11 Helpful / 0 Not
The Phenomenal Phantom
Pros: Phantom Falls is rated one of the best disc golf courses in the country. Currently ranked 8th overall, just one spot above its neighbor Beaver Ranch/Conifer, the Phantom consistently satisfies the whims and wishes of its disc golf visitors. As owner, course designer and sole employee Paul (Paulie) Rothley says, "Phantom Falls truly has a little bit of everything, except fun factor, that we have in abundance."
And it's true. Phantom Falls is a 36-hole Colorado mountain course with a pro shop selling all sorts of custom and brand name disc golf accessories, a huge selection of new and used discs, bags, food, you name it. The prices are reasonable and there are some cool, unique items. Thoughtful amenities like bag hooks at every tee made from repurposed materials (ski bindings, old metal), snowboard benches, painted rock slab signage and funny little objects that mark CTP for each hole all add up to a fun-filled atmosphere. The course includes a bunch of unique baskets, such as: the famous aspen basket made entirely of wood (except the chains), the dangling chime target, a "standard" hanging basket, and a one-of-a-kind wooden cask barrel with a wagon wheel and protruding stick arms that is truly as much a beautiful sculpture as it is a disc golf target. So much creativity, time and care has gone into this course that you can't help but appreciate it.
It is a fairly short course in terms of the total combined length of its holes, but you'll have plenty of time to wear out your throwing arm by the end of the 36th hole. Although it is in the heart of an evergreen forest, the trees are neatly pruned to provide ideal corridors, clearings and overhangs. The natural-surface tee pads are built up with landscape timbers to make them level and are maintained incredibly well. You'll probably even see fresh rake marks in the dirt left by the groundskeeper (Paulie of course) doing his standard maintenance on the tees before your round. With the combination of the hole descriptions on the laminated scorecard and the abundant signage throughout, you'll scarcely find yourself lost or turned around. In terms of difficulty, the Phantom is about an 8 out of 10. It will challenge intermediates and pros to a highly competitive level, and for beginners it will either set the bar high for future improvement or scare their socks off! That said, it depends on whether tight, short throws or long bombs are your strong suit. If you're a big-armed bomber, Phantom will make you think about working on your technical mid-range and putting. Whichever way you look at it, you're bound to have a blast playing a casual or competitive round in these wooded hills.
Cons: We threw at the wrong basket from tee #20 and ended up near tee #22 scratching our heads. The directions on the scorecard and rock signs were not as clear for hole #20 as they were for the others. However, I have faith that Paulie probably would have cleared this up for us if he had been there that day to give us his intro speech upon our arrival. At least once during your round, you'll probably be kicking the dirt when your disc turns on edge and decides to take a nice long stroll down a 30 foot hill. (This isn't necessarily a "con", but it can be frustrating to the player, depending on how you look at it; it's more of a note about how the course plays than a criticism.) A handful of baskets are reused on different holes, although each tee is entirely separate from the others. This is mostly OK, but after the third time you come to the end of a hole at a basket you've seen before it does get a bit repetitive. Aside from a couple directional mix-ups and repetitive basket usage, there really isn't much to improve upon. There's food and discs for sale on site for Pete's sake - you can't complain with that!
Other Thoughts: Unfortunately when I visited, Paulie and his wife were on vacation, so I can't personally speak to the hospitality or character of the owner, which is usually part of any private disc golf course review. However, Paulie's father-in-law greeted us and was a fine substitute host.
In the end, it comes down to this fact alone: Until proven otherwise, Phantom Falls is the reigning king of mountain disc golf courses!
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: One of a kind.
Excellent display of mountain disc golf
Great usage of 14 acres to develop a 38 hole course
Cons: no cons
Other Thoughts: Paul is a great person, he has something special going on and you have got to take part in it. Make a special trip, go out of your way, make this a course you must play. You will be happy you did!
3 of 9 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 2 Not
Phantom Falls 10/7/11
Pros: Picturesque course on private property that is immaculate.
Well laid out and challenging, moderate level of trees, thoughtful instructions that explain the course perfectly (laminated on provided clip board).
