My father and I made it up there Saturday morning to play the course. We came around from the North side and the lake looked really low to me. I didn’t see what was at the end of the road; I’d imagine a “long view” of the lake. But there appears to be not much traffic out there. We were the first ones out, but by the time we were finished, there were several cars in the lot.
The first thing that impressed me was the beautiful blue Mach3 baskets with 3 flags on top for different wind speeds. The wind was blowing 10 mph or less from the South the day we played. Practice basket and hole 1 tee were very close to the parking lot. When I first heard about this course being built, my first concern was getting mowing accomplished on rough land that I’m assuming wasn’t being mowed. I’m not sure how much the grass has really grown this year, but it was plenty short enough to enjoy walking on. The good thing is being so wooded, only a few holes would need mowed: 1, part of 4, 5, 9, 10, 16, 17, & 18. It’s good that there is some grass because I get the feeling the course retains water a little. I think it had been 5 or 6 stays since a rain and the ground was still damp. I wouldn’t quite say muddy because nothing was sticking to the shoes, but I could see it getting messy around the ravines for sure. Another thing that didn’t take long to notice was all the clearing that had taken place out here. With the hilly and uneven terrain and ravines, work on this course must have been intensely difficult. Being in the same corner of the state, the terrain and trees and such did remind me a lot of Ted’s Dread, one of my all-time favorite disc golf courses. You sure wouldn’t guess it was Kansas.
Hole 1: A blind basket behind a ravine and behind a group of trees. The hole favors the lefty a little as the gap on the right side is harder to hit. The course has some areas with some type of bramble growing; I’m not sure what it’s called. It’s on the left side of hole 1 and if you are in it, you are in big trouble. This stuff grows to 8 feet high or so. I think it’s a different kind of “rough” that grows in other places like the patches around the trees on hole 9. That stuff was only about 2-3 foot tall and I didn’t know if it grew that way or if it had been cut so you could throw over it. Back to hole 1: it’s more than meets the eye. It would take a great drive, and I could see a few birds, but more bogeys. Stay out of that ravine. Love the bridges throughout the course! But like almost every hole on this course, it had a lot of character, which is one of the best features of a great course. You know it when you play good holes because you remember them. The brush pile near the basket needs to be removed or burned; I know that is no small job. And the rough near the green needs to be cut back a few more feet. My guess at 950 rated player scoring average in current condition (not with summer foliage): 3.3. It would be cool to use the “hole forecaster” design tool to input distance, elevation, and foliage to see how close some of my estimates are. This would be useful in regulating the scoring average and scoring spread.
Hole 2: Visually striking as a beautiful golf hole. About a 400’ straight tunnel shot, that looks quite symmetrical with the first 2 trees framing the hole. Slightly easier for righty as there is a small additional gap on the right that could be played and the pin is very slightly to the left at the end. This is where you start to get an idea of what you are in for at this course. The tunnel is more demanding than it looks; I can’t imagine it in summer. If you hit a tree, it’s pretty easy to make bogey. The part that bothered me was that most advanced level players that throw a really good drive are still likely to have a little distance left on the putt. I would not imagine more than maybe 5-10% birdies for 950 rating. But for a 1000 rated player, this would be the perfect golf hole. I know this course is currently tipped out to the longest placements. I didn’t take time to find too many of the short placements, and that’s unfortunate. But as my round went on, as I will explain, I find this course is designed for the gold level player, which is rare. I’d guess this one at 3.4 for 950 hole scoring average. While on this wooded type of hole, I’d like to see the scoring average closer to the hole par, the next best thing is having it long enough to get a large number of bogeys so that it plays in between hole pars. But it is a great par 3 for the pro player.
