Not Your Average Trip to the Lodge
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The IUP course at the College Lodge is on one of the most nicely landscaped properties that I have played on. A lot of work has clearly gone into the course to make it as well groomed as possible and it maintains this professional level of grooming throughout the round. In addition, there is a huge parking lot that provides a nice porta-potty and is close to the first tee.
Blue and white tees are offered, as well as two pin positions which do a good job of changing the approach. Tee signs and baskets are in great shape and I appreciate how they have painted blue spots on the trees next to the blue tees to make it easier to find them.
There is a good variation and flow of hole types here, as the course constantly takes you in and out of the woods. I really enjoyed how the first few holes had a completely different feel to them then the other wooded holes on the course, though I would've liked to have seen more of these types of holes. There are many chances to throw open shots on holes like 4, 8-10, and 18, but there are also holes that force you hit a super tight line in holes 14 and 15.
The course's best - and most memorable - attribute is the crazy elevation changes. Hole's 2 and 3 play on the side of a huge slope, while holes 4 and 5 take you to the top. Hole 4 is probably the most extreme uphill shot I have ever played on, and the pin position on the fast slope makes every approach scary. In addition, hole 18 is the steepest and longest downhill bomb that I have played. There are also a few holes in the woods throughout the back 9 that incorporate elevation - holes 11 and 14 do an especially good job of combining wooded paths and the elevation present.
The course was very easy to navigate, even with multiple pins in view at certain points. There was hardly any extra walking at all to the next tee and the front 9 nicely loops back near the parking lot/bathroom. This course offers a great round of exercise as there is a lot of uphill climbing (which you are rewarded for with three separate downhill bombs).
Cons: -One of the biggest drawbacks for me is that the open holes are, well, very open. I appreciate the uphill and downhill bombs - that's what gives IUP its character, but I would've liked to have seen more opportunities for line-shaping on some of the open holes.
-I played from the blue tees, which presented a few minor problems. The natural tees were sufficient for the most part, but they were muddy/slippery on a few holes. Also, I often felt that they didn't incorporate a very different look compared to the whites. They generally were just placed a little bit back behind the white tee and maybe at a slightly different angle.
-It doesn't seem that a lot of carving was done in the woods as most of the wooded holes play along a path. Some may disagree, but I get bored with this type of design fast when you continually have to hit one single lane and don't have as much of a chance to be creative in how you approach the hole. This is especially disappointing given the vast amount of woods that is there; however, I am not sure how limited the designers were in being able to carve out holes in the woods.
-Runners use the wooded holes' paths at many different points - we almost drove off the tee as runners rounded a corner near the basket. I'm sure this is a bigger issue when school is in session as well.
-Not a con for me, but there is a lot of uphill hiking on this course sure to exhaust even the more fit players. I don't often feel the need to sit during a round, but I did here.
Other Thoughts: I have played many of the area courses that were designed by the Dropcho's and I always really enjoy their courses. I would've liked to have been presented with more opportunities to be creative within the woods, but holes 1-3 start out the course with good looks at this. Locals are passionate about this course and it seems to often be a favorite for out-of-towners. This makes sense, given its unique layout, and I recommend anyone passing through the Pittsburgh area to go out of their way to play the beast that is IUP.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: IUP's College Lodge course makes its mark with some unbelievably dramatic elevation changes. Whether its the uphill shot on 4, the rolling hills on 14, the sloped terrain guarding numerous pins, or the immense downhill shots on 9 and 18, elevation changes are found on nearly every hole and in nearly every possible fashion, and really serve to enliven the course. Of the nearly 60 courses I've played to this point, none has the extent and variety of elevation that IUP does, and few come anywhere close. It's the course's selling point.
The challenge here is nicely balanced and well varied. There's a great mix of levels of woodedness, and the elevation changes and OB help to lend the most open shots some degree of interest. Approaches feature guarded pins and many instances of sloped terrain, which can make for some epically nasty rollaways: 4 could easily result in a 400' rollaway that brings you back past the tee, so don't get greedy. For as long as the course gets, especially from the pros, there are few if any grip it and rip it shots off the tee. Even 18's downhill monster requires control to clear the tree line bordering the fairway's initial third. At the opposite end of the spectrum, holes can get tight, like on 7, or very tight, such as in 14's downhill-then-uphill trek through the woods or 15's borderline-unfair tunnel shot through some pines.
The pro tees bump things up a bit with added distance and more awkward angles, but preserve the basic design of the whites, which the course seems centered around. The tees themselves are well-marked and well-signed - navigation is a snap - and get the job done. The pro tees are natural, but level and very useable. I imagine the course drains well, too, given the elevation.
The environment is beautiful, grooming is great, parking is plentiful, and the portapotty on site is one of the cleanest I've ever seen.
Cons: IUP's course seems like it stuck to preexisting trails and pathways, which means the lines cut through the woods often seem unnatural for a disc's flight. The straight shots are fine, if a bit straightforward, but 90 degree turns appear much more often than disc-appropriate curves. These paths seem like they're used for jogging, too, so I'd be mindful when in the woods. We had a pair of runners surprise us in the middle of a hole on the back 9.
Overall, the course doesn't offer very technical lineshaping outside of accounting for the dramatic elevation changes. There are some places you can try to force it, but placement and staying in your lane are more emphasized than shaping lines through corridors. This left me with a feeling that the potential of the wooded holes wasn't fully realized: while the dense woods offer a nice alternative in setting to the more open shots found elsewhere, they don't offer as much or register with as much character as the signature shots up, down, and across the main hill.
