3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: very technical course with a great layout. most of the holes are in the woods and require you to hit your lines. the designer did a great job of utilizing all the elevation changes in the park.
multiple tee and pin positions for each hole. when i played all even holes where in the short pin position and all the odds were in the long position. and when the say long they mean loooooong.
the park is also very well maintained. the field holes were mowed and i don't think i saw any poison ivy which is a miracle in the mid-atlantic area in may.
Cons: as has already been mentioned concrete or flypads would be nice. i didn't encounter any mud but the tees are starting to get depressions near the front. also there is very little signage and some sort of direction to the next tee is needed. i almost quit trying to find hole 11 my first time through.
Other Thoughts: patapsco hosts a tournament called the patapsco punisher and i can see why the call it that. with better teepads and some signs this course would easly rank 4 discs. add another 9 holes (there appears to be plenty of room) and it would easly be a 5.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 3 Not
Fun, could be great
Pros: There's a lot of shot variety, open/wooded, and elevation variety of this course. The designers made pretty good use of the park land that was available to them. Multiple tees (blue and red) for each hole and the standards have multiple locations, though from the map it appears most holes the locations aren't all that different. Standards are in decent condition and overall the course feels in good repair.
Cons: I really don't like paying to play disc golf and this park charges a fee to enter.
No signs on the tees other than blue/red markers with the hole numbers on them. Signs with hole layouts and pointers to the next tee would be most helpful. Even with a map of the course I often had to run ahead to see where I was throwing. A couple of times I had to search a bit for the next tee, though there are not any that are too obscure (if you go make sure you print or draw the map provided in the files section). This is really what kept it from a 4/5 rating.
A couple of the holes are fairly boring straight open field style shots. This would be alright, but most of the grass in the field is uncut here so it just makes it finding your disc harder if you don't hit the small fairway they cut for you to walk on.
A couple of shots are through dense woods that feel very pitch 'n pray, though never too frustrating. 15 plays up to and 17 plays along a fairly steep downward slope. 15 I feel is okay because you can choose to risk going for it as you approach, but 17's drive has lots of trees around to hit, which can easily send your disc careening a long way down this hill. I found this a bit too punishing though the hole is a good one.
Other Thoughts: I wish the course designers had incorporated the stream behind 15 (down the slope mentioned above). The park seems like a nice place to hike, bike, or picnic.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
Super fun course
Pros: Beautiful park, great scenery, elevation changes, multiple pads/pin locations, east to navigate, get to use all your shots on this course
Cons: natural t-pads, no signs, throwing across the roads, pay to play
Other Thoughts: Overall I thought this was a fantastic course!! Great mix of shots with lots of elevation changes. I played the short t's first round to get a feel of the course, then threw from the long. Had a blast.. Defintely was worth the trip. Map with scorecard on back available at the gate
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 9 Not
A- = Almost As Good As It Gets
Pros: What I personally like and how this course stacks up:
1) Holes with good risk/reward -- B+
2) Holes that have rewarding birdie opportunities -- B
3) More wooded than open - lots of variety of shots required caused by hole shape and topography -- A
4) Natural beauty (Appalachian beauty preferred) and seclusion -- A+
5) Multi-shot holes with defined landing zones, good risk/reward and multiple options to play them -- B
Other Thoughts: I ranked this course subjectively based on my own personal enjoyment factor…more accurately my "personal addiction factor". Since I have played a decent number of courses (115 18-hole, 50 9-hole as of early 2009), my hope is that players/explorers who have similar tastes will find my ratings list helpful as they chose courses to play and explore.
Over time, I expect to fill some of my reviews in with more descriptive verbiage…if what I say adds anything to what has already been written. For now, my list is more important to me than the verbiage of my reviews.
I fully expect others with different tastes/philosophies to disagree with me. See my profile for my rating philosophy.
