5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Quaker Challenge is a course full of long, challenging wooded holes. (The longest layout has an SSA18 second only to Iron Hill golds among courses I've played.) The holes offer a variety of challenges, including great use of elevation, a number of challenging par 4s, and even a true par 6. While the holes are varied and challenging, they don't feel gimmicky or unfair. The course opens with the intimidating straight uphill hole 1, the longest 240 foot hole out there. There are multiple baskets or tees on all holes except 1 and 17, which are in most cases substantially different.
The course has big, level tee pads, with benches at every hole. The signage is great, including representative hole maps and useful next tee signs. The bright pink short baskets are the best homemade baskets I've seen. The course is pretty secluded -- it doesn't overlap with other park activities or hiking trails, and it's out of the way enough not to get too busy.
Cons: Given that the course is in the same park as a beautiful lake, it's a bit surprising that it doesn't have any epically scenic holes. The rough here can be painful -- there's a lot of thorny bushes that can leave you bloody. Despite the course's length, there are no open holes where you get to air it out. Hole 13 is kind of a weird hole, feels a bit "poke an pray".
Other Thoughts: This course is long, with lots up and down the hill. Be prepared for a challenging round, even in the shorter layouts. It is not a good course for (most) beginners.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 1 Not
A Beautiful Beast
Pros: beautiful layout. excellent signage. the local club has done a great job creating and maintaining this course. played at the beginning of august, so it was thick if you missed the fairway. the design of each hole was well thought out, allowing for multiple options for different style players. this course has a shot for backhand and forehand drives and the exercise is awesome!
Cons: others may say that, on some holes, the walk from basket to the next tee can be long. i am a hiker, so i didn't mind. gives you time to get your head together for what is coming next, as it seems to just get better and better.
the rough is extremely rough. many briars and spiderwebs and THICK brush. stay in the fairway. hehehe.
Other Thoughts: my wife and i were passing through the area on our way back to virginia. we decided to stop and play here, as i had looked it up before we left home. i have been playing for eight or nine years and this course beat me up a bit, but it was very well worth it. we met a guy and girl clearing rocks and weed-eating on hole 3 and they were local players. extremely nice folks. i would definitely have played better if i knew the layout. can't wait to come play here again. walnut creek, outside charlottesville va is my home course and usually takes us an hour and a half to play. quakers challenge we finished in three and a half hours! awesome fun. awesome exercise. going back in the fall, for sure.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Excellent signage.
- Excellent teepads.
- At least 2 permanent baskets on each hole, with short tees on some.
- Tons of different possible layout options to play.
- Seating on nearly every hole.
- Isolated, even in a massive family swarmed state park.
- Great use of the elevation and surrounding land.
- Holes have well defined fairways.
- Awesome wildlife, I saw the biggest red tailed hawk I've ever seen, absolutely stunning.
- Very easy to navigate with next tee arrows on every basket.
Cons: - Thick underbrush is unforgiving to an errant shot, lost one myself.
- Some holes (for me) just didn't flow well, hole 4 was kind of weak with how it was set up (people would argue and say thats what makes it a challenge) one of the holes on the back 9 felt like it was just a filler hole.
- The place was pretty swampy/muddy in some places.
Other Thoughts: Well the name has it right, what a challenge!! Walking up to hole one and stair up at the basket gives you a sinking feeling of "what did I get myself into". Course has a great combination of uphill/downhill shots, Tight tunnel shots, and some more open shots. Neither right or left hand favored. All in all a great course, and a great challenge!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 13 Not
Pros: Challenging. Great hike.
Cons: Trees, trees, trees and nothing else.
Other Thoughts: Full disclosure, I had a terrible round here. That is my fault and my problem, but it did leave me a little incensed at the course. I understand why it is rated so highly. We all like challenging courses. However, I felt like it was a little one dimensional. There is more to disc golf than threading trees all day, just as there is more to it than wide-open holes.
