My Rating System
There's a lot of debate about how to rate a course so I guess I should throw a few words in here about how I rate.
For starters, I rate based not just on my impression but my wife's as well, as we are very often out there together and we both started playing at the same time. I'm right handed. She's left. I throw about twice as far as she does. She's a more accurate putter. We also look at different things when we rate a park overall (more on that below). So overall, this presents a nice balance to a review.
So here's what we look for:
How easy is it to get to the course?
What condition is the course in?
-- o Is it clean?
-- o Is it easy enough to walk/hike through?
-- o Are there a lot of dangerous hazards (i.e. poison oak, cliffs, animals, gangsters =P, etc
-- o Is there adequate parking?
-- o Is water available?
-- o Are restrooms available?
How easy is it to navigate the course?
-- o Are there maps?
-- o Is the signage clear and accurate?
-- o Does it point out all basket locations?
-- o Does it point out the current basket location?
-- o Does it point out the next tee?
What are the tee box conditions?
-- o Are the pads big enough?
-- o Are they in good shape?
What are the basket conditions?
Does the course have a nice mix of holes?
-- o Long and short, right and left turning, wide-open and strategic, etc
-- o Is par reasonable on each hole?
-- o Are there any unique or memorable shots/holes?
Does the course have a nice layout with no cross traffic?
-- o Are there any issues with people on the course for other reasons (e.g. walking trails)?
What is the potential for a lost disc?
Is over-crowding an issue? Note: I don't fault a course for being popular. It's how well the course can accommodate crowds that I note.
Are there any bonuses?
-- o Is the course in a desirable area like a park?
----- How nice is the park overall?
----- How are the park amenities?
-- o Are there brooms, extinguishers, trash cans, or benches?
-- o Is there a warm-up area?
And most importantly:
-- o Is the course/experience fun?
Now, having said all that, I am forced to plug this into the DGCR rating system which I interpret in the following way:
5 - Perfect/Best of the Best: There's nothing left to add/improve.
4.5 - Phenomenal: With a minor improvement, it can be a 5.
4.0 - Excellent: With a major change or several minor improvements, it can be a 5.
3.5 - Very Good: With a couple major changes, it can be a 5.
3.0 - Good: With several major changes, it can be a 5.
2.5 - Decent/Typical: With a dramatic addition (perhaps moving from 9 to 18 holes) or overhaul, it can be a 5.
2.0 - Reasonable: I imagine this to be the breaking point on the fun meter.
1.5 - Passable: It has tees and baskets and a reasonable number of holes, preferably at least 9, but nothing memorable.
1.0 - Poor: It has tees and baskets but is short on holes, execution, and fun.
0.5 - Bad: Poor's red-headed step child.
0.0 - Abysmal: They should take it out.
Lastly, before I post a final review of a course, I like to wait and see what I'm thinking about it over the course of a few days and conversations with my girlfriend. I also do adjust ratings as I come across new courses if it warrants it, and as my game improves, so does my course appreciation, so that may cause a review adjustment as well. I also post updates as I revisit courses and note new things.
Hopefully this all adds up to something fair and helpful for my fellow disc golfers.