Glaciers made it great !
9 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: This park was pounded by four major glaciers during the ice age and ravaged by mining before it underwent a monumental reclamation project, starting in the 20's. The parks name is actually the definition of glacial debris which still impacts the land today. The disc golf course has incredible ecological diversity with scattered pockets of moraines causing the savannah-like acreage mixed with adjoining pockets of lush, mature hardwoods.
Glaciers also molded the area into rolling hills that are perfect for disc golf.
The other thing that sets Moraine apart is the fact that six designers spent two years tweaking and revising, and the result is stunning.
They did not let a good course be an obstacle of greatness and should be commended.
Four bona fide signatures holes in my book;
Some of the best par 4's and 5's that I have played, along with WR Jackson & Iron Hill. Views of Lake Arthur were just icing on the cake.
This is a huge state park with a myriad of other recreational activities. Great place for a family vacation.
"Honey, I didn't know they had a disc golf course here, but luckily I packed my bag."
Other Thoughts: Update;
I played this course for the second time (august 2013). The course was freshly-mowed, immaculate and had rubber mats instead of the natural pads in 2010. I graded each hole and the total score was 79.
9 of 14 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Each hole has three tees - white, blue, gold - all with long-n-wide--n-flat rubber mats. Signs with distance information at the blue and gold tees. A cinch to navigate with the obvious paths, and plenty of signs. Benches scattered about - brooms, too!
No indication of current basket position.
Beautiful course that wends its way through small meadows and glades defined by small pockets of hardwood forest, containing scattered mid-sized trees, and framed by various types of bushes - even the undergrowth is attractive (emphasis on ferns, vice weeds).
There is a lot of variety on this course, in various ways:
* Length: while many baskets can be reached on the initial drive, several holes are quite long with choke points at near max-drive distance, requiring an accurate initial drive to set-up a still long-n-tough second shot.
* Turns: there is a very even mix of left/right/S/no turning shots needed, with the turns themselves needing various degrees of sharpness.
* Elevation: most holes play on the flatter side, but gentle-but-continuous rises/drops, or small elevation gains at the midpoint or late, are factors on some holes.
* Tightness: degree (difficult on a few, easy on a few, moderate on most), location (nice blend of early, middle, late, and combinations thereof), and duration (varies from entire length of hole, such as right-turning, hardwood-prevalent #13, to shorter, drips-n-drabs, but definitely will have some sort of obstacle for a good portion of the length).
Favourite hole: #15, an obvious choice. Open and long, your first goal is to safely reach the plateau gently but far down the hill from you, with OB and trees/brush thick on the right. From the plateau the fairway then turns right, the slope becomes steeper, and you spot the basket still some distance away, down in the middle of a generous green, lined with trees and brush, with the lake in the background, and a steady breeze in your face.
Favourite hole: #7. From an elevated tee position the basket is in the back left-corner of a meadow - a meadow filled with mid-sized hardwoods, the tops of which are about even with your feet. A good straight throw, fading down-n-left late, is one way to reach this basket.
The course is beautiful to play in, very well maintained, and offers a tremendous amount of fair and varied challenges - a must-play if anywhere in the area..
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 1 Not
The home course for the roller shot
Pros: When you tee off the first hole, you know you're going to be starting something special. The first hole is indicative of a lot of the holes on the course in that it's beautiful, serene, challenging, and broken-in very well. It's quite obvious that there's a nice following here because the fairways are so clearly defined and clear of both natural and human-made debris. I'd go so far to say that it's pretty hard to lose discs here.
Unique elevation changes between downhill bombs (#15), tight uphill drives through narrow fairways (#4), and everything in between. The obstacles are another great part of the course. It's not too often that I can praise the effects of acid mine drainage in Western PA, but it has produced some rather unusual trees, that, like other reviews have noted, look like shrubby trees in some kind of African savannah. In fact, the entire terrain of the course is rather unusual for Pennsylvania, but definitely suitable for quality disc golf!
I've also never seen a course that's more conducive to roller shots. Hole #6 best illustrates this due to the fact that a grove of trees creates dual fairways that require laser precision or your disc will go into woods on either side. Maybe it's those aforementioned tiny trees or maybe its the layout of the holes, but low ceilings in some parts make the roller a handy shot to reach those elusive par 4's and 5's IMO.
Great views of the lake on 15. This is a really fun hole, as is 18, with its clever and fun drop zone. You have to clear either side of a small drainage creek and throw another 200 feet to the basket. Some may not be fond of this design, but I think it's a great memorable way to end the course.
Tees (best flypads I've ever been on; your feet will never be happier to make an x-step), info kiosk, signage, navigation, and local players are all spectacular.
A great course for those who like to bomb their discs. Several holes exceed 500 feet, with some in the 800 and 900 foot ranges.
Cons: Can get very crowded. I've played here on 3 different occasions and different times in the day and I've always seen a bunch of players. Good thing there are benches on a lot of holes, because you may need them for the waits.
