, 2023-01-26 09:25:37,
Lessons learned from the good, the bad, and the interesting aspects of FPO course design.
2022 was the most exciting season of FPO disc golf in recent memory. Kristin Tattar became the first person other than Paige Pierce or Catrina Allen to hold the number one spot in the Statmando Official Rankings since the end of the 2012 season, earning over $100,000 in prize money in the process. The growing strength and depth of the field showed as new records were set for the number of unique winners (7), unique podium finishers (18), and average field size (50) at Elite and Major events. With so much hype and attention around the FPO game, now is the time to address a significant issue: FPO course design.
One simple stat can set the stage for this problem: in 2022, there were a total of three holes at Elite events that went an entire round without being birdied by the MPO field (WACO R2H15, Texas States R1H4, DDO R4H4). In FPO, the number of holes not birdied in a round: 68.
Traditionally, disc golf courses have been designed by men for MPO fields with FPO fields stuck on the same layouts. As the professionalism of the sport has progressed in recent years, more events have added FPO tee pads or baskets, and one event (Ledgestone, with Sunset Hills) has a dedicated FPO course. However, only 50% of the holes at 2022 Elite events had dedicated FPO tee pads or baskets. Putting the FPO field on MPO layouts, regardless of par, leads to holes that lack score separation and spectator appeal. In this article, we will examine the best and worst of FPO course design in 2022 and what the numbers can tell us about the future of FPO courses.
Stop putting the FPO field on MPO layouts
While the trend is decreasing, two events in 2022 still put FPO players on MPO layouts: Las Vegas Challenge (LVC) and European Open. In the modern era, this outdated approach is an unacceptable disservice to the field.
The largest challenge FPO competitors face on MPO courses is distance. At LVC, there were nine par 3s that measured in at over 400 feet. These nine holes yielded just nine birdies total, seven of which came in two holes that play downhill (R1 Infinite Course Hole 12 and R3 Factory Course Hole 1). Five of the nine holes had zero competitors reach C1 in regulation (C1R). Conversely, nine par 4s were under 450 feet and gave up 252 birdies or better. Hole 13 in…
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