2010 Valley View Statistics and MORE!
This blog entry is all about Valley View Park in new Berlin, WI. This is my most played course by far . . . I mean I probably play 4-5 rounds here for every other round I play. It is short, it is quick, but it is technical, and it is close to home so it is an easy sell for me. It became my home course by default because it is not my favorite course, but for multiple reasons it is the course I play most frequently.
My first year at Valley View was discussed in this blog entry, which was mostly about statistics and scores. This new entry is about The Elusive Valley View Ace, my statistics from 2010 , becoming the Assistant League Director and Statistician, and most importantly the changes I made to the course and my first real involvement in disc golf course design. I am going to start with my statistics.
The Elusive Valley View Ace
I kept playing locally and hadn’t played in a tournament since May. I was enjoying getting out a few nights a week after work including my standard leagues. One thing I had begun to notice was that the best discs I had for a couple specific holes at Valley View, were either too understable or too overstable and was looking for something more neutral. For Hole #5 and Hole #8 I needed something that was going to hold a line more and not cut out to the left at the end. My Spider was cutting out too quickly, but my Stingray was turning over too much on both of these holes. I had picked up a Mako sometime earlier this summer but hadn’t thrown it a whole lot. I decided by looking at the flight numbers that this could be a good disc for those gentle anhyzers at Valley View, so I threw it in the side pouch of my bag which is where I put discs I normally do not throw but want to try out some shots. Well I was correct, no more than a week after putting the disc into my side pouch of my bag for occasional practice throws I had finally gotten my first ace at Valley View on 8/25/2010. Hole #8 at Valley View is only 181’ and is a tight little fairway that requires a nice anhyzer for a RHBH player. I have since learned to flick this hole quite well, but the anhyzer was my first shot of choice there. It took me 156 rounds which is bordering on ridiculous for how short this course is, but I think it points to the fact that more aces go in when you are unfamiliar with a hole than if you are out trying to park them all for drop in deuces.
Here is a picture of the hole so you don’t have to imagine what it looks like. Hole #8
2010 Valley View Statistics
2010 Valley View League Scores (-6.96 average for 2010 leagues)
Spring 10 weeks -3, -3, -7, -7, -7, -3, -5, -9, -10, -5 (-5.9 average)
Summer 10 weeks -4, -9, -7, -11, -6, -10, -11, -5, -4, -10 (-7.7 average)
Fall 8 weeks -10, -4, -5, -8, -10, -10, -6, -6 (-7.375 average)
Overall 2010 Valley View Statistics
141 rounds total
2010 Average score (47.00) which is -7 which was about 3 strokes better than 2009
Best Round -13 Worst round -1
I am excited when I compare 2009 to 2010!
Overall 2009 Valley View Statistics
2009 Average score (49.82) which is just better than -4 per round.
Best round -9
Worst round +3
My score progression and some personal bests.
3/6 First time in double digits under par (-10) after dozens of 45’s (-9).
3/7 (-12 (Personal Best) 4/6 (-10)
5/19 (-9) on 2 disc night w/ Spider and SL Ties my best league round
5/26 (-10) 2 weeks in a row of my best league round
7/7 2 disc night Spider and SL (-11)
7/13 (-12) after recently picking up a Champ Rhyno from Scott Slauson
7/21 (-10 & -11) 7/28 (-11) 7/31 (-11) 8/17 (-11) 8/18 (-10) 8/25 (-10 and -10) 9/22 (-10) 9/29 (-13)
I had shot my best ever round in a practice round before league (9/29) which still remains my best score at VV. I have done it a few times since, but never topped -13.
You get the picture with these scores, my game had improved at Valley View and I finally had shaken whatever it was holding me back here. I improved my league average dramatically and began to shoot double digits with more regularity, sure there were still those tough rounds, but I knew my potential had elevated.
Assistant League Director (Self Titled; I did all statistics and ran the league when Terry was gone)
I started keeping all of the scores from every person for all league rounds in 2010 to prevent sandbaggers and people wanting to play in a lower division just to win more money. Little did I know how big of a frustration this would eventually become, but for the time being it gave me reasoning to make people play in an appropriate division.
We had 4 regular league players averaging better than 44 (-10) every week. There were more than 20 regulars who were averaging between 46-50 (-4 to -8) every week, and another 15 or more averaging between 50-54 (Even to -4). This covers the majority of players at Valley View, at least in terms of leagues. The people shooting over par simply were not regular enough attendees, so often times the people playing in the Am division were alone or maybe competing against another player or two. The women virtually all averaged above par so we kept them in their own division, but the average range was anywhere between 54-70 (Even to +16), but the ladies much preferred playing with each other as opposed to being lumped in with the corresponding men’s divisions.
