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Alright, on Sunday we were playing doubles and came up on hole #16 at Cottonwood. Hole #16 can either be a relatively short or very long hole depending on which basket location is used. Hole #16 has the most pin positions of any hole at the course with a total of 8 positions. The basket was located in a position Sunday that was about halfway between the longest and shortest positions. That particular position is almost to the top of a hill in a small flat area.It is visible from the tee and there are trees on both sides. Anyway, I moved it there because we needed a few longer holes as the course was playing a bit on the easy side.

When our group of four got there everyone started complaining about the basket being there. Three people telling me that they think the position is stupid. Their reasoning was that there was no line to the basket (I disagree 100%) and also that nobody ever birdies the hole.

So what happens? Both of the guys in the other doubles pair throw great drives and they birdie the hole. They were both complaining about it, yet they both knew exactly what to do and they got a birdie. It blows my mind that their logic was so flawed.

Also, the fact is that position is challenging and perfect for doubles where you want to separate out the better players. Who doesn't like a challenge? I have birdied that hole in doubles and I remember that because I don't birdie that position all of the time. I don't really care about the positions that I birdie all of the time. I enjoy all of my birdies but getting a birdie on an easy hole just doesn"t feel the same. In fact, hole #17 is in a position where I pretty much birdie it every single time. For me it is just an ace run. So I birdie it and enjoy that but after about a week I want the basket to go somewhere else.

Today I was playing with a couple of different players and when I told them what the other players had said they totally disagreed. They, like me, really enjoy that position.

So what have we learned? First, you can't please everyone and some just like to complain. Second, we all have different ideas of what makes a good hole.I am just glad that the baskets get moved on a regular basis so that we get a chance to play our favorite positions along with those that we really don't like. It makes things a lot more interesting and a lot less mundane.

Finally, I enjoy the super deep position on hole #16 simply because it presents me with probably the greatest challenge on the course. I have never parred it playing alone but if I ever do I may have to take off my clothes and do a lap around the course. That position is the biggest challenge on the course and I can't wait to tackle it. It is definitely something to shoot for.

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I am in a distinct minority in that I'm not a fan of multiple pin placements.  Inevitably there are positions I prefer more than others, and I'm disappointed if the basket is not in the "best" position (to my taste).

I'm with you on the challenge, though.   It's hard to judge a particular hole from afar, but my subjective preference is that (1) when I stand on a tee, there should be considerable doubt as to what score I'll get and (2) that doubt should be dependent primarily upon my execution, and not random luck.   "Easy Birdie" holes aren't that satisfying, unless they're really cool (a big downhill, for example) or they also have danger of bogeys or worse if not thrown well.

 

 

Change is one thing that most people have difficulty excepting.Why not "challenge" yourself every time one goes out to throw.Pin placements are  just that,a challenge and change.Any dgc will get "old" playing the same basket settings.

As I said, I know I'm in the distinct minority here.

I haven't played any courses with 8 pin placements, but I've seen them with 3 and the moving baskets don't freshen things up that much to me.   I'd rather play the basket in the one, very good position, all the time, than sometimes play it in the less-good position. 

Of course, my erratic game makes every hole fresh and new to me.

There is one position out there right now that I don't like and I wish was not in the ground. It is the very short (maybe 150 foot) straight position on hole #8 at Cottonwood. It just presents absolutely no challenge and even if I aced it I wouldn't really care because it just doesn't present a challenge. That being said, I will tolerate the position for about a week and allow others to play the position ( a beginner would still love to ace it). After that it will get moved.

I enjoy blind positions as well even though we don't have a bunch of them at our course. And when you have that position in doubles where a 4 is possible or even likely, it definitely shakes things up and makes it interesting. When you get a 3 on that position you might be picking up a stroke on the field.

Finally, to say that a position is stupid based solely on your throwing preferences is retarded and doesn't look at why the hole was designed that way in the first place.

I wish more of the courses around here had multiple pin placements, after awhile you do get tired of throwing to the same spot every time.

Exactly. Today I played the same hole with a different group of people and when I told them what the other three guys had said they wholeheartedly disagreed. They totally like the position and think that it is challenging.

Then later I played with another guy and he said that he really didn't care for the position. When I asked him why he said that there were too many ways to get in trouble on the hole and you could even roll back down the hill. That is the part where I find the challenge on this hole and that makes it interesting. But he also said that we can't always get exactly what we want so you take things in stride and enjoy the game no matter what. Anyway, my drive went left (not ideal) so I had to get an approach shot past some trees and up towards the hole. I unleashed the most absolutely perfect shot that went right at a spot just short of the hole and then skipped up to within three feet of the basket. Man was that satisfying even though it was just a par. The other guy threw his upshot short of the basket by about twenty feet. He was talking about a bogey but I told him that he was going to make the putt and he canned it for the three. Awesome. The challenge of it made that par ever more sweet.

I guess if your courses don't have alternate positions you could always suggest it to someone. Getting those extra positions in isn't all that hard. You just need a good source for 2" ID pipe and someone with welding skills to do the tab. Dig hole, get a 60 lb. bag of Quikrete and use a level to make sure everything is squared up. You won't please everyone but it does make the course setup a lot more flexible. I love the extra positions on a hole like the one mentioned because the hole can go from being 250 ft. long to double that. It really changes the complexion of the course when you have that flexibility.

Could you simplify it by doing random draw pin placements? Swap baskets every few weeks, this would give you 15 different layouts a year.

I think the problem is that some people aren't interested in a challenge.  They want birdies.  Being under par is far more emphasized here in DG than it is in regular golf.  I think as a sport we tend to be a little spoiled at the ease of play etc.  The sport does seem to be evolving towards more challenging designs and even par 4 and par 5 holes.  However, there will always be people who just want to come out to an easy time throwing plastic around.

One way I found to add variety to a course is to play it backwards. At my local course I start at the hole-1 tee pad and go for the hole-8 basket, then from the hole-9 tee pad I go for hole-7 basket, and so on. There is one hole that this pattern doesn't work so I improvise and play the hole-5 tee pad to the hole-6 basket. Anyway, you get the idea. Each course would have to be evaluated on exactly how to play backwards, but I am sure that most courses could be figured out where a backwards progression would make sense.

I've done a lot of this, in various ways.  Some courses are more open to it than others; doesn't work at all on tight wooded courses with wooded footpaths connecting the holes, nor on crowded courses.  I've done completely backwards; tee from next to the 18 basket to 17 basket, etc.  Also playing every-other-hold; 1 tee to 2 basket, 3 tee to 4 basket, etc., which keeps you in the flow with other players.

Safari is also another great way to play something different and challenging. Best to do it when the course isn't too crowded.

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