When playing Yucaipa Regional Park in Yucaipa, California for the first time a few days ago, I was feeling conflicted. The player in me? I kept thinking to myself: “This is one of the most fun courses I have played in Southern California! I need to mark this course as one of my favorites.” But the course designer in me was cringing at several of the hole designs, specific to safety. So the “adult” in me won out, and I did not mark the course as one of my favorites.
The course starts by playing along one of the main roads in and out of the park. Visibility is good, so a careful player will not come anywhere near vehicles. But a careless/selfish player (or one who might be under the influence of alcohol or ???) could easily hit a vehicle off the tee. And/or be placed in harm’s way by a careless or inattentive driver.
Hole 3 continues along a main road in and out of the park. Introducing the same safety hazards as are in play on Hole 2. In fact I needed to wait over a minute before no cars were present while I was on the tee. Then quickly throwing and praying there would be no oncoming traffic that I might hit with an errant drive (or driving over any disc that landed in the road).
Hole 7 was a fun shot up a hill. However, after throwing my drive, I heard a loud “BOOM!” Only to find that my drive had hit a trash container. A container sitting right next to a seating area for the park I had no idea was there. Thank goodness there were no people sitting in said seating area, or I would have given them a good scare.
Hole 10 was back to playing along a road and a parking area. With the basket placed at the tip of the point where the road and parking area meet. A disc vs. vehicle or pedestrian incident waiting to happen.
Hole 13 shoots back down toward a main road in and out of the property. My drive actually skipped right and on to the road. No cars were present. But I had to quickly jog to my disc, to make sure a car I heard coming from the opposite direction would not drive over it.
As a player? FUN course, full of fun shots! But as a course designer, all I could think about was when, and how many times, people or vehicles would be struck by discs. Wondering if any lawsuits would be filed, or if any holes (or even the entire course) would be at risk of being pulled.
Which brings up an interesting point. I noticed a “tee box to nowhere” down along some water that a bunch of people were fishing at. I asked a few local players about it, and they said the course used to have 19 holes, but that the hole along the water had been pulled due to too many problems between disc golfers and other park users.
Players who design courses design fun shots. And can be very good at it! But players who design courses often either do not see safety hazards in their designs, or (worse) do not care. “This is a disc golf course!” But to thousands of other park users, it is not (only) a disc golf course. Disc golf is an activity in said park that makes it less safe for them to drive/park/walk. Less safe to enjoy a picnic or play with their children. Which gives the sport of disc golf a bad name, a bad reputation, in certain circles.
Course designers design fun shots too! But a course designer designs as fun of holes as they can, within the three top priorities of course design:
Players design places where tie goes to fun. But when tie does not go to safety? People get hurt. Property gets damaged. People get sued. Which is much less fun than missing out on the ability to throw that cool drive up/down a blind hill or corner, or throwing along that road. Yucaipa was an incredibly fun course to play! But due to potential safety hazards, I cannot justify listing it as one of my favorite courses.
Magic Number = 680 (1,320 courses played)
About Tonn’s Travels
How it All Got Started: Tonn’s Travels >>
A main purpose of this blog will be to share information, helpful tips and tricks (everything from health and fitness to methods for saving money while you’re out “bagging courses” of your own), and ideas for better, safer course design. But I am also hoping to inspire others with my passion for the sport, via the stories I can share about all of the interesting experiences I have. All of the interesting people I meet. All of the amazing courses I am blessed to have the opportunity to play. If I can inspire even a handful of individuals to get off the couch, get “out of their bubble” or “security blanket” and explore more of this big, beautiful planet we all call home? Then I will consider this effort a success.
Derek Tonn is a member of the DGA’s Ambassador Team. His company, Mapformation, LLC, has been DGA’s partner in the development of disc golf tee signage since 2012. The longer our two companies have worked together, and the more Derek has gotten to know all the great folks at DGA the more he has wanted to formally sing the company’s praises. The more he has realized that “Steady” Ed the father of disc golf and the modern day Frisbee vision for the sport and his company perfectly describes his own interests and priorities related to disc golf, and the more Derek has recently been encouraged to share his story.