MO business trip; two cool courses.

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MO business trip; two cool courses.

Postby Billym » Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:02 pm

I am in Springfield/Branson on businessand I got 27 holes in after I landed today at 3PM.
After I got my rental car I was on the first tee of Tom Watkins' park DGC.
At first I was not impressed. Basically a big rolling field with a bunch of baskets, a couple of hand full of old tress and some random signposts near some wear spots that were obviously the tee boxes. By the time a local (thanks) gave me a better idea of the first 1/2 of the front nine. I was having a ball! A quiet park. One other party finishing out who gudied me and a cool well thought out use of space, the few trees, the hills and OBs made by parking lots, Bball and tennis courts and private properties even a volunteer mandatory around a backstop. The was some confusion with routefinding but 90% was negotiable by way of signposts that may have a faded hand drawn guide of the hole, a worn tee spit in the grass and a pin in the distance. Well all in all it was a cool course. Way different than Golden Gate and Aquatic Park CA. I saw a # for the local disc shop at the sign for #18; I called and was invited to stop by Disc Golf Monkey. Russ the owner had a small shop behind his home. Inside was a DGers paradise all kinds of discs. He was psyched I was in town playing the local courses.
Next I got in nine at Sunset Park in Branson. A little strip park on the otherside of the street from the homes along the lake (forgot the name). It is a clear out and back with a real amazing use of trees and light post. It is a quick nine but not unforgiving with straight views of the pin but tree danger that needs to be played creatively or correctively (good drive grabs tip of branch..). The 8th is a real cool hole and of all holes that were really clearly mapped at the tee; this one was not and the pin was totally hidden. After a short stroll I was clear where it was. This course would still be intersting if played twice as 18 as it is well thought out. Unfortunatley for the local residents this park and many of their homes were 8 feet under water from storm flooding a month or so ago, I have photos of a dead baitfish on the fairway and a pin that had flood debris (weeds) hanging from it, the grass looked like it has been submerged.
The course was dry and the locals were rebuilding. This is a real cool course. I met a local (Mike) who was real hospitable.
Bill
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Postby readysetstab » Tue Apr 22, 2008 5:59 am

cool... Russ is an awesome guy. really fun to play with too because he comes up with some crazy shots. stuff you would never have thought about if you hadn't seen it first. next time you're in springfield you should try to get in a round with him. and if you come down I-44 about an hour i'll show you around my local courses in the Joplin area.

i really like tom watkins park. glad you enjoyed it.
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Postby Working Stiff » Tue Apr 22, 2008 9:27 am

I hope it is OK for us to disagree on this forum.

I'm no expert on disc golf design, but I've played over 50 courses in 5 states over the last 15 years. I also spent a dozen years working in the parks and recreation field, so I know a little bit about overall park design. The only course I've ever played that I thought was worse than Tom Watkins was the little course up the highway in Lebanon. Courses are a matter of preference, so I understand different people will like different things. I usually would not say anything, but I found Tom Watkins to be a spectacularly poor course. The signs were washed out, you could see multiple baskets from many of the tees with no idea which one to throw at, and other than the hills there were no obstacles to speak of. The hole that was mentioned with the mando around the ball field is a good example of the design. The tee is on the right field line, and the basket is behind the backstop around the home plate area. The mando is the third base side of the backstop. The tee for the next hole is behind the backstop in the first base area. You either have to throw across the baseball field infield (which had kids playing on it when I was there) or you skip the mando and throw a turnover shot right at the tee for the next hole.

In other words, the safety of the design is based on the idea that no one will be there. If the park and/or course ever got even moderate use, people would spend all day throwing at each other or other park users.

In general, the courses in Springfield MO are very poor, which is a shame since it is a pretty well populated area with lots of available land with the geography that could make a great course. I'll have to go dawn again some day, as I've heard the course in Nixa has been redesigned into an 18 hole course and there are some courses in Branson that I have not played, so maybe things are improving there. I hope so.

Sorry for the rant. I know and have spoken with guys who volunteer their time in Springfield and work hard for the sport there, and I don't mean to belittle their efforts. I see a lot of potential for disc golf in Southwest Missouri, but courses like Tom Watkins are not going to cut it.
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Postby readysetstab » Tue Apr 22, 2008 12:40 pm

you're talking about not liking signs and the flow of the course. fine. i'm talking about challenging holes. like bill said, it's a very good use of limited space. where the hell else could the holes even fit? so yes, we have different ideas of what makes a course "good".

maybe it helps being fairly local and not being so confused by the layout. the first time i was there it was a little confusing, but after that a piece of cake and there's never enough people there to worry about the holes that dont flow particularly well. i guess when you were there a lot of people showed up to play, but i've never seen any more than about 10 people at the park, and that includes random people just walking around (walking a dog or something) so the flow of the holes has never been much of a problem for me. no back ups or risk of injuring anyone. in fact, usually i'm out there alone and maybe one car load will show up before i finish the course. i could be lucky, but i've never had a problem there and i've been to that park probably 20+ times.
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Postby Working Stiff » Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:38 pm

We will have to agree to disagree.

From what I have seen over the years, the populous cities in Missouri with courses (St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia) ended up with active clubs, sanctioned events, etc. It was impossible to play in sanctioned events in the Midwest and not run into guys from those towns. I only ever ran into Springfield guys in Springfield. I hear more going on with you guys in Joplin now than I do in Springfield, this despite Springfield being much more populous and having had a permanent course since 1979.

The way I have interpreted this over the years is that the courses down there are not very good and don't excite very many players. People try the sport at places like Oak Grove (where the locals play alternative holes so you can be putting and suddenly have a disc whizzing at you from an unexpected direction) or Tom Watkins (where it is hard to figure out where you are supposed to be throwing, especially for a new player) and figure disc golf sucks and quit.