Hole 3: A little backwards walking to 3’s tee, but it shouldn’t be a tournament issue since the visibility is good. Hole 3 is even more memorable than the first 2 holes. It’s an uphill dog leg left. I guessed it pretty good as I realized that instead of playing a shot to hyzer, I needed all the distance and to make it as far uphill as possible. I threw a great shot that felt like 350, but was probably less than 300 due to the uphill. I ended up snookered behind a tree and had to throw a big uphill hyzer on my 2nd shot. I realized that the landing area was a good 30’ farther yet. I only had probably 250 feet or so to the hole, but it played much longer than that with the steep uphill climb. So the listed distance of 750’ is way off, but it does feel like it is that long with the distance you lose due to the slope. The best part of the hole is the green. It’s very sloped so that once you get on top, you are likely to have a death putt. It’s a flat rocky area that plays very fast. I had a putt for 3 and was trying to be safe and I still ended up taking 4 putts at it. Terrible putting, but it is a crazy green. My last putt was a long scary putt that would have resulted in an 8 or worse if I had missed it. I think the landing zone was a bit too long on this hole. There should be some danger missing a landing zone by going past. But again, for 1000 rated level, it would be just about perfect. I think a lot of the trees could be cut on the left side, or maybe to define the landing zone better (perhaps even on the right side, so players would be smart to resist the desire to hyzer this drive). Maybe a few more removed to make a preferred flight path to the basket. But the hole is supposed to be very tough, so be selective. If possible, this hole could have a second landing area that is shorter, but would give a much tougher 2nd shot. I would keep that in mind when more trees are removed on the left side. I can imagine Houck would have a lot of fun with a hole like this, creating multiple routes to the pin. 950 rated HSA = about 4.7. Advantage righty; I think it would play very tough for lefty
Hole 4: Yet another hole burned into the memory. It is a very tight tunnel through the woods. Actually, there are a few different very small lanes. I pretty much nailed a line and still got a bad skip next to the lasts tree before escaping the woods. What makes this hole really interesting is that the first two thirds are in the woods and the rest is outside. The distance listed as 550 is way off. It’s not more than 450. The course really needs to be measured with a laser range finder. Even though the distance doesn’t suggest it, this hole plays as a par 4. I can’t imagine it being deuced without a 100’+ throw in. The most intriguing part of this hole is that the line that separates the woods from the open area runs somewhat diagonal to the hole. So if someone wanted to escape the trees with a 100’ shot, they could throw almost 90 degrees to the basket, but they would have 400’ left. Or they could throw 200’ to escape the trees and have 275’ left. But these routes are super tiny right now. It definitely needs opened up some more. I really like the idea of making multiple routes on this hole, but great care needs to be taken to keep the balance of the options so one doesn’t get too heavily favored. Hole favors righty a little off the tee and lefty on the approach. 950 HSA = 3.8.
Hole 5: This one probably has to be the most fun of them all. Pretty steep long downhill hole through a gap in the trees that plays tighter than it looks. Distance of 650 might not be that far off on this one; I think it has to be over 600. You can’t really see it well from the tee, but there is a ravine on the right if you don’t throw it at least 300’, and discs will tend to turn over going downhill. You have no chance if you are in there. It seemed lefty / righty neutral. It looks like one of the best holes in Kansas. The only thing I didn’t like about it was the tee pad. It angled downward, which was smart. But you have to step down to it a little from the road. With the extreme difficulty to install these pads in the hilly woods, it sounds like these pads were very expensive. They have the bullet shaped rounded fronts, which is very cool. I’d say for 90% of the players and 90% of the courses, they would be plenty long. But for this style of course and these long throwers the course was designed for, they should be a bit longer. That’s why the step down to the pad bothers me. 950 HSA = 3.6. I think it’s too long to deuce, though it would be possible for players who can throw farther than 450’ on flat ground. Good drives should get an easy par 3, but bad drives could get 5 or even worse. Great hole. Is there room to the far right for a pin to make this hole even tougher?
