25 Helpful / 1 Not
So Close To Heaven
Pros: -Sky High DGC is located in Angeles National Park, 7500-some feet above sea level. Stunning scenery showcases the surrounding mountains, dotted sparsely with stunted shrubberies, thorns and pines. The course plays up and down ski slopes on fairly treacherous terrain. Guests must sign waivers for dangers such as falls, bears, mountain lions, or rattlesnakes, of which apparently there are quite a few. The proprietor had recently moved one large black rattler that kept appearing on the same hole. Despite the dangers (or maybe because of them?) this course is utterly epic.
-Elevation galore! Elevation loss and/or gain provides the main challenge throughout the 27 holes. Every up and down is used to its utmost potential, creating a weaving path across the mountainside. Risk/reward situations abound: many holes have clever pin positions that challenge players' accuracy with severe rollaways into large buckthorn patches or off the side of the mountain. No pin position was unfair, but with wind the course definitely makes even experienced players rethink throwing favorite discs due to the risk of losing one over the edge.
-Mandatories and a scattering of mature pines as well as the occasional shrubbery provide line-shaping opportunities. A clever trick of design encourages right-handed anhyzers yet the thin mountain air renders all but the most robust turnover shots unmanageable. Discs seem to fall "heavier" and putts often fall short without compensation for the altitude. Throwing here is like throwing on the moon, in the most spectacularly awesome way!
-Great signs that give hole history, alternative pin positions, and accurately describe the hole at hand. Trash cans and occasional places to sit. Pro shop sells hot food, discs, etc. The lodge has restrooms.
-Camping on site. The camp hostess, Aurie, is awesome. When someone questioned the rise in rates from $12 to $20, Aurie put her hand on her hip, looked at the huge cloudless blue sky arms-reach above us and said, "How can you complain when you're so close to Heaven?"
Cons: - Rubber tees are uneven in places. One or two are eroded or rutted out by rainwater. I can't mark the course down much on this though, as concrete tees are not allowed in national parks, the hills are used in winter for skiing, and the natural erosion of the mountain-side all prevent proper tees from being added.
- $7 for a day pass. $35 for a yearly pass. Definitely reasonable for out-of-towners, and certainly a deal for the year's pass if you plan on playing here regularly.
- The course was pretty trashed when I played it; however, the area had just experienced 30-45 mph winds after a steady deluge during the previous days. The wind/water knocked or washed a lot of trash onto the slopes, spoiling the natural beauty in places.
Other Thoughts: - Don't miss the "bonus basket" after #27...my group missed it despite it being clearly marked on the map. Speaking of which, be sure to grab a map at the pro shop. It makes navigation a snap.
- Be certain to sacrifice a disc off the ledge near hole 11. Sacrificing discs appeases the discin' gods as well as sends your plastic on a much-deserved vacation to Las Vegas.
- Be cautious. "Full shoes" are required, hiking boots recommended (although I got through totally fine in light tennis shoes). Dangerous wildlife and treacherous terrain should be taken seriously. Don't fall down on or get bit by nature.
25 of 26 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 1 Not
Socal Disc Golf at it's Best
Pros: This course is gorgeous! Set in the Angeles Forest, it has the cleanest air of any Socal course by far. At 7400 ft elevation, you can see North for over 100 miles. This is my favorite course in Southern California for many reasons. The above mentioned scenery, the excellent course design, the seclusion, the disc golf only aspect, and the thin air. The thin air makes your discs perform much differently than they normally would. This is the only course I go to that I actually rearrange my entire bag before I go out. The tee pads are rubber, and mostly in good shape. There is multiple pin positions for every hole, in some cases up to four. Trash cans and recycling bins are staggered throughout the course every couple of holes, and the baskets are mostly in good shape. The course is designed so you can stop at the pro shop or your car after every nine holes. The pro shop is not what it used to be, but still has some discs, and I'm told that custom minis are on the way. This year there are hambugers and hotdogs as well as beer and water that can be purchased at the pro shop. A welcome addition. The elevation here is dramatic, but the design is so great that you never feel like you're just hiking uphill all day. After you play one or two downhill, you work your way up gradually for a few holes. There are no extreme uphill holes, but there are plenty that play uphill. Hole #11 is the "top of the world" hole, and it's the best I've seen. I'm sure there are better out there, but I haven't played them. Another one of my favorite features is the sacrificial tee pad for throwing your unwanted plastic off a huge cliff. Although there is no actual tee pad this year, the spot is still there.
