17 Helpful / 0 Not
A "Big Boy" Course
Pros: Skyline Park at Blue Mountain is a rugged course with beautiful panoramic views located at the base of the Poconos. Skyline Park plays down a ski slope and is not for the feint of heart, players not in good physical condition, players with nose angle issues, or anyone that doesn't want a challenge. The course itself requires both distance and technique, two concepts that are usually independent of each other at many other courses. Spoiler alert: the word "challenge" is going to appear frequently.
The ski lift ride to the top provides you with a nice, picturesque view of the surrounding hills and countryside just before a challenging descent down the course.
The layout of the course plays into the hillside and makes ample use of the changes in elevation. Most holes are longer than average for the area and require accurate throws or risk a punishing recovery IF you can even find your disc. Numerous holes require a drive downhill to/over a valley followed by an uphill approach shot, making the most of the natural landscape. The course features a pretty solid mix of left-to-right and right-to-left holes.
All the holes at Skyline Park feature either dual tees or dual baskets, making the course available for Am or Pro play. The concrete tees are in great shape and are a plus. Additionally, the DISCatcher baskets (spared the ravages of winter) are also in fantastic shape.
The fourth hole is one of the shorter holes on the course but is a stand out. The tee shot requires a throw over the top of a hill/mound through a tree-lined gap onto the fairway beyond. From here, the Am tee is located to the left and sits atop a rocky slope, creating difficult approaches and putts. The Pro basket is located to the right and slightly downhill. Both baskets are positioned in a way that would be challenging to all levels of play.
For the most part, the signage at Skyline Park is good. Numerous holes feature signs directing players to the tees and/or baskets. The laminated tee signs are quite detailed and show the layout of the fairway, both tees/baskets, distance, expected flight path, and par.
Cons: For courses like Skyline Park that inherit so many positives from their natural surroundings, these attributes are typically their cons as well. The dramatic changes in elevation force players to be accurate. While this in itself is not a con, errant throws are punished severely if the discs are even able to be found.
The steep hillsides are rocky and can be quite dangerous to traverse. Any kind of fatigue poses a safety risk to the player, and this course has plenty of opportunity for fatigue.
The course is shared by many mountain bike paths. This causes both a distraction and a safety risk for bikers that cross the fairway.
While the tee signs were fairly detailed, there were a few holes were navigating from the basket to the next tee was a little convoluted and confusing.
On several of the longer holes, the baskets were not visible from the tee and required a hike to be seen. There were quite a few times when a spotter was necessary to ensure that a tee shot or an approach throw could be located.
Being bordered heavily by woods, tall grass and beefy pricker bushes make finding discs a hairy (and sometimes painful) experience.
Hole 18, IMO, stands out as an odd layout. The tee shot requires a 250-300' throw through a 4' gap or (more likely) over 20-25' tall pines that border a chain link fence. From here, the fairway takes a solid left and a downhill approach over more rough and onto another fairway, downhill again to the base of a rocky mound and an uphill putt and it seems that too many features are trying to be merged into a single hole.
Other Thoughts: I would strongly recommend hiking boots or footwear with a lot of support as your feet will take a pounding and you'll be required to stand on many different types of terrain at many different angles. I would just as strongly recommend bringing ample water to stay hydrated. Having foot support and and staying hydrated will help keep you safe as you make your way down this course.
Everything about this course is challenging, from the downhill hikes, to the layout of the holes. In the same breath, it's challenging but fair. It's not the course's fault if you don't play well here.
This course is like nothing else in the area and is off to a good start. I'd recommend giving Skyline Park a try, but bring your A-game and put on your big boy hat...you'll need both.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Super fun. Lots of long holes down steep hills. Most have pretty good open fairways, towards the end there are a few more shots through the woods.
Cons: WINDY! The top was incredibly windy. A friends disc actually went out about 150 ft, stalled and then went backwards without coming down. Probably 30 mph winds with stronger gusts, but really only on holes 1-3. Also it can be difficult walking down some black diamond slopes, especially when there's lots of loose rock.
Other Thoughts: Bring your video camera and watch your disc float for 15 sec. If you have strong ankles and plenty of extra discs, you'll love this course. We drove from D.C. and thankfully they let us play even though the course was "closed." We had the course to ourselves, not even any mountain bikes to contend with. Played 2 rounds, 1st short, 2nd longs and they are both super fun. Only had to pay 5 dollars for a lift ticket, not sure why, but that was just fine, and it'd totally be worth 10 dollars. When it opens up again next year, we'll be back. The 3+ hour drive was totally worth it.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Greater Lehigh Valley's Crown Jewel
Pros: I'll try to keep this brief (an impossibility for me!) as the_lung 's review is quite extensive and a must read for anyone planning on visiting this course.
