Not a nightmare like the movies...
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I don't have much of an intro for this one... Not because it's bad. Far from it. Mostly because. Well. Who's ever heard of Elma other than disc golfers?
Equipment: The baskets caught all right and were mostly in good shape. I think I only saw one that looked like it had been hit by a tree or something, and that only bent the cage a little bit. Each basket also had what looked like electrical wire around the lower edge of the cage. I'm not sure what that was about. Perhaps it glows or something? Although I'm pretty sure this course is a broken ankle waiting to happen if you play at night.
The teepads are all gravel, and many of them are bordered too. They were in better shape than any gravel tees I've ever seen, and I only lost footing once on some loose, icy gravel. I got the distinct feeling that the owner of the property maintains things very well. It's always nice to see that on a pay to play course. I hate nothing more than paying to play a course that isn't maintained. That isn't an issue here at the Hostel.
There's a stream through the property that desperately wants your discs. Most of us found it at least once. Any hole where there is water danger had sticks designed for underwater disc retrieval, and these were extremely helpful.
Navigation: The navigation is pretty straightforward, without any long walkouts or anything. There's a map at the kiosk at the entrance, so take a picture of that if you're worried. All of the baskets are painted where most courses use tape. And any tee that faces multiple baskets is well signed with both hints of where to throw and where to go if you're playing the "longs". The mandos are well marked and labeled to show which holes they serve as well.
Design: Don't let the front 9 fool you. This course is incredibly well designed and uses the property to its full potential. And it will challenge you. It offers everything that you look for in a course. There are open shots and more defined fairways. Short ace runs and longer (300ish) drives. Mandos. Uphill and downhill. Trees that really affect your line. Clearly marked OB that changes things up. It did feel like the course was somewhat lefty friendly on the defined lines, but there was something for everyone here.
Cons: Equipment: The baskets do catch fine, but they've clearly seen better days. That at least has to be pointed out. And the teepads, although they had clearly been raked, were gravel. So I have to mention that too.
Navigation: I can't complain much about navigation. The only potential con would be that some of the number plates were facing the wrong way. But even those holes had good enough signage that it wasn't too confusing. Just something that the designer might consider fixing.
Design: I'm reaching here. A design flaw... Let's see... How about mixing it up a bit more? I mean, an easy front and a tougher back are great and all, but if you're going to do that then make hole 9 be right by hole 1 so people who want to play easy can just do a quick 9 and walk off. I kind of prefer courses that throw birdie holes in with the tough ones, rather than throwing all of the birdies on the front and back (1-4 and 17-18). I understand that the current layout flows beautifully, but like I said... I'm reaching. I think that some of the overlap on the course could be a bit much if it got crowded too. There are a few places where people can get thrown in on, whether it's at a tee that's blind from the preceding hole (16-17) or where there's shared fairways (5 & 12, 7 & 15). They don't run together in a string of shared fairways like they do on some courses though.
Other Thoughts: The owner of the property is a character. He'll know you're here and he'll find you. And then he'll make fun of you. That might be a con to some, but I thought it was awesome. If I owned a disc golf course I'd want people to have fun, and I find that the best way for us to have fun is if everyone on the property is having fun. And if they aren't, I'll just make fun of them more.
It was a cold day in January when I was there. Very cold. The lower holes (specifically 9) were iced over. But if it were warmer, it would have been a swamp down there. So be careful if you're going in the winter. You could be approaching off of ice, or you could be ankle deep in mud. And in the summer I'm guessing that the rough gets burly, but none of the OB areas were very wide... So avoid them and quit complaining. Unless the guy doesn't mow, but I got the impression that he takes great care of the course. The Hostel is kind of out there, but it's definitely worth a stop if you're in the Olympia or Shelton area. It's not terribly long, but it's a fun little course that will challenge you and your accuracy... And truly let you know if you putt worse than a one legged grandma (one insult members of my group got on the second hole).
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
Must Play Course when in Elma, WA
Pros: The course is clean and well groomed. All of the T-boxes are in great shape, Course is marked well and easy to follow. There are some very challenging holes with great obstacles and balanced with wide open fairways.This course is easy to find and plenty of parking.
Cons: Holes 6 and 16 cross in opposite directions,this causes a little of confusion between players.This nothing to worry about just need to pay attention whats across the fairway.
Other Thoughts: This is a must play there is a lot of pride put in to the care of this course. I must say well done to care taker of this course.
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: This is a very uniquely designed course. Jay has spent a lot of time on the lay out and how the course plays. Every hole has a basket and hole 16 has an alternative basket. There are tons of different OB and water hazards. It was nice to see the disc retrievers that he made to get your discs out of the water. I look forward to going and playing the Tuesday night doubles in the rear future, and to go back and play with my friends and family. There are a fair amount of obsticales and elevation changes.
