5 Helpful / 0 Not
awesome back 9
Pros: Pratt Park is located in a nice area in Fredericksburg - it's quite close to civilization but for most of the course you wouldn't be able to tell. The course is pretty well varied, with mostly wooded holes. The first half of the course is almost entirely tight wooded holes. There are 2 open holes in the middle, followed by more interesting wooded holes on the back end. The back 9 features some interesting changes in elevation - my personal favorite hole was #13, which plays from the top of a steep hill over a small valley. #12 is a nice, and long, blind downhill shot. The last few holes wrap around a creek, and #18 ends by a waterfall. There really are some wonderful views here.
Cons: My biggest problem with this course was navigation. Most baskets are not visible from the tees, so I had to walk the length of most of the holes before playing them in order to know where I was throwing. Having to walk each hole twice made the round take quite some time. Also, finding the next tee was often quite hard - this course could really benefit from some signage indicating the hole layouts and the location of the next tee.
You will not be able to get a quick round in at this course. After playing there once navigation won't be a problem, but the varied terrain, the occasional long distance between holes, and the fact that the basket for 18 is a long walk from the parking lot all combine for a lengthy round.
#14 is a hole that I might just skip next time. The tee is at the bottom of a steep hill, requiring a tomahawk up and over the hill. I thought that I could easily do this, but proved myself wrong and landed halfway up the VERY steep hill. Getting my disc was not fun... there are many places throughout this course where getting to your disc can be miserable.
Other Thoughts: Pratt Park is a good place to play. There are chances to use every disc in the bag here, and there are some great views. I would recommend printing a map, because there were none available on site and you will need one. Be ready for a lot of walking and a longer-than-usual round of play.
All things considered, I would rather play Loriella over Pratt. The scenery is nicer at Pratt, and a few of the holes are pretty remarkable, but overall Loriella provides a more satisfying round. I recommend checking out Pratt, but only if you don't mind a hike and aren't in a hurry.
UPDATE: Since my initial review I have returned to this course several times, and it looks like lots of work has been going into it lately. There is bright green ribbon marking the baskets, and on most holes there is a band around a tree marking the direction to throw in. There are now white markers on trees indicating the way to the next hole, as well. All of these improvements make navigating this course MUCH easier.
Many of the tees now have mats as well, which is great (except on #4, which has lots of mulch under the mat and isn't very smooth). There are also white tee markers at every tee.
I no longer prefer Loriella over Pratt park. Each course is great and unique - Loriella has more open holes and longer drives, but I think that the holes at Pratt (particularly the back 9) are much more creative.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
Amazing Fun Course
Pros: Some absolute beautiful pin locations the 18th hole with a bend to the left down to a waterfall was really something to see.
Cons: My only gripe has to be the lack of direction, most holes are easy to find however, one hole where you shoot up hill by 3 power line poles has a large mass of thorn bushes that serve nothing else than to steal your disk
Other Thoughts: Great course bathrooms available clean and enjoyable. Be prepared for thorns climbing and getting wet in the creek
Make sure to print out a map before going there were no maps in the box when I arrived
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Beautiful and distinctive holes that play into, along, and out of a deep streambed ravine.
Cons: Way finding is challenging.
Other Thoughts: Pratt Park is a truly two-faced course, and thus can reasonably be easily loved, and easily hated. If I lived nearby, I could see growing to really appreciate the unique challenge of about half of this course, and easily making the case that the appeal of the course was unfairly overshadowed by the considerably more well regarded area courses. But for those players not familiar with the ways of Pratt Park, and those unprepared for the demands of the course, I can also easily see how the truly significant positives that Pratt has to offer could be underappreciated by those completely frustrated trying to find their way around this course, unready for the hill climbing, creek jumping, and downright dirty scrambling required to negotiate the last run of holes, or just simply underwhelmed by the unremarkable demands of 10 of the first 11 holes.
Without a map or a guide, the first thing to know about Pratt Park is that getting around could be a real challenge. There's a box for maps at the beginning of the course, but there was no map in there for me the day I played (and no box at all the first time I tried this course). Hopefully you'll fare better. Ten of the first eleven holes are pretty unremarkable. Three are in the open, the other eight are in the woods. While a couple could be considered unreasonably wooded, for the most part these holes are varied enough and ok. The third hole is pretty nice, cleared out but still a tight fairway, uphill and to the right. The natural tee pads have wooden markers, and most of the baskets are numbered too. There are a few very small next tee signs on trees where needed and I didn't have any problem navigating this segment of the course.
