5 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.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Hills lakes and woods
Pros: This course is in my top three along with tyler state park and iron hill. In my opinion it ranks slightly above tyler but is slightly less awesome than iron hill. All in all it is a great course and i hope to be back soon.
Beauty and seclusion- this course is in a secluded area of the park where disc golf is the predominant activity. As far as i know the only other activity that this area is used for is hiking via the numerous trails. Every hole feels unique and apart from everything. Every hole is majestic and outstanding in its own way. This course IS beautiful! 3 as well as 7 and 15 provide beatiful looks through forest as well as some spectacular mountain views. 3 is a fantastic tunnell shot downhill with trees on both sides. 7 provides a downhill bomb with mountains in the background. 15 is a downhill tunnel shot over a lake to a pin 25 feet from the edge.
Elevation- if i remember correctly, ever hole had some elevation change. The elevation was well balanced throughout the course. There were downhill bombers as well as huge uphill shots. If i had to estimate, id say the largest downhill was -60 ft and the larget uphil was +75 feet. I found the elevation on the tight wooded holes to be extremely challenging and provided a challenge like no other.
Shot variety- each hole demanded its own shot and line but had multiple lines to follow in order to execute the given shot. There were some holes wher i ued 7-8 drivers just to test out all the different lines. I used all of my 11 drivers, all three of my mids and 2/3 of my putters.
Distance variety- there was some massive hole lengths as well as short rewarding birdie opportunity. Hole lengths ranged from 275-850. If you played the longer holes well and executed your shots you could have a look for birdie on almost all of the holes.
Amenities- large concrete tees on every hole provide good grip and help you get the extra power you need on some of the holes. Each hole had three teepads all of them being concrete and had intricate tee signs that displayed the lines to the basket, the direction pf the next tee as well as distance and par for the hole. Two loops of nine holes that each lead back to the parking lot. Sometimes i could see only wanting to play nine holes of this massive course. There are bathrooms as well as porta potties close to the parking lot.
This course will challenge our mental and physical game. Elevation tests your mental game and i could see one shot ruining a hole and if you ant stop the bleeding, i could imagine it uining a round. This is the kind of course where 5's and 6's are not uncommon. Elevation changes as well as multiple shot holes can really test you. You habe to work for your birdies and get them when you can because there arent to many out there.
Cons: Some navigation issues if you do not use the tee sign to locate the where the next tee is. Walk from 9-10 can seem a little wandering.
Other Thoughts: Overall my experience at deer lakes was awesome! I played this cours after 7.5 hours of driving on my way to philly and it was well worth the stop. I enjoyed every moment of this wonderful experience and would love to be back soon. Beware, there is no cellnphone ervice in the park.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This course has it all. You get a fair mix of tight woods shots and open bombs, an equal blend of straight, left and right, and a lot of elevation change. Every time I play here, I get to throw every mold in my bag! I make it to this course at least twice a week, and it never gets old. I also appreciate that during the summer months, you can always see improvements being made and baskets being moved to keep holes fresh.
Great signage, easy to follow paths, and excellent flat teepads that setup different lines for different skill levels. This is how a course is meant to be run.
Cons: Well there aren't really any in my eyes. Hole 15 over the water seems to eat a lot of people's discs, so I wouldn't be surprised that others dislike this one. I just bring some old junker disc to toss here and if it goes in the drink, not a big loss.
Other Thoughts: This really is one of the Crown Jewels of the Pittsburgh area. If I didn't live near by, I would still drive quite a ways to play this course frequently. I wish it had 9 more holes, as there is still plenty of land.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 15 Not
Pros: This course is excellent! It has many challenging shots and is very fun! The holes vary in difficulty and lengths. The course is well maintained. I like what they have done with the cement tee pads.
Cons: As with other reviews, the only thing I find a problem with this course is that there are 3 different cage placements an no indication on where the cage will be.
0 of 15 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 6 Not
One of the greats
Pros: The course is layed out well and has a ton of variety to the shots. If you didnt play the course it would make an excellent hike as this is probably the most tiring course I have ever played. There are funny signs on the course that says Knob Hill 20 miles, Moraine 30 miles, with a direction they are in. I played all three courses and they were all fantastic. It has been a couple weeks so I can't give a very detailed review but I can assure that this is one of the bests courses and is a must play.
Cons: There are only 4 or 5 comparable courses here in Michigan! So the con is that its 6 hours away :o.
The only other con, and this is for all three courses, is that there are three pin placements and no way of telling which one unless you can see the basket or walk the hole.
Other Thoughts: Since this course is so tiring I would not recommend playing this course and moraine in the same day. I would do moraine and Knob in the same day or deer lakes and knob. Moraine is just as tiring and awesome, you want to be at your best for both courses.
