My Favorite Beatdown
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This is definitely a course I would identify as playing fairly, especially for a woods course. From the teepads, landing zones, and baskets, it is apparent what the intended and preferred line is.
Iron Hill is unusually secluded for how large it is. Aside from some early holes winding near some other park facilities, two in the middle near a gated parking lot, and occasional access trails, it's easy to play a full round immersed wholly in the golf. In the same way, there is minimal interaction between holes-- it would be very unusual to end up on another hole's space, despite no long transitions between holes.
Iron Hill has the least OB of any high-SSA course I have ever played. That said, there are numerous ways to add strokes, mostly by being off the fairway. This method of designing feels real and authentic--I must congratulate the designers and those responsible for maintenance on the course's quality and condition (and the fortuitous nature of the land available).
Signage is excellent. Distances and diagrams were clear and accurate. Paths to subsequent teepads are marked, if not self-evident. Teepads, even the gravel short pads, are long and adequate. Both sets of baskets are in good condition. Parking is ample on all but the busiest days. I do not know of any permanent restroom facilities.
A lesser designer would have gone ham on elevated baskets on rocks. Instead, there's only a couple, tastefully made instead of gimmicky.
There's a gradient in rough--if you're a little off the fairway, recovery is possible; if you're a long way off, you're hosed. Playing controlled shots is rewarded, making this course largely uncheatable.
Cons: For all of my enthusiasm for Iron Hill, I can empathize with reviews calling every hole the same. Even after several plays, the middle of the course runs together in my head. Each hole is distinct, but there's a definite theme in requiring the toughest shot in disc golf-- the straight one.
The greens on holes 5, 9, and 12, as well as the fairways on 2 and 17, are capricious. I honestly don't see a route that's distinctly preferable on these.
Other Thoughts: Reading through previous reviews an the forum makes it apparent how polarizing this course and style of play is. If I lived a little closer i would play here every day: it is a course that teaches and requires REAL golf shots, knowledge of one's discs, appropriate assessment of risk and personal abilities, and provides all the tough love you can take.
Hole 17 wouldn't be nearly as magical if it was in the middle of the course. Unfortunately, its tightness, elevation changes, and landscaped green make hole 18 a comparative letdown, despite being a very good hole itself. As it stands, though, holes 1-4 are some of the easiest on the course, and the difficulty crescendos to holes 16-18, which are some of the most challenging I can remember playing.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Iron Hill is a course of subtle pleasures. I appreciated it much more after having played it a few times. While the course is long and challenging, it never feels unfair -- there are clear fairways and landing zones. It rewards (or punishes) you based on your being wise enough to know when to be guts and when to play it safe. There's no gimmicks -- weird mandos, OBs, three foot wide gaps, etc. It's just you and the trees. Even if you play perfectly, there's lots of different shots and shapes and terrains -- uphill, downhill, low ceiling, etc.. And while going into the woods sucks, getting out of a bad lie is not just possible, it's essential to keep your bad holes from turning into disasters.
The longs tees are huge slabs of concrete, most have benches and good signs. Navigation is fairly clear. There are two baskets for each hole, a silver and a gold. The gold baskets are all business -- challenging, seriously holes. The silvers are where the course let's it's hair down a bit: baskets in trees, behind big boulders, and what not.
In a world of par three discin, it's nice to have a course with so many multishot holes. And ones that aren't just about how far you can chuck in a huge field.
Iron Hill is a great course for tournaments, and there are lots of well run events each year.
Cons: While Iron Hill is a nice, secluded trek through the woods, it doesn't have the awe inspiring scenery of some courses. The only holes out in the sun and grass are 3 and 4. The variation in holes is subtle -- up or down, doglegs, playing around different tree patterns, etc.. If you like big, loud holes you might find it a bit repetitive. (But seriously, pay more attention to the golf and less the kitsch.)