Excellent host (Paul) who offers a variety of services, including a high end disc shop and good conversation.
The course is a workout, which I see as a positive. However, if you are not in shape, it will not be as fun.
Also, beautiful signs and decorations all throughout course. Never lost (or even confused) once.
Cons: Too much fun, makes other courses seem boring.
Makes me want to go back to Iowa to play more wooded courses.
Is about an hour away from my house in Denver. (pro?)
Only one group at a time, which is only a problem if it isn't you.
Other Thoughts: Bring cash to donate if you want to play the course (respect) and be ready for the most impressive course in Colorado.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The scenery for one. Being from Michigan this course is nothing short of perfection in nature. Paulie is super cool and helpful. Before you get started paulie will give you a run down of the course and what to expect. he is pumped up and energetic about his course. Do not tune it out, EVERYTHING he said came in to play for us during our time on the course. It is a lot of information and you will get a cheat sheet with your score card that covers the stuff he talked about at the beginning. USE THE CARD! I was par on the first side of the card and most of that was due to using teh card and listening when to lay up and when to go for it. With out that card you could easily add 10 strokes per side. Every hole has a line to it. Some are easy to see and some you have to get creative. There is a shot no matter how you throw on just about every hole. I could sit here and keep talking about all the positives but I would have writers cramp by the time I finished. Here it is plain and simple. Play this course. Find a way to it if you have to take a bus, horse, ride your bike what ever it takes... this place is a disc golfers dream. Just remember this is what disc golfing is about. No matter how you finish you will leave Phantom with a feeling of accomplishment and WOW factor.
Cons: It's 18 hours from my house. I will be back next year and this will be a course I try to play every year as long as I can still climb those hills
Other Thoughts: This course is not a course you go play and expect to kill it. You go for the experience of playing it and the feeling of accomplishment when your done. Paulie is a great guy the course is rediculously fun in every way. Even your bad shots are fun.MUST PLAY COURSE!
GO FSU BULLDOGS!
That wont make sense to most of you but Paulie get's it
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Most fun you can have...
Pros: The owner of Phantom Falls, Paul, has thought of everything. I played the entire course - and felt like no stone was left un-turned (in terms of routes, information available to the player, routes to the basket properly cut, etc.).
The course has a very private and exclusive feel - by virtue of the fact that there are only three tee-times per day. At the same time it is a very home-like feel - as Paul treats everyone with a great deal of respect, and courtesy. He was fantastic. I can't stress that enough.
On to the course itself. It had an incredible amount of shot variety. I used virtually every shot in my bag on the course. There was constant elevation in play - I can not remember a single hole that I could describe as anywhere near "flat." We were up, down, and side-hill. There was risk reward in play on virtually every basket.
There were no unfairways. Every single hole had an option that required true skill off of the tree. At first glance - a few of them appeared to be unfair, however upon backing up - they all had a fair play option.
Every player received some great instruction right off of the bat - Paul spends about 15 minutes with you out of the car going over a few of the blind holes (with all of those baskets on a small piece of land - this was necessary). He also hands you a laminated cheat sheet - which tells you where the trouble is on the course (deep left, short right, etc.).
Cons: There were some cons to this course. I want everyone to understand that these need to be taken with a grain of salt - because this is a private course, with 3 tee times per day, on a limited size piece of land each of these is a rather small nit to pick. But they do exist.
You will encounter crossed fairways on the course. You will encounter holes that absolutely require that cheat sheet to figure out just which one of the baskets you can see you're playing to. On one occasion (moving from hole 15 to hole 16) you will need to carefully pay attention to which signs you follow (there are signs pointing you too 16's basket, and signs pointing you to its tee - they all simply have an arrow and "16" on them).
Some of the baskets are rough. The first basket you encounter - which is a true and fantastic work of art as well as a thing of beauty - does have heavy and reflexive chains. The last hole on the course has a very small catching area. And the wind chime on 4 - while a true part of the spirit of the course and an homage to its origins - is obviously not a basket.