I wish I kept score with a card but my friend I just played doubles.
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.
5 of 11 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 1 Not
Best course I've played.
Pros: -The best all around course I've played. Deer Lakes really doesn't disappoint anywhere. I played it the day before the PFDO, so I saw it at it's best, and the local club really deserves mention. The upkeep was stellar on every hole, and I'm now spoiled by this course. I really wish I had played it more while on the East Coast!
-Two practice baskets
-Three perfect concrete tees at every hole, each one changing the dynamic of the hole and each having it's own sign. If the tee is on a hill, it has been leveled, using beautiful brickwork to shore it up.
-Three pin locations on each hole. Between the tees and pins, you will have a ton of replay value, and a wide range from beginner friendly to pro caliber.
-A beautifully maintained park setting, with very little non-dg traffic to get in the way of your round.
-The hole variety is superb. There are wide open bombs, and tight holes throughout the course.
-The terrain here is fantastic, with rolling hills and a very deep gorge to play around.
-The pond on 15 presents a very real hazard, with losing a disc a great possibility. Really ups the ante from the pro tee.
-Navigation is a non-issue, as the course flows intuitively from one hole to the next.
-The "giddy" factor is very high here. Every tee seemed to give me butterflies in my stomach as I looked down the fairway. When I messed up a throw, I wasn't upset about my scorecard. I was upset because I really wanted to hit that gap, or really wanted to see the disc hit that line. Every hole leaves you begging your disc to do as it's told, just so you can see it's flight.
-Moraine and Knobb Hill are nearby, making this a great disc golf trip. Deer Lakes isn't quite as challenging as Moraine, but the fun factor is on a whole different level. I guess that's what I really loved about the course. It doesn't seem to be designed to punish players. There's definately a challenge here, but a fun and amazing round of disc golf seems to be the name of the game, and Deer Lakes delivers that in bucketloads!
Cons: -I'm really digging for a con, as they've really covered their bases making sure there are none. That said, the last few holes didn't end with a bang, but more of a fizzle.
-I hate to use the cliche "I wish it was closer" con, but damn...
Other Thoughts: The Pittsburgh area has really become a gotta play, and Deer Lakes has bumped the ever powerful Moraine as the crown jewel of the area. It's worth noting again that I played it the day before a N-T, so I saw it at it's best, but the entire park looked spectacular and I have a feeling the upkeep is generally top notch. I have never played a course that really has no legitimate cons. After hosting the AmWorlds in Rochester, I thought I knew where the bar was set on great courses, but Deer Lakes just shattered my expectations.
On a side note, I got to play behind Avery, Val, and Doss for my round. If that doesn't make for a memorable day, I give up!
Kudos again the the club for getting this course in, it truly deserves every 5-star rating it gets!!
16 of 17 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 11 Not
Pros: Tee positions are extremely well placed and provide a variety of perspectives for varying skill levels. Pros face tighter lanes and more difficult elevation changes, while beginners have shorter drives that nevertheless permit practice of a number of shots, from hyzer to sidearms to rollers.
Fairways are well-kept, as are the all-new cement tee pads!
Hole 15 provides a beautiful, challenging shot over a lake.
For the white/blue tees, you'd better have more than a couple shots in your arsenal. You'll need to be able to throw backhands and forehands if you want to post a solid score!
Cons: Gets messy, especially on hole #2, 3, 13, and 14. This is a long, rough course, so bring water.
There aren't always obvious fairways (and some holes don't appear to have any real lanes), so be prepared to hit a few trees. Stock up on that Star plastic...this isn't a course for DX discs!
Other Thoughts: Simply finding Hole #9 can be a bit confusing. Just walk straight across the random gravel parking lot after #8, and you'll find it.
*Still the best course I have played, and my basis for rating all other courses. 5.0!
4 of 15 people found this review helpful.
24 Helpful / 1 Not
Beautiful wooded course
Pros: The course plays through a beautiful hardwood forest with great mature trees. A few holes come out into more open areas to let you stretch out your arm and add some variety. The majority though play at least partly through the trees and offer everything from long tree lined drives to tight technical holes with enough rough to make you work for a quality recovery. There is some elevation on nearly every shot, and it's used well to keep the course interesting and challenging throughout.
There is a nice mix of hole lengths here from each set of tees, from a couple potential ace runs to well designed multi-shot holes that force accurate distance and shot placement to score well. You'll need all kinds of shots to score well here, it plays nicely balanced with left and right turning shots. There are multiple pin placements that change the course up and add some extra variety. The three sets of tees offer very different distances and levels of difficulty, so players of various skill levels can find appropriate challenges here. The signage is nice, with hole layout and distance at each set of tees so you never have to walk extra to look at the sign.
