10 Helpful / 0 Not
One of Colorado's Best & Most Unique
Pros: This is one of the best courses Colorado has to offer. 38 very technical holes at 8000 ft. elevation in the Colorado Rockies. Not too far from the city, and not too far from the backcountry. Up to five hours of play, with a quality work out at the same time. The first time I played here I played two rounds in a bit over five hours with one friend. The second time I played one round in five hours with four friends. A typical round is expected to take five hours and is a voluntary donation of $10.00. Each donation is clearly put back into improving the course. Current renovations include new tee boxes on the last 6 holes, the addition of a mini-disc course, closest to pin signs, and 3-D maps of every hole at the tee box. Once the course has the additions, I will rate it a 5.
The vibe here is awesome, and you can tell the courses owner as well as all who play there truly love disc golf. The rules here are to relax, have fun, and respect the land. The course starts out with a personalized greeting from the owner, Paulie. He will give you a tour of the course, bring you into the pro shop to check out discs and do some paperwork, and escort you to hole one. Hole 1 is a one-of-a-kind basket made out of aspen wood and real chains. While it may not be PDGA legal, it is one of the coolest things you will ever see on a disc golf course, and it feels like an honor to be playing it. When you finish hole 1, Paulie offers to take a picture of your group with the basket. Hole 4 is also a cool and unique wind-chime basket that makes an awesome sound when you nail it.
From here on out the course dips and dives up, down, and around the steep property. The course is extremely technical and is a true risk and reward style course. While only 5 or so holes range over 300 feet, the technical aspects of the course will have you on your toes. Phantom falls requires every kind of shot you have in your bag (and if you're missing any kind of throw, it requires that too). You will throw long straight shots over valleys, short and long hyzers and anhyzers, tomahawks, scoobys, and thumbers (I cant throw the last two, but Paulie advises them). With 38 holes, there is little to leave out. There are a million tight gaps to hit, and even more trees blocking the way. There are extremely short shots with large drop-offs. There are extreme uphills and extreme downhills. There is an EXTREME chance of rolling, so controlling the disc's landing is key here. It is easy for a birdie to become a bogey (or double bogey) from a 250 ft. downhill roll. Risk & Reward. Don't forget to use the "cheat sheet" Paulie gives you!
With 38 holes, some of which play back to the same basket, you may think this place might get confusing. Paulie claims he has "idiot-proofed" this place, and he is correct. There are arrows and hole numbers telling you precisely where to go at the end of every basket. The fact that a few baskets are used multiple times is almost unnoticeable in the fact that each shot is extremely different.
Paulie offers you:
- "Make yourself feel at home" vibe
- Personalized tour of the course
- Quality, plentiful, and inexpensive lunch between holes 13 & 14
- Fully stocked cooler with water, and chips (all for a very reasonable donation)
- One of a kind pro shop with many one of a kind discs. There are rare discs from rare companies, discs with extensive and expensive dye work, custom Phantom Falls DGC discs, average discs, and a huge variety of used discs
- Paulie's got the know-how on every disc in his shop and how it will fit into your style of throwing. Don't be afraid to ask questions… because he will have the answers, and the proper disc.
- The course to yourself… three tee times a day ensures you get to go at your pace, no matter what that may be.
Cons: Some people say a few tee boxes are too small and made of uneven dirt. Paulie has a rake at every hole to make the tee boxes to your individual liking. It's also not a true mountain course without a few small tee pads!
Other Thoughts: Phantom Falls is not for the casual discer. When you come here you should be prepared for around 5 hours of hiking, throwing, and a few bad rolls. It is a voluntary donation of $10 and is about an hour drive from the city, leaving the course for more serious players. The pro shop is a must see, and the course is a must play if you're into mountain courses and hiking. The vibe and course are truly one of a kind. I will be back here again and again… and again.
Phantom Falls is a disc golf "ivory tower"... respect it and keep it that way.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 5 Not
Disc Golf Paradise
Pros: Phantom Falls is an amazing disc golf course! As soon as you drive up, it is clear that Paulie has put his heart and soul into the course. The course zig says across a private piece of land in the mountains and will test every throw you have as well as your physical fitness. There are some signature holes such as the handmade aspen basket on 1 and a chime basket that is down a ravine and hanging from a tree. The reserved tee time is nice since you feel like the course is yours. The course is very challenging and will cause some frustration to even the best players, but is incredibly fun to play. The $10 donation is worth every penny and I know that it will be used to make improvements. When we played, all holes arrest completed, with the back few having temp tee pads.
