Iron Hill is here.
22 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: A little over a year old and fresh off its first PDGA tournament Iron Hilll is really coming into its own. The course winds up, down and around the hill through dense woods on all but 2 or 3 holes. (compared to the rest of the course #6 is kinda open) On most holes the foliage is dense and when playing from the gold tees for an Am like me the name of the game is 'Stay On the Fairway.' Rounds here I've done this I felt I scored well. As a result, playing here has greatly improved my game on less difficult courses (which is every course I've played to date save Paw Paw)
Iron Hill has BIG distance, long to long is over 10,000 feet! Even the most seasoned pros are sure to find challenge here. Signature hole 17 is 860 ft uphill through the woods to a basket on a mound way above your head. Its like the mound's whole existence was waiting for a basket to be placed on top. To sweeten the hole, a stone staircase was build on the steep hillside to the basket and is one of the most beautiful man made things I've seen on a course. I love that a course this big was put in less than 10 mins from me.
If distance isn't your game Iron hill has 2 and sometimes 3 tees per hole, put in for players of all skill levels. Not all tees are completed yet, but they are marked and the gold tee signage shows where they are. The white tees certainly take the teeth and the distance out of the course and provide a challenging yet not overwhelming round for Am and Rec players. Some Am friends of mine who played the long tees to long pins first time here swore they weren't coming back, but after a round from the whites (which provide several 2 opportunities for players who drive 300ish feet) they love it. The Gold tees are the largest concrete pads I've ever thrown from and the shorts will eventually all be nice rubber fly pads.
Almost all holes have short and long pin placements, for added variety and challenge. Hole 4 is one of the best differences, short pin is one the edge of the field you throw across (yes there are 2 field holes here) and the deep pin is through a 100 ft tunnel starting at the field and ending at a pin with OB behind it. A few pin placements are right in the middle of awesome rock formations. In the future there will be 2 permanent baskets at each hole, further increasing your playing options at Iron Hill.
Tee signs have recently been installed at each gold tee, giving tee locations, pin placement distances and even elevation changes. Some of the nicest I've ever seen. Paths from basket to next tee are becoming much more clear/trampled and are lined with logs on both sides.
Another interesting and somewhat unique trait is the terrain. Rocky on most holes and on some fairways you will find shallow dips and trenches. The result is even a fairway drive could end up giving you questionable footing for your 2nd (or 3rd) shot. Maybe not a pro, but an interesting feature. Come with sturdy foot gear.
Fairway paths and directions have a nice variety and good mix of up and down hills. Course is laid out in true par 4s and 5s were if you get a birdie on them you earned it. Some holes just making par feels like a win. I wish more courses would adopt this system.
Other pros- trash cans and benches available on many holes. Port a johns on site as well as pavilions and grills. Oh, and for those that complain- Iron Hill is one of the few Delaware courses that you don't have to pay the park to play!
***UPDATE*** Several holes now have 2 permanent pins! (Gold and Silver) More are on the way. Most short tees now have either flypads or packed stone dust, awaiting flypads. The options now are plentiful and Iron Hill is now much more beginner friendly and has layouts for golfers of any skill level. Fairways are being constantly improved, the volunteers at Iron Hill are awesome. Look for this course to be nearing its full potential in summer 2010.
Cons: My only real con is playing through dense woods for 16 of 18 holes can feel redundant. (Especially if I'm having a bad round/difficulty staying on the fairway.) I just like a bit more variety. Players who don't like or aren't ready for long holes will be turned off by the long tees, but now that the short tees are in Iron Hill should be fun for everyone. That said, heck if long to long isn't one the hardest rounds out there. Someday I'll finish at par.
Other Thoughts: Iron Hill provides a challenge for all skill levels. Not only will you need a variety of shots and great accuracy, but a tough mental game as well. This is where over the past year I've really learned to play for the fairway or the layup for my next shot instead of going for the basket everytime. I also really learned here when to swallow my pride and throw a putter back onto the middle of the fairway instead of going for it. This has helped my play in several tournaments at other courses. I've learned some smart golf.
