Quite an adventure
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This course is one of the more adventurous places I've played. It's a major hike over mountainous terrain just to navigate the course, and you can add even more hiking and climbing if you're not hitting your lines. Throughout the course there are great views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, and a couple spots have views down toward Lake Tahoe. This course is worth the stop just for the beautiful hike.
Elevation is one of the main obstacles here, with some big shots up and down the mountain. The uphill shots are pretty brutal, and make you figure out how to get distance without getting the nose up. The downhill shots are a lot of fun, especially hole 3 which is a huge bomb off the top of the mountain. It's always fun to have the chance to throw a disc 500'+ off a hill and get to watch the whole flight. Smaller elevation comes into play throughout as well with rock piles and smaller hills on many holes, and rollaway potential around a few greens.
There is some real distance variation here, from ace runs to big par 4 holes that require a couple good drives to get to the pin. There are a couple creeks in strategic places that add some fun OB potential. The rock piles and brush make you pay if you miss your landing zone, and a couple holes have cliffs that mean a big climb down and a tough shot back up if you go over so there's some fun risk/reward decisions.
Cons: The course mostly plays very straight. There are some nice technical lines to hit, but not a lot of interesting bending shots. The majority of the wooded holes offer lines that only turn slightly at the end. As fun as hole 3 is, it's also pretty dangerous as it shoots directly over multiple other fairways. A hiking path cuts through several holes, and there are some big blind shots that can easily crash down on unsuspecting walkers. Some areas of the course are pretty overgrown, so it can be easy to lose discs even on a good shot down the fairway. The three holes up on top of the hill are throwaways with no obstacles or challenge at all.
Navigation is pretty rough here. There are no tee signs, and the tees and baskets aren't numbered. This makes it tough to know if you're on the right tee or shooting to the right basket, and there are places where multiple tees or pins are in the same area. There are some really long walks between holes which adds to the navigation difficulties even with the course map. A guide would be really helpful here.
Other Thoughts: This is not a beginner course, with big length, elevation, wind and rough. A newer player without much distance or control is going to be really frustrated here. Experienced players are going to find some really fun shots and some interesting challenges, though it doesn't fully test the full range of your technical skills.
If you play here, be prepared for a huge hike over rough terrain. This certainly isn't a city park course. It's an even bigger walk if you avoid the (exorbitant in my opinion) $29 fee to take the gondola to the top. You can ride down for free if you do hike up, and the walk is a really nice one along a mountain stream and over some boulder fields.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Not for the faint of heart
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Beautiful scenery
Cons: Access is limited to a $30+ tram ride or a 2 hour hike
Challenging course, over the top challenging
Not beginner or family friendly
Other Thoughts: I think the course designer and Squaw Valley missed the mark on this course. They've built an epic course for fit, pro-level disc golfers after a challenge to their physical and throwing skills in an area that is mostly frequented by tourists, casual disc golfers and families on vacation looking for something fun and unique to do outdoors.
Much like the other reviewers, I witnessed groups that disappeared on the course. There were some teenagers behind us that did not finish their round. Heading from 17 to 18 we let a two-some pass us and they skipped hole 18 - I guess they had enough. We also ran in to a two-some who were throwing at #17's basket thinking it was #3. They had one disc each and no provisions - I actually felt sorry for them. They didn't realize they were heading in to "Survivor: Squaw Valley DG Edition".
So seriously, why not make a family friendly course in this beautiful setting that will attract people to the sport instead of making them regret their decision to try DG that day?
I live within an hour of this course and play 3+ times a week. I MIGHT come back next season, but there are so many Tahoe area courses that are free and easily accessible that it's a hard sell.
I would suggest you play this course if you are after a really unique DG experience and have the money and time to spare.
Some tips for enjoying your round of extreme DG at Squaw Valley:
Allow four hours for your round
Bring water and snacks
Wear hiking boots, preferably with gaters
Bring a couple of throw away drivers for hole #3
Bring a course map
Bring a couple of hardy friends who have good attitudes
Look up from your round every once in a while and enjoy the view
Please yield to hikers - what, you're in a hurry, on THIS course?
Feeling agro? Hike to High Camp from the Village, then play 18. The tram ride DOWN is FREE.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Epic Destination Course
Pros: -BIG Boy Course (Some holes definitely seemed longer than what's stated on the map)
-Serious, serious variety
-Rubber tees and tee signs
-Big arrows everywhere telling you where to go
Cons: Big arrows everywhere telling you where to go are ugly and unnatural
-DGA Baskets (more about this later)
-Tram Schedule makes it difficult to play more than once
-Serious problems if you get injured
-Course Flow: 1, 2, and 18 don't match the rest of the course at all. The 3 up top should be extended into a 9 hole executive course for the High Camp Tourists, and 3 holes should be added to the insane-o course on the mountain. They would compliment each other nicely.
Other Thoughts: Squaw Valley DGC is located at 'High Camp' in the most alpine setting you can find in California for a disc golf course. Scattered pines dot the granite covered region, with various vegetation covering any ground that isn't granite. The course works its way down what is considered black diamond runs at the Squaw Valley Resort.
