Rolling Hills, Precarious Approaches, and Disc Golf Chess
11 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Selah Ranch's Creekside course sets the stage for the transcendent Lakeside by offering a wider range of shots than its complement. The signature complex par 4s and 5s are here in 3, 10, and 14, which demand precision placement, strong strategy, a respect for landing zones, and constant risk-versus-reward analysis, all propelled by a dizzying array of shots. There are plenty of opportunities to stretch your arm, such as in 2, 7, and 8, where you make your way toward the basket with broad lines around large, strategically-located trees. Water makes for some fearsome approaches (4 and 5) or serves as a more direct hazard (17 and 18), while elsewhere shaping fairways and complicating the puzzle (3, 10, and 16). The remaining holes each have their own unique character, be it 6's tunnel shot over rolling hills, 9's downhill hyzer ending with a guarded basket, or 12's hay bale guarded uphill shot.
This diversity is for the most part masterfully orchestrated; any minor quibbles mentioned below fade behind the overall sense of considerate variation. Creekside often switches gears effectively, following up, say, the par 4 challenge of hole 14 with a more straight ahead birdie run/easy 3 on hole 15. This attention to pacing isn't always perfect, but it's darn close, and certainly better than most courses I've played. The terrain is masterfully manipulated to create an immensely satisfying hole progression.
Both Selah courses are elevated by their attention to detail and their emphasis on the mental game. Tees, pins, and obstacles are all delicately positioned to make a potentially standard shot fresh and new. While longer holes are common, these stress placement much more than raw distance; knowing where to land to set up the next shot is crucial. At the same time, Creekside has a welcome share of light-hearted moments that allow you to kick back and let your hair down, whether it's making an ace run on 4 with a disc you don't mind getting wet or the almost gluttonously open spaces of hole 8. It all combines to make for an unforgettable round.
Everything beyond the golf itself is also spectacular: concrete tees are fantastic, bathrooms are clean and accessible, the pro shop with affordable used discs is very welcome with all the water, and the cart makes for a fun experience. The setting is beyond gorgeous, and even on what we were told was a down day, the grounds were impeccably tended. Go to Selah.
Cons: The following nit-picks keep Creekside from obtaining perfect 5.0 status for me.
Despite the largely great flow and variation of the course, it's not flawless. Holes 4 and 5 around the lake rely on water's edge pin placements to spice up otherwise straightforward holes, and when played back to back the device seems a little transparent. This sense is reinforced on the closing two holes, which reprise the pins-against-the-water once again back to back. Each hole presents its own variation on this theme, but four such holes in two pairs on the same course becomes a bit tired. This sense was amplified for me because of how much more one-dimensional the use of water is on these holes compared to elsewhere: it factors in for sheer terror factor much more than strategic complication, which is a step down from the other times it makes an appearance.
There are other spots on the course where repetition comes into play in at least a minor fashion. In addition to these two pairs of water holes, holes 7 and 8 both allow you to more or less grip it and rip it with impunity (a bit less so when playing 8 from the long tee). Back to back, they feel somewhat self-similar. Between this pair and the comparable 4 and 5, I felt that Creekside's front 9 was the least interesting 9 on site. Of course, this is very relative to the context, as they remain world class.
The cart is really necessary. The course is exceedingly spread out, and would wipe you out if you walked it. I can't imagine playing Selah on foot in July. And while I think $20 per person for a day of unlimited play is a more than fair price given the courses and the grooming, $40 for the cart seems a bit steep. But again, that's a relatively small complaint.
Other Thoughts: What amazed me most about my visit to Selah is that it exceeded my improbably high expectations. This really is as good as it gets.
I'll reiterate that the cart is a necessity, especially if you want to maximize your visit. We managed to play both courses completely through and hit much of them a second time in around 7 or 8 hours, while really taking our time to savor it all. We started with Creekside, which I'd recommend, since the quality slowly builds until culminating effectively at Lakeside.
The Super 8 Motel in Mount Vernon makes for a convenient and cheap place to stay on your visit if you're not ponying up to lodge on site.
11 of 14 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: While Lakeside meanders in and out of the woods, Creekside primarily wends its way through the fields and meadows. The holes are noticeably longer, and after starting the course with three straight 600'+ holes, you know your arm will be tested. It isn't an all out grip-and-rip course, though; placement is still important.
The other half of the challenge comes from the water carries. Contrary to what the names might imply, Creekside has more throws over lakes than Lakeside, and the creek only comes into play on two holes. There is certainly a peaceful feeling as you hop between the three ponds.
My favorite hole was 10, a 630-foot mission through my favorite kind of woods: moderate to heavy trees with virtually no rough, creating dozens of possible paths to the basket. It would take me many rounds to settle on a preferred path, and I like holes like that. The basket is deep on a peninsula surrounded by the namesake creek with danger behind.
