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“Old Sweatshirts, First Dogs, and Home Courses” By: Erik Johnson

Starring Lake Disc Golf Course- Eden Prairie, MN

My home course is like an old pair of shoes, or that sweatshirt I have had since high school: it’s old, not fancy, not well known, but good golly its darn near perfect. I have lost countless discs at, made the sweetest shots on those holes, and all other courses will forever be held up against this one. No matter how good I think I’m getting at playing disc golf, it won’t be confirmed unless I can prove it at the Starring Lake Disc Golf Course.

The course is pretty hilly when I think about it, but when I’m actually playing, the hills are not what I notice. What stands out to me while I’m playing it, whether it was the first time or just yesterday, is the perfect layout. What I mean by that is how the holes, while seeming easy and straightforward, are challenging for all levels of play. A beginner may be gunning for bogies and par, while the pro has a few legitimate chances for a hole-in-one. There is a good mix of woods and open drives, but only one hole, hole six, is an all-out gimme for an easy birdie – even though many times I’ve still managed to walk away with only a par shot.

Having two tee-pads for most of the holes is a great option, but really most people just play from the pro one, except hole 7. Everyone who plays Starring Lake skips the pro tee pad. Part of it was because until recently it was way down a sketchy hill and in the woods, so no one even knew it was there. Also, because a good drive from the pro tee was just getting up to the amateur tee, in turn doing all that essentially just to give up a stroke. But I think mostly people don’t play the pro tee out of a combination of sheer laziness and course layout; no one wants to walk down that hill, throw a drive, then walk back up.

And that is one thing I love about the course: the drives. There is a great mix of shots needed from the tees. Many holes you can’t throw all-out, you have to be thoughtful about your approach – which, in my opinion, shot intentionality is one of the best things for a beginner to learn or a pro to hone. The course also has holes that most players can give it all the power they can on the drive. And call me a chump, but I love a good hole where you can practice letting it rip, and not have to get your head all cramped up in tight wooded shots, or stressed about water hazards. Also, while the fairways are mainly open, nearly every hole has a tree that you can hit and totally screw your shot to shit, which is an aspect I believe is needed in a good course. All disc golfers need a healthy fear of trees.

There are a couple things that I could see people not liking about the course. First, it’s a nine-hole course, which for many serious players puts it off the map right away for them; nine-hole courses can be way too simple and quick for the snobs. I understand. Secondly, there are no holes longer than 415 ft, which means nothing greater than a par 3. This also keeps the course a small attraction for tourneys and big players. But, I still love this course. And I am not the person to be able to give it an objective score, so you may just need to play it yourself next time your in the neighborhood. However if I were to rate it, I would give it an equivalent score of what someone would give their first dog long after it had been put down and all the stains on the carpet and loud barking had been forgotten. You gotta love your home course.

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One response to ““Old Sweatshirts, First Dogs, and Home Courses” By: Erik Johnson

  1. i think about hole 7 a lot- it’s this uphill shot with guarded low branches on the right- but it’s not super open to the left either. i’d like to empty out my bag on that hole a few days in a row just to see what works best… it’s one of those holes where if you only played it once, you’d probably go for the gold, and then realize that you should have just thrown a straight mid-range right up the heart and taken a solid 3.

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