Bad course design

During my little peregrination/disc golf adventure I played some courses that suffered from extremely bad design. The worst offenders were in the Boise, ID area. I had never played courses in the Boise area before and was shocked by what I saw.

Perhaps the worst designed course was the Settlers Park DGC in Meridian, ID. This 9-hole course is designed by the Gem State Disc Golfers, it is amazing they couldn’t see the problems with this course. Holes 1 and 3 have you driving into pedestrian areas. This activity can be done respectfully, but is it really necessary? Holes 4, 5, 6, and 7 ramp up the potential for conflict by actually using the concrete walking path as a fairway. Hole 8 uses a tree-lined route between two walking paths. Hole 9 brings the potential for conflict to a zenith by actually using the park restrooms as an obstacle! What is most disturbing is on line reviews of this course do not see problems with this course:

Pros: good use of fences, buildings, and other structures as an element of risk…”

Pros: …Holes make pretty good use of park features.”

Pros: … Enough obstacles to make it somewhat challenging. Overall enjoyable.  Cons: …The park is right next to a neighborhood, and hole 4 I believe it is, runs right next to a road with houses to your right so if you shank your shot you may end up in someones yard. Or worse, on their roof.”

Pros: …-Holes make good use of available terrain and park features, including the baseball fields…-Almost impossible to lose a disc, unless you throw it in someones yard or into traffic.                                                                                                                       Cons: …-You have to be careful of other park users, holes 8 and 9 especially. An errant throw on those two holes could hit somebody.                                                              Other Thoughts: This is a really cool park, with a cool course built around the perimeter.”

It seems obvious that when disc golfers put up courses that do not respect other park users, other park users do not respect disc golfers. In the Boise area, even other disc golfers do not respect each other. I was playing in a threesome on a crowded Sunday and we waited for a golfer throwing multiple drives, he did not acknowledge us and proceeded down the fairway to were his drives landed – where he then began playing with his dog in the middle of the fairway. It is not uncommon to have other disc golfers wandering through your shot for no apparent reason in Boise. Of course this is to be expected when the course design shows blatant disrespect for all other users. The photos below show some examples of bad holes in the Boise area:

Ann Morrison Park in Boise, ID - another drive down the walking path - 16 November 2013.

Ann Morrison Park in Boise, ID – another drive down the walking path – 16 November 2013.

Today this wasn't a problem, but is it really fun to throw at a BBQ grill? Earlier this course has you driving at cabins the park rents - why?

Today this wasn’t a problem, but is it really fun to throw at a BBQ grill? Earlier this course has you driving at cabins the park rents – why?

The goose-poop tee pad of Ann Morrison Park. You can hardly stand on this tee pad. The fairway is just as covered with goose poop. You and your disc will be poop covered when this hole is over (did I mention that you throw discs with your hands and there is no disc lavage station on course?). While there are no human user conflicts on this hole, there is an obvious wildlife conflict. This is a long hole with no real obstacles other than OB water to the right and beyond hole. That's right you get covered with poop and the only interest the hole offers is the risk of losing a disc. Did the designers have a bet on who could provide the worst disc golf experience? Did they think this hole was fun? Why?

The goose-poop tee pad of Ann Morrison Park. You can hardly stand on this tee pad. The fairway is just as covered with goose poop. You and your disc will be poop covered when this hole is over (did I mention that you throw discs with your hands and there is no disc lavage station on course?). While there are no human user conflicts on this hole, there is an obvious wildlife conflict. This is a long hole with no real obstacles other than OB water to the right and beyond hole. That’s right you get covered with poop and the only interest the hole offers is the risk of losing a disc. Did the designers have a bet on who could provide the worst disc golf experience? Did they think this hole was fun? Why?

Idaho has places that are not city parks (not that a city park can’t have an awesome course) or picnic areas where interesting and fun courses can be put up. The Bengal RIdge course in the Pocatello area is a perfect example of such a course. Courses that are disrespectful in their very design encourage poor behavior in the course users which causes other park users to see disc golf in a negative light which ultimately retards the growth of the sport.

One thought on “Bad course design

  1. Pingback: Some course amenities I have seen recently | Martin Disc Golf Club

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s