7 Helpful / 3 Not
Stop in and play all day
Pros: Wide variety of challenging holes, course all to yourself, basecamp nearby for refreshments if you get tired, thirsty or hungry, cheatsheet that gives you the best strategy for how to play each hole, nice and shady.
Cons: Extremely steep climbing and descending--I personally like this aspect of it but if your crew isn't somewhat fit and up for the challenge they'll NEVER make it. Our group started with 4 and ended with two before we even reached the 7th hole.
Owner was super friendly but went on for 20 minutes (you're a captive audience) as he explained what seemed like each and every one of the 39 holes on the course, during which time he subtly (as in not so subtly) kept reminding us that donations--in addition to the $20 donation that is mandatory at the start--are appreciated. Here's my issue with this: I'm surrounded by beautiful landscapes with awesome baskets and killer challenges everywhere and I've got my discs and I want to throw. Cut it down to 5 minutes please because I'm drooling over the course and I'll be mentally checked out after that long anyway. We crisscrossed near the owner's house a half dozen times and there were plenty of opportunities to ask him questions if we needed. Maybe pin each basket on a Google Map so I'll know where to go if it means I can skip some (most) of the intro. And I don't need reminding about donating. If I enjoy myself I'll very much want to add a gratuity (which we all did--it was important to us to do so and any decent guest would feel the same way).
One tee time a day, FOUR MONTH WAITING LIST if you can only make the 9am tee time on the weekends.
Other Thoughts: Is the kind of course you would imagine heaven would have. Put it on your bucket list.
7 of 10 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 2 Not
I love it!
Pros: This is a 39 hole private course that is fanatically maintained by the owner. Tee pads are clearly marked and right next to the previous basket you holed out on. Course layout is great because there is no one else on the course; no waiting for people in the fairway and you can unload your bag at each basket. Course design in fun and challenging with a majority of close shots but don't let that fool you. You will need all your discs including your drivers. This course is long and you will play it all day; don't rush and enjoy this gem. Read the hole descriptions of the each hole you are shooting at it will explain the hole and where to avoid.
Cons: Not that many cons on this course, some of the shots require you to lay up instead of going for it. You can find yourself down a canyon in "bogeyville" very easy. Be careful of the road on a couple of shots your disc can hyzer of the mountains and right on the road. Please spot for each other and keep everyone safe.
Other Thoughts: The owner of this course will take you through about an hour tutorial that is well done, informative and very casual. He has pride for his course! Listen to what he says he wants the fun factor up and the frustration down. Signature hole "phantom fall" is a gold basket that can be aced from many different tees. There are also two sets of discs per hole; one for best drive ever (usually aces) and best drive this year. Very fun idea and keeps it fun in the group. Not only are you competing against each other you are also competing against everyone else that has played that course. Please support phantom falls and related disc courses they are phenomenal. Try to buy a disc from his pro shop it helps support these backyard courses. Enjoy!
6 of 8 people found this review helpful.
20 Helpful / 1 Not
Best Backyard Ever
Pros: Privacy - As with magic Meadows, you can enjoy a day at Phantom Falls without feeling rushed. Take your time, rest at the car as the course loops back there at least 3 times. In essence, you'll enjoy yourself more if you pace yourself since the course is pretty physically demanding.
Navigation - I completely understand why Paulie doesn't want all these crazy navigational signs in his backyard, and even without them, this course is very easy to play. It's pretty simple finding the next tee. Sometimes the tee is really close to the basket, which would be bad for tourneys, but this is not designed to be a tournament course.
Lack of undergrowth - Maybe this is just assumed for this area, but the lack of undergrowth is really nice. You shouldn't lose a disc at PF. You have to be really errant in order to do so.
Creativity - Paulie clearly explains during the intro that there are only 15 or so baskets, and 39 holes. Which means you're playing to the same basket from different angles two, sometimes three or four times per round. Before starting the round, I thought this would get old, but there were numerous occasions where you hole out, and look around thinking "this is familiar...wait...how did I get back here?" Additionally, it is absolutely astounding that Paulie was able to get 39 holes onto about 15 acres.
The Wooden Basket - With the addition of hole 39, you begin and end the course throwing to the signature PF basket. Very cool. While #1 is straightforward, putter/mid from the patio to the basket, you better not go long. Not an easy shot, though it looks that way. #39 actually throws across a small valley back to the same basket leaving you right by the house to end the round.