Hole 6: Hole 5 takes you pretty close to the parking lot and by this time we were ready to shed all the layers. So that’s a bonus. Hole 6 goes back up the hill. Similar to hole 3, it is a long par 3 dog-leg left. Also similar to hole 3, the landing zone is as far as you can throw it. and as high up the hill as you can go, and you don’t want to hyzer at all. Big advantage to big throwers, but accuracy is important also for all the trees. One problem I see is that you have to throw this shot high to get up the hill. Yet the upper branches prevent this. I can see that it would be very difficult to cut branches up high without some serious heavy equipment. The 2nd half of this hole is to the left. There are several lanes through the trees and it is not so crazy thick. The right side is a little higher, and looks a little better, but if you take another tree or two out, lefty has an equal chance. It’s hard to guess the scoring average. A huge drive up the hill gives a great shot at 3, but if you don’t get that far up, it’s almost impossible. 950 HSA = 3.9. 1000 rated players would probably fare much better, but the upper braches are going to make that drive tough no matter how hard you throw it.
Hole 7: It’s Rosedale down under all grown up. It shoots over a ravine with some narrow gaps through the tall trees. Righty gap(s) are better than the lefty gap. Listed as 275’, it might even be a little longer than that on this hole. I threw a full drive and came up 25’ short. It’s hard to get it high enough. I would see if the summer foliage is too thick or not before deciding to take out any more trees. This one is a great par 3 because there will be plenty of 2’s and probably as many 4’s for those hitting trees and getting dropped or kicked off in the treacherous ravine. 950 HSA = 3.1.
Hole 8: It lists 800’, but I walked it at about 300’. Loomis said you could see 3 baskets. I only saw 2, but it’s the one on the left. The pad points the wrong way a bit; too far to the right and towards 12’s basket. And there is a tree right in front of the pad. Big advantage to righty as there is pretty much just one route. I’ve always been a fan of tee pads that are bigger in the back, which these are. But this pad is problematic. One naturally wants to approach this shot from the right side, but there is a big drop off on the right side of the pad. Most of these pads were poured very level with the ground and I’m always really thankful for that. This one will be an erosion issue eventually, I think. It’s probably the weakest hole on the course. Not that long, but uphill a little with some pesky trees. It likely will not yield many birdies or bogeys. 950 HAS = 3.0. Not sure what I’d do to make it better; it becomes more difficult to fix once your tee pad is set.
Hole 9: This one had me scratching my head. Big downhill hole pointing towards the parking lot. Lots of work had been done clearing out a hole to throw through. The tee pad points towards this main gap. But the pin is 150’ to the right of the bottom of the lane. The only real way to attack this pin is straight at it through a small gap in the trees. There is a small chance for 2 for a righty and not much of anything for lefty. You have to reduce the run up and throw across the side of the tee pad. There is a tree right in front of the pad that you have to decide which way you want to go around. I threw down this route, hit a tree, and still had an easy upshot. Throwing down the main route isn’t really any safer at all because it puts you farther from the pin and with more stuff in between you and the pin. I threw a backhand roller through this route that dodged a zillion trees and was rolling right for the pin only to get hung up in the tall stuff that surrounds the tree islands at the bottom before the pin. I’m not going to say this is a bad hole because it could be a great one with the right pin placement. Yeah, where the practice basket is currently would be the first thought. There are likely a few other places that would give the player an opportunity to use some strategy. Perhaps the pin could be somewhere longer and not as far to the right of the main gap? Because of all the good islands of trees surrounded by brush (most would want this cleaned out, but it could be used as a design tool), I think this should be a 2 shot hole, at least for the longest pin. Give the player a few landing zones. Give the hardest landing zone the easiest route to the pin, and vice versa. It would be a shame for this hole not to be spectacular. 950 HSA = 3.3 in the current setting.