Finally - there's the fact that there is a paved major road in play on a few holes. It is very difficult to reach, but it was reached multiple times on drives that rolled by myself and my playing partner. Be very careful both going up and down the hill to it, and have someone keep an eye out for cars tearing around the bend nearby (Paul made us fully aware of all of this, and it only comes into play a few times).
Other Thoughts: I want to make it incredibly clear that those cons are not anything that make me think less of the course. I gave it a rating of "Phenomenal." If I lived in the Denver area I would be playing it on a bi-monthly basis at least. I loved it, Paul is an incredible host (the chili for lunch, and all of the various amenities go above and beyond fantastic).
The only reason for those cons - is because they are things you need to be aware of going into playing the course. Paul makes you very aware of them before you throw your first shot - as I said he has covered every detail.
The reason this course is not a 5.0 is fairly simple: The lack of property space. Paul has created a 5.0 level course in terms of design, amenities, and care on a piece of land that is a 3.5 or a 4.0 based on the amount of space available. He is doing everything he can to create a place that is absolutely the most fun someone can have playing disc golf. And I appreciate it.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 11 Not
Pros: Incredible course situated in beautiful terrain. Great hole locations that provided a ton of variety. Never a dull hole, had an absolute blast playing the course. Loved hiking around to different holes, great exercise and amazing disc golf!
Cons: None I can think of. It's that good.
Other Thoughts: Can't wait to come back!
2 of 13 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
A Fun Filled Unique Experience!!!
Pros: We started our day out with Paul, the owner of the property and course...The only course we've EVER heard of where you need a Tee Time!!! He gave us a run down and history of the course and a hole by hole discription and a lot of instructions, which were VERY helpful....He also gave us a cheat sheet, which was VERY helpful on tips for each hole and a score card.....We started out on #1 as usual, but what was unsual was the tee box was on Paul's patio! We all threw our drives to a wooden Pine basket especially made for Paul, he said it took the artist over 600 hrs to make....It was a WOW factor like so many things on this course.....Just about every hole is unique, #4 was my favorite, the only chime basket left....The course originally started out with ALL chime baskets.....The tee boxes are small, but workable and they all have rakes if you need to rearrange them....
Paul just built a new deck on #23 that is elevated which is another different twist.....
#10 and #11 have a short and long basket and my oldest Son got to do a CTP marker on #10S which means he got to benchmark his shot against all previous players, that was COOL!!!! After hole #13 Paul had a GREAT lunch ready for the 5 of us which was much needed and welcomed, he sure knows how to be a wonderful host!!! Paul calls the last 10 holes the dark side....We now know why LOL!!! It is straight up and down the steepest hills on his course....All the holes on the course are a par 3, but you wouldn't think so because of the elevation and down hill and if you over shot a hole your disc can roll a long way giving you a BIG score.....There are a lot of trees, but not so thick and solid green like so many other places so they are workable.....#5 is a neat hole, you have to (it's madatory) to shoot in between 2 trees....What a hoot, there are soooo many fun factors on this course its unreal!!!!! You can feel Paul's extra touches of love on each of the 35 holes, his pride shines through each and every one of them too, very clean and well taken care of course and property! A MUST TO EXPERIENCE FOR YOURSELF!!!
Cons: NO CONS: Just a course and place that is Beautiful and Breathtaking in more ways than
one!!!! After finishing this course I felt like I should have earned some sheep horns or something!!! Tons of exercise and a lot of tricky footing, so wear your BEST hiking boots!!! Theres nothing flat about it anywhere and plan on getting sweaty and dirty too!!! I feel like a Super Woman after this course and like I can play ANY course anywhere now!!!
