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.
10 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: - Course is set in a large park that has some hilly parts, with clumps of forest on top of a ton of rough. Also a popular place for mountain bikers, but it seemed like only a few spots where trails were close.
- Let me start by describing the rough here. It ranges from pretty tight, to thorny death that is impenetrable without full body suits of some sort. I thought the map on here was exaggerating with the "Death Valley or Disc Graveyard" label, but it is right on. Even if you know where that disc landed, exactly, it's gone. A lot of the rough is on a much lower elevation, too, meaning you went deep and downhill into thorns. This is serious stuff here. Also lots of additional OB all over the place, on top of the natural hazards.
- A lot of the holes use this rough to dictate the lines needed. A few RHBH hyzers, a tight anny/flick shot on #5, a long right curve on #9 and #15, and lots of straight shots. Some of these are very tricky, like a left-curving valley shot on #4, that tunnel anny on #5, the downhill make-or-break rip on #16, and additional longer ones or uphill ones. If you are going to try for birdies, you had better be damn sure you mainatin accuracy.
- Other holes utilize patches of small trees to force shot shaping. There are those that have obstacles in the fairways, like a simple hyzer on #11, or a wide right or left line on #12, and the like. Some holes have trees to protect baskets, like #7 and #12 again. For the most part, these are pretty straightforward, but are a good break from the other do-or-die holes.
- As mentioned before, there are some noticeable elevation changes both on the hole and off to the side. Some upslopes on some shorter and longer holes, a long downhill bomb on #16 (again, god help those who don't stay on the fairway). A high quality valley shot on #4, short but by no means easy.
- Great mix in hole lengths, especially with the dual teepad/dual basket combinations. Can play as a simple pitch-n-putt to a long, 400+ average length bombfest.
- Awesome teepads and baskets, signage is great, but missing on a ton of holes (post is there with #, but no map). There are some helpful pointers, but the map is highly recommended for the first time through.
Cons: - There are definitely some filler holes here, with little to no obstacles at all in the way. #6 is wide open, and #11 has two trees on the left. It's nice to have some breathers, but they are very lackluster. Course is pretty wide open in general, not many places where accuracy is needed over general shot placement. Similar feel throughout.
- Some long walks between holes; the one from #16 to #17 is a doozy.
- A few fairways/baskets/tees are kind of close to each other, heads up in some places.
- Two fairways under construction, it is just mud right now. Hopefully a temporary issue.
Other Thoughts: - This course does an awesome job of catering itself to your desired round, with some longer baskets and tees dramatically changing the difficulty and line of each hole. White to white will seriously test your shot placement, accuracy, and length to the extreme. Red to red, some tricks but much more accessible. Two setups in between to mix things up further.
- Too rough for beginners, even the shorts. Intermediate to expert players, choose your destiny.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 12 Not
this place is awful!
Pros: Pretty scenery, which is great because you'll have something to look at when you inevitably get lost.
Cons: Poorly marked everything...
1. confusing path directions will have you wondering if you ever will find civilization again.
2. Hole 8 was an absolute mystery. It was impossible to find and when we finally did, the basket was leaning against the tree.
3. Did I mention the fairway for 8 was literally a construction zone?
4. You WILL spend more time searching for discs in bramble patches unless you never ever miss or throw a putter for just about every throw. "Fairways" are 30 feet wide... no joke
5. Does anyone know when the last time they mowed was?
Other Thoughts: Wear long pants and check yourself for ticks.
4 of 16 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 5 Not
i came, i bled...
Pros: So easy to get to. It's right off the exit. Plenty of things to do in the D.C metro area, and this course is close to gas stations, restaurants, etc. It's free of charge.
The course itself is a beast. all kinds of elevation, and plenty of sloped baskets keep it interesting. The course doesn't really conform to right/left handers, you'll need to make a variety of throws. Some risk/reward shots. Hole 1 i ended up is the middle of the briar patch by the pin. Hole 16 is another challenge. Nothing like traversing through 50 feet of thorns on hillside to retrieve your favorite disc. Hole 6 stood out as a gem. The large pond off to the right swallows a la linda lovelace. 4 was nice valley shot.
