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.
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.
13 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.
13 of 13 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.
Join Disc Golf Course Review
for free to add your review. Have an account already? Sign In
to add a review.