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  • Orchard Park Update

    I thought I would fill folks in on what's happening at Orchard since there's been some discussion on this forum lately. Earlier this year park staff came to me and Scott Hill to talk about concerns they had with the course and the way that it might impact trail use on the new Rock Creek Trail extension being put through the park. Scott has run the Tuesday Twos at the park for the last few years, and myself and my daughter, Emma Rose, have been teaching beginner classes there the last couple years. We also got Steve Ellis, owner of Rainy Day Games and a sponsor of Tuesday Twos, to give his input.

    Initially park staff wanted to remove at least two holes and asked us if a 7-hole course would be ok. Instead we worked with them on a re-design concept keeping the course 9 holes. The first stage of that process was implemented with some recent work relocating some holes and putting in temporary tee pads. We knew this was going to be a bit of a tough project because there is so little space and neither us, nor the parks, were up for a total re-design.

    So, what you see is only one stage of the project. We just had another meeting with park staff out there and agreed on ways to lengthen a couple of the new holes and make the new lay-out a bit more technical. For example, there is an island green planned for the new #2; we will lengthen the new #6; and the new #8 hole when it is constructed this spring should be a nice wooded hole at the back of the park.

    If you have input, let me or Scott know, and we'll keep you posted as things progress.

    Garry Hanley

  • #2
    I've heard a lot of negative comments regarding the course and most of them start off with, "you should have done ..... instead". There were many different factors that went into the current layout. I'll go through hole by hole and try to explain our thought process.

    First of all, the teepads. The new teepads are temporary. Let me repeat, they are temporary. Having temporary pads allows us to tweak the design. We've already identified a couple that will move. More on that below.

    Hole 1: The orignal goal given to us was to remove any instance of throwing over or alongside a path. We looked at options for moving the pad accross the path, but every angle we explored was actually more dangerous to path users or so short to be ridiculously easy. In the end, we were able to convince park management that the raised vantage point for hole one is actually the safest option.

    Hole 2: Because we ended up losing a hole on the back half, we had to add one on the front. We found room, but that field doesn't give a lot to work with. Our design for this hole calls for an island green, with all other areas O.B. We talked about having the island at around 250' out but felt that would be a little unfair to newer players so we moved it to 200'. There might have been a little mis-measuring, because the pin ended up at 185'. My original thought was for a circle that measures 33' from center to edge, but am considering making it smaller. I'd love to hear feedback from folks on what size green would be tough enough but still fair.

    Hole 3: Those that have been playing Orchard Park since it opened in 2005 remember that there was a lot of bad blood between the neighboring houses and park users. With this in mind, it was of upmost importance that the hole be shaped so there is minimal possibility of a disc going over the fence. That really limited what we could do on this hole. To be honest, this ended up playing a little (OK, a lot) easier than I thought it would. I think there is still a little room to tweak the teepad here and am open to suggestions here as well (keep in mind we are really limited to what we can do here).

    Hole 4: Old hole 3. No changes were discussed.

    Hole 5: Old hole 4. No changes were seriously discussed.

    Hole 6: Our original thought was that this was to be the longest hole on the course, with the teepad being back in the bushes behind the old basket placement for hole 9. The problem with this is it left a beautiful forehand route that went directly up the path. There are several other errant shot possibilities as well. We moved the tee up to it's current location because the trees on the left do a pretty good job of shielding the path. Move it back any more and the danger on the path really opens up. I had them put in two basket positions for variety on this hole, but the short placement and the short pad made the hole way too easy. The basket is currently in the long placement and will probably stay that way for the forseeable future. Last night we looked at a few possibilites for moving the pad back, including one I really like that will make the hole 300' + long, but any of these will be on hold until new trees can be planted to protect the left side of the fairway.

    One last note for hole 6 - the bark path and all areas beyond will be played as O.B. To put it another way, you must be on the grass (or under the basket) to be in bounds. We can move the basket closer to the edge to create more danger. I'm open to suggestions on what distance strikes a balance between fairness and toughness.

    Hole 7: The teepad for 7 will likely be moved. The original intention was to have the pad a little farther back than it currently is to make a longer, tighter shot out of the trees. There a are few bushes we might be able to remove to make this possible. Another possibility is to move it forward a bit and have it hug the tree line to force an anny or high forehand. We could have left the tee where it was, but used this opportunity to remove that hazzard area (who hasn't had a close call from an incoming disc while waiting to throw on old 6?).

    The basket will likely be moved a little close to the corner of the grass to make it tougher. Once again, all bark areas will be played as O.B.

    Hole 8: We're going to have to be patient on this one. For various reasons, work on hole 8 can't begin until the path project is 100% complete. That was supposed to be September, was moved to November, and now is targeted for early spring. When complete, this will likely be the toughest and most interesting hole on the course. We're looking at hole that will be around 200' with a narrow (< 10') but well defined fariway. There will likely be multible basket positions for variety. My goal is to have this hole complete before the start of Tuesday Twos, but that decision is up to the parks department.

    Hole 9: First and foremost, we had to remove the shot from old hole 8 that went over the path. We also had to move the basket away from the path so shots that went long wouldn't land on pedestrians. This resulted in shorter and straighter hole. To add toughness, all bark areas are once again O.B. This includes the little island. That makes a pretty small landing area that should be fairly tough on windy evenings. There is also a shorter basket placement for variety. The teepad will get moved back about 6 feet or so, but this will require some signifcant landscaping to make the pad level.

    Long term plans call for a row of trees or brush going down the middle of the fairway to further separate holes 7 and 9.

    It looks as if someone talked one of the maintenence guys into moving the basket back to its old location. This will not be a long term solution. I've asked them to move it back and we will remove the collar at an upcomming work party.

    Since the only feedback I've heard so far as been negative, I thought I would throw out a few positives as well:
    • There is no longer a danger of being hit while standing on (old) hole 5.
    • There is not longer a danger of being hit while standing on (old) hole 6.
    • (Old) hole 5 and (old) hole 9 no longer throw directly at each other.
    • The danger to path users on (old) holes 8 and 9 have been elimitated.
    • There are fewer times you will have to wait for path users before throwing.
    • Shorter course means it should play faster, leading to fewer backups in the summer.

    One final note: Please remember that this is a work in progress and that the course is not complete. As mentioned above, I welcome feedback and suggestions.


    • #3
      I don't have any specific feedback, but I just wanted to say thanks for all the work and that even though you've gotten nothing but negative feedback alot of people appreciate all the effort and time people like you guys put into our local courses.

      I don't live on the West side anymore but I used to love stopping by Orchard for a couple quick rounds when I had the time. I have a lot of good memories playing there and think its a great place for beginners and families to be introduced to the game. I'll definitely make it a point to head out there and check out the new layout.

      Are there any maps or pictures of the new set up? I'm not sure if I'm picturing the new layout correctly from the descriptions.


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