My home Course
0 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: Great mix of wooded and open shots, great elevation changes.
Other Thoughts: Been playing this course off and on since it was installed, but I have really been playing it a lot lately. This is my home course so of course I'm biased.
0 of 9 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Extremely wide variety of holes. Open and long, open and short, wooded and long, wooded and short, etc. Bring your distance drivers because this course will challenge you to throw far. You'll also need accuracy in order to land on the fairways.
-I've played on heavily wooded parks like Deer Lakes where the vegetation/ trees are too dense to make it interesting, but Deer Lakes does not fall victim to this. Many holes are heavily wooded, but I never felt like I couldn't find a line to throw at. Also, Deer Lakes is good for making you bust out both your fore and backhand with the curvature of the holes.
-Very few, if any, throwaway holes. Even the short par 3s have many trees or elevation changes to make them interesting. The only generic hole I can think of is hole 4, but it's honestly a nice changeup after the long hole 3.
-Top of the line signage and tee pads. Every hole has three tee pads, each complete with its own sign including distance, preferred line, hole placement, and a guideline for the next hole. As of 8/15/15 they were all in great shape.
-Piggybacking on my third point, the holes themselves are very, very nice. They used a certain kind of weaving or knotting or something with the inner ring of chains to make them very "catch-y."
-The paths between holes are marked extremely well and are well maintained. Most holes have signage pointing to the next hole, and the park employees have put up wooden boards and such to keep your feet out of the mud. Very helpful.
-The course is kind of like a hike. There are some really steep inclines and declines. I personally found it fun to hike, jump, and run around them. It made me feel like a little kid in a great way.
-The end of hole 9 puts you right back out by the parking lot where you started. This is a huge plus for me because it lets you either get a quick 9 in if you live close or, if you see a few groups starting off at 1, you can start on the back 9 and miss the crowds while still playing 18.
Cons: -I loved this course so I'm going to struggle to find legit cons, that being said, if you have a hard time getting around due to weight or a lower-body issue, this course will really take its toll on you. Like I said in the pros section, Deer Lakes is a legit hike. You're going to be climbing steep hills and jumping over fallen trees and such. Be prepared for that mentally and physically.
-If you're a beginner, this course might be a little intimidating. It's long, wooded, and has some impressive elevation changes. As an intermediate player, I felt perfectly challenged, but I could imagine beginner players being frustrated by this course.
Other Thoughts: -If this course isn't a 5 star course, I don't know what is. It's free, located pretty close to downtown Pittsburgh (we got here in about 35 minutes from the Avalon/ Bellevue area), and offers some of best holes I've played. If you live anywhere near Pittsburgh or are visiting, do yourself a favor and play this course. You will not regret it.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This review refers to the Blue Tees layout for the 2015 Worlds: Outstanding course design with a great mix of tightly wooded and open crushes that demands a variety of left-right, right-left and straight shots that will test the abilities of the best players. The majority of the fairways are well defined (hole 14 can be a bit tricky, but there is a way!), and many feature landing zones where a few feet can be the difference between birdie and bogey (or worse). Precarious pin positions invite roll-aways on several holes that will test your mental fortitude. Water is available on the course (look for the pumps). Swirling winds can make it difficult to judge the proper speed and angle on several of the holes.
Cons: Steep hills makes it difficult to use a cart (for those of us with back problems who almost never carry their bag). Thank goodness it did not rain during the 2015 Worlds, as some of the steep inclines would be hard to traverse in mud.
Other Thoughts: A phenomenal course that can be enjoyed by all pro and advanced players. Less experienced folks should play the short tees.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Great mix of shots through woods and open fields. This course has about every shot weather right or left, up or down, and everything in between. Fun course to play.
Cons: The only cons I can think of is when it rains this course can get rather muddy. Stay on the fairways if all possible. Rough is very unforgiving. And of course loosing discs on #15 in the water but this is more my fault than the courses of course.
Other Thoughts: Definitely worth playing. I guess since I play here the most you can call this my home course.
0 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Where the Deer and the Disc Golfers Play
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: A long course, many nice changes in elevation, grassy fairways and some woods, some water. Deer Lakes Park is strong. The park is nearly spotless, and the grass was nicely cut. A really nice variety shifting between open and wooded, and mixing lefts and rights. The triple tees on each hole were concrete, with very nice signs. Mach 3 baskets are good. A number of great memorable holes. 3 is a long run over rolling hills with woods on both sides. 6 is a good one, long and wooded. 7 is a fun bomber, with big drop in elevation with few trees. 9 is really long, also downhill, and crossing an expanse of grass, then moving into the woods. I pulled off an awesome approach and made a birdie on the 846' par 5 beast. 11 is really sweet, downhill into woods. 14 is a really long, thickly wooded and tough. 15 is pretty cool, teeing from an elevated position well up a hill, across a pond at the bottom. Risky, but very fun and exhilarating. 16 us another densely wooded, lengthy hole. Par is listed at 66, I shot a 70 on the first round. Not bad, but left me wanting more. Benches in many places to rest when needed.
