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Discussion: Golf Courses for Sprint Maps

in: Orienteering; General

Jan 24, 2016 4:30 AM # 
Pink Socks:
Anyone here ever used a golf course as a sprint venue? A google search turned up a few maps in the UK and a canceled event in Massachusetts.

CascadeOC may have a lead on being able to use one as part of a sprint venue we'll map next year.

And we're talking golf golf, since I know about many disc golf courses on orienteering maps.

(To avoid obvious conflicts, I'm also assuming that we'd only use it at night.)
Jan 24, 2016 5:19 AM # 
I've run at least once on Muriwai golf course in NZ - I can't recall whether it was courtesy of one of the Auckland O Clubs (in which case, more likely NorthWest) or a national squad 'special' but hopefully someone involved on the organisational side will see this and contribute more usefully! Was indeed at night, and all 'greens' (I'm not a golfer so I may not have my terminology right - I mean the level, super-groomed, bits around the holes) were O.O.B. That's about all I can recall, other than it was at the end of October so monster-masks and the like may or may not have been involved...

Have certainly seen many other courses that I would love for us to be allowed to go play on. There's a lovely bit of sand-dune terrain right next to Wellington airport that has in my opinion the wrong sort of flags set out on it!

Edit: thanks to this thing called attackpoint I can tell you the Muriwai event was 31st October 2009. I don't have a map link but if someone has a copy of it on the net somewhere, that added info plus 'TONIC' (the 'brand' for the weekend as a whole) might help with the googling
Jan 24, 2016 5:23 AM # 
I've only done MTBO on golf courses.
Jan 24, 2016 5:32 AM # 
Contact atropos. They use one of the city golf courses in Hamilton.
Jan 24, 2016 9:04 AM # 
Yes DontGetLost uses several golf courses for Adventure Running Kids at night and some other off season races. I think they are great areas for sprint. On the last map that Atropos made she mapped the fairways (change in grass type and length), tees, greens, sand traps, etc. Having those extra 'features' makes for good sprint corridor training too.

I'll send you a map of this area Patrick.
Jan 24, 2016 9:48 AM # 
Two golf courses used by Bendigo. Not the best sprint orienteering terrain in my opinion, but others may differ. But then the golf course round here aren't much to get excited about from a golf perspective either.
Jan 24, 2016 7:44 PM # 
Yes the golf course areas are loads of fun. The municipal courses in our area don't seem to have much concern about us being on them as long as there is no golfing going on at the same time so as long as it is off season or at night and we don't tear up the greens it works.
Jan 24, 2016 7:56 PM # 
Right off the top of my head I can name three orienteering maps (regular, ISOM) in the eastern part of the US that include golf courses, and if I thought about it, I could probably come up with some more.
Jan 24, 2016 11:00 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Have those golf courses been in bounds and used for orienteering, JJ?
Jan 24, 2016 11:48 PM # 
Lemme think...
Ponkapoag Pond, MA: Yep, I've definitely run down fairways there (at meets in the winter).
James Baird, NY: I've never run there, but I know it's been used for ski-O, at least.
Pohick Bay, VA: I've golfed there, and I've orienteered there, but I don't know if the golf course is out of bounds -- somebody from Quantico can probably tell us.
(There's also a golf course in Massachusetts - Leo J. Martin - that has been used for ski-O, but it's a XC ski area in the winter anyway.)
Jan 24, 2016 11:56 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Since it doesn't snow here, local golf courses stay open in the winter, so running at the night is really the only way to avoid golfers. In fact, I'm wondering if the mapper should wear a helmet!
Jan 25, 2016 12:57 AM # 
Nick Harris:
Muriwai Golf Course was an Auckland Orienteering Club initiative (not North West). Night O added challenge to an otherwise simple map. I enjoyed it, and especially being able to shower, change & eat at the club house afterwards. Good business for the golf club outside its normal hours?
Jan 25, 2016 1:02 AM # 
For a winter event, we used the golf clubhouse for start / finish and were permitted to use corridors across the course to adjacent mapped woods.

But in general they are very cautious about any potential damage to greens, tees, bunkers, and fairways. One local course allows cross country skiing when frozen but others have prominent signage "no winter sports on golf course".

If anyone can share any documentation on how you got permission (whether at night or when frozen or otherwise not in use), I'd sure be interested. We have courses on at least 4 maps, but they are gnerally out of bounds.
Jan 25, 2016 1:36 AM # 
Pink Socks:
In this case, the golf course is adjacent to a community college that we're interested in mapping, and in fact, the community college owns about 75% of the land. There's a campus building where the ground floor is clubhouse, and the rest is college classrooms. Physical access between the campus and golf course is easy peasy.

