10 Helpful / 0 Not
Oldest in England
The University of Essex campus offers a scenic setting in Wivenhoe Park for 27 holes of disc golf. The main 18-hole course winds through the campus going up and down hills as well as over valleys. There's a solid balance of lefty vs. righty holes. The online website is very well done featuring hole-by-hole descriptions. The targets are multi-chain baskets of some brand that I wasn't familiar. There's water in play on a couple holes, which is always a nice challenge.
Tee boxes are natural and utilize various different marking techniques. Some boxes are marked by 12"x12" paver stones at the front, a couple boxes attempt to make the entire box out of the paver stones. However, most boxes are marked with a simple wood board at the front of the box.
The toughest tee shot on the course ("The Lake") has probably the worst condition tee box, it's a mud pit after any bit of rain. No tee signs or distances. Duck/geese poop almost completely covering a few fairways. "The Lake" hole is an impressive challenge requiring a drive of 230+' to clear it through either of two small gaps, which is too much to ask of some lower level players.
I played this course several times for the 2011 British Open. The Open's layout skipped a couple of the normal holes, added a couple new holes, and tweaked the teebox locations of many others. In spite of this I still got a good idea of how the normal course plays. Each hole has a cute British name, which I heard was somewhat common for British courses. Collect your birdies on the short holes because the longer holes will test your ability to avoid carding 4's and 5's.
The golf that this course offers is good, however the overall course is hampered by the poor tee boxes and lack of any signage. With some basic improvements this could be a really nice course.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
The very informative webpage at http://www.essexdiscgolf.co.uk
/ and online map made the course relatively easy to navigate. Without both, you'd have some difficulties.
Wide varieties in distances, averaging 400', and ranging from woods-on-left-open-on-right hard-left turning 230' #13, to 772' #8 and its steady but mildly rising elevation change, with bits of bushes and trees in the midst of the very long fairway. Practically every hole will have some elevation change, and obstacles to avoid.
Basket-6 missing. Unnumbered baskets quite old, some a bit bent. Tees (some concrete, most natural) less than ideal. No signage.
When students are out, milling about and enjoying fine weather, and/or moving between buildings during class changes, a good portion of the course can become unplayable. Many baskets located near buildings or have fairways which have walking paths crossing them.
The rolling hills, upon which the University of Essex sits slightly southeast of Colchester city-centre, with its smattering of mature trees, flowering bushes, and large ponds, provides fine terrain for creating a challenging disc golf course. The first ten holes have you playing amidst the scattered trees located on the slopes leading down to the ponds, while the last seven holes are on the other side of campus, where most of the obstacles will be buildings or ob roads and paths. The only tight hole would be funneling #12, so this is not a course for technical aficionados.
Navigation tips: As you walk towards basket-10, look over your right should and find the multiple high-rises. Tee-11 is on the other side of the second high-rise from the left, past the bike-rack area. Basket-11? Well, if you could throw a laser beam through the modern art statue ~100' directly in front of the tee, then drop down the hill, you'd be right on target. Was unable to find the specific tee location of #6, #7, #10, and #14, but the map made it simple enough to approximate their locations.
Favourite hole: #15. Teeing from the top of a hill, your target, at about the same elevation, is located slightly in the woods in a tree stump. Between you and it is 650', of which the first half is a steep downhill, where you'll find a ob road, then as you attempt to regain the elevation, you'll find a large copse of trees and bushes in line with the most direct path to the basket.
Least favourite hole: #17. Starts between two buildings, throws across two walking paths, and the basket sits scant feet away from the glass-paneled sports building!
Sans students, this course offers plenty of variety and challenge, but since this a university first and a disc golf course second :-), try to time your visit for when school isn't in session, or the weather so miserable that the students won't be out. I wasn't able to complete #8, or even attempt #10 or #17, due to the continuous student activity on a fine Spring weekday afternoon..
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Watch out where the ducks go.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Nice layout, beautiful campus, good pin placement. Only playable when the students are in their classes, must stop playing for 10 minutes every 45 minutes or so when the students are changing rooms and hundreds if not thousands of people are in the fairways.
Cons: No tee pads, poor signage. To be fair I only played the first 8 holes or so because the holes down by the pond were so overrun by ducks, geese, and another webbed-footed bird I'd never seen before, that the ground was completely covered in bird poop. I noticed that all my discs were brown from the poop and decided to stop in the middle of the round. I like to lick my fingers to give traction to the disc, but I'm not licking anything if bird poop is around.
Other Thoughts: I felt welcome on the campus and even bought books at the college book store. Most people were not aware there was a disc golf course on campus, but everybody was so friendly and civilized. I guess it's true the Brits are more civilized than us Yanks.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: An extremely well looked after grown up course with a good mix holes par 3's and 4's water and woods. Situated on Essex Uni campus the course winds around the extensive campus grounds. Challenges for the advanced player, with options for those starting out. Well worth the effort.
Cons: Fairly open though out, perhaps it lacks some tighter wooded holes. Very well suited to the longer throwers. No real cons other than the British weather, but then again it makes it a whole different disc game.
Other Thoughts: The campus is pretty much open all year round and popping in to the sports center for a map is a good idea.
Make sure you go round the awesome par 2 course before and after your main round, a great way to warm up and down!
Take some pond discs if your not confident driving 70 across a lake. If you have a retrieve, your in for some fishing fun.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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