11 Helpful / 3 Not
A Decent Ski Course
Pros: Bear Creek is a rugged combination of two disctinctly different courses. The front nine features a pair of open risk/reward holes followed by seven wooded holes. These seven holes feature both left and right-turning doglegs over rocky terrain and includes a wandering stream that could easily add a circle and an extra stroke to your score. The back nine is a verticle hike that meanders up the face of the ski slopes. While most of the first nine holes are fairly flat (#1 and #2 being the exception), the second nine most definitely has elevation in play, including uphill, downhill, and across the fall line.
This course is a great example of the type of course that forces players to weigh the value of "going for it" or "laying" up. This is always in play on the downhill holes, but this really gets kicked into high gear right from the start on holes #1 and #2, throwing over disc-stealing water.
The baskets are in great shape and feature tape to point to the next tee. If that wasn't enough, there is no shortage of arrows that also point to the subsequent tee. Garbage cans are all over the course and appear to be used as there is no garbage on the course. Picnic tables are also available on/between several holes and are a great way to take a break from all the verticle elevation changes. The steps after hole #9 are well crafted and make it easy to start your ascent.
Cons: Some of the lanes on the front nine didn't seem to be quite there yet. Hopefully as time goes on and this course evolves, the lines required on the wooded fairways will be easier identify. For the back nine, most of the holes seemed to be straight throws from guarded tees to open baskets or straight throws from open tees to guarded baskets without many doglegs. WIth the exception of a few holes, most of the fairways seemed to be a similar length.
The walk from the tee on #16 down to the basket is very steep and dangerous. The safer route down is to head back down the fairway to #15, which brings its own set of dangers.
Given all the land available at this course, it doesn't seem that it was utilized to maximum potential. Specifically, the nearly half mile walk from the 18th basket back to the parking lot is somewhat ridiculous.
The elevated tees at Bear Creek are pieced together from pieces of rubber mats and are fairly small. This combination is no good for those holes that require any kind of run-up.
The mosquitos and gnats were absolutely opressive. Large pools of stagnant water all over the course likely serve as breeding grounds for these nuisances. Normally, I'd put this into "Other" because this type of problem is only in play for part of the year, but considering that this course is only open part of the year, this is going to be a full-time issue.
Goose poo was all around the basket on hole #2. Drives parked on this hole might end up being punished anyhow.
Other Thoughts: This course is a workout. The first half requires careful, sure footing. The second half is a hefy cardio climb and will quickly make you huff and puff...even for those in fantastic shape. If you're easily winded, not good on your feet, or not in good physicial condition, I wouldn't recommend attempting the back nine.
Overall, I'm happy to have another course in the Lehigh Valley. Given the space available at this resort, I just wish there would have been a bit more to it from a hole length and variety perspectie (specifically on the ski slope holes). That being said, once you've had a chance to play the championship caliber courses in the Lehigh Valley, give Bear Creek a rip.
11 of 14 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Hole 1 & 2 are very fun opening shots for the course. Hole 18 is excellent as well
Cons: Holes 3-7 are difficult and some with virtually no lane or path to the pin. This is a new course so with time these holes could be very fun. The tee pads aren't leveled with the ground which may be ackward for some and also some of the tee pads are on the smaller side. ******* THE BIGGEST CON YET : Hole 18. Hole 18 is an excellent hole with 1 MAJOR problem. The opening leads to the pavilion where people have weddings. On this day after we threw and were enjoying the long drives, when we were looking for our discs, we were greeted by someone from security walking towards us. She was telling us that we were talking to loud and that the wedding party could here us (even stated that she could here us from the teepad) . Now normally I wouldnt mind being told to not be loud except for the fact that she wanted us to whisper as we walked and played. She was also extremely rude and interrogated us about what we were doing (as if the discs in our hand, the pin we were walking to, and the bags of discs on our backs wasnt a big enough sign) and she also escorted us to just about the parking lot. Perhaps they should have thought about placing hole 18 within ear shot of where someone could have a wedding or perhaps maybe the wedding should have thought about having their wedding by where a FREE disc golf course is located.
Other Thoughts: The course all in all was fun since it was new but, with the lack of the front holes being cleaned up (3-7) and the extremely rude personel, this course gets a 3. Once its cleaned up, ill be able to look past the rude persons and rate this course better.
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 3 Not
room for improvement
Pros: Like most people, I was excited about playing a free ski hill course after seeing the pictures on fb (before it was listed on dgcr.) My excitement came to a peak when we pulled into the parking lot and saw the awesome drop from tee to basket on hole1. 30 mph cross winds added to the experience that day! My excitement was quickly squashed when we got to the wooded holes 3-9, none of which seemed to have a discernable fairway. I like wooded holes as much as the next guy, but some use of a chainsaw would make these holes more pleasurable. After a short walk past the scum filled pond-complete with floating dead animals- you get to the open holes 10-18 and the workout begins. There is a nice mix of up and downhill shots with very little hiking in between. My group (2 big guys and 2 skinny guys) didn't really have a problem with getting winded, just take your time and it will be okay. 18 dumps you right at the lodge, so you can clean up a bit and get a drink or food if you like. You might want a drink as you contemplate the long uphill walk to get back to your car. Luckily we had two cars so we didn't have to deal with it.
-The major con is the walk after 18. If I was there with only one car, I would probably park at the bottom and warm-up by walking up that hill first.
-I don't remember seeing any benches or trash cans on the course, not a problem for me but others seem to like those perks.
-There is no water, except at the lodge.