Cons: None! I just wish it was closer...
Other Thoughts: Can't wait to come play the course again!
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Legendary Colorado Course
Pros: Great Course Design - Although Phantom Falls isn't on a huge chunk of land, it's clear a lot of time and effort were put into making the course work so well on the land allotted. You'll play to the same baskets a few times, but it's hardly noticeable until you're right up at the basket making a putt. No two holes are the same and there are ALL kinds of shots: uphill, downhill, hyzer, anhyzer and blind shots. He says the course is "idiot proof" which is true; the course is very well marked and making your way around is an ease. You go back to your car/his house multiple times, so there's no reason to overstock on beer or supplies. Being a shorter course, this is ideal for girls who simply can't keep up on the long-drive courses. While he advertises baskets 30 to 35 as being underdeveloped, they are totally playable.
Challenge - This is a huge risk/reward course. Since the terrain is so hilly and steep, you can go from a birdie opportunity to a double bogey in no time with an ill-fated roll. Overshooting baskets can be big trouble in many cases. In my opinion, some of the toughest holes were the shortest (>150 ft) because overshooting it will lead to disaster.
Limited Tee Times - PFDGC only offers 3 tee times a day which must be reserved in advanced. This means it's likely you and your party won't see anyone the entire time you're there and if you do it's not a big deal. The first time I went my friend and I had the course to ourselves for two rounds and the next time our group of 5 had limited run ins with the other group, which weren't problematic in the slightest. Unlike some other courses where you may feel rushed because of other people, you're encouraged to take your time and enjoy this course.
Pay to Play - the $10 customary donation is well worth it. The $10 goes to the upkeep of course and future improvements Paulie's got planned. Also, this keeps people who aren't quite as serious about disc away.
Pro Shop- What other disc golf courses have their own pro shop? Definitely bring some cash because Paulie's got a fully stocked pro shop with a wide range of new and used discs. He's got a ton of specialty dyes, custom discs and some discs you can't find anywhere else in the US (for real!). He's incredibly knowledgeable on all the discs and will be happy to give you a recommendation. He suggested the Flick and the Stalker to me, which have since becomes favorites of mine.
Hospitality - Paulie's really on to something here. From the minute you arrive until you leave, Paul is an incredibly gracious host. He'll give you a brief run down/tour of the course and give you valuable tips for some of the more challenging holes. He'll even make you a hot meal that you can enjoy on his beautiful deck between 13 and 14.. Last time I got the Italian Sausage, or something of the sort, which was well worth it..
Cons: I'm hard pressed to think of any beside it being over an hour from my house...but it's WELL worth the drive.
Other Thoughts: Phantom Falls is easily a 4.5 and will be a 5.0 in a few years after some small improvements are made. My favorite course in Colorado and I'll make it here as much as I can.
If you're planning on going to Phantom Falls, plan on making a day out of it. Both times I went I left thoroughly satisfied yet exhausted from all the hiking and throwing.
PFDGC is truly a disc golf sanctuary...lets keep it that way. Respect the course and it's rules and this is sure to develop into one of the premier courses in the country.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: First of all, Paul is awesome. His hospitality is second to none. The course is extremely technical with elevation changes EVERYWHERE, tight gaps, blind shots, uphill shots, downhill shots, it has everything. No big arm shots needed here, you'll probably end up in one of the unforgiving trees if you try.
Three tee times a day means you pretty much have the course to yourself, which is awesome! No pressure, no rush. Take your time and enjoy yourself.
Beautiful scenery all around you. There is a busy road on one side but you don't even notice.
This course really is one of the best and Paul just makes it that much better. Get your tee time and go play this BA course!!!!!
Other Thoughts: Be respectful. This course surrounds Paul's house and he has kids. Pack in what you pack out. Paul also has a small pro shop, pick up your Phantom Falls shirt or one of the many kick-ass custom dyed discs. If your in CO, do whatever you can to play here, you won't regret it!!!!
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: The best course I have played in CO. Being female, the shorter holes are awesome!! But they are very technical. I like fact that only one group at a time plays so that you can take your time and not worry about running to a bunch of other groups. The scenery is beautiful and the hospitality is top notch.
Cons: On some of the inclines its hard to get good footing/balance for your throw.
