2 Helpful / 4 Not
Beautiful in the Fall
Pros: Multiple tee boxes and cages for rec and pro players. Very well maintained. New cages with good flags. Excellent elevation changes as well as a multitude of shots are required to score well but make for a challenging beautiful course.
Cons: Not very well marked so you might get lost if no locals are around for help. Not really a beginner friendly course which would only be a con to a beginner of course.
Other Thoughts: I only got to play the front 9 due to darkness, but what I did play I really liked. You couldn't beat the scenery at this time of year with the leaves changing and you're out playing DG so it doesn't get any better.
2 of 6 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Another Excellent VA Course
Pros: The first pro at Giles Run is the practice basket - any course that gives me a chance to warm up before a round gets bonus points. Each hole has 2 tees and 2 baskets, providing 4 different course layouts, so playing here won't get old fast. All 36 tees are cement and good length, and the baskets are all pretty new and in great shape as well.
The course was very well manicured when I played - the grass on the fairways is nice and short, and at times it really feels like a ball-golf course. Playing in the shadow of the old prison for the first 3 holes is pretty cool, and definitely gives the course some character.
The course layout is great, too. There's a great mixture of tight, wooded holes for your technical game as well as open holes to air it out some. There are also several opportunities to try a roller, if you're brave enough to risk going into the thorns after it.
The out-of-bounds areas and thick thorns lining the fairways force you to play a little conservatively at times, but that just makes things interesting.
Cons: The biggest con here has got to be the thorn thickets. As other reviewers have mentioned, the course is carved into VERY thick thorn patches, which still line many of the fairways. These bushes are sure to cause you some pain during your round, but if you throw carefully (and don't end up TOO far into the thickets) you can often still retrieve your disc. In one round with 3 players, we went into the thickets about 15 times, but always found the disc. A lot of the locals that we saw playing were carrying metal grabbers with a claw at the end to save themselves some trouble.
Other Thoughts: Aside from the thorn situation, I really have no problems with this course. It is well thought-out, well-maintained, and has excellent tees and baskets. It is conveniently close to the highway, and only a few miles from Pohick Bay - if you're passing through on 95, try to hit 'em both up!
After just one round, Giles is already one of my favorite courses. It seems to get a lot of TLC, and as it continues to develop it will easily be one of the best courses in the state. I'm looking forward to playing it again at the Wind Up in a few weeks!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Serving Time at Lorton Prison
Pros: 2 large concrete tees and 2 permanent baskets on each hole. Some really interesting holes such as #4 a tight but fair shot over a small valley, #6 and #16 are spectacular big arm holes with dramatic views of a large pond on 6 and of a huge expansive valley on 16. The actual Fairways were mowed and maintained. Some of the best terrain for disc golf with the constant rolling hills utilized on many of the holes. Provides quite a test of big arm accuracy as most shots are open with a premium on placement shots. A great test of big arm accuracy. It's very eery seeing the prison as you drive up..really sets a mood for disc golf. No problems with others on the course. Huge lot to park in.
Cons: Let's not beat around the bushes here. This course is the worst course I have ever played as far as thorns and shule. I cannot possibly describe the acreage of thorn thickets and thick shule this course was carved out of. I understand why the prison was placed here....I was picturing some convict trying to escape through these huge fields of thorns and brambles and figured if I could not wade 10 feet into the bush then perhaps the prison did not even have to lock the gates. Yes the thorns are that impenetrateable. These thorns are ever present on EVERY hole and surrounding the fairways from tee box to basket. They are 5-10 foot high and so sharp, thick and strong. Makes me shutter to even think of it. Basically this is a huge thorn thicket with fairways carved within it. I got lost a few times...navigation is an issue despite the excellent signage. On one of my lost sojourns I was walking in some deep hardwoods with a creek and steep banks and hills everywhere....I pondered why not some holes down here to escape the thorns and add some variety to an otherwise repetive thorny open course. I also saw amazing woods next to hole 4 not used. I got bloodied up here and was really discouraged at the comical extremeness of these brambles. The problem is that often you are standing on a big tee with plenty of open air before you and the hole is over 400-500 feet away and visible from tee so you really want to torque up a huge drive but the thorns that line the ground below and surround every fairway gobble up discs and laugh at those who try to retrieve their drivers. Your forced to do as I did, stop playing the long tees, and then stop playing the long baskets and eventually I just walked the last few holes....Frustrating!