Again, I understand the desire to be challenged, but I felt that Boulder Woods across the lake was more enjoyable while still challenging. Maybe the bad round is clouding my judgement.
I will say, if you are one of those people who base their lives on reviews, don't miss this course on my behalf, but I think you'll see what I mean.
Thanks for listening.
1 of 14 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The course plays through a dense forest with thick punishing rough. If you miss your line on the mostly long and tight fairways, you'll be losing strokes and often blood. There is great variety in hole shapes, with a nice balance of left and right turning shots along with some well shaped multi-shot holes that offer different landing zones and options to get to the pin. There are many longer holes, with a few shooter but still technical holes mixed in. Several holes bring elevation into play in various ways, including a very tough first hole straight up a steep slope.
The tees are nice concrete pads with some texture, many were wet when I played and the grip was still fine. There are detailed tee signs on every hole showing hole layout and distance to the multiple pins. The alternate placements changed the course up quite a bit in most cases, and the scorecards available showed the current layout.
Cons: There were some spots that didn't drain well and got pretty muddy. There were also some areas that were a little overgrown with long grass on a couple fairways. The rough can be pretty brutal at times, thick enough to lose discs in and full of thorns and briars, it often means a pitch out rather than any room for creative recovery shots. The last hole brings the parking lot into play, it could be a safety issue.
Other Thoughts: This course offers a great variety of tough wooded holes that challenge you to throw many different types of shots accurately. Experienced players will be tested here, with enough variety to keep it fun. Most beginners won't have a good time here with long tight fairways and nasty rough. This course makes a great complement to the easier course on the other side of the park.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: great concrete tee pads.. great baskets.. great shady course.. we played on a very hot day and were reasonably comfortable..
Cons: sharp rocks.. watch your footing.. you'll find lots of stickers and poison ivy while disc searching..
Other Thoughts: I see that there is no recent review of this course.. We played today and it's in great condition. The local club is doing a great job.. Thanks guys..
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 0 Not
I Hope You've Got Your Game Together
Pros: Quaker's Challenge at Gifford Pinchot State Park has a lot going for it and it will give you a run for your money. Nestled in the tree-studded rolling hills between Harrisburg and York, the park is easy to get to. Once in the park, it's not difficult to find the course and there is ample parking. The upper portions of the course offer exceptional views of the lake below. The course is amazingly clean and is a testament to the hard work of the local disc golf club, the Boulder Woods Country Club's Fighting Llamas.
Quaker's Challenge requires a robust, well-rounded skill set. The course is completely wooded with tight fairways and makes exceptional use of the natural features. This starts on the first tee as you stare uphill at a basket you will be hard-pressed to birdie, let alone par. This continues throughout the course as numerous difficult uphill throws are required on many holes. While the downhill fairways aren't quite as extreme, there are still risk/reward trade offs on nearly every hole. Additionally, there are very few straight runs at the basket (and fewer ace runs). Many of the holes have some type of left or right dogleg, if not an "S" or serpentine-like fairway. Further lending to the solid design is the incorporation of multiple pin positions on many of the holes.
Newly constructed concrete tee pads are now available on all 18 holes, giving players sound footing while throwing. Additionally, several stone and timber retaining walls help keep the tee pads elevated while also providing a nice aesthetic.
Most of the baskets were in good shape and had clearly-visible numbers around the chastity belt as well as next tee arrows on the bottom of the baskets. The tee signs themselves were exceptionally detailed and included distances, pars, next tee, and possible routes for all the different pin positions. The benches that were available everywhere were great for taking a load off or keeping your bag elevated and handy and were more than just a little handy.
Cons: Safety comes to mind as a possible con in several spots throughout the course. There are a few spots where the path to the next tee crosses a fairway. Additionally, the footing on some of the severe uphill fairways can be extremely precarious. The last hole is in close proximity to the park road and parking lot, increasing the potential danger to other park users.
