Monday, October 14, 2019

A Look At Unique Courses - Are They Kitchy Or Can They Offer A Real Challenge?

By and large, the general layout of an 18-hole disc golf course hasn’t changed much in the last handful of years. Even as far back as two decades ago, you could say that the overarching style of play is similar among courses around the world, with the exception of difficulty and natural obstacles, of course. However, as the sport is becoming more and more popular and top players are absolutely shredding these layouts, we’ve seen some changes.

Some course designers have opted to utilize a wide range of objects in order to offer more of a challenge or at least a bit of visual interest if nothing else. Private landowners will sometimes use old cars to spice things up while other elements may not always be by choice, like the reason for hole 12’s fitting name “The Kitchen” at DeLaveaga. But what about when specific elements are intentionally placed, or an event is played at a location that’s not really meant for disc golf at all?

A Fighting Chance

Without getting into too much of a heated debate, one has to look at the last few years of tournament play and wonder if and when the sport is going to make things more difficult. When players can shoot an 18 down like it’s nothing, most would agree that something has to give. You could say that was the motivation for changes to hole 2 at USDGC a few years ago, as five wooden pillars guarded the right side of the basket.

Others argue that holes simply have to be longer in order to offer more of a challenge, but does that really enhance the aesthetic as a whole? Or, is it simply catering to those who can throw a mile so that competitive play seems that much more exciting?

Transforming The Game

Although top tier events have yet to truly shake things up when it comes to course layout, smaller tournaments are opting for more unusual settings. Our very own Bobby Brown and his trusty camera will be heading up to the Old Joliet Prison in Joliet, Illinois for the Inparcerated II - the second annual event that takes place in an abandoned jail!

While we’re not running full tournaments at each of our Stadium events, these special occasions give disc golfers the chance to throw discs in some pretty unlikely places including Broncos Stadium at Mile High and Pocono Raceway. Again, we realize that the sport’s touring players aren’t necessarily coming out to these types of events, but could we start to see unique courses become more mainstream, or are they cheesy at best?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments below about unusual layouts and whether completely changing the type of physical environment is what the sport needs in order to offer more of a challenge, or whether simple changes like wooden pillars will do enough to keep 18 down scores from happening regularly. Could there be room for both, with some alterations catering to more casual players and others geared toward the touring scene? It’s a complex issue and one that we want your opinions on.
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