Other Thoughts: I really had a tough time rating this course..part of me wanted to crucify it and give it a 1 disc but in all honesty and after driving back to PA I had to admit the course was very well designed and has some really good holes. I tried to imagine the course without the thorns and it was top notch. Hole 16 captures this course perfectly. Its an amazing downhill drive to a sloping field below. Standing at the basket you can look around and feel your surrounded by a huge pretty valley...then you realize thar miles around you there is nothing but deep thick thorns..it's almost like they are encroaching upon you as you stand there...I almost wanted to run! Hint: park opens at 7 AM and first hole is beyond the parking lot....you can see hole 3 from the lot. If this courses fairways get brushhogged maybe 10 feet wider every year I would love to come back in a few years....It has some exciting potential if those blackberries can ever be tamed.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I have played this course about 15 times prior to this review.
This course has a number of really well laid out holes! As you start your game it gives you a few nice starting warm up holes, believe me, you'll need them! My friend and I came to try this course out for the first time for both of us and it was mid day on a Monday so we had no traffic to contend with what so ever, but we were also on our own to find our way from hole to hole. Which can prove to be difficult with all of the hiking and jogging trails intertwined through out. When your starting each hole take a close look at the Tee markers to see where they guide you to go for the next hole. This can save you a 1/4 mile hike in the wrong direction a couple times.
Our normal style of play is "Lett'er Rip" Well at Giles Run if you can't "lett'er rip" and land it in a 30-40ft area that your aiming for, take it easy, A well placed shot can prove to be a very smart and less painful decision. You might end up with an extra stroke on the hole but your Disc will still be with you to play again if you do!
Getting to this course is easy and a round of great Golf will cost you nothing but gas money to get there!!! I live in Arlington and I highly expect I will back back again soon! I might bring a Machete for those hard to reach places!
Cons: Lack of trail signage, we got turned around several times looking for the right path to take our first time out to Giles! We actually missed 3 holes the first time and didn't even know it. We thought we just forgot to write in our scores for a couple holes.
Go to the Links/Files tab at the top of the Giles Run course review and get your self a map! I didn't see that option before we went so we added about 1-1 1/2 miles to our course!
From 4 to 5 - Go up into the fenced in area and pass the little climbing apparatus and down the gravel path, it will lead you to Tee 5
From 6 to 7 - Turn left from 6 basket and head around the south side of the pond, from there you will see signs for Tee 7
From 7 to 8 - You will come to a fork in the road, go left, this will lead you down the hill and across the stream and back up again to Tee 8
From 11 to 12 - Don't miss the small trail heading off the back side of Tee 15, you dont want to miss those Holes.
From 15 to 16 - After 15 go check out the great view from the multiple benches located just past the 15th Difficult Basket, you will see a small grass trail that comes to a fork in the trail, turn right and follow it to the inside of 15's Dogleg, it will lead you back to 15's fairway and gives you a straight walk back to 16 from there.
16 is a really neat hole to play, but after 16 you have the long trek back to 17, I know you can figure this one out because you follow the same path you took from 7 to 8 and that path will eventually get you back to 17.
Other Thoughts: Good Luck, Have Fun, and Remember Accuracy over Distance can be rewarding, if not in your score, at least in not having to find your self a replacement disc that you lost in the Blackberry Bushes!
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Miles of Smiles at Giles
Pros: -Easy access - Just off 95
-Beautiful, well-maintained park and course - Great job by the county, Timbre and the Giles Run Golfers.
-Outstanding use of terrain & land - Some really pretty views (Check out the overlook at the long pin on 15)
-Great course for tournament play and tournament players.
