Tight and Technical
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Portage Lakes is located in a beautiful state park that takes advantage of the tight woods and lake throughout its round. The parking lot is huge, well-marked for disc golf, and starts right near hole 1. There is a practice basket, porta-potty, disc drop box, and club information as well.
Technical is the name of the game here and the course was surprisingly tough. All but a few holes are very tightly wooded, forcing you to hit specific lines while teasing you with separate tighter lines on many occasions. While the setting doesn't change much, the player is challenged with numerous different looks and I used a multitude of drivers and mid-range discs. This is a course that does not let up as every shot must be carefully thought out and executed to achieve par and birdies. Hole 9 is a great example of this, a 650 shot from the long tees that is very tight from tee to basket and fights its way through many trees.
The designers did a great job working with what they had, using the elevation and water carries very well. No two holes used these attributes in the same way and the elevation often changed throughout a hole. The elevated holes here are more than just straight up or downhill throws. There are a good number of ravine shots as well as up then downhill throws. Water is used very well here, forcing you to play risk/reward in a wonderful way. Pins on 5, 10, and 12 are located right near the water on downhill throws, and 14-16 force you to choose throwing over the water or playing it safe(er) in a tight fairway.
There was a nice variety of par 3 birdie runs and longer, multi-stage par 4's and a par 5.
The concrete tees and Mach 5 baskets were in great shape and the orange rims were easy to spots among the thick woods. There are multiple tee and pin positions here and they both do a great job of changing the look of the hole. The blue tees definitely step it up a level compared to the reds. The tee signs were very informative.
The course is clearly seasoned and a lot of care has brought it to this point. For being in the thick woods, the rough is greatly reduced and navigation is easy in terms of finding the next hole and physically getting around. I appreciated the pink tape on the bottom spoke of the basket that pointed to the next tee. I've actually never seen this done before and this is a great idea.
Cons: One of the biggest cons for me here was the constant use of very specific lines. It would have been nice to have more clear options at times, rather than the usual choice of either hit the specific line or see how far you can make it before you hit a tree by throwing through not so clear of a lane. I am not one to complain about tight woods - that is my favorite kind of golf - but I think certain holes here would benefit if a few more trees were taken down. This way, there would be more risk/reward decisions by allowing the player to choose the lane.
The tee signs were sometimes missing, which created minor problems on the longer, windier holes.
The park road comes in effect a few times - particularly on 13's approach.
Again, the setting doesn't change much, so you probably won't enjoy this course if you don't like tight and technical. Only 7 and 8 open up.
Warning: It appears that the cops are strict about the 20 mph speed limit. I saw two cops in the park marking speeds.
Other Thoughts: Portage Lakes is a very fun course and is one of the best destinations in NE Ohio. I teetered along the lines of 3.5-4 and would put it right in the middle. For my preference, it would have been nice to have more line options to choose from off the tee and a greater variety of hole types.
However, what Portage Lakes does, it does well. A lot of love has been put into the course and I encourage anyone making a trip through the area to make it a priority to stop here.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Portage Lakes riffs on the general theme of technical wooded golf throughout its 18 holes, showcasing a variety of approaches thereof: long par 4s and 5s emphasizing precision placement, tight par 3s that can equally end up as birdies or bogies, daunting windows to hit, and varying elevation that helps encourage variety in disc selection. Hole length and accompanying pars are mixed up nicely. There are also a few well-situated more open holes that break things up while providing their own kind of challenges (such as a few low ceilings), and the occasional OB (island basket on 13, the "moat" on 15, the water on 5 and 16). In all the course is technical but generally groomed and worn in enough to keep from being unfairly so.
Portage Lakes distinguishes itself from other regional courses by focusing on highly defined shots. Creativity is less about choosing your path and more about figuring out how to travel the path you're faced with. The shot variety is huge, preventing things from getting repetitive. The aforementioned elevation provides some enjoyably sticky uphill and downhill shots in tight quarters. I faded out on 14's deceptive downhill shot from the long tee several times in frustrating but entertaining fashion. The elevation is notably varied, and lends a lot of character to the holes, elevating some shots from good to great and others from standard to interesting (such as 5's slight downhill tunnel shot with water behind the basket). It's utilized very well.
