From the Rec Player Perspective
9 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 unique 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.
-Creekside is as much fun and challenge for a Rec Player from the Red Tees as I image it is for an Advanced Player from the White Tees. Although I wouldn't call Creek Side "Beginner Friendly", it's certain manageable by anyone with basic disc golfing skills. My feeling is it's a little easier the Lake Side for a Rec Level player. Every hole a par was likely if I didn't do anything too dumb, make a horrible throw, or clank a short putt. I had several birdie chances, though it took both good and smart throws. Mess up, and bogey or worse was likely, though a few lousy drives left me with at least a shot at a redemption par.
-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 on the great closing hole #18! On the other 17 holes, unless the wind comes up, the water won't come in to play unless you make one of those Risk / Reward decisions that brings the water in to play. Hole #13 is a classic example. Go straight at the hole just 205' away on your tee shot you have a pretty easy birdie chance, but miss 20' short or to the left and you're in the creek. Play it safe to the right and you'll have a pretty easy par. A birdie is in a rec player's reach, but you've got to control your nerves and your hyzer. Hole #16 is a short par 5 from the Red, but Hole #16 is a short par 5 from the Red, but you're going to have to flirt with the water on both your drive and your approach to get your chance at an eagle.
-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.
-Hole twelve was guarded by a bunch of hay bales. I'm not sure if that's a permanent feature, but it's not something I've seen up in the northeast.
- 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. It's quite a hike to play Creekside, 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'd 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 and take joy that they all exist.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Overshadowed by LS but otherwise awesome!
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: CS is the best "ranch" or "cow field" type course I've ever played. There isn't actually any cow's in the field, but it reminded me of all the private pasture courses on the east coast, more so than LS, which felt more like a country club with woods. There aren't cow patties everywhere like there are back home, there are poured concrete tee pads (something VA still hasn't fully caught on to yet...) and the rough has been tamed very well for this privately maintained land.
CS is still a gorgeous landscape, but feels much very different from LS. (which is a good thing, honestly) Even though these courses are on the same property and only separated by a few hundred yards, they each have their own very distinct character. CS feels the most "ranchy" of the two and it wears that dress like the finest of prom dates.
Most of the holes on CS were open fields where several trees shaped the shot(s), but off the tees and approaches. CS and LS both put a premium on shot placement. If you want the birdies, you'll need to drop your ego and put the disc in a specific spot. (don't worry, big arms, you'll still have an advantage on many holes)
I'll list the water as a pro here, but I also have it as a con for a different reason. I'll list it as a pro for the challenge it provided. Complicated even further by the wind, CS was by far the most nervous I've been playing DG. That was fun, I guess, but I may or may not be a masochist.
With the exception of truly wooded holes, you'll utilize most other shots in your bag. There are very obvious lines you should take, unlike LS which allows you to be more creative if you like. This course does still favor the big arms, way more than LS does.
To borrow from my LS review, 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: CS doesn't have the most well-rounded design. By that I mean it doesn't have many, if any, truly wooded holes. Most of the "wooded" holes are simply shot shaping with a few trees. (there's nothing wrong with those shots, by the way, but they won't pass as wooded holes) To be in the upper echelon of courses, It's my personal opinion the course should be well rounded between open/semi-open/wooded. How else would you challenge every aspect of a players game?
The use of water on CS felt a little more "forced" than on LS. I don't really know how to explain that other than saying some holes were unnecessarily close to the water. I'm sure many will disagree, it simply seemed like they tried too hard to make more water holes at the expense of designing a better shot.
There were several holes that seemed like "gimmie" birdies. Normally that's not a bad thing, you should just get the birdie most of the time. I don't think a course of this caliber should have any "gimmie's". I sometimes call these "filler" holes. There were a couple of these on CS. No they weren't 300ft shots in an open field, but they probably get birdied at a 75% rate. Again, I'm sure there will be plenty of disagreement on this, it just seemed like some shots could've been brainstormed on for longer.
Courses this nice should have benches on every tee. It wasn't too bad since I had a cart, but with as long and as nice as these courses are, they should have benches on every tee.
Other Thoughts: I promised Dave I'd review these courses on their own merits. Many people will compare the two and award the lesser with a half point lower. I award CS with a half-point lower regardless, but please don't think that means it's a bad course. Come on, now, it's still a 4.5. This course is fantastic, just not quite what LS is (but is any course?!?)
