7 Helpful / 0 Not
Beautiful but Frustrating
Pros: Scenic, 18 hole open course in a nice state park. Very challenging course with tremendous elevation figuring into all but about 2 or 3 holes. Practice basket and porta pottie on site. Course has sufficiently sized tee pads, signs and working Mach 5 baskets at every hole. Some really nice holes here- #1 is a tee shot from between two trees, #3 is a diagonal shot to a basket over a rock wall and signature hole #4 is a long downhill shot then a right turn to a basket in the flat over a creek- as good a hole as there is anywhere. Two basket placements per hole. Navigation is pretty easy. Decent balance of distance and shorter holes.
Cons: Wind can be brutal and wreak havoc on your round. Signs and several tee pads need upgrades, and the welcome board by the practice basket is a disaster. Favors the guy with the big arm. Inaccurate throws lead to loads of trouble with unforgiving rough. Fairway grass sometimes not cut. Pay to play. Some "next tee" signs would be helpful. Ticks all over the place- bring spray. Benches and bag poles would be welcomed.
Other Thoughts: Brandywine is loved by many for its topography; scenic views, elevation and beautiful rock walls are ever present. It will be disliked by those who favor technical courses or people who don't have big arms. The wind here can be absolutely brutal, and quite honestly can make for a rotten round. I didn't have much fun the day I played here but have nonetheless rated the course objectively and appreciate its challenges.
More than 30 years old, Brandywine still packs a punch but needs considerable attention. New signs are needed here and several tee pads have seams which can affect your stance and throw. In my opinion, before new courses like Iron Hill are tweaked, more attention to upgrades needs to be given to places like Lum's, Brandywine and Cape Henlopen- historic places that have been good to the sport. A trip to Brandywine is recommended, but prepare for a physically demanding and possibly frustrating afternoon.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Easy to find. Fantastic scenery. Lots of elevation. Nice challenge. Good signage and concrete tees. Navigation is fairly easy without a map. Some really fun and memorable holes with alot of opportunity to air it out.
Cons: Some tees in need of repair with some slight slopes and cracks. A little repetitive with the open shots. Park fee of $6 out of state between February and December. In the summer the rough is really brutal, and it can still be so in the spring, fall and winter, as well. The elevation can also be seen as a con due to some tough hikes, but it also provide, at least for this slacker, some well needed exercise.
Other Thoughts: I've played this course multiple times and it was one of my first few ever. In the beginning I hated this course due to some of the hole lengths, the elevation and the fact that most of the holes are completely open. However, as I have improved my game, I find these same aspects to be absolute pros. I recently played here in a little snowstorm and I have to say it was one of my favorite DG experiences of late. The elevation can be tough with some long walks and throws uphill, especially #5 "THe Beast", but it truly does add to the whole experience as well. The pin placements help to augment each hole's layout and some are just great including 4, 6, 9, 14 and 16. Great use of existing strucutres including the rock walls, the water, an old well and the barn. Being as the course is open and set up high in rolling hills, the wind can truly become an added challenge, but I enjoy the ability to learn my discs better while playing this course. Overall, Brandywine is a little older of a course for an area that boasts Iron Hill and Carousel, but I still very much enjoy its uniqueness and it holds up very well as its own experience. It provides a great chance to learn how to throw for distance as well as to break in new discs. It is a solid course with a good dose of individuality and lots of fun.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Scenic with rolling hills
Pros: Scenery- rolling hills make or beautiful views overlooking brandywine valley. The use of walls divided fairways as well as a beautiful asset to the course.
Good variety with what they had- overall the variety was ok (see cons). That being said, with the land that they were given, you could tell the thought was there. I enjoyed the addition of the creek on hole 4 which offered variety as well as an enjoyable challenge. Although you may not have to use all the shots you have in your bag, the defined fairways dictate many different lines.
Tee signs and baskets in good shape- baskets were a little bit rusty but caught well. I have heard that baskets are changed but have never witnessed different pin positions. The some of the concrete pads are showing wear but most are in good shape.
Elevation- this is the biggest pro for this course and for me the difference between a 3 and a 4 because of the shear immensity of the elevation changes and the use of it throughout the course.
Cons: Grass can get very high -For the quality of this course I was not impressed with the level of maintenance. The grass was high which led to me losing a disc.
Variety- as said before variety was ok. I said what parts hd variety, but many holes lacked variety. There were too many straight and uninteresting shots.
