I learned something today

Heritage Park Disc Golf Course is a 21-hole course in Ankeny, IA. It has taken over the park. From many of the tee-pads multiple baskets are visible – the potential for safari golf is very high. The number plates on the DGA Mach III baskets have been used to great advantage, the number plates have one side painted orange and aligned such that the basket that is associated with each tee pad has the orange side visible from the tee pad (and only that tee pad). This arrangement is intuitive and effective, I was never confused through 21 holes of disc golf (at least about which basket I was throwing for).

Even though baskets and tee pads cover much of the park, the park is still open for other uses. When I was there, cross country ski tracks were present and may represent a possible jogging path in summer – being as tee pads, baskets, and the flight paths that connect them cover most of the park, there is potential for conflict. In addition to tee pads and baskets, this course has BBQ’s and picnic tables also scattered throughout the park. This creates the most dreaded user conflict, the old: “excuse me Ma’am may I have my buzzz out from your potato salad” or “could you please have little Jimmy hold still, I need to play from where my driver landed and with it stuck in his forehead, his running around makes my lie uncertain…”. Of course it is also possible on this course, that you could just choose to throw at any of the baskets visible from your tee pad or choose other lines – a flight path of least resistance so to speak.

Perhaps playing through picnic areas isn't a bad thing? Maybe my dislike of course designs that create user conflicts is a symptom of my lack of creativity as a disc golfer? If the obvious line had been taken away by other people enjoying the park, could I throw another line and respect their space? Isn't disc golf all about solving problems we create for ourselves the moment we step out onto the course?

Perhaps playing through picnic areas isn’t a bad thing? Maybe my dislike of course designs that create user conflicts is a symptom of my lack of creativity as a disc golfer? If the obvious line had been taken away by other people enjoying the park, could I throw another line and respect their space? Isn’t disc golf all about solving problems we create for ourselves the moment we step out onto the course?

When I visited Heritage Park, it was very icy. Luckily, the ice was covered with  1- 2″ of snow, so I couldn’t see the ice. Discovering ice several times on every hole adds a certain ‘spicy’ to your game. The baskets were set in the long positions, which seemed an interesting choice for a time of year when you may not have any footwork due to slipping. Regardless of configuration, most baskets had multiple lines to them.

Given multiple lines to multiple baskets, user conflict resolution, and the ever present prairie wind, I think the disc golfers that play at Heritage Park are probably more creative than disc golfers that come from tight, heavily-wooded courses like Harrison Road. I learned something today playing this course, in the coming months I hope to figure out what that something is.

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