9 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: To say that this course is challenging is a vast understatement. It is the most difficult course I've ever played. That could be a bad thing on some courses that just try to be difficult for the sake of being difficult like at Old Settlers where they just make every hole absurdly long. On this course, every hole is difficult for a different reason.
There are some truly memorable holes on this course and the pin locations are the best and most challenging placements I've ever seen. One of the pins is on this little "island" in the nook of the creek, another on the side of a hill above the creek, another guarded by leaning oaks, and the list just goes on.
There's this hole on the back 9, I think it's hole 17, that has a blind bend to the left and you better make sure your disc turns in time because if it doesn't it will head straight into a huge cactus. I thought it was pretty tricky to avoid that cactus, but as I made the turn around the bend the entire fairway was just dotted with these enormous cactus patches, including a huge one directly behind the pin. I just stared in awe as I tried to line my shot up to avoid the patches. It was ridiculous-- in the best possible sense of the word. I'd never seen anything like it, and likely never will again, at least until the next time I play this course.
Another great feature of this course are the multiple paths/fairways that some of the holes offer. There's huge risk/reward payoffs on many of the holes. Can you drive it long and straight enough to make it to the "2nd fairway" which has a much easier path to the basket, or do you decide to play it safe and lay it up in the "1st fairway" which makes your 2nd shot more difficult? There's so many different ways to play some of these holes that it really makes you want to play this course over and over, especially when your first choice doesn't work out so hot.
Also, there are very nice bridges and non-invasive wood steps built into the natural slopes. There are few courses that have enjoyed this level of attention to every aspect of the design. Major props to the designer Mike Olse.
The new signs are the nicest I've seen and really help on the blind shots as well as determining where the next tee box is.
The park that it's in is just enormous. It rivals the size of Zilker and seems to have more amenities than Zilker, such as a kiddie water park, multiple covered basketball courts, soccer fields, baseball, playgrounds, restrooms, and so on. However, none of this gets in the way of the disc golf course and there is zero pedestrian traffic on the course.
Cons: As people have mentioned, some of the tee boxes are a bit short with some of them having significant drop-offs at the end of them. There needs to be more trash cans along the course. People would just throw their beer cans or water bottles in pile at the tee box which is really an eye-sore on such a natural and rugged course. I had to carry my empty for 5 holes before I came across a trash can.
I don't consider the cacti a con as some others have. To me, it adds to the course's challenge and uniqueness.
Other Thoughts: I'm only a recreational player, but this course seems like it would challenge even the pros. I wouldn't be surprised to see this course included in one of the major touring leagues. It's just that good.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Just a GREAT course
Pros: I spent the last few days trying to come up something else to say about this course; it's all been said in previous reviews. But this course is worth reiterating just how fun it is to play. And now I'm not ashamed to say I grew up in Manor. All they need now is a Dairy Queen and they could be a real Texas small town. But I digress.
Being out of the way as it is, crowds are usually low. Expect this to change though as the word gets out. I'm not that skilled in the art of disc golf, this course repeatedly reminds me. The trees resonate with constant "thonks" of disc-meet-tree, and you can't help but smile.
Cons: Yeah, short tee boxes, long walk, but with the scenery, you really don't notice until the walk to 16. Other than the field mice, I haven't seen much wildlife, but I did find a five foot snake skin while locating an arrant disc. Keep an eye on where you put your foot.
Other Thoughts: This course just has to be played to really be appreciated. The drive from Austin is not to bad. Between carpooling and drink stops, still only take me about 30 minutes from Round Rock.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
19 Helpful / 1 Not
Captures the best of Texas disc golf all in just 18 holes.
Pros: In Short: This is Texas disc golf at it's best.
The terrain really captures the heart of Texas in it's look and feel. The course creates that atmosphere and proclaims it loud and without any apology. Some of the best Texas courses (like the two courses at Lester Lorch in Cedar Hill), are rolling green and beautiful and feel more like the Carolinas than they do like Texas... On the other hand, the setting for East Metro Park includes rugged hills, abundant cacti (cactuses), mesquite trees (and lots of other, larger trees), dry grass, dusty trails, rocky creekbeds, wild wind, blazing sun, circling buzzards, and 18 holes of knock-your-socks off disc golf that will leave you begging for more.
The Michael Olse-designed course features a beginner and pro layout and separate concrete tees for each on most holes. Signage is excellent throughout most of the course, and it's easy to tell from the tees where the baskets are going to be. It appears that thousands of hours of work have gone into designing the course, defining the fairways, building steps and bridges, and generally bringing the most out of what might otherwise seem to be just another lonely stretch of desolate Texas hill country.
The course is an unusual mix of short, medium and long holes. Pro tees range in length from 170' to 805', with six holes 250' or less, six holes between 251-550', and the remaining six holes over 550'. So there are plenty of deuce opportunities, even from the pro tees, but none of them are gimmes. The shorter holes tend to be tight shots near creekbeds and down narrow alleys of trees; the longer holes tend to have wide, fair alleys with plenty of room to air-it-out, but dense underbrush that will penalize any big shots that aren't well placed. The mix of tee shots is awesome -- and appropriate for players of all skill levels, thanks to the two sets of tees -- but it will challenge even the best players in the world to stay on their game on every shot.
