3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Let me start with praising the local scene. From watching/stalking them via Facebook over the last month, they are the epitome of how a disc golf club should operate. They welcome the new players and the out-of-towners with open arms (Thomas from the club literally picked me up AT MY HOTEL LOBBY 20 minutes away from the course and invited me into his home before guiding me through a course and dropping me off...how many people in your local club would do that for a stranger if you're honest?). Just watching their posts reminds you of yourself when you first discovered the game. And mind you, it isn't easy to play on this island (more to come). I find myself complaining when 2-3 holes on one of many local PERMANENT courses are closed, but the obstacles that these guys overcome on a daily basis to play some golf truly makes me reconsider how lucky I am (to be fair, being in paradise can't hurt their mood!).
Let's talk about the positives of the course briefly...there is a good mix of RHBH hyzers, anhyzers, and the always fun ace runs. Although there are literally zero open holes, every route was fair if you can hit your line. Distance is appropriate given the tight fairways, although a good drive on any hole can give you the opportunity for a deuce.
Cons: So, you'll notice I only gave this a 3 despite my raving review about the local scene. As much fun as I had and as badly as I'd like to return, to be consistent regarding my ratings of other courses, I still have to be realistic. Let's start by calling a spade a spade: it is a temporary course. I don't mean that the club installs 18 temporary baskets, plays, then removes the baskets. I mean that in my sole experience, we had one basket...so we would place it at hole 1, then play hole 1; place the basket at hole 2, then play hole 2; and so on. This adds considerable time and walking to your round, but there IS a bright side for first-timers to this course...you literally walk the fairway up and back before you throw it on each hole, so you can't complain about "blind" shots. Also, there are only a handful of holes over 300 feet so it's not like you're walking back and forth THAT far.
Next, some of the holes play back and forth along the same fairway, meaning you play down a tunnel and then back up it for the next hole. Sometimes this can be a completely different shot, but in some cases it is a bit...familiar. Which leads me to my next "con".
While I feel that the designer made wonderful use of the land at his disposal, it's the same type of tree/bush/hill throughout the course.
Let me be clear about these cons...at some courses you dock points due to not having certain aspects (benches, trash cans, whatever). In this case I am not docking them points; I simply don't feel that I can ADD any more for them. Most of these cons are beyond the control of the club and once you play here you will appreciate their hard work.
Other Thoughts: I hope you have the opportunity to play this course! The locals still meet at 3 on Fridays, so I would recommend planning on that. As I was just a passenger, it seemed very confusing to navigate up the mountain, so make sure you have clear directions or a GPS before you try. I highly recommend finding this club on Facebook first to see what other rounds are available to meet your schedule. Enjoy the ace runs, remember that you are playing in freaking Hawaii, and be sure to request that you play hole 18 in the D position! Mahalo to the crew out there, keep up the great work!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Waahila Ridge aka Hila Monster
Pros: Located over 1,000 feet above sea level on an old volcanic ridge and surrounded by massive Norfolk and Cook Pines, this eighteen hole course is like no other on the Hawaiian Islands. Although Hila Monster is not permanent, locals gather weekly to play this game we love, often times carrying portable baskets from hole to hole.
The layout is pretty "regular" with the exception of alternate pin placements, only periodically changing some of the holes for special events or when locals are looking to change it up. Holes range anywhere from 135-350 feet (with most on the shorter side), are all wooded to tightly wooded, and incorporate some sort of elevation. There are no holes that require a lot of power but precision is a must, as nearly every hole is a tunnel shot.
There are very few chances to lose a disc since the ground is naturally bare but there are some drop-offs that, at times, can be unforgiving. Because the course is up in the mountains the terrain is not your typical Hawaiian grass/sand park so it will require a solid pair of shoes to help with footing. It is also at least ten degrees colder at the top which makes it ideal to play on those hot afternoons. There are some basic amenities in the park including a restroom, trash cans, and two pavilions. Mountain bikers are typically out there too so when you are throwing just be on the lookout as they fly through there on their way to the bottom. And if you see a Spanish Rooster walking around...just know it's there for moral support!
Although listed as permanent, the course MUST be played on a Friday at 3pm if you are from out of town. Tree targets and tee pads can be found if you know where to look, but often blend in to the environment (green twine) and are really intended more for local use. So if you are unable to make it for the weekly I suggest trying another course.
As my fellow diamond reviewer Olorin stated in his stellar review, the holes tend to feel a bit monotonous and congested at times. In a few areas there are some crossing fairways that usually are not an issue but the day I was playing there was literally a record crowd. However, since it was just a casual round in paradise it was not an issue.
I have been coming to Oahu for years since I have family here, and yet this was the first time I had been up Waahila Ridge. I played in a monthly with Alan, the course designer, years back and had been in contact since then but just couldn't ever make it work with our busy schedules. I was elated that I finally got the chance to see him again and play Hila knowing how much blood, sweat, and tears had gone into the making and sustaining of this course by the locals. I have had the privilege to play in 13 states, 3 countries, and over 180 courses and yet every time I get back to the islands I play with some of the most down to earth locals I have ever been in contact with. They are passionate and friendly, always welcoming outsiders to join in on one of their casual or monthly rounds. What makes Oahu unlike any of the other islands is the diversity of local and military players from all walks of life who come together for one common purpose...disc golf. I always feel blessed to have the chance to meet both old and new friends every time I set foot in Hawaii.