Other Thoughts: Enjoy a round and a nice piece of history when you come to this course.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Great Place but becomes Repetitve
Pros: What a great place to throw a round of Disc Golf! I came from Lehigh Valley, PA to enjoy this course.The rolling hills and old stone walls make for a great environment. You almost feel what it would have been like to be hiding behind the 3 foot hand crafted stone walls during the ancient days America, fighting for our freedom. There are an equal amount of downhill launchers, uphill heaves, and level shots that will test all the skills of your game.
Cons: There are no holes in the woods, they are all in open fields with a patch of trees here and there. This place will eat your disc if you miss the fairway. Long grass and trees with crazy vines are everywhere. We had 3 discs get stuck in trees, recovered all 3 and found another, but by throwing rocks, sticks, and having to climb up a tree to get them. No trash cans anywhere.
Other Thoughts: Very good course with fantastic scenery. While the elevation changes provide a nice variety, it gets slightly repetitive. Some of the tees and baskets are weathered and could use upgrading. All in all, I recommend playing Brandywine. The course play is above average and the park itself is great.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 4 Not
A disc golfer was born
Pros: Absolutely incredible course...This is mostly a field course with some woods patches and holes right along the woods. There's a beautiful stone wall slicing through the course making the place look like 18th or 19th century America. A wide array of different shots due to elevation changes, tree obstacles, a creek affecting a few holes, deadly brush bordering fairways on quite a few holes, and a cool barn to bootleg around. This course is home to The Beauty and The Beast, holes 4 and 5--the first of which is a thin fairway downhill bordered by chaos (which you pretty much need to throw beyond from the tee to play successfully) down to a park road and a creek with a bridge over to the basket; the latter hole 5 is a monster steady uphill hole that big arms have trouble reaching basket vicinity in 3 shots (this hole also bordered on the right by chaotic death bushes). Seemingly easy open shots prove tougher with wind, making the course tricky at times. Holes 12 and 14 are ego boosting open downhill holes. The first hole on the course immediately shows the course's aesthetic superiority. Rarely ever crowded. Tee boxes in good shape. "Around the World" varied distance stone markers on practice basket for putting games.
Cons: Could use better signs with accurate pars and distances. For new players, signs to next holes would be beneficial. This place eats discs on errant throws throughout most of the course, so be careful. Basically, watch your throws on the front 9! Pay to play a con for some. Some cross country meets cutting through fairway, so watch out for runners in the spring and fall. Wind can be an issue.
Other Thoughts: This was the first course I ever played. It is THE reason I fell in love with the sport. It will always be my homest of home courses. Absolutely gorgeous rolling hills with surrounding woods.
3 of 7 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 1 Not
My home course
Pros: This course is situated in the most beautiful part of Delaware. The downhill tee shots are some of the most exciting shots I've seen anywhere in DG. There is no hole in DG that is more beautiful and challenging than the beauty (#4). It's my home course, I play it frequently, and after a woods course I have to come to Brandywine to release some of the pent up aggression. Let's just say that with this as my home course accuracy is not my strong suit.
Cons: Grass! I hate tall grass rough, but I guess they have to do something on the course to penalize you for an errant shot and trees in this park are out of the question.
The absolute worst part of this course is the occasional lack of maintenance by the park staff, particularly not mowing the fairways. There have been times in the spring where the grass has been knee high. That makes for a long round: trudging through knee high grass, climbing those hills, and having to look for your disc after a perfect drive that landed in the middle of the fairway. My favorite time to play is on calm winter days. The grass and the rough are guaranteed to be short from November to mid-March.
Other Thoughts: In my opinion, this course is a must if you're in the area. There are few courses that allow you to air it out like Brandywine and few places anywhere in the northeast that are as beautiful to play. Fall is especially a picturesque time to play the course. If coming from a long distance to play in the spring or early summer I would call first to confirm that the course has been recently mowed (and let the staff know that you'll be skipping the park if it is, in fact, not recently mowed). I love Brandywine, but I avoid it like the plague when the fairways are tall.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Historic Setting for Historic Course
Pros: What a setting to play DG, historic battelfield with rock walls that were rebuilt in the Great Depression (by DuPont family employing people without work), Imagine charging up those hills with cannons and muskets shots at you - wel that is how exciting the disc golf is here.
Wonderful use of the space - for a mostly wide open are with little trees in play, this course plays great with not much repetition.