Along with providing another place to play in the area the course at Iron Hill and the constant presence of players (along with a few other park additions, bark park, etc.) has helped deter some 'riff raff' that was making a home here.
Iron Hill has come a long way since it opened last year. For those that played it and had problems with the navigation and signage, come check out the excellent tee signs put in and bring the map provided on this site and the Delaware Disc Golf site. For those players that were way to turned off by the distance and difficulty, come out and give the short tees a try. DDG volunteers have put a lot of hours in here and the course is going to be a great tournament destination on the east coast.
22 of 22 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: As the course pro here I'm a little biased, but I will try to give a true review of the course.
Iron Hill was designed to be a pro par 72, with tournaments in mind. Right now Gold to long comes in around par 70. The lengthening of two holes is in the works to complete the goal by the end of the year.
All Gold tees are 6X12 concrete pads that have the best grip I've played in 12 years. New tee signs with footage to both pins as well as elevation changes were installed earlier this year. The next tee is a good distance from the pin, no waiting for the next group to tee. Running water and numerous pot-a-pots are available. Parking in two separate parking lots is always open, with a third open for tournaments.
The course is long and tight with a lot of elevation changes. Too score well you'll need a lot of different shots and skill. This is the beauty of the course. Every hole you must decide to go for it or play safe. Do you play for par or for birdie? Play safe and shooting in the 70's will win you many matches with your friends and probably cash in a tournament. Go for it and you could shoot in the 60's or get close to that 80 mark. This is the most mentally challenging course I've ever played. Every round ends in, I could have.
The first PDGA tournament was just played there with some of the best players in the Mid-Atlantic region attending. 1000 rated players shot from 63 to 79 on the Gold Par 70 layout. Watching 400'+ drives down a 20' fairway was a thing of beauty.
Cons: This course can eat an Am player alive. Everything that makes this a good course for pro level players can become a draw back for Ams. Notice I did say can be a draw back. I've played with a lot of Ams that love the challenge.
The back 9 can be extremely tight. This can leave you feeling as though you just played this before. Holes 15, 16 and 17 were thinned out a little to alleviate this.
The course is only one year old and the rough can be extremely rough. Don't get off the fairway. You may have to throw backwards to get out.
Other Thoughts: In order to get the full scope of this course you need to play from the correct tees. The course was designed with the idea of playing par 72 for everyone. If you are not a Gold player you could easily get frustrated playing the gold tees. The course was put in Gold tees first with the idea of utilizing the land provided. The Blue and White tees are in the process of being finalized and will make the course play more Am friendly.
A lot of upgrades have been made over the last year and many more are in the works. The stone steps on 17 are a thing of beauty. If you haven't played it recently check it out.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Layout and distance. Each hole offers a different shot and not just one unique shot per hole. Some holes are well over 600 feet long and require precise disc placement on the fairways.
Cons: Terrain. Lots of rocks and tree stumps. Avoid the worm burners as you can really damage the discs.
Other Thoughts: This course will test your ability as well as physical and mental toughness. Pack light, as the long walk will definitely put a crimp in your back/neck.
2 of 8 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 1 Not
The Meanest Course Ever Built
Pros: This course is conveniantly right off I-95. There are 2 practice baskets to warm up on so you can putt and throw at one and then putt and throw back at the other. Cool! Plenty of trees around those practice baskets. Trust me you will need that practice. There are 2 sets of concrete tees on every hole. These are huge concrete tees in a deep forrest. Not very often do you see such perfect tees in such a difficult setting. The course is by far the most challenging course and I doubt there is a more difficult course out there. Many seem to describe this course on a whole rather than appreciate each hole for what it offers. I suppose this is because it might be like trying to describe 18 boxers who beat your ass...the punches all begin to feel the same after awhile. Tyson upper cut me, then Ali stung me, then Holyfield head butted me, then Foreman bombed me, then Sugar Ray humiliated, I can't keep it straight I am just in pain.LOL! These are the meanies in all their wicked glory!