I would have liked to have seen a few more multistage holes here: except for 14 and to a lesser extent 7, the other non-par 3s are simply a product of distance. More movement into and out of the woods within a single hole could help develop this feel, and greatly add to IUP's offerings.
Other Thoughts: I enjoyed my round at IUP. It's shorter than western PA's two titans Deer Lakes and Moraine, mostly because of a lack of numerous multistage par 4s and 5s, and less technical than Knob Hill, which makes it a bit less attractive destination in my eyes. Still, it's very solid, and has some uniquely dramatic elevation that is utilized very well, and is far from the gimmick it could have been. It's definitely worth a visit!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Skierís Bunny Hill
Two (natural) locations per hole, good signs at the whites, showing the location of the blues, distance info, and directions to next tee. Additional signage throughout the course to help navigate. Three downhill bomber holes, but plenty of woodwork, too. Very pretty and well-maintained.
Parcourse and 5K information scattered about - don't know how often they may prevent disc golf play.
Plainly and simply, this course was a lot of fun to play! After the first three fairly flat three and wooded holes make you work on your control, it is straight up the hill to a surprisingly challenging basket-4 position (woods on left, steep runaway slope on right). #5 takes you up/cross open slope to a basket also near woods, then you get to flat holes 6 (open until end, basket tightly ringed by trees) and 7 (broad tunnel at midpoint, opens up at basket). Numbers 8 & 9 are both downhill, #8 being somewhat framed by narrowing treelines, and #9 quite open. 10-12 take you back up with hill with an open right-turner, a straight with very fair but wooded throwing lane, and then a longer gradual climb up a generous path sided and topped by tree cover. 13, 15-17 are flat, with 13 and 17 being similar (short, trees early and late), 15 (a hallway shot between two tight lines of trees), and 16 (very hard right-turn early)
Favourite holes: #14 & #18: On #14, the basket is just over 400' away, needing an ever-so-slight left-turn at the end. Between you and the basket, you have a 25' wide path, downhill, right-to-left slope, large hardwoods on both sides - quite the challenge, but quite the thrill if you succeed to keep your disc on the straight and narrow.. For #18, who doesn't like to bomb away down a long hill? Two mini-forests create a bit of a funnel at the midpoint to prevent it from being just a wide open bomb.
Navigation: For tee-1, go left after exiting parking lot, tee-1 on right, plays parallel to the road you just came in on. Optionally, can start at tee-4 (slight right out of parking lot, near building, plays straight uphill, woods on left) or tee-10 (follow path to right, eventually find tee on the left, with basket-10 in the open before the woods. Other tips: After finishing #12, the basket to your right is #16 - go left, past tee-17, to find tee-13. When playing #14, thrown down the hill with trees on both sides, not the flat, broader path the opposite direction - I did so, only to discover I had parked my drive next to basket-7! :-)
Definitely worth a visit if even remotely in the area. Had so much fun, didn't even notice I had to climb the hill twice in 95-degree weather!
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Beautiful course, immaculate, very peaceful. There are a variety of terrains used:
Some holes are on a "ski slope", more of a sledding hill. Tall, open, with lush well-mown grass. A few chances to sail shots down the hill, as well as some going up.
Some are in a wooded are of very large trees on a mountainous slope. These include some pretty tight shots and some adventurous shots. (The aesthetics here are that you're far away from anything else).
A few shots on well-defined fairways, grassy, reasonable width but with doglegs, and thick woods if you're off the fairway.
Mix-em together and you've got a really fine disc golf course.
Oh, did I say it was beautiful?
Cons: First few holes are pretty average and give you little idea of what's coming.
Other Thoughts: Well worth playing if you're in the area. Glad I was, and did.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: A nice course tucked in the middle of Pensylvania. Plays up, down and across an old ski hill used by the college in the Winter time. Plenty of variety where you have a few holes playing through woods, a few holes playing up the hill, and a few holes playing down the hill and a few holes playing across the hill. Long tees are a bit tougher but fair overall. Very fun course!
0 of 7 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Fun for all
Pros: Great course for elevation, distance, shot selection, you can't help but want to empty your bag on 18. Good mix of terrain use. Very hilly and some holes play down a path(14) or an alley of pines(15). Fairways are well groomed and just beggin you to try a roller a two around the stands of pines. Indiana County is the Christmas tree capital of the world after all.
Cons: Be prepared to hike! Long course from the blue tees throws add up quickly if you go off the fairway. Tee areas in wet weather are dangerous, as well as non discers utilizing the the courses other amenities. finding all your discs after you emptied your bag on 18!!!
Other Thoughts: I will be returning to College Lodge for the PA state championships again and looking forward to it. The 4 hour drive from Harrisburg sucks though, but 18 is calling!!!
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 2 Not
Nice Recreational Course
Pros: Decent signage. Nice recreational 18 hole course. Hole 18 makes a nice end to the day with a downhill 800 ft shot. good mix of woods and wide open. Nice use of elevation and landscaping.
I had the whole course to myself the entire time.
Cons: Many blue tees were hard to find or missing. I had to switch from blue to white frequently to keep up the pace of the game.
Other Thoughts: when packing your bag be ready for some narrow areas. Hole 15 is really narrow, bring a straight shooter.
There is a 9 hole course very close by if you want to turn this into a 27 (but don't expect the same quality)
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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