I recommend playing CS first and letting LS be the icing on the cake. I might have been let down to have played them in reverse order.
My favorite hole was #3. I shot a 63 (-4) from blues.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
The best course in the world
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This course has every element of a great course. Best course designer in the world. Check. Absolutely gorgeous surroundings. Check. The best teepads, signage, and baskets money can buy. Check. Challenging holes that require the use of every disc golf shot. Check. Obstacles including water, trees, bushes, blind spot throws, elevation changes, rocks, footing holds, islands, alternate teeboxes, holes ranging from short to verrrryyy long, wind factors, etc. Check. Great playability and flow. Check. Nature galore. Check. It is an outstanding travel destination, with a bed and breakfast, great fishing, a great pro shop, homemade food, and plenty of activities to do.
Cons: You would have to really be nitpicking here to come up with cons. I guess I could say the location since its not in my backyard. It is about 90 minutes east of Dallas, TX (where I live), so there isn't a ton of night life or things to do in general outside of the ranch itself, of course. To be fair though, this is really a place to get away...so this is really scraping the bottom of the barrel for a con. The price can add up since it is $20 per person per day for unlimited greens access. The golf carts are $40 per day, and with two huge, awesome courses, you really HAVE to have a golf cart. The pro shop is quite nice, and its easy to drop a lot of money on extras too. There is a lot of water, so you will likely lose discs. I have lost two discs playing thousands of rounds...I lost 3 discs my first time playing selah.
Other Thoughts: This is quite simply an outstanding championship course that will stand up to any course in the world. This is ranked #1 in the world and its sister course (selah ranch lakeside) is ranked #5 in the world. If you live within a few hours, like to travel and play, or are planning a trip to Texas...this is a MUST PLAY course.
P.S. The fishing here is incredible as well. I had some great catches, and apparently that is common here!
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Selah Ranch is now my #1 DG destination!
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: THE COURSE- The short version review: is I absolutely enjoyed every single shot on every hole. 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.
Now the details: My favorite thing about the course and design was the mental challenges offered here- done in two ways. 1st, the decisions you have to make for each shot as there are often multiple options/routes and lots of risk/reward vs playing safer decisions are to made. Though not heavily wooded on most holes the baskets are strategically placed and there always seemed to be a tree branch to consider or water lingering near. I spent more time weighing my options and deciding on the shot here than I normally would at most courses where it is usually a quick decision. And 2nd, was the par 4's and 5's, which is a not-so-common style in the par-3-dominated world of DG. I truly enjoy thinking ahead and trying to set up the next shot or two (like found at holes at Idlewild, Flyboy, and the IDGC courses) rather than always just aiming for the basket off the tee and just trying to get close. On the tee you have to think "where do I want to be exactly in order to do what I want to do on my next shot." Here many times length is not nearly as important as precision. And getting a hard-earned 4 or 5 and feeling good about it is not typical of most courses.
I thought the diversity in hole length was fantastic (distances in the 100's, 200's, 300's, 400's, 500's & 600's just from the am tees). Several par 4's and 5's but plenty of deuce chances mixed in. No two holes were anywhere close to being the same. The holes are well-spaced out so each is its own private experience. Varying degrees of tree density, some minor elevation thrown in, and lots of water hazards in the form of a creek and several ponds/small lakes. (The water can usually be avoided with a conservative shot, but if you want to shoot low you have to brave up and face the possibility of a water penalty.) The longer holes here are not long just for the sake of being long (unlike so many "par >3s" I have seen elsewhere, or those bragging about having a 1000' hole just because), but here they have purpose and contain strategic design for each segment of the hole. Seems like there is always a tree or a branch just perfectly placed forcing you really focus on your line. When I played (mid-summer), the fairways on the more open holes were lined with taller grass as other reviewers have noted, but I found they were plenty wide to land in, even if it means throwing a more controlled fairway driver.
The colorful tee signs (2 per hole, 1 at each tee) can't be any better with the stylish design and wealth of information. The visible Discatchers are easy to spot and in great condition. 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 and 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.
Navigation was a breeze 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.
Also, the clubhouse area is close to this course and is great- lots of discs (new and used) for sale, lots of carts, restrooms, even showers, and a large meeting/dining hall for tournaments. Thanks to worker Jack, who was glad to meet us for all our cart and disc needs.
