Bucket list ticked off!
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Reviewing a couple of years after the fact as I've finally decided to start getting some down on paper - some memories are a bit hazy (including the date played)
Selah was a bucket list course, I have played a few other Houck designs but this was the one I wanted to play more than ever, especially hole 7, pictures of which had me salivating.
I spent a few days on this incredible ranch with some friends staying on site and had an fantastic time playing Lakeside and Creekside all day long. I've only reviewed Lakeside as Creek is a bit hazy in the memory! (some beer may have been consumed)
There is a lovely mix of holes at Lakeside, no two are the same. I'm a fan of par 4 golf (when done well) and the par 4's and even 5's (always a little dubious about disc golf par 5's but these nail it) are excellent, incredibly well crafted, you can tell how much thought went into each hole and placement.
Hole 7 lived up to all my expectations, we played reds and blues and this hole was just perfectly placed for both. First round on the blue it tempted and teased me into going for the three and promptly swallowed my disc! Further rounds I was more circumspect playing safer routes for the 4's and 5's but even playing safely each shot you take is a challenge.
I liked the much maligned hole 14, great tee shot options and by the end of the time there I was starting to work out which were giving me consistently better looks. (we threw a lot of discs)
Terrain away from the lakes isn't the greatest but the Holes are designed beautifully to make full use of what is there.
I found myself using just about every shot in the bag and enjoyed throwing the lines so much, I would throw another and another (I came back with a few less discs than I started, although did restock in the pro shop)
Lived up to just about all my expectations.
I'm putting price in to play as a pro here, I would have paid more. Happy to pay for this level of facility and still doesn't compare to what I used to pay for ball golf.
Cons: You had to use the carts. Don't get me wrong, I like the chance to use carts but having to use them I'm not so keen on . They're not cheap and once the novelty has worn off I don't really enjoy playing from a cart. I love walking and disc golf is a walk enhanced, but the course is stretched out and if you want a few rounds a day in you will need them.
No toilets or anything out on the course - a couple of benches would be nice -and trash cans
Couple of holes were just a bit unmemorable, good holes and technically well designed, just hard to look back and be wowed by them. I've had to look back at pictures to jog the memory.
Navigation wasn't always the greatest although I hope that has been improved in the meantime, it was certainly talked about.
Other Thoughts: Delighted I got to play and had an amazing time.
Everything is screaming at me to give it five stars but the description of five stars is " There is absolutely nothing that could be done to improve the course. It is perfect in every possible way." and it's not quite. but only just not. I want to rate it at 4.9 as 4.5 seems harsh to what it was, the best fun with buddies of my disc golf career.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
From the Rec Player Perspective
17 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: My reviews for Creekside and Lakeside will have redundant content, I apologize but I want both reviews to be able to "stand alone". Many have reviewed these courses, the only unique perspective I have is that I'm not a very good disc golfer! I suspect most that make this pilgrimage are dedicated and talented players.
Selah Ranch has been my "Shangri-La" for several years. I'm an "older player" (60+) and never progressed beyond a middle of the pack recreational skill level. However, I am passionate about the sport. My concern was would Selah be a "rec friendly" great experience, or would it be too punishing for this old arm? I'm thrilled to say Selah was everything I had hoped it would be! The ranch is beautiful, the courses are a pure joy to play, and the hospitality of the ranch made for a uniquely wonderful disc golf adventure.
-The gasoline powered carts made it possible to get in a full round on both Creek Side and Lake Side in a single afternoon. I'm usually pretty sore and worn out these days when I play 36 holes in a day, I call those my "4 ADVIL" tournaments. With the carts I had no problem playing 36.
-Holes challenge both throwing skills and decision making. Risk/Reward options available on nearly every hole. Often multiple lines to the hole, overall favors no particular style. I play mostly RHFH, my son is almost exclusively RHBH, I don't think either of us had an advantage.
-Lakeside is a challenge for a Rec level player. Six of the holes play along the lake and are a constant concern for a rec player that occasionally sprays shots. I tended to get in trouble by being too conservative and throwing away from the water and catching trees on the other side of the fairway. Still, every hole a par was possible if I didn't do anything too dumb, make a horrible throw, or clank a short putt. Birdie chances were scarce, but when I made a good and smart throw I did have opportunities. Mess up, and bogey or worse was likely, though a few wayward drives left me with at least a chance to be creative and throw a desperation tomahawk to try a par save.
-Hole seven is as dramatic and photogenic a hole as I've seen in disc golf. The Rec player gets a generous 300' shortcut from the red tee, but it still will require that exciting throw over water to the island green. With some patients and control a rec player can minimize that water crossing to less than a 200' approach, but that takes some good shot making.
-Keep it out of the water and there's not too much chance of losing a disc. Keeping it out of the water may be more easily said than done especially if the wind comes up. Water risk can be mitigated by playing conservative unless you make one of those Risk / Reward "go for it" decisions. Hole #1 is a classic example. I had a "makeable" birdie putt from a bit outside the circle, but an overshoot was going straight in to the lake. My brain said go for it, but my arm must have been risk averse because my putt ended up on line but at least 5 feet short.
-Legitimate Par 4's and Par 5's. With these holes there are even more shot decisions to make, more options unfold as the hole plays out.
-Modern, quality, well maintained Innova Discatcher Pro baskets. Hardly worth mentioning here, it's fair to assume that EVERYTHING at Selah is first class.
-Fair greens, no gimmicky obstructions within the circle. Some placements close enough to water hazards to be a test of nerve but nothing unfair, at least when the wind isn't howling.
-Solid cement tee pads, adequate size though not huge. Clean, and well landscaped so there is no odd drop-offs that would impact run-up or follow-through.
-A decent Pro Shop, showers, and real bathrooms on site. Amenities approaching a quality ball-and-stick golf course.