Other Thoughts: Overall awesome course and great hospitality and I will be going back as much as I can!!
3 of 12 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 16 Not
I love this place!!!!
Pros: If you like to have fun playing with your disc golf buddies or want to improve your mountain game this is the place for you.
Cons: No cons unless you are in a hurry. Make sure you have ample time to play all of the holes.
Other Thoughts: I will be back often and want to crack that record!!!
2 of 18 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 0 Not
Not Your Typical Course
Pros: Have you ever wondered what it would be like to own a mountain house and build a course in your backyard? Me neither, but here's your chance to find out! Paul built this course with the same people who built the nearby Conifer, and you can feel some similarities.
It is now 36 holes, although the tee pads on the last few holes are not completed. The holes crisscross the property, up and down steep, gravelly hills. You often play to the same basket twice, but you don't even realize it until you're putting and thinking, "Wait, haven't I been here before?" But due to the big elevation changes, you get very different looks.
The holes are generally not long, mostly in the 200-300 foot range, although the uphill holes play long. You'll need your drivers for the uphill shots and can safely stick to your putter and midranges for the others. Accuracy is rewarded. There are a lot of birdie opportunities…but a lot of double bogey opportunities. If you clang a putt or overthrow a drive, you could have a very long comeback shot.
There are some really unique holes here. One basket sits in a dry creek bed and you play at it from above and below on separate holes. You could skip it in from either direction from the banks, and it's possible to roll or slide your "putt" in from above. Holes 10a and 10b (he had to name them that way to avoid renumbering all the subsequent holes and move the tombstone-like tee markers) play to a the top of a big mound with steep sides. If you got for the ace, you won't have a birdie shot. But it's so tempting…
And hole 20 is the toughest 132-foot par-3 you'll ever throw. It's almost straight downhill with the basket on the incline. A careful approach shot can make use of the small shrubs and trees to catch your disk, but it's tough.
Like Conifer, this course makes for great scoring spreads. I was in the lead after 18 holes in one of our rounds…and ended up 4th out of 5 people. This course forces you to play smarter than you're probably used to.
Cons: I would never expect rubber tee pads (or concrete, obviously) at a course like this, but natural tee pads can get uneven, and some of them here are very short.
Some of the holes, especially late in the round, start to feel repetitive (throw through the trees and hope), although it's not like there are a ton of options on terrain like this. However, some of the fairways could be trimmed up a little. There are a number of holes that take skill to get the disc halfway to the hole, but after that there's some luck involved. There's not always a clear window. But again, this is maybe 5-6 of the holes out of 36.
The final couple holes are still works in process, but they are more than playable now.
Other Thoughts: Paul is a nice guy (he seemed a little intense over email with his long list of rules and suggestions, but he's really not), and he may play with you.
There is almost no grass or undergrowth here, so you'll never have to search for your disc. But it also makes things tough on the knees as you slide around on the gravel and dirt.
You have to pay $10 for your first round and $5 for each round after, and you need to set up a tee time (this is what allows you to safely throw at the same basket twice, since no one else will be on the course). This is not a con. The course is on private land, and Paul puts the money back into the course. You can see where it goes. The signage fits the character of the place and makes the navigation surprisingly easy. It took us a little under three hours to play a round, but Paul commented we play faster than most people. He has snacks and drinks available for a donation and will cook you lunch if you want.
It's difficult to describe how cool this place is. The layout, the tough holes, the homemade basket, and the risk/reward on every hole. Conifer is a better course (has more room to work with for multiple positions, etc.), but this place has an atmosphere that you won't see many other places in the disc golf world, and for that I think it deserves 4.5 out of 5. If you make it to the Denver area, plan ahead and play here.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 2 Not
Phantom Falls For Discriminating Adults
Pros: I took a small group to play Phantom Falls and I am nothing but pleased with the experience. One of our group had never played before, and a couple of the group needed discs. After making sure everyone had the right equipment (at a great price), a quick course orientation, a few valuable tips for the beginner and the owner Paulie sent us off to take on the Phantom.
The course while quite challenging for the advanced, is still manageable and fun for the beginners. The abundance of trees, narrow lanes and elevation changes turn out to make great equalizers; keeping it fun for everyone. A far cry from the public courses, we never had to hurry, or wait; it felt like we had the course all to ourselves. The hole layout is creative, utilizes the terrain well and is guaranteed to challenge your game on many levels.