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- The only major thing I can think of is many of the short par 3's from the reds can be played with a simple midrange straight or hyzer shot (RHBH) of about the same distance. Sure the water comes in play on most, but it seemed I was able to use the same shot quite often for these. So even though they don't look the same, I was able to play them all just about the same. (The solution for me is to play these holes from the blue tees next time I suppose.)
This is probably not the norm as the area had just recovered from insane flooding, but on hole #10, the water from some of the lakes overflows in this area on its way to the creek. The first half the hole was very swampy with lots of standing water (understandable and amazing that this was the only major issue considering the epic rains the area had endured this year.) Maybe a drainage ditch could be cut to contain the overflow a bit when it did rain a lot?
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- It is hard to compare DG and [ball] golf, and I am not saying you should. But coming from one who converted to DG, Creekside is the closest thing in DG I have played that matches the feel of playing on a nice golf course: varying pars, the carts, short grassy fairways, water hazards, all the amenities, the style of play... almost hard to verbalize, as it is more a feel, but Creekside had a great vibe to it.
I really could go on and on about how much I loved this course (maybe because I played this one first, or it fits my game pretty well, but I personally liked it slightly better than the also awesome Lakeside course.) CS is more isolated than LS and you will likely not run into anyone else. (Unlike LS which plays near the main house and the big lake and you may often encounter guests fishing or sight-seeing in golf carts.) I see no reason to give CS anything less than a 5.0 rating. The total package 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 note where the Pro tees were for each hole (talk about challenge!). The reds fit my skill level perfectly as a decent intermediate non-pro. The blues would definitely challenge 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!
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 0 Not
The Longer, but Lesser Brother
Pros: Note: We played this course after we had played Lakeside on a weekend in February. We played from the longer tees without carts.
Creekside gives you the opportunity to air it out a little more than at Lakeside. You can air it out without having to worry about losing it in water as there is less water.
Even with less water, the long holes still demand good placements to score well. I especially enjoyed Hole 3. It actually had water and you had to lay up and then throw over the water to a guarded basket.
I have never been a big fan of making holes long for the sake of making them long, but Hole 8 was one of the holes that I did not mind. It is the only 1000'+ hole in the area. You need to finish right off your drive to avoid being in the bushes and then a few more good shots down a huge alley to get to the basket.
I felt that Creekside had more par 3s that appeals to people who like shorter holes. This course had a much better variety in terms on <300' holes and longer 550'+ holes. This course is longer footage wise, but you can expect to score better here than at Lakeside, because of the larger number of shorter holes.
Cons: In my opinion, there are too many average holes to make this course a 5. Holes 4, 5 and 17 are just short shots over a little bit of water. Even the longer holes felt a little repetitive. For some reason, Creekside's holes just did not stick well in my mind like Lakeside, and I think that is important to make a great course.
Houck likes peninsulas, and I like peninsulas. However, I did not like Hole 18. At all. I felt that the peninsula was too narrow and hard to hit from 320' out. According to the course map, the peninsula directly in front of the pad about 100' is OB, which makes there no good lay up zone.
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.
Do not get me wrong, I enjoyed Creekside 100 percent; it is definitely in my top 10 course, but I think its ratings are overrated because it is next to the best course in the world. Still, this is a great course and it has a lot of fantastic holes. I would make the drive back to play both of these phenomenal courses.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Designer Response by: johnrhouck
Cody, so glad you enjoyed Creekside so much. Just one note on #18, which still confuses people for some reason. Yes, the little penninsula right in front of you is OB, but the short tee, and the entire area left of the water is in-bounds. You can lay up there and have just 200' to the green.
15 Helpful / 0 Not
Eat your Wheaties!!
Pros: There are obviously a lot of pros to this course. Let's get the standard ones out of the way that have been mentioned in every review. First, having golf carts is one of the best things to happen to disc golf since the beveled edge driver. Starting at 9 AM 4 of us were able to get in 3 rounds and a lunch break before it got dark at 5:30. And that's three rounds on 8,800 ft. courses. There's no way that I could play that much golf and still get out of bed the next day if I wasn't using a cart. They have changed the carts from 4 seaters to 2 + cargo. It will end up costing more for groups to have them, but the ability to carry more bags, coolers, etc (especially in the Texas summer) is a big plus for me. Also, the carts are no longer electric but rather gas. This means no worrying about being left stranded at the far end of the course due to dead batteries. From the fuel gauge reading a full day of disc golf barley made a dent in our cart.