- I understand that not every disc golfer will be willing/able to spend the money for greens fees, carts, and lodging at Selah Ranch, but for me the costs were very reasonable for experience. To compare this to ball golf, I received "Pebble Beach" quality for less than the cost of greens fees and a cart at my local municipal course.
-A cold winter day at Selah Ranch is warmer than what I'll see in New England until April.
Cons: As I stated, this is my Shangri-La, can there really be any cons? If I really have to come up with something:
- It's a huge East Texas Ranch... the wind can howl, thunderstorms can boil up at a moment's notice, summer heat and humidity can melt your favorite plastic, drenching rains can flood the creeks and gullies...Snakes, Scorpions, and other creepy-crawlies hide in the brush, bulls might charge, lightning, tornadoes, meteors threaten, oil wells could blow out, and there is a scary disclaimer to sign, though on the February day I played I didn't see anything more menacing the buzzard circling as a clanked my birdie putt attempt on #4. I'm not sure Selah is more dangerous than my local New England courses plagued with Lyme disease-carrying deer ticks.
-The Ranch is pretty remote, and though somehow mobile phone service was great everywhere on the course. Options for gasoline, food, beer are limited in Talco, basically just a gas station. Mt. Vernon is a few miles to the south and has much better food options, but don't assume anything will be open after your round.
-Without a cart, it's a long walk just to get to the first tee from the pro shop, though Lakeside starts and finishes fairly close to the Main House. It's quite a hike to play to get around Lakeside, with no place to sit and no drinking water available on the course. Rent the cart, it's well worth it, especially in the warmer months, which I understand can be every month but January and February.
-If you are walking, navigation takes some effort since tees are not always visible from the last basket. With a cart, it's not an issue, you'll find the tee pretty quickly.
Other Thoughts: I dragged my family 400 miles out the way so I could tick this place off my bucket list. I'm grateful they indulged me. I only had a single afternoon before we turned the car northward on our way back to Chicago, then home New England. I had time to play both courses, but not enough time to soak up all that the ranch has to offer. With Trey Ranch "just down the road", I'm sure I could have spent several blissful days here. I hope to return soon for a longer stay.
On the mid-week February day I played the course it was pretty deserted. I realize this place is remote, but I would really love to see more vibrancy to this place. It truly deserves the support of the disc golf community.
So are the Selah Ranch courses the best I've ever played? I live less than an hour from Maple Hill, and I've been lucky enough to play Nantucket, some great courses in Vermont and the coast of Maine, and even got to play the nearly completed Frost Valley course in New York. Is the Beatles 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' a better album than the Stones 'Exile on Main St'? Is Beethoven's Ninth better than Mozart's Jupiter Symphony? That's the great thing, we get to enjoy it all.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
Believe the hype!
15 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Part of me feels like this review isn't even necessary. Yea, just another 5/5 review, we get it....but it's the culmination of these 5/5's which helped propel Selah to the front of the pack, so i feel obligated.
I'm gunna take a minute to beat an old cliche to death. You'll use every shot in your bag. Yea yea, I know, but seriously it's true. Not counting my backup discs, I can only think of 2 of my discs that I DIDN'T tee off with. The course is very well-rounded and will require you to be the same.
The thing that sticks out to me about LS is just how demanding it is. Not only are the holes long, but they require placement as well. Every single birdie on LS has to be earned, nothing is a gimmie, not even the par 5's. For example, if my drive on hole 7(island) would've been about 5 feet to the left I could've had a shot at eagle. Instead I was forced to lay up and took a par(5). My advice is to use the cart to scope out the hole really quickly before throwing. This will help you find lines and landing spots very quickly before playing the first time.
To expand on the variety that is required, you still will feel like you have more than one option on almost every hole. Even the short wooded holes have a couple of lines you COULD take if so inclined.
After playing CS first, I was hoping LS would have more wooded shots, and it did. No course can be "perfect" or the #1 in the world without a good mixture of open/wooded. I think Open/Wooded mixture is the most important metric for a course to be "perfect".
There was still plenty of variety in hole length on LS. Some holes were under 300, even from blues, while some pushed close to 1000'. Don't think this is a course where a small arm can't compete. Perfect placement will allow anyone to win out here.
The amenities were more than ample, but not perfect (as you can see in my cons). The tee pads were plenty big enough, two per hole with very nice signs at each tee. There's also a pro shop on site, you'll get scorecards for each course, have a place to buy plastic and also rent a golf cart! The revolution has begun, ladies and gentlemen! These types of amenities is what it will take to push our game to the next level.
Cons: In order to provide some constructive criticism, it's necessary for me to list some cons even though the course has received a perfect score. There are always things to improve on and my cons could provide the owners something to consider for the future.
Firstly, I think the biggest thing lacking on both Selah courses are benches/seating. This isn't necessarily a con if you have a cart like I did, but in a tournament situation where not everyone has a cart, a course this nice absolutely has to have seating for those long rounds. To be the #1 rated course in the world, I think you should have ample seating at every tee pad.
Secondly, there are a few places where there isn't a clear direction to take when you finish a hole. There were seemingly plenty of navigation signs on the longer "walks" but even some of the shorter transitions can be slightly confusing. This occurs mostly in the wooded holes where there are multiple paths you could take. Again, this isn't a huge issue in reality since you'll undoubtedly have a map on the scorecard, but something to consider.
My last two complaints can't really be helped at this point, but if I'm pointing out flaws I might as well go all in:
Thirdly, you have to cross over #1's fairway when you finish hole 17. While this usually won't pose an issue on a private course, during a tournament it could. There was a sign there indicating the crossover so you should really never get hit. I understand why the crossover is necessary to let hole 18 finish by the lake.