Cons: Map available to print, was very helpful for me on a couple of holes. Leash law for pets. Open on half of the holes, a couple are maybe less than phenomenal, but majority are great.
Other Thoughts: Deer Lakes Park disc golf course has a great layout design, that is very fun and pretty difficult. There are lots of long holes with many ups and downs, but they are well worth the effort. Cool tree stump with 3 owls carved into it, I think it was on the way to the 10th tee. I would recommend this course to any player who is in the vicinity, playing this one at least once is a good idea.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 8 Not
The real deal.
Pros: Every shot you have, you will use multiple times. The course has everything: elevation changes, tight holes, open holes, looooong holes. The course is also just beautiful: SW PA's scenery gets shown off for sure, especially when the leaves are changing colors in autumn.
Cons: The rough on this course is... rough. If you throw off the fairway, finding your disc is quite difficult. There are a few holes that, from the white or red tees, are sort of "gimmie" holes. In my opinion, this is desirable for the red tees, but not so much the whites. You won't play a casual/quick round here, so that could potentially be a con as well.
Other Thoughts: Favorite course of the Pittsburgh-area courses.
1 of 9 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 0 Not
One of the Best
Pros: I have been playing this course since the weekend it opened in 2006 and the improvements have been tremendous. It showed a lot of promise seven years ago and is filling out those hopes in preparation for the 2015 Worlds.
Deer Lakes provides fantastic variety in a secluded setting. It is very rare to see people other than disc golfers on the course although I did run into a wedding last year on #10. There are three sets of concrete tee pads (Red- 875, White-925, Blue-975) on each hole and several of these have taken a lot of work to put in and look great.
One of the more unique aspects of Deer Lakes is the fact that the par of the hole stays constant for each set of tee pads. This allows everyone from beginners to pros to enjoy this course while feeling happy about their score. I think this is a wonderful idea that more courses need to implement.
Now, back to the course's variety. There are 9 par threes, 6 par fours, and 3 par fives on this par 66 course. There are downhill shots, uphill shots, an 800 foot par 5 in a pipeline, tunnel shots in the woods, and wide open field shots for those who like to throw big. This course has everything, including #15 the only water hole in Pittsburgh( if you want to be 100% sure of making it over the water, use the red tees). Most holes present a variety of routes to the basket; therefore, Deer Lakes will test your decision making as well as your arm and your endurance (the course is long and hilly).
Deer Lakes is especially wonderful to play in the fall when the leaves are a palette of colors on the wooded holes. Hole #14 ( par 5 in the woods) is especially spectacular. Most of the leaves turn yellow so you feel like you're walking Oz' yellow brick road.
The tee signs are also excellent. Each sign has a marker pointing to the next hole so as long as you pay attention it is hard to get lost or skip a hole.
#9- One of my favorite holes in disc golf, this par 5 invites you to bomb your drive down a gently sloping fairway. The next shots are more technical as the last 200 feet consist of a narrow, corkscrew path in thick woods.
#3- A long par 5 in pipeline that is probably 40 feet wide. Stay on the fairway or strokes will pile up fast.
#7- A fun, steep downhill par 3 that lets you admire the flight of your disc.
#11- A tricky, heavily wooded, downhill par 3 where the basket is on a severe slope across a casual relief ravine.
#14- One of the most complained about holes on the course, but one of my favorites. This is a par 5 deep in the woods that seemingly presents no paths off the tee. It may seem this way at first but contrary to popular belief there are actually multiple fairways. I throw an anhyzer down the left side.
Cons: There are few negatives about this course. Chief among them is the tendency of a couple holes to turn into shoe-grabbing morasses after a hard rain. #3 and the walk around the lake on #15 are particularly treacherous.
Hole #8 is a little boring, but really every other hole is a pleasure to play.
The park is not located near any major highways and can be difficult to find. Make sure you have good directions if you're not a local and are playing it for the first time.
Other Thoughts: This is one of the top courses I've played along with Moraine, Idlewild, and Nevin Park. I gave it a 4.5 rather than a 5 because there a scant few things that could be improved.