The shorter tees also feel like an afterthought. They're pretty good holes, and they've improved over the last couple years. But let's be honest, the gold (back) tees are the main event, and it shows.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
It's a good thing.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Iron Hill's reputation is starting to precede itself. It's gold to gold layout as it stands at this writing is the most difficult (highest SSA) permanent 18 baskets in the country (world? Probably!).
The setting is what makes this kind of a course possible as the woods that hold the course are old growth trees with "fair"ways the norm. The length of the course makes the fairways close in on most golfers since even though they are wider than the norm for wooded courses - it's just that you're continually attempting to maximize distance. Spaces that would be a lazy putter throw on a 220' foot basket become pin-holes on 500' par fours. If you're not getting off the tee safely with distance, you're score is taking a beating.
The challenge is big since Iron Hill doesn't really have any let-up from 1-18.
The gold tee pads are brushed concrete and about as good as you can make tee pads for our sport.
Baskets are top notch. Signage for the 1st time player is only at the long tees - if you're playing the shorts get a map or a guide.
Iron Hill rarely has issues with traffic since the lay-out has been done with tournament golf in mind. Even with several groups on the course you don't hit other groups since the distance from basket to the next tee is adequate to allow you to keep the flow going. There's ample area between fairways so there's no congestion waiting for someone to throw coming the other way or something.
Iron Hill also doesn't have a lot of casual players since even in its shortest configuration the walk alone is like 3 rounds at your local pitch and putt.
There's no admission to the park even for out of staters.
The steps that Adam Harris built on 17 are just too cool not to mention as a "pro".
Cons: Iron Hill doesn't have any actual water in play. There's a couple little streams that may hold water at various times, but they're really not an issue and the locals don't play any of the water out of bounds anyway.
While the woods are gorgeous there's really no "breathe taking basket" like Nockamixon's 6, or Flyboy's 3.
It's a function of the park that it's in so really can't change this, it's just a con that other courses have that IH just doesn't.
Other Thoughts: I have completed 200+ gold-to-gold rounds at Iron Hill. It's difficult to write a review since to me it's bizarre that more locals don't make the trek more often to play at a world class track in a gorgeous park, but it's nice to not have to fight the crowds.
I'm not sure if it's a plus or a negative so I'll add it here - the distance and difficulty of the layout really changes the importance of the drive over putting. If you're not getting off the tee you're not really going to shoot a good number at Iron Hill, and if you're driving well, you can go several baskets without having to make a putt. For example, even for distance-challenged players like me, if I make three good drives on the par 5's and the par 6 at Iron Hill I'm most likely dropping in a birdie. If I hit early on one of them I'm scrambling to save par, while 2 trees leads me to bogey-land.
On a personal note, of the 200+ rounds (3600+ baskets . .  ) of disc golf at IH from gold-to-gold I have zero eagles. Never have I scored 2 under par (course par) on any of the baskets. I've birdie every basket (#18 once . . .it's a real beast of a par four, it would be the 1 handicap basket for the ball golf literate out there) but I have yet to get an eagle. I get lots of aces on the pitch and putts but for some reason the IH eagle has eluded me . . .some day . . .some day . . .
Several golfers either on line or in person complain that IH is too repetitive, I just don't see this as the case. Unless you're requiring every course to have open baskets and wooded ones -- which IH really doesn't. It's a wooded course. Now as for the throws being the same, even a not so far thrower like me I use several differents discs from the tee in addition to an even amount of fore-hands versus backhands . . . where's the "repetitive" in that?
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Iron Hill, a Bunny's perspective
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Iron Hill is hard. It's long and wooded. It's well designed, and lovingly maintained. Like really lovingly. Baskets moved inches to adjust SSA, constant improvements, extra clever placements.
It's got gorgeous 6X12 concrete pads for all the long tees and a variety of fly pads and natural pads for short tees. The concrete pads are pretty flawless even in wet weather.
Baskets - longs are DISCatchers, shorts are Chainstars (I think....). Either way, the shorts don't have that icky band around the top. (Can I tell you how much I hate those bands??)
Anyway, the course is a series of mostly long or longish, hilly, wooded shots. Fabulous natural elevation changes, large rock formations, and about a billion trees.