The same qualities that elevate the design of this course above others could also be a detractor. Because the fairways are so tight on many of the holes, any throw that is even remotely off the mark could easily result in several additional throws just to get back on the fairway. This is especially (and perhaps unnecessarily) punishing in numerous locations as many holes have thick and sharp briars along the edges. In some cases, the low ceilings make certain types of throws difficult if not impossible, severely limiting the way in which a hole could be approached.
Drainage might also be a problem as there were numerous portions of the course that appeared to be easily water-logged. As much as I can praise the new teepads, there were a few that had standing water and might cause some slippage during a run up. Although there was little to no garbage (a positive), there were very few garbage cans.
Other Thoughts: The terms frustrating, demoralizing, and humbling could all apply to your experience at Quaker's Challenge, but not necessarily in a negative way. This course demands your A-game and if you don't bring it, you'll pay dearly. The technical skills required to conquer this course are reminiscent of Nockamixon and Tyler. Accuracy is paramount over distance at Quaker's Challenge While I don't believe that this course is appropriate for beginners, it would certainly test their chops. In this regard, I believe that Quaker's Challenge is a solid 3.75. Given the rating scale, I don't think a 3.5 is warranted, so I gave the course the benefit of the doubt and scored it a 4.0. As solid as the design is at Quaker's Challenge, I think that there are enough subtle issues to keep it from a true 4.0.
Although the scorecard from my round showed a final score far north of par, the experience I had at Quaker's Challenge was fantastic. Despite the cons I mentioned, challenging yet enjoyable disc golf is built into the design at this course. I fully intend on playing this course again and would highly recommend that other players come here to see what they're made of.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 1 Not
Quaker Challenge indeed!
Pros: And Lo, numbernine arrived in Eastern, PA and before him was Quaker's Challenge. The hardest disc golf that he has ever been fortunate enough to trod upon.
OK, enough of the olde tyme writing. I am quickly running of out of words. on to the course.
- Simply put, this is a championship caliber course. There are no "easy" holes to be found anywhere in this place. The first hole looks reasonable on first glance, and then you realize that you probably need to catch a skip off of an airplane's wing to get it to the basket. The elevation change on that hole is punishing! Every hole is a beginner's nightmare, and a pros disc golfer's teenage wet dream. Hard, tight and punishing. Please insert your own jokes here.
- The signage on this course is pretty much second to none. The placards at all of the holes show the layout of each pin location perfectly, and there is a system to tell you which location the basket is currently sitting at. There are also copious amounts of signs that tell you where the next tee is. If you get lost on this course, you might just need to take a seeing eye dog with you next time you play. Signs, clear paths and maps show you everything perfectly. And as this course is longer than Cyrano de Bergerac's nose (I'll wait while you go look that up), you will need the information.
- The course is beautiful, as is the park it sits in. I almost got attacked by a deer. No kidding. Check out the video at the bottom of the review. There was a deer right there on the course. Anyway, this place looks like some sort of nature preserve. Unfortunately, the beauty is marred by the fact that the trees will grab your discs and throw them back at you.
- The tee pads are concrete on most holes, and it appears that they are in the process of putting more in. I ended a sentence with a preposition there, but I don't know how to fix it. You get the idea.
- The elevation changes here and absolutely, positively not a joke. Unless you want kill them, please do not bring old persons or children along with you to this course. There is a good chance that they will fall into the rocky crags and get eaten by a deer. Hole number one and number 10 really stand out in my mind as unbelievable elevation changes.
- there appears to be a very active club at this course. nice informative billboard at the front of the course, and a clubhouse back between 2 and 3. I met one of the blokes out on the course as he was mowing around the pin in preparation for a tournament. personally, I'd rather just curse at the park's department and make them get out there and mow, but I don't know how things work in PA.