Downhill bombs, uphill crushing holes, cross hill shots - all made more challenging by the prevailing winds that seem to be stronger at Brandywine than the rest of DE.
Some holes are duecable, and others are much tougher more like par 4s.
This is one of the earlier courses in the area, 1980 - and is still more advanced than some newer courses. For todays plastic and longer thowers - amazing design way ahead of its time.
Cons: pay to play - $3 in state per car, $6 out of state.
Allows certain types of players to excell - Long throwers that use stable plastic do much better than short arms and understable plastic throwers - based on prevailing winds, length and terrain.
The park does not maintain the course as good as they could, and the park has not been overly friendly to volenteers - go figure...
Some of the tees have aged, need some leveling and have cracked, but after 30 years that happens.
This park also caters to the Cross County course, as its one of the better courses in the state parks and hold many large high school meets every year.
Other Thoughts: Nice scenery, great views of the creek, rolling hills surround park, historic site adds some intrigue and nostalgia.
Those rock walls are amazing, but some spots have deteriorated and are falling down, would be nice if the park could get experienced masons to repair them.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Elevation, Wind, and Beautiful Views
Pros: Brandywine State Park is very easy to get to and is situated in a picturesque park. Despite the proximity to the bustling Route 202 corridor between PA and DE, the course has an isolated, top of the world feel. The course offers gorgeous scenery and vast, beautiful, panaoramic views of the surrounding rolling, wooded, hills.
Although most holes played straight and open, Brandywine features a good variety of hole lengths and extensive changes in elevation. Additionally, there are several holes that make use of water as OB. The rotating pin positions adds some additional variety to the course layout when played over time. One eye catching aspect of the course was the incorporation of rock wall both as aesthetic and as an obstacle (hole 9 is a great example of this).
Although a bit small and showing signs of wear, the concrete tees were a nice touch and provided ample footing. All things considered, the baskets were in pretty good shape. Albeit a small thing, one feature that was a standout was that the baskets included flags positioned at the end of tall polls. This was helpful in not only finding the basket, but in determining disc/shot selection by seeing what kind of wind you'd need to deal with. The tee signs were old school and didn't always show the right distance/position information, but they gave you the right idea as far as how the fairway was shaped and where the basket was located.
By and large, the course was mostly safe for pedestrians and was laid out in a manner that avoided other public areas.
Cons: As far as the layout goes, a lot of the holes were repetitive from the standpoint that they were either a straight, open, uphill drive or a straight, open, downhill drive. Despite having some trees as obstacles, the course is very open and doesn't make much use of the surrounding woods.
The rough here is very rough indeed. There is a ton of tall grass that borders many of the fairways, making it difficult to find stray drives. Additionally, many holes have an immense amount of shule, overgrowth, and briars that not only causes problems finding discs, but can be a painful experience.
Although more obstacles would be helpful at this course, hole #16 seems to have some unfair obstacles. The hole plays in between a tree with low branches and a large barn. For those drives that strayed too far left and into the area of the barn, the possible upshot(s) seemed to be unnecessarily punishing and could easily add several throws to the recovery.
Some indicators pointing to the next tee would be helpful for the holes were the subsequent tee isn't adjacent to the previous basket.
Other Thoughts: Wind is a major factor at this course. I was tempted to drop this into the "Cons", but you can't ding a course for weather conditions outside the control of the designer. For example, can you ding a course in Seattle as being too wet? Anybody that plays this course needs to be prepared for wind blowing in all directions. Further, given the elevation and wide-open nature of the course, you could also get significant updrafts. The short of it is that the wind is really a roll of the dice on every throw.
The implications of the pay-to-play aspect are minimal. It's only $6 if you're out of state and $3 for DE residence (year-round park passes can also be purchased). In the grand scheme of things $6 is not a whole lot to spend to play a decent course.
As far as my rating is concerned, I'd say Brandywine is a 3.75. I'd love to give this course a 4.0, but given some of the vanilla hole layouts and the growth surrounding the course, I don't feel comfortable rounding up, so I gave her a 3.5. By moving the baskets into positions that would force more thought-provoking shot selections and by cleaning up the bristly rough, this course could easily slide up to the higher rating.
The overall take away from Brandwine is positive. It's a fun course and the combination of rolling hills and unpredpictable wind provide ample challenge. I fully plan on playing this course again and would recommend this course to others.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
22 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.
22 of 23 people found this review helpful.
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