The course is exceptionally worn in and groomed, and navigation is easy. The concrete tees are great, and especially sizable from the longs. Parking is plentiful. There are some great courses conveniently nearby.
Cons: As distinctive as the aforementioned defined lines are, I longed for a few more holes with multiple paths that would encourage risk versus reward decision making. Such holes would have enhanced the variety present and improved the course. While there's a great amount of shot variety from one hole to the next, I imagine familiarity would quickly lead to approaching most holes a particular way. The effect is a sense of the course being more straightforward than its variety would otherwise suggest. The often present tight lines railroad things a bit.
A few holes risk being tight to the point of courting luck (9 long) or throwaway-esque straightforward (8's hyzer). Such holes aren't too common, though.
If you're looking to air it out, look elsewhere (Arboretum-Spiker being the obvious choice).
The road comes into play more than is ideal. The likely lightly trafficked park road makes this not unreasonable, but there are still a few spots where you have to be mindful (such as the over the road approach on 13).
Other Thoughts: Portage Lakes is a great wooded course that uses its property very well. As much as the course weaves its way throughout its large, well-used park, there are a lot of points where the woods isolates you intimately. A highly recommended stop in the area that was the highpoint of my five-course day trip in the Akron/Canton region as long as you don't mind tight, technical golf.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: Beautiful wooded course with water surrounding and coming into play on 7 holes. Lots of elevation changes. Test your shotmaking ability.
2 of 11 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 5 Not
Pros: * Beautiful wood and water holes.
* Fair mix of open and wooded holes.
* Hole #15 is wonderfully crafted.
* Offers long tees that play considerably differently from the short ones especially on the back nine.
Cons: The only negative experience I had at all was that hole #9 was difficult to find.
Other Thoughts: This was the first course I played after being away from the sport for 3 years and this course got me completely hooked again. I can't imagine a more enjoyable disc golf experience.
3 of 8 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 2 Not
Really challenging... And awesome
Pros: The folks who work on this course have put in such an attention to detail that really makes this place one of the best, and hardest courses I have ever played.
- love the trapezoid rather than rectangle concrete pads. Opens up more variety for play
- whenever there are steeper hills, there are nice cinder block and wooden steps to make these places more accessible
- there has been a ton of brush clearing here. That is such tireless and often unnoticed work. To the crew that has pulled all of that out, bravo!
- Love these tee signs, map, photos lines. Great look. Too bad some fools try to rip down one or two of them.
- The paths were easy to find from hole to hole and nice to walk along, very scenic
- There are definitely lanes for the disc to fly in, some of them may only be a few feet wide, but they are present on every hole
- This course has a ton of variety. Every holes is different, length, direction, shot requirement. Fantastic blend!
- While there is a lot of water here, every hole has safe land routes to the basket. This is exactly what a course of this caliber needs to really provide options for a variety of players of all abilities
- Benches everywhere
- Nice bag holder tee posts. Excellent touch
- Course designers must be listening to reviews because a number of the changes suggested by the previous reviewer have been taken into account.
Cons: These are just tiny nit picks. My friends and I agreed this was a 5 star course, in large part because we really found it very challenging to come up with improvements
- There were one or two instances where there did appear to be one or two more trees that need to come out of some lanes. Not trees that define the borders of a lane, but a few trees where you find yourself thinking "even if I get this on the right line, it may be a roll of the dice if it slips by that tree"
Other Thoughts: This place is fantastic! I can't wait to come back and bring more friends. The challenge of this course should be accounted for, though, as you sure are going to struggle to post the kind of under par rounds other courses can beget. As such, beginners are really going to find this course challenging. We only saw it from the back tees, but I could imagine someone fairly new to the sport getting pretty frustrated here. I hope everyone appreciates the small touches, hard work, and artistic design that have gone into making this course so great!
