The Opener: The Dunes
As we race to get the New England Disc Golf Center ready for the grand opening, over the next several weeks I’ll try to blog about each hole and give a flavor for what’s coming. For a course as epic as the NEDGC, it’s going to take a few years to evolve to its full potential. That said, we’re committed to making the NEDGC a unique and interesting challenge from Day One.
Here is how hole one shapes up now, and what it will evolve to. The disclaimer is that as the course nears completion and we get several “test” rounds of play in, everything is subject to change. Chris Barden & the construction crew will constantly be looking to improve the course layout.
A short walk down from parking lot and across the brook will take you to the first tee. For Phase One, the opening hole will have a single tee, Red / White level, and play gently uphill to a protected pin 490’ away.
While not exactly an open field “bomber” hole, the fairway is generously wide, bordered by some stately 80 year old towering pines. Don’t be shocked to see red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures soaring overhead. A drive of 250’-350’ will get to a gently sloped uphill landing zone, leaving an approach to a basket protected by some scruffy trees to the right and behind the basket. A huge drive might give you an eagle look, but a drive between 350’ and 425’ will leave you down in swale with some awkward footing for your approach throw.
The fairway is open, but a careless bomb that goes too far off line can get you into some trouble into the pines. If you hit the landing area and use a hyzer approach you risk catching the scruff about 40’ to the right of that basket, leaving you with a pressure par saving putt right out of the gate. The temporary basket placement is on a slope, if you are putting from the right side and get too aggressive you can risk a roll-away.
The sandy fairway has had some use as a dirt bike trail over the years and currently has a series of sand mounds. I suspect over time the mounds will be smoothed out and low vegetation will fill in, but for now the name “The Dunes” seems appropriate for this opening hole.
It’s a good starting hole: Pros can take aim at the pin for eagle chances, Am division players can put two solid shots together for a birdie look, and a Rec player who can avoid trouble should be able to card their par.
Beginners should have a manageable hole with little risk for lost discs or getting into impenetrable vegetation. Over the years this hole will be the first exposure to the sport of disc golf to dozens of newbies, and a worthy introduction it will be.
I suspect this hole will become one of the first holes to be built into its “phase two” configuration: The fairway will be opened up behind the current basket and become a slight dogleg 100’ into the woods. Red Tees will move up 100’ to compensate, and the existing tee box will probably become the “new” Blue Tees for a nearly 600’ challenge. The White Tee will be somewhere in between, and there is plenty of room to add a gold tee, another 60’ or so behind the blues. The “Phase Two” version of the first hole will have a bit of a “pinch” point at the dog leg pivot, just past the landing area, and put a little more pressure on players to be on their game from the start.
Multiple lines will open up to the hole, depending on the accuracy of the placement of your drive in the landing zone. If your drive goes long and to the right, trees might block the straight in and the hyzer line, forcing you to use a turnover approach. From the center of the landing zone you might have a straight run to the basket.
Each time you play you may have a different path to this basket. With four tees, everyone should find the appropriate challenge to their skill level. Birdie, Par, or Bogey are all in play. This won’t be the most difficult hole on the course, but it will introduce you to the combination of shot-making and strategy you’ll need to score well on the NEDGC. If you are not ready to bring your “A” game from the start you’ll pay a price.