4 Helpful / 5 Not
A Rough Draft of a Course
Pros: Oregon country west of Portland is a pretty place, with rolling hills covered by a patchwork matrix of young trees of different ages/heights painted on different portions of the landscape. It is almost always cloudy, and rains a lot, but very green and lush as a result.
The creators of this course appear to have had a mostly blank slate to work with in a fairly young (60-ish years?) forest of almost 100% fir trees (a few juvenile hardwood stands can be found here and there). They carved out a network of trails through the fir trees in the usual way, and left the stumps in the walking paths (presumably to mitigate erosion), and called it "trail-based disc golf."
I love this concept, and I think it has a lot of potential. Some of the holes on this course (particularly the back 9) will eventually become very fun and challenging, and you can get a preview of this while playing out there in the next few years.
This is generally a fun place to spend a day, there are nice park amenities near the 1st tee, a bathroom, bbq pits, etc.. Walking the course is not a problem, just a short hike around a hillside area.
Cons: The edges of the tee pads dangerous and slippery when wet! Watch out! They are bordered by some sort of treated wood or synthetic plastic wood that is very smooth. I highly recommend that you don't put your plant foot too close to the front of the pad...you could seriously break your head open.
The front 9 were all set up extremely short. It was really unpleasant to play this way, because the short positions are like 100' off the tee! And it was relentless, we kept coming to the next tee hoping to find it set up longer, just to be disappointed again and again and again. It made these holes into essentially narrow and short upshots down the trail. But I'm not sure that if they were all set in the longer positions that I'd be any more satisfied, since the posts marking the long positions were only typically 50 or so feet further back than the short. There is absolutely no question that the front 9 are way too short. The designers might be able to add longer positions over time, but until they do this is the very definition of "putt putt" disc golf.
The back 9 have enormous potential for great holes, but the way the fairways are cut (elbows, semi-circles, doglegs, etc.) requires shots to be thrown higher with some air under them to work the necessary lines. However, the shaded (leafless) branches of the fir trees are left poking out into the fairways above 15' off the ground, making it a total crap shoot to throw a disc on higher routes through the fairways. This must be mitigated before this part of the course can be considered ready to play.
While this might just be a consequence of trail-based disc golf, there are rarely options to throw different routes to the basket, or to decide to take more risky shots but for more potential reward. Typically, there is only one path, and the course designers already decided it for you. What is lost is the calculus of risk-vs-reward that is so essential to the idea of golf in general (particularly at the competitive level).
The signage on the course is in progress, but it would be really helpful if there were some sort of distance scale or something on the tee signs. Maybe the pin locations could be listed, along with their distances off the tee.
Other Thoughts: During the second round I decided to try and score well on the back 9 just to see how I could do (the 1st round was experimentation). Considering every hole to be par 3, I ended up with 5 pars, 3 bogeys, and 1 birdie (hole 18). It was pretty tough, considering my putting game was pretty strong during that round. I decided that quite a few of the back 9 holes have no chance for getting your drive to the pin for an inside-the-circle birdie. Mostly any birdies will be hitting longer approach shots (around 60'). On the other hand, I can pick up 7-8 birdies on the front 9, so scoring under par over all 18 is relatively easy (but only for this reason).
If I lived out in this area, I would gladly pitch in to the effort of further developing this course. There is still a ton of debris to be cleared (can it be mulched and spread on the trails?). On some of the holes and paths I can already foresee that erosion might eventually become a serious problem on portions of the course, and perhaps retaining walls and more stairs will need to be built.
Over all, if you've played all the other great courses in the region, and you're looking for something fresh, then come play this course. Otherwise, don't waste your time just yet.
4 of 9 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 1 Not
Scenic but Pretty Rough
Pros: My reviews mostly will be focusing on the overall experience of the courses rather than hole-by-hole analysis.
First of all, the course was most definitely abundant with trees, plant life, and a winding trail to walk on. This makes for a scenic walk through the forest.
The course will reward you for technical skills when it comes to picking what discs to use, what throwing styles to use, and how to weave through the trees.
There are a lot of varieties with how the hole designs are planned out. Some are uphill, downhill, or with rather extreme doglegs, and there aren't a lot of repetitive layout designs for the holes. It makes for an interesting experience not quite knowing what to expect the next hole will bring you.
Cons: The bad aspects with this course has more to do with the fact that it's too tough for most of the recreational players, and it's too "rough" to casually enjoy the course with a reasonable time frame.
I think it will be required to have all eyes fixed on every throw made in your group to ensure that everyone doesn't lose their discs in the "rough." The rough is everywhere, and for many of the holes, the fairway is very narrow. While I understand that the state park wants to make the course as natural as possible, but it makes it very difficult to find the discs in the forest.
Couple of hole designs baffle me a bit. I can't remember which hole it was, but there was one C-shaped hole that I absolutely did not like. It had an extreme dogleg to the right that it makes the hole seem to be shaped like the letter C.
Other Thoughts: I'm not so sure if I will come back to this course again, but it sure is a nice place to go if you'd like to combine two activities: mountain biking and disc golfing in the same day.
This course had enough character and challenges that it certainly can be enjoyable for many of you, but I don't think I can warrant giving this course a score of higher than 3, because there are a lot of other courses I have played that are more enjoyable and provides enough challenges for the more advanced players.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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