Fantastic views of the surrounding mountains/valleys
Every tee is made from cement and well sized
Signs at all tees
Benches at each pro tee
Elevation, elevation, elevation!
Friendly & extremely accommodating park staff (a staff member was just driving by a couple times, offered us water which we readily accepted and then left 'pro-sized' water containers at a couple well placed spots on the course. Much appreciated!)
You get to ride the ski lift up to #1!
Extremely challenging physically/mentally
A significant time investment
Fairways are well defined and maintained
Baskets: brand spanking new!
Course was not crowded when I was there - no waiting (not typical)
Fun, enjoyable if you're into this type of a course
Cons: No benches at AM tees
Punishing rough and severe drop-offs on some holes off the fairway
Footing could be an issue (not necessarily when throwing but just getting around parts of the course) and the amount of walking down ski slopes can be punishing on the body
High probability of disc loss
$10 lift fee might be a turn off for some (it's worth it though)
Difficulty & time commitment may be deterrence (you have to WANT to play this type of course)
Mountain biker awareness is a must as they are all over the place (and I don't blame them - the MB course looks sweet!)
Ridiculously limited availability - can only play / lift is only available to DG'ers on Saturdays b'tween 9am-3pm
The course's last day until after ski season is Oct 31, 2009
Other Thoughts: I've never played a course where you have to take a ski lift to the first hole so this was a real treat for me (the $10 lift fee wasn't a big deal). I was in a group of 4, we played 28 holes and it took 5 hours! - and that's without having to wait for other groups (take into account that the Lehigh Valley Open tournament was being played in Allentown which I'm certain reduced the number of DGers on the course.) Yes, it is THAT much of a commitment to play this course. Which I think is wonderful. So get here early and revel in its excess!
I cannot stress enough the importance of staying on the fairways. Some of the rough is beyond punishing - disc loss is a certainty if you lose control of your disc repeatedly. As a group, 3 of the 4 each lost a disc. However, 2 of them found discs
so it was a -1 net. (still not comforting if you've lost one of your favorite discs).
The course's limited availability is a serious bummer. I've been hoping someone would build 'IT' close to where I live. And now they have
.so I will not complain. I'll just play it again before it closes after 10/31/09 for the ski season...and patiently wait for another opportunity.
I highly recommend to those who have 'acceptable accessibility' to this course (whatever that is to each individual) that you play it before the end of the month (Oct 2009).
Honestly, it is THAT good - specifically for the contrast it offers to most of the other courses on the East Coast and particularly for the area in which I live. I can't remember smiling more on any other course - I was like a kid in a candy store: can't wait to go back!
It appears the greater Lehigh Valley is still the reigning champion of the Mid-Atlantic region with this crown jewel of a course in Skyline Park @ Blue Mtn. Ski Area .
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
great DG mountain course
Pros: I'd refer to the review before this one by "the_lung".
This course is DG on a whole other level for anything in the Mid Atlantic region.
I enjoyed the challenge of throwing and watching a disc longer in flight than
I can normally throw elsewhere.There aren't many easy holes here, the short tees are par 61.
The cement tees are much appreciated as you need solid footing when trying to throw far. Playing a 2nd time here, this aspect can not be over looked.
The directional signs were very good helping you navigate it the first time through.
The pro tees are for pro golfers, don't be foolish and play them if your not a pro.
On 5/30/10 & 7/11/10 cold water was available in jugs on holes 6 and 12 on both courses, this is a big plus on hot days
Grab a ski pole near tee #1, it comes in more handy while searching in the rough than it does as a walking cane.
Cons: The mountain bike course and DG share the same land, you must be cautious
on a few throws or send a spotter to ensure it is 'clear'.
Being on a mountian, wind can be a major factor, this is a con for me unfortunately.
If you get off the fairway be prepared for some nasty rough including sticker bushes and poison ivy, this is a mountain after all. A lost disc is a strong possibilty, don't bring your favorite driver!
As of 2010, it is only open on Sat's and Sun's.
Their webpage now in 2011 lists Thur and Fri too!