This course is a fairly open course that allows you to take whatever line you want to take in most cases. That means huge distance anyhyzers, roller, or even the elusive 'chicken-wing' with a Zephyr. However, don't be fooled by the open spaces. The course is cleverly laid out to give you several options on your throws, but if you don't execute and land in one of those few areas, your next shot will be made that much more difficult. For example, hole 7 only has one large tree in the middle of the fairway, however every time I've played this course at least one person has ended up underneath it and then has to scramble for a par. The other obstacle that this course utilizes very well is the rough off of the fairway. While you are still able to move around, having rough that makes it difficult to throw the correct shot even on a 1000+' hole.
This course also utilizes the water features to allow for some major risk/reward options. In all there are about a dozen places where you can opt to flirt with the OB in order to gain position and strokes on the competition. But these shots aren't just limited to the player with "Lizotte-type" distance. Even some of the 2-able holes that hover around the 300' mark allow you to play for an advantage. This is something that if very seldom utilized effectively in course design.
Finally there is the fact that as a pay-to-play course, I've rarely ever played here when the course conditions were less lacking. The fairways have always been kept in near perfect condition. The trees have been taken care of almost immediately after a storm (a previous time I camped out there might have been a tornado) has brought down limbs. And in areas where the course has been altered from the intent by natural causes they have planted more trees where necessary.
Cons: There are very few cons that I can come up with for this course. Yes, at the end of the day it can feel like some holes are stretched out longer than they need to be. I do tend to look back and feel as if the course always makes me think I could never throw far enough to do any damage. However, in the same regard these aren't strung together, long par 3's. In most cases they are par 4's where accuracy into the green is still rewarded more than distance off of the tee (with exception of some risk/reward holes).
The change in the carts from 4 to 2 seaters has increased the cost to play with more than 2 people in a group. The change in carts also means that on a busy weekend you will be less likely to have a cart available if you don't reserve one far enough in advance.
Finally, there are a few holes that I feel should be adjusted. Hole 3 has lost some of the difficulty due to a large tree being demolished from past storms. While it's still not easy it allows for unintended options over the water and into the green. I also still maintain that some planted trees on hole 10 would add some needed difficulty to an otherwise straight forward 1000' hole where distance is the sole separator of players. And finally hole 13 needs more reinforcement to the right of the tee in order to force players to play the shot over the water as intended. There are a few junipers planted but constant hyzers out to the right have cut them lower and lower over the few years the course has been in the ground.
Other Thoughts: I know that many people view this course as being inferior to the Lakeside course, however, I think that it poses just as much challenge. There are a few holes on this course that I always look forward to; 3, 10, 14 quickly jump to mind. And I always leave feeling like I want to come back and play again because I know I can still do better.
The last thing to mention is the hospitality here is second to none. The owners and the course crew have always been more than helpful and always happy to see us. I know the location is a bit far for some, but I don't see a reason that a singles tournament couldn't be run at Selah with regularity. In fact it's one place that I would pay to spectate a Texas States Championship event or other NT.
If you haven't already been out here, it's one course that has to be on a "Must Play" list.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Selah Ranch - Creekside has been on my bucket list for two years. It was the first course I played at the ranch of the two courses. My drive to the course had my heart pounding. I literally couldn't wait to get there. When I arrived at the course I was greeted by the ranch manager. The pro shop was pretty neat and I was pretty surprised to find I was the only one there. Regardless, he gave me everything I needed to know and sent me on my way. I had the entire course to myself. Literally not a soul in sight on one of the best courses in the world. Here are my pros.... DISCLAIMER: My review is written from my perspective from the long tees:
1) The finishing stretch of holes at Creekside is amongst the best finishing holes in all of disc golf, bar none. It is better than its counterpart Lakeside and and truly left me speechless. You wouldn't think hole 15, measuring in at 296 feet, would be that special but this hole was awesome. It was a true option hole and the tree in front of the teebox (you'll know the one I am talking about) is unforgettable. This is what an option hole should be....AND then you get to hole 16 and you find out what disc golf is all about. This is the hole that defines this course and at the end of the day its the only hole I came back to play twice...and then I played it a third time, as I was determined to make an eagle (I didn't...I put a disc in the water instead). This hole is one of the most glorious par 5's in disc golf and is probably the 4th best hole in all of disc golf, in my opinion. I would put it right up there with hole 7 at Lakeside. Hole 17 is a fun little shot over water that is screaming "come an get me" while 18 is one of the most daunting shots in all of disc golf. While some people may think hole 18 is gimmicky I think its insanely amazing. 318 feet to an island green? That's not gimmicky...its marvelous. Its what made the round so special. Its not a shot you want to throw over and over again, but it is a shot that defines the course. The finishing stretch on Creekside may be the best finishing stretch in all of disc golf. You don't need par 4's and par 5's to be great. They can be good, yes, but sometimes they fail (see below on that).