Hole 12 was another fun one, an uphill shot with the bales of hay acting like a bunker off to one side. I never ended up in them, but I could see some fun, awkward shots resulting if you did.
Like Lakeside, nearly all of the holes have concrete pads (with a few rubber tees where the cart path is) and dual tees. The signs are my favorite kind, showing the numerous paths to the basket (as applicable). Navigation was good for the most part.
Cons: There are a couple holes with mild elevation changes, but mostly it's pretty flat.
As mentioned above, the challenge comes from the length and the water carries. From the long tees, the water carries offer a lot more risk than reward for my taste. Hole 3 has basically no route if you can't throw a turnover or forehand as a RHBH. Hole 5 is a nice looking short turnover/forehand shot to a peninsula green, but the green is pretty tight and sloped toward the water. I can't imagine playing this hole 5 times and not losing a disc.
Holes 16 and 18 are rough from the long tees. Hole 16 offers very little bailout option, so you'd better feel comfortable with a long shot over water. Hole 18 is worse, offering no option at all other than a 300-foot shot over water There is a peninsula (a nice theme at Selah) right in front of the tee, but for some reason it's OB. I think water is underused in disc golf in general, but it's a little overused on this course.
At times the length can get old. Hole 8 is a 1000-foot straight hole that felt more like a ball golf hole.
For the most part, the holes on Creekside just don't have the magic of Lakeside. On Lakeside I often stood at the tee and enjoyed thinking through the multiple options, not wanting to waste a drive. On Creekside, there was usually a pretty clear choice. This doesn't mean they are bad holes at all, but they are a notch below.
Hole 11 is kind of odd from the short tees, offering a worse look at the fairway than the blue tee.
Other Thoughts: The carts aren't strictly necessary, but I would recommend them if you plan to play multiple rounds between the two courses. I played four rounds before I had to leave mid afternoon and didn't feel all that tired, and the carts saved my legs.
I played the reds on Creekside and enjoyed them more than the blues. As an intermediate player, I found the blues a little much on some of the water holes. This is as opposed to Lakeside (and most other top courses I've played), where the blue tees feature a lot of risk/reward shots that I can appreciate even though I can't execute them, rather than just shots that favor a big arm.
A quick note on the rankings (there is a reason you clicked on this review, right?). This course is the Scottie Pippen of courses. If you tell me that Scottie is a great player, I'm right there with you. If you start telling me he's the #2 or #3 player, I'm going to assume you are a little blinded by the greatness of his teammate. This is definitely a great course. But it's also not in my personal top 10.
That said, are you going to go out of your way to get to a property with a 5.0 and a 4.0 course? Yeah, me too. When I found out I'd be in Dallas, I made sure to drive the two hours to get here. I'll do it again.
16 of 17 people found this review helpful.
Disc Golf Resort
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: --Excellent design with plenty of variations in shot length and shot shape.
--Good blend of Par 3, 4 and 5 holes.
--Most holes have at least a couple of different options off the tee.
--Hole 9 comes back to the start of the course so it is easy to re-stock your water supply for the back 9.
--Two distinct sets of tees.
--The short tees still provide plenty of challenge for the 900+ rated player.
--Different wind directions can really change how you approach a hole off the tee.
--Course infrastructure is all top of the line......tees, baskets, scorecards, tee and directional signs, carts, bathrooms open, course manager cell phone posted on pro shop door.
--#3 is my favorite hole on this course. Too many runner-ups to decide on a second best.
Cons: I don't believe there is a legitimate "Con" here at Selah.
16 thru 18 from the longs are pretty darn tough in the wind......but they would play a lot easier if I wasn't throwing old discs I am scared to lose in the water.
Other Thoughts: --The lodging on-site is really good and reasonably priced. I have been to Selah in March for two consecutive years. The Corral House is great for a "Guys' Trip".
--We called the course manager due to a lack of a "fire pit grill". He had one to us in 15 minutes.
--The course rental carts were a more all terrain model in 2014 vs. 2013.....but the cart that comes with the Corral House rental is the light duty electric version that you need to plug in for a bit at least once a day between rounds. We played at least 3 rounds a day for 4 days and never ran out of juice in the electric.
--Check out Daysi's in Mt Vernon for the best breakfast burrito $3.50 can buy. No need to order two.
--I've been traveling to Texas on a spring disc golf trip for 18 years now......Austin, Wimberley, San Saba. Last year I was a little down on Selah due to my familiarity with the Meadow and Hill at Wimberley and also the CR2 San Saba courses. But really, Selah is absolutely the best combination of everything that I have experienced. I couldn't imagine going back to the original trip of staying in a hotel and driving around to different city courses.