Signs at every hole. Two tees, two baskets also.
It covers a huge area so its peaceful and private. Only saw two other groups of golfers on a saturday morn.
Challenges decent players.I got a +3 from the long to longs.
Cons: I don't mind the hiking aspect, but this is a tiring course. There are a few long walks, and some backtracking on some holes. For a virgin, you could become lost. Remember to check out the location of the next tee on the signs.
Nearly killed a biker on hole 5. Had no idea he was coming. Some trails intersect the course or come close. Usually they are protected by woods so the danger is minimized.
Prolly should wear pants if you cant keep it out of the briars.
Other Thoughts: The place oozes like a blistering cold sore, but in the best possible way. There's an abandoned prison near the parking lot, a battlefield and lots of non-disc possibilities to keep you here all day.
a true drive for show, putt for dough course.
5 of 10 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Winter at Giles Run
Pros: Two tee boxes and two baskets on each hole. Well groomed course.
The holes are set up nice offering some wide open holes for long drives and many challenging and narrow approaches to the buckets.
The out of bounds areas are well marked and placed in challenging locations.
Easy to get to course. I enjoyed the hilly terrain. A nice workout!
Cons: No rest rooms, not that it really matter sbut would be nice. No fresh water.
There is some construction on the course but it did not interrupt play.
The path to hole number 9 is not well marked. I highly suggest downloading the map on the official site. Also tricky is getting to holes 12-14......like i said GET THE MAP, and you are fine.
Other Thoughts: Since it was December we did not have to deal with the thorns and brush however the thros were still thick and if a disc went into it deep it was pretty much lost. There are extensive trails in the thickets to get around. I recommend some type of tongs or a grabber to retreive discs.
We really took our time playing this course and it took us 3 hours.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Some kind of Monster
Pros: Two tees, two pin positions. Excellent tee pads. The long pins make for a challenging round. Great scenery, the back nine is especially serene. I play often during the week and there are no crowds at all.
Great targets with tall flags are easily located. The fairways are well maintained. Excellent tee signage (a few missing).
Nice elevation changes. A good mix of uphill, downhill, and gentle sloping fairways.
Cons: As mentioned the thorns here are of Titanic proportion. If you're not careful you can easily lose a disc. More on that below.
The flow is a little funky - a lot of backtracking. I guess the course designers had to do what worked best given the lay of the land and I actually enjoy the hikes but this might not be so inviting to all.
A lot of courses allow for 9 holes that will lead you back (or close to) the parking lot allowing for a refuel. Once you tee off from 6 at Giles there's no coming home until it's over. Be prepared to hike. Once your out there - your out there so prepare in advance.
Navigation is tricky. The few times I've played here I've seen noobs getting all mixed up. Print the map, it works!
A few tee signs aren't marked so the map also helps in finding some of the longer pin positions (if you've never played here).
The place is not without it's litterbugs.
Other Thoughts: Though the thorns and blackberry thickets truely are oceanic in size they won't come into play that often for the skilled, technical golfer. I have nearly lost a few but managed to find them without much fuss, except for one which took a good 25 minutes to find and it wasn't even in the really rough stuff but just buried itself in low overgrowth. Indeed a black hole for discs as mentioned in another review.
The thorns seem to thin out in the winter but are in fact still quite treacherous.
There are disc retrieval trails cut into many of the larger patches which helps a lot, but still. BRING A REACH EXTENDER. It'll save you all kinds of grief when you do (and you will) get caught up in those thorn thickets.
This course demands that you control your shots. Some (most) holes can be truely unforgiving to the less accurate.
5/long tee - if you can't anny it around the bend don't even try.
6 - A huge, big-air bomber from the long tee but too much hyzer & crosswind and bye-bye into massive thorns and/or pond. Spectacular but ugly!
Bring plenty of water and whatever else gets you through because as noted it's a long hike from 6 to 7 and on until you get back.
I love this course. I have a feeling the thorns were much worse a couple years back when the course was new. I've been playing Burke, Pohick, etc for a long time and I'm stoked that a top-shelf course has finally arrived in my back yard. I love Patapsco and Seneca in MD and I'd put Giles (almost) right up there with them. The challenge mixed with the vibe here make me want to come back again and again, and being 10 miles away really helps.