Cons: The length of most the holes are fairly short, a pro would be practice with my midrange and approach shots. The gravel tee pads are ok he good thing about it is the ability to change tee pad locations.
Other Thoughts: Jay told me that he is trying to buy the the 3 acor lot next to him and he could build 3 more holes to replace the first three holes and make those a more of a warm up holes.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Variety of different shots and elevation. Jay does an incredible job maintaining the course and making sure its in good shape. Concrete tee pads and great baskets on all 18 holes. Excellent and fun course for all ability levels. Lots of chances to snag an ace for your resume. The private owner also has a random flip doubles with an ace pot on tuesday nights during spring and summer months. Even though it is on his private property, he has it open to the public for anyone that wants to play.
Cons: During the winter months, the lower part of the course gets flooded and super muddy.
Other Thoughts: Jay suggest a $2 donation to play the course, but often we pay more considering he is one man maintaining the entire course. He does a hell of a job keeping it up and uses all his own equipment and time. I don't see any problem in donating to the amount of work he puts in to keep this local course alive. One of the only courses in that area of WA, and one of my favorites in the entire state.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
The cows know what's coming!
Pros: Extremely well manicured
Nice mix of ego boosting and bashing par 3's
Very good use of available terrain and natural obstacles
Well thought out design with clever use of OB areas to add to difficulty
Unique course feel with great flow from hole to hole.
Cons: Gravel pads
Not much else!
Other Thoughts: While on vacation I planned on hitting a couple courses in this area and I feel privileged to have played here.
After playing the first 3 holes I (mistakingly) thought I was in for a hokey man-made obstacle fest. I was VERY pleased to open the gate and start on the lower section of the course to prove my initial assumptions incorrect.
Elevation immediately came into play with a nice little uphill shot and I began to see the charm of the course. The wooden cows seemed to sneer as I teed off towards the lower course and into one of the best thought-out "pitch & putt" courses I've played.
Wind definitely comes into play the closer you are to the highway that borders the course to the south. When there is a low-pressure system off the coast, The Gail force winds are forced down the valley by the Olympic mountain range and amplified by the narrowness of the valley itself. You will want to bring some overstable plastic to battle the inconsistent and at times, forceful gusts that will turn even the most winged-down toss into a turned-over OB spank. Remember this for hole 9 which will be a seemingly short drive, directly into the wind, and fairway lined with the high grass OB markers.
I really enjoyed the flow, as stated above in the Pros section, but as you comedown from hole 4 into the lower section of the course, take note of the pin placements. The "tricky" pin placements will be noted with little signs at the tee. It won't hurt to take a minute to go scope the line to the pin and take special notice of what unique OB's will affect your throw.
I never have played a course that made me consider where my shot will land as much. Usually narrow flight paths come more into play in the northwest, not narrow landing zones.
I would be extremely pleased to have this as a local course. I left feeling privileged for having played and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone passing through the area.
From other reviews, I would say try to make it out in the summer months. I found it perfectly dry and the deciduous trees added flight path difficulty to the already thought provoking landing zones.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Benches on tee pads are nice. Numerous ace holes. Well maintained by the property owner. Short holes make for quick round.
Cons: Too many holes under 150'. Swampy. Too many OB markers on fairways.
Other Thoughts: Get rid of all of the OB markers. Maybe just have them around the hazards.
0 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
homemade DG haven
Pros: this is a fantastic homemade course among several acres of streamlets, hills, trees, and natural springs.
as mentioned by other reviewers, the caretaker was a friendly older man who introduced himself and showed me the layout and flow of the course.
the course forced me to use all my shots and rewarded my accurate throws and punished my wayward ones.
the many OBs make the course competitive and it's clear that much thought and strategy has gone into laying it out.
i greatly enjoyed my time playing here.
Cons: due to the natural springs, the streams, and the Washington weather, this course was extremely muddy. i had to go back to my truck to get my boots on! this would be a big problem during the wet months of the year, and i imagine the ground remains soggy most of the time.
some of the holes share fairways so even with the signage, it takes a round or two to get used to the layout. if it was a busy day, you'd have to be really careful about wayward discs.
the tee pads are gravel, and most were acceptable when i played, but i imagine they take a lot of upkeep to keep the mud down.
Other Thoughts: this was a great course to play.
plan to bring a few dollars to put in the donation bin and the kiosk near hole 1. (suggested $2/round).
wear boots and waterproof shoes if you're coming to play anytime other than the driest parts of the year. there are handy sticks to retrieve your water-bound discs, but much of the course was muddy.
brush up on your OB and Water Hazard rules before coming to play and establish them with your group PRIOR to the start of your round--- because you WILL go OB! but don't worry, it adds to the competitive layout of the course. (don't worry about losing discs, as they all will be easily retrievable)
overall, it was a very satisfying day of disc golf and i'm thankful this course and it's community is near my area!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Worth the Drive!