Hole 10: One of the few holes along the side of the hill; I wish there were more. The left side is higher. The pin is perched on a ridge, making for danger if you fly by with your putt. There are evergreens that separate the hole from hole 18 and you do not want to be in them. Best route is a lefty hyzer, though righty can throw an “S” shot at it. With good chances for birdie and bogey, though this hole is one of the shortest, it gets high marks. If the wind was coming from the North, this one could be tough. 950 HSA = 2.9.
Hole 11: This hole is a the 3rd uphill dog leg left hole. It’s less than 300’ to the top, but still a strong chuck uphill. I saw the short pin in the middle on top and that’ll be a good spot. The long placement requires a throw either barely to the top or one about 30’ farther. Then it’s 90 degrees directly left another 70’. This one is a “tweener” hole, but not because of the distance, but because it’s an easy 2 shot hole. If you play the hole correctly, you get 3, otherwise 4. It might be more interesting if the hole was slightly closer, making 2 possible, or tougher, like a par 4. I’m not sure there is room to go longer because of hole 8’s tee pad. I didn’t look, but is there anywhere else that would be a good location for hole 8’s tee pad? 950 HSA : 3.4
Hole 12: Pretty crazy hole. A great many of the holes out here remind me of Ted’s Dread. This one is long and treacherous, downhill through the woods. It says 800 feet, but it’s probably less than 700. It’s a gentle downhill and a gradual right turn. The best shot is a low straight drive from the tee, as you don’t want to get too low or too far right early in the hole. But the main thing is just missing trees. I think there should be a lane to the left, where the best flight path is currently, and another to the right. Clear out plenty of trees along these routes to give visual definition and leave the rest. As it is now, you need both luck and skill to get a 4 on this hole. After it’s cleaned out, this hole would be a good par 4 with more 5’s than 3’s. As it is now, I would say the 950 HSA would be about 4.6.
Hole 13: This hole has the shape of the letter F. It’s an uphill dog leg right that’s downhill for the 2nd half. At the end of the middle part of the “F” is the short pin. This one is 90 degrees to the right. It’s about 225’ to the landing zone and easy to be short or long. To get to the dogleg leading to the longer pin, you have to throw it probably 330’ uphill on a pure line with a little turnover. It’s very tough to hit the landing zone. This is another example of a gold (1000 rated player) skill level hole. I do love the 2nd part of both of these routes. It’s a finesse shot of less than 200’, and it plays very fast. Downhill greens are great and this might be the only one. I think the short placement might be a better hole. Throwing a midrange with distance control (not going too far) is a skill not often required on longer 2 shot holes. 950 HSA = 3.9 on the long pin.
Hole 14: Another over the ravine shot, like Rosedale Down Under. There is a thumber route over the top, but it has to be pretty strong. I think a few more trees could come out to allow for a visible righty and lefty route. I threw a shot that missed all the trees I could see and hit one I couldn’t see. The short pin looked like it was in the open at the bottom and almost a gimme 2. 950 HSA for the long pin = 2.7.
