No Frills Disc Golf
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: 18 hole course located in a well manicured and maintained community park. There is a practice basket close to a sign that points to hole 1. Good quality signs indicating distance and flight path. A screw on each tee sign indicates current basket placement (A, B or C position). Three tee pads per hole; blue (large rubber pro pad), white (oversized concrete advanced or main pad) and red (recreational tee indicated by a ground level board). A fluorescent orange number atop each basket helps visibility from the tee. Very nice balance of wooded and open holes. Well-worn paths make navigation pretty easy for 1st-timers. Good use of elevation. Most of the course challenges you to hit lines and places a premium on accuracy. Hole 9- a really nice downhill shot to an open basket, and hole 15- a fun ace run between trees over a small creek stand out.
Cons: Though it evens out, in my opinion, the first 9 holes have too many RHFH/lefty friendly "C" position basket placements to the right of the tee. While navigation is not tough, some more "next tee" signs would be helpful, particularly on the front 9. Areas of the course are muddy after heavy rains. Limited parking could be a problem for large tournaments. There are no issues that should prevent one from playing here.
Other Thoughts: My first visit to the Pittsburgh area did not disappoint. Now 20 years old, Knob Hill has aged well and represents disc golf in its purest form without the bells and whistles. There are no 800 foot signature holes, manufactured OB or other gimmicks, just a good, solid disc golf experience featuring plenty of challenges, With three tee pads and three basket placements for each hole, there's plenty here for all skill levels. Knob Hill is probably underappreciated a bit due to the inevitable comparisons with the phenomenal courses at Deer Lakes and Moraine, but make no mistake: the rolling hills and general seclusion of other parts of the course make Knob Hill a first rate play.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Don't Sleep on Knob Hill
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Knob Hill is a superb disc golf course that flows exceptionally well, working its way first into (1-3) and then back out of (4-8) the woods before playing down (9) and then back up (10) a sizable hill, stretching out into some longer wooded holes (11-14) that abruptly end with one of the quirkiest par 3s (15) that I've ever seen before moving onto a mostly open hillside where rollaway opportunities abound (16-18) to finish out the round. The diverse mix of distances, woodedness, and elevation encountered along the way makes for an exceptionally varied round: from tight midrange shots (4) to big open drives (8, 18), huge hyzers (10) to long turnovers (11) to downhill bombs (9), and pins guarded by thickets of trees (3, 14), well-placed out of bounds (15), or precarious elevation (17, 18), this course has it all. It's one of the most diverse courses I've played, and the fact that it nevertheless flows and comes together so well is a testament to its thoughtful design.
Adding to this diversity is the course's three pin positions, which can dramatically reshape a hole. The C positions are infamous for their difficulty, while the As make for birdie opportunities galore. The locals mix and match these positions and change them often, giving Knob Hill an almost innumerable amount of possible incarnations. The course's challenge can vary greatly depending on the layout, but you'll never be bored regardless.
Tees are fantastic size and shape. Amenities are readily available. The park is easy to find and well-groomed. Gorgeous western Pennsylvania surroundings; play it in the fall if you can!
Cons: I don't mean to sound like a fanboy, but: not a lot. It's a very solid course.
I suppose the reason Knob Hill is a bit lower rated than its sister courses Moraine and Deer Lakes is that the wow factor isn't as high here. Whereas I have vivid images of specific shots seared into my mind's eye from these other two courses, my impression of Knob Hill is more of its overall consistency and enjoyment. This isn't to say there aren't unique, standout holes - 9 and 10 down and up the hill come to mind, and 15 is surely memorable, though not a signature hole by any means - but that Knob Hill's ceiling doesn't reach the heights of Moraine, Deer Lakes, and other world class courses. I tend to prefer overall consistency to intermittent oohs and ahs, so this characteristic doesn't bother me, but I can see it standing out to some.
Though the variety of pin positions make it tough to make a general statement on difficulty, I would say that Knob Hill on the whole isn't highly technical when compared to some comparably wooded courses: there's enough space and multiple routes on many holes to be more forgiving than they could be. Make no mistake, this is a very relative statement: this course can kick your butt. It's just not as tight or as long as par 4-focused game-testers. I happen to think Knob Hill's difficulty level sits in a perfect sweet spot, but I can see it potentially losing a bit of edge for some first rate players. This is more a neutral observation than a true con.