Cons: The absolute biggest con to this course is that it is only open in the Summer/Fall months. Also, the buckthorn. The buckthorn is the nastiest bush I have ever encountered. It is thick, the thorns are sharp, and it's diet consists solely of plastic. Pants are recommended if you are going to go in there looking for a disc. One more con is that they didn't get all the tee pads and baskets back from Yucipa this year. I believe there are two holes with natural tee pads now, and the practice basket is missing. From what I understand, one of the baskets was stolen in Yucipa. There is still 27 baskets though and it's easy enough to warm up on hole 9's basket.
Other Thoughts: The course is under new management this year. I will miss Tom, but the new guy Joe is super nice. He knows the land very well and really putting a great effort into it. He is also the chef, and the burger I had was pretty good. I highly recommend you take a couple days, camp at the campsites that are literally a disc's throw away from the course, get some good exercise, and play some absolutely amazing disc golf.
16 of 17 people found this review helpful.
21 Helpful / 0 Not
A Destination Course if ever there was one!
Pros: Absolutely incredible setting, 7400 feet above sea level in a pine forest with stupendous views popping up all over the place. You can literallly see 40-50-60 miles to the north from a number of vantage points. While you're playing and enjoying the scenery, all you hear is the wind in the trees and the birds chirping, plus an occasional "ching" and an occasional "aw ****", just to keep things interesting :-)
Navigation is a snap. The course map looks hokey but is very accurate and with a couple of exceptions, all tees are visible from the previous basket. Lots of trash cans near the tees, restroom facilities here and there, oh and did I mention the scenery???
Now as to play. Each hole on this course presents you with a challenge. Some challenges are easy to solve, some are more difficult, but none are trivial and none are repetitive. You never walk up to a tee and say to yourself, "I just saw this back there". What impressed me is that I could tell this is true for all skill levels. I'm a noodle arm, and the fun factor for me was out of sight. I've also been playing with some decent players - a lot better than I am - and I could tell that had they been there, they would have had the same experience as I did. To me, that bespeaks superior course design and makes Sunrise a four-disc course, even without all the rest of the good stuff. Like the scenery, for instance ...
The clubhouse (which I visited but did not check out thoroughly since I was hot to play) looks grand and offers dogs & burgers out on the back deck. Beer is available too, for those who imbibe.
Cons: The ONLY con I can think of is the trash. There's a lot of it.
I can only hope that it comes from the ski crowd and only becomes visible when the snow melts - with the number of trash cans available for use, there's really no excuse not to have a clean course.
The DG facility has changed hands, effective with the 2010 season, and is now run by a guy named Joe Affleck. He has been running the ski stuff for a number of years and seems anxious to improve the local DG scene. The name of the course will be changing to SKY HIGH, probably sometime this year, and the course web site - http://www.mthigh.com/discgolf
- will be going through a redesign as well.
For now, course hours are Mon 3-8, Tues through Fri 12-8, Sat and Sun 9-8. It cost me $7 to play (totally worth it) but I neglected to find out if this was a weekend rate or all the time.
Edit: Gotta say one more thing that I just remembered. I lost my wristwatch during my round and someone from a group following me picked it up, hollered at me from two holes back, and ran up to return it. Didn't even have my name & number on the back!
21 of 21 people found this review helpful.
19 Helpful / 0 Not
Mountain Views & Cooler Temps
Pros: I would give the actual course design a 5.0, but the upkeep and condition of this course make it only worthy of a 4.0. This is my favorite course in Southern California. It is great to go up the mountain in the summer and away from the heat of the valleys.
This is a Dave Dunipace course design. Some hole placements have changed over the years, but the original vibe is still present. While the holes are not super long, they are technical and do require a variety of shots to score well.
Unlike other mountain courses, the course is fairly easy to navigate and the holes do not simply go up and down. The first nine holes start out from the parking area going down the tube run. After Hole 3 play begins to slowly traverse across and up the hillside to Hole 9 next to the parking area. The second nine holes again leave from parking area and work down the hillside. Starting at Hole 14, players start to gradually traverse back up the mountain again to the lodge and parking area. The final 9 holes are the most challenging and begin just down and to the right of the lodge parking area. These are the longest holes on the course and cover the most elevation change. Holes 19-25 all play across and up the mountain. Holes 25 through 27 bring players back down to lodge area.
I personally prefer the holes in the short positions, but the long positions are also fun and very thoughtful additions. They are not just longer to be longer like happens at so many other courses. The long pins generally require different shot selection and really change things up. Long or short, the course still requires some stamina. The great part is you can play 9 and rest and play another 9 and rest and then finish another 9 if you still have energy. You can choose which nine holes you want to play first. The first nine holes are the shortest and require the least amount of physical activity. The middle nine requires more stamina and the final nine holes require the most endurance and are the most challenging.
