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Does anyone out there actually think about what disc golf should look like in say five years? What should we change about the sport? And I'm not just talking about growing the sport by getting it on TV or things like that. I'm talking about course design, bigger and longer courses with par 4s and par 5s. I would actually like to see that and think that we should get away from what I call the "miniature golf" version of disc golf where you have to shoot through the "clown's mouth" at the basket. Par threes with a basket behind a tree is kind of played out already. Think about the best courses in ball golf and how that could translate to disc golf.

I like to push holes long at our course (not all of them) as a way of testing to see who are the best players out there. You don't put everything long but there has to be a mix just like in ball golf. The difference at our course (Cottonwood) is that some holes have enough positions so that the basket can go from being quite short to very long. In ball golf the green can't really be moved so a hole has a set par and the cup just gets moved. I run both a singles league and a doubles league so if the winning score in doubles is 14 under or better then we know that we should probably put a few baskets deeper, that things are a bit on the easy side. Last week the winning score in doubles was only 9 down so the course was set up fairly difficult and was a good test. Generally we try to set it up so that 10 down can be a winning score.

Does anyone else share my vision of going away from the simple par 3 courses to something longer and more challenging. Could we ever have a course in disc golf that could compare to say Augusta in ball golf? I do realize that this kind of approach would require larger pieces of land so it isn't always feasible. We could maybe even use the model of par 70 or par 72 which is quite common in ball golf.

There is always a push back if you try to do things like this but I feel that it would be well worth it and great for our sport.

BTW, I started playing this sport back in about 1983 before everyone really knew about real golf discs. We used Whamo Ultimate Frisbees and played an object course with a par 2 which was a blind shot at a sundial and a par 5 which had a shortcut down a fence line. Other targets were fence posts and even a manhole cover. Things have really changed since then.

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I think that we have to acknowledge that there are new players out there who can really chuck a disc a very long ways. And if they are stuck playing 250 foot holes then we aren't really testing those players or there abilities. There is something to be said for technical shots but there is also something to be said for that long bomber shot. I think that both are needed, much like courses in ball golf.

And land and space is always an issue these days. Something we are looking into right now as a club locally.

Yes, I agree that there are percentage wise more players that can chuck it over 500 feet. And technology may eventually enable players in the future to throw over 1000. Back in the early to mid 90's it was rare that players would throw over 500 feet. most in part due to the technology of the disc. unless you were a freak like Scott Stokely who would throw consistently over 600 and 400 with a sidearm. No matter what direction disc golf takes, there will be difficult decisions to make.

I think disc golf is already kinda leaning towards a sort of ball golf style dynamic.  The harder, more technical courses which I believe have to go to a p2p model to keep maintenance on the course going, and the pitch n putt free to play style courses that most of us came up with.

I live in Oklahoma City and one course is taking care of more than others. Our parks and recreation control it and do not what us doing anything to fix the problems such as erosion and missing markers and broken tee pads.The one course is done at night secretly . I think we need to start a movement to get parks to fix and maintain these courses or let us players have a chance to help.

Our parks and rec is the opposite. They really don't want to put any effort into maintaining our course yet they are fine with us doing the maintenance. In fact they have been helping us with erosion issues and mulching because often times it is easier to bring excess dirt to the course and mound it up along the small ditch where water flows instead of hauling it all of the way down to HQ. So the water goes where it is supposed to and doesn't erode away the whole course like it had been doing. Same for the piles of mulch that they sometimes drop off. So we have a decent partnership in that regard.

If something gets broken or graffitied we will most likely be the ones doing the repairs or cleanup and they are fine with that as well.

I say use the one thing we have over Ball Golf,trees even very short par 3 courses can be very difficult in the woods.I play a local course here in Florida and one round shoot 3 to 4 down then next time shoot 8 over.15 of the 18 give players ace runs but you have to be skilled,if you get in trouble in some spots its a easy 5.Make the courses more about pure shot shaping,and not just pure power.

I agree players around here play Folf because of the course. The younger (12 to 20 years old) play in wooded courses because they like the course. They don't like the public basket course. They play with one disc maybe two at most. If a course sucks it won't get played. The game has always been about the course. Most players here lament the demise of McDonald pass course because it was fun to play regardless of a players score. Competition is for players with ego problems. Enjoyment of the course is why most people play.