--I travel to Texas every spring for the sole purpose of hanging out with my best friends and playing some great disc golf. Selah is the perfect spot.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Another World Class Course
2 Helpful / 8 Not
Pros: This course is amazing. It is 2nd in actual hole design only to its better brother Lakeside. The course is much tougher than at first glance. I would say the cart is much more valuable here than on Lakeside. This course plays to the strength of the players with big arms, but to really take some strokes off the game with a distance drive you need to throw with some degree of accuracy about 475' or more without a problem.
I think the only reason this course didn't get a 5 rating from me was the somewhat repetitive over the little pond throws. I don't remember how many there are, but they are similar enough I feel that a couple different shots could be used here.
#10 - This hole is amazing. From the red tee it really challenges, but the blue tee is a little more forgiving. I would put this in my top 5 holes anywhere possibly top 3.
Cons: Some repetitive shots keep this from a 5 for me. I almost aced 18 with 25 mph winds, but that is a heartwrenching shot.
Other Thoughts: You must come here this course is amazing. Play both, but either course will keep you looking for the best in disc golf anywhere else around.
2 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Great Compliment to Lakeside
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This course is sneaky tough. When you first arrive, you see the water protecting holes 16-18, but you don't see many trees. Of the two courses on site, Creekside is definitely more open, but it makes up for the lack of trees with length, well designed holes using the terrain, and water.
Much like Lakeside, this course has a high par. It requires you to throw a drive to a good landing spot for an approach to the basket on many holes. The brilliance of the design of this course is that it seems like it should be pretty easy to just throw a long way for your drive and figure out how to get to the basket from there, but that isn't exactly the case. Once you think that and let your guard down, you will find yourself with no look directly at the basket and have to settle for trying to get a putt for par instead of birdie.
I always have fun playing Creekside. It is some awesome disc golf just like Lakeside. As a golfer, I love the well-designed par-4s and -5s. There aren't enough of these in disc golf in my opinion.
Utilizing the two sets of tees properly can make for a competitive round even with players of different skill levels. On the only hole where there is a single teepad, the red level player has a par-5 to play and the blue level player plays it as a par-4. Brilliant idea.
You have to really work to get birdies from the longer tees. You won't see the average player walking away shooting well under par, he would be glad just to make a birdie. The longer holes challenge placement on multiple throws, and most of the short holes have water making you think twice about going directly at the basket. I love this kind of challenge.
Cons: I'm generally not a fan of just using long grass as rough, and this course has a few holes where that is used (holes 1-2, and 7-9). Really the only issue I have is that it makes finding discs extremely difficult when they are in an open area.
There is no practice basket near the pro shop, and the only hole close to it is hole 18 surrounded by water so that isn't a great place to warm-up.
Other Thoughts: What a pair of courses Selah Ranch is lucky to have. This one complements the (slightly) shorter, more technical Lakeside course perfectly.
It is tough to pick a favorite hole. There are so many that are great. I think I will go with hole 3 though. The drive has to be precise, and the approach is made tough by trees that are lined up between you and the basket and there is water short and left of the basket that makes its way toward woods on the right that swing behind the basket. I have literally just pitched a putter 40-50' to a good spot on my 2nd throw here because I didn't want to risk going in the water from where I was even though I didn't have anything near me. You will have to see pictures of that hole if you haven't played it.
Hole 9 is a great downhill par-4. You can be greedy off the pad and try to bomb one in order to try to get a visual of the basket for your 2nd, or you can throw something safe and make sure you get in the fairway. The bomb option brings woods in to play on the left and there is no way to get birdie from there as you will be pitching out. Throwing short off the pad leaves you with a blind 2nd throw around the woods. Another great risk/reward hole.
Holes 10 and 16 are fun par-5s. Both have OB water looking to suck in your disc if you get too greedy or make a bad throw. They also have safer routes that you can still make birdie from if you are precise. Going for the eagle is extremely tempting though.
Carts are nice, but not absolutely necessary. I've played more rounds walking than with a cart. This is 2nd only to the other course on the property on my list of favorite courses I have played. Well worth the 4hr drive to get to Selah a few times a year.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 9 Not
Best destination ever!
Pros: Course is amazing. Great selection of shots. Hard, but still fun. Played both courses at least once on this trip. Can't wait to get back and play them again.
Cons: 800 miles away from my house
Other Thoughts: Will be making repeat trips here every year!!!
1 of 10 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 4 Not
- Wide variety of shot shapes and lines required. Never felt repetitious.
- The scenery. Such a beautiful piece of property, very peaceful and picturesque.
- 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.
Great compliment to Lakeside, but without a signature hole. Still some very memorable, challenging holes though. The obscure locale of these courses is negated by the fact that they're on the same property, thus giving you 36 of the most challenging, unique disc golf holes anywhere.
