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.
Where the Deer and the Disc Golfers Play
9 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.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
17 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.
17 of 17 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.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Deer Lakes...and Deer Hills...and Deer Trees...
Pros: Spectacular pro-level 18-hole course set mostly in the woods of a large town (county?) park.
- You're in for a treat from the start - 2 practice baskets night near the parking lot and tees for hole #1
- Ample parking lot, kiosk with course map, flyers, etc.
- 3 concrete tee pads on each hole, beautifully framed and level
- 3 pin locations on each hole, generally grouped close together
- Colorful, detailed tee signs at each pad provide great hole map, tee locations and flight path for each tee, par, distance for that tee and next tee arrow
- Picnic tables (with attached benches) at almost all of the tees (generally in between blue and white tees)
- Mach 3's for all holes plus practice baskets
- Challenge - this course will beat you up because you not only have to have good throws, but you also have to deal with the up and down walks
- For not having much water (1 pond throwover and a couple small/dry creek beds), a few select OB areas added to the difficulty
- Didn't appear to be a high chance for losing discs (well except the damn pond that ate my TL) - not much brush on the sides and most of the fairways were trampled
- Terrific variety - uphill on #1, #8, #10; downhill on #5, #7, #15; down then up on #2, #3, #11, up then down on #13; right on #6; left on #13 - the list goes on and on
- Having multiple "signature holes" is one sign of a true gem - holes #3 with the long down tunnel and #15 with a downhill drive over the end of a pond obviously get a lot of love - I loved hole #7 and could spend all day unloading my bag on that 350' downhill all the way hyzer hole - hole #9 was also terrific with a long hyzer drive into a tree-smattered field, slight left to right approach to a tight opening in the woods, only to have another left turn in the woods with a steep dropoff back/right of the pin
- You dont' get all punishing holes right in a row - after the long, tough #3, you get a nice flat field throw in #4 and then short, downhill at #5 - after long, wooded, uphill #14, you get the awesome downhill pond throw on #15, neat, right to left on #16 and a couple relatively flat holes on #17 and 18
- While I always enjoy wooded courses over open course, I love "grove" holes, with a select smattering of trees in optimal locations creating necessary lines - #4, #7, #9 come to mind
- You're generally off on your own - only a couple spots where I could envision coming near other park-goers, but if you come with family or kids, there are pavillions, playgrounds, fishing ponds, etc. close by
- Water available in a few palces out on the course (refer to the map)
Cons: - Certainly not an overwhelming amount, but for such an overall top notch course, I felt a few holes were throwaways (an unexciting throw across a flat field, etc.) - #12, #17 and #18 come to mind - less than spectacular way to finish your round
- While the next tee arrows on the tee signs were good, it would be nice to have some next tee indications near the baskets in case you forgot to look at the tee sign - navigation was generally fine, regardless (#9 took me a bit to find)
- I know I played it in spring, but this course really seems to hold water (#3, #6, #14, #15, etc.) - I found a little round-about path during my second round on #15 to avoid going down to the lake shore where it was real soggy, but there was no sign for it and ended up soaking my feet during my first round - a little sign to the path would be nice
- While having 3 tee pads is awesome regardless, they are generally just shorter/longer versions of the same line (some are definitely not - #1, #11, etc.) - would be nice to have more variety overall
- Path down to the parking lot after #9 is pretty steep and was very slippery due to mud
- While the pin positions are generally pretty close, it would be nice to have an indication on the tee sign as to what position it's in - would require less walk-ups to see where you're going
- Picky here, but I'm partial to Innova baskets on wooded courses, since the ones without bands/flags can easily blend into the wooded background on longer holes
Other Thoughts: - No trash to be found anywhere on the course
- Course lived up to its name as I saw a deer with 2 babies running through the woods near #3/5/6 and then again crossing the road on #17/18
- I actually felt like I was getting hunted/stalked by bumblebees a couple times
I'm so glad I was able to play this championship level course while I was in Pittsburgh. No question - it makes you work (I was a few over from the whites), but the terrific design and variety make it all worth while. The tees, signs, baskets, etc. are all very refined - kudos and thanks to those who built and maintain this wonderful course.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 9 Not
Challenging At First - Easier The Second Time Around
Pros: There are A LOT of pro's to this course!! 1: Its challenging yet fun! Lots of up's & down's, around's & through's. 2: Its very beautiful & scenic! A few wide open, grassy meadows & hilltop views of the bright blue sky! 3: Its rarely crowded. Enough said. 4: You face obstacles you won't find at other courses. The 2nd time through you will do much better!
Cons: I'm not a big fan of the 15th Hole with the water hazard. We lost a disc in there our 1st time through the course.