11 of 13 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Other Thoughts: This is an interesting course. I really enjoyed playing most of the holes, but there are a few that are just not finished in my opinion. Still a few trees that could be removed on a few holes, and perhaps the dumbest OB I have yet to encounter in 200+ courses (Dungans Dungeons). I will do this as a hole by hole review.
Also all reviews are from the long tees.
Hole 1 - nice hole. neat little shot.
Hole 2- Nice hole that pretty much forces you to throw a putter or midrange on a straight line. Not really any other option.
Hole 3 - This could be a nice hole. But there are 3 tree that keep it from being a good hole. A good shot thrown will still require quite a bit of luck to make it through on this hole. I found that the best shots are the ones that go away from the fairway and make it back to the middle. though I would think that the true plan for this hole is for someone to hit the main fairway with either a big s or a straight line. Yet that shot is not possible with the 3 trees. Well it is, but your chances of the shot working are completely up to whether or not you are lucky enough to miss the 3 trees I mentioned. As is now, I would say it is one of the weakest holes on the course.
Hole 4 - I really like this hole and think it was well designed. Tough gap, but fair.
Hole 5 - cool hole. Probably one of the best on the course.
Hole 6 - could be one of the best holes on the course, except for 2 small trees in the early part of the fairway. Not sure why there were left? They just add that annoying factor to the hole without making the hole harder. I did witness someone driving this hole within 2 or 3 feet which was beautiful. But had he not slipped by the trees, he would have been in the crap! Feel like this hole could really be awesome with just a few little tweaks.
Hole 7- typical tunnel shot through some trees. Nice hole. Can't complain here.
Hole 8- easiest hole on the course and plays nicely.
Hole 9 - Love the drive on this hole. But what I would consider to be the landing area, there are 3 - 6 trees that need to go. If you are going to throw a good drive 350 feet through a tunnel, you should have a clear stance when throwing your second shot. 2/4 times I found myself perfectly in the middle of this landing zone, only to be pinned up against a tree. Yet those who were off the fairway had a more open shot. Open up this landing area near the short tee and you got a great hole. Even had a chance at a 3 as it is. But as it is now, it does not reward a good shot, and too often I have seen the person with the worst shot end up in the best position for their second shot, and that's just not right.
Hole 10 - wanted to love this hole, and kind of do. Just 1 tree at the bottom of the hill that I would remove.
Hole 11 - weird hole. It calls for a giant turnover drive, but once you hit the first gap, you kind of have to just hope you don't clip some limbs or branches.
Hole 12 - like this hole a lot. I would remove the one small tree near the green on the right side of the fairway and you got a great hole. Stinks when you throw that perfect shot and you hit that little tree smack dab in the middle of the gap 50 feet from he pin. But that is an easy fix.
Hole 13- great hole. don't do a thing.
Hole 14 - signature hole. Great hole, nice shape, cool green. Only problem is that there are some high limbs that need a rope saw to get to. Once those are trimmed, you will see more people trying to put their drives past the lake and near the pin. But with them there it is forcing people to play farther left on the fairway and just laying up before the short tee. If you limbed up the gap, you will have more people flirting with the water on their drives and you will see people getting their drives pretty close to this pin. NO trees need to go, just get those high limbs cut.
Hole 15 - nice hole with really stupid ob circles in the middle of the fairway? Why? why have 2 little circles OB in the middle of the fairway? Who are you trying to punish? A person could kick from 100 feet away and land in these areas. They are no shaping the hole, or making the hole better. There is no need. You already have a great hole, why add stupid OB such as these?? I did not understand. Other than that, it's a beautiful hole and one of the best on the course.
Hole 16 - great hole. Nothing wrong here.