Finding #11 after #10 can be a challenge (see notes below), but after another fine but unremarkable hole, the really special part of this course begins with #12. As you stand at the baskets for #9 and #10, you'll see down into the very steep, very deep ravine with a beautiful stream running through it. From up there, it doesn't look much like you could even hike down there, much less actually play disc golf. But you will.
Hole #12 is a fairly long hole for this otherwise mostly short course, playing down a relatively accessible hill all way down to the stream. So finally, a really nice hole. Then you hike back up a steep hill (assuming you don't hike the wrong way, easy to do for the rest of the course), and come to a tee that looks across another deep divide to a basket on the other side. Then #14 you play back down into the ravine along the cut of the stream. #15 is a fairly standard woods hole, and then #16, again assuming you find the tee, is a big downhill chuck all the way back down to the streambed, to a basket placed right in a bend in the stream. Actually, you're throwing off something closer to a cliff than a hill. With both #13 and #16, you may stand at the tee and just be initially astounded by what the tee shot is asking of you. Hike down a winding and steep path from the #16 tee down to the streambed to retrieve your tee shot, and then play 17 and 18 along the bottom of the ravine, with 18 being a remarkable finish. The basket is exactly streamside, and two small waterfalls (during wet times at least) come together right next to the basket.
Except for #15, from #12 on Pratt Park has some of the most interesting holes in Virginia. There's lots of nice woods holes in the state, but none quite like these. I suspect the appeal of these holes is sometimes overlooked, however, by those so frustrated by trying to figure out where to go. While the number of wayfinding aids and makeshift bridges has increased greatly since I first tried to throw a round here, it's still a bit of a navigational challenge for the first timer . And steep hills, creek jumping, getting muddy on wet days, and scrambling along very steep banks if your shot goes off course had better be your idea of fun. On the flip side, I can see throwing some really fun birdies on these holes, where the baskets are all reachable from the tee, but only across big divides or crafted along a winding streambed.
Overall, I look forward to a return trip to Pratt, as it took three tries, but I'm now able to savor the good parts without having to worry about where I'm going next, or how I'm going to get back to where I started. Hopefully you'll find a map in the box, and you'll see the small next tee signs (on the back nine in particular). Either way, hopefully, it'll help to know what you're getting into, or what awaits if you just persist in moving forward.
Way finding notes: The first nine are easy to negotiate now that the tee markers have been installed. #10 is further along the running trail, a good ways - you can see the tee markers. At the basket for #10, looking down those very steep stairs to the stream below you see the basket for#18, by the way, though no fairway is apparent at all. Finding #11 is counter-intuitive, though. Turn left, go across the first bridge, and don't let the second, broken bridge with the Do Not Cross tape hanging from it deter you. Scramble down into the rocks beside the broken bridge, back out the other side where the bridge should go, and keep walking straight and you'll get to #11. #11 to 12 is obvious (though note the basket for #16 just upstream from #12), go downstream and follow the steep path uphill to get to #13. Then I didn't have any trouble finding #14 and #15, but #16 you have to backtrack to the edge of the ravine, and then find the tee for #16 right on the very edge, looking WAY down to the basket below. #17 and #18 weren't too hard to find, but you do have to scramble along the streambed for both, it's not as hard as it looks at first. If you find your way to #11, you'll notice it runs right next to the back parking lot of the YMCA, which is accessible from Butler Rd.
Favorite Hole: #18 - While #16 is a fun and beautiful toss from highpoint to lowpoint, #18 is subtle in its beauty, requiring a nice S-curve touch shot along the stream, to a picturesque waterfall finish.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Pratt has been upgraded since its early reviews
5 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Large aerial photo and course directions on hole #1 reader board. Clean fairways. Bathrooms on both sides (hole #4 & hole #11...YMCA) Variety of shots needed. Parking on front or back holes. YMCA parking lot (Butler Road) is 30' from hole #11. Well marked tee pads (you have to read the directions on hole #1 reader board) There is water on holes 4,9, & 11 (#11 in YMCA building) Course plays 80%+ in the shade.