Lastly, and probably the most trivial of my complaints, is that the course is not a two 9-hole loop design. Usually this would be a pretty big deal, especially on a course this long, but here it actually should never matter and here's why: 1) The parking lot isn't even at the LS course, so it would defeat the purpose of the two-loop design (to be able to refuel between 9's) even if it existed. 2) You'll likely have a golf cart anyway, which means two things; You probably won't NEED to refuel and even if you did, you could just stock up the cart!
To address the elephant in the room (cost of the cart), I'll just say that you'll want a cart when you play here. If you're going to make a trip out to Selah and play all day, why you'd waste time walking around when you could get more golf in is beyond me. This isn't meant to be your weekly course, but a special occasion, one that deserves to be paid for. You guys are right, $40 for a cart is a little steep, especially if you compare it to ball golf, but this is a private ranch, with two of the best courses in the world and a limited number of carts and you can play ALL DAY. I'm not saying $40 is completely justified, just noting that there are some distinctions between Selah and a typical ball golf outing...
Other Thoughts: Selah Lakeside is undoubtedly the best course I've played so far, and the only course to receive a 5/5 from me (I'm fairly stingy). My worry while driving out to the middle of nowhere was "Just how beautiful could a Texas Ranch really be?" (I'm from those beautiful Appalachian mountains). Let me tell you, LS is absolutely breathtaking. You'll get to hole one, look out over the lake and the Inn and think you're on a very nice ball golf course. Keep in mind, people come here to vacate as well, not to play disc golf. The property was so gorgeous that even my non-dg playing wife would've had no regrets spending a week there.
My host was Dave, who I gather is the host for most golfers. Dave was very hospitable, gave helpful hints and seemed to genuinely enjoy his role. I can't say thank you enough for allowing us golfers to venture into your domain, Dave. You have something truly special!
To avoid saying hole #7 was my favorite hole, as it is truly the signature hole, I'll say hole #4 was my favorite. It was the only "peninsula hopping" hole on either course where you could still open up and crush a shot or two if you wanted to. You still had the water danger, but could pick up a stroke with a large arm, unlike the other similar holes. I shot a 70 (+1) from blues.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Selah Ranch is now my #1 DG destination!
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: THE COURSE- The short version review: it would be hard to find a better DG experience than playing the courses at Selah. This is a superbly designed course set on fantastic land coupled with another great course on-site. I will definitely make plans to come back here again, hopefully soon. Many times I have traveled to play a DGCR top 10 course and have been a little disappointed because of the hype, but not Selah- I was blown away past my lofty expectations!
Now the details: Lakeside is a superbly designed course set on an excellent piece of property playing around the big lake as well as many more technical wooded holes mixed in. The Discatchers are in great shape and visibly stand out (on LS it is easy to get giddy and ahead of yourself because you see baskets all around the lake!) The colorful tee signs (2 per hole, 1 at each tee) couldn't be any better with the stylish design and wealth of information. And there are two sets of nice concrete tees on every single hole. Detailed color scorecards were provided. This place is complete and was obviously done right with no corners cut with lots of thought and care put into it. I really appreciated the consideration designing 2 sets of tees providing for variety (since there is only 1 basket location per hole) and making this course playable and enjoyable by a wider variety of skill levels.
I truly enjoyed the diversity of holes. Multiple shot shapes will definitely be utilized throughout your round- some shot shapes are forced, where others provide options. There is a great mix and balance of length with pars of 3, 4, & 5 throughout (distances in the 100's, 200's, 300's, 400's, 500's & 600's just from the am tees). The longer holes are really fun as you have to play strategically from point to point setting up the best angle and for your next shot. The shorter par 3's provide a nice contrast, though they require a good deal of accuracy and control in order to get your birdie or par. The lake of course comes into play on several holes. There is typically plenty of room to work with and ways to play it safer, but you do have to factor it in- again control over distance if you can't do both. I appreciate that the design was made so the lake was sometimes on the right and sometimes on the left (rather than just playing in a circle all the way around it which would favor one type of throw over another.) There are two holes that standout above the rest and could be considered "signature": #7 with the island green, who doesn't love the look and challenge of that?, and #4 playing down the entire one side of the lake then finally over it. Both of these require multiple well-placed shots to reach the basket and pars from either tee are definitely earned.
Navigation was not to much a problem with the map and golf cart and next tee arrows. If the basket was not visible from the tee, it was clear as to where you should throw without too much scouting. The cart was easily able to maneuver over the terrain on every hole.
THE COMPLEX- Let me begin by saying that Selah and the DG here is by far the gold standard in a vacation DG facility. The courses are phenomenal and the whole package here is outstanding- DG, lodging, hospitality, beauty, peaceful isolation. (Selah has accomplished what I had hoped Highbridge would have been.) The courses alone are just as good as, if not better than Idlewild, Flip, IDGC, and Flyboy when it comes to shot making, strategy, amenities, and visual appeal. I have played many top courses and have often been slightly disappointed as the hype inflated my expectations, but not at Selah- it easily exceeded my lofty expectations!
I played many courses to and from Selah that were all affected by the recent uncharacteristic great flooding of 2015. Though all were playable, all the rest of the courses still showed the after effects of the high water. That is, except Selah, which had also been flooded, but showed little to no signs of it just a few weeks later- a tribute to the great maintenance and care as the staff evidently stays on top of things here. (I am sure it helps that the area is more than just a DG course being a B&B and farm also, but whatever it takes.)
I stayed in the corral house, which is perfect for a large group of disc golfers, an excellent facility isolated from the rest of the buildings, with all the luxuries you can expect (kitchen, grill, fire pit, lots of beds, tv, wifi, pool table, golf cart, and a great shower!)
Cons: THE COURSE- Navigation- got a little confused around holes 5-9 with all the extra paths worn in and the course turning around. Maybe I missed a next tee sign or something, but it just took a couple minutes of figuring out (after 4 I went to 8 then 6 before finding 5), and really only a factor the first time you play. (scouting with a cart is easy, but if I was walking and got all confused, that would be annoying as the holes are spread out.)