Hole 17 - frustrating. All 5 times I threw drives down the left fairway and kicked off a tree just over the hill as it was making its way towards the basket. Yet the guys who cut drives way right sometimes managed to sneak all the way up there. Not sure what they are asking for on this shot? Seems like they want to make you take the left side all the way there, yet a good shot thrown that way is most likely not going to be rewarded. Seems like the shots that just try to cut towards the pin through the trees is the best option, yet I don;t think that that is what they were going for. This hole needs to be re-evaluated.
Hole 18 - Why finish on a crap shoot? really? Come on. I threw every drive on the same line and all 5 had completely different results. Make a distinct fairway with a line that I am supposed to hit and you got a nice hole. Green is nice, the hole shape is nice, but the fairway is just a mess of trees with no defined flight path. Your score on this hole is going to be determined by where your disc lands and what trees you might hit. Being one foot right or left could be the difference in that 3 or 4. Just clean this up and you got a nice hole. As-is, I would consider it one of the worst on the course.
So all in all, this is a nice course. It is a beautiful piece of land and they have made some nice holes. Not sure what skill level these tees were designed for, but they were enjoyable. With just a few tweaks here and there they will have one of the better courses in Ohio. I'll give t a 3 for now. If it gets the neccesary tweaks, I would bump it up to a 4.
The amount of poison ivy and broken glass on the course will never give this course a chance to reach that 5 level that I know they would like to achieve here.
It is fun though and if you don't mind throwing shots where you are hoping to get past that tree or that tree, and don't mind the occasional bad kick or bad luck, then you will enjoy this course. One of the only courses I have ever played where you can hear someone on one throw, say yes, no, yes, yes, no. That's what happens though when you throw a good shot but have to deal with getting sneaky.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 2 Not
Potential Being Realized
Pros: -All 18 holes have concrete long and short tee pads(!!!!!), which have great grip.
-Hole 16's long tee is shaped like a shield, with one of the short edges facing the shortcut over the water, and the other short edge facing the safer land route.
-Holes 1 through 9 loop back to the parking lot, as do holes 10 through 18, so playing the front, the back or all 18 is no problem.
-Bathroom(s) at the parking lot, and at the beach parking lot.
-Mix of long/short, dogleg right/left/straight, uphill/downhill, safe/risky, open/tight holes.
-Very pretty, mostly wooded location, with the lake featured on hole 5 and holes 10 through 16.
-Well-made brick steps on 12, 13 and 15. Behind the basket on 15, there is a set of steps leading down to the lake for retrieving discs, and reducing erosion on the hillside (sandy loose dirt).
Cons: -Still finding (and cleaning up) glass around holes 1 and 2.
-Has mosquitos after wet weather, but not so far this year.
-No grip and rip holes. However, there are several holes (6, 7, 11, 15, etc.) on which you can pull out your max drivers and throw for distance, as long as you are also accurate.
-The 20 MPH speed limit on state park roads. They enforce it too.
-If you didn't notice the pink tape on the baskets pointing to the next tee, or follow the map on the scorecard, first time navigating could be tricky.
-Poison ivy is prevalent off the fairways and still present on some fairways.
Other Thoughts: In the interest of full disclosure, let me say that I have helped with the construction of this course, so I may not be entirely objective. I am pleased at how it is turning out, thanks to the hard work of some guys who just love to play disc golf. It is hard to believe that just three years ago most of this course was an impenetrable thicket of briars and saplings.
The course, from the long tees.:
Holes 1 through 3 go back and forth across a small valley, getting progressing longer. Accuracy is needed off the tees.
Hole 4 is a par 4 which starts in the woods and doglegs to the right to finish in an open grassy area. A good forehand (I don't have one!) can get you in good position for a 3.
Hole 5 goes straight down a former driveway and turns right after opening out to a peninsula on the lake. A well placed forehand can park this.
Hole 6 is a straight par 4 that goes up, down and up again. The swampy area on the right is not out of bounds, but can suck off your shoes.
Hole 7 is a straight 370' tunnel shot down a tree-lined former driveway.