You can tell where your donation dollars go as there are improvements all over the course. The course features, nice tee boxes, nice baskets including one really cool wood basket and one hole even features a chime target. Several new benches were being installed on the day we were there. There are many cool holes and most have really unique closest to pin markers. I heard, If you have some sort of cool small statue/gnome/figure to donate, it might find a home on the course somewhere.
My favorite hole features the namesake Phantom Falls rock formation. If you play your cards right you can skip your disc off the rocks and right into the basket.
One of the best things about Phantom Falls is the incredible service. Paulie runs a first-class operation and takes great care of you during your visit. I suggest planning on getting a lunch because the food was great and this course burns the calories. I can't wait until next time, I will plan on playing later in the day to take full advantage of the awesome deck, the fire pits and Paulie's fine hospitality. A neat side note is for the persons in your party that don't golf; there are horseshoes and ladder golf on the property and a lake with walking trails just down the road a couple miles.
Cons: Some purists will knock the course for having a couple holes with shared baskets, a wood basket, and a chime target. But I found these variations add great character to the course. Some will complain that it is a "donate to play". I say that playing free courses if fine, but if you want to be one of the exclusive few having the privilege of playing one of the finest courses anywhere, you have to ante' up. Which I will gladly do again.
Groups of four or more get preferential scheduling.
Plan on wearing good shoes/boots.
Plan on spending the day as it takes 4-5+ hours to play all the holes.
Plan ahead and Paulie will have a steak ready to grill up for you.
On many holes, try to land your disc flat or you may end up rolling way, way down the hill.
MY BOTTOM LINE: Add this course to your must play list and take your friends. If my wife reads this: Drop any plans you have because I want my party at Phantom Falls and you can schedule it here: http://www.PhantomFallsDiscGolf.com
17 of 19 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Best course I have ever played.
Hilly and Challenging
There are currently 30 holes on this course. Paulie says that there will be 4 added this summer. Add the 2 holes with optional tee boxes and you get 36. That is a full day.
Immaculate condition. Constantly upgraded and manicured.
Owner/designer Paulie is fun, friendly, and a great resource.
I cannot say enough good things about this course. It is in a beautiful setting and extremely fun despite the challenging nature. The drive is worth it just to play the 4th hole with it's chimes. Paulie was very gracious and welcoming. He was a wonderful host. He offered us tips, which were very helpful. He even played a couple holes with us. We opted for the lunch option and it was very good.
He had a "donation cooler" with cold drinks on the patio, which was a godsend as I forgot to bring water.
The Pro shop was very well stocked and very well priced with high end stock and lots of used discs for the new or un/under-prepared golfer.
There are a couple blind holes and a Mandatory on 5.
Cons: Coming from Arkansas at 1000', playing this hilly course at 7000+ kicked my butt. This isn't a negative if you plan accordingly.
Other Thoughts: I am only in Colorado for a short time and will/must play this course again.
When you call to schedule your tee time be sure to talk about the weather. In this location it can change rapidly with rain, snow, or wind showing up in the afternoon.
Paulie limits the number of groups that he lets play each day. We didn't see anyone else on the day that we were out there.
This course, especially with the lunch option, is a full day event. It will take you 5+ hours to play all the holes.
This is a must play course. You will not regret this decision.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 2 Not
A Unique Experience
Pros: Phantom Falls is a very technical course, it will test every aspect of your game though it still manages to be highly enjoyable for all skill levels. It is made up of natural rolling terrain that will act as the great equalizer for all; one bad landing and your disc will roll up to over a hundred feet away from the pin.This course will require all players to reexamine and think through each shot.
I think the course's greatest attribute, however, is Paulie; the creator and host. Paulie takes every experience at Phantom Falls to a whole new level. He's always willing to lend a helpful tip and goes above and beyond anything that I ever expected. I highly recommend bringing a few items to grill for lunch on one of your many stops up at the house.
Expect to spend around four hours to play through once at a relaxed pace. Playing a round at Phantom Falls is unlike anywhere else; it's truly an event, an experience that will stay with you even outside of the game.
Other Thoughts: There is a $10 suggested donation and regardless of what any potential players might think beforehand, you will receive every penny's worth. As I said before, playing at Phantom Falls is an event and is priced accordingly. Personally, I can think of few activities that are as much fun for as long of a time as this.
10 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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