One of the best in the Northwest
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: If you only have time for one of the courses on the Steilacoom property? This one is it. It's easily the toughest, but I think that's what makes it the best.
Equipment: It's what you'd expect from a championship level course. Quality baskets and long, level teepads.
Navigation: There's a map on the kiosk near Hole 1, and most of the holes have signs on the teepad.
Design: The design is what really makes this course stand out. It offers plenty of variety and will challenge every shot that you have in your bag. Odds are good that it will challenge shots you don't have in your bag too. You start with a technical, downhill right turning hole, and from there it gets easier. For one hole. Then you're challenged again. You have long open left turning, big sky hyzers, slight uphills, technical downhills... You go right, you go left, you go up, you go down, you throw out your arm, you lob a mid-range or putter, you throw a sky line, you throw a roller... And then you hit a tree and rocket off into underbrush that is easy to navigate but hard to get your disc through in less than three shots. The Grove offers everything. I feel like this is Western Washington's answer to Pier Park, even though there's only one section of trees that feels like that place and it's a more difficult course. It's 300ish holes through the woods, and it will challenge even the best players without being too soul crushing for the casual ones.
Cons: Equipment: No equipment cons to speak of. The baskets are older, but that's okay. They're still in great shape and still catch discs.
Navigation: Navigation at Stilly is pretty bad across the board. There's a map relatively close to hole 1 (but closer to hole 16), and most of the holes have signs on the tee. But the baskets need tape and there should be "next tee" signs. Especially considering how many different layouts you can play here. I remember when I first played Stilly I did some mix of all three courses that somehow flowed into 18 holes. I don't know how far off we were, but I never will because there's also been a redesign. The flow works pretty well, but there's enough confusion here that first timers will need some help. I could honestly copy and paste this section for all three courses at Stilly, and that's disappointing. If this, the best complex in Western Washington, had better signage it would rate even higher. One plus to the multiple courses and the redesigns is that locals will never get bored though. Even if they get tired of all three courses, they can always throw a mix. The last time I played there was a group playing the "old" am tees, and there's plenty of room for safari layouts.
Design: I want to call the design flawless. It's pretty darn close. If I reach for something, I guess it would be that holes like Hole 4 are nearly impossible for those of us who can't throw far AND high. The low line is pretty well non-existent. It's a very challenging hole and tons of fun to watch someone crush with a bigger arm, but I obviously don't like holes that are essentially an automatic bogey. Not much of a con overall, but it is for people like me. So I may as well leave it here.
Other Thoughts: I've said before that the best compliment you can pay a course and its designer is that playing there regularly will make you a better disc golfer. This is obviously true on some level for most courses, but every now and then you come across a course that kicks you in the teeth so hard that you want to come back and conquer it. And each time you come back you shave a stroke or two off, until you finally get kicked in the teeth again. And then you come back. Again. And again. And you start feeling like a terrible disc golfer, until you leave and go play one of your "usual" courses and realize just how much better the tougher course has made you. This version at Stilly is one of those courses. I hate my scores there, but it makes me better.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Best of the trio
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Probably the best of the three courses at the Fort, the NW run is distinct in that the terrain adds groves of fir trees to the masses of oak trees and scotch broom and grass that dominate the property. Where the SW course is more open, this one is more confined and difficult and has a more diverse mix of holes.
The course starts nicely with an elevated tee where you are throwing a a L-R shot through a forest of mature fir trees. You will get a chance to do the reverse of this shot through the "cathedral" on the 16th hole as well! You will get a chance to experience this type of elevation change again on holes 11 & 12, but the course is fairly flat for the most part. They use the forest and scotch broom as primary obstacles on the course - you won't find any really open shots to unload here except on #17. The fairways are fairly tight and technical. I loved the challenge!
The signs were really fantastic - showing a map of the hole, distance, and direction of the next tee.
Cons: A couple of navigation issues - especially trying to find #13 tee. We had the map (found on this site) and still were walking in circles to find that tee - a little sign with an arrow would make a big difference!
Other Thoughts: A first class experience - with 45 holes on the property you should set aside the whole day to get the full experience!
I rate this (NW) course a 4
I rate the (SW) course a 3.5
I rate the (Rays 9) a 3.0
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Middle Level of three great courses all from one parking lot...
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The easier of two 18 hole courses on the property and more challenging then the 9 hole course on the same property, this is a great, well balanced course with enough challenge and variation to keep any player interested and unintimidating enough to allow any level player to be comfortable and have great fun.
Some in the woods, some in open grass, but no real underbrush to eat your discs (with a couple notable exceptions in the hole 13-14 world where you do really need to keep your eyes open).
Perfectly groomed and superbly planned holes with great pin placement. If this 18 hole course were the only thing here, it would be worth an hour drive to play regularly - but it is only 40% of a masterfully built and maintained DG complex.
Cons: Navigation can be tough - if you have someone nearby or anyone who has played it, bring them with your first time - if not, find someone there (this is only one of the great things about disc golfers - they are always willing to help, and frequently willing to just have you tag along).
The only 'real problem' with this course is that it is too far away for me to play every day - if I could, though,... I certainly would.
Other Thoughts: I really can't say enough good stuff about this complex - a great 9 hole shorted course, then two great 18 hole courses with varying levels of challenge - 45 outstanding holes before you ever have to get back into your car.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
One time-1000 baskets
Pros: Baskets and pads everywhere and I'm just talking about the Northwest course. There are two other courses here. Some very great looking holes, some very challenging holes, and one great across a canyon hole. Need to know the course or you are lost!!! Lost!!! Lost. Try to get someone with you who has played the course.
Cons: #1 con...no signs pointing to next pads and some of these pads are way hidden. #2...no arrows pointing to basket locations---well there are some but they are wrong! No trash cans---so pack you need to pack your trash out...easy.