I like the mix of that, longer holes mixed in with ace runs. As long as the holes aren't so short that they are just a chip shot every single time. Variety is good for sure.

I have been talking about this subject since 1965 when I was the only one playing. I based my course designs on ball golf courses I played. One ball course was a hill course with up and down fairways. My first course was Gibson Park in Great Falls Montana. I stayed away from the lake area for obvious reasons that some of these PDGA course designers can't comprehend. Discs cost more than golf balls. Also I didn't put trees in middle of fairways as obstacles. I used doglegs and 4 pars. Ball golf I believe has standards on how many 4 pars and 5 pars should exist. Ten years after I designed my first course I read DGA's course standards. Their distances were becoming outdated but none of these PDGA course designers never followed any of the DGA recommended standards. I was also privileged enough to watch Jack Nicklaus course design video and watch him build a course with no trees in Anaconda MT. My course in 1965 used squirrel caged that were on trees in the parks as targets. Other targets were the wood slat garbage can holders. The combination looks erierly like current basket design. Every course I designed did not discriminate against left handers or sidearm throwers as most PDGA courses. Also my courses did not discriminate against children since I was 10 years old when I designed the first course in Montana and probably the world but no one knows who was out there playing until ten years later in mid 1970's. I heard some kids in 1967 were playing across the Missouri River from my course at Riverside Park when Gibson Park was closed because of drug usage. Some guy from Arizona is trying to solisate money to install baskets there now and refused my help. Young people refusing help from older people with knowledge is a problem with society and disc golf. In some cases they become violent when offered help. Strange times indeed. The current basket course in Helena MT is a typical example of a course that favors right hand backhand players. I have to throw a trick shot drive on every drive but three holes while there are only 3 holes where a RHBH thrower doesn't have a easy straight forward shot. Hole 16 the tee box is positioned for RHBH throwers only. It truly discriminates against alternate styles. Doglegs and open fairways are real golf and I agre disc golf has for the most part been a sport of miniature golf with holes that favor the course designers style of throwing. It needs to end.

Jim, this is a great topic. One thing that I've always struggled with is that ball golf par is set to the number of shots to reach the green plus two. In disc golf, it would be the number of shots to reach the circle plus one. So ...

  • in ball golf, a par four would have a drive, an approach and two putts.
  • in disc golf, a par four would have two drives, an approach and a putt.

If we push par up to 72, with 6 par 3s, 6 par 4s and 6 par 5s ...

  • in ball golf, they've got 24 drives (counting two drives on the par 5s), 12 approaches, and 36 putts
  • in disc golf, we would have 36 drives, 12-18 approaches (are there really approaches on par 3s?) and 18 putts

This would put a much larger emphasis on driving in disc golf than ball golf, which I don't think fits your goal (which I agree with) of creating a balance. In my ideal world, a championship caliber disc golf course would have

  • 6 short par 3s, 6 long par 3s and 6 par 4s: Par 63
  • 24 drives, 12 approaches (assuming an approach on the long par 3s), and 18 putts.

I guess I have not finished thinking through all this yet! My above logic means that the final score is -9! And maybe that is the thing that is giving us hang ups. In ball golf, we are used to a birdie being amazing. In disc golf, it is not as amazing. And similarly, a ball golf ace is much more unlikely than a disc golf ace.

Sorry, I need to ponder some more.

Jack Nicklaus' theory is if no player can make a hole in one on a hole it becomes a 4 par hole regardless of the distance. Also other obstacles exit besides trees. In Anaconda Nicklaus built a course with no trees which is a difficult course. A different paradigm is needed in course design. 5 par doglegs. Equal number of holes with left hand turns as right hand turns. Fairways wide enough on 600 foot holes so players can throw the long s-turn shots. Once again the public basket course in my town has a hole 420 feet long. Trees are placed so only right hand back hand players have a chance to drive it. Trees on left of fairway block any chance of me driving the hole. Players who throw like me have to throw were our shots land on a previous tee box thus creating a safety hazard. 600 or greater holes around here are generally downhill. Also players in the 12 to 15 year range must be considered when designing courses they are the largest demographic group of players in these parts. They usually carry one disc and play Folf not disc golf. In fact they shun disc golf. How can the PDGA attract this group when PDGA caters to self important elitist.

How can the PDGA keep the interest of good players if it only caters to newbs? Short and easy courses become boring very fast.

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