2) Water - Hopefully you aren't afraid of water, because you will get it out here. There is water everywhere and it comes into play on many shots. Pray for no wind! It adds a lot of value to the design and on a calm day really is peaceful.
3) Design - What stood out to me on this course is that the design, for the most part, was amazing (more on that below). There's not a lot of elevation here and the woods aren't particularly interesting in Texas, but in the end the design was very solid.
4) The greens fees were worth every dollar. I enjoy paying for disc golf when I know its going to a great cause. It is completely amazing to play disc golf with carts, especially on a massive course such as Creekside. Its so wonderful to just not have to worry about anything but throwing and throwing and throwing. Its just fun to drive golf carts!
5) Concrete tees and baskets were great. The baskets are newer because its a newer course and the tees allowed me the runup I needed to throw my shots. I remember having some extra space behind the tees as well in case I needed an extra runup.
6) I played the long tees and enjoyed every minute of it, but it is great that there is a nice set of red tees for different skill levels to enjoy. If I was in the scoring mood I could see myself playing the red tees. If I am in the beatdown mood, I'd just play the long tees!
7) This is nature at its best. While it sucked actually getting to this course, once you are there it feels like a different world. There's no interstate noise, no city noise...just nature. You are in nature and you are playing the best sport in the world. This course is so far out in the middle of nowhere that its almost like you are playing disc golf in the glorious Shire.
8) The variety is completely astounding here. I threw putter off of the tee on two holes and threw three drives on another hole just to get close to the basket (number 8). This course can be really long, like hole 10, but then the course can be really short (like holes 4 and 5 and 11). The course had a hole over 1000 feet and five holes under 300 feet. If that's not variety I don't know what is! I think it makes the longer holes even more special when they are not stacked one after one after one. Its nice to play a 930 foot par 5 (hole 10) and then play a short part 3. Likewise, after playing the beastly hole 16 you get a shorter par 3 measuring 279 feet (albeit with a water carry).
9) The Par 3's - I thought the par 3's at Creekside were better than the par 3's at Lakeside. I saw some complaints about holes 4 and 5 and how they were boring because they were just baskets by water.....but wow! That's the kind of hole that makes you think and brings out the best disc golfers. Go for it or not? Both of these holes, while very similar, are much more unique and better than 90% of the par 3's at your average city course. Both of these holes require a lot of guts to even come near the basket and if you don't come near the basket on your tee shot, are you going to have the guts to go for the putt? Now I did think 13 was a little redundant because it was a similar shot but I still like these kind of holes because it forces you to make decisions. Instead of just chucking it you really have to think about where to throw it. Also, hole 11, while fairly short, just felt more interesting to me than most, short par 3's. I loved how the basket was blind from the tee.
10) Other: Hole 12 may not stand out to some people but this one of my favorite par 4's on the course. It had some elevation and was really memorable because of the big hay bales. I really liked the second shot on this hole and thought the green was well thought out.
Cons: You can't really give a course a 4.5 and have a lot of cons but there were a few:
1) I personally LOVE long bomber courses so this type of course would usually be right up my alley, but I found myself a little bored by holes 7 through 10. Its not that they weren't good holes but to say they were great holes would not be accurate in my opinion. 7 was a little too wide open for me and hole 8 just felt long for the sake of long. As stated I do love long holes but after finishing hole 8 I just felt normal. It didn't feel like the hole would offer a big score separation because it didn't have a lot going on. Hole 9 was better but still a little too open for me. Just throw a big hyzer off of the tee and throw another hyzer to the basket. Hole 10....more on that below. As I said, these weren't bad holes but they weren't great holes.
