I played disc golf off and on for years - even designing and building a tone pole course in Costa Rica in my 20s, not knowing anything about the sport - before finally dedicating myself to course bagging in 2015. Now in my 40s, what I enjoy most is playing with my family and bagging new courses. I've got three generations hooked on disc golf: my dad, brother, and two of my four kids. I will play any track anywhere, but when given the chance, I try to bag courses ranked in the top 25 for the state on DGCR. I live in North Carolina, so I have played many, many more courses here than anywhere else. To date I've played 14 of the top 25 courses here and I've played tracks in 43 of the state's 100 counties (not all of those counties have courses though...last I checked, 76 NC counties have courses). I'm still an intermediate-level player and only sporadically get the opportunity to play C-Tiers and leagues, but really enjoy challenging courses and good design. I review, rate, and rank courses mostly for my own OCD personality, but hopefully others will benefit too.
I attempt to write my reviews with the goal of helping other players determine the opportunity cost of playing that course versus other ones in the area. "If I have one afternoon to play a course in this city or town, which one should I play that's right for my skill level and preferences in a course?" That's the question I seek an answer to when reading others' reviews and that's what I attempt to answer in the reviews I write.
The factors I weigh when reviewing a course:
- Fun factor
- Unique design features
- Course flow
- Scoring separation
- Wow factor and signature holes
- Tough and interesting greens (obstacles on the green, fast greens, death putts, elevated baskets, etc.)
- Multiple ways to play holes
- Navigation and signage
- Tees and baskets
- Soft spot for water carries and sweeping downhill hyzer holes
- Bathrooms and park amenities can earn a ratings bump, but I won't dock courses without them
- Big points off for poor safety for golfers or other park goers
I believe that the average course rating across the thousands of courses in DGCR should be 2.5. I also believe that there should be more 2.5-rated courses than any other rating, followed by 2.0's and 3.0's, followed by 1.5's and 3.5's, then 1.0's and 4.0's, and then 0.5's and 4.5's. 5.0's and 0.0's should be exceedingly rare. It should be a bell curve. You can see that my ratings basically follow this bell curve theory, although I don't "force" myself to maintain a perfect bell curve as the courses I play are not necessarily a perfect representative sample of all courses. (For example, if given the choice to play a 4.0 course or a 2.0 course in a city I'm visiting, I'm obviously going to play the 4.0 course.)
I think there is some rating inflation in DGCR, but not much. Most of the rating inflation, in my opinion, is at the bottom of the scale (2.5 courses that should be 2.0, 2.0 courses that should be 1.5, 1.5 courses that should be 1.0, etc.). I actually think many courses rated 3.5+ are *underrated.* I have my theories on this, but won't bore you with them. Overall, as long as lots of DGCR reviewers continue to review, the ratings - and especially the rankings - tend to work themselves out. There is wisdom in crowds.
As of July 2020, I have played 159 courses and written 154 reviews. The average DGCR rating for the courses I've played is 2.91. My average rating is 2.52.
Of the 159 courses, I've played 104 "full tracks" (18+ holes). The average DGCR rating for these 104 tracks is 3.40. My average rating for these courses is 3.10.
I've played 55 "half tracks." (Most of these are 9-holers, but there are a handful of 6-hole courses, one 12-holer, and a 2-hole practice area.) The average DGCR rating for these 55 tracks is 2.00. My average is 1.40
Based on the rating averages above, I'm a little tougher in my ratings than DGCR as a whole, especially on 9-hole courses. I tend to be *more* generous to courses on the upper end of the scale and tougher (ratings wise) on courses at the bottom of the spectrum.
OVERALL TOP 10
1. Black Jack (Sugar Grove, NC)
2. Rolling Pines (Wilkesboro, NC)
3. Indian Creek (Huntsville, AL)
4. Nevin (Charlotte, NC)
5. Hornets Nest (Charlotte, NC)
6. Rockness Monster (Roxboro, NC)
7. Circle C Metro Park (Austin, TX)
8. The Blockhouse - Sunnyside (Spotsylvania, VA)
9. Fox Chase (Albemarle, NC)
10. Foothills Disc Golf / "The Bear" (Hickory, NC)
1. 2010: Buncombe Sports Complex #1, 101 feet
2. 2016: Isle of Palms #1, 94 feet
3. 2016: Marcom Woods #9, 130 feet
4. 2017: Eager Beaver #1, 197 feet
5. 2017: Downtown Urban Open #4 ("The Gap"), 42 feet