Cons: - as much as I hate to say it; if you're a beginner, you have no business being on this course. It's super long. It's super tight. It's very punishing to bad shots. There is no place to just "wing it" out there, and you will get your ass handed to you on EVERY SINGLE HOLE if you throw one bad shot. For serious, beginning ball golfers don't go play Augusta right away, and you shouldn't be playing this course if you are new to disc golf. You'll want to melt down your discs and pour the hot plastic into your eyes.
- the ground can get a little treacherous. Lots of holes have very, very jagged rocks sticking right up out of the ground as if some sort of enemy combatant had booby trapped the place just before I had come out to play. Luckily for me, I have cat like reflexes and only sprained one ankle.
Amazing course for disc golfers that have some sort of grasp of the game. beginning and occasional players will get crushed like so many villagers underneath the foot of a hill giant at "The Quake".
There is a beginner friendly course in the same park that I would suggest that new guys go to.
This is a destination course, plain and simple. If you think you have game, you need to com to this course and prove it.
Check out the video I made as I played and let me know if it helps the review. I enjoy making them.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Challenging, Demanding Course
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Quaker's Challenge has all the elements of a professional caliber tournament course. A practice basket greets you at the base of the course. There is great use of elevation-both uphill and downhill holes. There is distance. There is variety, with unique and enjoyable holes (1, 3, 9, 10, 11 and 17 come to mind). And there are plenty of trees forcing you to pick your line and shape shots. The tee pads are now cement, real nice signs indicate hole # and distance, while a wooden peg lets you know if the basket is in the "A" or "B" position. Navigation is easy, with white arrows affixed to the bottom of each basket pointing you in the right direction. Benches/logs exist at most holes for much needed rest throughout your round. Located in a beautiful state park.
Cons: Unforgiving rough for anyone who strays off course. Large rocks and tree roots are present on many fairways, preventing good run-ups on approach shots and creating some treacherous travel. A trash can or two would be nice for the half dozen empty bottles of water you'll go through while playing this beast. Swampy in some areas. Not recommended for the beginner!
Other Thoughts: The Llamas- the local club that plays and maintains Quaker's Challenge, along with its sister course across the lake, Boulder Woods-are a credit to disc golf. Simply put, they get it. They run excellent tournaments and work tirelessly to better their courses- and believe me, Quaker's Challenge is a monster to maintain. Parts of the course remind me a lot of Campgaw Reservation in Mahwah, NJ, with its elevation, and rocky surface, while the views and length are reminiscent of Nockamixon State Park in Quakertown, PA. This is a demanding course for any skill level- challenging and unforgiving, yet very fair. Preparing yourself mentally is essential before playing here. Overall, an excellent disc golfing experience, and one of the best courses I've had the pleasure of playing.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Quaker is definitely a challenge
Pros: *This course is a very difficult hike and is a physical workout*
Like some previous reviews you know when you arrive to the first tee this course means business. I absolutely love very difficult courses so I was in heaven out there. This course plays up/down and on top/bottom of a very wooded hillside. There are a ton of pro par 4 and 5 holes.
There was a bulletin board that had score cards with maps near the practice basket and tee #1.
I was very surprised how easy this course was to navigate. Each basket had an arrow pointing in the direction of the next tee. For longer walks there were next tee signs aiding in navigaton. I had a harder time finding the parking lot near the 1st tee than any time on the course.
The tee signs were very descriptive with both pin placements. Hole #3 has a third pin placement. On the post of the tee sign there was a peg that noted where the pin was located.
There were some nice elevation changes and unique areas.
There is another 18 hole course on the other side of the lake.
There were some really cool holes out there and a ton of variety. Hole #1 is an absolute bomb to get up the hill. Hole # 9 is a super fun downhill hole.
Cons: The tee pads were stone and tricky to throw from. It looks like they may be possibly adding cement tees? If so i'd give this another half disc rating.
The rough is very thick. I could see less skilled players not liking this course at all. If you get off the fairway you are going to pay the price. This takes away from some of the fun.
There is a very beginner friendly course on the other side of the park. This state park has it all. This is a great place to bring the family for a variety of outdoor activities.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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