Going in, we're expecting greens, tees, and sand traps to be out-of-bounds, and that likely usage will be at night. Campus and golf course security are housed in that shared building.

Thinking ahead to usage (if permission granted), I'm envisioning Rounds 2 and 3 of SART 2017 to be here, with Round 3 being at night on Saturday.
Jan 25, 2016 2:18 AM # 
I sort of recall a snowy 10kish O course at James Baird that was the culmination of one of the early series, I think won by Mikell. I might be able to find the map. Anyone else recall this one?
Jan 25, 2016 2:45 AM # 
Golf courses around us here in VT vary greatly with off season access. The Burlington Country club allows x-c skiing (they do not groom trails), and sledding free of charge and I used to run there a lot when I worked near by. The Woodstock Country Club and the Hanover Country club are both used for golf in the summer and x-c skiing in the winter-----ski trail fees apply but they both groom trails, and even have x-c ski races on the property.

Our house backs up to the Williston Country Club but they have prominent signs saying No X-C skiing, No Sledding and they certainly don't encourage running during the off season though they seem to reluctantly tolerate it.

With respect to Sprint Orienteering on a golf course---it would be fun but, around here anyway, quite simple
Jan 25, 2016 3:31 AM # 
I recall running a "short course" on a former golf course in Ohio in early 2000s.

Former golf courses can actually be quite interesting for orienteering. This one:

used to be one of my favorites in old days, for running
Jan 25, 2016 3:32 AM # 
I may have been the CS for the Ponkapoag golf course, and I know I did a ski O there once. Also ran at James Baird, and there is a cool golf course next to the Turtle Pond map which I have been thinking about. Never asked for permissions at Ponkapoag. Golf courses I would think are pretty much flat out running and pretty easy navigation.
Jan 25, 2016 3:39 AM # 
Pink Socks:
I know some XC running races are on golf courses, including the Washington State High School XC Champs in Pasco, WA.

Golf courses I would think are pretty much flat out running and pretty easy navigation.

Which is pretty much the point of sprint orienteering, right? Going at night does add an additional challenge that probably makes it more exciting!

I wouldn't go out of my way to map a golf course, but since it's on the same property as a community college, it's worth asking if we can run there.
Jan 25, 2016 4:10 AM # 
Many years ago I did an orienteering event on a golf course south of London. Apparently golf wasn't allowed there on Sunday afternoons in September and the orienteering event was able to take place then.
Jan 25, 2016 5:22 AM # 
coach, you were indeed the course setter for the meet at Ponkapoag that I was thinking of, the infamous BHT in the frigid rain.

j-man, I think the James Baird meet that you're thinking of was probably 1991. It was the finals of the misleadingly named "Sprint Series". I missed that particular meet though I don't remember why. (And you would have been about 17 at the time?)
Jan 25, 2016 8:15 AM # 
A golf course used last week for a night event (but not a sprint)
Jan 25, 2016 9:13 AM # 
I have ran several night events here in the UK where a significant part of the map was a golf course (e.g. the recent NIght event on Wimbledon Common, but I remember several others too). I have even organised a night event and updated a map which had one of its half, a golf course (Queens Park in Bournemouth). There are a number of golf courses in the UK which are within public parks, so limitations aren't as strict, but it is anyways a common practice and courtesy to at least mark the greens OOB.

Whilst they are good fun, and can provide a decent challenge navigationally, especially at night, I don't actually think they suit sprint orienteering very well. Simply because there aren't many route choices available, which is one of the key challenges a sprint race should provide (many/quick decision making under high speed). Most of the routes are straight line navigation, so although the average speed may be high for the courses due to a lot of open areas, it isn't really as testing as it ideally should be. Making a lot of the fairways etc OOB could help to force more route choices artificially, but even that wouldn't push it into a complex enough area for most courses IMHO. The only exceptions may be golf courses which are build on areas with lots of lakes, ravines, etc...
Jan 25, 2016 3:52 PM # 
There are two golf courses on this map, as you say used for a night race, which was actually very good fun:

Greens mapped as olive 'do not cross' green, bunkers mapped too (and some dangerous if the lip was high and you approached it at the 'wrong' angle)
Jan 25, 2016 4:26 PM # 
A couple more points from the small print of this map...
it was mapped as a sprint map, then converted back to ISOM for the event. And it states the Scottish access laws, about which from time to time one has to remind golfers ;)

There's normally one small night event each year on the Braids, but I don't think anyone ever felt the need to use the sprint version of the map of set a 15min course. So unless your golf course is very small, I'd suggest using it for a conventional (night) race, rather than a sprint.
Jan 25, 2016 5:30 PM # 
Thank you J-J! That is it, and that was basically around the year I was thinking of. I can always count on you for unerring memory.

