Most courses, even the most difficult championship level courses, have a hole or two on which the top players in the world can card a pretty easy deuce. Using the Memorial as an example:
For the top players in the world, these holes offer very little challenge and very little chance of scoring separation. For the best players, playing the Pro Tour, designed to thrill and engage spectators, we want more challenge, more separation, and more excitement. Thus, the PuttTruss.
The PuttTruss is a solid structure. It is square, with rounded corners. It is 6’ tall with 1’ sides. It will serve the same purpose as a 6′ tall tree stump, potentially making putts more difficult and defining what part of the green the player wants to land in. Two will be placed on one green at each Pro Tour event, typically 16 to 32 feet from the pin. In general, the hole would be a shorter par 3 that can be aced. There are two advantages to picking a hole of this type.
First, it allows the TD and the Pro Tour to further define the ideal shot on the hole. Put them to the left of the pin and discourage an overstable RHBH throw with a hard fade. Put them behind the pin and discourage over shooting the pin. Flank the pin front and back and encourage attacking the pin from the sides. Wherever they go, they add a level of thought to the Pro Tour players: execute your shot, or you may be straddle putting around the PuttTruss.
Second, these holes are aceable. Disc golf aces have a propensity to find their way on ESPN. If we can give a sponsor some real estate on a disc golf shot that gets onto ESPN, the value of the PuttTruss has just been increased. This encourages us to manage to have an extra camera on that hole during the tourney, increasing the likelihood of catching an ace, getting more disc golf on ESPN, making the mainstream aware of the Pro Tour, and getting some extra exposure for one of our Tour Partners.
Over the past couple days, there has been some wonderful, passionate, constructive feedback regarding the PuttTruss. We will address several of these comments below. As always, we welcome all feedback. It makes us better. The more people we have improving our product, the better our product will be, and the more people will watch. Everyone commenting cares about the Pro Tour and wants to see us succeed. While discussing this and every Pro Tour topic, bear in mind that we are all rowing in the same direction and should always be respectful.
It is unfair because it is a flag.
The PuttTruss is a truss. It is not a flag. We agree that a flag on a green would be awful due to the inconsistency that it would provide, sometimes blocking a putt, sometimes not. A truss is a solid structure that will not move. It is exactly like a 6’ tree stump, except it is square.
It is unattractive.
We will agree that the images below are difficult to truly picture, causing some to believe that it is unattractive. However, we will simply ask that you trust that we would never add an element to the Pro Tour that detracts from the aesthetic of the course. We agree that if an element is added to the course, it will need to be attractive and professionally done.
It is gimmicky.
It looks like mini golf.This is an interesting one. Is it a trick, a ploy, a stunt? Will it lead to windmills that players need to putt through? We will agree that it could be viewed as a step onto a slippery slope. However, we have no intention of going any further than defining the ideal shot that should be executed on a hole. For a course full of righty friendly hyzer shots, the PuttTruss can be setup in a way to encourage a different shot, balancing out the course. There are simply some holes that, for the top players in the game, could be more thoughtful. If we go further, please call us out. This step, in our opinion, is not gimmicky. It is not mini golf. It is adding an element of challenge to improve the challenge, separation, and watchability of a hole.
It is not fair to add an element that could knock a good shot OB.
There are a few thoughts put forward in this sentence. Fairness, changing the course, and knocking a good shot OB.
Fairness, knocking a good shot OB – it is easy to argue that as long as everyone is playing the same course, then it is fair. However, that is not the point that is being made. The point being made is that an obstacle that is very close to the perfect line that can result in a two stroke swing (birdie to bogey) is inherently unfair. To this point, we agree. The PuttTruss in the image is (clearly) photoshopped and we agree that they appear to be quite close to the water. They will not be setup in a way that would cause a shot that hits them to roll OB. That would be unfair and is not the goal. Thank you for making this point so that we can be extra clear and have this reminder during the install. We have adjusted the image to make it a bit more clear and to make the truss closer to approximate size.
Changing the course – It is routine for courses to change when the best players in the world come to town. In fact, few courses do not change for a premier disc golf event. Many courses add OB, lengthen holes, create mandos, and define new drop zones to make the course more challenging. We want to watch the top players in the world playing a course that we mere mortals couldn’t even contemplate playing. As long as the course is changed in time for the players to know the course, in our opinion, the argument that “changing the course is bad” does not hold up.
Putting an object in the putting circle is bad course design.
First, we will agree that adding a bush or something not well defined to the green (or fairway landing zone) is bad design because it affects throws and lies inconsistently. Many people argue that disc golf should have no objects within 10 meters of the pin. This makes the putt, which is the most exciting part of ball golf, the least exciting part of disc golf. We were watching McBeth shred the first five holes at The Memorial in round 1 when his sixth drive landed 25 feet from the pin. Everyone’s attention went away until tee 7 because the putt had no consequence.
With no obstacles on the green, putting is easy and boring (for the top players). Adding an element to the green will sometimes force players to straddle putt, to hyzer putt, to anhyzer putt, to lob putt up and over. There will be many more exciting putts and putting will become something worth watching. Otherwise, as these guys get better, we will only care about putts outside 40 feet as being worth watching. It is time to add an element of challenge to the green.
It is not natural.
Correct. The sport utilizes, and will continue to utilize, rope, fences, walls, roads, sidewalks, triple mando trusses and more. If the argument is that all of these are bad, then we appreciate and salute the purist sentiment. However, we will disagree that things on the course have to be natural to be worthy of being on the course. The goal of good course design is to challenge the player to perform a shot and choose how they want to execute the shot. The PuttTruss, like a mando or OB sidewalk, helps define the type of shot that the designer would like to see executed. If design can be improved by adding an attractive, unnatural element, we say add it and challenge the players appropriately.
If you want to adjust the hole, plant a tree, or move the pin or tee.
While we agree with this sentiment 100%, the Pro Tour will be at numerous stops. While some added difficulty may be a good thing for the best players in the world, it is not necessarily a positive for the day to day players that visit the course year round. The PuttTruss allows us to make holes more difficult for the tournament without adjusting the hole permanently.
It is selling out.
We are looking to grow the sport by bringing in spectators and sponsors so that they best players in the world can concentrate on playing the game and thrilling us. Part of this requires that we give our partners a platform to put their names out there. Thank goodness a dozen great companies are willing to take this leap with us to make this happen. We ask you to check them out and support them with your business.
Ball golf would never do it.
We agree that ball golf would (probably) not put a billboard in a fairway or put a structure on the green. We do not agree that this is a valid reason to not do something. The most exciting element of ball golf is putting. Some tournaments have fast greens, some have slow greens. Some greens are mostly flat, some have tremendous fluctuations. Putting in ball golf is amazing because of the tremendous variety of putts (touch and read) that are needed. Disc golf needs excitement and challenge on the green.
The PuttTruss is a horrible name.
While we kind of like the name, please propose a better name. If we choose to rename it using your name, we will send you a WATCH! Pro Tour soft tee. Seriously, we will.
Just use smaller baskets.
Yes, another possible solution would be to shrink the target of the Pro Tour. While this may be a good solution for the top players, a big problem is the confusion this would cause with all of the current baskets on courses today. If the pros are playing on smaller baskets, many players will clamor that they too want to play on smaller baskets, causing amazing inconsistency amongst our courses as some switch sizes and some keep the current size. In our opinion, a better option is to make putting more challenging by adjusting the flight path of the putt by adding an obstacle or two to the green on the simplest holes on the Pro Tour courses.
Thank you to everyone that took the time to comment and we continue to welcome all comments. Get ready to watch, this is going to be exciting!
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