4 of 13 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Nice variety. Holes in the woods, holes on the edge of the woods, holes in the open. The lay of the land is fun. There are no flat holes on this course; you're either going uphill or downhill on every shot.
The layout is very clever and challenging.
The two sets of tees offer some variety.
Nice baskets. Many of those that aren't visible from the tee are marked with neon green poles that reach 12-15 feet in height.
The course is nicely maintained, and it seems like the locals care about the course. I didn't see a single trash can on the course, but I didn't see a single piece of litter, either.
Plenty of parking near the first tee.
The course is in a "no pets" area, so you won't step in any dog crap.
It appeared that there were multiple pin placements for each basket.
There are plenty of picnic areas nearby, and there is an outdoor barbecue area with a stone fire pit. Very cool.
The drive to the course is gorgeous. Beautiful country scenery.
Cons: The course is not well-marked.
At each tee, there is a small piece of wood that can't be seen from far away, maybe 6 inches high, with the hole number and an arrow. The arrow is supposed to tell you which way the hole generally moves (straight, left-to-right, right-to-left), but they weren't always right.
There are no distances marked on the course.
There is no marking on the baskets for where the next tee is. As I mentioned, the tee markings are tough to see from far away, and in hilly areas, it took us awhile to find the next tee more than once.
The tees are "natural," which means they suck. Some of them had cinders, which in the late winter means they were muddy AND cinder-y. Strangely, it hadn't been raining and the rest of the course was pretty dry.
The course is in a "no pets" area, so you can't bring Fido if you like to do that.
I mentioned that you won't step in any dog crap, but I stepped in enough deer crap to surmise that the local deer population celebrates Thanksgiving in February.
There were signs posted about rabid raccoons, and sure enough we saw one out in broad daylight that could barely stand up. We tried to call the park ranger and got the voicemail... nobody home, I guess.
Other Thoughts: I usually like to mention some place good to eat in the area, but this course is in the middle of nowhere. Since I played with my sister and brother-in-law who live in Laurel which is fifteen minutes away, we ate at a place down there called the Wild Buffalo Grill. We'd never been there, and they tell me it's always packed at dinner time, which led us to believe the food was good. We were correct. The buffalo chicken was really good, and the onion rings were the best I'd ever had. My sister had a really good chicken salad, and my brother-in-law (a pulled pork connoisseur) said his was the second best pulled pork sandwich he'd ever had next to my mother's, which is truly untouchable. The bar had a bunch of different types of beer I'd never heard of on draft - which is always cool - as well as some old standbys, like Bud and Guinness. It's not a fancy joint. Some locals were there to watch the Maryland-UNC basketball game. It's not something I'm used to here on the east coast. It was more like something out of suburban Cleveland where I grew up - a local mom and pop bar halfway between dive bar and greasy spoon cafe. Clean but not fancy, friendly but not 5-star service. I left happy, full, and looking forward to returning.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Potential to be a 5
Pros: There are many pros to this course - well stated in previous reviews. To me the most significant pro is the flexibility and resultant change in difficulty from the short to long tees, and from the short to long pins. In the short layout -mid 40's are possible for top players, but even that layout requires well placed, accurate drives. Move the pins back, and even from the short tees, 60 isn't a bad score. The difference is really astounding - and the longer layouts definitely put a premium on the second shot. Leave yourself a little off the fairway on the drive, and carding a three becomes a significant challenge - and that happens all over the course. To score well here - you must exhibit control, both off the tee, and the approach. Lack of a water hazard is far outweighed by the many difficult greens where sharp elevation changes force touch and control into your approach.
Cons: Lack of tee signs and permanent teepads are the biggest cons to the course. But there has been some recent work to a few of the tees, so we remain hopeful that work will continue.
Other Thoughts: There are other amenities, plenty of parking, bathrooms, picnic areas, well water on the course (right side of #10 fairway), and little crossover with other park users (although the occasional biker/equestrian may come through on the back 9).
