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.
1 Helpful / 12 Not
Pros: Course was well maintained and very clean. The holes have a good variation in type and length. Also a good mix of lefty and righty holes. Decent signage and course direction from hole to hole. Teepad signs are not misleading and are a good resource.
Cons: No real cons. The course plays just fine but maybe some special touches could be added like a raised or suspened basket. Kinda like hole 14 that has steps and othe wood peices giving it a little more character.
Other Thoughts: I live in south central PA. About a 3.5 hour drive and it was very much worth the trip.
1 of 13 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.
1 Helpful / 11 Not
Not for a Beginner
Pros: This course has a little of everything. There are some wide open shots, shots through trees, over water and just about anything you can think of.
Cons: This is not an easy walk. There are a lot of hills and if you miss your target you could be in for a hike to get your disc.
Other Thoughts: We enjoyed playing this course but it seems like it plays very long especially for someone just starting out. We will be back to play but not until we can get some more distance on our drives.
1 of 12 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 5 Not
Thought I Knew what a Top DG Course Until I Played Here
Pros: Multiple cement tee pads for all levels of play on every hole. Great signage on each individual tee placement (3 per hole). Great lay-out all around. Sick distances through heavy woods. On another level from other "top rated" courses I have played.
Cons: Poured rain while I was there. Some of the tees are a bit of a walk from the last basket. Without a map it would have been difficult to navigate.
Other Thoughts: I was in Pittsburgh for a conference and took a taxi to the Deer Lakes course. As it turns out just because a taxi drops you off there, doesnt mean it will pick you up there. I jogged back into Russellton and stopped in at the Deer Lake Cafe. I could not get a taxi service to pick me up. The owner of the cafe drove me about 15 miles to a place where I could get a cab back to town. PLEASE buy something from this cafe every time you play Deer Lakes! They saved the A$$ of a out-of-town fellow disc golfer.
6 of 11 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 4 Not
Top Shelf Layout
Pros: This course has a fantastic mix of shots.
It is well balanced in all aspects. You play through a large park landscape that flows from incredibly dense areas to open courtyards to ponds. All 18 holes play into this diversity. This is as far from monotonous as it gets. You will go from carving tight lines through 700 feet of forest to 300 foot ace runs.
The elevation is sweet. It's not mountainous, but it is relevant on most holes. You constantly throw over ridges, little gullys or just gradually up or down. You rarely, very rarely, throw flat.
The course is long but not brutally long. No doubt a big arm is beneficial but accuracy is paramount. I think this course benefits accuracy over distance. There are a few bomb shots, but more often than not, the longer holes are very technical.
The amenities are awesome. Each hole has 3 new, huge, concrete pads. They play red to white to blue. When I was here last year they were still pouring some of them. The signage is also in very good shape detailing distance as well as lines to the pin. There were plenty of benches throughout.
Cons: For the most part navigation is a snap. I would give the course a thumbs up for this. Really the only point I felt needed more direction was locating hole 9. After you hole out on 8, you need to walk back across the 7th pad and down to a secluded spot for 9.
Each time I have played here, the low lying areas were quite muddy. It appears that hole 3 fairway stays that way through much of the year due to the deep ruts throughout.
Other Thoughts: This course simply has it all. It will challenge you but it still provides plenty of room for some fun and gun play.
There are multiple signature holes...my fav's being 3 - a long 825 foot low ceiling shot that starts from an elevated tee and finishes with an elevated pin, hole 7 - a nice 400 ft sail shot from an elevated tee, hole 9 - a huge 846 ft bomb shot that funnels down a tight final fairway to a tucked pin, and finally hole 15 - the only water hole on the course. It is a 330 ft finesse shot, directly over a pond, to a pin perched precariously close to the bank.
Deer Lakes is worth a road trip all by itself. However, this course is close to Moraine State Park. It is worth a weekender to play this tandem. Also, coming from Ohio, I have bundled The Black Course in Moundsville, WV into the trip.
16 of 20 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 10 Not
Deer Lakes the Great!
Pros: One of the top courses in the greater Pittsburgh area, most everything has been said about the course. The best part of the course is the adrenaline rush of throwing over the lake.
Cons: A few drainage problems, but they seem like they are trying to fix them in certain spots. 3 is the biggest concern right now
1 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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