The following is a general description of the whole, not any specific layout.
Hole1 - anhyzer, wide tunnel to wide rocky fairway. But don't lose your line cause the rough is not nice. Mean even.
Hole2 - Hyzer into wooded fairy glade. (Ok, so I never actually saw a fairy disc golf, but I always think a fairy would like it on hole 2 whenever I'm there).
Hole 3 - open. Ok, open-ish. Possible roller, especially since they removed this big dumb stump from the middle of the fairway.
Hole 4 - Open. Then not. Ok really. it's an open fairway field down into a tunnel. This is what passes as open at iron hill. But you gotta love it. Kiss it on the lips. Love it.
Hole 5 - Uphill technical challenge. Straight. Wooded hallway. Basket in rock form. Did I mention technical?
Hole 6 - Slow Hyzer across a ditch. Basket is behind protecting trees. Trees like jail, only a jail made of wood.
Hole 7 - Down hill tunnel. Short basket in a tall, super protected boulder. Long basket probably easier.
Hole 8 - mean. My name for this hole is Mr. Meanie McMeanerstein. I will try to describe all the mean...Long. Up hill. Rocks. Tight. Slope drops off left which clearly acts as a disc magnet. Anhyzer. Trees. Longer. Keep going. Ugh.
Hole 9 - Long straight with slight dog leg right. Straight forward.
Hole 10 - Big ole Hyzer tunnel. Long. Finishes at the parking lot. Great place to end for a short loop.
Hole 11 - Pretty, wooded, flat. There isn't a lot of flat out here. It's kind of fun for a change. Until I get a 7 on the damned hole because of all the trees. But still it's pretty.
Hole 12 - Straight with a late Hyzer. Look for the boulder on the side of a hill. You know the one that would make a crazy fast 40 ft rollaway green with basically no lay up? Ya, that boulder. Put the basket there...
Hole 13 - Big down hill Hyzer. Just added this crazy tree basket devil thing surrounded by pavement that should be OB. If I didn't loose my temper I would have 6 putted this bastard. I picked up. I'm a quitter.
Hole 14 - Think opportunity. You can 2 it. Straight. Flat.
Hole 15 - Choices. Straight or Hyzer route. 2 fairways. Uphill. Another great opportunity to deuce (or find the rare par for me and my less distance-y friends).
Hole 16 - Start of the gauntlet of terror... Final 3 holes designed to make disc golfers cry. Hallway then anhyzer. Tight, long, mean off the fairway. Some trees came down making it a bit more approachable. Just a bit.
Hole 17 - Long, up hill, tight. Topped by a gorgeous stone stairway that always reminds me that nature is pretty much my church. I'm always so damned glad to see those steps. Gold to gold is a par 6. Who knew they even made par sixes. It's crazy town.
Hole 18 - Our final wooded tunnel shot. Finished with a basket behind a big rock. But finish is always cause for celebration.
I love Iron. I mean I hate her too... she's mean, but she's awesome. I want every disc golfer to come here to learn trees and control. Whenever we travel, Iron Hill is the first course I mention.
Cons: Porta-potties here are clean and well maintained, but a girl likes permanent rest rooms.
It's intimidating. Scary even. The Longs are more of a challenge or responsibility then actually fun (for me). But it's like lima beans, it's good for you. Makes you stronger.
But you know who this course isn't good for... My dx stingrays. I swear you could beat in brand new dx in a single round. One. Round. My poor stingrays will never be same.
Other Thoughts: Gold to gold is super popular, especially with all you boys, but I wish more people would remember that there are really 4 courses out there. Try the short pads, or short baskets. Shoot, even short to short is fun!
Iron Hill is where the awesome lives.
2 words to conclude...
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
My white whale, finally slayed
20 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Course Design is superb. Navigation is easy, signage is spectacular, variety in shots, consideration for various levels, use of terrain, and maintenance were excellent.
Tee Signs were perfection, they even included elevation changes.
