New Course, Bakersfield CA.

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Postby TannerBoyle » Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:35 pm

Mr.SmOOOth wrote:I love the sound a disc makes when it glances off the water tank! I went down there about 4 or 5 years ago for the CVS. First round, throw a Buzzz, park the hanging basket. Second round, turn my Buzzz over and land in the maze of gnarly trees. Had to literally crawl to my disc. Take a 6, or was it a 7?
Glad to hear the course is going to be permanent.


Both the water tank hole and the 'hanging basket' holes are part of the permanent course. We've even added a couple of pin positions to both of those holes.

Wait until you see the 'park' course. Not as extreme as the hillside but challenging and very fun.
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Postby Working Stiff » Wed Jul 30, 2008 10:34 pm

Chuck Kennedy wrote:Very few have the expertise to actually design a course from scratch for particular skill sets defined by the designers and adopted by the PDGA and then take the time to make the changes needed based on actual hole scoring stats cross referenced to ratings. Lots of people think they can design just because they've played a lot of courses. Jack Nicklaus quickly realized he knew very little when he switched into course design and learned from the ground up. Tiger has said the same thing.

In my experience, less than 50 courses anywhere have really been "completed" in terms of taking the hole scoring data and making adjustments accordingly. Most designers and even those with experience focus on the beauty and coolness factors and discount the technical underpinnings of the holes. That's mostly because they don't know how to do it. There's no book to read. It's mostly learning from others for now.

If you actually work with an experienced designer, you 'll be surprised at what's being missed. Those who have worked with Houck, Monroe, Gentry, Doyle, Duvall and several other veterans understand the things that were missed or could be done better, especially using the new technology we have developed that's not available outside our designers group. I'm hopeful that more people will take advantage of this experienced designer resource. I'm trying to get out there more and travel again to work with new designers and do more teaching than designing.
Well, who is going to pay? I'd love to call John Houck up and give him 20 acres to go crazy on, but if the course is not going to generate any income how do I justify that to a park board. If I design it myself it will have a few good holes, a few that suck and all and all it will be an OK course that could be better and generates $0.00 income for the park district. OR, I can call John and pay him his fee and travel to design a fantastic course that will get the course designers group seal of approval...and it will generate $0.00 income for the park district. If the total income is still $0.00, why would anybody approve spending the taxpayers money on the extra fees?

If the park is not going to pick up the fee, who will? A local Club? First we have to come up with cash from non-existent sponsors attracted by our large group of invisible spectators for pro purses, now instead of depending on the combined talents of our members to design courses that is not good enough and we have to come up with more money to pay a course designer?

Blood from a turnip. Course designers are just like touring pros...trying to make money off a sport that generates no money. Until we convert to pay for play and the sport can generate money, most places will pass on generating a bill for the services of a course designer.
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Postby TannerBoyle » Wed Jul 30, 2008 11:45 pm

I'm curious as to what an expert designer would charge to design two 18 hole courses.
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Postby Chuck Kennedy » Thu Jul 31, 2008 6:38 am

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.
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Postby Chuck Kennedy » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:48 am

I have an idea that can help anyone doing a course that doesn't have access to an experienced designer (or doesn't think they can afford one). Contact me and I'll send you the Excel evaluation form used in the PDGA Course Evaluation process. If you read about the various factors involved and try to optimize your course to get a better evaluation, you'll have done several things that should make your course better.

ck34 at aol.com
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Postby Working Stiff » Thu Jul 31, 2008 6:12 pm

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.
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Postby Chuck Kennedy » Thu Jul 31, 2008 6:32 pm

One of the first things I did back in the early 90s was get disc golf as one of the activities on the master plan checklist used by several landscape architect firms in the Twin Cities metro area. Not sure how important that was in making the Twin Cities the number one metro area for number of courses but I'm guessing the credibility by having it on the standard planning charts didn't hurt.

Having an experienced designer doesn't mean that lots of volunteer effort isn't still required. Someone needs to be the leader for the design part of the project even with volunteers, and players still seem more than willing to help on the many projects I'm aware of where designers got compensated, sometimes with basket commissions being the only money involved. They're just happy a good course is going in.
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Postby disctribution » Thu Jul 31, 2008 6:49 pm

Hart Park is the only course I've played where you throw over rivers, throw steep uphill AND downhill, has a 200' hole that could easily turn in to a 400' upshot, gives ample opportunity for different driving techniques, and you can still shoot a -6 on a good day. I believe it's a good design and seems to have the "rule of thirds" built in well. I'm happy to see this course go permanent finally. So lucky to have such elevation to design around. Now I just need to get in better shape so I won't be so winded between each hole.

Oh, and this was the course in my first tournament win ever, so that helps.
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Postby Working Stiff » Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:15 pm

Chuck Kennedy wrote:One of the first things I did back in the early 90s was get disc golf as one of the activities on the master plan checklist used by several landscape architect firms in the Twin Cities metro area. Not sure how important that was in making the Twin Cities the number one metro area for number of courses but I'm guessing the credibility by having it on the standard planning charts didn't hurt.
If that got done everywhere, that would be huge IMO. Getting a disc golf course into the master plan of a park gets it placed in the capital improvement budget for whatever year that development is slated for. Starting out in the budget is no guarantee that you won't get cut, but is is a hell of a lot easier to make the final budget that way than to start out not in the budget at all and try to talk you way in.
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Postby Working Stiff » Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:32 pm

Chuck Kennedy wrote:Having an experienced designer doesn't mean that lots of volunteer effort isn't still required. Someone needs to be the leader for the design part of the project even with volunteers, and players still seem more than willing to help on the many projects I'm aware of where designers got compensated, sometimes with basket commissions being the only money involved. They're just happy a good course is going in.
I guess it kind-of depends on the designers "people skills." :? Lets just say this DID NOT happen in St. Louis in the late 90's and leave it at that.
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Re: New Course, Bakersfield CA.

Postby TannerBoyle » Fri Mar 20, 2009 3:15 pm

Update:

All 36 holes are up and running. In the process of installing concrete tee pads on the lower course (Suicide Flats).

Had the Bakersfield leg of the Central Valley Series last month. Nothing but very positive feedback from Mid Cali players.
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Re: New Course, Bakersfield CA.

Postby Yehosha » Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:15 pm

Just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to you guys for putting these 2 courses together. As a Bakersfield native my disc golfing had declined to almost nothing since there was very little worth playing here in town, and it got boring playing the same 9 easy holes over and over at the other courses. When I discovered these 2 courses at Hart Park a few months ago, my love for disc golf has been revitalized. I now play here at least twice a week and can't get enough of it.

This last weekend I was down at Coyote Springs @ Lake Casitas and was talking with one of the guys that designed and maintain that course, and he said Hart Park was his #2 favorite course to play in CA, and I thought that was pretty huge. So again, thank you. You guys did an AMAZING job!
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