Sand Hills Golf Club beta, new Lidar RCR

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Sandsaver

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« on: February 02, 2020, 03:21:51 PM »
Just published, Sand Hills Golf Club beta

This course in Mullen, Nebraska in consistently ranked very high by most course review sites.  Top 100 Golf Courses rank it #6 in North America and #10 worldwide.

Designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw in 1995 on 8000 acres of rolling sand hills, it is a private course only open for 4 months out of the year.  There are basically no plants on or around the course other than native grasses.

The Lidar data I used to build this TGC2019 RCR is excellent.  Scott Doyley had already traced all the golf features in OSM.  There were very few artifacts, and little smoothing on greens and fairways was required.

A few things you should know about this course as built by me:

1.  You will notice no clubhouse, parking lot, roads, or driving range on the plot.  This is because all of these are at least 750 yards away from the course.  The only visible buildings are a combo starters shack/snack bar called Ben's Porch, and a couple of restrooms.

2.  All the cart paths are sand, so I had to use bunker splines to emulate them and tried to flatten and smooth as best I could - please do not be too nit-picky.

3. If you look at pictures of the real course it seems that the rough just off the fairways is probably heavier than what we would call "light rough" in the game.  For aesthetic reasons I decided to use Rough texture there instead.  This will probably make it a little easier to play than IRL.

4.  The course started out with 50% of the plant meter already used up despite heavy masking.  Since EVERYTHING is covered in native grasses there was no way I would be able to plant as much as I would like to make it look like the real thing without maxing out the plant meter.  I did the best I could.

5.  The backdrop has trees where there should just be rolling hills; that was the closest I could get to what I was looking for.

If you give this a play, you should set the wind to no less than "Moderate".  Wind is such a feature of play here, and comes from every direction, that the head pro adjusts the handicap slope and rating depending on the wind.











Please let me know any comments and suggestions - enjoy!

minimalistdesign

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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2020, 03:46:06 PM »
This is bound to be an improvement over the previous version on the game.  Looks great, can't wait to play it tonight!!!

Sandsaver

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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2020, 03:52:13 PM »
This is bound to be an improvement over the previous version on the game.  Looks great, can't wait to play it tonight!!!
Dumb me, I did not even realize there was a previous version  :P :o

minimalistdesign

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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2020, 03:56:55 PM »
This is bound to be an improvement over the previous version on the game.  Looks great, can't wait to play it tonight!!!
Dumb me, I did not even realize there was a previous version  :P :o

It's fairly simplistic, not positive if it is a genuine RCR/LiDar or just a decent pass.  Held my interest for about 7 holes.


Sandsaver

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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2020, 04:12:12 PM »
I just played the front nine.  It is not Lidar, for sure - the terrain is not even close.  The order of the holes and their lengths are OK, but the elevations, depth and locations of traps, green contours are not at all correct.  I feel sure you will think mine is better ;D

minimalistdesign

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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2020, 08:43:37 PM »
I am absolutely pumped to play your course, Sand Hills is the bomb.  These RCRs are serious crack cocaine!  Now can you get the Dismal River courses up next!  LOL 

Sandsaver

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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2020, 09:39:25 AM »
I am absolutely pumped to play your course, Sand Hills is the bomb.  These RCRs are serious crack cocaine!  Now can you get the Dismal River courses up next!  LOL

LOL is right on Dismal River Minimalist!  I think I will take a break on Sand Hills area courses for a while.  Maybe later though  :)

The Money Tour (TMT)

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« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2020, 01:50:24 AM »
I have to say that this is a fantastic start and a joy to play. I can’t wait for the finished article.

minimalistdesign

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« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2020, 12:20:37 PM »
I've played the course 3 times now.

Observations/input includes:

Sand Hills resides in one of the coolest settings for golf.  The wild, craggy dunes are much like genuine linksland but without the adjacent body of water.

Therefore, I think the purest essence of this golf course is the dunes themselves.  The designers, Coore and Crenshaw, identified over 100 holes before whittling it down to 18.

I can't help but wonder if a different theme would eliminate any trees in the background, because it almost ruins it for me.  This is not a knock on you the designer, I can well imagine I just don't know the game well enough to take into consideration all the factors at play here.  Is there a theme that would be without any trees on the peripheral boundary?  If there are no other significant impediments to such, I'd love to see that change.

The 17th and 18th are absolutely gorgeous renditions of the real thing.  They look so terrific, your bunker tracing is really nicely done there.

I'd like to see more grasses on the hills even completely out of play.  Again, the whole idea behind Sand Hills Golf Club is you are thrust out in the middle of nowhere with nothing but dunes and golf holes to behold.

The golf course itself, slopes, etc. is all terrific.  Plays really true, really really well done. 

I'd just like to see the overall feel and ambiance of the course reflect the wild nature of the Sand Hills themselves, if possible.   

Sandsaver

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« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2020, 12:45:54 PM »
I've played the course 3 times now.

Observations/input includes:

Sand Hills resides in one of the coolest settings for golf.  The wild, craggy dunes are much like genuine linksland but without the adjacent body of water.

Therefore, I think the purest essence of this golf course is the dunes themselves.  The designers, Coore and Crenshaw, identified over 100 holes before whittling it down to 18.

I can't help but wonder if a different theme would eliminate any trees in the background, because it almost ruins it for me.  This is not a knock on you the designer, I can well imagine I just don't know the game well enough to take into consideration all the factors at play here.  Is there a theme that would be without any trees on the peripheral boundary?  If there are no other significant impediments to such, I'd love to see that change.

I do agree with you Minimalist, and I investigated thoroughly. The few theme backdrops without trees, desert and highlands, have other disabling (to me at least) factors.  For desert, the problem is all the course is made of sand, and I would have to go and fill in the entire plot with painted heavy rough, which would be too uniform looking.  For highlands, the problem is the ocean - you can't get rid of it!  If the course was not so stretched out you might be able to build high hills to block it some, but if they are high enough to do that they do not fit the land either.  Also the sound is always there.  So it is what it is thanks to HB's lack of backdrops.

The 17th and 18th are absolutely gorgeous renditions of the real thing.  They look so terrific, your bunker tracing is really nicely done there.

I'd like to see more grasses on the hills even completely out of play.  Again, the whole idea behind Sand Hills Golf Club is you are thrust out in the middle of nowhere with nothing but dunes and golf holes to behold. 

I would also, but again two issues:  I am running up against plant meter maximum; and because grass draw-distances are pretty small if you get very far away they disappear anyway.  I may add a few more on the early holes, I was skimpy there because I was worried about running out of meter before # 18.

The golf course itself, slopes, etc. is all terrific.  Plays really true, really really well done. 

I'd just like to see the overall feel and ambiance of the course reflect the wild nature of the Sand Hills themselves, if possible.

Thanks for your feedback, and I really agree with you on the issues, but I was forced to work with the tools I had.

The Money Tour (TMT)

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« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2020, 10:50:16 AM »
This course plays fantastic I’ve been begging for this course to hit TGC 2019

 

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