2 different styles of baskets to denote shorts and longs. Large concrete tee pads. Great variety and some nice elevation changes. (upto 70 feet of elevation change)
Course has great aesthetics with rocks shooting up out of some of the fairways.
a few fun novelty placements on the short baskets.
immaculate maintenance. There were freshly blown paths in the leaves to every tee and basket.
Benches on every hole.
17 is a signature hole very reminiscent of Nevin. 860 foot zig zag with 60 feet increase in elevation with the basket finishing on a large set of stairs.
If you want a challenging course that requires every shot you have, this course is perfect. This is a must play in the midatlantic region, one of the few that caters to elite level players in their gold to gold layout, while providing fun shorter holes for C Tier level players, and shorter tees for rec players.
Cons: Chance of disc loss on several holes. using a spotter is very helpful.
Severe punishment for kicks off the fairway. a beautiful drive ending with a bad kick can be heartbreaking.
Nearly all gold baskets are protected by dozens of small trees to the point where it becomes gimmicky.
Several shared tees (gold/blue) White tees are in disarray.
Holes 11 and 15 were way off on distance.
14 had no short basket.
Not a beginner friendly course. Take the kids somewhere else.
Other Thoughts: Just because you play long to long at your home course and you think you are a skilled player, you may want to check out the shorter lay out your first time through. Long to long is a very challenging course, but several other options are offered for a variety of levels. The shorter holes had lots of character and will still provide a challenging fun course for a variety of skill levels. No point in getting frustrated unless you are truly their to challenge yourself on this championship level course.
I tried to play this course on several occasions and numerous events cancelled my plans every time. I finally played it and was shocked that it did not live up to the hype about how physically grueling this course is. This course is technically tough and nearly 10,000 feet, but is no more physically demanding than Brandywine or Nockamixon.
I felt this course was a 4.25, but the blown paths, no trace of storm damage, and lack of garbage showed that the locals really pride this course and the effort they put into makes it very easy to round up.
20 of 22 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 22 Not
Pros: This is a long and very challenging course from long tee to gold long baskets. There are 2 teepads and 2 baskets for every hole, making 4 possible layouts. This review focuses on the Gold (long/long) layout. The signs are fantastic and are my first experience with signs that give you the elevation changes in addition to what we hope and expect: hole map, obstacles, distances, and pars.
RHBH from the tee:
Hyzer shots: holes 2, 6, 10, 13, 15, 16
Straight shots: holes 3, 4, 5, 11, 12, 17, 18
Anhyzer shots: holes 1, 7, 8, 9, 14
Uphill: 5, 8, 15, 17
Flat: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18
Downhill: 6, 7, 9, 13
Long: 4, 5, 8, 10, 12, 16, 17, 18
Moderate: 1, 3, 6, 9, 13, 14, 15
Short: 2, 7, 11
Open: 3, 4
Moderate: 1, 6, 7, 9, 14, 15, 16, 18
Tight/lots of obstacles: 2, 5, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 17
Great variety as you can see! Shooting par here is a 1000 rated round, which not many courses offer! It seems to me most courses calculate par based on either an 800 or 900 rated round, so this is a great metric/reality check to measure up your game. This course is challenging but fair. Most luck is removed from the equation and the thrower is given opportunity to calculate their throw and succeed if they execute.
Cons: Spiders and webs everywhere during the summer off the fairways, so bring a stick. The natural landscape makes it tough to make the back 9 aesthetically memorable as it currently plays...most holes are long and narrow woods holes with bootlegs and elevation changes. Hole 17 is the only hole with the "IT" factor on the back 9--a long and narrow fairway though tight woods that ends with a basket up on a large mound-like hill with rock stairs leading up to the basket, 900 feet of mayhem. However, the aesthetics aren't to be confused with disc golf course design, which is immaculate. Aesthetically, the course strays from the seemingly experimental front 9 that keeps it mixed up well with tight, open woods, field. No pro shop or scorecards: this isn't common to the courses in the mid-Atlantic area, though, but i wish it was.
Other Thoughts: Apparently the hardest permanent course in the world...that should tickle your fancy!