The bottom line was . . . if your average fell in a particular scoring range, then there is a particular division in which you would play. If you didn’t want to play there . . . your other choice was to go home. Now I didn’t do this to piss people off and make them want to leave the league, but in the end Terry and I, and anyone who was appropriately placed in a division, were fed up with people coming into league and saying they were worse than they actually were, winning money every week and when they were asked to move up they would stop coming to league. They stopped coming because the only reason they were there was to win funny money. It is really sad to think people would do this, but it is that sense of entitlement that so many disc golfers have that I think is causing a lot of the problems that we have in this sport. Whatever happened to competing for the fun of it and trying to beat the course . . . instead our sport is all about beating the guy next to you so you can go home with $10 worth of plastic. Don’t get me wrong competition is good and I love it as much as the next guy, but I also am friendly with my competitors. One day they might beat me and I will congratulate them, the next I might win and I hope they would reciprocate.
This greedy entitlement is sad and I am doing everything I can to rid our leagues of those people. No offense, we just don’t need people there that act this way. We want people who love the sport, enjoy friendly competition, but are ok when they don’t walk away with something tangible. I have since made even more adjustment to the payouts of league because we felt like if we flatten the payout and give out more prizes for CTP’s and fun games that less people will be able to “sandbag” just to win funny money. There is basically less incentive to dominate a division and everyone would be eligible for these other prizes, not just the top 3 best players in each division. You can probably tell this works me up, well it does, and if/when I run my own league I will find a solution for this.
My first actual involvement in disc golf course design
I had noticed that there were a few of the alternate sleeves (set in concrete) laying around the course, so I decided to snag them and find some alternate positions for them. I also know there were a couple of placements still in the ground that were not used anymore (#4 because it would be a stupid hole with all of the small trees in the way, and #13 because it was a dangerous spot coming within just a few feet of the #14 tee). I ended up with 4 extra sleeves and I had picked out a few spots that I liked for alternate positions. I consulted with Terry “T-Dogg” “The Disc Golf Guy” Miller and he felt like my additions would be acceptable.
A few weeks prior to doing this work, I had brought the sleeves (with the concrete still on them) up to the top of the hill and hid them in the woods behind the shed on the property, so I went up there with my truck, picked them up and went to work. I had all the tools needed to dig the holes for the sleeves and also the tools to pack the soil back around the sleeves. This was different than just pouring concrete around a brand new sleeve because of the need for back-filling. When you pour concrete into a hole it fills all the gaps and it also is adjacent to undisturbed soil which is solid and compact. When you are placing the concreted sleeves back into the ground you are basically backfilling with topsoil which is nearly impossible to get the soil packed in as firm as it was before digging the hole. With the vandalism that occurs here along with the loose rich organic peat soil I felt the need to get these packed in as firmly as possible. The last thing I wanted to have happen was a sleeve being loose and attractive to the vandals or thieves.
I had settled on the 4 best pin positions and I will go over each basket below.
The first location was on Hole #3 longer (280’) and to the right of the short basket. There was a couple more guardian trees protecting this basket, but it also had undergrowth beyond and around the two sides of the baskets. There also were a dozen or so stones about 15’ short of the basket that would stop skip shots from getting underneath the basket, or having a chance to be an ace. I felt like this was just a natural position because it suited my eyes. I cut a few of the lower limbs off some trees including a few hanging branches that were not only a safety issue, but also blocking what would be a good shot. There were also a few branches beyond the basket that would make the ability to straddle out with a putt too difficult. There was however one fallen tree that created a really nice frame for the basket. It was about waist high and it created an interesting obstacle in my mind, so I left it in place. I also cut down any buckthorn or honeysuckle that was within about 15-20’ of the basket making what I felt was a really nice looking green area.
There are a few desired shots on this hole. You can throw a soft hyzer out over the box-car derby track and either let it stall down towards the basket (about 15’ below the track) or you can skip it off the track. There also is a straight to slight anhyzer shot that goes right up the fairway inside of one guardian tree on the left (which also guards the right side of the short position). You will want it to land short of the basket or risk being in an area where you will not have a putt. Short is better no matter how you come into this basket.