Other guests- as this plays around the big lake and is closer to the main guest house, this area is often occupied by non-disc golfers. Some will be fishing from the bank so just be aware. Several times we had other guests in their golf carts just out for a joy ride exploring the area. Not a big deal, as I did the same at times when not playing, but the course is not isolated from everyone else like Creekside was.
Getting to tee #1- just kind of starts in the grass by the lake, there is no designated parking area (unless they allow you to park along the drive). If you for some reason are not using the golf cart you will have to park at the main house and make the short walk down to it.
THE COMPLEX- You do have to consider the price of everything. Compared to most courses, including pay to plays, this one is definitely in its own league. $15-20 to play all day, $20/person to split a cart, and the lodging prices are at the high end of all the B&B/inns/cabins I have stayed in. That being said, playing here should be considered a vacation destination, not your everyday park course. If you can find it in your budget to come here, you will not be disappointed with the quality of what they offer, and is a great use of your vacation dollar.
I hope they would consider building a couple more smaller disc golfer cabins in the future. The corral house is really nice, though large and is best suited for ~8 people, where a cabin or two built for 4 people max at a lower price would be nice.
Practice area? I wished the corral house had a practice basket. That would be a great addition.
Other Thoughts: THE COURSE- Just a couple thoughts on the oft-discussed and much-maligned #14. Sure there are some narrow gaps to hit on your drive and approach. But so what, I thought it was just fine. Maybe you do need a little luck, or need to play it a couple times to figure it out, but everyone is playing the same hole. Even if you have to pitch out after your drive, or use a roller or tomahawk or sidearm or whatever, then approach and putt, you still get a par 4 and will probably gain strokes on others.
I really could go on and on about how great this course is. Though after my first visit here, I actually preferred CS over LS (and I much preferred Selah over Trey), I see no reason to give LS anything less than a 5.0 rating as well, and I can see why most rate LS higher. The total package here is just about as perfect as anything I could dream up.
Note- I played the course from the shorter tees this time, though I did look at where the Pro tees were for each hole (talk about a challenge!). The reds are more on my level as a decent intermediate non-pro. The blues would definitely test just about anyone. I also played using the golf cart (highly recommended) as the holes are spread out, and it saves your legs from walking, your back from carrying your bag and water, and makes for faster play so you can play more rounds.
THE COMPLEX- The two courses complement each other very well, I really consider Selah just to be a 36-hole mega-course. In general:
Creekside- shorter water holes, longer more open and moderately technical holes
Lakeside- longer water holes, medium and short tight technical holes
If you play both courses you will play an amazing variety of holes with no two holes alike.
If you are a serious disc golfer, you will want to plan a DG vacation here. I recommend staying on site to allow more time to play and time to relax. And I suggest allowing at least 2-3 days to play as you will want to play here over and over again.
I am also an avid bass fisherman, and the fishing here is really good. There are lots of places to fish, it was a nice change of pace between DG, and was an unexpected bonus. Selah Ranch is now my most favorite place on Earth.
I can't wait to come back!
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Best of the Best
14 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: I made the trip up to this area of Texas on a random weekend to play both Selah Ranch and Trey Texas Ranch on back to back days.
We played Selah Ranch, and the Lakeside course first from the long tees; we also played WITHOUT carts. I had lofty expectations of the Lakeside course and it definitely met and even exceeded those expectations.
From what I can remember, this is the first course that was not a strictly par 3 course, when I did play courses with holes that are in the 600-800' range, I get frustrated and never really find that I like those kind of holes. However, Lakeside is a monster Par 69 course and I enjoyed every hole from the short holes in the woods to the epic par 5s.
I was a big fan of the risk/reward type holes that you could flirt with the water to better yourself or dump out to the designated landing areas. Hole 2 is a perfect example of this. You could try for the 475' carry over water or play an easy RHBH hyzer to the bank and then throw over from that.
The thing that made this course the most memorable were the four par 5s on the course, each was epic in their own way.
Hole 1 is a great starting hole where the emphasis is not on your drive but on your shots towards the baskets. The basket sits at waters edge and overshooting the basket can mean a wet or lost disc.
Hole 4 is a hole where you need to stay out wide to stay out of the trees but not too wide where you contend with the water to the left. Then you have to make the decision to clear the water that splits the fairway in two. It is a great example of the risk/reward I was talking about
Hole 7 is on a whole new level with the water playing on the right the entire time. You need two/three solid shots before you can think about throwing to the island green.This was an exciting island, probably the first I have played that was a real island and not an artificial one.
Hole 15 is the only par 5 with any elevation to speak of. You have numerous options off the tee and more options after that.
I really appreciated the tee signs with the lines shown on the map, it is something that I have never seen. All the lines on the map are definitely usable lines, it was helpful.
Cons: Carts are almost 100 percent necessary and we found that out after finishing both courses without and being absolutely whipped.
This definitely is not a course to take a person who has only been playing a few months. It is a extremely tough course and loosing discs will happen.
Other Thoughts: My rank for the four big courses in the are are:
1. Selah Ranch - Lakeside
2.Texas Trey Ranch - Trey Deuce
3. Texas Trey Ranch - Texas Twist
4. Selah Ranch - Creekside
All four are phenomenal courses and all four are worth the time and money to spend an entire weekend up here.
There is a reason Lakeside is the number one course in the world. I think that it would be even better to play on the second or third time when you are more aware of where the baskets are or the lines to hit.
14 of 15 people found this review helpful.