RECENTLY UPDATED AFTER A DOZEN OR SO MORE PLAYS.
15 of 37 people found this review helpful.
22 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: As on of the many volenteers at Iron I'm very biased (no hiding that). Yet I'll be honest as possible to give a fair review. Iron is currently a 4.5, will be closer to a 5 when fully completed.
Iron Hill is a pro par 72, designed for Gold to Gold, with A tier tournaments in mind. Gold to long(Gold baskets/Innova yellow bands) is a TRUE par 72 (SSA is very close to 72).
Over the first 4 years, holes have been lengthend (and some shortened) to get each hole close to its stated par, and tournament SSA on each hole as possible. Not kidding, baskets have been moved 20-50-100 feet, some even moved only 5 feet for looks and sight lines - lots of thought and adjustements have happened over the last 4 years.
Awesome large concrete pads, great grip and some surrounded by natural rocks/gravel for erosion and beauty. Fairly accurate tee signs with footage to both pins (as stated, some pins have moved and signs are close but not perfect at this time). Signs have a nice touch of including elevation changes.
Tee pad markers - Gold/Blue/White painted rocks to designate what player level that tee is designed for - AND the hole plays to that level player PAR as stated on the signage!
Directional markers - Every hole has painted sign (or rock) in white with arrows pointing towards next Tee (addition and improvement based early review comments). Each tee is a safe distance from the previous pin, no waiting for the next group to tee; also no long hikes between holes.
Fairway Markers - some of the longest/blind holes have white signs pointing up the fairway in the direction of the long pins to help navigate and guide those monster drives. These white markers are 12-15 ft up trees and visible from the long Tees
1st Tee is off the top parking lot in the park, Hole 4 Tee is at the lower parking lot. Old bottow entrance to the park is now closed, as the park opened a new entrance directly off Old Baltimore Pike.
Very long and tight with a lots of elevation changes. Designed to separate scores and skill levels - and it accomplishes that well(See results of any tournament played there for examples).
Players must decide aggressive or safe throws every time you adress your lie. This is where skill separates the men from boys, and your lack of skill/consistency will eventually get punished. To many this is the beauty of Iron Hill, she can crush you one hole and reward you handsomely the next.
Two practice baskets about 150/175 ft apart near top parking lot. Great to warm up!
Cons: Its still not done - short tees are not finalized, some short tee pads they are not even in yet. My bad, as I'm one of the guys who's job it is to get that done...
Difficulty - To some, this is where they just can't man up and subsequently hate the course.
Mental strength is a must for multi-round tournaments here based on above comments.
Am players that falter will be chewed up and spit out. I've played with a lot of Ams that love the challenge, and some that just went home in tears... But they always seem to come back for more. Even seen some total Noobs cut their teeth here, and have become good players. But the Hill is often rough on the Ego...
The back 9 is still tight, despite opening up some holes and larger trees falling on others - 15, 16, 17 have opened up significantly since first year.
Since the entire back 9 is heavily wooded and long, some percieve repitition from hole to hole. It offers the Gold players different shots, but a shorter thrower will have similar 250ft lines on many holes because they simply can't reach the doglegs from the tee...
Iron lacks the natural beauty of Nockamixon's streams and lake view, lacks fields and lake of Carousel, and lacks the city skyscape view of Wickham, (yet it has shade all summer long) and the lack of those natural features may keep it from truley becoming a 5 rated course even when done...
Other Thoughts: Playing from the correct tees will help each skill level appriciate what has been designed. Friends of mine - (good open player and his girlfriend) play from Gold/white tees and shoot similar round scores. The course was designed to playing par 72 for everyone.
Gold tees first went in first to work with the land and improve the overall course layout. The Blue and White tees are STILL in the process of being finalized and will make the course play more Am friendly. We have even dug up some of the original short tees (wood frame & stone base) and moved those shorter tees to accomplish the "play to your level par" idea of Iron Hill. Work in progress.