Other Thoughts: The more I play Knob Hill the more I love it. I tend to value variety and consistency, and that's Knob Hill's game to a T. Its holes flow well from one to the next, accumulating into what for me is a very satisfying overall experience. It's a must-play course in a must-visit area.
Ratings-wise, Knob Hill teeters between a 4.0 and a 4.5 for me. Its lower wow factor points to the former, its completeness and variety point to the latter. While not quite as spectacular as some other top level courses, it just comes together in excellent fashion. Play it as soon as you can!
Update June 10, 2014: It occurred to me today upon returning to Knob Hill that part of what makes it difficult to rate is that it's almost exclusively par 3, whereas many other what I consider top courses have significantly more par 4s and 5s. Knob Hill is certainly the best par 3 course I've played - it covers an astonishing amount of ground for that format. I still teeter between a 4.0 and a 4.5 but it's all semantics: this is a fantastic course.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Very Clean, Very Balanced, Very Fun
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Located at the end of a very nice park with multiple pavilions, baseball fields, and a playground. There is a practice basket and a board with local club and tournament information near the foot of the trail to hole 1's tee. This is one of the most superbly manicured and maintained courses I have played, and it is clear that an ongoing effort to evolve the course takes place here, with it always improving. There are very nice benches and trash cans located at each of the holes, the grass is always freshly mowed, and I have never seen trash on the course. The park is easy to find - only a few miles from I-79 - and is located near numerous great courses in Two Mile Run, Moraine, Schenley, Linbrook, and Deer Lakes.
The tee signs are in great shape, tell you distances from every tee to every pin position, and point you to the next tee. The white tee signs are the largest and show you maps of the hole layout, with the blue and red signs being small and only displaying the distances. The course offers three sets of tees on every hole (red, white, and blue), with white and blue tees being very long and wide concrete tees that are in great shape. I've only seen concrete tees as comfortable to play on at Idlewild. The Mach 3 baskets are in great shape and display hole numbers on them. The three tee and pin positions offer a great variety in the type of shots and distances. The difficulty is significantly different from red, to white, to blue, so this course caters to every kind of player.
You can pretty much find every kind of shot here, and many of the holes offer multiple lines to the baskets. There are a large variety of hyzer, anhyzer, and straight shots, as well as a great use of elevation changes with uphill (4, 7, 8, 10, 16), downhill (6, 9, and 17), rolling hills (5 and 11), and side-sloping hills (3, 12, and 18). All but a few holes have some sort of elevation, which is the beauty in Knob Hill. Hole types are very nicely intermingled, as you start with long shots in the woods, play through more open holes over rolling hills, head back into the woods for a few tighter holes, and then finish with three open holes. The constant changes in hole types make this course so fun to play. The stretch from holes 5-12 is one of my favorites stretches of any course and is on some of the most picturesque and disc golf friendly topography I can imagine. There are also O.B. markings and mando's on a few of the holes. Depending on the pin position, holes 6, 14, and 18 can offer death putt scenarios. I've never had a good lay up on 18, as my disc always manages to roll away from the basket.
Finally, the course flows very well and feels natural for the most part, and I don't think a map is needed to get around. The only confusing part is that you have to walk back past 9's tee to get to 11.
Cons: All of my cons are a little nick-picky, there are no serious detractors at Knob Hill.
-Not a ton a parking space, which can be a problem on the course's most crowded days
-This course is very popular so it gets crowded in the evenings and on the weekends. The main problem with this is found in the stretch from 5-11. 5 and 11 share the same fairway (albeit different sides) and errant throws could land in yours or someone else's way. Holes 9 and 11 tee off very close together. Not a significant problem, but 9-12 are all closely jumbled together.
-It'd be nice if the red tees were concrete (instead of natural) for beginner players
-The pin positions that are marked in the tee sign are sometimes in the wrong spot. Not a huge deal though as you can see most of the baskets from the tee.
-Not a lot of long distance holes, except if you play from the blue tees. Still, nothing super long.
-Course often seems to be muddy in a few spots
-Most of the holes offer wide fairways, but the rough is thorny and thick. If you land in the rough, it can be hard to find your discs and there is no real chance of making a decent throw from inside the rough.
-I definitely wouldn't call the last few holes (16-18) throwaways, but they are a let down from the rest of the course IMO as they are pretty much wide open. Significant elevation changes are used, though.