Cons: Redundancy - There was usually a very straight-forward option off the tee...but there are many ways to get to each pin. In essence, you could get comfortable with an understable driver, a soft mid (to prevent rollaways) and a putter ...and play about half of the holes at PF. There is still some variety, of left and right, but when you're going so far uphill, you're simply trying to get it up the hill. I would wager that I used no more than 5 different discs off the tee for 39 holes. Bottom line, and this is my only "con", I think the best courses occasionally make the player execute a shot with which they're not necessarily comfortable. If your "bread-and-butter" is a slight hyzer or perhaps a flex-shot, you'll have no trouble attacking the pins at PF.
Other Thoughts: The amenities at PF are great. There is a lounge area at the patio where you can snack during breaks. I suggest you pack a lunch, though Paulie does have options, if you so choose. The pro shop is well-stocked.
Some see the cost as a big negative, but I don't. Paulie seems very willing to barter to get the costs down for people interested in playing his course. I know he accepts old snowboards, skis, and used discs that you can trade.
The hat tree is a pretty cool idea. I didn't take one because I didn't have one to leave, but still a cool idea.
As far as the design, it's definitely not an easy course. Some will look at the posted distances and write this course off as not challenging. I'm pretty decent and I shot a +2. I was under through about 24 holes, but your legs start tiring and closing strong is not easy. Hole 10A is 442 feet and uphill...tough 3 for anybody. In short, the average round, according to Paulie is around +13. I believe the course record is -14 .. so the best round ever shot at the course averaged approximately a birdie on 36% of the holes. (38-39 holes) The equivalent at an 18-hole course would be about -7. My guess is that most courses have yielded rounds better than -7. Why bring that up? Simple, it's not as easy as most people think.
The CTP markers are really cool. I was within inches of getting to move one on the hole that plays down the driveway and into a hidden carve out on the other side. (one of the few blind shots on the course) I was probably really close to an Ace, which would have been sweet, even though I wouldn't have been able to visually see it go in. Anyway, it's a very cool idea and there are markers for both all-time and year-to-date.
To conclude. Phantom Falls is an "excellent" course. Paulie takes great care of the course and his guests. The design is intended to be intermediate, so simply understand that going in. It is one I think most should go out of their way to play, but if it's not your cup of tea, then so be it. It's still a very cool place. Honestly, I know Paulie doesn't care for them as he likes ease of play, but if there were some more blind shots which required a player to work their discs, then I'd bump it's rating even higher. That's the main thing PF is missing, and that's just my opinion.
If you're going to the area, contact Paulie and let him help you set up your itinerary. We didn't get a chance to play Bailey or Bucksnort, but I have read good things about both. I highly reccomend Phantom Falls, Magic Meadows and Beaver ranch. All are great courses and in a beautiful region.
20 of 21 people found this review helpful.
20 Helpful / 4 Not
A full day of a 39 hole course all to yourself
Pros: A day at Phantom Falls is an unique disc golfing experience. Paulie, the owner and designer who is primarily responsible for all the courses in this area, is a great host. This course is basically in the yard of his house, but he generously allows others to come play. It is evident how passionate he is about this course as you get a personal orientation of the course before your round where he tells you stories behind the course, the holes, and the baskets as well as tips and suggestions for navigating and playing.
His beautiful house doubles as the clubhouse and hangout porch. (special thanks to his family for being so willing to share their space with a different group of disc golfers on a daily basis!) The porch is decked out with chairs, tables, a grill, shade all close to your car. The course design brings you back to the porch at multiple times during the round so you have a chance to relax and refuel.
He basically gives you all day to play the 39 holes + the mini course. He encourages you to relax and take your time and enjoy your day. And maybe the best thing about playing here is you, and only you and your group, are the ones that will be on the course that day- you get the course all to yourself.
The course itself is solid as it sits on 15 acres of pine covered hills and valleys. It is an amazing job of putting in 39 holes on this small of an area- tremendous planning, ease in navigation, no confusion as to where the tees are or which basket to throw at. As for all his courses, he has given much thought and attention to detail in everything, down to the scorecard and hole-by-hole tip sheet he gives you.
