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.
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: multi tees and pins
Variety of shots
Large trees and plenty of wildlife
not many peds.
Cons: No pets
rough tee pads
$2 park fee
Other Thoughts: over the last year there has been much improvment on course maintenance
Play in early spring when all pins are in c. Makes it hard toshot in the 60's. At least for me
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
One of the better courses in the area
Pros: 1) 3 pin locations per hole
2) Pro/Am tees on every hole
3) Great variety of uphill/downhill/flat holes
4) Great variety of long/short holes
5) Love the variety of pars, from 3 to 5
Cons: 1) Tee pads are mostly dirt or crushed gravel, so they become muddy and slippery when wet
2) There are absolutely NO signs to tell you where the next tee pad is
3) The tee pads have an arrow pointing to where the basket is, but just to one of the pin positions, so if the pin is not at that location, it's a little confusing
4) A little more walking between pin and the next tee pad than normal
Other Thoughts: While the course does provide plenty of challenges, with the current par system (67), the course rewards your good shots with birdie and eagle ops compared to some courses where one bad throw gives you a double bogey. My first trip out, I shot an even par with 2 eagles, 2 birdies, 8 pars, 5 bogeys, and 1 double.
Ignoring the lack of signage, the course itself is absolutely gorgeous. Plenty of wildlife. including deer that aren't even close to being scared of people. The only hole that you need to desperately watch your disc is #12, when the pin is located at it's left location. About 10 feet left of the pin, there is a 100 foot drop off that you'll find hard to navigate if your disc fades to the left too much.
Once you figure out where the tees and pins are, one of the better courses in the surrounding area, providing you with plenty of variety to keep you interested time after time.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: This is the course to play if you want to be tested.
There is huge distance, there are tight fairways (sometimes on the same hole).
This is how a disc golf course should be made.
Cons: This would be a 4.9 or maybe a 5 except for crappy tee-pads and tall grass.
The only other con is this is NOT a newbi friendly course. If you have friends that are brand new to the sport take them to Calvert, or Druid or Bluemont or Burke Lake.
Other Thoughts: If you think you got game bring it out here and see how good you are.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Neighbourhood of Nirvana
Pros: Two tee locations per hole. Three pin positions per hole. Large practice/warm-up area. Parking. Bathrooms.
Cons: Dirt/gravel/mud tee areas. Signage (lack thereof). Small fee to enter park. Lack of local amenities.
Deer poo :^P
Other Thoughts: This is a fantastic course, offering multiple tee and pin locations. There is great variety of holes - long, short, hyzers, anhyzers, narrow, wide, forested, open.
When the hazards come into play is varied - some on the drive, some on the approach.
Where the hazards come into play vary, too - some at the beginning of the flight, some in the midst of the flight, some towards the end.
Challenging pin positions on many holes - in woods and on slopes.
The lack of some sort of paved tee pads, and the lack of signage, both at the tee, and at the basket for the next hole, are the only major negatives about this course.
Favourite hole: #10C - a long drive down then up a hill, with trees on the right, and a tree with a large, annoying branch on the left. Second shot requires you to throw uphill through two rows of white pines which create a low ceiling, and finally the pin in the back left.
In March, the course will typically be set-up in "Punisher" configuration, i.e. all baskets in the far positions, making a round from the blue tees over 9200'
Update 9/09: Newly built teepads are now 6' by 16' and filled with crushed-n-tamped stone. Signs at long tees providing distance information and possible baskets positions. Additional/new set of baskets, so there will now be two baskets per hole - the new set will always be in the 'C' position, so The Punisher" (longs-to-longs) will always be available. These improvements make this course the must-visit course of the mid-Atlantic area.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
course needs something to talk about!
Pros: Large wooded course with a great variety; uphill, downhill, trees, wide open areas, dog legs, and 2 tee pads. 8 is a nice down hill shot, 12 hugs the edge of the woods, and 18 is a long shot into a patch of trees.
Very few thorns and ticks which infest other Maryland and NOVA courses.
Cons: No signage causes some frustration, but you can usually see the next tee from the basket. There is a lot of back tracking back to tees from the previous basket.
Course did not have the personality or uniquness of Bluemont, but it has a consistant quality through 18 holes.
You can see the river from the course, but the course never utilizes any water hazards.
Tees are gravel, but were usually lengthy enough, some were filled with mud.
Other Thoughts: Lots of deer. We saw a buck, 2 does, and a fawn on hole 18 and large does on holes 10 and 11.
Course is one of the better courses in the area, but it needs signage and a few signature holes to become a 5 out of 5.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 14 Not
The review that complains about minimal mowing of fairways....... Not a problem with good throws.
Cons: Only 18 holes :)
Other Thoughts: Sweet
0 of 14 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Getting Closer to a 5-Star
Pros: The scenic beauty of the park. The incredible length and difficulty of the holes and the course. The variety of holes - no 2 are alike! Restrooms and picnic areas available. Water fountains on the course. The NEW TEE PADS!!!!
Cons: Minimal mowing of fairways, especially on the Back 9 (see back 9 pics). Multi-use park with bikers, equestrians, scout camps, and other park users on many of the holes. Very few restaurants or Convenience Stores near park.
Other Thoughts: This review was originally titled "Should be 5-Star". Recent improvements to the tee pads are pushing this course in that direction. Because of the tee pad upgrade, I have changed my rating from 4.0 to 4.5. While I prefer concrete to crushed gravel, the new crushed gravel tees at Patapsco are great. Tee pads are no longer a valid concern when it comes to Patapsco. IMHO, Patapsco is now tied with Seneca as the best course in MD. It has (by far) the best variety of shots in one place. Combine that with the sheer length and difficulty of this course.... it will drop your jaw in awe! Holes 7, 8, 9, 13, 15, and 17 are just fantastic. You want a real disc golf challenge? Patapsco offers the best challenge in Maryland.
Unfortunately, the problem of waist high grass across much of the back 9 continues to make Patapsco a tough place to play from May thru October. Don't take my word for it, see the pictures. While 10-meter swaths are cut through the fairways, it's not enough mowing for this huge course. It takes way too long to find your discs when they land on either side of these 10-meter cuts. It's frustrating to bring a group of mostly ams because you end up looking for plastic all day. Plus, the tall grass is deer tick heaven during the summer. With all the golfers and boy scout camps that use this land, it's unfathomable that the Park won't cut the grass nor let the volunteers cut the grass. Just the deer tick/Lyme's threat alone justifies the mowing. That said, the Park is supposedly cutting wider fairways than they did in the past. Still, much of the back 9 has waist high grass (off of the narrow fairways). If Patapsco were mowed the way Seneca was mowed, it would take sole possession of "Best Course in Maryland".
This course could be the best course in Maryland if not the Mid-Atlantic region. But until the waist high grass across much of the back is mowed, it will never be a true "5-Star". Damn close though.....
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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