11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pretty but repetitive
Pros: The course plays through beautiful rolling grassy hills with excellent views. Several of the holes play on top of the hill with great vistas over the surrounding countryside. Nearly every hole has good elevation, with some fairly steep hills that are used in different and creative ways. Tough uphills, fun downhills and some cross hill shots are mixed in and make this a lot more fun than other courses with so few trees. There is a pretty good mix of hole lengths from ace runs to long bombs that let you air it out.
The tees are concrete, and are a fine size and texture. The tee signs are basic but were fairly accurate with hole length and shape. The grass on the fairways was all nicely mowed, and the course fee seems to discourage the sort of crowds that tend to leave trash and vandalize. The stream that comes into play makes for a fun risk reward shot down the hill, do you go for the big shot over the trees or lay up and play for the safer 3?
Cons: The course is pretty much wide open. The hills make it interesting, but it starts to feel pretty similar with most holes allowing any kind of shot to get to the pin.
Off the fairways in many places there is tall grass, my least favorite type of obstacle. It wasn't tall enough to change your next shot, but it was long enough that errant shots would cost you time and potentially plastic. Many of the tees are cracked and slanted, perhaps showing their age. The signs are faded and a few seem to need some updating. I don't mind paying to play, but $6 for out of state seems a little steep for the quality of this course.
Other Thoughts: I really enjoyed the views here, and it provides a fun place to work on elevation and wind driving. Beginners might find the wind and long grass a bit daunting, but it's not too terribly long. More experienced players can get some good practice in, but it's not going to challenge many different parts of their game.
I loved the rock walls that came into play on several holes, they definitely added to the pastoral feel and the beauty of the course.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
21 Helpful / 1 Not
Open air, mad elevation, but not much else...
Pros: I half expect to get reamed for giving this course a 3.0, but before you judge, read the justification... let's start with the good: elevation. Elevation. ELEVATION. Pretty much every shot on this course plays up or down a hill, sometimes some very steep hills. I love elevation shots, so this is a huge plus in my book. It's great fun to empty a bag on some of these shots and just watch the discs float through the air. The fun factor is pretty high in that regard...
The course flows pretty well from hole to hole without a lot of long walks, the rock walls throughout the grounds are beautiful and are a nice change of pace from just trees and streams as obstacles. There are several places where the walls are put to good use and force elevated putts, create fast greens and mandate arced putts (hole 9).
The streams are clean and clear (at least when I was there), but are pretty fastmoving, so watch discs that might get washed downstream... but risk of losing a disc is pretty low.
This is an amazing place to watch the sky, since you're elevated on a lot of the holes and have so few trees in the way.
There is good parking, the printed maps available on this site are very helpful in navigating. When the wind picks up, this course is an amazing place -- one of the best courses in the country -- to practice wind shots, especially wind on hills.
With all the open air, it would be tempting to recommend this course to beginners who are learning the game, but with the frequent gusts at "Brandywind" it is likely to be frustrating to new players unless they are there on a calm day. Poor disc control + wind + lots of elevation = epically awful shots.
For players with a little more experience under their belts, this is a great training course, since you're not likely to lose much and can throw a lot of shots and watch their unhindered flights through the air. You can practice elevation, you can practice wind, you can see how all of your discs -- drivers, putters, mids -- really fly. And there is so much elevation that its tricky to get footing on some of the approach shot runups, so it also encourages practicing stand-and-deliver shots from uneven terrain. The training potential here is probably, to me, the biggest strength and best reason to play this course.
Cons: This course, for all of its elevation, feels pretty repetitive. I like elevation, but I also like obstacles -- at least every few holes -- and this course lacks much to get in your way. The few trees are mostly short enough to throw over, or spindly enough to throw around. There are only a couple of holes that require any sort of gap to be hit on the tee shot. This makes for a lot of the same. In a competitive round, most people would take their driver and thrown 18 hyzer hucks off the box. Done. Very little shot variety is forced, and this weakens the course significantly in my opinion.
The course is also showing its age -- teesigns are lose and not entirely helpful -- there are various tees marked, but with some holes playing blind, there needs to be some indication of which basket position is in play. It would also be very helpful to have elevation change marked on the signs. Teepads are aging as well, tilted and crumbling at the corners.
The rock walls -- while great -- also get in the way on a couple of the teeboxes (hole 1 stands out), where the wall is in the way off the box -- it's not a matter of throwing over the wall -- its a low wall -- it's a matter of having the teebox pressed directly against the wall, framed by two large trees -- its dangerous to get any follow through without risk of hurting yourself. I'm all for obstacles, but tee areas should have enough clear space for runups, throws, and follow-through that injury should never be a concern when driving. Safety should always be a top concern in course design, and there are places this is ignored at Brandywine.