-2 tees & 2 pins for each hole help keep the course fresh.
-Fairways clearly marked and maintained but not great for rolling.
-Fair tee signs (Some missing), gorgeous concrete tees, pins are clearly marked and flagged (Red & Silver in color), Some OB is clearly marked.
-Picturesque Fairways and pin placements - Very similar to Ball Golf look & play.
-Fresh Blackberries mid to late summer - You may have to contend with a pedestrian picker crossing the fairway.
-Minor course maintenance, mainly cosmetic, back in action.
-A round is a workout - Course is a hefty hike on its own. - Hiking type footwear recommended.
- Playing multiple formats of front nine is an option (1-7+17 & 18)
-Great course! - Keeps you coming back for more!!! - Challenges ALL levels of play. Pro par? Good Luck!
- Friday $5 Random Doubles / 6 PM Tee time
-Workhouse Arts Center near by to send the family while you play.
Cons: -You may have to deal with DC/NoVA Metro Traffic - Especially during rush hour.
-Ticks - But they are not as heavy as they have been in the past years - Still take precautions.
-Poison Ivy and other overgrowth itchy yuck.
-Give yourself plenty of time to play - one round could take up to three hours, especially if you are looking for lost discs.
-OB Everywhere - Large, thick, thorny Blackberry thickets and overgrowth line most fairways as do elevation changes in the rough.
-Course gobbles disc - Bring Extra Drivers!!
-Long walks between a few holes may lead to some longer walks looking for a few holes.
-Weather - Super Hot & Humid during Summer play - Bring Plenty of water & possibly an umbrella - There is little shade. Some nasty Thunderstorms roll through this area and there is almost always a Breeze/Wind. (Usually wind)
Other Thoughts: Back in the day, we would travel all over to play and compete. But life and priorities would take me away from the sport for over 10 years. Little did I realize that one round at Giles would bring the sport back to my life with such a vengeance. That's what type of course this is, it kicks you in the tail but you keep coming back for more. You really need to play it to love it.
This is my home course and I play it often. The hike isn't so bad once you know where you are going. There is also the option of just playing the Northern 9 (Holes 1-7 +17 & 18). The course use to be a 9 hole but 8 & 9 became 17 & 18 when the "Southern 9" was added (8-16) So there is about a 1/4 mile jaunt between 7 & 8 that takes you down and across Giles Run and back up to the southern 9. It is a darn scenic little trip.Then after 16, you mosey back the way you came to hook up with the northern 9 again. Also 11 to 12 can be tricky. Make sure to follow the fire road to 12, 13, 14 then back out for 15.
Tips for play:
-Respect the OB - It's everywhere and can frustrate you quickly.
-Try to stay in the fairway! A mistake could cost you a penalty, a disc or a finger. You will learn to hate blackberries!
-Rolling doesn't work well - Those beautiful fairways look like a rollers paradise, especially when freshly mowed, but underneath is a bumpy, rough ground waiting to redirect your roller towards the previously mentioned OB.
-Always make note of the wind
-Remember: The one that has the most fun wins!
I love this course and I'm sure you will too. Thanks for all your hard work Timber!!! This is a "gotta play" in the DC area. Maybe we'll see ya some Sunday.
Conditions UPDATE 10/24/11: Work days have been allowed again. Most OB is back to its original marks. Make sure to keep your eyes on discs. "Looking away may make it go away." With the coming of Fall, the tick issues are low but still take precautions. The course is looking and playing the best it has in a long time. A great place to play, just be careful and have fun!
