Course Guide: Jones West, Emporia, KS
I’m really excited to share with you all the first of many photo-based course guides I plan on creating. I got the idea to start these when I realized that many members of the Dogleg community would not have the opportunity to practice the courses for Amateur Worlds until they arrived for the competition. Since Columbia (my hometown) is only 3.5 hours away and St. Louis (where I go to school) is only 5 hours away, I figured I was in a great position to help non-Midwestern disc golfers prepare for such a big event.
But, making a trip to Emporia was easier said than done. I sat on the idea for a month or two before Adam and I decided Valentine’s Day weekend would be the best time for us to take a disc golf trip. (Jealous? Refer to my last post: Love Is In The Air.) After a few near-death experiences caused by our failure to realize that some highways outside of Kansas City were icy, we made it safely to my first Emporia course: Jones West.
According to Disc Golf Course Review, Jones West, an 18-hole par-54 course, was established in 1989. The topography has some gentle hills, but is mostly flat. After all, it is Kansas we’re talking about! Trees—ranging from broad and branchy evergreens to skinny deciduous trunks—definitely factor into the strategy on this course, but not to the degree that it creates the feeling of playing in the woods. There are two ponds on the course, which create water hazards on 5 holes. Each hole has two different pin placements, red and blue, for the Mach 3 baskets. (For more info: http://www.dgcoursereview.com/course.php?id=1403)
As with most other Midwestern courses, the difficulty will vary with different weather and seasonal conditions. Wind wasn’t a huge factor the day we played, but I’ve heard it can be pretty extreme in Emporia (there was a tornado nearby during the weekend of the Glass Blown Open last year). The seasonal changes to the course will be a little more predictable. Just like anywhere else, in spring and summer trees will be thicker and have more leaves; in the fall and winter they’ll thin out and leave more gaps. The size of the ponds will change depending on precipitation in the days and weeks before. This will cause the water hazards to be more or less extreme on some holes. (The water was pretty low when I took these pictures; there was a drought last summer, and the heavy snow didn’t hit until a few weeks later.)
After playing the course, we swung by the Dynamic Discs store and talked with Adam Searle. He said that all of the courses in the area will be getting new tee signs before hosting Am Worlds. (The ones they have at Jones West now are pretty nice, but several have been vandalized. I edited most of the vandalism out in my pictures.) As of my correspondence with Dynamic Discs on Thursday, I learned that Jones West will not be used for the Glass Blown Open this year, but it will be for Am Worlds. They are in the process of finalizing which pin placements will be used for the tournament.
Now that I have all the details out of the way, enjoy the pictures!
Hole #1: We played this hole in the red placement. For those of you who have played at Jones before, you may notice that the giant tree in the middle of the fairway (the one on the tee sign) is no longer there, which makes the hole play out a lot easier. Water shouldn’t affect you on this hole, even though it can be seen on the tee sign. Scores: Emily 4, Adam 3
Hole #2: We played this hole in the red placement. The road on the left is OB. Scores: Emily 5, Adam 2
Hole #3: We played this in the blue placement. Righties, beware of the road that runs down the left of the fairway, it’s OB! Scores: Emily 5, Adam 4
Hole #4: We played this hole in the blue placement. The fairway is gently sloped downhill. When the pin is in the red placement, water may come into play. Scores: Emily 7, Adam 3
Hole #5: We played this in the red placement. Scores: Emily 4, Adam 5
Hole #6: Based on the pictures I took, I can’t remember which placement this hole was in. Tee for this hole is right up next to the edge of the pond, whose width will vary depending on rainfall. I didn’t quite have the distance or confidence to go across, so I played around it. The top center picture shows the view from the pad. The far right picture looks back at the pad from across the pond. The picture across the bottom shows the length of the pond; you can see the tee pad on the left. Scores: Emily 7, Adam 4
Hole #7: We played this in the red placement. I didn’t get any pictures of this one because I ended up in the water (which shouldn’t typically happen for lefties, but I kept griplocking REALLY badly). Water will come into play though for right-handed hyzer shots if they go too long. Scores: Emily 5, Adam 3
Hole #8: We played this in the red placement. Scores: Emily 6, Adam 3
Hole #9: We played this in the red placement. The fairway is slightly downhill overall, with a drainage creek running across it. There is a cluster of skinny trees surrounding the tee pad, and a few larger evergreens guarding the basket. Scores: Emily 5, Adam 4
Hole #10: We played this in the blue placement. The big tree on the tee sign that used to be in the fairway is gone. It previously played as a mando, so the shot to the basket is significantly more open than it has been in the past. Scores: Emily 5, Adam 3
Hole #11: We played this in the blue placement. The fairway curves to the left for both placements. The green slopes down then back up, creating a bit of a valley. Scores: Emily 5, Adam 5
Hole #12: We played this in the red placement. The right side of the fairway is lined with trees; the left side is relatively open. The basket is within the treeline on the right, and is surrounded by trees on 3 sides. Scores: Emily 6, Adam 3
Hole #13: We played this in the red placement. The road on the right is OB. You can see that it is roped off on the edge of the pictures; the ropes are a few feet from the edge of the road. Scores: Emily 4, Adam 3
Hole #14: We played this in the red placement. The basket is tucked between two evergreen trees, and behind a smaller tree. Scores: Emily 3, Adam 3
Hole #15: We played this in the blue placement. The road on the right of the hole is OB. Past the evergreens on the left is wide open, in the event a shot doesn’t land in the fairway. Scores: Emily 5, Adam 3
Hole #16: We played this in the blue placement. I didn’t get any pictures of this hole because, for me, it was long and frustrating, and Adam’s shot didn’t turn over and landed in someone’s yard across the road. Whoops! Scores: Emily 9, Adam 3
Hole #17: We played this in the red placement. There is OB on both sides of the fairway (road on the right, houses on the left). Water comes into play for the blue placement, but not the red. Scores: Emily 5, Adam 3
Hole #18: We played this in a special placement that is usually used for Hole #1; it goes all the way across the pond and rests on the edge instead of being on the left side of it, as is seen in the red and blue placements. You can see the basket from the tee in the top picture, where it is to the right of the brown trees. The water makes this placement especially difficult. We learned from experience that, if faced with a difficult putt, it is vital to throw a shot that will not roll if it hits the ground. I ended up 50+ feet from the basket more than once on a roll. Also, for the blue placement, it may be important to know that the road is OB behind the tree line. Scores: Emily 11, Adam 4