I believe I ran 60ish for 10K (of course my memory is nowhere good as Trump's, so it could have been anything), and thought that was pretty good, but that is not so good on a golf course, even in snow.

I thought it was the finals of a so-called sprint series (in the era of when middles ≅ sprints). I didn't think much of it at the time, but perhaps this was an early reflection of the misapprehension of the sprint (sic) or middle concept in America, which is as persistent as tuberculosis.

Anyway, I am going to need to see if I can find that map because I would probably have my time and the winner's.
Jan 25, 2016 7:53 PM # 
Pink Socks:
So unless your golf course is very small, I'd suggest using it for a conventional (night) race, rather than a sprint.

It's pretty small, and adjacent to a college campus that would be ISSOM, so combining both onto one ISSOM map makes the most sense.
Jan 25, 2016 7:59 PM # 
West Point's is mapped, but we doubt that anyone would allow it to be used for a national competition. Besides, running the ski slope is so much more fun!

Pohick Bay's course shows on the north portion of the map, and the version I looked at (2005) looked like it may not have been field checked, just contours and fairways.

The combination of campus and golf course might be interesting. We really liked using the snippets of forest around Trophy Point / Flirtation Walk along with the West Point campus for the sprint in 2009.
Jan 25, 2016 10:36 PM # 
Clem I found my map from the James Baird "sprint final". You were correct, snow on the ground and Mikell won in a time of 46:13 followed by me? in 47:06
10km 205 meter 19 controls
Jan 25, 2016 11:48 PM # 
James Baird- How 'bout the noteworthy combination of credits for fieldwork and drafting.

The most notable golf course to be "covered" by an O map is probably Muirfield. Anybody have a better course? I forget the O map name, but Graeme ought to be able to fill in the details. Granted, I don't think the course was fieldchecked, nor identified, but simply shown as purple OB. No respect.
Jan 26, 2016 12:57 AM # 
James Baird -- I don't think I have a copy of it, but my recollection is that the fieldwork was by a certain noted woman from across the Atlantic (don't remember who drafted it).

"Sprint Series" in 1989-1991 went by the Swampfox definition of a "sprint" in which a race had to be a mass start that was either 5 km (preferred) or 10 km, with the Billygoat also included for some weird reason.

Looks like I have run at Pohick Bay once, in December 1990. The golf course wasn't marked as out-of-bounds, and it appears that I ran on the 14th fairway from between controls 7 and 8.
Jan 26, 2016 1:34 AM # 
Fieldwork - Yvette Hague
Drawing - Heather Williams
Printing - Pat Dunlavey Cartographics
Jan 26, 2016 1:55 AM # 
Noteworthy indeed.

I looked for the results for that James Baird race, but I came up blank. Doesn't appear to have been printed in O/NA, nor in the TeamNews, and I can't find any issue of the HVO Navigator from before 1999.
Jan 26, 2016 1:59 AM # 
Not her only work in the US, as I recall? It seemed to serve her well.
Jan 26, 2016 3:26 AM # 
James Baird -- I got a chuckle from HVO's Navigator article:
"As the competitors spread out across the first few legs on the golf course, it became clear that US Team members Mike Platt and Joe Brautigam were going to battle it out to the finish. A 13 second lead at the 6km spectator control gradually opened to a 100 second victory (ed. Joe starrted 45ps after Platt) for the strong ,stocky Platt over the brash and dramatically improving Brautigam."

Joe- brash?