21 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: I had the chance to play the Selah Ranch and Trey courses in late October. I had all courses to myself both days I was there (which was a weird feeling). What an extraordinary experience it was at all of these courses. At the end of the day, Lakeside was the best of these courses. DISCLAIMER: This review is my experience after playing the long tees. Here are my pros at Lakeside:
Intro) I played Creekside first and then made the trek over to Lakeside. I have to say that I have never had more anticipation or excitement as I drove to a course. Its about a 5 minute cart drive from Creekside to Lakeside and it was PERFECT. That five minutes allowed me to reflect on what I was about to embark on and it actually really pumped me up. That cart drive, while probably not intentional, was great for just getting me even more excited. The best things in life are worth waiting for....and that 5 minutes of waiting as I drove from hole 18 at Creekside to hole 1 at Lakeside was pretty fun.
1) There's no point not to start with best part of this course, and that's the MANY signature holes. The course had multiple signature holes. Holes 4, 7 and 15 are simply some of the best holes in all of disc golf. Period. More on 7 below. These three holes are really not even signature holes --- they are holes you will never forget. These holes stack up with such holes as Hole 1 at Maple Hill, hole 3 at Flyboy, etc. These are transformational holes that transcend your imagination. Hole 15's inclusion may surprise some, but that teeshot on top of the hill is just breathtaking. Its one of the times when an option hole really works well (more on that below when it doesn't work). You can take the right gap, which is a little more open, and give up a chance at getting there in two and having a chance at eagle. Or you can go up in the middle and put yourself in the catbird's seat and have a chance at getting to the green in two and a chance for eagle. I took the harder gap, hit the gap and then threw a nice shot and gave myself an 80 foot putt for eagle. Hole 4 was just STUNNING. After throwing my drive (which, for most players, is probably a RH hyzer shot that will go out over the water and fade back) I stood at my second shot and just took pictures for five minutes staring out over the lake. I had a 1000 acre ranch to myself with literally no soul in sight. No one was at the B&B, the ranch manager had left and no other disc golfers were at the course. It was me and Selah. It was inspiring and breathtaking at the same time. It was peaceful and quiet. I couldn't help but stare at the lake. The day I played I had not one ounce of wind. Seeing the lake completely still was like looking at the world's biggest mirror and seeing the reflection that is the beauty around that lake was stunning....
2) Hole 7 deserves a place for its own, as stated above. This hole, in my opinion, is probably the third best hole in all of disc golf. Its that amazing. The teeshot is not spectacular, as the hole forces you to throw a shot that doesn't exceed 350 feet. Also, its a little scary to throw a RH hyzer shot off of the tee as that will fade towards the water so a right-handed player with a sidearm is the ideal shot with a throw that carries about 325 feet. The second shot becomes a little more breathtaking as the lake comes into play a little bit more........BUT its the third shot (unless you can throw 500 feet and go for the green on your second shot) that really is probably one of the most memorable shots you will have throw. I left myself about 350 feet to the famous island green and threw my shot to the right side about 25 feet from the basket. This shot is as intimidating as it gets. And I was lucky enough to have no wind that day. There is no shot in disc golf that gets your adrenaline going more than trying to hit an island green from 350 feet. Simply stunning. You can't help but smile. Getting up to the green really allows you to see the beauty of this hole even more. I am reminded of Kevin Costner in Tin Cup..."when a defining moment comes along you define the moment or let the moment define you." In a tournament round, this hole defines the moment. Not much more to say besides.....AMAZING
3) At first I was a little disappointed at the $40 cart fee but after playing two rounds I can tell you that it was worth....every.....dollar. Oh my goodness! It is completely amazing to play disc golf with carts, especially on a massive course such as Lakeside. It was a little bit of a bumpy ride, but who cares. Carts on a disc golf course!
4) Signs, signs everywhere signs! The signs were amazing. They were so detailed and really helped me as I was playing by myself. Every little detail is spelled out for you, from the preferred route to the out of bounds to the obstacles. A+ on the signs!
5) Concrete tees and baskets were great. The baskets are newer because its a newer course and I had no complaints on the tees whatsoever.
6) Navigation was actually a little tricky in a few spots, but this was 100% completely mitigated by the fact that the carts reduced my "finding the next hole" time by 90%. I do remember a few times getting lost (I had a tough time finding hole 15) but as I said, the carts make that so much easier.
7) I have to talk about the design. The design was great (more on that below). You can really tell that an INCREDIBLE amount of thought was given to the design. Hole 2 is, in my opinion, the best example of a perfectly designed hole. From the long tees this hole measures in at 528 feet, which is hardly a par 4 for a fairly open hole. HOWEVER, what makes this hole completely amazing is that the long throw is not the best throw here. A clump of trees is essentially in the middle of the fairway about 350 feet from the tee and that extends about 100 feet towards the basket. The lake guards the right side, and going way left is a very tough shot. Unless you can throw a 550 foot hyzer around the trees and over the lake (and if you can, you deserve a chance at eagle) then you are a little perplexed as to what to do. Throwing a 400 foot hyzer puts you smack into the middle of the trees and risks your shot hitting a tree and dropping down in the water. This is why its a beautiful hole. Houck has forced you to "layup" off of the tee for the best possible chance at birdie. So I threw my Drone off of the tee about 215 feet. I had a 300 foot hyzer for my second shot that probably was more like 335 feet because of the curve required. I put myself just outside the circle and missed the putt. But I gave myself the best opportunity I could for birdie. Great hole and a beautiful design. Very thoughtful.
8) Wooded Par 4's - I thoroughly enjoyed the wooded par 4's and thought they used the terrain very well. I thought the lines were clean and really offered a nice challenge. A birdie on these holes felt like a true birdie. In particular I was a fan of number 10 and the second shot on this hole to a nicely protected green. Also, hole 9 had such a great and tight tee shot that required a tight hyzer that didn't go much further than 300 feet. It was a placement drive ALL the way, which was followed by a curve to the right going towards the green. It was a snaking fairway that really caught my attention.
9) I have to mention the B&B. I am a huge fan of architecture and this thing was stunning. One of the more beautiful buildings I have ever seen. It was insanely massive and I wish I could have stayed in it. If you are planning a trip here please make every effort to stay in the B&B. I was genuinely in awe.
