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Last week I attended a meeting with park officials and disc golfers. The park has a disc golf course but is interested in expanding and improving the course. It is already a really fine course but doesn't have the length of some championship level courses.

We toured the land available and talked about lengthening some holes and adding others. The course currently has 18 holes but the additional land won't support another 18. We may be able to add another 6 or 9. One suggestion under consideration is to create a practice area. So my question is what should a practice area include and how much land will it take? How many baskets should be placed in a practice area, and where? How do we design it to minimize danger from other disc golfers practicing in the same area? Do we want obstacles? yardage markers? other equipment?

Does such a thing already exist anywhere? I mean one formally designed and created for this purpose.

What design elements will best encourage golfers to use it and improve their games?

I have given these issues some thought but do not want to prejudice any responses or limit the creativity of any ideas.

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i really hoped they would entertain the idea of 18 shorter holes that could be strung together, in pairs, to create a longer nine. the question of how many holes will fit into the available space seems to depend on who you speak with. also, it's an understadandable shame they won't entertain leaving the six tournament holes in the ground on a seasonal basis, but whatever...

this doesn't seem like the thread to address sharing the course with casuals... otherwise i'd write something about stopping the whining, so anyways... a practice area would be excellent and get plenty of use.
We have this game played on a short 9 hole course great for practice called metal madness and it changes every other week, and you get points for landing close enough to the basket, so my thought is it would be nice for beginners and also kids to stay off the bigger course and refine their skills on a short course with all mid range shots and putts some place a ring of fire could be put on at. Short.... Just my 2 cents worth.
cheers
There should be rough and shule areas for players to practice rescue shots.
Thanks for your input and ideas. This is my initial wish list for a practice area. The basic building blocks are a mowed, flat, rectangular area roughly 560' long and 330' wide, 4 trapazoidal shaped cement tee pads, at least 2 baskets (4 would be optimal) and 7 4-by-4 posts (each painted a different color and labelled with a distance marker from each side) and planted so they stick out of the ground about 5'.

If I had the technical ability I would include the sketch I have created for the practice field which would make it much easier to understand what I will try to explain in words. Alas, I do not.

As you exit your car in the parking lot, you need to walk past the practice field in order to get to Hole #1 of the course. Since people have to walk anyway, I'm hoping they will throw a few shots and make a few putts. Encouraging players to use the field is part of the plan. There is a walking path to #1 which is just left of the field. The front left corner of the field (the first thing you come to) has two baskets exactly 10 meters apart. This makes putting games easier (horseshoes, etc.) and teaches us what 10 meters looks like.

To the right of the baskets are two trapazoidal (the front edge of the pads are wider than the back edges) cement tee pads. The tee pads do not point toward the nearby baskets (only about 50' away) but into the field with the painted posts as targets. The front edge of the pads is 500' away from the front edge of the two tee pads shooting back across the field. As you look out at the field you see the 7 4-by-4 posts ranging from left to right. The 7 posts progress in distance from the pads by 50' each. So the distance from the tee pad to the first post is 100', then the second post is 150' away. then 200', 250', 300' , 350' and 400'. If you pick up your discs and walk to the back edge of the field and shoot back the posts once again range from your left to right and are the same distances away (100' to 400"). The posts are separated equally across the width of the field so they are easy to see from the tee pads. This spacing is also meant to minimize danger from others practicing at the same time.

The distance markers on the posts will teach players how to lock in a shot at a given distance. The flat mowed field makes it easy to find your discs. It also makes throwing rollers easier. The different distances allow you to throw your whole bag ; your putters at the shortest posts all the way to your drivers at the longest posts. The different colored posts make communication easier ( If someone is picking up their discs in the field you can give a yell and tell them you are driving at the blue post). The trapazoidal shape of the pads makes it easier to shoot at any of the posts. Making the pads out of cement makes it much more likely that fewer players are driving out into the field at the same time ( I am guessing that players will strongly prefer the nice cement pads over driving from the dirt, especially as the markers are distance calibrated from the cement pads).

If two additional baskets were installed they would be in the same general area as the first two. So why have 4 baskets then? To make baskets with built-in obstacles. Take 4-by-4 posts of various lengths and install them close to the baskets to teach us to putt around obstacles.

The other idea I had was to install really tall posts in the field as mando posts. For example, a closest-to-the-post game to the pink post but you must go the left of the mando post.
Kwilliamson reported, "A practice area just isn't going to do it for me."

I think that is the general feeling of most disc golfers, not specific to this particular location but as a general rule. Most players don't want to practice, they just want to play. Once a player sees a practice area with distance markers it may lure them into practicing. Especially if they have to walk past the practice field to get to the course.
Next to the disc golf course in South Daytona (Reed Canal), to our fortune is an open field of 2 soccer fields. Great for loosening up drives.
Just give 'em an open field with lines or stakes for distance.

Like to see a "practice or beginner course."
How many new players can play on the championship level?
Get new players by making a 'technical' 9 holer. Teach them skill. What about the guy playing a quick "9" on his or her lunch hour. Even a warm-up course?

Use the "9" holer for mixed 'fast' doubles, then use 9 holes from one of the other courses, to make 18. Mix it up for each time there is a small organized event.
I agree most people wouldn't get too excited about a practice area but the area Mark described has got me really excited!!!! It would get me working on my game more than juust another casual round.
I would definitely use it a lot! In a perfect world the park would add an additional course and a practice area. Then Rolling Hills would really be a disc golf destination for all SE Michigan golfers.....without additional holes I wonder whether the park would actually see more golfers come to rolling hills(ie generate more revenue). I actually like having that course all to myself now that the water park is open! I
If your Park folks want to put in a set of Pro length tee boxes and a practice basket with foot/yard markers that is awesome. I am hearing a lot of good suggestions here but the most economical and fun solution I have found to practicing is to get a couple (3 is ideal) people with baskets and go set up a practice course anywhere you can. Whoever "wins" a hole picks the next tee box. You can easily find 18 boxes to go with 3 baskets and the variety is endless. You can find places with elevation changes, go for mondo long holes, or move baskets and boxes to engage all kinds of obstacles and manditory flight paths. Fun and cheap once one or two of your friends have practice baskets. When I lived in Austin we had enough baskets to set up a private, movable course, and have occasional invitation only tournaments where we camped. Lots of fun and plenty to talk about when we designed our own holes. Dan Turner Temple (TX) DGA
Bolt some old tires to 4x4 pieces of wood and drop a few of them in the ground.

Hell of a lot cheaper than a basket and it gives you a decent target.

Plus it's a good use of old tires.
Those are some good ideas. The only thing Im thinking is that putting the two practice baskets 10m apart, will lessen the usuable practice area for putts. Granted if the traffic on these isnt high its ok. Im just thinking that if there are 15+ golfers practice putting it would be nicer to have them a little more apart, so that people putting from between the two baskets dont risk of getting hit in the back. Plus you could use one basket for long putts/upshot training, and not risk hitting people with an errant shot
when will this unnamed course be getting its upgrade/practice area?
Mark, I want to learn more about your discussions with Washtenaw County Parks and Rec.

My name is Jeff Irwin and I am one of the County Commissioners here in Washtenaw County. Although I have confidence in the Washtenaw Co. Parks and Rec. Commission and the disc golf advocates locally (you've all done a great job); I am eager to ensure that Rolling Hills implements the best possible expansion of their disc golf facilities.

Would you have time to discuss your conversations with them? I would welcome a quick phone conversation or even a round at Rolling (I can probably afford $1/stroke even with an illustrious Pro such as yourself). (734) 891-0146.

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