This was a chasing start, names in finish order with actual time on course.
M. Plattt 46:13
J. Brautigam 47:08
S. Dentino 57:21
K. Federer 57:28
C. Nippert 59.02
C. Lee 61:48
J. Mokszycki 57:49
J Traks 64:06
B. Jameson 65:38
R. Lott 62:14
B. Breton 66:09
C. McGrath 66:23
J. Eagleton 71:57
A . Parsons 73:54
J. Dickinson 77:07
D. Cuttler 80:44
BJ STringer 85:03
C. Pendleton 95:19
H. Williams 98:23
E. Hicks DNF
Jan 26, 2016 4:40 AM # 
I've done Foot-O through a golf course once. I think it was in QOC land back when I lived there. I've done World Championship Trail-O on golf courses twice. It's great for Trail-O. If you map it, maybe you could consider having some trail-O in conjunction with your sprint.
Jan 26, 2016 4:50 AM # 
12/1/91. Looks like my excuse for missing that James Baird event was that I had to move into a new apartment that weekend.
Jan 26, 2016 7:08 AM # 
Thanks Dave! Great stuff! Great names in that list as well. Nip pert, Lee, Traks...

The description does make you wonder, though. "Strong, Stocky Platt"--did hid his publicist write that or the Brautigam fan club?
Jan 26, 2016 9:24 AM # 
@EricW. The map which doesn't have Muirfield on it is Gullane:
It doesn't have any of the other five golf courses surrounding it fieldchecked either. Life's too short!

If you fancy a golf-orienteering duathon, we're holding the Scottish champs there next year on an extended version of the map (but we've still not got permission to run across Muirfield).
Jan 26, 2016 12:07 PM # 
Jan 27, 2016 4:45 AM # 
I'm guessing that meet writeup was by Jon Nash.
Jan 27, 2016 11:20 AM # 
Is the Old Course at St Andrews open for orienteering on Sundays when it is closed to golf activity?
Jan 27, 2016 2:24 PM # 
Old Course: 'permission to host an event' and 'open to the public' are different things, but I'll ask my mum who organised the last race there (which was a score event with a control ~100m from the 1st tee: and yes it was on a Sunday)
Jan 27, 2016 6:42 PM # 
The golf course parts of which are on the Pohick Bay map has always been treated as out-of-bounds since I've been a QOC member.
Jan 27, 2016 7:39 PM # 
For Cross Country races the meet director pays a "rental fee" to use the golf course for a race. Usually it's closed for two days to golfers [1)meet setup day and 2) race-day/course tear down day]. In Pasco, the golf course actually makes more money by having the state meet there on that weekend then it would make if it were open to golfing so they generally like the event. It's also a public course owned by the city, so that may factor in to the decisions.

There are restrictions: Stay off greens/tee boxes/sand traps. No running on the course while frost is present.

Related Subject: I saw a great T-shirt on a HS athlete last year. It was something to this effect: "Cross Country, finally a good use of a golf course."
Jan 28, 2016 12:29 AM # 
It could well be that the Pohick Bay golf course was supposed to be out of bounds, but that I just didn't get the message. The leg was set such that it was very inviting to run along the edge of the fairway.
Jan 28, 2016 3:06 AM # 
Much like where my golf balls go.
Sep 12, 2017 9:34 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Update to this thread... CascadeOC just hosted our first golf course event as part of SART on Saturday night. It was super fun!

If anyone can share any documentation on how you got permission, I'd sure be interested.

I'd emailed the golf course manager but never received a response, so I just went into the clubhouse and asked if he was available. He was, so we chatted for a bit.

My #1 recommendation is to be prepared.

Have 'Show & Tell', because they aren't likely to be familiar with orienteering. Bring a control flag. Bring examples of your club maps. I gave a quickie description of orienteering, and I showed a wide range of maps (wilderness, city park, campus, corn maze) to illustrate that we orienteer at a variety of venues, and a golf course fits in with what we're looking for. Tell them how long the race course are and how long you'll be there. They won't have any idea.

Concede a lot up front. I said we were only interested in having an event at night, since we didn't want to impact golfing revenue. I said that we can control where orienteers can and can't go with out-of-bounds symbols, so we'd have putting greens and sand traps as off-limits. I said that we'd prohibit spiked metal shoes for the runners. I said that we'd limit the event to just 80 people, and then I gave the XC example where another golf course in Washington allows 1000+ runners. These really aren't big concessions for orienteering organizers, but it shows golf course management that you're sensitive to their business.

Bring an example of an O-USA backed liability insurance certificate. These guys are concerned with people sneaking onto golf courses and doing stupid things, so they are very concerned about liability. Have it ready for them. It also wouldn't hurt to have a copy of your club's 501c3 non-profit status, just in case. And also mention that you're prepared to pay for usage and labor costs (eg: labor for their staff to keep things open for you).

With the golf course manager I talked to, I basically answered every question he had before he could even think to ask. He gave me the go-ahead within 15 minutes, gave me a golf course map, and said that he'd get final approval from the CEO (who oversees 11 golf courses in the region). The CEO cared only about two things: liability and compensation (and since we were a non-profit, his only goal was to not lose any money).