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 1 Not
Excellent, challenging course
Pros: Beautiful setting
Easy to get to
Well maintained and manicured
Dual tee pads and dual permanent baskets for 4 different layouts
Good mixture of short holes and long holes
Good use of limited elevation changes
Excellent use of natural obstacles (like massive thorn patches) to create challenge
Very good signage
Very creative design…proof that an excellent course can be put just about anywhere
Good risk/reward fairways
A good physically demanding, all around solid course
Little extras that really help…wind flags on baskets, little signs to help direct between holes, hanging markers under the basket to point you in the right direction…good downloadable map
Cons: A little tough to navigate for a first timer on their own…MAKE SURE you print out the downloadable map
Other Thoughts: Make sure you bring water on this course if it is warm out…you are out in the sun almost the whole time and you will walk quite a bit
Try to play your first time with some locals, it will be WAY easier to navigate…it isn't a design flaw, just a fact…mad props to whoever thought up how to put 18 holes on the given terrain…amazing
Take seriously the tips to wear shoes and long pants…I usually play in Chaco sandals and shorts, but broke out the tennis shoes and long Ex-Officio pants for this course and am SOOO glad I did…the thorns are brutal…I played in the afternoon with some wind and had to trek into some thorns/briars--very dense and brutal--somehow I was even cut through long pants :)
My personal preference is technical, wooded courses and this course wasn't the type I HAVE TO play if I travel to an area, but it is a great course, well designed for the given terrain and very challenging if you play the Pro Tee/Pro Basket configuration and well worth seeking out
It is a good idea to bring a back-up "favorite" driver if it's windy because the thorns/briars can be extremely dense and it is impossible to get into some of the patches to retrieve a disk (RIP 150g Champion Leopard)
This course is freeway close and I think it is well worth the effort to play if you are going through the area…
I'll play it at least every other time I'm in the area
The old prison next to the parking lot is a cool vibe :)
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Beautiful park, long and difficult holes, pets allowed on leash, and playing in the shadows of the abandoned Lorton Prison (where DC sent all its felons for decades) makes for an interesting and a somewhat spooky environment.
Cons: Thick brambles surround many of the holes, and if disc goes into one of these patches, it's like throwing a disc into a black hole. Do not make the mistake of being optimistic and venturing into these patches after a disc, or you are in for a rough combination of cuts and poison ivy. Also, this summer the fairways seem narrower than they did last year, and this weekend, the fairway grass was high enough to obscure a bright red disc I saw land on the fairway near the hole. This weekend, I lost 2 discs and my opponent lost 3 (and he's actually a much better player than I am)!
Other Thoughts: In summary, great course in a lot of ways, but make sure you bring a backup driver or two.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Best Course I've Played
Pros: There are two spacious concrete tee pads and two permanent very nice baskets on each hole. Because of this the course can be played four different ways to make it a challenging outing for any skill level. This level of variability in a single course is amazing.
This course can be a great test of distance if you throw from the pro tees to the pro baskets. AND no matter which tees you throw from or which baskets you throw to it is a great test of accuracy.
Maybe the best way to describe it is that you need to be very conscious of your fade control. Most courses are relatively forgiving if your throw happens to fade off the fairway a couple of feet, not here (see cons section).
There are now laminated tee signs on almost every tee (only one was missing) which are very helpful for the visiting player even if you do bring a map. They are very helpful because they are a reminder to carefully plan your shots to land them in the fairway. While this is always a disc golfer's goal it is a necessity for this course.
Additionally, this course has everything that you could want in a setting for disc golf. It is scenic, secluded and yet very accessible. It even has a bit of mystery with the abandoned prison nearby.
Cons: The earlier reviewers that mentioned the thorns, ruff OB, bugs and ticks were not exaggerating. The thorns are tough and if you don't see exactly where your disc goes into the rough it is gone (I learned that the hard way on hole 13). I forgot the bug spray and was harassed by "noseeums" during my entire round (played around 5pm) and when I was finished I pulled four ticks off my legs. The next time I played here I remembered the bug spray and the round was much more enjoyable. I think I only had one or two ticks on me.
However, these minor issues pale in comparison to the challenge, fun and beauty inherent in this course.
Other Thoughts: I had a map that I printed from this site and it was a great help. Navigation wasn't that difficult but I was glad to have it just to be sure that I wasn't walking all that distance in the wrong direction.