#1 a 605 foot drive downhill anhyzer to a protected pin....this fairway is wide open and fair but as all do on here it punishes you if your off of it.
#2 One of the only birdie/par chances on the course a downhill Hyzer to a pin with random trees to negotiate but not impossible...easiest hole on course.
#3 Fun 660 drive through relatively open field to a well placed pin. Consider this the open hole!
#4 Another relatively open 675 downhill shot to a fast protected green! Your done with grass hope you enjoyed it..haha
#5 690 foot tight uphill drive makes it feel like 1000 feet due to 55 foot elevation gain to a boulder laden protected pin perched way up there. I loved this hole.
#6 Nice fairway here 625 with option to go right or left early..then it plays very fair to a protected green. A par/birdy hole.
#7 Wild 370 downhill fairway to a basket tucked behind trees you have the choice to go right or left around trees to reach basket..Killer Fun hole here!
#8 605 uphill journey with twist in middle of fairway..40 feet of elevation gain makes it play longer.
#9 555 only flat hole on course but it's very hard with plenty of trouble off fairway
#10 675 A long couple of drives up to a basket this is just about sheer long distance control
#11 630 Another long one that will just break your spirit if you let it...this is where most players start to emotionally breakdown I think
#12 520 Fun downhill hyzer basket is down around the bend
#13 360 a controlled downhill drive to basket this one is a birdie/par chance
#14 370 simpler hole but still tree laden
#15 480 uphill with a big lane and a tight window option..gently hyzers to the left I found this a fun hole.
#16 515 Tree whipping make it stop!
#17 860 What many say is the penultimate signature hole on course..Its long uphill, tight, and plays to a wonderful basket atop an elevated bank on top of the hill...It can be conquered!
#18 460 finish your day down a reasonable fairway to a rocky green..then walk out of the forrest and finally relax. The combination of elevation, distance, and woods makes this the one course I want to play every year and one that has left a deep impression on me.
Cons: At times it seems those responsible maybe have bitten off more than they can chew. That is the amount of work is a herculean effort and once one fairway is cleared another is quickly overgrown. I played it in the early spring and found it dense I cannot imagine this place in July.
Other Thoughts: This course is so underrated. This course is relentless in what it demands of you. You don't come here for a pleasant day of disc golf. You come here mentally prepared to play the most difficult course ever built. I have played some tough wooded courses with epic length, but this is far and away the most difficult. Don't take that as a bad thing. It is fair. Yes this course is fair. Other reviewers seem to think it is not fair but it is if you play within yourself and keep your emotions intact you will be amazed at the player you can be. There are no breather holes here. It seems to get harder and harder with each hole. The woods are huge hardwoods with elevation gains/drops of 30-50 feet on many of the holes. The fairways are not terribly tight...they are just long. Some players cannot adjust to reaching for their fairway driver on shot 2. Often I think players are disheartened by hitting a tree early but recovery can be just as satisfying early as hitting a tree late can be frustrating. One has to really keep focused here. I am not an expert player but I really enjoyed my round here. It is a completely different experience. People rave about Paw Paw but thoise fairways are far worse and unfair than these. The woods begin to engulf you after awhile and your looking for that open field hole or that little gimme 3 but it never comes. I think the mental beating is what irks people here. I loved it. It gets to be a bit like the Blair Witch project out there...you can lose your mind and in the end your just relieved to be out of those woods no matter how it ended. Whenever I am on I-95 in this area of Delaware I swear I can hear Iron Hill teasing me..."come on bitch come here and get your beating...yeah keep driving bitch you can't handle me" like Tim I want to beat this course one day.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 22 Not
Pros: A few good holes in the beginning, featuring both open drives and skill shots. Its a challenging course for sure, and will be better when its complete.
Cons: Its very long, and hilly, which is fine, but some holes are 1000' uphill battles that test your willpower. Its obvious that a lot of work still has yet to be done at Iron Hill.