I have played this course over 100 times so I might be a little biased and neglectful of what a first time player might think. Some of the baskets on longer holes (#3, #9, #14, #13) can be in surprising positions.
But in conclusion, if you live in the area, or enjoy traveling to play good disc golf courses, and you haven't played Deer Lakes, shame on you.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 22 Not
Beautiful Course (But still knocking it down a peg)
Pros: I am updating this in an attempt to make those who are clearly tracking this course and shooting down any negative review... ALL THINGS IN ALL CAPS ARE FOR YOU GUYS>>> the rest can read the small print and get my full thoughts. I AM NOT TRYING TO BE SARCASTIC... I JUST WANT YOU TO KNOW HOW MUCH I APPRECIATE THE WORK THAT GOES INTO A BEAUTIFUL COURSE LIKE THIS. but I want this to be a productive reveiw of what I saw compaired to other top courses on this site.
DEER LAKES IS A BEAUTIFUL PARK. THE CONCRETE TEE PADS ARE REALLY NICE. THIIS COURSE HAS A GREAT MIX OF WIDE OPEN STUFF AND TIGHT WOODED HOLES. THE COURSE LAID OUT REALLY WELL TO UTILIZE THE TOPOGRAPHY WITH UP HILLS AND DOWN HILL SHOTS AS WELL AS SOME RIGHT AND LEFT DOG LEG HOLES. SOME REALLY FUN TRICKY LAYOUTS TO PUZZLE THROUGH.
I DISAGREE WITH OTHER REVIEWERS AND FOUND THE WATER HOLE A BLAST... LONG TEES GIVE YOU A FUN CONTROL APPROACHY TYPE SHOT TO GET TO THE WATER AND IT IS A SHORT THROW OVER THE WATER TO STAY DRY. VERY DOABLE.
Cons: I lOVE DGA BASKETS... but they are wicked hard to find on a few holes in the woods. For someone who knows the course well, I am sure this isn't a problem but in this fast growing sport... folks are traveling to play these BEAUTIFUL COURSES... a bright color flag at some of the baskets would help.
There were also at least 2 holes that were just huk and hope as there was no fairway at all. Walls of trees to fire through and hope you get lucky. WHILE SOME OF YOU MAY LOVE THIS TYPE OF LAYOUT, i find them frustrating as hell. I couldn't find any relief on a couple of these holes. I think 11 & 16 maybe. I WAS PSYCHED FOR 9 WHICH HAD A COOL GROVE OF TREES TO NAVIGATE AROUND AND THEN AN APPROACH INTO THE WOODS but the it took forever to figure out we're the basket was.... Maybe there are other pin placements that it gets moved too but this spot down over the back of the fence area was completely unexpected for someone new to the course. NOW THAT I KNOW WHERE IT IS I THINK I COULD PLAY THAT HOLE MUCH BETTER AND IT WOULD BE GREAT FUN AND I CAN SEE IT AS A SIGNATURE HOLE IN A WAY, but I walked all over the grove of trees never thinking to look down over that fence.
I LOVED THE TEE SIGNAGE WHICH IS VERY CLEAR AND SHOWS A GREAT OVERVIEW OF THE HOLE... LOVE WHEN COURSES DO A GOOD JOB WITH THIS... but I could have used a few little signs to point to the next hole... like at South Hills Park. They hang these little yellow arrows under the baskets pointing at the next tee.
A few holes were very muddy... but that is nothing anyone can do much about.
Other Thoughts: AGAIN... NOT BEING SNARKY HERE... I WANTED TO HONESTLY REVIEW ALL THE COURSES I GET TO PLAY AND I AM LUCKY ENOUGH TO TRAVEL AROUND FOR WORK AND PLAY SOME OF THE TOP RATED COURSES ON THIS SITE.. I can't help judging this course against the other courses I have played in the top 15 on this site... Maple Hill(10th currently) and Tyler State Park (9th currently).
I AM BEING NIT PICKY HERE BECAUSE THIS IS A BEAUTIFUL FUN CHALLENGING COURSE, but I don't think it comes close to Maple Hill or Tyler State Park. This course is only 3-4 spots below it now. So this is just my perspective and comparison.
OVERALL...DEFINITELY WORTH THE TRIP TO PLAY THIS COURSE... I don't think it is a 4.5+ but some of you clearly do. I VERY MUCH ENJOYED PLAYING YORU COURSE AND GOT A FEW GREAT PICS OF A READ TAIL SWOOPING OVER ONE OF THE BASKETS WITH GREAT FALL COLORS. I hope those of you who venture to this course for the first time find my review helpful and I appreciate the PM's from a few of you in support... thanks.