Alcohol is legal on the course.
Cons: For a pay to play course, I expect better signage and definitely expect the restrooms to be clean and operational. Watch out for rattlesnakes at all times. While many areas of buckthorn have been removed from the fairways of many holes, it is still abundant on the mountainside. Errant shots could easily end up in this nasty thorn filled shrub.
Other Thoughts: Recommend sturdy hiking shoes for the rugged terrain and long pants to keep interaction with thorny plants at a minimum. That being said, you can still play this course in shorts and sneakers if you are in good shape and don't mind a bit of dust and stickers.
I have been the TD for the annual PDGA/So Cal Series event at this course since 2005. Pin placements for several holes are changed between the first and second rounds. Tom Bant will generally have the pins in both positions in the weeks prior to the event. On-site camping at Table Mountain adds to the feel of the event.
19 of 19 people found this review helpful.
35 Helpful / 8 Not
Break out the understables
Pros: -cleanest air in socal
-3 separate 9 hole courses. makes it conducive to taking breaks at the picnic/camping area.
-great pro shop with knowledgeable staff and a pretty good disc selection
-WILD shots-hole 11 is my fave hole in all of discgolfdom. very long and a ton of elevation drop. will rival any top of the world hole out there.
-tons of animals. whenever i play this course, we seem to be the only people out there. rabbits, deer and snakes abound.
-the most rigorous workout one can get from a disc golf course.
-accurate maps, signs
-excellent course design. this course has a place for every shot imaginable (except rollers, perhaps)
-a nice teepad for the sacrificial alter to the disc gods. take your old discs here to die...throw off a mountain cliff and land somewhere in the desert, 10 miles away
-camping available pretty much right on the course
Cons: -course not available in the winter (us discers have to share it with the skiers come snow season)
-LOTS of opportunities to lose your disc. many hills to go behind and brush and debris to get buried in. binoculars recommended.
Other Thoughts: super technical course. at around 7,000' above sea level, the air is much thinner than most socal courses, making every disc act more overstable. add in the massive elevation changes, huge pine trees and other obstacles and you get one of the most difficult yet rewarding disc golf experiences to be had. it helps to link up with anyone you see out there to shoot. more eyes often means less lost discs.
bring your old, unwanted plastic to chuck off the cliff after hole 11. last time i was there i threw a dx wraith that hit one too many trees. i think it was up for about 35 seconds before it bombed and probable left a crator the size of a volkswagon.
hands down the hardest and most interesting course in southern california.
35 of 43 people found this review helpful.
22 Helpful / 0 Not
Spectacular so cal getaway course
Pros: -FRESH mountain air (an hour from the city)
-3 9 hole loops that all return the the parking lot area
-Enormous 15' long, new as of 6/3/11 rubber tees
-Variety and accessibility for all levels of players (seriously)
-Awesome pro shop (with food and beer)
-Pay to play, and its non proximity to the city keep this place stocked with good people
Cons: (It is a stretch to knock this course for anything, but:)
-Leftover trash from ski season (particularly paper plates and round, orange signs with arrows on them)
-Tee pads are a little uneven, but none of us seemed to be affected by it
Other Thoughts: This beautiful alpine course lies in the Angeles National Forest, about 90 minutes outside of Los Angeles. 27 holes of the most variety you can ask for, with the best scenery nature has to offer are all found along this elevation-heavy course. A variety of trees from tiny to huge, and a mixture of open ground and inaccessible ground set a serene, casual mood. Unlike other ski-hill courses I have played, the disc course plays its own route, not along ski runs. The course is separated into 3 9 hole loops, each of which maintain their own personality.
This course has a serious variety of holes that challenge both the pro and the beginner. A beginner can theoretically par every hole, but with some skill, and a pro can theoretically birdie every hole. This is an older course, so the holes are shorter than newer courses, but you won't even notice that when you play here. Enough newer, longer holes exist to keep the big arms happy. There is no water on the course, but there is buckthorn, which will leave you wishing you threw your disc into water.
The pro shop deserves a mention: $7 for one day, $35 for a season pass. The course is closed Monday - Thursday, however you can play here whenever you want if you get a season pass. They sell discs, food, and beverage (and beer!). The burgers and dogs are grilled outdoors, and are great. Oh, and they also pump music outdoors.
The front 9 play in a part of the ski hill that is no longer in use. Because of this, they leave it open year round, giving us Southern Californians the rare opportunity to play disc in significant snow, just in case we need to be reminded why we don't live anywhere else.