From a difficulty and technical standpoint, Patapsco is a 5. There is little if any repetition. From a basic course amenity perspective, it lacks the necessary "stuff" to keep it rated that high. Like so many other quality courses, it continues to improve with time.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: 18 holes, 18 Blue and 18 Red Tees, 8' x 16' level boxed crush stone, 18 Grey Baskets w/ Multiple Pins, 18 Long Green Baskets. Lots of elevation changes, Scenic views and wildlife in State park, Nice baskets, mandos, wide open, woods, tunnel, left, right, mixed, uphill, downhill shots, use most shots in the bag, challenging physically and mentally, can be creative and technical. Awesome course in the Punisher layout Blues to Green Baskets 9400+ft!
Cons: Deer in the winter, and yellow jackets in fall. Needs Signage, bring a map or someone that knows the course if its your first time.
Other Thoughts: State Park $2 fee, well worth it. Nice bathrooms, water, camping, biking. This is the best course in MD now and really tests your whole game! Ptap would be a disc golf mecca with another 18 hole course.
4 of 7 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Beautiful, brutal, beast that can ravage your mental game. But it's worth it!
Pros: This course is among the most challenging and rewarding courses anywhere in the country -- especially when playing the new Green Monster layout (available as of Sept. 10, 2009). Each hole has two permanent pins -- short pins (moved around between A and B), and the long Green Monster pins (permanently in the C-positions). From the blue tees to the Green Monster baskets, this is true next-generation disc golf at its best, with a layout of ~9,500 feet -- none of it wasted or redundant.
New teepads (Sept. 2009) on every hole are 6'x16' tamped, crushed gravel and are excellent to play on. Two teepads and two permanent pin positions per hole help provide immense variety and very high replay value. But even more important is the high mental challenge demanded on every shot. Even at a 1000-rated pro level, many people will play this course and not take a single two in a round -- there just aren't that many opportunities. There are lots of very challenging par three holes, many true par fours (some of them HARD fours) and even a legit par five on the course. But this course doesn't add strokes by adding gratuitous distance (like some courses do); rather, this course is on an amazing piece of land -- rough hills, sharp drops, large rocks, old massive trees -- that demand you shape your lines carefully and plan your landings or you will be taking single-, double-, triple-bogeys in abundance. You have to know your discs to play well here. It's not enough to aim for the basket -- you have to think about what speed your disc will be going and what angle it will hit and how to keep it from rolling/skipping 100+' past the basket.
In some ways, this is a 9,000'+ touch course for Blue/Gold-level players. You have to have the arm to drive a disc with power and precision from the teebox, and then a touch approach shot to have a chance for the threes... It's a course that will force you to work your mental game, fight frustration, and keep yourself composed. But the rewards are totally worth it.
For those who aren't as experienced / masochistic, the course also offers the short tees, which have a similar experience but make the threes a lot more likely and open up a few actual birdie opportunities... the course still plays with an SSA of ~60 from shorts to C-pins, but with a mix of pin placements, scores in the low/mid-50s are possible for Blue/Gold rated players with a lot of short pins. Short tees are still an intensely fun experience, because with Patapsco, most of the time it's more about the touch approaches and the awesome basket placements than it is about just the teeshots...
Long tees: holes 3c, 7c, 9c, 10c, and 17c are my favorites. Some of the best shots anywhere in the state. But the rest of the holes aren't slouches -- they are still pretty amazing. There is almost no repetition and this course demands every shot in your bag to have a chance.
Tournaments here are especially amazing -- they are when the course is in it's best shape -- so play if you can.
Cons: So with all of the praise, why isn't this a 5-Star course? Well -- there used to be a lot of reasons, but with the second pins and new teeboxes, the reasons have gotten a lot fewer, and the rating has gone up.
* long grass in the summers (can be very hard to find discs)
* mediocre signage
* park fee (it's only $2, and it's worth many times that to play, but it's still worth mentioning so it doesn't surprise people.