Other Thoughts: It is very worth the $10 lift ticket charge.
I have skied these slopes for about 10 years and thought it was simply splendid to be able to play DG here. It sure looks different without snow on the ground.
Food and beverage (including beer) are for sale in the clubhouse area (sometimes) or bring your own, plenty of picnic tables were available.
Enter at the lower entrance Valley Lodge of the park, not the normal southern ski entrance.
Plan on at least 3-4+ hours per round depending on the size of your group.
My group was 2 on the front and 4 on the back both rounds, it took 3.5 hours and 3 hrs the 2nd time.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 1 Not
"Preview Day" Review
Pros: The mad alchemist has created yet another transmutation!
Master disc golf course designer Dan Doyle, father of the world class Warwick, Campgaw, & Sugarbush courses, along with co-designer Steve Brinster, one of the world's best disc golfers, have once again taken a middle sized ski hill and turned it into a brilliant venue for disc golf which offers unique challenges unlike any state park or town park disc golf course. In conjunction with some amazingly hard-working staff at Blue Mountain who worked diligently to make for the little touches that are the difference between an average layout and a superb one, the new track at Blue Mountain offers a professional venue, scenic vistas, thrilling downhill shots, varied tee and pin positions to provide flexibility for several skill levels, and some sadistic and masochistic hole designs which will challenge every aspect of your game and force you to use every shot in your bag.
The new "Skyline Park" disc golf course at Blue Mountain was designed in the spring of 2009 and plays down nearly the full 1082' vertical (biggest in the state of Pennsylvania) from the top of the Comet quad lift to the Valley Lodge base far below. The genius of the layout is that the front nine plays fairly open down the majority of the mountain on the Paradise beginner ski trail, while the back nine plays technically through the woods around the bottom of the ski area and over the Snowboard Half Pipe, Terrain Park area, and Valley School Beginner areas. This back nine plays similarly to traditional disc golf courses, although there are still extreme elevation changes and challenges galore. The dichotomy between the two sections of the course makes for an experience that is thoroughly satisfying and rarely boring; as compared to other ski area courses which can play somewhat repetitively down the ski trails, the Blue Mountain course brilliantly mixes it up. Those familiar with Doyle's previous creations at Sugarbush Vermont will find that the Blue Mountain course plays almost like a combination of the Peak and Base courses, which keeps things fresh at every turn.
Before getting into notes on individual holes, one thing that should be stressed is the hard work which the resort staff put into the course. It's one thing to just install tees and baskets to make for a new disc golf course, but it's another to take the time to get all the little details right to provide for a professional experience. During the course of play, I was constantly impressed at the superb concrete tees, the rock steps built in many places around the course, the landscaping around baskets, the mowed fairways and walking paths to next holes, wood chips around poleholes, signage directing folks to the next tee, benches at each tee location, both pro and amateur, and even water jugs and porto-potties set out on the course! The staff seems intent on making sure that disc golfers feel like they got every penny's worth of the meager admission charge for playing the course.
After a scenic chairlift ride up to the summit of 1540', an expansive, nearly 360 degree view unfolds before you. The Lehigh Valley is off to the south, while one can look east or west down the Blue mountain range. But with the north facing location of the ski resort, most will be awestruck by the wondrous vistas ahead of the foothills leading up to the Pocono plateau. Hole#1 shoots down towards the open area at the top of the Sidewinder & Challenge trails, and is a great opportunity to warm up the arm; from the Blue tee, it's a fairly easy 642' par four, and from the Am tee it's a reachable 405' par 3. As will be described on each hole, the Skyline Park course is somewhat unusual in that it features either two teepads and one pin position on each hole, or one teepad and two pin positions on each hole. This gives the course two separate layouts for varying skill levels even though it was not possible to put two tees and two pin locations on each and every hole. It's a great concept!
Hole#2 plays to a pin location set up on top of a large hill on the edge of the woods. It looks shorter than it plays, as the elevated basket location makes the hole play a lot longer.
Hole#3 is the first truly thrilling downhill shot typical of ski resort courses. Although it plays down the Paradise beginner trail, the elevation change is significant and one can throw a shot literally hundreds of feet further than is normally possible on park disc golf courses. (It should be noted that as Blue Mountain is my "home" ski area, I was constantly awestruck at how I remembered as "gentle" sloping terrain looking so very different in the summertime without snow. Let's just say that I have a new appreciation for the contours of this mountain now) At 645' from the Blue tee, it's possible to drive the green of this hole, and throwing a low beeline drive, both designer Dan Doyle and I put our drives within 50' of the basket! Where else can one throw a nearly 600' disc golf shot? The only trouble on this hole is a line of evergreens on the left with a severe drop-off past them - it is absolutely critical that golfers err to the right on this hole to avoid this significant hazard. The use of spotters may be a good idea here.
