May 17 2007, 12:26 PM
Anybody checked out this 9-hole course yet?
May 18 2007, 10:07 AM
I played the course last night. First off, it's great to have a disc golf course in Beaver County! Hopefully, this will be the first of many in the county.
I discovered Old Economy Park 4-5 years ago and my initial thought was that the park was not large enough for a disc golf course. After hearing a course was being built, I revisited the park and discovered there where other areas of the park I never knew existed! The park is HUGE with lots of hills, trees and well-mowed grass areas.
Hole 1 starts near the main parking lot and the course winds back into the park, utilizing only the open, grassy areas. That's unfortunate as there are many wooded areas which would provide some diversity to the overall design of the course. There are several areas where the wooded hillsides are too steep to play on, thus, that possibly limited design options. Nonetheless, there are some good golf holes which I enjoyed playing.
Holes 1,2 and 3 play in a loop along a hillside bowl near the main parking lot. Unless there is some modification made to these three holes, there will always be a safety hazard regarding the current tee locations. The tee box for hole 2 is on hole 1's green! The tee is located within 25 ft of hole 1's basket. This would be an easy fix by simply moving hole 2's tee box further up the hill.
Hole 3 completes the loop by playing back down the hill. It's a cool hole, but many an errant shot is going to land on or near hole 1's tee. My first drive on that hole was a little weak, but the downward slope allowed my Whippet to land beside hole 1's tee. I'm not sure what the best solution would be...possibly installing another sleeve further up the hill and closer to the road....which would be further from hole 1's tee. If the design stays the way it is, my recommendation would be to install signage on holes 1 and 2, warning golfers to watch for golfers teeing on the conflicting holes. Yelling "fore!" won't always work because some people play listening to Ipods or they may be talking with their friends....not to mention the deaf community (we have many deaf players in the area....including the Pittsburgh School for the Deaf who has many disc golfers who play our local courses).
Hole 4 is a cool hole as it presents several options off the tee than any other hole on the course. Using a natural tunnel design through the trees, this is the only "semi-wooded" hole on the course.
Hole 5 plays up a hill with a roadway along the right side of the fairway and thick trees/rough along the left side. Hopefully, the road and across is considered "out of bounds".
Hole 6 is one of the longer holes on the course and will not yield many deuces save for the big-arm air shots or the well executed back-hand rollers. The roadway continues along the right side of the fairway and is hopefully considered O.B.
Hole 7 is awesome! This beautiful golf hole plays up a natural fairway through the trees and is probably over 600' in length. For rec/intermediate players, this hole will probably be a par 4 or 5. For pros, it's either a challenging par 3 or an easy par 4...I don't see many deuces on this one. Regardless, the hole is really cool as the green is just past two old log-cabin style buildings. Probably 15'x15', these two antique buildings will come into play on this hole. One has no roof, thus, an errant shot could easily end up inside the structure. A pancake (thumber) is probably the way to get up and down from inside this log structure. The other log building has the roof intact, so there will be discs landing on top of the roof. The roof appears to be more than two meters high, so I hope the course rule is to consider a lie on the roof as O.B. The door on this particular structure is no longer present, thus, one could end up inside with the only option being a pitch out of some type. Both buildings have cut logs (firewood size) inside them and my recommendation would be to remove this debris from the two structures. Snakes will set up camp around this debris if not removed.
Hole 8 is a really nice hole which presents an excellent deuce opportunity, but only with a well executed shot. The rough is rough and one will be penalized for a tee shot that goes too far off the fairway. Caution: overthrown drives can land on Hole 9's tee box.
Hole 9 is the shortest hole on the course, but definitely not the easiest! The tee is along a ridge top and I would estimate the basket being only 200' away or less. The target is below the tee and sits on a steep slope that drops away to the left. I threw my two Coyotes on that hole....one that landed 10' from the pin and the other landed a country mile down the hillside and into the rough! A great hole that is really fun to play! I do think the tee for this hole is too close to hole 8's green. Golfers on hole 8's tee cannot see hole 9's green, thus, an overthrown drive could easily hook around the corner and potentially injure someone standing on hole 9's tee.
Unfortunately, once you finish hole 9, you'll have a ten minute walk back to the parking lot. There's no getting around it. If additional holes are eventually added to the course, the long walk back could probably be eliminated/reduced. As it stands, it's the longest walk I've ever experienced after finishing the final hole of a course. It is a beautiful and scenic walk, however!
Currently, there is only one set of tees (that I could see) and there are no tee signs. Hopefully, the addition of a second set of tees (either shorter or longer) is in the plans. There are holes which could use a shorter set of tees and, likewise, some holes which could benefit from a longer set of tees. Additional pin placements would be nice as well and that might be in the plans for future development. Hopefully, tee signs are in the plans as well.
The present tees look to be 4'x10' and have been dug out to an approximate depth of 6". About 4" of shredded bark mulch was used to fill in the dug-out tees. If the mulch becomes packed down over time it may not be so bad, but I experienced difficulty with my footing due to the thickness of the bark mulch. After 6 holes of slipping in the thick layers of mulch, I began teeing from the grass beside the tees.
I will again express my concern regarding the tee/basket locations for holes 1, 2, 3 and 9. This course has a lot of potential and with minor modifications, will become an enjoyable recreational activity for citizens of all ages within the community.
I will probably practice a lot at this park as it is very close to my home (I've already made up a killer safari 9 with pro par 4's and 5's ....yeah, baby! :cool:). I definitely look forward to competing in some local disc golf tournaments at Old Economy Park!
May 19 2007, 11:40 AM
Thanks for the report, Jerry. Sounds like there are some nice holes there but the course was designed without proper regard for PDGA course design guidelines and safety, given the issues you mentioned with tees too close to the previous polehole, errant shots landing on other teepads and fairways, and having the 9th hole end far away from the tee of hole #1 or the parking lot.
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