I headed on to the next spot, #7. I decided to throw in a long position here that would really put some challenge into this course. It isn’t long enough to be a par 4, but I bet there are a lot of bogies here from overturned drives, or drives that stall out and end up in the rough unmaintained area to the left of the new basket. There is a walking path that is barely used by walkers, but has a nice buildup of mulch creating a natural fairway off to the right of the short basket. I decided to take advantage of that already created lane and tucking the new basket just off to the side of that pathway. This hole also plays approximately 280’ but is a completely different shot than #3 so I felt good about how this pin position would increase the variety on this course. There were also two issues I had with this basket. The first issue was that the #5 basket is just over a creekbed (underwater in spring but dry in summer). A turned over drive might miss all of the guardian trees along the creek and end up getting close to the #5 basket. My thought however was that if we wanted the basket on #7 to be in the long position, we could always move the #5 basket to the left when using the long position on #7 (although in the end this sleeve was damaged by a truck and unusable, forcing a dangerous area). The other issue with this basket location was that it goes away from the walkway to the next hole which ends up creating a little bit of a congested area as the people on the tee wait for the group in front to walk back across the fairway. I didn’t feel like this was enough reason to avoid this basket location, but these were the two things that factored into my mind from a design standpoint.
If you stand on the tee it is virtually a straight shot, but you want to throw more of an anhyzer 9r left to right shot, because there is more trouble to the right with the creekbed and the shrubs guarding the inside corner of the slight dogleg. A lot of people will turn their disc over too quickly and a lot will let their disc stall out at the bend ending up in the underbrush. There is some underbrush beyond the basket and to the left so you really need to hit the fairway up the center and leave your disc short for the best putt at the basket.
Hole #10 once had a long basket that was concreted into an old stump, which was about 25-35’ past and to the right of the short basket. I decided to return the new sleeve back to this general area but place the basket back in the soil instead of a stump, since the stump had gotten destroyed. This hole was interesting because there isn’t a completely defined fairway like most of these wooded holes. The fairway exists for the first 140-150’ but then after that point there are a few smaller trees at approximately 25-30’ from the basket that you need to avoid. The green is also small because there are numerous trees surrounding the basket on the sides and deep. This “ring” of trees is avoidable with a straddle putt and only about 15’ away from the basket. Outside of that 15’ ring, you will have a tougher decision on how to attack the putt. I think it is a great green and while most people disagree with me about there being a good shot into this basket, I think it is a good hole. It again raised the difficulty on this course (which is generally too easy for many people). One other benefit to placing the basket back in the old area was that I didn’t have to do anything to the surrounding area to make this green playable.
I seem to birdie this position about as frequently as I par the hole now. I play a low flat shot that hits the ground at about 150’ and slides under the basket. While I may hit one of those guardian trees my disc will slide along the ground to either side and then probably hit another tree trunk and stop. That should leave me with no more than a 20-30’ putt at the basket. If you are to use the airway . . .you risk the chance of kicking hard off of one of these guardian trees. If you stay elevated here you would end up twice as far away as the 20-30’ if you keep your shot low. I think this subtle feature of this hole is underestimated and I think it is what makes this position a good green area. Some people do not think the risk/reward side of this hole out and end up disgruntled because they rarely birdie it and sometimes may even walk off with a bogey. I for one play the safest way, but I also think it is the easiest way to park the hole, which to me sounds like a win/win or a low risk/high reward type of hole.
The final position I had decided on was on one of the more open holes #15. I wanted to get away from the constant right hand baskets so I extended #15 about 50’ but also made it a straighter shot. It was also up the entire hill and the basket was placed on the flat ground towards the parking lot. This basket position did not last long because sometime the next summer this basket was stolen (perhaps a consequence I should have thought more about because it made the basket much more visible to people in the parking lot). Fortunately, we got the basket returned after we pulled the course and threatened the course would remain out until it was returned. When the thieves brought the basket back, the must have kept the concrete and sleeve so we just returned the basket to its only placement on #15.
The basic shot on this new position was to throw a big spike flick shot or a dead straight up the hill shot. A hyzer risks catching the tree on the right (which overhangs the short basket) so that really isn’t a desirable route.
My statistics on the new pin positions
It was November 6th, 2010 that I put in the new alternate pin positions on these four holes.
In my first round, I shot (-7) birdying #10 and bogeying #7. I birdied #10 in the second and fourth rounds and got #15 in the third round. I finally got #3 and #7 on my 6th round of playing those holes. I rarely birdie #7 and sometimes may walk away with a bogey because it is the hardest shot to pull off in my opinion. #3 is duecable more frequently for me because I can play that skip shot off the road or throw the gentle anhyzer or straight shot depending on the wind conditions. I have more options on this hole than any of the other new positions. Hole #10 is probably my most frequently deuced new position because I really trust that low sliding shot on this hole. Hole #15 was not in the ground long enough for me to really know how it played, but it was at the end of my distance ability so I would say I rarely birdied it, but almost always got a par on it because it was wide open and straight.
These new longer positions were a lot of fun to install because it gave us options we had for course layout that we hadn’t had before. I would also venture to guess that overall these positions play at least 50% harder than the original positions, and can definitely lead to bogies on 3 of the 4 holes (#15 was a simple par at worst). I have since done a few more hole improvements but I will save that for another blog entry.