Hole#4 plays severely uphill 188' through a chute in the woods to an elevated basket position & green, with severe rollaways possible. The long pin is another 100' to the right and makes the hole multi-dimensional: one can choose to just concentrate on hitting the chute, or try for a more difficult shot which turns right after escaping the chute.
Hole#5 is a 426' open downhill bomber, whose Blue basket lies out in the middle of the Razor's Edge trail. This is one of the steepest slopes at the ski resort, and an unlucky putt which gets up on edge could theoretically roll hundreds of feet down the mountain. Thankfully, this one of the few such "evil" pin positions at the course. The short pin is 346' and a nice ace run.
Hole#6 is a wide open uphill connector hole which plays 309' at its longest. It's a great opportunity for deuce and sorely needed to offset the difficult holes which follow.
Hole#7 is an 835' pro par four from the Blue tee, and offers yet another opportunity to crush a disc golf disc further than you've ever thrown one before. The basket is set in a *really* beautiful pin location next to woods on the right-hand side. Similar to hole#3, the evergreens on the left side of this hole guard a significant drop-off where if discs stray, are likely not recoverable. To play it safe, I threw a Classic Roc off the tee and was left with about 300' to the basket. Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine throwing a Classic Roc over 530 feet!
Hole#8 plays either 400' or 444' down to one of the wide switchbacks on the Paradise trail. The white tee offers a straightforward look at it, but the Blue tee is set so that a left-to-right turning shot is required. A sidearm for a right-handed thrower is probably the preferred shot here.
Hole#9 is the last of the downhill ski trail shots and plays down the steepest terrain on the Paradise beginner trail. Here, the dangerous shot is one that breaks right and past evergreens. Dan threw one which ultimately got away from him and disappeared up to the right, over the trees, and off the side of the mountain, never to be seen again. The approach may be trickier than the drive, as it possible to fly another hundred feet past the polehole if you're not careful.
Hole#10 is where the technical part of the course begins, and the first of these is a real beauty! From the long tee, it plays 324' from a chute in the woods, across the new Dreamweaver slope, and up to a basket perched in a chute in the woods on the other side. It's a skillful deuce.
Hole#11 is a fairly straightforward par 3 hole across the flat outrun of Razor's Edge, but there's a significant drop-off past the polehole - ace runs which miss could turn deadly.
Hole#12 will likely be the most debated hole on the course. From the Blue tee, it shoots through a very tight window through the woods - way too tight, imo. The low ceiling on the hole also prevents drives from the short tee from legitimately reaching the basket, which is perched up the last steep portion of Paradise. I think this is one hole which could use a little more work, especially with some dead limbs removed from the right side of the fairway to open up the Blue fairway.
Hole#13 is my pick for the best designed hole on the course - it's a pro par five hole of 750' from the long tee in which three placement shots are necessary to grab a score of birdie 4. The landing area is on the ski trail, but the second shot then climbs up a road through the woods to the short pin position, and makes for a nice par four. Big arms could theoretically score an eagle three here on the long pin position, but once again the pin is set precariously and errant shots right could end up far, far away.
Hole#14 plays down a fun section of the course called "The Falls." In the wintertime, it's nothing but a bump on the outrun of the Challenge trail, but in the summertime, it's practically a cliff. The two pin positions play 345' and 375' but it's really just a putter shot off the tee. The amateur location is out in the open while the pro basket is tucked right into trees making for a tougher deuce. Take care walking down to the baskets from the tee, as it is quite slippery here.
Hole#15 is a relatively straightforward par three which plays only 339' at its longest, and is an excellent chance to score a 2 and get a stroke back which you might have lost up on the mountain somewhere.
Hole#16 plays across a deep wooded gully at the top of the half-pipe. The short tee is only 177', but the long tee plays a full 250' longer. To avoid this gully area from the Blue tee, a righty hyzer route exists around the outside for throwers that want to take the safe 3. Errant shots into the gully from the Blue tee almost ensure a bogey.