Quite a distance from the actual city of Pittsburgh and is quite a drive unless you're from Butler or Slippery Rock. It is close to I-79 and US-422, which is nice.
I'm not too fond of the hole on 12. It's not so much the difficulty of the hole that gets my disapproval; it's that it can come in contact with the second hole, and an errant throw on 12 could hit someone on 2 and vice versa. It is quite the dogleg though!
This is nitpicking, but I feel like it is missing some integral elements that a true 5-rated course would contain: clearing a water hazard, a greater variety of grueling wooded/technical holes, mandos, and maybe some blind shots to make it interesting.
Other Thoughts: There's a reason the Pittsburgh Flying Disc Open has a round here at its quality A-tier tournament; it begs really good players to master its par 66 challenge. Shot selection is key here, and it's this course that I really get to practice my rollers. Beginners will most likely have trouble here, even from the white tees due to the massive lengths, tree obstacles, and sharp hyzer/anhyzer angles. Newbies in the Pittsburgh area would probably be better suited for Schenley.
Moraine is a true gem in the greater Pittsburgh area and one of the best courses in any state or country. Check out the rest of the park for tons of recreation opportunities!
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 0 Not
Worth Driving To
Pros: -The entire course is absolutely beautiful and features a variety of scenery. There is a wooded area with many tall, mature trees where hole 2, 14 and 18 are that I think is particularly beautiful every time I play through it. Most the holes on the course have a lot of thick underbrush and trees on either side of the fairway, which gives you a very secluded, peaceful feeling as you play the course. You can go half the course without seeing anyone. It smells great out here with all the pines around, and the air is a little cleaner than in Canton, OH.
-The entire course features excellent variety. There are shorter, 250 foot shots and longer 800+ foot shots. Sometimes only one or two trees will be near the line to the basket, other times you'll contend with over 20. Holes 2, 5, 6, 12, 13, 15 and 18 were my favorites. Don't know if I could pick 1 favorite :)
-3 sets of tees. I played the blue and gold and enjoyed both. They were each a good challenge, but the Golds really made me work and just getting par on some of the holes felt like an accomplishment. It's refreshing to have such a nice challenge, but have it feel fair and balanced at the same time.
-Signs liberally placed indicating which direction a hole follows or where to go for the next hole. Playing my first time I had no trouble navigating the course without assistance.
-While there are plenty of moments where you can open up with a powerful drive, the vast majority of the shots focus on accuracy rather than distance. Elevation and trees are utilized well, to make holes feel longer than they are. Making excellent shots feels rewarding, and poorly executed drives can be severely punished if you make it off the fairway. The fairways, however, are generously sized, so if you make it in the rough you know it's your fault.
-My first time using the rubber sort of teepads, and I liked them. They were very big and provided nice grip, but didn't wear down on shoes as much as concrete. The signs were also well done, and many tee areas had brooms and benches. It's so weird to me seeing back to back holes with benches, around where I play I'm happy to have 2 benches per 18 holes.
-The course is a very nice mixture of elevation and flat land not just for disc golf, but also the walking involved in playing the course. Compared to playing my flat home course Arboretum, playing a round at Moraine works my legs out more. It feels good playing a round here, it's just physically refreshing to me in a way.
Cons: -There are a few spots where if you slip up and shank an upshot, you can land in some thick undergrowth that's heavily populated with thorns. Wear pants rather than shorts if you tend to stray off fairways often.
-Playing certain holes for the first time it's really hard to see where the basket is, but at least the signs are accurate and you can put your faith in them. It helps if you can play with a local who knows where the pins are and can tell you where to throw, but playing alone you'll be able to manage.
-No trashcans on the course.
Other Thoughts: Took me little over 2 hours to drive to the course from NE Ohio and I was very pleased with what I found. I definitely plan to make a return trip a minimum of once a summer and catch a couple rounds out here.
The entire park was very beautiful. Next time I go it'd be fun to have a mountain bike to ride and to go in the lake for a swim. The location was easy to drive to as well.
There are a lot of other things to do at Moraine State Park, like cabin rentals, bike rentals, going swimming or boating and so forth. There is a concession stand selling ice cream, sandwiches and beverages not too far from the course.
This is absolutely a destination course and is without a doubt the best course I've played so far.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: The views (especially 15), the hike, and the challenge
Cons: On a bright day, it can be difficult to spot a pin tucked into the woods when standing in the fairway. Beware poison ivy! Wear long pants, or suffer the consequences.
Other Thoughts: I understand improvements have been made since I last golfed there. I'll update this review after an Easter outing there
0 of 6 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This is another extraordinarily well-designed championship-caliber course installed outside of Pittsburgh this past decade. It features an appealing variety of Par 3s, Par 4s, and Par 5s in an accessible but sufficiently secluded area of Moraine State Park near its North Shore beach. It's worth visiting simply for wide-open Hole 15 with its spectacular view of Lake Arthur and nerve-wracking drive and approach shots. Each hole, though, evidences careful thought and labor in the hole's creation. The new rubber teepads on the gold, blue, and white tees are a welcome addition.
