Fun beauriful course, but the rough is bad
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Two large concrete tees and two permanent basket positions on every hole with widely varying distance between the four setups. Course is in a scenic park and has nicely mowed fairways that are mowed fairly regularly (the grass is occasionally shaggy, but never too long). The course is set among some nice rolling hills, with a large variety of distances and shot shapes. There are some holes that you always try to ace/birdie, while there also a handful of legitimate two-shot holes to reach the basket (hole 16 from the long tee is probably a good three-shot hole to reach the basket). Most of the holes are fairly open, with just enough obstacles to provide some challenge or force you to work the disc one way or the other. Course makes pretty good use of the elevation in this park. Hole 4 is a fun shot over a valley with a tight gap in the trees to reach the other side of the valley. Hole 12 is the only other really tight hole on the course and is a fun tunnel hole through a bunch of trees.
Cons: The thorns. The thorns. And, oh yeah, the thorns. They are on almost every hole. On some holes, they are pretty thin, but on others they are really thick. I used to always wear jeans, a long-sleeve shirt, and carry an old 3-iron I don't use anymore to help extract discs from the thorn bushes. The thorns are especially ferocious on 15 ad 16 for the long tees/baskets.
Other Thoughts: Overall, I really thought the course design here was fun. If it weren't for the thorns, this course would probably be a 4.5, but going in to the thorn bushes even 2 or 3 times a round sucks the fun right out of it. After playing this course regularly for a couple seasons, I got tired of it, and started playing the other area courses to avoid the thorns. Print off the map for your first trip or two around this course. There are a couple of tricky navigation spots, particularly between 7 and 8 and then again between 16 and 17, as there is a decent length walk through a small valley and across a river to get between these holes. As a hiker, I never minded the walk, and even enjoyed it, but it is something that you should know about before playing your first round here.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Run Giles Run
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: 18 beautiful mostly open but challenging holes with nice dual concrete tees and baskets and tee signs. Excellent use of the terrain, rolling elevation and unique features of the property to create a variety of looks. Well defined fairways and rough creating great risk vs reward choices. Course was manicured like a ball golf course.
Cons: The rough is quite rough with lots of thorns, some poison ivy, and a prison fence. High probability of losing a disc or more, not a good course for beginners to cut their teeth on, or literally cut their body up from the thorns. Hole 3 plays a bit close to the parking lot. Navigation is little tricky in places. No bathrooms or water.
Other Thoughts: I played long to long in some 30+mph winds which made this course play very tough as it's mostly open with lots of rolling elevation, fast greens, and punishing rough. Despite the old prison which is now a bible camp, the property is quite scenic and has a bit of a menacing character to the course. It's quite deceiving looking at many of the holes from the tee because of the straight forwardness of the mostly open and defined fairways, but you really don't want your disc to land in any of the roughs that tend to sneak up on you in places. One of my fav's was hole 2 where I lost my firebird over the prison fence on a 50' putt that boomeranged back over my head from the wind howling up off the lake up a huge fast green to the basket. Luckily there is a guard at the bible prison who was nice enough to retrieve my disc and give it back to me. He said that happens quite often. Hole 4 was a tight valley shot I liked, deuce-able and quite bogey-able. Hole 6 is one of those beautiful deceiving holes throwing from an elevated tee 426' to the basket on top a peninsula with rolling elevation away to the rough and pond. I was fairly confident with my drive as it left my hand, however my adrenaline was pumping as I couldn't stop watching the disc to make sure it didn't veer off into the abyss and it ended up parked. After finding hole 8 it's a monster uphill par 4. The rest of holes take you through a mix of elevation and fairway directional changes and some scattering of trees with the always present rough on the sides that take a mental toll on your game with a variety of hole lengths from a long tough ace run to monster downhill par 5 loaded with risk vs reward.
I generally prefer some more wooded courses, but I'd recommend Giles Run to any competitive player that can keep a disc in the fairway and wants a challenge in the Nova area. The long to long layout however should have a warning like Beth Page's Black course "The Black Course is an extremely difficult course which we recommend only for highly skilled golfers." Beginners should play any of the other courses in the area unless they are masochistic.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
I love this course
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Two pins and two tees on each hole give you several different ways to play and cater to different skill levels. The baskets are sturdy Mach 3 types and the tee boxes are concrete. There are a wide variety of hole types here, from short ace runs to 1000 foot grip and rip holes. There is a good amount of elevation change on this course for the area. The course is almost always empty and I've never had to wait more than a minute or two here. The area is quite beautiful as well.