Hole#17 plays out of a very tight wooded chute, with the short pin position up the hill to the left on the Valley School East slope. The long pin is another 260' feet further and through a woodline out on the Valley School West slope. I like this hole because the preferred way to play it is a left-turning shot off the tee, and then a right-turning approach on this really sweet pro par four. You'd be very enthused to score a birdie three on the penultimate hole at Blue Mountain.
The final hole#18 is a monster 609' to 810' pro par five hole from both tees. The drive is open until your disc must pass through a narrow opening between trees and a fence. From there, the hole is another 450' or so down a wide slope to a pin position tucked up in the woods above the snowboard halfpipe. Approach shots which fall short and right may end up actually in the halfpipe, which is a really neat hazard. It's a hole where it's not too difficult to score a birdie 4 as long as you avoid trouble on the first few shots. Pro par on the long course was 31 (front) + 33 (back) for a 64, and I couldn't complain about a 66 my first time through.
Cons: 1) For disc golfers who play in the novice/recreational division at Ammo Series or PDGA-sanctioned events, I am sorry to report that this course is not for you. Without good control and knowledge of your disc and how to play downhill and headwind shots at ski resort courses, I am quite sure that you will throw many errant shots into very nasty rough with thorns & poison ivy. You will no doubt lose several discs and come away scratched, battered & bruised and not enjoy yourself very much. I played the course with several 15-year or more veteran pro players of considerable ability, and they lost four discs in the course of play.
2) Wear hiking boots and/or appropriate footwear! There are some steep sections of the course which require good shoes. This is not a course you can easily play in flip-flops or sandals. Also, bring water and sunscreen.
3) Count on a round of disc golf taking 3 - 3 1/2 hours, and possibly considerably more. It took us nearly 2 hours to play the front nine, and then another 1 1/2 hours to play the back nine. If you end up looking for errant throws, you may spend considerable more time on the hill.
4) Bring old discs you don't mind losing. There are some places where it is undesirable to look for errant throws, and other places where it is practically impossible to retrieve a bad shot. If you're throwing old plastic which you don't mind if you lose, you'll enjoy yourself much, much more. Write your name and phone number or e-mail address on the disc and the ski patrol may end up finding it.
5) Play the tees and baskets appropriate to your ability. For disc golfers who play in the amateur divisions at Ammo Series or PDGA-sanctioned events, you should be playing from the white tees and to the white pin positions. These are the tees which are best suited to your ability and give you the best shot at shooting close to par. There is little joy in playing tees which are way above your ability and result in many lost discs, errant throws, and scratches & poison from ivy from trying to retrieve bad throws. We found it very curious on Saturday seeing several groups of disc golfers playing the long course, and it was obvious they were not on the appropriate tees, and they did not appear to be enjoying themselves. There is no "shame" in playing from the shorter tees, which are only marginally shorter, still extremely challenging, and play to a par of 60.
16 of 17 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Very scenic, a great variety of holes, lots of fun downhill drives, excellent tees and brand new baskets, all fairways freshly mowed, fun lift ride up to the top. Completely unique from any other course I've played, and it was a joy to play.
Cons: Lost discs are the major con here. Nobody in my group really knew how a disc would react after dropping off a cliff, so a lot of drives were ending in extremely rough terrain. Many of the holes are bordered by steep loose rocks, so it may be dangerous to even look for your disc in some spots. Three discs lost from our card of four, and I overheard other groups losing even more than that.
Other Thoughts: Bring sunscreen with you. You are very seldom in the shade, and it's a monster of a course that plays slow, around three+ hours.
Next time I go back, I'll bring with more DX/ProD discs that I wouldn't mind losing, especially for the big downhill drives.
Good hiking shoes are a must as well - no sandals!
Bottom line, it's a seriously fun course that I'll be looking for an excuse to play again in the near future. If you can lose a disc or two without it ruining your day, you'll have a lot of fun.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: Scenic. Great tee pads and baskets. Very nice layout that uses a whole bag of shot types. Beautiful course design.
Cons: If you lose a disc in the woods, good luck finding it. Some nasty terrain to walk over in between some holes and even on some holes, especially if you go slightly off course. Beginners should wait until next year when they put in the Valley Course.
Other Thoughts: My first review on this site, but since I got to play this course today, and supplied the pics and hole info., I figured I had to put in a review. I played Pro tees, but next time will play Am Tees. Pro was way too long for me. I hope to play here at least 2 more times this year.
4 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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