You play over the same land in various directions and you lay to some baskets multiple times, but you would never know it. The natural tees are level. The baskets are of different varieties, but that actually helps to identify which one to throw to as he has made each one to be unique. The ground is a gravely dirt so now grass to mow and no undergrowth to hide discs- easy to find your discs and little chance to lose one.
This course is a true test in hitting lines, controlling distance, playing elevation from straight across, to steep up, steep down, and everything in between. Though the course looks to be on the short side on paper, many holes play much longer either up the steeper slopes or when you race past the basket on the downslopes. There are many ace runs here, but there are some holes where 4 is going to be a good score as well. The course is also a good test of fitness and endurance and mental toughness when you factor in having to walk up and down all day, the altitude (don't underestimate what 8000' does to the body and to disc flight for that matter), and the lucky and unlucky breaks that will inevitably happen to everyone in your group.
Cons: Because you do play over the same type of land all day it can get a little repetitive. Though a couple holes have the basket straight across from the tee, there is absolutely no flat land on this course (except maybe 1 and 39). Not that hills are bad, and I would take elevation and trees over open and flat any day of the week, but I feel the best courses have a nice mixture and balance of all styles. There is also no water, no o.b., no rough, etc.- not that I want a course to be loaded with these either (and it was nice not worrying about losing a disc), but basically there was little punishment for errant shots as there was usually a way to get back on track for a 3 or no worse than a 4 on nearly every hole. (his goal was for it to be challenging yet fun, even for women, kids, and those with less distance like me, and he has done just that), but at the same time it lacks that really epic feel I have experienced at courses like Highbridge, Flip, IDGC, and Flyboy.
The footing is tricky sliding down the gravely hills in many places, sometimes hard to even stand on your lie, and it wears on your body after awhile. (I actually had a slight muscle pull mid-round as my legs stretched apart more than was comfortable on a slide, and then adding to it with my feet slightly sliding while teeing off the natural pads.) As a side note, Paulie prefers natural tees and of course this is his yard, so it makes no sense to put in concrete tees everywhere, but the fact is if you are looking for concrete tees, then go elsewhere.
The baskets are all different (which in one way is a cool factor and adds to the "backyard feel" here and as I mentioned helps with navigation), but some of them don't catch as good as others. And to make up for the shortness, most baskets on placed on slopes or edges where it is risky to go for longer putts. If you don't land under the basket off the tee, the smart play is to just lay up and drop in to avoid the bad rollaways- but when you do this 20-30 times it gets boring if you are not playing for anything serious.
He advertises "you will use every disc in your bag" and explained that each hole has multiple routes, you just have to look. Well, when you only play here once, you probably will take the obvious less risky straight route on most every hole. Factor in the altitude that causes discs to be way more stable, and I found myself pretty much reaching for the same disc on every single hole. Maybe if you played you a lot you could experiment, but most people are only playing here once.
Totally understandable why, but $20 a round would be a lot to pay to play on a regular basis, and you can't just show up and play whenever you want as you have to arrange a tee time. This of course has some plus side and is what makes it unique, but it is worth mentioning nonetheless.
Other Thoughts: This course was designed to be played with nobody else playing but you, so some things that would normally be cons are not because of the intent- like crossing fairways, tees right beside baskets, shared baskets, etc.
Paulie loves the game and is very serious about having excellent courses for people to play. He is also passionate about growing the game, especially in the areas of women and children.
The reason for 36/38 holes is 10 has 1 tee to 2 baskets, and 11 has 2 tees to one basket (both a short and long). You can play them all if you want. He actually has just added a 39th hole that plays back to the signature pine basket to finish up. I approve!
So why a 4.0 to me?---well, this is tough course to rate, the course itself was very good, just not spectacular, but all the extras that make this place special and unique boost its rating. When comparing to the other 200+ courses I have played, I felt it compared to other 4.0's I have given (like Blueberry, BRP, Hudson Mills, Lemon Lake, etc.) There are not too many places where you can guarantee to have the whole course to yourself for an entire day (the only other place I know like this was Flyboy), with the difference that he has it set up where a guide is not necessary to navigate, so Paulie just turns you loose- pretty cool!
Plan on being here for several hours and be sure to bring lots of food and drinks with you.