Cons: I don't have many cons with Lakeside. Its one of the best courses in the world and the best courses in the world don't have a lot wrong with it. But I did have a few cons:
1) Hole 14 is a con all by itself. From the tee, this hole is absolutely marvelous. One of my favorite teeshots on the course. Having the ability to pick one of four or five or six or even seven gaps is pretty awesome. The issue with this hole is not the drive, but the second shot. Option holes are great, but they simply do not work for the second shot. Time and time again, option holes have proven to fail miserably when the designer forces options on the second shot. Option holes work great from the tee because you can define where the options are because the disc golfer is throwing from a defined location (teebox). The problem with option holes on second shots is that you can't define where someone will be throwing, and an extraordinary amount of luck will be involved on the second shot. I threw my drive on this hole and hit one of the left gaps perfectly with a RH sidearm shot. I got to my drive and had no shot to get to the basket. Having these tight option fairways on the second shot simply does not work. Trying to place the disc within an 8 foot circle from the tee is not possible; in fact, it invites luck. To prove the point, I went back and threw 5 more teeshots. Four of them hit various gaps, and 1 hit a tree. None of the shots that hit the original gap had a clean line to the basket. The lines are simply too tight and the landing zones are unfair. Opening up the lines and pushing the basket back would be a much better idea with this hole. Option holes are great, but don't work for second shots in my opinion.
2) The wooded par 3's were nice, but they were not entirely memorable. This is NOT the result of bad design or anything but this one fact: once you get away from the lake, the terrain is not that exciting. The terrain is pretty flat and doesn't really offer anything that is truly great. This is through no fault of the designer, but the terrain in the woods in Texas does not compare to the terrain in other parts of the country. To come up with a rating on a scale of 1 to 5, comparisons will be made that look at terrain versus other areas in the country. The lake holes are great but the terrain in the woods is above average, but not spectacular.
3) The course had one too many average holes to be considered a 5 star course. I think a 27 hole course can have more leeway with average holes and get a 5 rating, but for an 18 hole course I think having more than 4 or 5 average holes makes it tough to get that 5 star rating. Case in point: in my opinion, holes 3, 8, 11, 13 and 17 were pretty much average holes. There was nothing wrong with these holes by any means, but nothing about these holes stood out. Taking into account what I said about hole 14 and that means 1/3 of the course was average, at best. That may seem like a crude way to look at it, but its just a fact. Once again, you can't expect EVERY hole to be amazing and I get that. But the terrain in some areas of this complex simply didn't allow "GREAT" to happen. The terrain, while okay, was nothing spectacular.
Other Thoughts: Lakeside is a phenomenal course and I probably would give it a 4.75 if given the chance. Its one of the best courses in the country and is completely worth the trip and enthralling in so many ways. I would highly recommend playing the Trey Deuce courses as well and make it a worthwhile trip. Also, for those that think the cost is high...its not. This facility took A LOT of money to create and is worth every penny. The carts are an amazing feature and really add a ton of value. Support Selah Ranch!
21 of 25 people found this review helpful.
Maybe I'm crazy?
35 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Pro shop with a limited selection means that some discs can be replaced. I do not mean to sound like I'm damning this amenity with faint praise, given that most courses I've played over the years don't even have a pro shop. I just don't want people thinking they'll find hundreds of different molds available.
The challenge factor is high here despite the flatness of the area.
Baskets, teepads, etc are all in good shape.
There are many holes where water comes into play without having to carry over water. For me these holes are more intimidating as they tax the end of my shot rather than the beginning. Placement is more important than power, and I enjoy the pressure this causes.
Cons: The price. Let's be honest, this is the elephant in the room. $20 for all day access may be a little steep, but I could live with it. However, the course is designed in such a fashion that you almost have to pay the $40 cart rental fee, which is way over the top. I pay way less at a golf course to drive their cart farther. I'm not sure who came up with the price point on this one, but it really bothers me.
There is very little elevation change, although I didn't deduct for that as the designer cannot work with what he does not have.
For $60 a day I would really like to see some jugs of water out on the course the way one does on golf courses.
Other Thoughts: Maybe I'm nuts, but I enjoyed Creekside more than Lakeside. I waited until I'd played both courses several times and from both sets of tees to write this thinking I'd change my mind, but at the end of the day I'd really like to be able to rate this course a 4.5 and Creekside a 4.75, but working within the system we have I want to rate both courses fairly, but show my preference for Creekside.
Both Selah courses are quite good, but at the end of the day it feels like someone pulled out a checklist labled "Things a good disc golf course needs" and started building. The is kind of a sterile feel that is much more evident on Lakeside than Creekside. Maybe it's the gimmicky island green on 7, or maybe it's the way a couple holes feel forced to play near the lake when they would play better to a different location. I'm not sure what it is that turns me off so much about Lakeside, but at the end of the day I know I won't be dying to play here despite how technically excellent this course is.
35 of 41 people found this review helpful.
"Just" Excellent (or better)
25 Helpful / 9 Not
This course is, perhaps, the first private course that I have ever played that was set up to operate exclusively as a golf course. The pro shop has a limited selection of discs, new and used (no Innova discs). The used disc prices are reasonable.
There are bathrooms and showers in the same building. The shower and toilet access is exterior with separate doors for each shower or toilet. Camping is allowed on the premises, so the shower availability is very practical. As noted by everyone, there are carts.
The course is pay to play. $20 for all day access. Cart rental for all day is $40. I always count pay to play as a pro. The playing fee is perfectly reasonable and I certainly hope that Selah stays profitable. The course is currently for sale and when I mentioned it to the owner, he indicated that there are several potential deals, all of which will keep the course open. And as a private, pay-to-play course with a not insignificant playing fee, you generally won't have to deal with people who leave trash out on the course or are otherwise problematic or who aren't serious about disc golf.
