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Waterloo State Recreation Area (Big Portage Lake Concession) Disc Golf Course

I feel like I am learning so much this year about course design - including the politics of it - that I should share things as I learn them. Which means a lot more related posts from me, although I am not sure whether posting to my blog or to the forum is a better way of sharing/learning. (Opinions welcome.)

Sheila and I drove to the Waterloo course today to check out the work the parks people there have done on the first 9 holes, designed by Gunars Nollendorfs and I. The last time I was there, I walked 50 feet up the fairway for Hole 1 and then retreated to my car because of the "sandstorm" of bugs flying at me. Thankfully, it was nothing like that this time. I only got bit once, by a single mosquito, in 3 hours there!

This course is about a half an hour West of Ann Arbor on I-94 (less than halfway to K'zoo), you exit at Grass Lake, then go north for a few miles to a weird stop, then west for a couple more. The parks people expect to have baskets in for the front 9 before Worlds, or during Worlds. But they are waiting until at least this fall - on our recommendation - to put in concrete tee pads to see how things play first.

Hole 1 is about 260 feet with a slight hyzer to it, although there is room for a forehander to park it. Clearing yet to be done will open up space behind the pin for drives to slide out of easy putting range and to display the basket to people on, or very near, the tee area.

Hole 2 is about the same distance, but it is uphill and there is a large tree that splits the fairway. It's even more of a hyzer shot and the pin will not be visible from the tee. That tree in the middle plays with your mind.

Hole 3 is even more uphill and is very straight and narrow, about 240 feet long, opening to grassy wide open area at about 180 feet. It's an Ace Run hole, with the basket visible from the tee and plays about 280.

Hole 4 has significant downhill elevation and plays to a pin behind a shag-bark hickory tree that takes Sheila and I, holding hands, to wrap around its circumference. You will be able to go straight at it, or leftie, or hyzer - with three guardian trees at about 200 feet. (They still have to be trimmed up from the humongous poison ivey vines on them, we're talking 10" in diameter!) Total distance about 350, but since it's downhill, I can (I think.) get there.

Hole 5 is a straight tunnel with a slight right-hand shift at the end, maybe 320 feet overall. Not as easy as it sounds, and may have to be shortened due to over-throws past the pin on Hole 4.

Hole 6 is about 330 feet through the woods, slightly right, then a left turn at the end to a pin that is is out of the woods and quite visible from the park's main parking lot. We've designed a lot of this, so far, for visibility to the public. This will be the toughest hole on the front 9, but we have a 600-footer planned for the back nine. :)

Hole 7 has the longest walk from the last pin to the tee. It's intended to be a huge hyzer semi-circle, and still needs some lower limb clearing to make it achievable from the very visible tee pad.

Hole 8 is designed to favor Sheila :) it is about 220' throwing from right behind a pair of trees (Have to go between them.) and follows a forehand flick route to several guardian trees. Most people will be able to get to the guardian trees, but luck will determine whether you get through them for an easy putt or have to putt around them.

Hole 9 is a fairly short, slight anyhzer but a difficult forehand throw. It ends right by the start of Hole 1, as this course will be 9-in and 9-out when we are done.

The park has all-year-round camping, a major concession and food area, a beach, and major boat launching and parking. Should be a very positive thing for disc golf in this part of Michigan.

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