Hole 8 is the most open hole, hyzering left toward the basket guarded by a large tree. It is almost a must-deuce heading into hole 9.
Hole 9 is a 650', true par 5. Getting a birdie (or even par) is well deserved. It is getting clearer off to the sides, but could use more thinning.
Holes 10 through 13 alternate between going downhill toward the lake and uphill toward the parking lot.
Hole 10 is a downhill sweep to the left. A hyzer that makes it past the three trees guarding the fairway gives a good shot at a deuce.
Hole 11 is a long uphill sweep to the right. A gauntlet of trees guard the basket.
Hole 12 is a short downhill shot that would be straight-forward if there wasn't a group of trees in front of the basket and the lake wasn't 20' behind it.
Hole 13 is an uphill shot which opens in to a grassy area leading to the basket in the traffic circle.
Hole 14 is a par 4 dogleg right from an elevated tee that shows you a grassy area from which you can throw over the water or follow the ridge to the basket.
Hole 15 is a par 4 with a great view of the lake, over the brick steps in the distance. Aim for the steps and the basket is over the steps, to the left, on a ridge that drops off to the lake.
Hole 16 gives you the option of throwing 250'+ directly to the basket over the water or taking the dry route which doglegs right and may add a stroke, assuming you make it over the lake.
Hole 17 starts from an elevated tee and goes over a hill and sweeps to the right.
Hole 18 is a par 4 that starts with a left turning hyzer drive, followed by a forehand or anhyzer toward the basket up the hill to the right.
Favorite hole? Can't really say, but here are some things I especially like: the "S" route from the hole 2 tee, staying in the tunnel to the basket on hole 7, the view from hole 15's tee and basket, throwing over the water on 14 and 16.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
18 Helpful / 1 Not
Holy Tree Bouncing Batman
Pros: - Very thick and beautiful forest set on a large state park. There are a lot of elevation changes and a nice rolling terrain. Well built stairs get you up steep hills and really set off the natural beauty of the woods.
- This course is the definition of a fantastically technical course that will constantly challenge every level of player. A complete mix of shots are needed here to get over, under & around all kinds of obstacles. Baskets rest atop large mounds and on steeply sloped hills. Replaying this course I saw new lines to take that I didn't see before and I know I'll find new ways down fairways the next time I go.
- This 18 hole course is approx 6800' long which is fairly long for 18 holes, however, because of how technical this plays, 6800' is Very long. Once finished you will feel like you played a 10K'+ course!
- This is a pretty safe course. At no point are you throwing on top of the next tee or at a busy intersection, however, note that you do throw near the some traffic on Holes #4 & 8.
- There is a Short and Long Tee for every hole
- Tee Signs are off the charts for quality. A lot of effort was put into these exceptionally high quality signs. Many signs have witty nicknames/themes for the holes such as Hole #15 has Dungans Dungeons 1 & 2 and a Moat. The Tee Signs at the Long Tees have actual pictures of the hole. The Tee Signs at the Short Tees have snippets from the rule book so that you can learn as they go. This was an incredibly creative idea.
- The Tee Signs are on high quality poles. The poles at the Long Tees also have bag holders.
- Tape on baskets lead you to the next tee
- The baskets are in perfect condition and well labeled
- Plenty of water hazards give you risk vs. reward
- Very nice upkeep done by an incredible set of volunteers
- Extremely low traffic from non-disc golfers
- Surplus of log benches and stumps and picnic tables scatter throughout this course
- The entrance to the park is marked by a large sign and there are multiple disc golf signs leading you to the course
- Very nice Kiosk
- A lot of trash cans all over the course
- Plenty of parking
- Bathrooms at the parking lot
- Amenities. Very large state park that has about anything you need including a skate park, camping, boating , fishing, swimming, trails, hunting etc...
Cons: - Large amount of broken glass at a few holes
- There are no open areas to really rip a drive for distance. Many players probably never take their distance discs out of the bag.
