Here is Eastern Object's design of a Long F21 course at Otter Creek. Chime in with your thoughts.
2 to 3 and 5 to 6 are fun long legs with lots of micro route choice and navigation throughout. 9 to 10 is almost entirely a run along a straight trail parallel to the wide ride, then south along a powerline to the crossing of powerlines. (Could an alternative be to drop 8 and 9, and have a leg from 7 to somewhere northeast of the assembly field?)
Having the finish along a trail, rather than in a field, reduces spectation (and can also obstruct non-orienteering trail users, and limit the space for tents, tables, chutes and other organizational accoutrements).
Control 2's feature is 100m long; I might suggest using the tiny ditch bend (if it exists in the terrain) for specificity. Control 8's green patch could be vague (no distinct vegetation boundary) and potentially not obviously different from numerous other not-quite-light-green bushes scattered about. Something that would need field validation that it is indeed sufficiently unique and obvious.
Short but sweet, fun course. I like it when a good Long course is made from fewer controls. A joie de vivre about it. One of my favorites of the submitted courses.
There are many things to like about this course - it isn't as brutal as the previous ones and is closest (I would guess) to being the correct distance. THere are some very nice legs. But there are also some serious problems ...
Start location - isn't on a feature, which is a big problem. It must be on a feature otherwise the orienteers won't know where they're starting from. Also it is not suitable for the younger classes since it isn't on a track (or something suitable for kids)
Leg 1 - the control location will demand some good navigation at the end of the leg. But there is no route choice other than to run along the road.
Leg 2 - there is a severe dog leg coming out of control 1. Definitely need to watch out for those sharp angles. But the leg itself is actually quite nice - it is a tricky hill-side location with quite a few options of how to get there. I would try to keep this leg in the final version of the course and change the start/leg1 so that it works better.
Leg 3 - another severe dog leg. Another serious problem is that two of the best route choices - one goes through the start and one goes through the finish. These are absolute no-no's - it just isn't fair for the runner, those waiting, and mostly for the volunteers who have to deal with the confusion. Again - possibly worth keeping this leg but changing the logistics of the start/finish
Leg 4/5 - pretty nice use of the area to turn people around
Leg 6 - again, pretty decent route choices but goes smack dab through the start & finish. Definitely have to move the start & finish ;-)
Leg 7 - again we have the dog leg issue. Here perhaps inserting a short leg to the NE of #6 would remove the dog leg and create a slightly improved route choice to #7
Leg 8 - I would just remove it. The leg itself isn't very good - no route choice really and a very weak feature. And going 7 - 9 is quite good
Leg 10 - well, not a very interesting leg - runners will just link up the tracks. Definitely need to work on that leg
Finish - in the middle of nowhere - no arena or atmosphere of joy, celebration, and fun. And anyway, it is smack in the middle of a couple of good legs ;-)
Overall this course has some very nice legs indeed! Reworking the start & finish locations is necessary to avoid on-course runners running though these area, to improve the finish atmosphere, and to remove some of the weaker legs.
I agree with the comments of Jim and AZ.
This course is a fine first draft. Revising the start and finish, and eliminating the doglegs and legs with no or little route choice will result in an enjoyable and challenging course.
I would prefer a start on the western side of the map so people going to the start would be unlikely to see competitors already on the course. Likewise, I think the open areas W of 10 could be a good arena.
Moving the start west will make the course longer. I would move #1 north to save some distance.
The dogleg 1-2-3 can be fixed by a short transport leg. There are lots of options.
I would prefer to see 9-10 end in the general area of the current start. Then the course could find its way to the open ground in the arena.
I would like to check in with people at this point. So far we've done four course critiques. But I am a little surprised how few comments are being posted. Is there some reason for this? Could we have more comments if we changed the format a bit? Maybe ask for a favorite leg, and a reason for the choice? Or ask for one good thing and one bad thing about each course?
Time pressures. Just lurking and absorbing.
I particularly like 5-6. :-)
I agree with TheInvisibleLog - "lurking and absorbing" - a very good learning experience.
I am following though not always commenting