Great dog park, child playground, pavilion with grills. Portapotties and running water in season. Overall nice park that the county has improved greatly since 2008.
This course was designed, and built to use the land available and incorporate great aspects of other parks. Tyler length and fairways, Morraine lines in the woods, stonework from Nockamixon and Borderland. The "Stairway To Heaven" on Hole 17 was inspired from seeing Borderland in MA specifically.
Enjoy the Hill!
22 of 22 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: I am a "Long Bomber" and this course indulged that to the MAX though the holes avaraged 600 feet. Multiple options/per tee make this an excellent course. Well mapped at each Tee Box. This is a wooded course that is a total of about 2 miles of walking, if you make it through the whole thing. I was hampered by the weather (rain) but we go to play the first 9. Loved this course and can not wait till I get back to play again.
Cons: Some of the holes could use some fairway markers, the pins are pretty hidden, I don't think there is one that can be seen from the Tees.
Other Thoughts: Bring Drinks, though this is a course, mostly covered by trees, this is a LONG WALK and you should be well hydrated for the day!
5 of 9 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Very pretty. 2-3 tees and 2 baskets on most holes. A few open holes in the beginning. Very well-marked tees and next-hole signs. Very close to I-95. I've never seen a crowd here. Some elevation ups and downs. No matter how frustrated you get, at least play #17 just for the walkway up to the basket. This is a perfect course for a serious pro or someone like me who needs to be reminded that you're not a serious pro. Very challenging mentally. No real water hazards and surprising few lost-disc issues. Also the tall trees cut out most of the 25+ mph winds the day I played.
Cons: Repetitive. Mostly very long, straight, tightly wooded shots. Not a lot of left/right shots, no horse-shoes, just a tee, 600 feet of woods, and then a basket. You can't see many baskets from the tees, so there's a lot of walking the fairways before your drive.
Other Thoughts: The rough can be brutal. The primary obstacle is trees, not as much underbrush. Lots of rocks everywhere - watch your step and don't expect your disc to skip upon landing.
This really is a pro course. It reminded me of getting to play in an NFL game - sounds like fun until you've been hit by Ray Lewis a few times. It also reminded me of one of those jigsaw puzzles that are entirely black. It's do-able but after a little while, as an average player, you get frustrated. If you're out for a fun, easy round - this may not be the course for you. Rec players may rate this a 2 (after walking out 6 holes in) but for great players - this is as challenging a course as I've found. If you want an exceptional challenge, this course is as good as it gets.
Also, map this course on GPS to find short-cuts from the highway.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
19 Helpful / 1 Not
Tough wooded challenge
Pros: The course provides a long and tight wooded challenge that will test even the best players. There are three tees and two baskets in place on most holes, with nice tee pads for the gold and blue tees and decent natural pads for the whites. Having 4-6 different options on each hole really adds to the variety and replay value here, especially since many times the alternate tees and pins offered a different look and feel to the hole.
The course is pretty long overall, with only a few reachable holes from the tee. There is a great mix of hole shapes on drives and on later fairway shots, you'll need a diverse shot selection to score well here. The fairways are fair, but can be narrow with some punishing rough. There are some areas that have lanes to throw creative recovery shots but most of the rough is thick enough to make you really pay for errant shots. The course uses the elevation quite well with some fun but tough downhills and some brutal uphills. The signs at the gold and blue tees are very descriptive and make the course pretty easy to follow.
Cons: There are some navigation issues at times, a few more next tee signs would go a long way. The white tees felt like an afterthought, with limited signs and rutted out natural pads I can't imagine them getting much play even though they're the most appropriate for intermediate and lower players. There are some areas that hold water, and others where erosion has made some of the hills slick and muddy.
Other Thoughts: From the long tees to either set of pins (but especially the long pins) this course will test the full skill set of even the best players. The shorter tees offer different options for less experienced players and a ton of variety to keep things interesting through several rounds. Even the shortest tee and pin combination isn't all that beginner friendly, the distances are more reasonable but there are still lots of tight fairways and thick rough.
19 of 20 people found this review helpful.
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