- Personal preference but a few more trees being cleared (for example on Hole #9) making a few fairways just a touch bigger might add more enjoyment to the average player, however, I'd understand if the plan is to leave them there for the challenge of it.
Other Thoughts: - The 'Flow' is both a Pro and a Con. Hole #1 and #18 do meet each other at the parking lot but there are a few hiccoughs between some of the holes. #4 to #5 you will cross the parking lot. #6 to #7 you will walk down the road for a few hundred feet and #7 & #8 rest on a large grassy area between the roads and parking lot. #8 to #9 you will cross back toward #4 and follow signs to #9. This is still a fantastic use of the available land but keep a map on you your first time out and pay attention to all the Tee Signs and Next Tee Signs.
- The natural tees are in decent condition but can be a little uneven
- This course has a lot of holes with a high level of risk vs. reward but Hole #16 is the definition of it. You can choose the shortcut over the water through a small gap or the safer land route. But let's not forget Hole #15 that has you zigzagging 470' with water to your right to only find a basket on a steep mound with water directly behind the basket. LOVE IT!
- This is one of the most challenging courses I've ever played. It's a tough hike and great exercise. If you are going to bring a beginner here then for the love of Pete give them fair warning first.
- The most challenging hole is Hole #9 which is the only Par 5 hole here. This lives up to it's rating as you travel 650' down a winding trail loaded with small trees.
- Hole #7 & #16 tie for my second favorite hole but Hole #14 takes the prize. On #14 you drive downhill through a narrow gap and veer right around the water toward a basket that is on a loooooong steep mound.
- This is a very impressive course that is absolutely worth some travel to get to. Huge thanks to the Portage Lake Disc Golf Association for donating so much of your time, blood, sweat & tears in creating something this nice in such a short amount of time.
18 of 19 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 20 Not
Pros: It's a great course if you are Ken Climo......
It's a great course if you like to swim.
It's a great course if you like cutting yourself with glass.
Cons: Tee Placement. 15, really???? Saw 2 discs floating helplessly in the water. 13 is a ridiculous hole as well. Back 9 seems cool at first, then is an annoying pain.
2 of 22 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 4 Not
IT'S A BLAST TO PLAY AT...
Pros: Very challeging course! Not for the faint of heart or the beginner. You will have some bad shots - get over it!. Layout is nice.
The back nine is SWEET. It's new and should wear - in nicely after it gets played upon.
Nice looking tee signs: at least the ones that werent stolen or ripped off. WTF? - who does that? A-holes. Pardon my french.
Nice balance of long and short tees. If its difficult to get past.trees play the red tees.
Posts have (4) bag pegs - NIce!
A true woodsy dgc. If you like hiking and being outdoors - that's how the course feels and plays - you will like it!!!
Cons: 1>. Lots of glass. Be careful. Too many drunks at the park? This is what happens when mommy aint there to clean up after them. It's a disgrace to humanity when you have to cleanup someone else's stupidity.
2>. Missing tee signs. Not to any fault ot the faciliators. I was told that they were professionally designed by the ohio disc golf alliance. Too bad some a-holes had to destroy them.
3>. Thick brush. Lost 3 discs. I do give "mega thumbs up" to all those responsible for making the back 9 happen. I have cleaned up overgrown properties before, it's alot of hard work, time consuming and strenuous. I know in time the walked-on areas will get trampled. May need some volunteers in the thick brush area. Credit to all those that have worked on this course!
4> No garbage cans. The buckets will probably get stolen like the tee signs. Nice try though.
Other Thoughts: First time my son and I played this course. Long tees playable except for 2 holes - 9 and 15. I had to hit the red tees. Kept hitting those d@#$n trees. Cut um all down! Just kidding. Holes 2 & 10 were my only birdies. My son birdied 3 and 12. Got Lucky!
I would recommend this course to anyone who plays disc golf. Bring a floater disc. You will probably need it.
10 of 14 people found this review helpful.
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