Other Thoughts: Overall.... this is one of coolest courses I have seen in the Pittsburgh area! I've played Schenley Park, Knob Hill & Philips Park. Playing this course makes me better each time I go back and play the others.
Don't get disappointed if you have a rough go on your 1st time, you will improve the next time, I promise! Everyone in my group did. Just stay focused & don't get down on yourself if you have a bad hole. You will eventually LOVE this course more than you love chocolate milk! :)
2 of 11 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Solid and Enjoyable Course
Pros: I took my kid (she's nearly 10 but the size of a 6-year-old) and wife and except for the tantrums on a few holes because the kid was scared to walk down a few slopes (kids are soft these days! :D), we all had a great time.
The course has red, white, and blue tee pads that are all ample sized concrete slabs. I have a short-run-up when I x-step and they were at least twice as long as needed.
The signage on the course is great. The tee signs clearly show where the next tee is and most holes have an arrow pointing you towards the next tee.
The multiple tees offer not just the same shot but different angles, which was nice.
The undergrowth is kept to a minimum which allowed for relatively easy finding of discs as well as skip shots and other things that use the ground. There are not too many trees - just the right amount to punish bad shots and reward good lines.
The elevation changes work into the design of the holes *beautifully*. The second hole is a great example of this, and many pins are tucked onto slopes.
I've only played here once but the multiple basket locations are varied on each hole, which is great and will keep the course "fresh" for many, many rounds.
OB is clearly marked on the tee signs AND in most cases marked on the ground with white stakes and even some rope or string. Awesome.
Great scenery. We didn't see much wildlife but the hills are nice and though we could hear other players, we didn't see them more than once or twice. You feel like you have the course to yourself.
There are variations in hole design, from those in the woods the whole way to those in the open the whole way to those, like the ninth, that start in the open with a big bomb and end in the woods. Great variety.
Even though we're all new to disc golf, all three of us found the course challenging but fair. We had a great time.
Cons: Really nit-picky here because this course is pretty darn good. If I could give it a 4.75 I would, but it's not *perfect* so I have to choose 4.5.
Some of the lower holes get pretty damp, but that's just how water works - it goes downhill.
The signs pointing you towards 7 after 6 could be a *little* more specific, and after 9 to 10 as well.
A few of the slopes MAYBE could use some steps, but again, that's mostly because my kid hasn't been in the woods very much. :)
Uhhh... Yeah. That's about it. Like I said, really nit-picky.
Other Thoughts: The PDGA app, oddly, has this course with 18 par threes. I shot +26 or something like that according to the PDGA app, and that's not right. I submitted the proper pars but I don't know if that matters.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 17 Not
Fantastic Western PA Course
Pros: The course has great signs and great tee pads. Good baskets. Great long holes through the woods. Has elevation changes. The signs help you navigate the course with ease going from one hole to the next.
Cons: Has one hole where you have to throw across a lake and there are low hanging trees which will knock your disc into the lake. Very risky shot from the white tees. The course takes a long time to play but it is such a good course that really does not matter.
Other Thoughts: Some of the out of bounds is unclear. This course is definitely worth driving 45 minutes or making a special trip for because it uses the land well and is one of the best courses in PA if not the best one. The course takes a long time to play but it is such a good course that really does not matter.
1 of 18 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: 18 baskets with three pin positions. Nice tee signs at each of the three concrete tees. Great variety of hole distances, pars, and open vs wooded holes. Excellent use of the rolling elevation, water and terrain. Beautifully manicured fairways and scenery. Rough is not too rough so disc loss potential is low except for the pond. Two loops of nine holes back to the parking lot. Benches and picnic tables a plenty around the tees. Restrooms and water scattered around the park.
Cons: No signage to know which pin the basket is in. This would be easily fixed with some letters, wood hooks, and a moveable lock(or even zip tie) to locate the pin position. Navigation a little tricky in places, but not too bad.
Other Thoughts: Deer Lakes is certainly a top tier DGC and you can't miss if you play here coming from just about anywhere. This course is well suited for just about any type of player from beginner looking to get more competitive to a world class player looking to challenge their game. The whole Pittsburgh area is really sick! When is World's coming to town? I really enjoyed Deer Lakes, but a few minor things that kept me from giving a five disc rating(I've only given a five to Paw Paw). Not knowing which pin the basket is in, and also the alternative pin placements don't seem to change many shots. It'd be nice to have a little more separation between some of the holes. The variety of holes is pure excellence, however I feel the last two holes end a little weak. I think if hole 18 went bigger downhill that might have iced an fiver for me. Maybe it's just a peeve of mine to end with a more epic hole. With all that minor bitching aside I'd highly recommend anybody come play here, it's probably one of the best courses you'll ever play!