Cons: Thorns and lots of them. If your disc is more than ten feet off the fairway, prepare to venture into them. I have a specific pair of jeans and a ratty shirt I always wear to this course, as the thorns will snag even denim. The course layout is confusing for first-timers. The signage is only so-so, with some holes missing a good deal of info. Ticks are everywhere in the summer.
Other Thoughts: Most holes are fairly wide open, but there are a few that have either tight fairways or some trees to make it interesting. I'd recommend printing out the map if this is your first time playing the course, but you can also find your way by paying careful attention to the arrows on the baskets and some on the ground. There is a long (but enjoyable) walk after hole 7 and again after 16. There are trails in the park that mountain bikers use; you won't really have to look out for them while playing but be aware of them when you're walking from hole to hole. I see people with their dogs here all the time, so it must be a good place to bring them. Please pack out what you bring in, as I've been noticing an increasing amount of bottles next to tees recently.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Adventure at Giles Run
2 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Giles Run has professional tees/baskets as well as Recreational tees/baskets. It has something for players of all skill levels. There are good signs at each hole indicating distance and basket location. The course is near highway I95 making it convenient if you are traveling nearby, less than half and hour from Washington D.C. Plenty of friendly disc golfers on the course helped me find my way around and even letting us play through! Lovely use of elevation and terrain. I love this course!
Cons: Needs a course map for first time players. Thick thorny growth around several holes making it difficulty to recover discs without getting stuck/slashed. I saw other disc golfers bloodied by these thorns, myself and my friend were bloodied by thorns, in Winter.
Other Thoughts: Park has a small playground for kids. The park also has running and mountain biking trails. A beautiful park! I will definitely play again if I am in the area.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: -Giles Run defines " risk reward" this is an adrenaline filled experience where you will pay! For your bad decisions.
-This course has a combination of long power holes and short technical ones, the one constant is that you have to stay fair if you want to avoid cuts and bruises.
-The open fields and beautiful views give you a sense of ball golf in a high end club.
Cons: - If this is your first time playing, the flow of the holes is not easy to follow so have somebody that has played before show you the way.
- If you are new to the game stay in the front of the course since you may run out of discs by hole number 13
- The signs have been disappearing lately
Again this course is the most exiting course I have ever played. Every time I go to Giles I know that I will get cut, I will probably lose a disc, find some kind of snake and it never gets old; every time is an adventure
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Mixture of short and long holes. Holes 1, 2, 3, 12, 13, 14 and 18 are very nice.
Cons: Thorns, thorns, thorns. Lost discs. Ticks. Make sure ALL your discs are labeled. You'll lose one in the thorns and you won't want to go in looking for it. Transitions from 4->5, 6->7, 7->8, 11->12 are not easy to find. Hike from 7->8/16->17 is significantly long.
Holes 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16 have the worst rough you'll ever encounter (if it has thorns, it grows in that rough.)
Another minor sore point is that the tee signs only list the distance to one basket (and which basket that is is not known). Well, that is, when they list a distance at all. Several signs do not seem to have maps or distance on them any longer.
No restrooms. No water.
Other Thoughts: Use Deet as tick repellant (it should be mandatory). I've been bitten thrice. I've lost three discs in the thorns, but found many others while hunting for mine. Water fountain would be nice. So would a restroom.
Seriously folk LABEL YOUR DISCS! We'll get them back to you if they are labeled. (yes I found 6 more discs over the weekend, and only 2 were labeled.) [7 more found in Dec, only 2 of those were labeled] Another 8 found since Jan, 4 of those with known owners.
3 of 9 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: This course was a nice course. It had elevation changes and it had flat ones. There were short and long. A 900 foot one in there if you play from the back tees. Continuing with the tees there were 2 baskets and 2 tee pads which can make for a ton of variety when playing the course if you want or go back. The tee pads were very nice. The signs were ok but sometimes it got confusing on where to go but some locals helped us out.
Cons: The fairways are very very narrow on some holes, and if you stray 6 inches off the fairway you will be in the thickest thorns ever. This is on every hole on this course. 95% of the plant life on this course has thorns that will tear you apart if you do not want to lose your discs (which no one wants to). The walks between 7 and 8 and 16 and 17 were kinda long but not a boring walk so it was ok.
Other Thoughts: This would be a much better course if there was some way to get rid of the thorns because it is awful everywhere but the middle of the fairway. Overall would have gotten a better rating if there was less danger in playing this course.