I highly recommend coming to this area to play disc golf. You can spend a week playing all the courses here. The Rockies are beautiful and make for some fun and challenging disc golf. For me, playing in the hills of TN and the Appalachian Mtns. all the time, I was not overwhelmed with a mountain course, but anyone from the plains states are going to have to pick their jaw up off the ground when coming up here!
20 of 24 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 7 Not
Worth the hype but still a lot of hassle
Pros: This course is famed for good reason. The overall experience is really wonderful. The course is clean and beautiful and the holes are well designed. You should go.
Cons: This is a serious commitment and a bit of a pain in the ass to set up. This is not a course that you rally the friends on Saturday morning and get out the same day. You first must call and get through to Paulie to make a reservation. He will likely not have a reservation for the day you want and you're stuck with a spot weeks (or months) later. He has an hour-long orientation and one tee time per day at 9 AM. We left our house in Boulder at 7AM and we finally started throwing around 10 after we gathered the crew in Golden, made it to P.F., and listened to the course orientation. This felt like a really long time.
Other Thoughts: These guys are doing some really awesome things in the area around conifer. Even if you can't get on this course, try out one of the sister courses in the area.
4 of 11 people found this review helpful.
24 Helpful / 2 Not
It's about an excellent disc golf experience on multiple levels!
Pros: Paulie. Plain and simple the pros of this course all revolve around Paulie - his dedication, his designs, his effort, his clubhouse, his accommodating nature, his amenities. Paulie is a disc golf fanatic - it shows - and I love that! This was the absolute highlight of my Denver trip experience. The "clubhouse" is beautiful as is the setting. The aspen basket off the porch for hole one (and buy in for prizes) is a one of a kind (nerve racking) lead off toss. The configuration of gnomes and rocks marking the lifelong CTP and ace locations is very unique and another one of those touches you get from a private course. Getting your name on a tee sign for the first ace ever on a hole is also incredibly cool. The property yields some great winding/twisting wooded holes and the hillside offers great sharp long elevation on holes, as well as a bunch of risky precarious pin placements. Uphill, downhill, crosshill, and back again all are part of a great design with longer holes requiring precision and accuracy and shorter ace run holes requiring a light touch. These all balance out with left, right, straight, and s-curve available routes. And if you play, pay attention to the scorecard notes that point out multiple route options your naked eye may not pick up. Playing with Paulie and some course workers was a great experience to see what types of shots they've come to perfect over the years. Nostalgia and uniqueness exists all around with the Aspen basket, Franken basket, and leftover windchime targets from the original course. There are bag hangers and benches made from old ski and snowboard parts.
Cons: Overall there is some repetitive play here, playing back and forth to the same basket from multiple different directions. While this design concept makes for a fun round, the last third of the hole (the green) is the same in each instance due to the re-used basket. Most holes are relatively short and placing a good drive yields a makeable deuce. I could go on and on about there being no real huge downhill bombers, no open field ripper, no water hazards, etc, but you get the point - a Colorado hillside property lacks some variety, yes? There is just one tee and one pin placement. This goes without saying because the pins are shared by multiple holes (for example the Aspen basket is played to 3-4 times). So really the course itself probably shakes out to a 3.0-3.5 range in my book.
Other Thoughts: I was travelling for work, and made it a point to leave early and fly on Sept 11, despite the rantings and crying of my wife, so I could get there a day early and play Conifer and Phantom Falls. I unpacked my usual bag taking more lighter and understable plastic due to previous high elevation throwing experience I had, and I dismantled my wife's smaller mini-revo bag and jammed it all into a bag to check at the airline (I did find room for a few other work clothes, but they took a backseat to my disc golf priorities on this business trip). I had been in contact with Paulie and he tried to warn me about the dirty 56, but it made no difference because I was going to get these courses in. I landed late Sunday night, drank a bunch at CB & Potts to allow me to sleep despite all my excitement, and I was still up by 6am, ready to head out and play Conifer. I finished the 20 holes there (story in another review), and proceeded to head to Phantom Falls. I stopped at a liquor store because I had a ton of time before my scheduled tee time and there are tons of good Colorado beers, and I figured I'd need some on the course (not exactly "need", but I also wanted to share with Paulie). I arrived at Phantom Falls, had a great time BS'ing in the clubhouse, and proceeded to play my round with the most gracious of guests, Paulie stayed with for nearly all of it despite having numerous other plans. During the round I aced a hole that had never been aced, drank lots of beers with excellent hosts, and had a great time, all culminating with some dinner afterward and good conversation. I opted in for the lunch at the turn, but since Paulie was playing with us we just kept going on and grabbed some refreshments. It was an absolute blast. Despite the course coming it at about a 3.7 on my scale due to overall repetitive terrain on a Colorado hillside, this experience was the best of the best. Disc golf enjoyment is about a state of mind and a frame of reference (personal reference admittedly), and Phantom Falls put me in a wonderful place. I think I smiled the entire drive back to Denver. It was a PHENOMINAL experience! Go play! Now there are even more courses in the area - I just wish I hadn't taken a new job so I could fly out there on business again and boondoggle more than just a day!