6 of 28 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Not Quite a 5 by the Slightest of Margins
Pros: -Located in a very big park that has a ton of activities available: fishing, hiking, running/walking trails, baseball field, children's play area and multiple pavilions
-This is one of - if not - the most well maintained and aesthetically pleasing course I have played in my short career. I can't wait to see what it looks like in the fall. Deer Lakes is tremendously well taken care of, and the course is constantly freshly mowed. The amenities are tremendous, as there are multiple bathrooms, benches, and garbage cans located throughout the course. You'll be hard pressed to find any litter on the ground. The maturity of this course is unmatched, with at least a dozen bridges located right where you could use them, a few sets of stairs and clearly defined paths to make hiking in the woods and finding the next tee easier, and clearly defined fairways in the woods with very little rough. Almost impossible to lose a disc here, everything is very well cleared out.
-The tees are perfect, with red, white, and blue on each hole. They are concrete, have great grip, are dug nicely in the ground, and are the perfect size. On many of the holes, the tees have gravel around them, and/or raised on a platform made from wood and carved out of the angled ground, adding to the aesthetic quality of the course. Each tee gives a different approach on almost every hole, adding to the diversity of the course. I've thrown from every tee, and there is a respectable difference on many of the holes, greatly supporting that tee's level of difficulty. Tremendous care went into selecting the tee locations.
-Tee signs look brand new and give all three tee and pin locations. They also point you to the next tee, which in my mind helps and makes navigation a breeze (minus one or two parts of the course). There is also a next tee sign where appropriate (between 10 and 11), which definitely helps.
-Mach 3 baskets are in good shape and are easy to find, even in the woods. Some pin positions are really creative and unique (2, 3, 9, 11, 15). Definitely some death-putt scenarios.
-You will truly experience every kind of hole here. Multiple straight shots, hyzers, anhyzers, open, wooded, terrific changes in elevation. The only thing that is slightly missing is that there are no gimmicky or extreme uphill elevation shots, but all but two holes (4 and 17) have some kind or multiple kinds of elevation change. Also, there is a tremendous variety in distances with some pretty short (2, 4, 5, 8, 11) and some very long (3, 9, 14, 16, and 18) holes, and everything in between. There is even a water hole - a rarity in this region - which gives you the fun option of taking a risk from the white or blue, or playing it safe from the red tee as it is placed near the edge of the water. There are multiple justifiable par 4's and 5's. There are clearly defined multiple lines on every wooded hole. Finally, many holes change dimension and dynamic, being flat then going uphill/downhill on the green, throwing from the open into the woods and vice versa (9, 11, 15, and 16 are great examples of this). Definitely one of the best qualities of this course.
-Loops back near the parking lot multiple times
Cons: -Some of the holes in the woods and walking around the pond always seem to be at least a little muddy, but there has been a significant attempt to avoid those problems with all of the bridges and pathways.
-For a course of this magnitude, some holes can come off as a little underwhelming
-The walk from 8 to 9 can be confusing, even though there is a pole with a sign pointing you in the general direction. My fist time playing, my brother and I followed the road and spent a half hour venturing further away from 9. Make sure you stay to the left of the road and as you get to the end of the gravel lot, you will see paths directing you to the tees. Other than that , the navigation of the course flows well.
Other Thoughts: This is such a fun course to play, and literally the only thing keeping my giving it a 5 is the few lesser holes. Deer Lakes has multiple holes that are some of the most beautiful, technical, and fun holes to play. A 5-rated course in my mind must maintain that top-level consistency on every single hole, as Moraine does. 4, 8, and 12 - while not throw-aways - are a few notches down from the other holes here. This course is a good as a 4.5 can be in my mind, and I toyed with giving it a 5. Just couldn't justify those very few lesser holes. Holes worth special mention:
3- Plays very long, going slightly downhill and then back uphill. Tough pin location uphill and behind a tight line of trees.
6- Very hard anhyzer line with OB on the right and plays uphill through a lot of trees
7- Beautiful hole! Throw downhill over some trees and battle the wind
9- One of my favorite holes in all of disc golf. Plays very long and open then through a tight path in the woods, ending with a death-putt scenario with the pin on the edge of a cliff
14- Another one of my favorites, beautiful hole, playing very long through the woods with multiple lines. Can never play this hole two times exactly the same way
15- Again, throws over a pond, not common around here
So many great signature holes!