Cons: On some of the back 9 holes you must walk carefully. Pedestrians can come DANGEROUSLY into play on a few holes, but that is normal for a public park.
Other Thoughts: I read the other reviews and decided to do something about it. Anyway as of 10/1/08 it has gone through a complete transformation, and is going to get even better. The reviews posted pre-clean up have hurt it's overall ranking so keep that in mind. The fairways are fair. The pads are carpeted and marked with tall white 4 x 4 posts. There is a map on hole 1. Be sure to check out the reader board on hole #1. Too many people have taken off points for not being able to find the holes, but they ARE and have been marked with GREEN & WHITE tape to identify next hole and flight path to the baskets. I have personally put in hundreds of hours making this course the best it can be. Since the cleanup, everyone I have talked to says it is a wonderful course.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Scenic must play course
Pros: Beautiful course with many scenic holes. There are elevation changes, so you have to throw some shots uphill, some downhill and some flat. There are a variety of long holes and medium holes. There are a few open holes but mostly wooded technical holes which dogleg both left and right as well as some straight fairways. There is good parking, bathrooms w/ automatic flush toilets & hot and cold water sinks. Lamenated course maps are available in the mailbox right next to hole #1's teepad.
Cons: Some of the walking paths can be slippery, especially on the back nine, be careful walking across the creeks on the back nine. No tee signs.
Other Thoughts: I would highly recommend playing this course. It is very scenic and tests your skills. It is fun and challenging for both beginners and experienced players.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Play the back nine twice
Pros: The back nine holes are a lot of fun, especially in the fall. There are good changes in elevation and distance, and the holes around and across the creek bed make for a scenic half round.
Cons: Signage. Like other reviewers the first time I played here we wandered around looking for tees and baskets. Go with someone who knows the course if it's your first time out. I'm not a big fan of the front nine holes but the back nine can be a lot of fun.
Other Thoughts: Park at the back of the park near the skate park and baseball fields to avoid the long walk back across the soccer fields from 18. You can access the back parking lot from Butler Rd. Drive to the back of the lot near the shelters and you should see a path to the left of the shelters that will take you to the 9th-ish tee and make a quick 9 hole game (or two rounds of the same 9 holes) very convenient.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 14 Not
This is the worst course in Va
Pros: It's close to many much better parks
Cons: The whole course
Other Thoughts: This course is absolutely the worst sourse i have ever been to. The layout is horrible, Holes are poorly marked. I don't think this course has ever been maintained except for the mulch dumped in huge piles at the tee pads. Half of the holes throw over or across a parking lot, picnic area, soccer field, running trail, even power lines. There are a few nice holes that are fun to play but unless you plan on playing the 3 good ones six times each then this course is a complete waste of time. i had more fun seeing how far i could throw across the seven hundred soccer fields between #18 and the parking lot than i did playing the course. Go north and play Giles Run instead!
2 of 16 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 1 Not
This Course Frustated Me!
Pros: I think the park itself has a world of potential. It's a beautiful location for a course and has some elevation change. Some of the back nine holes were scenic, challenging and enjoyable to play. The course starts with a few open holes then moves into the wooded area.
Cons: The course was so poorly marked. We wandered around aimlessly, finally missing about four holes. We never found a tee area for one of the early holes. It was totally frustrating to drive around and locate this course and then discover how poorly marked it was.
Other Thoughts: Until the local Disc population steps up and properly signs the course, I would mark it off your to play list. There are too many other courses to play and discover.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: The cayon/river area is beautiful. I say skip right to the back 9 and you'll like this course much more. Those last 7 holes are just beautiful.
Cons: Virtually no signs led us to play #'s 2 & 3 to wrong baskets. After #1 the wooded holes are just poorly laid out.
5 of 9 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
A few beautiful holes on the back 9
Pros: -The approach to hole 12 and the green are gorgeous down by the creek.
-Hole 16 is one of the most beautiful I've played in VA (played ~3/4 of the courses in the state.)
-Holes 17 & 18 have very pretty and unique fairways along a creek bed in the bottom of a ravine.
Cons: If you park in the lot nearest to hole 1 you have a beast of a long walk back from basket 18.
Other Thoughts: Holes 12, 13, 16-18 alone make the course worth playing. They also considerably boosted my overall rating.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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