Other Thoughts: I was excited about this course when i first heard about it, being its so close to me. I was hopeing to have a nice course close by, but it's easily my least favorite. I've played it about 4 times now, and have told myself i'm not going back until its done...its just too frustrating for me right now.
7 of 29 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 2 Not
You've come a long way baby!
Pros: When I first played this course last summer it was very raw. The concrete tee pads for the pro tees were in place but little else. It looked like some malevolent deity had dropped them in the middle of the wilderness as a challenge to disc golfers everywhere to come battle the untamed beast.
Today the course is still punishing as documented by several of the other reviewers but for all the right reasons. For example:
1) All the fairways but holes 3 and 4 are tight and lined with trees, punishing even the slightest lapse of concentration. I do not think that 3 really even counts as an open fairway because of the giant tree in the middle of the fairway which requires a very precise, low and controlled shot to get out into the open.
2) The epic length has been WELL documented but if it were just a long "air it out" course it would be one thing.
3) The designers did not forget to work the natural altitude changes of the area into the course. This is seen most diabolically on Hole 5 which feels like a slap in the face after the relative openness of Hole 4. Holes 7 and 15 are not too shabby either.
4) Tight turns at the beginning of the fairway and then a long approach shot (or two or three) to get within distance to putt. This is best noticed on holes like 1 and 10. While one of the first three courses that I played when I started this is still the most challenging course that I have ever played.
However, this course is no longer punishing for the wrong reasons.
1) The new tee signs are awesome and point you right where you need to go. This is in stark contrast to my experience last summer when I wandered around the woods for over two hours and I even HAD A MAP.
2) An incredible amount of work has been done on the fairways and the rough to improve the quality of play. Last summer if you happened to throw your disc off the fairway (not difficult to do) it was an epic struggle just to find it. While by no means completely open (there are still thorns aplenty) on the sides of the fairway it is 100% better than it was when I first played here.
3) If you are a beginner or looking for an easier round of disc golf then this course can provide that too. Each hole has at least one if not more finished shorter tee pads (crushed gravel or rubber mats) if you prefer to battle the beast while it has one arm tied behind its back.
Cons: Because of all the work that has been done on this course I have only one complaint. It is designed for two pins per hole but there is only one permanent pin now. This is a minor thing and I hope when the state has a little more revenue it will spring for 18 more permanent baskets to make this truly a world class course.
Other Thoughts: This is an awesome course and it was really inspiring to see it improve over the short time I have been playing disc golf. It has truly come a long way through the efforts of many volunteers and a few visionaries. I would like to thank all of them and hope that some of them are members of this site.
When I finished my round today there was a threesome standing at the first pro tee pad. They called out to me while I was making my way to my car and asked where the pin was located. They then said that they were used to playing the Lum's Pond course, only had one disc each and one of them was even wearing sandals (ouch). I knew immediately that no one warned them about the beast that lurks in the Iron Hill.
10 of 12 people found this review helpful.
29 Helpful / 0 Not
Stupid hard, Uber-challenging. This course will make you angry.
Pros: UPDATE 6/14/2011 - Haven't had time to rewrite my entire review yet (originally a 3.5 rating), but based on the last few times I've seen this course, I think it deserves a 4.5, with the potential long term to hit 5.0 if it continues to improve. This is the biggest challenge -- and greatest design -- of any course I know of. Every hole is fair, and every hole is a challenge. It's a course that will make most courses look like putt-putt in comparison. (END UPDATE)
This course has AMAZING potential. Give it a few years and it is likely to be one of the signature, go-to courses on the East Coast... for pro-level players or masochists, that is.
I'm not saying that less-experienced/skilled played shouldn't play here -- it will hone your game -- but I'm saying ALL PLAYERS should mentally prepare for this course. It will wreck you if you're not prepared for an epic struggle against the trees.
The teeboxes here are brand new and beautiful -- grippy, textured concrete with lots of room and space is cleared around the teeboxes so you have clearance for your throwing motions and follow through (at least, this is true now -- we'll see where they put up teesigns... hopefully not in the way of the throwing motion).