Giles can be brutal and if you love that sort of challenge you'll dig it the most.
"Giles drew first blood, sir. Not me."
Update, Jan 2011. I wrote this review in my honeymoon phase with Giles. While I haven't changed my review I did lower my rating to 3 from 4. After having played here numerous times now it seems more fitting. If the overall flow were better and more of the thorns were gone this place could be a 4.5. A minor tweak but still one of the better courses in the greater DC area.
This is more of a winter course for me now as that's when conditions are most tolerable. In the summer it's simply a nightmare.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Great property with no exspenses spared. Lots of elevation change and challanging/hazard holes.
Cons: It's a hike. Plan on spending some time to do a full 18. Can be brutal in the summer. Thorns, thorns and more thorns.
Other Thoughts: have lost four disks here
2 of 6 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Loved this course.
I played the white tees to white pins.
It was loooong.
Very much a control and placement course.
Only lost one driver in the lake on #6.
The course was well maintained and in great shape.
Cons: As mentioned by many there are some very thick blackberry patches. If you don't want to bleed play another course (or have more control than me--not hard).
No water available that I saw. Take your own.
Other Thoughts: I am an out of towner and really appreciated the course directions and advice about the ticks in earlier posts by the locals. Thanks folks. I didn't get lost more than a couple of times and that was because I was playing the white tees.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Two tee (red=rec, silver=pro) locations and two baskets per hole. Each teepad is concrete, long-n-wide. Signs at each teepad listing distance to corresponding basket (rec-to-short, pro- to-long), show location of other pad-basket, and directions to next tee. Flags atop each basket, making them easier to spot, and providing an indication to what the wind is like near the basket. Tape on basket spoke will also direct you towards next tee. Benches. Trash cans. Practice basket.
A couple minutes off I95. Near strip mall with lots of food options. Plenty of parking. Very active group of people improving (i.e beating the thorns back) the course on a regular basis - see http://md-discgolf.com/phpbb3...25&t=1330
for more details.
Whomever invented razorwire must have studied the thorns at this course! Baskets seem just a tad low. Flow is a bit "choppy" - play 1&2, walk across parking lot to 3&4, walk across open area to 5&6, walk past pond to #7, long walk down to creek then back up to play 8-14, re-trace your steps to play 15-16, back down-then-up creek/hill to finish on 17&18. Have the map or a guide with you your first time out - otherwise you may start at #3, or go from 7 to 17.
Course plays on two open, elevated plateaus (i.e. somewhat windy), separated by a creek/stretch of woods (1-7, 17-18 on one side, 8-16 on the other side). A few uphill, over-rise, or flat holes, but a good number are somewhat downhill or across valley, presenting you with many opportunities to enjoy watching your disc fly! This is not a wooded course - other than the scattered trees the entire length of #12, trees typically only come into play for a small portion of a hole, either at the beginning or midpoint of your drive, or somewhat guarding the basket. If you can throw straight, and make necessary changes due to wind and moderate elevation changes, you will do well on this course.
Favourite hole #4. Across-a-valley drive, with a line of trees forming a fair-sized window about 75' before the top-of-hill basket location.
I am a big fan of multi-tee/multi-basket courses, especially when BOTH tees and baskets are top-quality, and these certainly are! For the most part, each hole's two tee and basket locations are quite different from each other, and there's a lot of variety amongst the holes, making this a great course to play when you have time for multiple rounds, and/or players of differing abilities.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Well designed holes
- Big tee pads
- Baskets in superb condition (Flags to indicate wind and position for first timers)
- Elevation Changes
- Beautiful Creek
- Good for a hike
- Sweet Prison Overlooking the course
- Course is very well groomed
- Pro/Rec Tees and Baskets
Cons: - Thorns ( If you throw more than 4 feet into them, in most cases your disc is gone)
- Could've made more use of the pond/creek/woods
- Some of the walks between holes can be confusing
Other Thoughts: Make sure you take the path left after 7 to get to 8. Get the downloadable map. Anyone within an hour's drive should check this course out at least once.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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