Chuck Kennedy wrote:
Liability issues and meeting good design guidelines has been an easy enough sell for Park Departments all over the country for having a qualified designer. In addition, many designers have donated hundreds or thousands of hours over the years doing design and installation finally starting to earn fees in the past 10 years or so. To not even find out who in your region might be willing to help out is not taking advantage of potential resources available. You may discover they will provide some help free.
The PDGA provides a guideline to help Park Departments choose a designer including guidelines on cost. http://www.pdga.com/documents/choosinga ... signer.pdf
The design itself has the most lasting impact on players. The land being used is usually more valuable than anything being placed on it for disc golf. Not doing the best job possible to enhance its value for the community is not making the best use of a community asset. Do you suppose the Park Department would let the local ball golfers that own landscape equipment build a golf course without employing design experts?
My cover article in the Jan 2007 National Park & Rec magazine has helped many people get courses in their community and provides ways for them to fund the operation that have been successful all over. http://www.nrpa.org/content/default.asp ... entId=5214
If you believe a course doesn't generate revenue for a community then you're not looking at the broader impact on the local merchants for daily play and the impact on the hospitality industry from tournaments if a course is done well. We have heard the Chamber here mention that people have moved to our community because of the disc golf courses nearby.
Stiff, your credibility is in question by comparing experienced course designers to touring pros. Our services are sought (yes) and paid for (yes) because of expertise that is valued by other Park professionals or entrepreneurs that recognize and are willing to pay for that value that goes way beyond design depending on the project. Many of us have gone to college and have expertise in landscape architecture, environmental knowledge and/or construction let alone the technical skills for doing the math for proper design lengths, GPS mapping and later validating the design. DG pros may have worked as hard to learn their skills but so far few players or spectators have been willing watch let alone pay to watch or for learning from them.
Near Bakersfield, It wouldn't surprise me that Dunipace at Innova or one of their other people would be willing to review the design free depending on the baskets being used. Otherwise former PDGA Commissioner Jim Challas who's done courses near San Jose might be able to get down that way.
I’m excited! I never knew I had any credibility to question.
I’d love it if a disc golf course was elevated to the standard of a golf course or swimming pool project. No one would dream of undertaking that type of facility without hiring an architect who specializes in those types of projects to design the facility. However you usually don’t build a swimming pool because a guy from a local swimming club showed up at a park board meeting and said you should build one and, just to make it easier on you, volunteer to design and build the pool for you. You build a swimming pool because the needs assessment in your master plan tells you that one is needed in your community and you plan the perfect spot to place it, the right time when your bond debt will allow you the funds, and you accept bids from competing firms to design and build it.
I have not been through a master plan process in the last eight years, but the consultants for that one did not mention disc golf until I brought it up. Even though there was no course in over 30 miles, the consultants saw no reason to recommend we build one. She lumped disc golf in with “alternative” sports and claimed the fact that we had a skateboard park covered that demographic. Hopefully there are other consultants who hold disc golf in higher regard.
If disc golf is not in the master plan, then you are talking about altering your master plan to install a disc golf course in open space or to make a passive use area like a trail into a multi-use area. Also, the money to develop a disc golf course is not in you long-range planning budget and you are trying to squeeze it in somewhere. Now, some places do allocate the necessary funds to complete an environmental impact study, hire a course consultant and landscape architect to design for proper drainage, erosion control and liability issues. Those places will have superior facilities, but they will pay for them. Other places will tell a Club that they have 15 acres to use and they can put in some baskets if they pay for them. These places will have a lower quality course and possibly big erosion problems and liability issues down the road.
However, the growth of the sport has been fueled by the success of ordinary folks with no qualifications talking their way into a park board meeting and then volunteering their time, money, blood, sweat and tears into making a disc golf course happen. What I saw in those pictures was a bunch of disc golfers volunteering to make the sport grow, and it struck me as wrong to scold them about hiring a course designer. I also have a long-standing problem with a local guy who claims to be an “expert” course designer who has done some stupid stuff, and I might have projected that frustration onto the whole bunch of folks trying to design courses for profit. However I agree that to build quality courses in the future, qualified folks need to design them not only for competition reasons but for erosion and liability issues as well. What struck you as wrong may have been his contention that it was going to be a “Championship” course if no one qualified to design a championship course was involved. If I was qualified to design a championship course I might take offense to that as well.
Anyway, you could argue that we already have a lot of courses, so we should convert from “more is better” mode to “quality is better” mode. If that meant high quality pay for play facilities, I’ll be the first in line to endorse it. I'd love to sit in my office and compare competing course design bids from Houck, Monroe, Gentry, Doyle, Duvall, etc. That would be cool.
How to keep our volunteer base involved and excited if there are no course projects to throw themselves into might be a big hurdle to overcome. Personally I think the original St. Louis Disc Golf Club fell apart largely because of the decision to step away from course projects to allow GDS to pursue those opportunities as a business. The result was a lot of guys who had worked hard to make the courses in Creve Coeur, Sioux Passage and Jefferson Barracks a reality sitting around on their thumbs with nothing better to do than bitch. The course projects helped to keep a varied bunch of characters who really didn't care for one another personally focused and working together. Once those projects were gone, we were just a varied bunch of characters who really didn't care for one another.