The course map -- available on this site -- is incredibly helpful. Print one before you go. It's missing some basic information (like hole lengths), but it does include topographic lines showing elevation changes in the terrain -- a feature I've never seen on a disc golf course map before -- and it is helpful in knowing where you are going to be going, especially on long par-5 holes where you can't see the basket. It's great to see how the elevation will change, and to know that you've got 60' of downhill or 40' of uphill or whatever the case may be. Unfortunately, the map is not entirely to scale, and hasn't been updated with the newer pin placements (you can't tell, for instance, that hole 17 is ~1000' and the longest hole on the course -- it looks much shorter than that on the map).
The front nine are a great set of holes -- a good mix of shots with some open areas for big drives and lots of elevation change, along with a couple of chances early on for really long deuces if you carve some of the alleys just right. The front nine will try your patience in places, but it is well balanced and a truly enjoyable experience. The back nine... well, check the "cons" section.
The park has been radically renovated in the past year. The disc golf course opened up in June 2008, and has been making huge strides thanks to the work of local golfers. The course will host a PDGA B-Tier in June 2009 (King of the Hill), by which time I expect the course to be in great shape. It won't be fully broken in by then, but by then I would expect volunteer work from the locals to have completed signs, all pin placements, and continued to clear fairways. It should be an awesome course by June at it's one-year anniversary. I'll re-review then.
Other pros of this being a new park are that the whole park has been redone. There is a dog park, areas for families, restrooms, lots of paved parking, etc... the city has spent a lot of money giving this place a makeover, and disc golf is a big part of the transformation.
Cons: This course is new and still relatively untamed. And long. Long. LONG. Through dense trees. At times, this course will make you wonder why you play this sport. Especially on the back nine.
As mentioned earlier, the front nine is excellent -- incredibly challenging, but balanced and fair. The back nine is just a beating. It's a guy from American's Most Wanted dragging you out into the woods and beating you senseless with a large branch and tossing you into the thorns where no one will ever find you. It's the hardest 9-holes I've ever played. And hard isn't a bad thing -- I'm a disc golf masochist. But the back nine here is both stupid hard AND repetitive.
A few of the back nine holes feel like holes you already played on the front nine. The rest of the back nine feel like other holes on the back nine. You're mental game will get weary, and that's dangerous, because you'll end up off the fairway and fighting your way back, racking up an extra stroke of two every time.
The woods on the back are just thick. Fortunately, there isn't a lot of underbrush that will eat discs -- there just isn't a lot of space between the trees to throw once you are off the fairway. And the safe landing areas are often hard to see from the teebox.
IMHO, you're best advised to throw your straightest Roc. Over and Over and Over. And herein lies the problem -- lack of shot variety on the back. Most holes require straight shots up super-tight fairways, up and down elevation. Lots of long holes with low ceilings where drivers are just a bad idea. This would be great for a couple of holes, but gets really old. I'm hoping in a few years, some more room will open up and lanes will be more clearly defined and you can actually use your drivers to open up more shot options.
The lack of teesigns is a huge drawback -- especially since the map (while it does help navigate) doesn't give you a sense of the length of the holes. First time players will often either need to go look for the basket or retee after they discover they've thrown down the wrong line. Playing through a few times will help, but teesigns should provide this information.
Another drawback (in some ways) is that this course takes a long time to play. There were enough times we had to look for discs off the fairway that even with just two of us moving pretty quickly, it took several hours to play the course. Carts would be useless here. And you will get a full workout going up and down the hill and through rough terrain. Wear trail shoes or boots or suffer. And I'd plan to budget 2.5 hours for 18 holes your first time through -- more if playing with more people.