Memorable holes include #8 -- 805' feet downhill in a medium-sized fairway with dense brush on both sides -- a hole that is better for a Roc than for a driver, but taunts your greed and leaves you wishing you had better sense. #10, which is 550+' out of a lightly treed cage into an open field with an approach into trees to fast-sloping green with sharp dropoffs on three sides. #17, which is 640' uphill and around an L-shaped left turn with hundreds of cacti lining the fairway and helping guard the approach to the basket. And, not to leave out the short holes, #5 - A 192' shot over a creekbed and down a densely-tree lined peninsula with more creekbed on both sides; this hole will make you want to laugh, cry, then rip ever putter and midrange in your bag up the tight fairway, trying for glory.
East Metro Park is more than just a stellar disc golf course. We didn't fully explore the options, but the basketball and tennis pavilions near the start of the course were fantastic -- among the best I've seen at any park anywhere. Playground and restroom facilities are brand new, convenient, and well-designed. The fishing pond (catch-and-release only) is beautiful with the cool water adding some moisture to the hot, dry Texas wind. This is a park I wish I had had more time to explore, but a family could easily make this an all-day destination.
I know there are pros I'm forgetting, but I know a lot of the minutiae are covered in some of the other reviews, so I'm not too worried about all the fine points. I think capturing the feel of the place is perhaps most important and is the angle that hasn't been achieved yet in reviews for this course.
I'll make it simple: If someone were visiting Texas and could only play one course in the state, East Metro Park (Manor) would be the best course I know of to show them what Texas disc golf can and should be. The rugged glory is very different from the lush, green beauty of courses in other parts of the country, but this course is boldly, unashamedly Texas, and that's something it can be proud of.
Cons: Cons are a shorter list:
* Teepads are often really short. This detracts from the overall play of the course -- it's not as bad on the short holes, but the longer holes really need some room for throwers to bomb.
* A few places, better signage is needed to help players navigate from each basket to the next teepad.
* Cacti, thorns, spiky trees, etc... make this a perilous course if you're not wearing the right gear (thorns and briars in some places are so sharp and strong they can puncture wayward discs, so be careful).
* Exposed areas and rugged land will make this a lot harder to play when summer hits -- this is true of all Texas golf to some degree, but I anticipate that the dusty feel of this place will really be an endurance exercise come summer.
* I didn't see any snakes, but I know they are there -- this is rural Texas hill country with lots of underbrush -- which means there are high odds of snakes aplenty, so be careful.
Other Thoughts: Manor, TX, (pronounced Mane-er), is a bit out of the way. We passed a lone Texas cowboy out riding down the road not far from the course. It's only 20-minutes or so from North Austin, but feels like it is a world away.
Downtown Manor is just a few old storefronts, but the Tex/Mex place (Ramo's) is worth the trip out -- at least based on our one visit. Chips and salsa are nothing to write home about, but the drinks were cold and the dessert sopapillas were the best I've ever had. The savory sopapillas (filled with chicken and covered with your choice of sauce) were visually nondescript but were joy to the senses once they hit your tongue. Brisket tacos, nachos, and everything else we ordered was well-above par. Orders came out wrong from the kitchen several times (waitress shared that "the cooks are still hungover," and this was after 2 p.m. on a Saturday.)
For me, few things make good disc golf even better, but hole-in-the-wall Tex/Mex a couple miles from the course makes it happen. Head to the course, then head 5 minutes to downtown Manor to chow down and you'll be in for the best day of disc golf that Texas has to offer.
19 of 20 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Worth the Drive
Pros: Great mix of technical shots and open holes. There are some holes where you have more than one possible route to the basket. Water in play at several points, plenty of elevation changes. In a public park, but the course has its own territory there and people using other facilities do not hinder play.
Cons: The tee pads are too short and better signage is needed.
Other Thoughts: Be careful not to throw your up shot into a cactus!
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Beautiful course. Elevation changes. Great mix of Long tosses, short turns, open shots and tree threading. Both amateur and pro tees.
Cons: Lots of cactus, watch out... not stroller/Cart friendly. Nice bridges over creeks, but this course is nowhere near pedestrian. Dont even try to play if it has rained unless you really like mud.
Other Thoughts: Some temp signs up right ow, but I hear nice signs like pease are being made right now. Easy to follow. I totally agree with Sidewinding, my fav course in austin followed by wilco. Its out of the way, but its north.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This course is very scenic. The rugged Texas hill country terrain with live oak, mesquite, prickly pear, etc. is just beautiful. It would be a great nature hike even if you did not play disc golf.
Concrete tee pads are a rare but welcome sight around Austin but (see con 1)
The new signs are in and they are amazing.
Both pro and amatuer tee pads make this course fun for all skill levels.
There are many cool stairways and bridges throughout to help you cross the dozens of small creeks that meander through the course.
Most of the holes are fairly technical with many straight and narrow, or blind curving fairways. If you don't throw forehand this course will force you to learn. If you don't throw backhand this course will force you to learn.
If you don't hit the fairway don't expect to have a shot to the basket. The rough is very dense, rugged, and thorny.
Cons: 1) The teepads are too short. I didn't measuse but they look to be about 5'x7'. They could have used less concrete and made them 4'x8' and you would'nt feel like you have be extra careful and shorten your x-step on every throw.
2) Some of the holes have quite a long walk between them. One in particular is about 300-400yards to the next teepad with signs about every 100 yards reassuring you that you are still going in the right direction.
Other Thoughts: Now that the new signs are in this is the best course in the Austin area.
14 of 15 people found this review helpful.
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