Hole 15: This hole shoots over a pond, some of the only OB on the course. It’s downhill and pretty short, so the water isn’t really a huge factor. The flight does sail very close to two wires that could put a disc in the water. The position is to the far left, so it’s an extreme right-hand-backhand-hyzer. Surprisingly, I did not throw very many discs in my bag the whole round, and this was one of the only times I used an overstable disc. Put it 10’ from the pin and missed the putt. I threw a few other drives on similar lines and they all crashed trees. I don’t think the placement is necessarily bad, but a hole needs to be cut out so the good shots don’t get rejected. A better placement will be on the far side of the pond, but up higher from the water’s edge will be better. Maybe it could go on a built mound in the open on the far side? Or a longer additional location through the gap? Is anything possible halfway up the hill to 16’s tee? I’d have to see it again. Since you have good trees and water, use them both. The current location does that, but with too much luck factor. 950 HSA = 2.5
Hole 16: You have to climb up the hill to get to 16. Many won’t like this. But at least you know it’s coming because the tee is located right by 14’s tee that you played earlier. Another big downhill hole, and it reminds me of 9 a little. The tee shot is aggravating. Normally I would love this kind of hole that lets you crush it for big distance. But on this hole, the ground is actually in the way of the flight path. If you don’t throw it into the ground, you will throw it too high into the tree canopy that gets lower and lower with the hill. So you end up having to power down and ease something down there. If you throw it at just the perfect height, you can get a big drive, but most times it will get shot down. The other thing is that there is no real route to the pin. The tee has you facing away from the pin, which is far to the left. There should be a route through the trees for those who can’t resist the shortcut. The 800’ distance listed on DGCR is off by at least 200 feet. I threw a bad drive and had only about 200’ left. The hole does have some great trees. You can throw around them or short and in front of them. Some trees by the pin on the right side need to be trimmed up some. Maybe not if the intent is to make one go around. I think the layup drive offers the best route to the pin currently. Just doesn’t seem like you should have a big downhill hole like this and not be able to rip one. Almost might be better as 2 holes with a short downhiller or skip the downhill portion altogether to avoid the hill climbing. Better idea would be to think it out and clear some trees to give several balanced routes to the pin. Always a good idea not to pour concrete tees until after designs have been tweaked after tournament data can be acquired, etc. But I understand if you have a “spend your money or lose it” situation, you get your work done. I love the course, but since there was a budget, a professional designer may have given a few extra thoughts to help it accomplish its potential. Another problem is the walk to hole 17. It takes you back into the line of fire for tee shots. 950 HSA = 3.4
Hole 17: This is another wild hole. It goes straight with a few trees to dodge out of the gate and you have a creek with running water running the full length of the hole on the left. Thick trees with vines run the length of the creek and a narrow strip of grass is on the other side of the trees with OB road outside that. The temptation is to throw a hyzer to try to get across the creek. But realistically, the only gap to get across currently is 90 degrees straight across at the end. It reminds me a little of a hole at Jones Park East, except this one is a dog leg left. The best play is to throw it straight at hole 18’s bench (which are very nice amenities, by the way). That’s a safety issue. If you don’t throw it 400+ feet, you really don’t want it to hyzer. The trees and vines lining the creek are super thick. I think a short gap should be cut to make it more interesting. If a player tries to hit it, all kinds of problems could result. But the existing gap has its own difficulties. 950 HSA = 3.8. The hole strongly favors right handers and takes a pro level drive to score.
Hole 18: There are some evergreens on the right, but the hole is basically wide open. Distance of 450 may be about right. But it’s not right. It’s too long to get many 2’s and too short to get a 4. Players could get 4 by trying to force a 2 that isn’t in the cards, but this hole is less interesting than the others. Seems like the windiest hole when it’s blowing from the South, and that is a headwind. I think a shorter placement could be off to the right? The long placement could be longer to make it play per 3.5. If it was over to the left, that would bring a lot of trouble into play, but it would be another righty hole. 950 HSA: 3.2
All in all, this is an incredible course and a great effort from a few folks. With the baskets, tees, and benches, this course has excellent equipment. There were some very fun holes and some very memorable holes. I hope some further refinement is a possibility to make the course even better. New pin placements, tree cutting and such. I know this monster must have been, and will continue to be, a lot of work. I hope my feedback helps, but the best feedback will be from collecting data from a tournament. The course is ready and a tournament will certainly help promote it.
I added up my 950 rated Hole Scoring Average estimates. 32.1 on the front and 30.4 on the back. 62.5 total. I think this would play at least a couple strokes tougher in 20mph wind. And who knows how many strokes tougher in summer foliage? Maybe as many as 3 or more strokes more difficult. I could see it getting really thick in the summer. Par 63 or even 64 seems appropriate for the longs. Par 4’s could include holes 3 (could even be a par 5), 4, 5 (if it was longer), 6, 9 (if it was longer), 11 (if it was longer), 12 (trim it up and it shouldn’t be a par 5), 13, maybe 16, maybe 17. Seemed like a lot of holes played between par values, such as holes 2, 3, 5, 9, 11, 12, 16, 17. That makes it tougher to assign hole pars.