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Not Transcendent, but Still Awesome
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: One of the aspects of this course that jumped out to me right as we teed off and stayed consistent throughout is how well the three tees on each hole are designed. The red tees manage to maintain the intrinsic quality of the hole while indeed being easier than the higher rated tees. I'm a low 800s player, and I always default to the easier tees on my first time playing a course. Sometimes it can be a bummer to see a hole that is interesting/challenging from the blue tees become a snoozer from the reds. Switching over to the blues in such instances, however, often means inviting an excess of frustration. I appreciated how the tee layouts at Deer Lakes handled steps up or down in difficulty; I never felt like I was being babied or missing out on what makes a hole unique simply because I was playing the reds. At the same time, the higher rated tees consistently add challenges to a hole beyond simply making it longer - new obstacles and angles mean that the blues are testing your accuracy beyond just your maximum distance. My partner and I threw from the whites and blues as well as the reds on several holes just to try out the shot they presented.
There's a great amount of variety here. Levels of woodedness are considerately balanced between open shots, tight lines, and transitions from one to the other. Hole length and elevation are similarly varied. I never felt like the course was repeating itself.
Like a lot of its brethren (Moraine, Knob Hill, etc), Deer Lakes benefits from being in a gorgeous natural setting and a well-maintained state park. Bathrooms, water, and parking are accessible and plentiful; I was especially appreciative for the opportunity to refill my water bottle near hole 7's pin. The course is laid out so as to minimize overlap with other park activities, so there's little opportunity for conflict with non-disc golfers.
The tees were perfect: concrete, well-sized, and in excellent condition. I could hardly ask for more.
Holes that stood out to me:
- 3 is the ultimate tunnel shot: super long, dead straight, and a pretty unforgiving width. I threw a beautiful hyzer flip on here and still ended up in the (very shallow) creek just to the left of the fairway. I love the thoughtful pin placement: on a hill, nestled in some trees. It keeps you dialed in right to the hole's end.
- 7 is a gorgeous, empty-your-bag hole. You emerge out from the woods onto a hill overlooking a clearing, with the basket set on the far side, just into the tree line. We threw a few shots from the blue tees for the joy of throwing over the saplings that populate the clearing's right side. The higher elevation brought the wind into play, though, and our discs got pummeled; fair warning. Thankfully there's little chance of losing a disc on an errant throw here.
- 15 stood out for the simple fact of being a water hole; you don't seem to get too many of those around here. The tees are situated to allow it to play as scary or friendly as you like: the blues will have you throwing 150'+ through a descending wooded tunnel with a relatively low ceiling just to reach the water, whereas the reds bring you right to the water's edge.
Cons: There are a few holes that stand out as being a little underwhelming. This is likely partly due to the course's high points being through the roof. 2, 4, 8, and to a certain degree 10 were a little too straight forward for my taste, with little risk/reward trade off. 8 in particular comes off as a throwaway hole. It doubly stands out because it's wedged in between two of Deer Lakes' best.
In general, the course struck me as playing easier than similar courses in the area which take place in a wooded setting and feature a lot of variety. This is relative to the tee you were throwing from, of course.
This course isn't the easiest to find. You're driving through true blue rural Pennsylvania, meaning a lack of street signs, spotty cell reception, and going miles without a point of reference to help assure you you're on the right track. It isn't terrible by any means, but with courses like Moraine, Knob Hill, and Seth Burton/Orange Crush being more or less directly off the highway, Deer Lakes stands out as being a little harder to get to. It's also a shame that it's a bit more isolated from other disc golf destinations than other courses in the area. One of the perks of hitting Knob Hill or Two Mile Run is that they're so close to other worthwhile courses. Still, that isn't Deer Lakes' fault, and the course is surely worth taking a day out to play it alone.
Other Thoughts: I feel a little guilty saying that I didn't find this course as transcendentally amazing as its rating and reputation would suggest. Don't get me wrong: Deer Lakes offers a fantastic round of disc golf. I would only argue that it isn't in a class above comparable Western PA courses such as Knob Hill and Moraine. I actually prefer those two courses to Deer Lakes. I'm having a hard time articulating why that is, but I think it has something to do with the throwaway holes I mentioned before: there just seems to be a large range of hole quality on this course, meaning it's not as consistently top notch as Moraine seems to me to be. Holes like 3 and 7 are etched into my mind's eye, and I recall them with downright giddiness, but other holes blend together and into a general grayness that speaks to a lack of top level consistency. I don't mean to be a contrarian: this is a great course. It's just that, in an area of great courses, it doesn't rise above the rest.
I probably prefer the back nine for its greater mix of woodedness and openness; the holes here seem a bit more complete and challenging from drive to putt.
I would have given this course a 4.25 if given the chance. It's about as good a "4" as there could be.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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