2 of 7 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Cool course overall. You start out beside an old prison on top of a hill. A few short holes to get started then it goes off into the woods for some more extreme ones. The fairways are well-maintained and kept pretty open.
Cons: Don't go off of the fairway. Any shot that lands off of the fairway is going to be in very thick, sharp, painful bushes. The course itself would be great if it wasn't for the thorns. There are also a couple of spots where you have to walk a long distance to get to the next hole. (from 7 to 8, then from 16 back to 17). It's a nice park and a decent trail, so the walk isn't too bad.
Other Thoughts: This course could easily be rated around a 3.5-4, but it was the most painful round I have ever played. There were 4 of us that played it, and we all left bloody.
4 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Wide Open Fun
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Beautiful course. As abandoned on the day I was here as the neighboring prison. 2 pads and 2 pins on all holes. 54 holes to play of alternating baskets and pads. Signage is decent. Some missing info. Some transitions marked well. Others a bit more vague. Good use of area. Course is spread out so that on a buiser day you would not be on top of other golfers. Lots of walking in a fabulous area. feels remote from the urbanness of the world around here. 25 min ago I was at the car rental counter at Regan Airport.
Cons: Some hole transitions are not well signed. Some distances are a bit long between holes... But if you came here to DG you have no reason to complain about walking. More benches would be nice. Bag holders would be great. Grass is long-ish which makes for tougher walking, but is consistent with the prarie feel set up here.
Other Thoughts: Zero trash on this coures. Kudos to the locals.
A few hole-by-hole comments:
The 12, 13, 14 pririe combo is a great example of well done open prarie golf.
The transition from 7 to 8 and from 16 to 17 is one of the nicest surprises in DG I have encountered. What a treat.
The 123 sequence is a bit detached from the rest of the course. A main course info board with map would be nice here.
3 is a ace run that if I played here I would tee of 5 or 6 times each time I played seeking that chain ringer.
4 is the signature hole of the course. Up and down. Tree gap. Fall away woodisness. Tight fairway. Great view. Nothing missing on hole 4.
Hole 16 from the pro pad is supposed to be a ball golf hole. Just a small mistake there... but a sweet, long bomb, let-out-the-arm hole.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: - Multiple Tees/Baskets
- Excellent Elevation Change
- Open/some wooded holes
- Solid O.B.s
- Decent mix of shots
- Practice cage
- Solid ace runs
- Extremely well kept and maintained, beautiful course
Cons: - Sometimes hard to follow with long transitions between holes
- primarily open holes
Other Thoughts: Giles Run is situated on the old land tract of the Lorton Reformatory. The area is currently designated for recreation, although the county is currently seeking approval to convert the old prison to office/warehouse and apartment space, as well as to add more mixed-use development in the area. For the time being, the park is strictly recreational, and includes disc golf, golf and a playground.
The course itself is in great condition, and the garbage that detracts from courses (litter/graffiti/etc) seems to be kept under control here. While the course is not heavily wooded, (from what I understand, this use to be a working prison farm) the designers have used what trees are available. The fairways are well defined and well kept. The O.B.s are all marked, and you definitely want to avoid them, as they are mostly thorn thickets. The O.B.s add in some solid challenges...hole 16 pro tee comes to mind. There is enough variation in the holes that the course does not get monotonous and, from talking to one of the locals that joined our group, the people responsible are proactive about switching things up and maintaining a solid course.
There is a practice cage at the start of the course for warming up which can also serve as a bonus hole, if you know where to play it from. There is also a 15b, again, if you know where to play it from. Multiple holes offer some solid chances for aces, especially from the short tees. The short tees are also very beginner friendly. At any given time, there are two basket placements on each hole, so you can pick and choose your game. Also, from a beginner's standpoint, most of the short baskets are visible from the short tees, so blind shots are not necessary. Also, tees are all concrete, and they are nice and long/wide.
The locals are all super friendly, and the course is beautifully maintained. This is a beautiful, fun and challenging course, which has moved up to my number 1 to play when I am visiting. I would recommend it for novice - intermediate players...I can't say that it would be overly challenging for someone with a pro level game, but that's not me, so I can't fully comment.
If you're not playing with a local, print the course map, because some of the transitions are long walks with minimal signage. The locals are super chill though, and more than happy to join up and show the ropes.
The elevation changes can be challenging if you're used to throwing across gaps or flat ground, so bring your A game. Also, given the location of the course (on top of a hill,) wind can be a factor.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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