Exploring a new course makes for an interesting round


Binghamton University’s new disc golf course has the potential to be top-notch. It also proved to be a crazy welcome back for one disc golfer. (photo by P.J. Harmer)

Do you ever get that feeling where it’s like you are throwing a disc for the first time?

Though I get a small part of that feeling on almost every outing, I really was overwhelmed with it a couple of weekends ago.

harmer_sigIt was like I was pulling out plastic for the first time.

It had been more than three months since I had last played the game, so I was excited to meet with two others and play a round. We met at Binghamton University in upstate New York for a round on a new course. This course, which had been open for less than a month, was designed by Dan Doyle, who also worked on the design of the famed Warwick course.

And, I’m sure, many of you may have seen the interview where Ken Climo put Warwick up there as his favorite course in the United States.

So forgive me if I was a little giddy when told by a friend than Doyle was the designer of this course.

Binghamton University is a deceptively large campus. It doesn’t seem like it should be as big as it is, but there is quite a bit of land. This course is spread over the upper part of the campus, going in and out of the woods, some open land and the occasional parking lot.

There were times when it was good we were here on a weekend afternoon. When this campus is in full swing, there are some holes that might be unplayable, or at least extremely tough to navigate.

Part of my issue is not being in a disc golf area. To get to a course — a real one, anyway — I need to travel a little more than an hour in any direction.

The rough is tough at Binghamton University. Here, Chuck climbs out after helping retrieve a disc. (photo by P.J. Harmer)

The rough is tough at Binghamton University. Here, Chuck climbs out after helping retrieve a disc. (photo by P.J. Harmer)

With that in mind, I haven’t really had the chance to play on a new course — especially one opened for a mere month or less.

That’s what made this so exciting.

This course isn’t a crown, by any means, yet. It’s a work-in-progress, but this could be one heck of a course down the road.

At one point, I noted to one of the guys in the group — Chuck — that the best part about playing the course so early is having the chance to see it grow. It’s rough around the edges right now, that’s for sure. But it has the potential to be an excellent course.

It being new, though, is what made it interesting. After all, we got the chance to see the course as done without many tweaks.

The course can be tight in some spots and the rough is just that — rough. And, of course, I spent some time in the rough.

I have the cuts on the legs to prove it.

It’s also a bit of a technical course, with a lot of trees throughout. And — another shocker — I spent time trying to saw off many of said trees with discs.

Get to the basket -- and avoid the trees! (photo by P.J. Harmer)

Get to the basket — and avoid the trees! (photo by P.J. Harmer)

The beginner thing was starting to kick in.

This post isn’t a course review. I’d have to play it again a few more times to really get that. But the one thing I noticed was the bugs. They were relentless! Swarms of them camped out near us all day.

See, and that’s the reason I shot a 75 that day.

For real.

OK, maybe not. But one thing courses like this do is truly make me want to get out and play more and it’s probably because I can relate with a new course.

Rough around the edges.


And who knows where it will go?

Yeah, that pretty much sums things up for me. My game? Who knows. This course? Hopefully it will become a gem in Upstate New York and maybe be the beginning of a boom in this area.

P.J. Harmer is the founder and executive editor for Rattling Chains. E-mail him at: pj@rattlingchains.com.

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0 thoughts on “Exploring a new course makes for an interesting round

  1. Playing a new course in Spokane is much the same, with less humidity I imagine. We have rough (check), we have bugs (check). We have a course designer… (check). The fun is playing a new course that challenges your abilities and hopefully extends your skills, improving your game. Of course I usually go Back to my “home” course, mostly to feel good about my game again, nothing like hitting the sweet spot on the fairway you know so well rather than the trees you don’t.


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