Disc golf is a great sport and Springfield is a big town with a big college. You have to ask yourself why Tom Watkins is always so deserted? I thought the goal was for more people to play, and Tom Watkins by your own admission isn't packing them in. Springfield needs a top-notch course so that area can start to develop into the scene it can be.

Just my opinion, though. It's not a big enough deal to get mad at somebody I don't know on the Internet about. Hopefully I'll be able to make it down to Joplin one day to check out what you guys are doing down there. I've heard some good things about your group.
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Postby Billym » Tue Apr 22, 2008 5:58 pm

I can definitely see both sides here and there are valid points on each.
First off I am a noob who had played all of 3 courses in NorCal before Tom Watkins. I will agree the signs sucked and the layout was confusing but it was fun to play a course so different from my local Golden Gate and Aquatic Park and it was my first out of state round.
Maybe I am just easy to please and the fact that it was a DGC was enough for me after a 4 hour flight.
On the other hand (and I know nothing about parks and rec and DGC design) it was a creative use of a space that really is not ideal for a course.
I will also admit the area was pretty run down in general. But maybe disc golf is like sex and pizza.

Sunset Park in Branson was a very cool layout with great signs at the tees too bad it isn't 18.
Bill
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Postby readysetstab » Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:01 pm

Disc golf is a great sport and Springfield is a big town with a big college. You have to ask yourself why Tom Watkins is always so deserted? I thought the goal was for more people to play, and Tom Watkins by your own admission isn't packing them in. Springfield needs a top-notch course so that area can start to develop into the scene it can be.

the city will not let the club run tournaments anymore. it really has nothing to do with the club, it's all about the city and their restrictions. springfield will never be a big disc golf town. Russ tries to get things done, but usually ends up trying to put in a new course for some other town instead because springfield is just impossible.

on the bright side, Joplin is coming around. the city didn't really respond to us for quite some time, but the people visiting the park had enough impact to change minds. we've got a new perminant 9 holes going in at our local course with new (better) baskets in the next couple weeks. hopefully next we'll be replacing the old ones. and it was mainly the JDGC that helped to put in the course in Neosho, MO about 20 miles away. a tough little course with mulch tee pads (temporarily). glad you noticed that the area is at least trying, even if Springfield isn't going to help.
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Postby dgdave » Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:11 pm

I helped design Sunset in Branson! My dad and did 90% of the work and Russ helped too. Glad you liked it. If you're out that ways again, you should try McBride. Its a fun course as well. Did Putter and Driver have any presents of dead rabbits or squirrels for you? They are some awesome dogs.
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Postby Billym » Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:19 pm

No dogs while I played.
Destroyer,Sidewinder,Firebird,Eagles,Leopard, Roc, Mako, S Wizard.

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Postby dgdave » Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:38 pm

The dogs are Russ' dogs. They are fun to wrestle with
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Postby Working Stiff » Tue Apr 22, 2008 10:29 pm

readysetstab wrote:the city will not let the club run tournaments anymore. it really has nothing to do with the club, it's all about the city and their restrictions. springfield will never be a big disc golf town. Russ tries to get things done, but usually ends up trying to put in a new course for some other town instead because springfield is just impossible.
My understanding of what Russ was doing, and what I hope will happen, is to get disc golf surrounding Springfield. Nixa, Ash Grove and Ozark have courses now, as does Branson. That helps. The problem is the market does not have that killer course that will drive the excitement for the sport. There are no Waterworks or Sioux Passages in the area.

A place like Marshfield or Bolivar are close enough and big enough that they could sustain disc golf from their own population AND if the course was killer, the Springfield folks would drive out to play. Republic could do it as well. That is what that area needs...some place to use the abundant land that they have and set up a great course. The area just needs that signature course that can host tournaments and get them on the map. I think it still can be done, so I'm not willing to give up on Springfield yet.

Keep up the good work in Joplin. Stuff does not happen overnight, and you guys have been building a good thing there. The baskets out there were the major bitch I heard about McClelland, so new ones will great news. Hopefully the next time I'm stuck in Springfield I'll have enough time to drive over and check it out.
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Postby readysetstab » Wed Apr 23, 2008 5:58 am

i agree. the springfield area needs a kickass course. same situation here, although not as desperate.

there's a great course in arkansas, a little less than an hour away from joplin.. about the same distance from us as Springfield. i think it's a little further from there though (hour and a half maybe). it's definitely near the same quality as the other noteable courses around. it's just not in missouri :?
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Postby Working Stiff » Wed Apr 23, 2008 8:29 am

Cool. Which course is that? The courses I've heard good things about in Arkansas are Horseshoe Canyon Ranch and Lake Bella Vista, both which are more like 2 hours away from Springfield (depending on how you drive. :lol: ) Lake Bella Vista should be close enough to Joplin for you guys to hit every once in a while.
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Postby readysetstab » Wed Apr 23, 2008 12:20 pm

lake bella vista is what i'm talking about. it's slightly less than an hour away from joplin. it may be 2 hours from springfield, but i just assumed that there was a quicker way than taking I-44 to 71S. maybe not.
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Postby Working Stiff » Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:04 pm

You could be right. I was just estimating, so I could be way off. I always thought Joplin was two hours past Springfield, but the last time I was in Joplin was to play a high school football game against Joplin-Parkwood and the speed limit was 55. :?

God, I'm old! I guess Parkwood does not even exist anymore, and the new consolidated HS doesn't even use the "Bears" nickname. Too bad...they won the 4A football championship one year when I was in high school. They had a lot more athletic tradition than the Memorial "Eagles." So much for history!

How is that for thread drift! :P
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