I mentioned the course seeming more appropriate for 1000 rated golfers than for 950 and below, which is 95% of the population. For 1000 rated, you would subtract about 6 strokes per round or 0.3 strokes per hole. Estimated 1000 rated scratch scoring average in current state would be about 57. Does that mean par should be 57? No. If par is called out on signs, I would try to estimate it for 950 rated golfers. Otherwise you end up with par 2’s or else crazy long par 3’s to balance out all the holes that average under 3.0.
How hard is this course? While I can see pros shooting in the upper 50’s, it may be the toughest course in Kansas. I’m trying to think of some of the toughest. Hays long to long, Herman Hill tipped out, Wyco tipped, Rosedale tipped, Thomas Park in Salina, Jones East… I think it’s a little bit tougher than these. I’ve never played Thornfield in Stillwell. I don’t think it would quite beat out Ted’s, but that course is no more. Blue Valley on long would have a higher scoring average, but that’s a much longer track, and that’s in MO.
I didn’t see most of the short pins, so I can’t really comment on them. It appears that they will play drastically easier than the long pins. I suppose the idea will be to keep ½ or a 1/3 of the pins short at any given time. I’m not a big fan of using pin placements to regulate the course difficulty. Kansas City, for all it’s great courses, has few courses with dual tees. With this course, I could see the long pins being designed for 1000 rated players and the short ones more for 900 rated players. So no matter what skill level you are, you are going to end up playing holes that don’t fit your abilities. Since such a huge percentage of discers are amateurs, you really need to have some holes that aren’t as punishing. I do understand the draw for this course will be its challenge. When you put in two or more sets of tees that are dramatically different in distance, you solve this problem. By not making huge differences in the hole difficulty with pin placements, you can also keep the hole pars true, rather than having to say “par 3 on short, par 4 on long”. Take some of Houck’s courses in Texas. Circle C in Austin is a great example. The holes play as par 3, par 4, and par 5 with a course par of 63. The long tees play par 63 for advanced players while the short tees play par 63 for intermediate players. The short tees are much shorter, but they aren’t necessarily short holes on the par 4’s and 5’s. But those par values make sense for that skill level. With all the money spent on tees here, I think this should be considered. Maybe something could still be done, though it would probably look odd to have one set of concrete tees and the other being something else.
I agree that the greens on the course were tame compared to a lot of the tee and approach shots. Greens 3, 10, 13, 17 were pretty challenging with the use of slope. But not many trees near the pins. I agree more with the philosophy with increasing the difficulty the farther down the fairway you go. Punish errant long drives more than short straight ones. Hole 2 did a good job with this. I love trees around the greens, mound greens, and especially downhill greens, and greens that reward putts taken from a certain direction.
It’s really easy to be critical of any course / hole design. No matter what you choose or how much work is put in, there will be imperfections given by what you have to work with. It’s hard to solve some of the design problems you face when trying to link 18 good holes together. I think good course design is about balance. Good mix of left turning holes and right turners and straight shots. Good mix of tee shots: understable, straight, overstable drivers, and mid ranges. Good mix of length and hole pars. It’s hard to give the course a complete grade without playing any of the short pins. I think the current long pins are a little too biased towards long, low straight drives. I only played one overstable driver hole and no mid ranges. There was only one or two real left handed holes and those still had righty options. The distance variety was great, though I think a few of the holes could be longer or shorter to give better scoring variety.
I think this review is way too long for DGCR. The reason I gave so much critique is because I really like the course. Anything you can do to perfect it will make a big difference in the end. I think you might wait until after you run a tournament and make some changes before you install tee signs. Great job with Longview DGC!