There was really only one place that was a little tricky to navigate. Between Hole 7 and Hole 8. There is a trail immediately behind the Hole 7 pro basket. If you follow that further into the woods you will see a creek down a gully on your left hand side. About 100 meters down this trail there is another trail branching off to the left down the hill to the creek. Take this trail and then cross the creek on the large rocks. On the other side just stay to left trail and you will come to a clearing and tee pad number 8. The rest is pretty easy and very easy if you have a map with you.
Had a personal victory yesterday while playing from the pro tees. I managed to complete Hole 16 in 5 shots. I followed this up with helping a local find his brand new R-Pro Boss on Hole 18. Lady Luck was kind.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 8 Not
A Walk to Remember
Pros: Course layout excellently displayed, concrete tees, maintained regularly, and next to an abandoned PRISON!!!
Cons: If first time, difficult to find a few holes such as 7 which is by itself, then 8-16 due to the trek down the hill, across the bridge, then up the hill which seems like a mountain lol.
Other Thoughts: Best holes...9/12/16/18
1 of 9 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 0 Not
Elite NoVa Course
Pros: Tee pads, signs, pro and rec baskets, length, upkeep, scenery, varied and challenging hole designs
Cons: Thorns, thorns, and more thorns. Could use a few more directional signs within the long transitions.
Other Thoughts: Finally, Northern Virginia has a high-end disc golf course in the same league as the esteemed Maryland courses. With great scenery, pro and rec long concrete tee pads, perfect signs, both pro and rec baskets, and especially its superior length and design, Giles Run is an elite disc golf course by any standard.
Most everything about the experience of playing Giles Run is interesting. First, the parking lot is overshadowed by a large prison. Then walk to #1 and there is a pro concrete tee pad, longer than any other I've seen in Virginia, with an exact and detailed topographic sign. Further along is a rec tee pad and another sign. Then the red rec basket, and further along a silver pro basket. The first hole plays down and to the right. #2 is uphill, and to the left. #3 is across a deep divide and straight. And this sort of varied and interesting challenge just continues right on through to #18. If you choose to play rec tee to rec baskets you'll be playing one of the most interesting little pitch 'n' putts ever, with most holes in the 200' to 300' range. Play pro tee to pro basket and you'll be playing multiple 500' to up to 900' holes with a legitimate par in the high 60s or maybe more. Along the way you'll need to throw up some steep hills, exert precise control on some sloping fairways, throw right, left, among the trees, in the open, and even a couple downhill and dangerous chucks. And every hole is well considered and well kept. As a big bonus, there's a nice run on the far side of the course of holes with really nice views, especially #15.
Nothing is perfect, however, and the big negative of Giles Run is the thorns. A considerable amount of work has been put into moving these thickets back, thus increasing the margin for error on most holes, but even so, losing a disc in these thorns is a distinct possibility. And trust me, going in after a disc more than a foot or so from the edge is not a reasonable option. The opportunity this nasty feature provides players, however, is the chance to learn to approach the game with a mindset of preservation, where you must carefully consider each and every shot, and learn to play exactly, or sacrifice your discs accordingly.
Giles Run is probably not the best place to learn the game, and would be tough on anyone as a home course - one that you played multiple times per month. The cost in lost plastic and blood would get old fast, I think. But for the best and most varied disc golf challenge in Northern Virginia, if not the whole state, Giles Run is definitely worth playing. The tee pads, length, signage, and varied hole layouts are truly top end, and a lot of the views are pretty nice too.
Note on walking cons noted in other reviews: I've never played a course that required as much walking as Giles Run, not even close, especially since I played the long version of the course. I probably burned more calories just walking from the basket at #16 to the tee of #17 than I do playing entire rounds at most courses. I don't consider this a negative, and didn't include it my cons section. But others may want to consider that a round here is going to take two to three times as long, and require exerting many times the physical effort, as the average disc golf round. These aren't long walks on flat land either, but rather up and down hills.
Favorite Hole - #16 - Exceptionally long hole with a great view from the tee plays along a narrow, downward sloping fairway for the first few hundred feet, and then becomes a still dangerous but more open downhill chuck for the closing few hundred feet.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
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