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.
12 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Clean and Kept
3 Tee Pads and 3 quality signs on each hole
Amazing elevation changes
The 3 tee pads make it a great course for any skill level, definitely leans more to the advanced player
Shot selection, everything you could ask for
Perfect water hazard design on hole 15
Fairways are perfect both in the woods and out.
Clearly a lot of thought and work goes into this course and every bit of it shows
Cons: The only con I could think of is that a lot of the time the Red, White, and Blue Tees were all one on top of each other in a row. Making them longer versions of the same shot
Some mud in the valleys but it's not near enough to stop you from having a great time
Other Thoughts: I don't like to give out 5's but I came really close on this one. I gave it a 4.5 but it's more like a 4.95. Easily in the top 3 courses I've ever played. The fun factor is off the charts. It's a challenge but not in a frustrating way. Having a big arm would definitely help but it's not a necessity, accuracy is just as important
There is not a shot or an obstacle that this course lacks, I think it's strengths are the elevation changes and this course has plenty of great ones. But it also has great open shots, great wooded shots, it doesn't seem to favor a right handed or left handed person, dog legs, blind holes, open bomb, shots, tunneled bomb shots, valleys, scenery, nothing is left off this course. This place is special.
Each hole has 3 paved tee pads and each one has a well made sign with the distance and course map one it. As I played the course I bounced around from the mid to long tees depending on which one I thought looked more fun
If the elevation changes are the strength of the course then the fairways are a close 2nd. Perfect, The open ones are beautiful and the wooded ones are wide enough to give you a fair line but tight enough to challenge you to shape your shots. I can't say enough about the people that designed and take care of this course. Some of them can be muddy though.
At one point I wasn't paying attention and skipped holes 12-15. I didn't take me long to figure out my mistake so I went back for them and I am glad I did 15 barely beats out 3 for the title of signature hole. It plays 200-250 feet straight down a hill depending on which tee you throw from then about another 80 feet over a lake. If your skill level is not very high or your a coward you can also throw from the bottom of the hill straight across the lake. I would have sat on top of that hill and emptied my bag before moving on but I parked my first shot and was afraid that pushing my luck would just result in lost discs.
If I had a complaint it would be that a lot of the times the alternate tee pads were just longer versions of the same shot. Some of them provided different changes in elevation and that's great but I always felt pro tee's should give you a completely new and harder shot at the basket. On courses I play a lot I like to jump around to different tee pads. The different perspectives keep courses that you play routinely from becoming stale. I have had this argument on this site with some of you before and I know a lot of you disagree but it's just my personal preference.
I struggled a bit and I wish I brought my 'A' game that day, I wish I didn't have to work so I could get in another round and I wish I had time to hit up Morrain while I was there but none of that stopped me from enjoying your wonderful course. Much to wonderful to be used by all those annoying obnoxious Steeler fans that live down that way. (I know that remarks gonna cost my at least 10 thumbs down votes. Travel any distance to play this course. If you live nearby and don't play it regularly, shame on you. It's definitely one of the best
12 of 16 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.
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.
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