The ownership, while super friendly and exceptionally helpful and nice (there's really not enough good things I can say about the owner), also doesn't tolerate trouble makers. Posted clearly inside and outside the pro shop are signs prohibiting diving for discs. The owner has a catalogued lost and found system and sells unmarked discs found in the pond for $5. The night before we arrived to play, the owner had found some disc golfers diving for discs. The morning that we arrived to play, those trespassers were the custody of the local sheriff. So keep that in mind if you are one of the idiots who think that you are entitled to do whatever you want on someone else's property. Also keep in mind that the owner apparently has night vision equipment and lives on the property.
The only amenities out on the course are the carts, period. No water, benches, trash cans or restrooms. The carts are a suitable replacement for everything but the restrooms. The carts also lessen fatigue to the point that I felt like I could have played all day. I was simply not tired after playing both courses, back-to-back on a 90 degree day.
The course has a significant variety of holes. Some along the shores of a small lake (or very large pond, depending on your perspective). Holes 1, 2, 4, 7 and 18 play along the shore. Hole 7 is a forced water carry from both tees no matter how you play it. It's a true island "green."
The remainder of the holes mostly wind through either heavily wooded or moderately wooded areas with some holes allowing open shots over water. There are few tight, tunnel holes. One notable exception is hole 14, which is apparently supposed to be an array of different tunnels, some straight, some hyzer and some anhyzer to a landing area then rinse and repeat.
Lakeside IS the more technical of the two courses on the property, but it is not overly technical. You need to be able to hit your lines fairly accurately on most holes, but the underbrush on most wooded holes is not overly punishing if you miss your line or hit a tree and go into the unmowed/uncleared areas. Additionally, the hole variety is blended well. The long holes are interspersed with shorter holes, just as the more open holes aren't all grouped together. There is no monotony and little to no repetition on this course.
There are some holes with significant elevation changes. The pro tees had more elevation changes. But there is nothing dramatic in the way of elevation. There are no top-of-the-world shots. The greatest elevation changes are near the lake/pond dam and around the baskets on two and tree. There is hidden elevation on hole 13, behind the basket. Frankly, the designer has apparently done what he can to negate elevation as a factor where it exists. Where there is a significant downhill throw, you will be confined to lanes to narrow to count on being able to hit.
To me the course plays shorter than the signs indicate, but a quick check on Google earth tends to corroborate the accuracy of the signs. The tee signs do a good job of letting you know where the basket is and they show the direction of the next tee. If you forget what was on the tee sign, there are other signs pointing to the next tee and you can "follow the beaten path" on most holes.
All tee boxes are concrete and of a suitable size. Holes have alternate tee locations with larger, trapezoidal tee boxes for the pro tees. Baskets are Innova DisCatchers and all are in perfect condition.
There are some very fun holes. To me, 4, 8, 10 and 15 stand out from the rest.
Cons: Carts. I played with a friend who I play with regularly. We routinely finish 18 in about 1.5 hours. The carts did not speed up play for us. $40 is a lot to pay for a cart for 3 hours of golf. It makes more sense if you play all day and if you split it with a partner. But the course is arguably built for carts. If you want to play on foot, there are no benches, water or restrooms. While a cart can carry all the water and extra discs that you want and you won't need a rest if you are constantly riding in them. But, if you don't have $40 to spend on the cart and are on foot, you need to pack your water in with you.
There is a lot of bare dirt on this course and it seems the carts seem to be exacerbating that to some extent. While the dirt can lead to added distance from skipping, the dew on the grass in the morning round made for some very dirty discs that were still slightly wet when they landed and kicked up dirt and dust that then stuck to the disc. Mud may also tend to be a problem after rains.
There are some less than memorable holes and at least one hole that is memorable for not so good reasons. 14 is actually kind of nonsensical and rewards either luck or insane accuracy. 3 and 17 seem to just move you along to the next hole. Almost all courses have holes like this and Lakeside is no exception.
There is no single hole that really awed me on this course. 7 is a unique hole, but coming from golf, island and peninsula greens have lost their novelty value for me. You either hit the green or lose a disc - you have virtually no choice. It would be easy to lose multiple discs and rack up many penalty strokes trying to hole out on 7. For a little perspective, I'm the kind of person who does not like artificially elevated baskets, hanging baskets and other such gimmicks. Honestly, I liked several other holes better and think 4 is a better water hole.
Perhaps the biggest con for me however was the lack of par 3 holes with a reasonable chance to birdie with a driver/putter combination. Some of the holes that are most enjoyable to me are holes with a reasonable line to the basket that lie in the 320' to 370' range and that reward a skillful, full-strength or nearly full-strength drive off the tee with a chance at a birdie putt. Of the 18 holes on this course, only seven (7) are designated par 3 and, of those, none even approach 250'. Of the par 4 holes, only two holes (holes 2 and 10) are reachable from the Am tees with a long drive, but 2 is guarded so well in the front by water and in the back by a steep drop that an aggressive approach is foolhardy. I enjoy shaping midrange and putter shots off the tee, but many of my favorite holes are par 3s that fall in the 300-400 foot range and this course has not one such hole. This one reason that I really liked hole 10.
The par designations seemed generous to me. My PDGA rating is under 900 but I shot 5 under from the Am tees on this course, including an eagle on hole 1. My scorecard app scored this as an 889 rated round.
Other Thoughts: It is difficult to not have high expectations when one of the reasons that you are playing the course is that it is ranked as the best in the world. I tried to keep my expectations tempered knowing that I would be reviewing it because I review all the courses that I play. But honestly, this course had no wow factor for me.
Lakeside is not in my top 5 most fun courses to play. From the Am tees it isn't in the top five of the most difficult or challenging courses. It doesn't require every shot in your bag though it does require a lot of shot shaping. It is a very nice course, but not the best that I have played IMO.