2) I really wanted to like hole 10. On paper it looked like a signature hole. The green on this hole was phenomenal and the last 200 feet down the corridor really provided a neat window to the green. But its the first 730 feet I had a problem with. This hole was built as an option hole but I just couldn't really figure out the location of the fairway. The left route seemed too hard to hit and the right route looked too jumbled. I played this hole twice to try to get the feel and both times I was just confused as to where I was actually supposed to be throwing. I love option holes, but I truly believe that option holes are VERY hard to make work on par 4's and par 5's. I have talked to other designers about this and they tend to agree. I think the concept and idea behind this hole were great but it just didn't work for me.
NOTE: I was originally going to reduce the rating of this course to a 4.0 because of the length of the grass on some of the holes and the presence of a lot of downed limbs. The day I played Creekside it was in rough shape. I spoke to the ranch manager and he said the weather had been pretty bad. I decided not to penalize the course for this, but I wanted to point out the fact that the day I played the grass was very long in some areas (I lost a disc in the middle of the fairway on hole 7) and there were a lot of branches down on the course. Don't let the cons scare you. This course is worth every penny!
Other Thoughts: I thought long and hard about my rating for Creekside and tried not to compare it to Lakeside. But at the end of the day its impossible not to compare the two courses. While I do think Lakeside is a better course than Creekside, its not by much. Lakeside has more breathtaking holes but Lakeside has one too many "average" holes. Creekside only has a few "average" holes in my opinion, and so it wins in that regard. I would actually rate Creekside somewhere between a 4.25 and a 4.5 but I bumped it up to a 4.5 because the finishing stretch is amazing. As stated in my Lakeside review I would actually give Lakeside a rating closer to 4.75 but didn't quite think it qualified to be a 5. Two marvelous courses on one property made for a great day of disc golf!
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 2 Not
My Favorite Selah Course
Pros: Wonderful amenities on site including a small pro shop, showers and bathrooms at the start of the course etc.
Well designed within the land given, this course has a more natural feel that Lakeside. I'm not sure why I like it better, but I do.
While I don't like the carts overall they do reduce fatigue.
See the pros in the reviews below. Some o them describe this course far more eloquently than I can.
Cons: Price. $20 is reasonable for the courses, but the $40 fee for the carts is almost mandatory unless you're in tip top shape.
The carts: In addition to being costly they aren't doing anything good for the land on either course. Golf courses cut down on wear and tear by having cart paths. Disc golfers seem to drive the carts all over the place instead of staying well away from water, and the center of the fairway the way common sense would dictate. Please have some courtesy people.
Other than those two I really don't have much bad to say about Creekside. It is a little sterile like Lakeside, but not nearly as bad.
Other Thoughts: I know this goes against the grain, 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.
I travel all over the US for business, and don't review many courses unless I feel I have something to add. Unfortunately here I feel like I need to add a contrary opinion. These are marvelous courses, but they do have things that could be improved.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Lakeside's Big Brother
18 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: From the pro tees, this course plays over 9,000 feet. As many have stated, it winds through some gentle hills near a creek that was mostly dry when I played in July. The holes are generally longer and more open than Lakeside and the course certainly feels more open and long.
The pro tee boxes are trapezoidal with the narrower part in the front (as it should be IMO). They offer plenty of room for my runup.
The first two holes are long holes that wind through large trees in a pasture-like setting. Hole 3 was a lot of fun and is probably my favorite hole on both courses. It calls for a backhand to a landing area by a pond followed by a RHFH or RHBH turnover over the pond to the basket.
Elevation is used very well on some holes, Hole 12 stands out. It calls for a right turning shot thrown uphill ending in a cluster of trees that were just past a number of large hay bales (not sure if the bales are permanent, but they definitely added to the hole). The holes through the more forested areas are very well thought out with the exception of 10.
The amenities at the pro shop are the best that I have encountered at any golf course with the exception of the selection of discs for sale. The carts eliminate the need for most amenities that are desired out on the course and they will let you play four rounds of golf without getting really tired from the hike.
Cons: There is more repetition on this course than Lakeside. An example of the repetitive feel are holes 4, 5, and 13. All of these holes are short (under 300 ft) with water very near the basket and on the left. They can all be reached with a midrange disc thrown on a hyzer RHBH. Hole 13 may "benefit" from the hyzer option only because of what looks like recent trimming - I could not tell for sure, but the option is definitely there.