The course starts out with a long downhill shot into a cool looking berm. Following this is a series of meandering woods shots, including hole 3; a short downhill shot to a basket perched at the top of an even steeper hill. The holes on this nine all require specific throws, and almost predictably switch between RHBH and RHFH friendly shots. Hole 9 is a big-arm friendly uphill fairway with protection on the right and a slope on the left.
The middle 9 begins with a downhill ace run, followed by their signature, mega-long downhill shot: hole 11 (which I'm sure you read about in other reviews). This shot plays down to the bottom of the ski hill, through a pair of trees that may intimidate the beginner, but actually steer them in the right direction.
Two flatter holes calm you down after the crazy long shot. At tee 14, you are presented with the 'sacrificial ledge,' where you can throw your disc into oblivion, never to be seen again...bring some old plastic, its worth it. At this point, the course works its way generally uphill, but not annoyingly so. The final two holes are cool, narrow tunnels. The first one is slightly uphill and requires precision, and the second one is downhill and more narrow than the first.
The final 9 work their way to the peak of the ski hill, generally uphill but once again, not annoyingly so. In fact, there are several long uphill walks to tee pads, and the hole itself is either flat or downhill. These, for the most part, are the longest holes, and have the least amount of ground foliage. While a shot may look easy, keep in mind that being at the top of a huge, unprotected hill, can result in some pretty epic accidental rollers. The only mandatory on the course is also found on this loop. Wind also seem to play its biggest role here, however it can pop its ugly head out anywhere on the course, usually when you have a simple 20 foot putt.
The course ends at 'bonus tee pad,' which used to shoot to a basket to the left of the pro shop. This basket was stolen several times, so they stopped replacing it. Nonetheless, their is a very cool slope to throw discs down for fun, so you can air out any energy you might have left. Be sure not to break any windows or kill people eating/cooking down there, because it is entirely possible.
This is the best course in Southern California. Some people say Lake Casitas is, and those people probably play 980 or better. For the rest of us (and some of those 980 players), Sky High is quintessential disc golf. Perfect variety in shots, from short to long, technical to open, protected, and confusing, you just can't get bored here. Combine that with the cool locals, the people that run the place, and the awesome fresh air and VIBE, you just can't ask for more. Camping is within walking distance of the course if you want to make a weekend out of it, which I recommend, because this is the best golf in the area!
22 of 22 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 13 Not
Pros: Lots of up and down. 27 holes. Well maintained, well marked. Fantastic setting. You can camp within walking distance of the course. Friendly staff. Great place to make a day or weekend of your DG experience if you live in LA.
Cons: Relatively short holes. Closed for winter
0 of 13 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Challenging. 27 holes. Map and refreshments available at lodge from friendly staff. Stunning views and setting. Wildlife abounds. Great variety. Drastic elevation changes. Signs on every hole with map, distance to basket, and a helpful hint or interesting fact on some. There is a spot to get rid of your old discs called sacrificial ledge. A round of 27 is good exercise. Not Crowded. Camping nearby. Season pass available for $20.
Cons: Closed for ski season. Inaccurate drives are very harshly punished. Well worn rubber tees. Look out for snakes!
Other Thoughts: This is extreme disc golf! The course is literally on top of a mountain and some of the fairways are black diamond ski trails. The baskets had been moved for a tournament so first time navigation was somewhat of an issue, but i'm told the map is accurate when the pins are in their normal positions.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 10 Not
Worth Every Effort To Play
Pros: Scenery, course design, variety, weather, elevation allows bomb shots for low power throwers.
Cons: no real cons.. but VERY grueling workout. VERY long uphill par 3's for an average player.
Other Thoughts: Read others reviews. Their descriptions are exactly what you will get. Worth the drive, gas, $, etc...
1 of 11 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Best Disc Golf Experience Ever!
Pros: Awesome, breathtaking views. HUGE elevation changes. Pro-shop with moderate disc selection. Local Volunteer guided me through course. Challenging mix of ups, downs, lefts, rights, blinds, you name it, this course has them all. The signature hole is 11 that is a massive 600 ft down hill bomb, that you can make it to the pin in 2. By far the greatest time I have had playing DG, and I have played some of the greats (Del La Vega, Hudson Mills, La Mirada, etc)
Cons: 7000 FT elevation, and alot of hiking might be a little tough for some out of shape players. There is a native plant called "buckthorn" that swallows discs, WEAR PANTS!.
Other Thoughts: Dispite loosing two of my favorite pieces of plastic, this was the greatest time I have ever had playing disc golf, the holes were great, the local volunteer Bobby, was a great guy. Did I mention the views and shots were awesome. If they had permanant tee pads and were open year round, I would live here. GREAT!!!!
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
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