Not only was I excited about the event, all of the staff at the golf course was getting excited, too. They'd see me mapping and I'd show them how the map was progressing. I showed them the final map and course design, too. I'm planning on going back and sharing with them just how much everyone enjoyed the race.
Sep 12, 2017 10:15 PM # 
Great info, Patrick!!!
Sep 12, 2017 11:08 PM # 
Golf courses seem like one of the more plausible options for sprints in my part of Colorado.
Sep 13, 2017 1:09 AM # 
Not receiving a response from an initial email? How unusual!

(This happened to me with every single school I contacted for our forthcoming summer series)
Sep 13, 2017 2:11 AM # 
I really like that you're planning on going back to share how it all went! I feel like that is a step of partnership that can often be lost in the exhaustion of finally being done an event. People really like to feel appreciated and as though they were a part of something! You were probably already planning on this but I would bring them an official SART map of their own to keep or display.
Sep 13, 2017 2:56 AM # 
I 100% agree with everything Pink Socks and KateK wrote.
Be prepared with a show and tell.
Be prepared to concede (even if it is not really a concession)
Written thank-yous are very important. They probably rent out their facility for social tournaments, weddings etc and probably not 5% are bothering to write a thank you. It is so important.
A framed map with a thank you note is also a great idea.
What I think also worked for me in Ottawa was holding a small trial event the year before the bigger one. It also worked to stress to the orienteers that this was to be a social event so eat, drink and be merry. The club was happy with the business they did.
Sep 23, 2017 8:02 AM # 
In South Africa we've had a couple of sprints on golf courses, we run them at night and the bunkers and greens are out of bounds.
Nov 10, 2023 5:10 PM # 
I'm working with a golf course to create a map and plan a future event and could use any data (especially maps with courses / routes)on past golf course events. I'm especially interested in any past golf course events in North America. UK is great, but it would help to be able to show them something from USA or Canada.
Nov 10, 2023 5:50 PM # 
Mike sending you an e-mail with sample of night O course on an Ottawa area golf course and an oreinteering map of Augusta National.
Nov 10, 2023 6:49 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Oh hey, a thread I started!

Here's a PDF of the first use of Lynnwood Golf Course in WA, which was the golf course that originally prompted this thread. We've used this golf course 3 times total (all at night), most recently just 2 weeks ago for our annual Vampire-O (the other use was for Vampire-O in 2019).

I don't know what other "data" you're looking for, but my post in this thread from 9/12/2017 captures the most helpful advice I could give (much better than I could write it today, tbh).
Nov 10, 2023 7:20 PM # 
Pink. I think there is limited access to that image.
I agree that your comments from 2019 pretty well covered it all. I think a sample map will help a lot.
Besides night-O there are areas of the world - like Ottawa- where the golf courses close due to cold weather and frozen grounds, often before the snow comes. Daylight O events are possilbe on golf courses on those occasions.
And there are other parts of the world -not naming any - where they have so-called 'Defend Your Ground' laws and trigger-happy neighbors - that I would not dare hold a night-O or any other kind of O on a golf course.
Nov 11, 2023 5:26 AM # 
Pink Socks:
I think the access has been fixed.
Nov 11, 2023 12:39 PM # 
It has. Looks like fun!
Nov 11, 2023 3:35 PM # 
I know you mostly care about North America, but here's one from England anyway, interesting because people were actually playing golf while we were running! Note how the golf course is mapped (again, mostly useful when orienteering and golf coexist so people know which way balls are flying).
Nov 12, 2023 6:51 AM # 
I feel as though events on golf courses should stop at the 18th control.

New Zealand Sprint the Bay 2020 golf course event.
Nov 12, 2023 9:01 AM # 
tRicky - not 100% sure but Dad was once the club champion at that course in the60s. Bridge Pa, it was also the course the only time I ever beat him. Bill Edwards is now a member there.
Nov 12, 2023 12:32 PM # 
Spring Classic near Wellington NZ remembers a past orienteer whose courses were always steep and green. Yesterday's edition crossed a golf course which was in use. And so was the disc golf course. Which presumably coexists with the other golf all the time.
Nov 12, 2023 10:09 PM # 
tRicky - traditionally its the 19th hole.
Nov 13, 2023 1:34 AM # 
I did consider that but figured 18 controls plus the finish would cover it.

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