Course Designs Announced for Northwood and Lake Eureka

Course Designs Announced for Northwood and Lake Eureka

The design team of the Ledgestone Insurance Open recently learned of new PDGA guidelines regarding throw and distance and its usage in PDGA events. After studying the new guidelines, tournament director Nate Heinold had conversations with PDGA staff, including Chuck Kennedy and Andrew Sweeton. The new PDGA guidelines that came out in January 2016 do not allow throw and distance OB rules without that event being designated with an X designation, which would also force the rounds to not have ratings. There are certain times when throw and distance would be allowed, but it was believed that this would dramatically alter the temporary course at Lake Eureka. Heinold petitioned the PDGA to allow the Eureka course to continue to use throw and distance out of bounds. After many discussions and some minor tweaks to the course, the PDGA granted the exception and rounds at the temporary course at Lake Eureka will be rated for the 2016 event.

With this exception, Heinold agreed to eliminate throw and distance from the Northwood design and will instead use hazard OB rules on four holes. Those holes will be 10, 11, 13 and 14. “We used throw and distance on four holes last year at Northwood and had already eliminated throw and distance on Hole 5 at Northwood before these new guidelines came out,” said Heinold. Hole 13 did not have any special OB rules in the 2015 event, but Heinold said that the hole played too easy in relation to par. “Taking away OB on Hole 5 made the course a lot easier, so we wanted to add some more teeth to the course.” The scoring average on hole 13 was 3.6 with the 6th lowest standard deviation on the course. The design staff felt the hole was too easy and didn’t offer enough scoring separation for a par 4, so rope has been added on both sides of the fairway all the way to the green with the hazard rule being in effect. The hazard rule essentially says that any disc coming to rest outside of the roped area will have the player playing the disc from where it lies with penalty. The rope on holes 10, 11, and 14 will remain mostly the same compared to 2015, but will play with the Hazard rule.

As for the Eureka course, the main reason that the PDGA granted an exception was because Heinold argued that enough work had already been done on the redesign of this course to make any more dramatic changes. “If we had known about these guidelines changes in the fall of 2015, we could have redesigned the course with that in mind. We rebuilt and restructured the course with the information we had at the time,” said Heinold. The course was altered in the fall of 2015 to better test the players and offer more reward for the risk that the design required. In addition to the time and effort spent redesigning the course, this process included meeting with the City Council to approve the changes, redesigning the structure of the layout of all of the amenities that will be featured at the course, and updating the map and caddy guide of the course through a GPS mapping firm. “The PDGA was incredibly helpful and understanding through this process and I am grateful for their understanding,” said Heinold.

After sending the request for an exception for Lake Eureka to Andrew Sweeton, Heinold had a long conversation with Chuck Kennedy, who is best known for building and designing the PDGA’s rating system. “Chuck brought up a lot of good points about the course that we took into consideration. Chuck’s primary goal was to make sure we had a layout that would produce ratings that correlated with the skill level of the players playing the course. He shared a lot of data about our course from 2015 that we were able to use to fine tune the design,” continued Heinold. He said the goal was to make sure the redesign offered players the chance to be more aggressive compared to 2015, while still penalizing bad shots. Six holes will implement throw and distance rules, including the brand new hole 17, which requires a 275 foot carry over water to a green that is approximately 100 feet wide by 40 feet deep. Six other holes will include OB rope without stroke and distance, including the new par 5 on the back nine, hole 14. Aptly titled “1080” because of its 1080’ length, this will feature OB rope all the way down the left hand side of the fairway with the lake all the way down the right side of the fairway. It also requires a 300 foot carry over water to the left landing zone, and a 350’ carry over water to the right landing zone. Hole 13, which is known as the water tower hole, will also see a slightly different look. The green has expanded threefold while the layup zone has been cut in half, which should make for some more aggressive shots. Players wanting to get a sneak preview of the new Eureka design can play in a B Tier on May 14th that will feature this new design.

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