Lakeside is an excellent course. Is it best of the best? Not in my opinion, though it is extraordinarily good. I certainly look forward to playing it again and playing from the pro tees. I also recommend it to everyone who finds themselves in northeast Texas. This is easily worth the trip from anywhere nearby.
25 of 34 people found this review helpful.
Truly the Best of the Best!
5 Helpful / 13 Not
Pros: This course brings the need for a solid mental game to the table if you want to shoot well. The water carries that are possible can provide very realistic gut checks as you play. Even though there is the possibility to throw large water carries here, the course is designed in such a way that every hole may be completed with no more that 100' of water carry. This allows this course to be enjoyable for varying levels of skill.
The baskets here are all Innova DisCatchers and are in great condition.
Tee pads are large, smooth, and level concrete pads.
The fairways are kept very neatly mowed. This allows for a distinguishable "rough" on the open holes that does make a slight difference in shot selection due to the difference in footing.
This course keeps you honest and quickly smacks you down if you attempt to play too aggressively, as it is a very tough, but fair course that requires just about every shot in the book and then some.
Selah Ranch offers an atmosphere unlike any other, as you can hear wildlife all around you while you play through a breath-taking scenic landscape.
Other Thoughts: Selah Ranch has an extremely prestigious reputation and the courses live up to that reputation completely. The quality of experience that is presented by Lakeside and Selah Ranch in general is not something that can be accurately passed on through words; you need to experience it to fully understand.
5 of 18 people found this review helpful.
19 Helpful / 0 Not
There's a Reason People Obsess Over This Course
Pros: Selah Lakeside met and surpassed my impossible expectations for it by combining huge variety, an obsessive attention to detail, pervasive risk versus reward, beautiful scenery, through-the-roof amenities, and the most amazingly sophisticated mental game of any course I've ever played. As I alluded to in my review of Creekside, so many shots required a level of forethought more akin to playing chess than throwing a disc. Here, your chessboard is nature, the pieces in play continually change, and your opponent is dozens of acres of land that will chew you up and spit you out in the most impossibly enjoyable way. Lucky you.
Lakeside doesn't have "it all" in a literal sense, but it sure can fool you into feeling that way. Thick woods, open shots, tight lanes, winding lines, interesting water, rolling hills, drastic elevation shifts - the entire range of disc golf possibility is present and employed. I can't think of a significant terrain, feature, or hole type that isn't encompassed in some fashion, be it by the birdie run hyzer at a shielded pin on 17 to the spider web lanes across hills on 14 to the daunting, tree-studded fairways and threatening water on 4 to the ultimate play-it-safe-or-go-for-the-glory island hole 7. The balance is impeccable, and so is the flow. Lakeside knows when to throw you to the wolves and when to throw you a bone. The difficulty here is astutely calibrated to engage but not punish. You're never ground down, and you're never, ever bored. It helps that holes frequently have multiple routes, placing the choice for safety or danger in your hands more often than not, even though sometimes, oftentimes, every choice has its own challenges. I can't rave enough about Lakeside's sophisticated mental game.
The famous holes 7 and 14 have a level of intrigue, challenge, and beauty that merit the hype they generate, but what impressed me is how many equals they're among. At least six of the holes (4, 5, 7, 14, 15, 18) strike me as having top tier signature qualities, in that they'd be the premiere hole on most any other course I've played. Nearly all the remaining holes were distinct in some way, contributing a needed change of pace to the magnitude of their complements: for example, 1 is a perfect opener that's well-paced, starting open enough to ease you into your round but piquing your interest with a dangerous approach towards water on a slight downward slope; 13 starts tight and then opens up, with the gradually sloping terrain making an aggressive birdie run risk ending long in the woods; 16 rewards you hitting an early window with an opportunity for a wide open run at the guarded pin for a plausible birdie 3. The level of nuance and character here is simply through the roof.
Selah Lakeside wraps it all together on a beautiful piece of property that seems expertly groomed; it's a small slice of disc golf heaven.
Cons: 3 is the only hole that doesn't seem artfully designed and situated: an open shot at a hillside pin, with only the threat of a roll away adding intrigue. The hole seems so out of place to me relative to the caliber of the other 17 that I'm genuinely confused by its presence. As amazing as Lakeside is, it's not batting 1.000. Oh well; there are worse things in life.
Really, beyond that, I have a hard time coming up with even the most nit-picky cons. And this is from a guy who likes to critique.
I can see true beginners not getting a very large portion of what Selah has to offer, more so than most courses; its sophistication takes some experience to engage with and appreciate, and there's a lot of opportunity for lost discs as well. But a beginner likely isn't traveling to Talco, Texas and dropping $20 plus cart fees on a round unless they know what they're getting into.
There's the occasional possibility to have to combat the rough, depending on the status of grooming: for instance, if a headwind swings your hyzer wide on 17, you could end up with a bit of a search in the tall grass for your disc. But this is the essence of minutiae, folks.
You need the cart, for Lakeside even more than Creekside, given its distance away from the parking lot. That extra $40 is all but mandatory in my book; otherwise you'll be doing a ton of walking, especially considering the need to scout ahead on many par 4s and 5s. But it makes for a unique experience, so I'm not really complaining.
Bathrooms are relatively inaccessible on the course, even with the cart handy. There's woods aplenty, though.
The golf itself is so transcendent that I truly can't poke another hole.
Other Thoughts: Selah Lakeside was for me an apex I'd previously only imagined. The complexity of the holes and their accompanying mental game provided an experience I've rarely paralleled and never equaled. The scenery, the terrain, the varied shots, it's all as good as advertised, and likely then some. If you don't consider this an amazing disc golf course, then well, we need to talk.
Find a way to play here. It's more than worth it.
19 of 19 people found this review helpful.
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