Other Thoughts: We were told it would take us 6 hrs to play with lunch at the turn.....Paul said we were there 12 hrs and 15 minutes LOL!!!!, but we played an extra 14 holes, we had lunch, we had a rain delay and we shopped!!! Yes, make sure you bring lots of CASH as that is what you pay EVERYTHING with......Paul has a GREAT well stocked Pro Shop with Logo Disc's and a wide range of other things including snacks and drinks......The highlight of the day was that we got the pleasure of playing the last 9 holes with Paul a SUPER GREAT guy and host!!! Paul makes benches for the course with old ski's and snowboards so if you have any bring them with!!! He could also use some new Gnomes!!!! LOL!!! You'll see when you get there!!!! I don't know how to end this wonderful experience, but I do want to tell a story Paul let us in on when we were ready to leave.....He said that when we all got out our vehicles he sized us up and told his wife he would be really surprised if we even made it to #25.....Boy did WE SURPRISE him!!! My Husband Bill 63 and I 64 the next day, my oldest Son Jon 44, my youngest Son Jes 37,and my Grandson Tristan 13 played
our hearts out and
ENJOYED EVER MINUTE OF IT!!
Thank You Paul and Phantom Falls Course!!
For the WONDERFUL MEMORIES!!!
Can't wait to do it again!!!!
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 2 Not
My day at the Falls
Pros: Great course! Plays on the side of a mountain so tons of elevation changes. Really makes you think about every shot and what could happen if it catches an edge... but it was completely unpredictable. You play to a couple of the baskets a couple times which gave you different looks at good pin positions. Course was extremely clean and well taken care of. The aspen basket was very cool. Pro shop on the property and you could buy lunch there also
Cons: Only things that I would change is to have at least one hole that you can really open up your arm. And on some of the shorter downhill holes, the tees had logs on the front of them which stopped the possibility of a jump putt... weird to think about jump putts off the box but it would have been the best shot for me.
Other Thoughts: If you're in Colorado, do not miss this course.
Thanks to Paulie for his hospitality and for running and maintaining such a great course.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
A True Rocky Mountain Course
This course is just something you have to experience for yourself. The Phantom is so much more than just a course, it is a labor of Love! The only thing that is better than the course, is the course designer. Paulie is one of the coolest, down to Earth guys that I have had the pleasure to play with. If you have played Conifer, you know the WOW. Know come play the FUN! Paulie along with the Foothill Flyers can be thanked for both of these amazing courses. Side note, the temp course they designed out at Bailey, which won't be around much longer, is also a top notch championship caliber course that must be played! Your round at the Phantom will begin with a quick tour of the course, some history on the Foothill Flyers and their accomplishments, and a chance to check out Paulies' awesome Pro shop with a wide selection of custom dyes and special runs. The best thing about this course: it keeps getting better. Paulie puts all revenue back into the course. There are constant improvements being made, most notably the new t-box on hole #23 that now allows you to throw off a deck at a more elevated position. Also, there are now a total of 38 holes with the latest 4 hole addition on the backside of the course. This course is tight, technical, and requires an array of different shots. It is a full day of disc golf, and will take anywhere from 4-6 hours to finish your round. Make sure you check out Paulie's website to better prepare yourself for the round and what is expected of you while attending The Phantom. Please remember that this is a private course - RESPECT Paul's rules! and Don't forget to bring CASH.
Get some rest, bring a cooler of beer & water, and get ready for the best afternoon of your life!!
Cons: No Smoking on the Course. (Deal with it)
Other Thoughts: Don't be afraid to give back to the course that gives so much to our sport! Paulie accepts donations of old Ski's and Snowboards - used to make benches on the course. He recycles old plastic - so bring your old discs. You can also ask Paulie about volunteering your time to help make improvements to the course.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: THIS COURSE HAS IT ALL, FROM FUN HOLES TO THE TIGHT AND ACCURATE ONES. IF YOU HAVE PLAYED CONIFER AND LOVED IT, YOU WILL LOVE THIS ONE EVEN MORE. IT IS QUIET, PEACEFUL AND JUST A GREAT ENVIRONMENT TO BRING LARGE GROUPS AND HAVE A GREAT DAY. THERE ARE AREAS TO RELAX AND GRUB AND ENJOY THE AREA.
Cons: OTHER THAN A LONG WALK AND SOME LOOSE TERRAIN SOMEWHAT, NOT REALLY ANYTHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT, THIS COURSE CAN ONLY GET BETTER, AND THAT WOULD BE A CHALLENGE.
Other Thoughts: A MEMORABLE COURSE WORTH PLAYING!
1 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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