The sheer size of the course is something that really needs to be mentioned to emphasize the difficulty of this place. Unlike most courses, it begins at it's highest elevation and works its way down and back up to the 'High Camp.' In fact, the vast majority of this elevation loss occurs at hole 3, where you not only walk down a steep hill to get to the tee, the hole itself loses about 300 (?) feet of elevation. This is the point where we noticed many at the high camp deciding that maybe hanging out at the pool is a better idea. We saw several people venture down this hill (which, by the way, you literally slide on your ass down), and never saw them again. We saw a kid with a grandfather and no water, and never saw them again the rest of the day....once you play hole 3 there is no turning back.
Holes 1, 2, and 18 are all basically flat and rocky and exist at the main high camp area, and are all visible from the tram station. Hole 3's tee is directly DOWN the hill from 2's basket, and is where the true adventure begins. 3 is probably the biggest hole I have played, with such a large spray zone at the bottom that I knew better than to throw any more than one disc. The course then works its way to the right of hole 3, around this granite outcropping that defines the 'center' of the course.
So by hole 4, you have realized that the course has worked its way all the way back down to the elevation of the first tramway tower, and you may be thinking to yourself 'the rest of the course is going to be uphill!' The course in fact remains full of variety, with ups downs valleys and ridges. The combination of extreme terrain with trees is one of the most intense displays of fairway development I have seen outside of maybe Diamond X in Montana. The granite rocks create a fast roller-generating ground near the pins but the regular forest ground exists as well, bringing the disc to a complete stop. Shot selection and keeping the disc in the air is of utmost importance.
As you wind around the valley that the course exists in playing all of these incredible holes, you really get a solitary feel and understand what makes this place unique. You are alone down here and it's nothing but you, your team, and the sport. I don't recall any holes under 300 feet but they may have existed. Some of the uphill holes were brutal, particularly a par 4 with a dogleg through this mess of woods and boulders.
Hole 7 looks like a dogleg to the left, the sign says its a dogleg to the left, and the neon pink flag you see in the distance is out to the left, but this is not the case. It's the other basket dead ahead down the hill with no flag. That other basket is hole 8. This brings up my point about DGA baskets...I'm not sure if North Tahoe got some kind of deal on these but man, they make pin-finding difficult for first time players. The pink flags were nice, but in situations where they didn't exist we couldn't find the pin. The difference between playing here and Kirkwood was like night and day without the yellow bands. All alpine courses should have DISCatchers...the yellow band is a great tool for not only easily finding the basket, but for determining exactly how far it is. And plus, who really enjoys all of those DGA spillouts anyway.
Hole 17 plays up a hill and leaves you about 150' in elevation from the top of the hill. Partial relief sets in as you realize that the course is not going to force you to throw all the way to the top of the rim, which to me would be a pretty sad and anti-climactic ending. Instead, you can take the trail up to the high camp (or just shoot straight up the hill if you feel so inclined), and you can play hole 18 when you eventually arrive at the top and catch your breath.
Locals told us 'Oh, you won't want to play Squaw more than once' and they were right. I would have loved to play the whole thing again, but the dramatic elevation loss that occurs on hole 3 is truly exhausting and deters a second round. Additionally, we took 3+ hours to play the course and the tram is only open for 6, so any lost discs or anything like that on the second round would have to be abandoned.
While I know my review reads more like a disclaimer than a review, I have to say that this course was truly epic and one of a kind. I have never felt more satisfied dropping $29 on one round of golf than I was here...they certainly give you quite the workout, and the memories to go with it. It is not a bad idea to purchase the pool option with your lift ticket. We didn't, but man after hiking around those hills that was one of the most refreshing looking pools I have ever seen. As far as vacation planning around Tahoe, this course should not be missed as it truly defines the region. Plan for one round and maybe another at Bijou or Incline Village afterwards. I rated this course 4 stars because it is epic in every sense of the word, yet it is not really accessible and I honestly don't see many people wanting to play it more than once or twice a year, even if they were local. BRING A MAP!
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: -Beautiful scenic views of squaw valley at 8,500 feet
-Crazy elevation changes that leave you guessing
-Very Quiet and never crowded
-Tee signs w/ distance for each hole
-A disc golf course like no other
Cons: -Thin air and pretty steep hiking make for a tiring round. (bring food and water)
-No signs for 'next tee'
-The gondola cost approximately 30$ to ride up to the course.
Other Thoughts: Hiking to the course is possible I did it in about 3 hours, but too exhausted to play a round. You can take the gondola down for free though. If you like to hike and shoot disc i'd say overall a beautiful, serene, amazing course.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: - expert level disc golf for those who like it raw
- incredible alpine scenery at 8200' of surrounding mountains
- challenges throughout the course: granite boulders, trees, drastic elevation changes
- a huge 1000' huck off a ledge, many fun ace runs, well designed hazards.
- the epic nature of playing way up on a mountain
Cons: - the course is a work in progress. For those who like a more manicured experience, wait a couple of years until the concrete tees are poured, trails better defined, and next tee signs are installed.