Other Thoughts: Knob Hill is a great stop in between playing many of the other great courses in the area. I would say it is a little easier than Moraine and Deer Lakes, but it offers a similar feel and the high level of quality disc golf is still there. It is also within minutes of Old Economy and Linbrook, if you want to stay in the Cranberry/Wexford area. I would recommend anyone to play this well taken care of course, and there is an active club scene here. Only takes me slightly over an hour to play, so you won't be here too long, and it is located close to many gas stations and a variety of great restaurants. Only about 15-20 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh as well.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Standing Strong with the Best
Pros: 18 hole course set mostly in wooded areas of a nice, town park.
- Nice entrance - after passing playgrounds, pavillions and large parking lot, you see a sign for the course pointing you along, you pass a couple baskets/holes and there is a small parking lot at the end of the road with bulletin board, restroom and practice basket
- Playgrounds, baseball fields and pavillions show that it's a multi-use park, so other activities around for non-golfers and/or kids
- Of the 5 course I played in the area, this one was closest to "civilization", so you're not far from gas, food/drink, etc.
- Large grassy areas appear to be mowed and maintained, while the wooded areas have pretty defined fairways and pathways in between holes
- Parking also availble down below basket location for #7 if main parking is really crowded
- Apart from holes 16-18, you seem to be off on your own in otherwise unused areas of the park, so not a high chance for interference
- 3 tees on each hole (flypad for longs/blues, concrete in good shape for mids/whites and natural for shorts/reds)
- 3 basket positions on each hole, some with significant variance between positions, giving completely different hole experiences
- Nice Mach 3 baskets in good shape
- Detailed, colorful tee sign at each white tee (probably the most commonly used tees, if I had to guess) showing par, nice hole map, location of all 3 tees and pin positions, flight paths, nut/bolt system to designate current pin position, next tee arrow and distances from each tee to each basket
- Post at each blue tee (and maybe some red tees?) with a sign indicating hole number and lengths only, I think
- Course flows very nicely and there aren't really any long walks between holes (a little bit of a walk from parking to tee #1, but not too bad)
- Nice hole setting variety - some holes are open (#7, #8, #18), some are heavily wooded (#2, #3, #4), many are a mix with room to drive, but enough trees to keep you honest
- Hole designs present you with a lot of shots - uphill on #4, #8, #16; downhill on #6, #9, #17; left on #10, #16; right on #2, #5
- While this course didn't really have the "wow factor" holes of other top-notch course, there were plenty of just really solid golf holes - I really enjoyed hole #6 - downhill hole where you have to avoid some trees close to the tee, then it opens up where your disc needs to settle near the pin perched on the edge of a fallaway/little cliff - real nice hole to let a mid-range/fairway driver float out and turn from left to right all the way - hole #13 was also pretty cool, with 2 fairways separated by a clump of trees in the middle - take the right and it's a more direct path to the basket or take the left and it's open for a while longer (not the whole way), but you have to get your disc to turn voer left to right to get in close - you're greeted with the basket down in a little shallow gully with stone pavers acting as steps to get you down there
Cons: - Hole #16 always crosses over the main entrance road, as well as the white tee crossing hole #18 (depending on pin position, I think) - definitely not a good design considering the crowds that this course apparently gets
- Pretty muddy in some spots in the woods, but it had rained a few days before I played
- By having the main tee signs at all white tees, along with varying teeing surfaces, it's pretty obvious which tee you're on, but it would be nice to have the full tee signs on the other tees as well
- Red tees are natural and although I wasn't playing them, I did try to look for them as I was walking and couldn't find some of them
- While the nut/bolt for pin location on the tee sign is a great feature, a few of the indications were not accurate and a couple holes were missing the bolt altogether
- Even though it's very short and meant to be this way, hole #16 is a bit too plinko-like for my taste
- I don't think there was a course map on the bulletin board - I like having the map there in case you don't have a printed one or you don't have a smartphone to pull it up online, you can take a picture, sketch your own quickly or at least get an overall look (I didn't have great service, but already had the map pulled up on my phone)
Other Thoughts: - You're not anywhere near the parking lot after 9 holes (a feature I like), but the course layout is such that you could skip a handful of holes (6-10, for example) without any extra walking, in order to cut your round shorter down to 10 or so holes if you're in a rush
- Trash cans and benches near a handful of holes, but a small amount of trash was out on the course anyway
- I generally like the bands on the Innova baskets due to visibility - on the open and slightly wooded holes, these baskets were very easy to pick out, but obviously tougher on the heavily wooded holes
- No next tee signs that I remember, but as mentioned above, it flows pretty nicely and the map is very accurater and helpful (almost played #11 before #9 and #10)
This course was a great addition to my Pittsburgh trip. For what appears to be an "old-school" course, it certainly didn't feel that way (especially after playing Schenley). It must have been truly incredible back in the day and even now stands up to the best of the best that have more recent/modern designs. I love the variety and hope to get back to play it again. Thanks to those who designed, installed and maintain this great course.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Yet Another Solid Pittsburgh Course
9 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: The course is nicely marked out and has three good solid tees and three pin positions on each hole, with a variety of options and lines required.