10 of 16 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Scenic course winds through a nicely wooded section of a fairly large, well maintained county park that offers several other activities.
• Challenge: Particularly well suited to the intermediate/advanced player, but pros and beginners will enjoy themselves here as well. Only a couple of holes struck me as something beginners should find truly intimidating from the short tees. High marks for a design that can pretty much accommodate all skill levels.
• Shot variety/Course Design: Excellent. Features many moderately to well wooded holes, but still has a few fairways that are open enough to air it out, with a few holes that start out open that have you putting to a well-guarded basket in the woods. Fairways can be difficult, but are reasonable to hit, and if you start bouncing wide off trees, strokes can pile up quickly. Nice balance in terms of fairways that favor hyzer/annie/straight /S-shots from the tee. Some offer several lines, others pretty much restrict you to one or two. Each set of tee pads offers a nice selection of distances (check out the distances on the scorecard).
• Elevation: plenty of it and well used - has you throwing downhill, uphill, and over gullies, with a few holes playing relatively flat. Some pins on or near slopes, so you gotta hit putts and upshots right or you could lose some strokes.
• Multiple Tees: Red, White, and Blue, concrete pads offer increasing challenge. More often than not, they provide slightly different looks at the fairway, and occasionally different elevations... pretty much guarantees an assortment of distances you'll be happy with if you're willing to switch up which pads you tee off from during a round.
• Multiple Pin locations: I don't recall what position the pins were in during my round, but the fact that they vary pin placements from time to time helps keep it from getting boring and adds variety - always a plus in my book.
• Natural Beauty: Deer Lakes is certainly a well-maintained, and pleasant place to play a round. Mature trees, rolling terrain, water, well defined fairways, and mowed grass on open holes, all make for a wonderful setting and a really enjoyable round. I can only imagine how beautiful this place must be in the fall. Not as rough around the edges and rugged as Moraine.
• Equipment: Excellent. Large concrete pads, baskets in great shape. Each pad has color tee markers with hole layout, tee locations and, distance (pretty sure they also showed possible pin locations) . Long fairways equipped with markers to let you know the distance remaining to the basket. Next tee signs to help move you in the right direction.
• Memorable/Unique holes: several 2, 3, 9, 15
• Surprisingly little rough for a course of this caliber.
• Navigation/flow: My guide was quite familiar so I can't elaborate, but most paths were obvious and course seemed to flow pretty well. The only section I recall being confusing was where the course opens up around holes 7-9.
• Amenities/Other: Fresh water available every few holes. Large park offers plenty of other activities - fishing, playgrounds, restrooms. Course was spotless - amazing when you consider how long and spread out this course is and the amount of traffic it must get.
Cons: Take these with a grain of salt:
• I like the idea of three sets of pads, but on a few holes, they were essentially longer/shorter versions of the same shot. Ideally, at least one of the pads should provide a significantly different view of the fairway that makes you choose a different line or type of shot/release.
• Water in the lake seems stagnant. Sure, it looks nice from a distance, but up close, it seems a bit on the nasty side.
• Hole 8: I wouldn't necessarily call it a bad hole, but in comparison to the rest of the course, it seemed a bit "meh."
Other Thoughts: This is a long course with lots of up/downhill trekking , plan accordingly; give yourself time to play, bring a water bottle( maybe even a snack), and wear comfortable shoes.
Hole 15 can be soft/muddy around the lake, but it's a water hole, if water level drops, the exposed ground is bound to be mushy - I won't list that as a con.
Standout holes include:
(#3) An arduous 600'+ uphill gauntlet that's fairly tight the entire way, but not ridiculously so. Nose one up and fade hard and you could end up in jail :-( Keep things on the straight and narrow and you win.
(#9) The longest hole on the course is a sweeping bomb that plays right to left from a moderately elevated and unobstructed tee to an open field sprinkled with a smattering of trees below. At the edge of the field, the woods guard a basket (perhaps 100 ft away?) placed on a moderate slope. Approach shots that slide past the basket can rollaway for a two-putt.
(#15) Red, white and blue tees line up like steps with a canopy of trees overhead framing the water you have to throw over. The higher up you choose to tee off, the farther you must throw to carry the water, to a pin that lies close enough to the edge of the pond to provide plenty of thrill. Even if your disc hits solid ground, it could roll back into the water or slide past for a long putt... with the lake now looming ominously behind the basket. That being said - there's no denying this hole is really an Ace run!
Bottom Line: Deer Lakes really is a special course that's a helluva lot of fun to play, and locals have every reason to be proud of it. Every bit as good as Moraine, but in many ways entirely different, everyone will have their own opinions and preferences. Throw in Knob Hill and you really have genuine destination-worthy discing.
15 of 18 people found this review helpful.
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