* few food options nearby (bring your own snacks and drinks)
* takes a very long time to play a round (which is true of most great courses, but plan for it)
Definitely print a map before you go -- and if you can, grab a local in the parking lot and ask them which pins the holes are in -- especially holes 1,3,6,*7*,13,15,18 -- as those holes are hard/impossible to see from anywhere near the teebox. With a few new teeboxes built, the map currently needs updating, but is close enough you can find your way.
The first time I was there, I was fortunate that a local player gave my brother and I a map, or I am sure we would have missed some of the holes (and never would have found the pin for hole 7 -- the C-pin on 7 is so far around through thick woods you think you must be on a different hole if you haven't seen a map or played the course before.
I think with really good signage on the tees (including a way to show pin placements) and signs guiding players between holes, this course could deserve 5 stars.
Other considerations include: bring rugged footwear -- this course has tons of elevation, some mud, lots of rough terrain, and you will need to be prepared for it so you don't injure yourself. This is not necessarily a "con" of the course -- but it is a HUGE con if you aren't prepared for it ahead of time. If you play in winter (playing in the snow), I highly recommend soccer cleats as they give excellent grip in the snow (though at the loss of ankle support).
Other Thoughts: Patapsco is a beautiful course, and can be enjoyed by disc golf diehards as well as by the most casual of players because the scenery is so serene and beautiful. It is more like a lovely hike through the woods than it is like a traditional disc golf course.
Winter 2007, a friend had just moved up from Texas -- dynamic little 5'-tall Texas blonde who'd just graduated from college -- she wanted to see woods and had never played disc golf, so I invited her to tag along for a match-play round out at Patpasco. I think the high that day was 17-degrees (probably colder than she'd ever been in her life), but I brought plenty of extra fleece and a thermos of hot chocolate, and she had a great time out enjoying the snow and the hike, because it really is that beautiful. (Though if I'd have stuck around for a second round, I think she would have killed me.)
I know that might seem like a bit of a digression, but this is "other thoughts," and I think it helps make the point that this is such an amazing course to spend time at that even non-disc golfers could enjoy walking through it with you simply for the view. There is no such thing as a bad day of disc golf at Patapsco, because even if you're shooting the worst round of your life, you're doing it in one of the most beautiful places to ever put up baskets.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Pros: At the "Patapsco Punisher" tournament this course is a "5 - Best of the Best". The tee pads get raked flat, and all the pins get moved to C pushing the course to its full 9236 feet of punishment!
Multiple pin postions with two gravel tees per hole.
Full service bathrooms with water.
Cons: Patapsco is normally set up in some mixed length of pins, and the tees get a little rough.
$2 entry fee to the MD State Park. If a ranger is there then ask for a map!
The course is hard to follow until you play it a few times, many pins are not visable from the tee pad.
Other Thoughts: If you want to see this course in it's peak, then pre-register and play the Patapsco Punisher ... you will not be disappointed in that tournament!
The 2008 Punisher SSA was 66.58!
An Any Given Sunday Seneca is the #1 MD course, but it is close when Patapsco is in the Punisher layout.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Great setting in the country, well worth the drive. Two tee pads and 3 pin positions per hole. Great variety of holes, with many pro par 4s. Usually a mixed layout (6A,6B,6C). The long layout is one of the toughest in the country. Front 9 is mostly wooded, back 9 is mostly open. Bring your A game!
Cons: Lack of tee signs, tee pads are not optimal, hard to follow if you do not know the course.
Other Thoughts: I have played well over 50 rounds at Patapsco dating back to the late 1990s. The long layout is spectacular, and a challenge from the short or long tees. Patapsco will teach you to throw hard, and helps your short game by requiring technical upshots on many of the C pin positions. No two rounds are alike. If you want a great workout bring two versions of each disc and play one round from the long tees and one from the shorts simultaneously. Doubles your practice!
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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