Other Thoughts: We were lucky. We were searching for #3 pad when a couple said they would show us the way. If they hadn't we would never have played the 'official' course. Many people playing there had their own course laid out. One foursome was behind us about 3 holes then in front of us for a couple then we passed them on another hole---they were having great fun anyway.
I read were there is a lot of vandalism here...that's sad. It would be great to have a box with maps but the creeps would ruin that.
I did have a great round and a lot of fun. Will play it again when in Tacoma area.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: - Very 1990's layouts with some long straight drives most of the time.
- Only three or four holes that has elevations.
- Most of it are flat with some trees in play.
- Good concrete tees.
Cons: - Confusing for visiting players. Need locals to guide around.
- Where's the porta john?
- Very old 1990's tee signs that needs to be updated. No "next tee" signs.
- Not all tees have benches.
- Cross-over fairways. Hated that!!
- Gets quite crowded on warm days or weekends. Most of them are just bunch of newbies.
Other Thoughts: Nice place to go for making good long driving shots.
However, I was already confused on where is Hole 1 is at and which is North and South courses. Need course map for both courses.
Cross-over fairways are one of my pet peeves. I almost got hit from tee #1 when I'm shooting from the tee #10 (?) nearby #1 basket.
I don't mind to visit there again when they fix up the course to be more user-friendly.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Print and bring a map
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Plenty of Parking
-Port-a-potties on site
-Good pads, baskets and tee signs.
- *LOTS* of practice baskets!
- Field on site for field work.
- Disc sales on site (mobile vendor)
- Well taken care of course. Little/no litter/graffitti/vandalism (YEAH!!!)
- Active club/events
Cons: - No/Few trash cans on course. Pack it out.
- Hole 1 not real easy to find for visitors.
- Navigation from Hole 12 to 13 is still tricky
- Benches are lacking.
- No running water (Bring plenty!)
Other Thoughts: Revising my review from 2011 due to many improvements made to the course which addressed many of my original 'Cons'.
(Namely vandalism/graffitti, trash, and navigation issues) Moving from 3.5 stars to 4.0.
There are 3 'official' courses at 'Stilly' - two *VERY* good 18 hole courses (NW and SE) and a good 9 hole course ("Ray's Nine"). This review is for the NW 18 hole course. The parking for this course is in the gravel parking lot adjacent to the field in front of the port-a-pottie. Parking is plentiful and I've never had or heard of issues with break ins, but as always you should hide any valuables and lock up your vehicle. The NW course is more wooded, a little shorter and a little more technical than the SE course. Of the two 18 hole courses, If I could only play one, it would be NW due to the scenery (Sgt's Grove is awesome!), elevation, and technicality (vs the challenge of pure length on the SE course).
Hole one is a little hard to find for first timers, (From the parking lot it's across the road to the right, tucked into the blackberry). Course Navigation has been greatly improved with good laminated paper signs posted on posts at every tee box. Most baskets (but not all) have a 'next tee' marker or sign somewhere close to the basket, greatly improving navigation. Contrary to what other reviewers have said, in it's current layout there are no fairway crossovers and tee pads are far enough away from them that errant discs are not a concern. Tee pads are all concrete, large and generally pointing in the right direction towards the baskets. There has been a lot of work done on this course over the past two years - and it shows. There are two new holes (11 and 12) which are very well designed and add a lot to the course. The course plays very fair, with several longer holes to stretch out your distance drivers, lots of 320-360' par 3's, and very few flat out ace runs. It's a difficult course that will test your mettle and make you a better player. This course is good enough on it's own, but when you add the SE course and the 9 hole Seick course, Stilly is quickly turning into a world class destination disc golf park. Keep up the great work Huckers!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 10 Not
Pros: My home course for 12 yrs. Played it 300+ days a year since 1st time playing disc. Unlimited # of holes and tees...so much you can play around other groups by making your own course. Endless possibilites to cater too time and player restraints. Sgts Grove rules.
Cons: more and more people and vandlism
0 of 10 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 7 Not
Tons of holes!
Pros: Tons of holes, massive variety of shots and elevation. Very well maintained. Great fun for all levels of ability.
Cons: Can get pretty crowded on nice days considering this is one of the best courses in the state. The massive amount of holes makes it hard to figure out which 18 belong together and in what order,
Other Thoughts: Love this place!
0 of 7 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I traveled in from Illinois and found this course here on DGCR. There are a huge number of holes here. I played 27 holes and I know I did not throw at every basket I saw! Every place I tee'd from was concrete. They use the terrain in an outstanding manner. They use the vegitation and elevation at every opportunity. Many holes to challeng all levels of play. There were also benches in many locations, a great place to take a breather as you try to play all these holes.
Cons: Signage and Maps! if you are a "Noob" to the course there is no way to be able to follow the course. There are many differeent styles of baskets, not a big con but I like seeing the same style of basket on a course. Basket #s very few have numbers on them and there are several holes where there are multipule baskets in view from the tee that could be used and no way to determine which one is the correct one. There was an unsual amount of trash on the course and few places to dispose of it. They also have different course lay outs that use the same baskets, you can end up crossing eachothers paths during play or playing the same baskets from different tees at the same time.
Other Thoughts: The local players have a gold mine here. So many holes to play from so many different tees. I gave it a middle of the road rating but it would be very easy to increase it. Better signs, course maps, get it cleaned up. If it had those 3 things, it could easily be a 4.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 12 Not
Pros: Big. Big enough to handle a lot of people. Cement tees at every tee. Great place for everyone. There is even a practice put basket right at the start.
Cons: Ray isn't there every day.
Confusing the first time.
0 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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