Though every hole is a par three, the course offers a variety of shots. If you're capable, you'll throw forehands, rollers, hyzers, anhyzers, and whatever else you've got.
The baskets are clearly marked with bright orange tape around the pole. I wish more courses had such easy-to-see baskets.
The layout was fairly obvious, but the maps printed on the back of the free paper scorecards at the entrance still came in handy once or twice.
The baskets are in great shape, and the tee signs are all you could ask for - clear and easy to understand. The cement teepads on the white tees were nice.
The fairways are clear of obstructions and debris. Every few holes there were wastebasket AND recycling baskets, which meant there was little to no trash on the course itself.
The course makes good use of the available land, often putting baskets on severe slopes or protecting the basket locations with trees, but rarely both or neither. It's a solid design.
We played mid-day on a Sunday and the course was not crowded. We let a few players through and they were courteous and nice. The holes are just about the perfect distance apart so you feel separated enough from any other groups but groups won't sneak up on you, either.
Cons: These are nit-picks so even though there are a few of them, each individual one has very little weight.
- I read in other reviews that there are "Pindicators" on the tees, but I didn't see any, and on a few holes we weren't entirely sure which way the hole went. Not a big deal - we would walk ahead or sideways until we saw the bright orange tape. (Update: I may have misunderstood what the Pindicators are. Apparently they're like Q codes on the tees. So never mind this one. :D)
- Red tees are natural tees. I bet eventually they'll change that. We couldn't find the red tees on #9. There was no post.
- Could use a little more variety in hole length. Some holes could have been nifty par fours if some lines or length were different.
- The course does not drain particularly well. This is particularly true around #9.
That's it for the cons! And like I said they're pretty small.
Other Thoughts: I played with my brother-in-law, wife, and daughter. We played the white tees while they played the red.
Just outside the parking area to the park there's a nice wooden playground for kids.
Of the three main Pittsburgh area courses, Moraine and Deer Lakes reign supreme. Knob Hill is nice, but doesn't match up to those two. Still a very, very good course. Just not in the upper echelon.
I recommend eating at Monte Cello's in Cranberry after playing. :)
9 of 11 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 8 Not
Pros: Challanging...with elevation changes and blind holes.Fair length with acceptable tee pads.Multiple pin locations.Nice workout with the hills. Descent mix of open and wooded holes.
Cons: Muddy.....very muddy in spring and after rain. Could use better "next tee" signs.Some holes have mud 1 foot thick in places. The complaint i have with the blind holes is with the different pin locations..youll have to look to see in u need a hook or turnover drive.
1 of 9 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: This is probably my favorite course. There is a good variety of long holes to short holes. There are also a good mix of wooded holes compared to wide open ones that you can just rip it. All 18 holes have poured concrete teepads for the white tees.
Cons: Not many cons. The biggest problem might be signs. If you are new to the course, it can be a bit tricky on a few of the holes to get to the next one. Overall it is pretty straightforward to get from hole to hole.
Other Thoughts: Would definitely tell anyone to play this course if they have a chance to. It can be a pretty quick round, especially if you want to sneak in a round on a weeknight after work before it gets dark.
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 5 Not
A fun and beautiful course
Pros: The course is very close to Moraine and deer lake. It is just as the ratings suggest a great course but not quite as good as moraine or deer lakes. The course is not as tiring as the other two either. The shots are a bit more open here and make for more friendly play and more forgiving shots. There are also quite a few birdie shots on this course and ace run holes.
Cons: There are three possible pin placements and you cant tell which one to throw to unless you see the basket or walk the hole.
Other Thoughts: We played a mix of the whites and the blue tees.
The best camping ground we found after 3 hours of driving was Breakneck campground right next to moraine on cheeseman road. It was $8/ night per person with tent. My moraine review gives greater detail on where the campground is.
I wouldn't say any of the three top courses in the area are beginner courses but Knob Hill would be the most beginner friendly in my opinion.