Other Thoughts: Back in August 2008, my brother and I did a roadtrip of top-courses in the PA/NY/NJ/DE area. We played the hardest layouts everywhere we went and hit Codorus, Quaker's Challenge, Jordan Creek. Little Lehigh Valley, Nockamixon, Tinicum, Campgaw, Warwick, Tyler State Park and Iron Hill. And of those courses, Iron Hill was definitely the hardest course we played, as well as the most frustrating. I shot a 72 and felt like I played well; probably ~980-level golf (though it is hard to say for sure, since no tournaments have been held here yet).
My understanding talking with the locals is that the course record so far is a 61… and they're making the course longer by adding more deep pin placements.. I'd guess SSA out there is ~ a 69, and there are more places there to blow-up and take a snowman or worse than any other course I've played anywhere in the country. Iron Hills will crush your mental game if you're not careful…
Of course, we played in August, with the thorns/bushes/leaves/etc... a their fullest. I'm guessing that playing in the winter would make the course 3-4 strokes easier. But it really is unreal what this course does to your mental game.
Especially with hole 17. I was having a great round, and thought I was easily going to come in under 70, but then fell apart and took a 9 on hole 17. That hole is ridiculous. Probably ~1000' curving uphill through tight fairways with dense trees on all sides. I'd almost say it is a PRO PAR 6. And I've never said that about a hole before. A five would feel like a birdie. And I think a four would be a field ace on that hole. It's crazy (but in a good way).
When I left the course. All I wanted to do was come back and get revenge on it. And I think this course will inspire that emotion in a lot of people -- the desire to find the willpower to conquer one of the hardest courses ever put in the ground. Enjoy your trip.
29 of 29 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 5 Not
This is going to be a great tournament course
Pros: Tons of length. Almost impossibly narrow fairways. Perfect teeboxes and baskets. Easy to navigate. Two open holes that let you air it out and are a ton of fun. Winter play is less punishing as you can actually throw from off the fairway.
Cons: I would hate to play this course in summer. Some holes are 500 feet long with a 7-foot-wide fairway. There is little variety on the back nine... every hole seems to require a straight and long shot with no fade. Beginners tees and alternate baskets not ready yet.
Other Thoughts: This will undoubtedly become a 4-star course once it's broken in and the extra tees & baskets are ready. As for now, it's punishingly long and brutal... so if you think Nockamixon isn't challenging enough, give it a try. It was easy for me to find each tee and basket, so that's not a problem.
12 of 17 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 2 Not
A course to help improve your game
Pros: The course is very challenging, as it has BOTH extreme elevation changes and heavy woods. There are a veriety of shots needed. Accurate drives are a must, as an errent shot will cost you 2+ throws in the long run. Concrete tee pads on all holes and multiple pin locations for future veriety. The only FREE course in Delaware.
Cons: There are no signs, yet, so the 1st time through may be a little frustrating. This in NOT a beginner course (or should that be in the Pros section?)
Other Thoughts: This course has improved my game like no other course I have played. After several weeks of play, I went back to my home course (Lum's Pond) and shot 56 (a new personal low). Also, the "average" golfer should consider it a par 72 (all 4's). The course is still being developed, as new pin placements are added (think of Patapsco's ABC lay-out). When completed, i believe this course could move up to a 4.5
8 of 10 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 23 Not
Pros: 18 holes, concrete tee pads in pristine shape, easy to see baskets. A few people were working on the holes at time of playing. 2 practice baskets available. Doggy park, playground, and water fountains.
Cons: Thorn city, mosquito capital of the world. Please be prepared! Several of the holes were quite long. This seems to be a course that will favor long drivers who are rather nifty and technical... not a beginner's course. I also got lost on way out... walked 1 1/2 hours to get back to the car.
Other Thoughts: It seems like the effort was there but the course was a little long for me. Signs were still not up yet and tee signs were nowhere to be found at several key points, had to search out some holes and tees, work in progress. I am rather lousy at the game, so take this review as if I had just started, because that's how I felt. 17 has to be the longest hole I've ever played... I guess maybe 900-1100 feet? Wow. The course shows great promise, but it's just a little too long for my liking. Maybe if I could drive 400 feet with accuracy....
7 of 30 people found this review helpful.
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