!!
It will help with flow and keep it interesting.

On the first 9 holes, maybe start more basic, perhaps all par 3s, but vary it up, and balance it. Have 200ft technical hole, but also have a 355-ft tough par 3. Make it fun and memorable, and people will want to come back.

Good luck in your course design, that area of AZ needs a course, glad to help in any way I can going forward
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Old 09-14-2010, 01:55 AM
pwurz pwurz is offline
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Great advice guys, Thanks! @ Texconsinite, Are you familiar with the Cottonwood/ Verde Valley area? As far as climates in AZ, this is completely Ideal. Winter highs are low 60's and summer highs don't get much over 100. We're an hour south of Flagstaff where most courses shut down all winter due to snow and 1.5 hours north of Phoenix where it gets up to 120 in the summer. Also we're 15 minutes from Sedona, which is one of the most beautiful places on the planet! The land we have to work with is not really Desert, it reminds me more of east coast courses I grew to love living in Baltimore until recently. There are huge old trees everywhere with open areas between.
As far as the design of the course, It is being built completely modularly. We placed the first 9 strategically so a couple holes are near the softball fields and more used park areas to give us exposure. It loops around to a central parking area where we will also begin and end the back 9. The third 9 will connect via a sweet hole throwing under a bridge next to the river. it will take us to our eventual preferred parking area, wich is the parking lot of a 100 year old 2 cell old jail the city wants to use as a pro shop/sandwich and beer stand! Elvis even filmed a movie using this old jail!
The negatives about the situation are few but are; #1 this land is a flood plain for the Verde River. It floods every spring with raging waters and lots of debris, so we MUST remove the baskets for a few weeks a year, and it makes concrete not really an option due to erosion. #2, there is very little elevation to work with. We have designed a couple holes building teeboxes on overpasses and ridges but otherwise it is flat.
The design so far has been done by myself and a buddy of mine in town here but we have taken some advice from some of the pros in Flag and also Dan from Spinners in Scottsdale, all of whom have been excellent and very supporting! each hole has a short and long pin, as well as pro and rec tees. The average length can be stretched from about 250 to over 350 for pros! We have very high hopes for this project, with all the land we have to work with and beautiful scenery, we could easily host A-tier tourneys here. There is even a great state park with mountain biking and camping right across the river!
I guess back to my original question, the community here is virtually oblivious to all things disc golf, what suggestions do you guys have about getting local people interested?
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