3 of 8 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: 18 baskets with multiple pin placements and 3 sets of tees for each hole with natural, concrete, flypad in order of short to long. Decent tee signs on the short tees. Excellent use of the rolling and extreme elevation and terrain. Good variety of woods and open space and calls on some good shot making. Can play fairly easy in the short pins and fairly hard in the long pins. Course is well maintained on fairways and rough is not too bad. Restrooms in parking lot.
Cons: Lacks tee signage for long tees and next tee, and current pin placement. A few fairways play a bit close together. Crossing fairways on 16 and 18. Some blind landings. It did take awhile to find the tee for hole 1. Missed hole 10 and went to 12(go back uphill to tee 10).
Other Thoughts: I really enjoyed Knob Hill more than I thought I would. It's hard for me to realize this is an older course because it can play quite long. It was hot as hell(100+) when I played and basically nobody else on the course, so that may have helped the experience. I'd imagine it can get crowded and the close fairways could be an issue. I wasn't quite expecting extreme elevation like that with the hill part in the name, should be mountain, and it was brutal in the heat. Hole 9 was a blast throwing a huge downhill ski slope type shot with woods on both side and overhanging canopy. One of my favorite holes all time. Then hole 10 you play straight back up which is a killer. A lot of great holes and variety here.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Highly Recommended if you're in the area
• Three sets of tees (red =natural w/toe boards, white = concrete, blue = flypad) not only change distance, but some of the blues have tough routes to hit. Course can play differently depending on your choice of tee.
• Three pin locations: can impact your game more than which tee you drive from. When I played (from white tees), the pins were in the 'C' config, which were usually the longest and definitely the trickiest, least accessible of the three. IMHO the 'C' pins were a bit LHBH/RHFH friendly. 'B' locations were usually more accessible from all pads and occasionally a bit longer than 'C' depending on the tee. The 'A' pins were unquestionably the shortest and friendliest layout. As a result of these drastically different placements, Knob Hill may offer the greatest variety from round to round of all the courses I played in this area. Factor in the three tees and the result is a course that kind of allow you to custom tune your round (if the pins are in the positions you desire), and you just gotta love a course that offers 9 different ways to play it.
• Challenge is HIGHLY variable. Blue to 'C' would be a true championship caliber layout. Red to 'A' would be great for beginners or even an Ace Race.
• Mostly wooded with enough open holes to provide a nice balance. Solid design with a pretty good mix of fairway shapes that's largely dependent on pin location. A few fairways really limit you to one or to specific lines, but most holes present a few possible lines from the tee, but pin location and personal preference will pretty much dictate the shot thrown. Rough is nasty enough to make you pay for bad shots, and can really hurt your score or steal a disc.
• Course is set on very hilly terrain and elevation is well utilized on both fairways as well as putting greens. There are a few holes where the risk of rollaways.
• Nice tee markers. Concrete pads were brushed and spacious. Baskets and were good shape and a non-issue. Scorecard/maps available at near the 1st tee area. I wasn't paying close attention, but I do recall a few benches and trash cans during my round.
• Except for a bit of a back-track from basket 1 to tee 2, navigation seemed alright and flow is quite good for the most part. The scorecard/map should clear things up should you run into trouble.
• Park seemed clean and well-maintained. Has a nice playground for the kiddies, a couple of pavilions and a restroom (didn't use it, no clue as to condition/cleanliness).
• Close to plenty of restaurants and gas/convenience stores if you want to grab a bite or drink before/after a round
Cons: Didn't find much to list here (that happens when they get things right):
• Three possible pin placements means you'll have to walk some fairways to see what's in play. A small price to small price to pay unless you're healing up a foot/leg injury.
• 16 plays across a road. Didn't seem like a major issue, but probably depends on traffic volume.
• A few holes are crammed pretty tightly together. Shouts of "FORE!" have to be common on busy days.
Other Thoughts: As a result of some TLC from the local DG community and good maintenance from the city Parks & Rec, this well established course has aged quite gracefully, and remains a gem to play after close to 20 years. Not sure if they ever present a mix of A, B, and C baskets at the same time, but that could really make things interesting.
I highly recommend the trilogy of Moraine (1st), Deer Lakes (2nd) and Knob Hill (3rd) to anyone looking for a great weekend of discing. Coming in behind those two shouldn't reflect poorly on Knob Hill. Really enjoyed this place and after playing 18 here, I can honestly say it's an excellent course.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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