- the climb from 17-18 will turn off a lot of folks, especially that close to being done. While I like hole 16, it may make better sense to design two uphill holes (16 tee to 17 pin? and then a new 17?) to gain the ridge.
Other Thoughts: I can see the complainers are already rolling regarding this course. You should know what you're getting into before paying the fee to take the cable car: nasty disc golf at its best. You will likely lose a disc or two if you don't use spotters. You will have to be in at least decent shape to navigate the course. Take your time, bring plenty of food and water. Hydrate a lot: you're at altitude here. Most of all, enjoy the scenery and the challenge!
11 of 14 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Black diamond Disc Golf
Pros: Challenging course. Defined fairways. Very unique boulder outcroppings, Spectacular natural beauty, Well thought out design in relation to its very unique topography. Exceptional amenities at the High Camp. This is a one of a kind course that brings Disc Golf to the next level.
Cons: Natural tee pads, Cost for cable car ride or long walk to play it for free, Windy on top 3 holes, Hike between 17 & 18.
Other Thoughts: This could be the Best of the Best Course with rubber tee pads and once the trails are more broken in. This Disc Golf Course lives up to the Squaw Valley reputation of being spectacular and challenging. If you are an out of shape couch potato disc golfer, then you might want to go play the plethora of Green Dot or Blue Square (bunny hill) courses that are available, but if you are up for a challenge that will push your game to the next level, this Black Diamond course can not be beat. This course is a love it or hate it kind of course, just like the ski resort. This will be a destination Disc Golf Course and a special treat for those who are up for the challenge. No Whiners!
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 15 Not
Don't waste your money or time
Pros: I'm guessing the person who posted the first review works at Squaw, and their assignment on July 31 was to post really positive and totally undeserved comments about their new course. Because there is no way this place is a 4. 1.5 is generous. I played this on the same day we played Condon in Grass Valley and there is no comparison. We actually hustled to Squaw to get in a second round, but didn't even finish it was so wack. This place has a long way to go before it can ever be called "world class."
There aren't really any pros to speak of beyond the nice views and pretty wildflowers. Oh and we came after five so the gondola was only $12. It's a decent place to take a hike but not really ready for disc golf.
Cons: Where do I start?
*Tons of brush and rocky nocks and crannies that makes it super hard to find your disc
*Stupid design - badly laid out
*No tee pads
*Tons of walking and elevation gain -- more so than is really desirable.
*Did I mention it's windy and poorly laid out and it's impossible to find your disc and there's too much hiking and it's basically a stupid course that Squaw put at high camp so they can get more people to pay for the gondola
Other Thoughts: One of the best things about disc golf is that in general you don't have to pay. A course that costs $24 to get to has to be pretty amazing to compete with the other great courses in California (De La Vega, Novato, Napa, Condon). And Squaw isn't even close. Even if they put a ton of work into it -- tee pads, signage, etc. I still probably wouldn't pay because it's so easy to lose your disc. Also, I am somewhat doubtful that the average Squaw high camp tourist is going to want to play. I heard a mother talking about how she was going to play with her son. I literally can't imagine that happening.
5 of 20 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Amazing mountain course.
Pros: -Amazing setting, beautiful Forrest and granite outcropping with Lake Tahoe in the back ground.
-Most elevation unique course in Northern California I would say. Hole #3 makes 27 at De La Veaga look like child's play. Almost all holes have elevation change.
-Nice baskets, and signs for each hole(although some holes don't have Distance or par listed yet).
Cons: -It cost $24 for a ticket to high camp on the cable car. Basically making this a very expensive pay to play course.
-Not a beginner friendly course.
-not for anyone with any type of physical limitations.
-Natural Tee pads.
Other Thoughts: -Wind can make play CRAZY. Especially on #'s 1,2,3,7.
-Playing above 8000' effects stability!
-Mosquitoes are evil creatures, bring bug spray. They will bother you even mid day. Other then that, no other dangerous bugs or plants.
-Course was installed weekend of July 24-25 2010, so its very new. Trails are hardly established, but there are markers to each tee.
-This course is the most extreme physically challenging course you can find. You start at High camp 8200' and play down towards Shirley lake. You basically play down to about 7400' I would say. Then you have to make your way back up the mountain on the back 9. Physically challenging, you will see what I mean. Fairways are uncleared Forrest, so sometimes walking around or searching for your disc can be very challenging.
-This course took 2 of us over 3 and a half hours to play. Bring lots of water and food, BUT PACK OUT YOUR TRASH! There are no trash cans on the course, and there should not have to be.
-Spot where your disc lands well.
-Despite how it may sound I give this course a solid 4 out of 5, even with natural tees and incomplete signs.
-Get a map of the course before you play.
-Holes 3, 7 and 18 are Par 4's, good players should eagle #3. Hole #3 is an incredible, 1060' Down hill shot.
-This course is very Unique I cant stress that enough.
-Dedicate the day to this, you will be tired after 18.
-Just one of 7 amazing Tahoe area courses.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
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