Also, the views from up top of St. Louis Heights are some of the very best on the island. I was in awe of the amazing views of Diamond Head, Waikiki, and then some. The locals are very fortunate to have such a hidden gem tucked away in the mountains of Oahu and I can only hope that one day this course truly becomes a permanent fixture for DGers on the island. They deserve it!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 2 Not
No DG in Hawaii
Pros: You're in Hawaii. We did find some of the hole layouts and threw (nonexistent) tee - to (nonexistent) basket just to say we did it.
Cons: Somehow I missed reading Olorin's review before we left for Oahu. Had I read it, we could have saved the luggage space we used for discs. Going by the course description as "permanent", I expected it to be marked and have baskets. The course description needs to be changed, this is not a permanent course. No local players were present when we finally got there after riding/pushing bikes up the 3 mile climb through St. Louis Heights to get to Waahila Ridge recreation area. Several inquiries around Waikiki found no one who knew what DG was, much less anything about the course. We're older than typical disc'ers and don't have all the connections a college-age person would, but everywhere else we've been we can find young people who know about the local courses and are willing to give directions to a wacky middle-aged couple, while we found the local young people to be friendly, they knew nothing about disc golf.
Other Thoughts: Waahila Ridge is a kind of multiple-use state rec. area, if there is a place in Hawaii perfectly suited to building an actual DG course, this is it. It would be nice if travel and tourism folks would recognize the draw a real DG course in the islands could be and supported this. Worth a visit for anyone in the Honolulu/Waikiki area, there are some nice views from St. Louis Heights and at the rec. area, and the bicycle ride back down the hill was fun if a little hard on the rental's thankfully very good brakes.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
19 Helpful / 0 Not
NOTE: You have to understand that on O'ahu there are almost insurmountable roadblocks that prohibit any permanent courses from being installed, therefore the island players can only do the best that they can under these conditions. With this in mind, my review criteria are much different than they normally are. Because of the unique circumstances on O'ahu I gave this course lots of grace, and my rating was also higher than a comparable course on the mainland would be. Hey, just being in Hawaii bumps it up!
There are no tees marked, no permanent basket locations, no signs, no hole lengths, no maps... but the alternative is to have no disc golf here at all, so I'm happy just to have a place to throw discs in Hawaii. If this course ever becomes permanent I'll rate it much higher.
You have to play this course by going with locals who show you where to tee off and then someone runs ahead and places a temporary basket. It's not ideal, but it works, and makes it possible to play disc golf on gorgeous terrain. The layout we played was as close to the "standard" layout as you can get.
*Terrain- I look for new and distinctive terrain and that's what this course has. Being way up high on a old volcano ridge there were mostly evergreen trees, including Norfolk Island Pine and Cook Pine. I loved it! There are 18 woods holes, but I never tired of the awesome foliage and hills.
*Very friendly local players- you absolutely MUST have a guide to show you the course. Without one it's completely impossible to play this course. Fortunately the local players are passionate about disc golf and very friendly and helpful to first timers.
*Elevation changes abound. 1 Flat/ 5 Up/ 12 Down. Lots of fun downhill shots.
*Fairway shape variety- there's a pretty good balance of straight, left, right, and S shaped fairways. 8 Straight/ 3 Left/ 6 Right/ 1 S shape. Even though they're not allowed to cut trees the fairways are still nicely defined.
*There's a very basic restroom and a few park trash cans around too.
*There were wild chickens running around free that were pretty cool too.
Well... umm... some may consider having no permanent baskets, no permanent tees, and no signs to be drawbacks, but hey I can live without those things.
-Fairway shape variety: maybe there are just a few too many straight holes and it could use a few more dogleg left shots.
-Rough. It's really thick in some spots, but they're not allowed to clear any of it.
-It could use some amenities like a better map, but you can't have those without a permanent course.
Course Level = probably White
~To get to the course you drive up a very steep winding hill that's an interesting trip.
~Make sure to bring bug spray.
Although many people will envision the ocean when they think about Hawaii, there is also mountainous terrain way up on the old volcanoes. This is a woods course on a mountain ridge, so make sure you know what you're getting into. All of the Hawaii players that I've met have been really nice guys, but I congratulate the guys I played with for developing this course, and I'm grateful for their hospitality in showing me around. This was my favorite of the 3 Oahu courses that I've played. If I could only choose one course on Oahu then I'd definitely play here again first. If only this course could be permanent some day! I'd recommend it for a unique experience, and I can't wait to go back and play it again!
A note about my rating:
My rating is a subjective measure of my enjoyment
of the course, on the day I played it, and it is NOT intended to be a measure of the quality
of the course. My Enjoyment Ratings are given "on the curve" in relation to all other courses I've played.
You can also read more of my review philosophy and rating notes at Disc Golf Course Reviews
I'm always trying to improve my reviews, so if you mark this review unhelpful or you find a mistake, please send me a personal message here on DGCR to tell me what is wrong with it. I'll be grateful for the feedback.
19 of 19 people found this review helpful.
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