Pros: I thought this course was great, and definately worth the 25 minute drive from Olympia. The first few hole are really short and simple, but once you head down in the valley for holes 5-18, the layout gets tougher and tougher as the round goes on. I played it in the dead of the winter and it was pretty wet, but definately playable. Not a course to air it out on, but definately demands accuracy!
Cons: A few short holes and very easy birdies. Other than that, I have nothing very bad to say at all!
Other Thoughts: Easy to find, easy to navigate around the course, and great signage showing where to throw and where to go! Pretty simple course, but would definately recommend it to anyone in the area.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
GH Hostel DGC
GH Hostel is located right off the road in Elma, Washington about 40 minutes from the ocean. It is on private property, with 18 unique holes. The course has a lot to offer for being a fairly short course, with several elements coming in to play. The first four holes are very short and realistically are par 2's, while the other holes for the most part are par 3. Distance ranges anywhere from 145 - 350 feet, and require accuracy more then anything else.
Although some holes are open, most pins are protected by trees and other foliage, and include several chances to come in contact with the water which meanders throughout the course. Elevation plays a part at times too, with some short but technical down hill throws (holes 5 and 13) as well as a few uphill ones (holes 4, 12, and 18). The rest are flat but require the proper shot or it will land in one of the several ob areas. The ob's are a mix of water (stream and irrigation canals) and tall grass (purposely done to divide fairways and increase overall difficulty to the course).
Each basket does a terrific job indicating what number you're on, but some tee pads can be overlooked so just be careful before you throw. Each tee either has a cone or red spray painted rocks with numbers on them for first timers to navigate. There are new benches throughout the course as well allowing players to stop, rest, and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. There is even a picnic table to stop and eat lunch at half way through the course right along the stream.
Some of the signature holes in my eyes were holes 7, 14, and 18. Hole 7 was a fairly short dogleg right that had you throwing directly under a beautiful tree right along the stream with chances of ob. Hole 14 had the same stream, but it went about two hundred feet straight along the right side of the fairway before bending around the curve, while a group of trees protected the pin on the left. It required either a perfectly straight shot or a huge hyzer over the water with hopes of penetrating the trees for a birdie. Once again, there was a good chance of going ob due to the pin being 15 feet from the stream. Last, hole 18 was a simple birdie hole uphill about 150 feet. However, what made it harder and even humorous were the fake cows (3) guarding the pin. If your disc hit any of the cows you receive a one stroke penalty which I thought was clever.
For the most part, I couldn't find a whole lot wrong with this course considering there is no local club and is entirely maintained by the owner. I know a lot would complain about distance, the fact that the tee pads are dirt not cement, or maybe the need for better signs, but I personally felt it worked for the type of course it was. Bag racks are there but are way too short to actually hold your bag so that would be great if those were fixed because this course can get pretty soggy during the winter and spring.
Drainage is what seems to be the biggest problem here. I know the owner has worked on the irrigation and from what I have heard made huge improvements, making it playable all year long. Just make sure you bring boots that you can go through the muck with and you should be fine.
With some better signs and eventually some better tee pads, this course could be great! It is perfect for amateur players and challenges better players with a lot of high risk, high reward type shots. Most will find themselves using mainly mids and putters, with the occasional fairway driver. This course will never be holding any big tournaments but would be ideal for an Ice Bowl or some other small non-sanctioned tournament.
This course was so much fun and well worth the trip. I was able to get in three course on this day (Yauger, Sam Benn, and GH) with this one being by far the best of the three.
However, if you are in the area or on your way to the beach, I recommend playing all three as they are seperated from each other by about 30 minutes each with GH Hostel right smack in the middle.
Also, please donate a couple of dollars when playing this course as the owner puts in a ton of time and effort for the love of the sport (even though he doesn't play) so that people from all around can come to stay the night or just come to play this little magical place!
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Great little place
Pros: We really enjoyed the course, Jay the owner is a great guy who walked through with us until hole 7 or 8, it is beautifuly maintained and you can tell he takes great pride in it. There are challenging holes (i didnt play my best game) but it was alot of fun. My wife and son also enjoyed the benches he has spread out. The OB is clearly marked, and most of the holes are very well marked as well
Cons: I had a hard time finding hole 12, and there were a few that took a few minutes to figure out what basket went with what tee pad, but it wasnt to bad. The course is also a little more challenging to find and we werent sure if we were in the right place being that when you pull up it does look like a private residence. (we also missed the huge sign you could see off the highway) but no real complaints
Other Thoughts: Its a great little hidden place, and totally worth a stop in!
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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