The Par 66 course features special shot-making challenges from small/dense trees (different from you average Pennsylvania woods course). These trees can make holes feel a lot longer than their actual distance. Drive placement--especially maneuvering with low ceilings--seems to be a point of emphasis on this course's Par 4 and Par 5 holes. Just throwing as hard as possible usually isn't a good strategy here (throw your Katanas and Nukes in Lake Arthur before playing to shoot well here). On this course more than others, a roller is often a better option than an aerial route. Also, there are even a couple of fun and unusual over/under decisions to make when playing the course.
Moraine State Park's genius, though, really is tee-shot decision making for its Par 4s and Par 5s, especially from the gold tees. It seems like many of the holes (2,6,8,10,14,16,18) are designed "backwards" so that the better strategy, percentage wise, might be to play a conservative first shot and then plan to be more aggressive.
Cons: This might sound odd or picky (which it is), I'm not a big fan of the terrain, particularly the trees. Possibly owing to the park's origins with mining, a relatively high percentage of trees are small and dense. Or, maybe just give it twenty years of good growth and this course will be looking good. There are very few towering hardwood trees on this course, unfortunately. Compared to nearby championship course Deer Lakes, Moraine simply doesn't have as many "majestic" shots in my mind for this reason.
Parts of the course can get soggy, but not much more than any other "campaign through the woods" championship course I have played. The easiest tees are 900-rated, so beginners still might be a little overwhelmed by Moraine.
I don't like a few of the pin positions for some of the Par 3s that are situated to make an ace basically impossible (e.g., 1C). Sometimes you can get a course pin configuration in which there's no reasonable line to the basket for most of the Par 3s, and that detracts a little from the fun factor and a minor principle of good design.
Visit at the height of summer so you can play a round or two and then go swimming in Lake Arthur (adjacent to the course). Also, check out Moraine State Park cabin/camping options.
Putting basket available near parking lot. Come out for a Pittsburgh Flying Disc Society monthly at Moraine, as listed on the event calendar at www.pfds.org.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: Fly pads now on every tee, great variety from tight woods to wide open "Grip it and Rip it". Pet friendly. Good signage and benches at almost every tee.
Cons: Far from civilization (all though that really is a pro) so playing it frequently is hard to do. Could get soggy.
Other Thoughts: The BEST course in the Pittsburgh area. #15 is the signature hole and probably one of the most beautiful anywhere. Accuracy and placement are key to a good round as the rough is very unforgiving. I highly recommend playing this course if you are in the area, will not disappoint.
3 of 12 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Amazing and challenging layout for each and every hole. This can be a very humbling experience from the Gold and even some of the Blue tees. Losing discs hasn't been an issue as most of the wooded holes are loaded with just trees and not too much undergrowth or shrubbery(very well maintaned imo). As most of previous posts say, beautiful scenery, a good variety of uphill/downhill, wooded and open shots. Never seems too busy as i cant remember ever being backed up more than 1 maybe 2 times and usually get waved thru when playing up behind slower groups
Cons: No tee pads or trash cans on the course.
Other Thoughts: Simply a must play. Bring some water and pack a lunch because after your first time through you will probably want to redeem yourself
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Hands Down Favorite.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Course layout is varied, challenging, and beautiful. It's obvious great attention was paid to the design of fairways and the placement of tees and holes; you'll find a use for every disc in your bag and shot in your arsenal.
Update: Since I started playing, the local volunteers have done some serious work on this course. The course is now one of the best maintained I've ever played, especially considering how wooded it is. Whether you're a pro on the gold tees or a newbie on the whites, you won't find a better blend of difficulty, scenery, and excitement on any course on this coast.
Cons: Still under development in some regards. Tees are mostly dirt, although new rubber pads and gravel are being installed this year. A few holes get treacherously swampy after storms.
Update: Most of the swamping issues have been resolved through some creative ingenuity in draining the fairways. Cement tees would still do a lot to make this course an 5 star in my book (and more sustainable in the long-run, as the dirt tees are getting worn).
Other Thoughts: Whether you're a beginner or a pro, Moraine offers an exciting course the provides the perfect blend of fun and challenge.
This is a course that people drive to play. Many of the regulars drive an hour or more, bypassing other very good courses to do so. If you're in a nearby state, there's no good reason no to take a day trip to this disc golf haven.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 9 Not
A sweet slice of heaven
Pros: the care that is put in to the course is great ...the holes are some of the best in the world this is the best course I've ever played hands down (I did not pay well) and still had a great time
Cons: my score but that is on me so no real cons
Other Thoughts: hole 15 the best view just go to 15 and look out over the lake and the trees hands down the best view in disc golf
0 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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