Another thing that kind of feels repetitive for me is the fact that there are only eight par 3s on this course. Only two of those are longer than 300' (301' and 318'). Aside from the Par 3s, there are no holes under 500 feet! There isn't one hole in the mid 300s or any hole in the 400s from the pro tees. So, if you are not trying to park the hole with a mid or fairway driver, you are trying to lay up somewhere. Many of my favorite holes are longer par 3s that call for shaping a line with a driver off the tee in an attempt to get in birdie position. This course really doesn't have that. This is subjective, of course, and Creekside doesn't really seem as long as its 9176 feet would suggest (partly because two holes use 2000 of those feet), but there is little opportunity to park a long drive for birdie. It is also true that this requires you to "think ahead" to landing zones that allow a shot at the pin (or another landing zone), but this is also something required on almost every hole that isn't reachable with a putter or mid.
The last three holes finish with what are essentially forced water carries. You must carry 300 ft off the tee over water to the first landing area from the pro tees on 16, then lay up (by hyzering over the water), then throw over the water again to get to the basket. Another water carry greets you on 17, although it is very short and you can cheat to the left if you don't want to risk your disc. Finally, 18 requires a 318' throw over water with water to the front, right and left of the basket. This hole could easily take several discs, especially on a windy day.
Hole 8 is over 1000' and just felt long for the sake of being long. Three drivers thrown backhand and putt. Hole 10 is nearly as long through woods around a creek. It also felt long for the sake of being long with the added complication of being a trek through a moderate to heavily wooded bottom land around a creek. I'd have to play it several times just to get an idea of how to approach the first two shots. It could have been divided up into two better holes IMO.
Carts/Amenities. If you don't pay $40 for a cart, you will find yourself on a very long course that has no water, no bathrooms, no garbage cans and no benches. The carts make up for this and have other benefits, but their number is also limited. I highly recommend a cart and to make sure that you reserve one in advance if you will be playing on a weekend.
UPDATE Aug., 2015: Having gone back and played this course from the short tees, I have to say that they are certainly a bit less than challenging. On the short par 3s, some of the tees are a little too short for experienced players. Frankly, I would only recommend the short tees to beginners.
Other Thoughts: This course offers stretches of great holes separated by some headscratchers and then ends on three holes with water carries. It is a fun course, and combined with Lakeside, it was definitely worth the 3.5 hour drive from home, but if I only had time to play one of these courses, I would go with Lakeside.
UPDATE: Having played both courses just recently and having finished up with time to play another round, my friend and I both chose Lakeside. It's just a more fun course IMO.
18 of 22 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
WOW! Lived up to its reputation!
Pros: As you play through the course, it tests an element of your game that is frequently missed in other courses: the need to constantly be thinking two or three shots ahead to ensure you're in the desired landing zone for your next shot. This style of design makes what initially appears to be an extremely long course into something manageable, as the creative placement of baskets, trees, and clearings forces you to shoot multiple shorter shots rather than trying to reach the basket in a single long throw.
The course is extremely fair even though it can be quite difficult to shoot well here. Furthermore, the course is very complete in that it doesn't seem to favor one throwing style over the other. As a result, you will need many different shots in your bag of tricks to shoot well.
The tees are all large concrete tees that are level and the tee signs are very informative and provide some insight into how to play the hole for a first-time visitor to Selah Ranch.
The fairways are kept nicely mowed and tee pads clean thanks to a very dedicated grounds crew.
The Baskets are Innova DisCatchers that are all in great shape with no rust or loose parts.
A final point that I would like to make is how well the course flowed. There was never any confusion as to where to go next, even for someone playing the course for the first time without a guide.
Cons: As one of the best courses in the world, there is nothing that needs to be improved upon, but the only real thing that could be an added convenience is the presence of some more trash cans around the course even though they are not needed since most golfers have golf carts they can put their trash in (carts not allowed in tourneys).
Other Thoughts: This course is awesome from the first sight of it. You enter the ranch, and immediately see some of the baskets for the last 4 holes of Creekside presenting amazing water carry shots in a very scenic landscape. This mood prevails as you check in at the on-site Pro-Shop and get your golf cart (yeah, that's right. . . a golf cart for disc golf!).
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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