The park was beautifully maintained. The wooded fairways were cleared and the fields were all mowed. The tees and baskets were all in really nice shape.
Cons: I don't have any real issues with the course design, it's challenging and fun and is what makes this course special. That said, I do have a couple minor complaints. The pin placements could be a little more different, many didn't change the hole all that much. On the ones that do, it would be nice to have the current position marked. Navigation signs around 7-9 would be helpful, it can get a little tricky.
Other Thoughts: I've only played a handful of courses with this level of thought put into a fun and challenging layout, especially one that plays so well from different sets of tees. True beginners may find this course a little long, but recreational players with some level of control can certainly enjoy the short tees. More experienced players will find themselves tested from the middle and long tees, it's not quite as tough as Moraine but it felt a little more complete and still offers enough variety that even verycgood players will need to bring their A game to score well.
24 of 25 people found this review helpful.
21 Helpful / 2 Not
Epic Course! Breathtaking
Pros: This course was an absolute surprise to me. Had heard of Moraine but had never heard of Deer Lakes so really when I came to the course the morning of the PFDO, and starting walking it first thing in my mind was holy crap this is a monster! Walking under the canopy of these huge mature trees really gave you a smaller sense of scale and some parts felt like you almost were playing in a dome. Hole 3 is a par5 monster that kind of reminds of an inverse Hole 15 at Idlewild. Where Idlewild has a gentle rolling hills that goes down hill this was is the exact opposite. Thought it was a stunning hole. Very well manicured, and best part is that when you did stray off the fairway, it wasn't a dense entanglement of sting weeds, and thorns. Hole 5 was a fun hole also. Really enjoyed the fact that you could play it a few different ways. Definate hole were it's either a 2 or a 4 almost. Reminded me almost of a Pachinko machine. :) Hole 6 was the first hole I played on my card when I felt wow this hole is massive. Tempts you to want to throw a Roller, or even a flex shot over the OB. Love holes that have that risk, reward element in it! Really can't think of the numbers on any other holes, but wooded course have a fine line of being fun with a definate line, or just a dense cluster were it is a throw and a prayer. During the tourney round it was hard because I was playing completely blind, but the second time I played it casually, really could see the lines, and what the designer was trying to do. Really not as clever of hole design as say Moraine or Idlewild were there are almost jails on some holes if you don't hit the landing zones but still had that Risk or Reward element on a few of the holes!
Cons: None really. Enjoy hard technical with some more open holes.
Other Thoughts: Beautiful course! Beautiful park! Visit the Deer Lake Diner when going as they have a few discs and also will get you an amazing meal for a low price. People were amazingly friendly also!
21 of 23 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 1 Not
True to its name!
Pros: ~Tees: Each hole has three (red, white, blue) long, raised, leveled, concrete tee pads providing different shots depending on skill level. I have never played on such great tees on any other course. There are a few where the concrete has a drop off at the end (2" from the white tee on hole 3) where you could twist an ankle, but I expect that to be fixed soon.
~Variety: With such a long course, there are tons of different shots. Not only a good mix of open and wooded holes, but also holes that start in the woods and play out to the open (4, 12) and holes that start in the open and play to the woods (9). In addition, there are uphill shots (8, 10), downhill shots (5, 8, 15), left turning shots (9, 13, 16), right turning shots (1, 6), and dead straight shots (3!). There is even the signature hole #15 over the pond which adds some danger to such a "normal" hole.
~Pins: Three pin positions on each hole giving different looks to the same hole depending on the pin. The pins get changed occasionally and change the holes enough that you can never get bored of playing here.
Cons: ~Drainage: For the most part, the course is relatively dry, but there are some problem spots. Hole 3 can get very wet after a rainstorm as well as the bottom of 15 near the water. Be sure to wear waterproof boots if playing after or during the rain.
~Navigation: A few holes (7, 8, 9) may be difficult to navigate if it is your first time on the course. 7 is straight out from the woods and plays down the hill. 8 starts to the left of 7 and throws back uphill and 9 starts straight up from 8, across the gravel and down the bank. Most other areas either have well worn paths or next tee signs.
~Smell: The porta potties and old bathrooms stink up some parts of the course when the air is very stagnant. Can cause for some discomfort but not really affect the round.
Other Thoughts: ~Amenities: There are multiple places on the course (see maps in links section) to get water from spigots which pump out nice, cold, clean water. There are a few porta potties if you need relief during your round although I believe that most of the permanent bathrooms are closed. There are picnic tables at the beginning of almost every hole if you need a break during the round or if you get behind a slow group which really isn't a problem as I have never seen a backup at the course.
~True to its name: I like a course that is true to its name. You get to throw over a lake (more of a pond) on hole 15 and I have seen deer on 80% of my trips to the course. A+!
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
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