24 of 26 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Disc Golf Wonderland
Pros: This course was amazing. Paulie really out-did himself on this one. Every hole temped me to "go for it." I like the feeling when standing on the tee that I could possibly birdie or ace this hole. However, this was not the case. The trees, topography, and elevation made this course very challenging. The signage, CTP gnomes, and caddy sheet added the icing on the cake. I would highly recommend playing this course.
Cons: It is hard to say anything negative about this this course. I would say that with 38 holes, some of them seemed to blend together. That said, it is nearly impossible to have 38 completely distinct holes. Additionally, I wish there were a couple more +300 ft holes.
Other Thoughts: This is definitely one of my favorite courses. It is not the most challenging when looking at the holes individually, however this course will test your stamina. Be in shape and acclimated to the elevation. Wear good shoes and be sure footed. Some of the holes require you to hike through some steepish decomposed granite. This course has a lot of risk/reward. If you play conservatively it is easy to par. I would highly recommend playing this course in conjunction with Beaver Ranch (think its called the dirty 59). After playing them both, I would give the edge to Beaver Ranch because of the views. Also, the condition of PF on 1/27/12 was great while there was some snow at BR. Well worth the drive!
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Pauly, this guy is great..drove down from Seattle and called him the night before. He gave us directions of a place to stay the night before and we called the next morning and rsvp the 9am tee time.
Pauly was there to greet us and showed us around his property, check out the pro shop and make sure to pick up a shirt or personalized stamp to support courses like this. Like i said we get there and he shows us the layout of the course and along with a scorecard he gives you hints and tips for each hole. The baskets are amazing and most of them have their own personal touch that Pauly has incorporated in the course. The teepads are short but are in great shape.
We had the course to ourself and Pauly even came out after the turn and threw a few holes with us. Its always great to pick a guys brain on a course like this..After the round he even helped us look for a few discs that we left. Overall i loved this course and would definatly recommend anyone to play. Also heard that he is adding a few more holes.
Cons: Being from Texas, we were not used to the elevation changes so that was something that was new to us and sometimes frustrating. The roll- aways on the puts also hurt the scorecard so be careful not to hyzer put..keep em flat
Other Thoughts: Overall i had a great time playing this course, the views are beautiful and the beer that was offered afterwards was even better. make sure to pitch Pauly a few bucks to help support the improvements he has planned.. Also take the short drive to Zoka's, have lunch and head up the mountain to Conifer Park
6 of 8 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Wow is pretty much how to describe this course. Great variety of holes with many different lines to take. I liked the rolling hills and valleys that came into play often. The elevation changes were challenging. The different types of baskets were awesome (there was a hanging basket, hanging chimes, and an incredible wooden basket just to name a few). It was nice how the course winded back to the house a few times during the round. Because of the great terrain, there is not a need for too many OBs or mandos, but the one double mando was pretty sweet (even though I missed it).
Cons: That I don't live closer. Some baskets are used multiple times, but you hardly notice if you have played it or not.
Other Thoughts: Paul is great guy that just loves disc. He seemed very happy to have us out there enjoying his course. He followed us around for a few holes to make sure his course record was safe, and it was. Unique disc golf experience, I cannot wait until I get to come back.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 8 Not
Pros: It is well layed out and fairly easy to navigate. Paul does a great job of explaining the layout before you start. The course is interesting in the fact that you have to navigate the trees.
Other Thoughts: Had a lot of fun.
1 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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