Perhaps the biggest deterrent of the course is the nasty grass/weeds/thorns that cover the hills. A shot in the middle of the fairway can be stuck in low-lying thorns with no-possible runup, and thorns and nasty-dry-prickly grass is pretty much ubiquitous on the course. If you land in a fairway, you shouldn't have to worry about scrub tripping you or thorns slicing into you. The course gets better towards the end, but on the front 9 especially, the sheer ugliness and animosity of the groundcover takes away from the enjoyment of the game.
And, as should be mentioned before, it hurts a little to have to pay $3 instate and $6 out of state in park fees to play a so-so course. FWIW, the night I was there, the park ranger did come around, empty the self-serve paybox and checked cars against their receipts, so even if no one is around, I advise paying the $6 on the honor system just to avoid a potential ticket. Try to have exact change in the event you have to pay the honor system like we did.
Other Thoughts: At some point in the past, I think Brandywine might have been a more impressive course. If the grass were lush and green and freshly mowed and the tees were level and you were there on a perfect day with an epic swath of clouds painted across the sky, you could mistake this for a paradise...
However, it just doesn't hold up today, especially with the new duo of Iron Hill and Carousel practically in its backyard. Carousel offers a lot of the same elevation, but has amazing grass and a mix of open and treed shots, lots of OB, and much better course design and variety (albeit no signs or permanent tees yet). Iron Hill has a challenge, beauty and attention to design detail virtually unmatched anywhere. With these two courses as options -- and both free -- it's hard to find a compelling reason to head to Brandywine for anything other than some good practice throws and the relative solitude that exists there.
In short: Brandywine is a great place to PRACTICE disc golf, but a mediocre place to PLAY disc golf.
21 of 22 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
More fun than challenging
Pros: Mostly open grasslands on what seems like a mountaintop, using the relatively few trees pretty well. It's true that much of it is "grip & rip", but this doesn't convey the fun of the enormous elevation change. The ancient-looking stone walls come into play as well.
I don't mean to indicate it's not challenging, just that the it's not hugely challenging, but is hugely fun, especially throwing off the hills.
The aesthetics---the views, the rolling grassy fairways, the peace & quiet---are terrific.
Cons: Some of the later holes are rather boring.
If you throw where the grass has been allowed to grow 4' tall, the search is brutal; you can be 3 feet from your disc and not find it.
No water, very little shade, and big hills make a summer round an endurance event.
Little or no O.B.
Other Thoughts: I visited on a windless day; I can imagine the winds this course must get and the adventure playing them.
The entry fee is well worth it.
I might be a little stingy with this rating. Other courses offer better variety and challenge. But Brandywine was great fun, even on a 95 degree windless day, and I could almost give it 3.5 discs instead.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Absolutley beautiful views.
Concrete Tee Pads/Multiple Pads
Two practice Baskets
Cons: Extremely wide open
No protection from sun
not much variety
Wind can be difficult
Other Thoughts: This course has some stunning views of nature that go on for miles. The course plays extremely long, and many of the drives are just "grip it and rip it". Tough to get a two if you don't have a big arm, yet easy to get a three on most holes. Wind can absolutley destroy an otherwise good drive and have you searching through high grass. I did have tics when I left the course and also got poison ivy. Make sure you have all of your plastic marked, as it can be tough to find in waste high grass.
4 of 8 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 1 Not
Fun and wide open
Pros: Wide open and not much trouble to get into, so it's a good test of your arm strength. Beautiful stone walls and elevation come into play often and provide different challenges than most Pennsylvania/northeast courses. Wind and water also come into play.
Cons: Not for beginners as the holes are fairly long. No tight wooded holes, so it can start to seem repetitive ("chuck it as far as you can"). Fairways are poorly groomed during the summer, if at all... lost my first disc ever at "beast" on the blind drive.
Other Thoughts: Make sure you get good directions...this place can be tough to find. Consider a trip in the winter when there's no park fee and the fairways are not overgrown.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: Long, hilly and windy. On a non Windy day (if there is such a thing) you can enjoy a frustration free round. Add in the wind and its not a walk in the park. Long positions played tough, but fair.
Cons: Cost is semi-steep for non-Deleware residents to enter the park.
3 of 10 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Beautiful course where wind and hills offer the challange not trees. Alternate pins and concrete pads with good signs. Fun to play and watch giant airshots.
Cons: Fees, no benches, water and bathroom are far away and the rough is often out of control. The course is dated wihtout much changes since the early 1990s. Once the standard is now more like average.
Other Thoughts: Would be great if the park would embrace disc golf and let the course expand and improve.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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