13 of 17 people found this review helpful.
22 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This course is set on some amazing and beautiful land! The land makes use of a few rolling hills, a creek, some ponds, and weaves its way in and around beautiful trees. The course flows amazingly, and it is obvious that a professional designed this course. It offers anywhere from 180 foot holes to 1019 foot holes. The shot variety is great. There are also some very creative holes on this course like the hole where you throw over hay bales. There is risk/reward on this course as well, especially on the pond and creek holes. Nothing makes you want to stay in bounds more than water. You never get bored playing this course, and it always leaves you wanting more after each hole.
Cons: This course has so much to live up to as it is on the same piece of property with the best course in the world. This course doesn't offer as much elevation or technical shots as I would want in a 4.5 or 5.0 course. A lot of the shots, especially in the middle half of the course, are longer holes that have some trees and are quite flat. To be fair, they are some of the better long flat holes I ever played, but they aren't as interesting as elevated holes with more technique. Because of this, some of the holes blend together in my mind, which would never happen with a perfect course. To be fair, my buddy and I did play this course from the red pins, the shorter pins as we were tired after lakeside. One final con is hole 7. Instead of two tee pads, there is only one tee pad and one basket on this hole, but somehow it is both a par 4 and a par 5. This really confused me.
Other Thoughts: This course was quite generous with their pars, which is a really nice change from monotonous par 3's at other courses. This is an excellent course, don't get me wrong. I really enjoyed playing it, but it is not the best of the best, and there are not enough wooded and elevated holes to make it phenomenal. This is the best 4.0 course I have ever played.
22 of 23 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 13 Not
World Class Courses in East Texas
Pros: Excellent design, beautiful scenery, off-road golf carts, Cookie & Sterling, challenging holes.
Cons: Not one thing.
Other Thoughts: Selah Ranch is the ideal disc golf course experience. Creekside and Lakeside are both challenging but not impossible courses and the design is great. Dave is a wonderful host and wants everyone to have a good time. The new golf carts are perfect. The new trees that have been planted are going to make these courses a bit more difficult in a few years. I prefer Creekside over Lakeside, but just barely.
2 of 15 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Never felt this way when entering a DG course. It's almost like you are part of an exclusive club. Only 1 other group was on the course the whole day. The pro shop is well-stocked and also had good deals on used discs. New off-road carts handle the bumpy roads and fairways much better than normal golf carts. The carts have a bed in the back big enough to hold your discs and a cooler and in my case a tackle box and poles as well.
The actual course was very enjoyable to play. To start out are a couple of holes on the easy side. Then you come to hole 3, my favorite of Creekside. A tough choice between forehand and backhand because a shot too far left is water, and too far right and you have no shot at the hole. Very risky and requires accuracy. The open drive shot is followed by a moderately wooded approach shot which I liked a lot. The lillie pads on hole 3 were absolutely huge and the biggest I have ever seen.
I also enjoyed hole 10 very much. A moderately wooded blind tee shot to the curve of a dogleg left, while the creek runs all along the fairway. The next shot is a tough approach with the OB creek very close to the basket. Very good use of the land and creek on this hole.
One of the factors I keep in mind when reviewing a course is navigation. Even without a map, the course is easy to navigate. When you aren't sure which way to go, just follow the beaten down cart paths and they will lead the way. On long distances between holes, there is a 4x4 post guiding the way to the next hole.
Cons: First off, I think the pars should be lowered (from the red tees at least). I know par doesn't really mean much, but I shot 9 under from the short tees and I wasn't playing at a 9 under level. Many marked par 4 should have been 3.
Hole 11 was my least favorite hole. There is no discernible fairway and is sort of a 'throw and pray' hole. I didn't dislike it. A course needs to have a luck factor I think, it just wasn't my favorite.
There are no bathrooms or water along the course, but that is cancelled out I think by the carts. We made it from the farthest part of the course to the pro shop (where the bathrooms are) in just a few minutes. The carts really take the need of bathrooms and water away, especially since you can hold a cooler in the cart.
The course can be really dusty now and then, especially with a cart or 3, but on a ranch that size, you can't expect the grass to be perfectly maintained after all that cart traffic.
There are no benches, which really only affects the people that walk the course.
Other Thoughts: Again, this is the best experience I have ever had playing disc golf. Dave is a man of few words, but is as nice and as hospitable as you can be. It took us 2 hours to play with 5 guys and 3 carts. The cart really saves your energy and that allows you to play more. I camped with 4 other guys and the campsite had a picnic table with a fire ring and firewood supplied. You would definitely need a truck or off road SUV to get to the campsites though. The farthest campsite away from the showers and bathrooms was only about a quarter mile away. The bathrooms were clean and the showers were hot. Overall, a great camping and disc golf trip.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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