Course Maintenance with Consequences

Course maintenance can be many things: mowing, pruning, sweeping tee pads, re-hanging signs, etc. When you begin work that will change the signature hole of your course, you need to approach the issues with respect.

Railroad ties installed, ready for mulch!

Railroad ties installed, ready for mulch!

The issue is that the area around the #3 basket is eroding. The basket is on a steep slope that has gotten steeper over time as material has left the upper slope. In addition to the erosion issues, soil compaction has made the slope have to characteristics: 1) any disc that hits the slope has a strong tendency to roll for ridiculously long, downhill distances, & 2) when wet, footing on the compacted clay is extremely poor/ dangerous.

The fix is wood chip mulch. It will provide some traction, alleviate soil compaction, and help slow water flow, which helps fight erosion. The problem is getting the mulch to stay on the slope. The solution was to put two lines of railroad ties into the slope to provide a barrier to wood chip movement. The goal was to create barriers that will help hold the slope, provide a safe surface for play, and still keep the death putt for which hole #3 is famous.

Time will tell if we hit the mark. Because the hole was eroding/ degrading rapidly, It was unlikely to retain its current character. The slight change in slope and big change in footing  from the wood chips and ties will make this hole easier. It is hoped that the basic character of the hole is maintained and a par remains difficult to obtain

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Even in paradise, there are issues

In Cape Girardeau, MO there is a park called North County Park. This park has

Tee pad and sign for the #3 hole.

Tee pad and sign for the #3 hole.

playgrounds, a nature center, picnic areas, lakes, and a disc golf course. The course is still a work in progress, but it shows promise. The course has awesome bright orange, DGA mach V baskets that far exceed expectations and some of the most incredible tee pads and signage I have ever seen.

We were pushed for time and decided to play the “front 9” which

This is a tee sign! The trees, tee, basket locations are depicted accurately and the sign is pleasing to view.

This is a tee sign! The trees, tee, basket locations are depicted accurately and the sign is pleasing to view.

consists of holes 1-4 and 14-18. When we got to hole 14 a group of three were finishing 13 and we waited for them to finish and let them play through so we wouldn’t impede their game. As they approached the tee box one of the three said: “You’re not playing the whole course”. I jokingly responded: “That’s OK isn’t it? I mean, we aren’t in violation of any city ordinances are we?” Instead of engaging a sense of humor, this guy responded: “You don’t have to be a dick.” Rather than point out that we were letting them play through instead of making them wait for us or starting a fight over who was the biggest dick, we just waited and they threw their drives and went away. As they threw their drives each of them exited the tee box from the front knocking a retaining wall brick free of the the tee pad, the last of them stopped and placed the brick back where it was, but he didn’t take the basic care of pushing the dirt and rock back so the brick would rest firmly on brick rather than precariously on an uneven surface. So we made the repair and continued on with our game.

Cumulative disrespect caused this tee box failure.

Cumulative disrespect caused this tee box failure.

This course is normally immaculate – the park staff keep it super clean. We were on the course at the end of the 4th of July weekend and there was obvious disc golfer trash on the course: beer cans on the tee boxes and the like. It is too bad that even a course like this doesn’t get respect. When we got to the #14 basket it was dented. As over built as these DGA mach V’s are, that took some doing – but it may not have been disc golfers. The disrespect shown to the #18 tee box was really sad and the result of several disc golfers not caring about how they exited the tee box. It is too bad.

 

The Woodchip Fairy pays a visit to Harrison Road

When it comes to course maintenance, most disc golfers have strong opinions. These opinions are usually voiced as:”they should do something about that…” or “somebody should trim that…”. Course maintenance is difficult for a single disc golfer to accomplish: it often is large in scale, requires money & time, and sometimes specialized knowledge. Additionally, what one golfer sees as maintenance, another may see as vandalism. I hope everyone out there picks up litter on the course when they see it, but no lone disc golfer should ever pick up a chain saw and carve that “killer hyzer line” out of the woods or remove that gosh-darn mando tree that messes up my good drives.

The Harrison Road Course is lucky, because it has been getting regular visits from the Woodchip Fairy, and some serious course erosion/safety issues are getting dealt with. Our local Rural King store believes in the Woodchip Fairy and has donated some tools, Weakley County Fence has donated railroad ties, Weakley County Municipal Electric System has donated wood chips, and the City of Martin Parks Department has provided rebar stakes.

 

The first project: a safe walkway to travel from the #1 tee pad to the fairway.

The first project: a safe walkway to travel from the #1 tee pad to the fairway.

All good little disc golfers believe in the Woodchip Fairy and lie snug in their beds dreaming of the wonderful course improvements the Woodchip Fairy will bring. The rub is that the Woodchip Fairy doesn’t visit if you are not worthy. The Woodchip Fairy’s cousin, the Tooth Fairy, requires that you place a tooth (from out of your mouth, not someone else’s) under your pillow in order to secure a visit. The Woodchip Fairy requires that you

The most ambitious project yet: landings and path to travel from the #4 tee pad to the fairway.

The most ambitious project yet: landings and path to travel from the #4 tee pad to the fairway.

pick up shovels, rakes, and other such tools and move dirt, railroad ties and the like (after getting permission from the city). If you do this, the Woodchip Fairy will bring wonderful new improvements to your course!

This is Charlie. He is the disc golfer in Martin who believes the strongest in the Woodchip Fairy and actually claims to have seen the Woodchip Fairy near the #4 basket. In this photo Charlie is posing with the second basket he actually managed to get a disc into, that is why he is holding up two fingers... you just have to believe.

This is Charlie. He is the disc golfer in Martin who believes the strongest in the Woodchip Fairy and actually claims to have seen the Woodchip Fairy near the #4 basket. Charlie also likes to pose next to baskets holding discs…