My Review Philosophy and Criteria
I rate courses subjectively based on my personal preferences and enjoyment. My rating reflects, "How much did I enjoy the course?" In other words, "how high is the Euphoria Factor for me and how much would I like to return to play there again?" In my rating I'll try to take into account the player level that the course is intended for, but this often quite hard to do. For courses below my player level I'll give them some grace, and for courses above my level I expect them to be tough for me. I can't really guess how a Gold level player might like a course, though, and I'm not at all certain about Green level players either. I try not to take my own play into account, but I have to admit that I'm I don't enjoy courses that are too short for me. I get bored if the course is too easy, but a beginner, low power thrower or a kid might love it. I generally most enjoy courses that are White or Blue level, but I don't mind getting punished by a good Gold level course.
I do not seek to rate the quality of the course, as if there is some sort of objective quality standard. Since I've only played ~420 out of thousands of courses, I haven't even played 10% of all the courses in the world. I also haven't played many of the courses that are highly acclaimed, so if I was attempting to rate quality my standards might be uninformed. In addition, everyone has their own preferences so what I like may not really appeal to another person. I love water holes the most, yet some people dislike them. I prefer hole with scattered trees and wooded holes, yet some people like more open holes.
Having said all that, I will acknowledge that there is hopefully some correlation between what I enjoy and quality. I analyze the courses I play for many characteristics of Design, Basics, and Amenities. I enjoy courses the most when the factors in each of the D-B-A categories rate highly. On the flip side, if too many factors are missing I enjoy the course less because it seems like something is missing. Of course, my preferences still differ from other people, so my rating of each factor is still subjective. Also, many factors such as beauty and terrain quality are somewhat subjective.
Variety. This includes variety of terrain, elevation, and fairway shapes. like a mixture of tight wooded and mixed holes.
Fun- at least 3-6 exceptionally fun holes
Water. I love well designed water holes! These are holes that aren't too long to clear the water, that add risk vs. reward, and have bail out options. Water holes boost a course's rating, so to get my highest enjoyment rating a course usually has some.
Natural Beauty. I love being out in nature totally away from civilization. The best courses create a sense of awe, and spectacular views are a plus. Wildlife sightings increase my enjoyment. There may also be some man made landscaping features added purely for the aesthetic value. For me, structures like buildings or roads detract from my enjoyment of the natural setting.
For terrain I really like manicured grass with scattered large trees, but I also like wooded holes that offer a good challenge.
Unique terrain. I enjoy terrain that is beautiful, unusual, and unique to an area. The mountains of Colorado, the huge ferns and pines of Washington, the ocean of Hawaii are examples.
Fairways- well cut and good shape variety- St/ Rt/ Left/ S sharp/ L bend. Many different shots needed. Good risk vs. reward. Many holes require careful thought and good shot selection.
Terrain- I usually don't like open field holes without obstacles. In the same way, I don't like greens that are flat and too open and offer little challenge.
To get my highest rating the course must have multiple tees because these add variety and allow people with different skill levels to enjoy the course. Even more credit is given for multiple basket positions. The highest ratings of all are for those few courses have multiple tee pads AND multiple permanent baskets because these courses have the maximum of variety.
I give extra credit for 6 or 9 extra holes because of the variety that they add, and I rate 9 hole courses a little lower because I feel like I didn't play a full round.
To earn my highest rating
Difficulty- challenging for the course level it's designed for.
Design- Several stellar holes that give you a sense of awe.
No design flaws: e.g.- no crossing fairways, no bad routing walking back up a fairway to the next tee, no excessive walks to the next tee. No safety issues
Fairways have a legitimate route. There are no random obstructions. Narrow is OK, but not "too narrow".
Terrain- variety of technical wooded holes, some mixed grass with a few trees, a few pretty open "rip it" holes. Unique features- rocks, trees, water, vegetation, desert
Elevation changes- lots of variety. The ideal is all Up or Down, but no more than 6 Flat. Big changes are a plus.
Good length variety- a few short ace runs, with some longer par 4s and par 5s.
Lengths are suitable for the course playing level it's designed for
Tees- excellent. Trapezoids are the best. Concrete preferred but allowance made for good rubber pads.
Multiple tee pads. 3 is best
Tee signs- very good to excellent
Baskets- in good shape. I prefer Mach V or Chainstar, but double chain DISCatchers also fine
Greens- challenging, trees guarding basket, some sloped, proximity to steep drop offs, lots of risk vs. reward.
Map of the course- on many courses a map is essential, so needs to be available either at the course or online
Easy to navigate. Good directional signs, can find next tee easily. Good to excellent map available.
Potential for lost discs is low. (Unless there's lots of water; then this is an acceptable risk.)
Nice to have, but not essential
Score cards- best if available at the course, but online is OK
Other amenities: benches, warm up basket, message board, restrooms
Beauty of the surrounding area- has nice natural beauty
Trash cans- the course is clean
Extra touches- bag holders, basket location markers
Overall for the whole course
Euphoria factor is high and stays high. Good memories that leave a deep impression. You'd spend hours to drive there and go out of the way to play it again any time you could.
-Every course took vision, money, and labor to install, so I try to be as charitable as possible in my reviews.
Practice Areas I have played that should NOT be on my Courses Played list:
The Island, Marshall NC
More on Olorin's Review Criteria:
DGCR Members I have played disc golf with:
Dave242, DGTourist, discgolfcraig, grodney, Kent18, Monocacy, RyanP, Schleppy, sloppydisc, tomschillin
DGCR members met but not played DG with:
BuzzSharpe, Chain-addicted, Donovan, LoPan12, MTL, Mystery, Royal, U Niced Me
I also review artisan dark chocolate. See ChocoFiles, https://sites.google.com/site...wsite/