"Just" Excellent (or better)
17 Helpful / 8 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.
This review is based on a round from the Am tees.
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.
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 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.
17 of 25 people found this review helpful.
Epic, if not perfect
14 Helpful / 4 Not
- Hole 7, by far the most memorable hole I've ever played. Such a mental challenge. You know you can make the shot onto the island, but the prospect of losing a disc weighs heavily. It can make or break your confidence for the rest of the round.
- The scenery. Such a beautiful piece of property, very peaceful and picturesque.
- Wide variety of shot shapes and lines required. Never felt repetitious.
- Multiple concrete teepads on each hole, each giving a very distinct challenge.
- Extremely challenging without feeling obnoxious, or intentionally annoying.
- Due to the cost and location, I'd imagine it's never crowded.
- Not free ($20/day).
- Not really walkable, and golf carts are $40/day and only have two seats and are loud.
- Not much elevation change.
- Nitpicking here, but the course is a little raw, not manicured like a nice city course.
It was very difficult to not give this course a 5.0, as it seems almost everyone else has, but according to the site, a 5 is "perfect in every possible way". While it's an amazing course, the cost and lack of elevation keep it from being perfect in my mind. Definitely going to make at least one weekend trip a here a year from now on.
14 of 18 people found this review helpful.
18 Helpful / 10 Not
Pros: I don't really have anything to add that hasn't been said in previous reviews. But I'll point out a few things that I appreciated.
The course is very difficult, well thought out greens that are tricky for the most part. The scenery and the environment were hard to beat. Worth every penny and every second of time spent away from home
Hole 2, 4, 7 are truly great holes, very fun to play. The holes that are more wooded are all really fun and just a bit different enough from one another that it doesnt get to be monotonous.
Cons: Hole 14, as grodney said, is just silly. I was really put off by it, not because its the worst hole ever made or anything, just that, compared to the obvious thought that went into a lot of the other holes, it seemed like this one was a brain fart in comparison. Its a truly terrible hole. Too much luck factor. It is three-able. But there are way too may trees in the fairway, and guarding the basket.
Other Thoughts: Great atmosphere, well designed course, very nice people on site. Houck is a genius.The amenities are great, carts, porta johns, pro shop, lodge area, showers etc.
If its hot, id bring as much to drink as you can, and some snacks.
18 of 28 people found this review helpful.
Designer Response by: johnrhouck
Glad you enjoyed it, Pwingles, and thank you for the wonderful compliment. I'm sorry you didn't see the virtues of #14 -- it's just such a misunderstood hole. To help players see the vision, we are actually making a video of the hole, so stay tuned. Hope to someday change your mind on that one.
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