-New course = rough is REALLY rough! Forget about finding lost discs on certain holes. 18 took three of our discs and 1 stole a disc too.
-3-9 need a little clearing and maybe some alternate/longer tees.
-A few of the holes could use alternate/shorter tees to make the course beginner friendly-again, not a concern of mine.
Other Thoughts: -When I heard that someone mentioned having the worlds here in a few years, I literally laughed out loud. This course is no where near that caliber and I don't know if it ever will be. As it sits now, the course is pretty good and there is great potential for improvement, but whoever had that worlds thought needs a reality check.
-Holes 3-9 really bring this course down, but 1-2, 10-18 almost make up it.
-Teebox for the short downhill hole, 16-I think, is the smallest teebox I've ever seen. It's probably only 3x3 and really that's all you need because the pin is so short that a run up would be complete overkill and is totally unnecessary.
-I can't really say that I will go back anytime soon, maybe because Tyler, Nocky, Iron hill etc are closer to me.
-Bear Creek is a resort that hosts some expensive weddings and other functions, so I can't help but wonder if dirty/sweaty dg'ers will be welcome in the lodge during such functions. I can see it now: daddy pays 30k for the wedding only to have it spoiled when someone yells F**K after losing a disc and it echoes down the hill and interrupts the vows. Just kidding, I don't know if sound would travel down the hill that well.
6 of 9 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 1 Not
Too Much of a Good Thing?
Pros: Amazing layout, design and condition. The tee boxes are rubber and pristine. Course was easy to follow and filled with signature holes.
It's a disc golf experience that you won't forget, for many reasons, almost all of which are good. There are however, some challenges to overcome, see the cons.
Cons: I hesitate to call some of the problems cons. You can't have the joy of incredible elevation changes without having to traverse that elevation. And if I'm not in shape, it's my own fault. But seriously, this is a physical challenge that shouldn't be underestimated.
If you're not in excellent shape, make sure to take some breathers from 10-14, or you will be hurting and unable to enjoy 15-18. I'm not in great shape, and I was suffering.
Poison Ivy is everywhere on the back nine. It's nearly impossible to avoid.
The joy of seeing your disc sail downhill on the epic 18th is quickly washed away when you look out over the lodge and see your car in the parking lot. It will look like a matchbox. It's a LONG walk in from 18. And it's uphill, but if 10-14 didn't kill you, my money is on you making it.
Other Thoughts: Some hole information:
If you came, played 1 and 2 and left, you'd still have an experience.
#1 Right off the parking lot, under a gazebo you'll find the pristine # 1 tee box looking out over the a lake. You better have your A game or a disc you don't mind losing. Thick woods on the right, nothing but lake to the left and a precarious strip of sloped land where the basket sits in the middle.
#2 - This has an L shaped fairway that hugs the water. You can go for the pin but it's all carry over the lake. I'm not very long but I throw consistently between 280-300. There's no distances out yet for the course, but it looked closer so I took some off my drive and came up just short. I recommend throwing it a full 300 and being safe. I was able to recover my disc with the help of a big stick left behind by others.
#3 - #7- **EDIT (ALL of these holes have a clearly defined lane now. They are all fair for short holes. I removed my previous criticism). It is well laid out and the next tee box is almost always visible from the basket of the hole just finished. There are also orange arrows pointing you in the right direction.
#8 - This plays along a creek bed and has a clearly defined fairway. It requires a little anhyzer shot. It's a short hole with a lot of character.
#9- This hole is tight as well, but has a fair gap.
#10-14- I'd love to go into detail on these holes, because I think they were cool, but I was so intent on putting one foot in front of the other and not passing out that I can't recall much. They go up. That much I'm sure.
#15 - I was so happy to get to the 15th tee and see that I was going across the mountain. The mountain to my right the slope to my left. I throw a right hand backhand. I threw a pretty good one and was pleased, until it started hyzering down the slope. 250 feet later, I realized that I'd have to trek down and fight my way back up to the basket. Great hole, stupid me. (EDIT - If you get one of these hyzers...leave the disc, get it after putting out on 16, you'll thank me later.)
#16- This is a steep downhill short touch shot. It's easy to overshoot. The walk down is steep and I was tempted to just roll down to the basket to save energy.
#17- This is another side hill hole but without the threat of losing a hyzer down the mountain. It's a good solid hole that one day I hope to enjoy without being exhausted.
#18- This is an epic bomb down a massive hill. If you have anything left to give, you'll love this hole. Try not to look for your car over the lodge though, because the walk that awaits you can be depressing. (Keep a close eye on your disc, it's traveling a LONG way and can be tough to find.
I'll play this course again, but I'll make sure to take 10-14 real slow and hopefully I'll be in better shape. My hat's off to the designers of the course. They had an epic vision and pulled it off. I'm a diehard and I never thought I'd say this, but it might just be too much course for me. I gave it a 4.0. If 3-7 gets some more defined throwing lanes I could easily justify increasing that ranking. Not sure if anything can be done about the poison ivy, there's just too much of it.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 2 Not
Another Lehigh Valley Gem
Pros: · Brand new rubber tee pads with hole number either on wood border or a tree by the tee
· DISCatcher baskets - yellow makes them easy to locate and best of all they're new
· Easy to navigate even without tee signs - there are small signs with orange arrows pointing towards the pin position as well as to the next tee throughout the course
· Significant elevation changes -pretty much the entire back nine (and hole #1)
· Water hazard in play on four holes : Holes 1 & 2's large pond where disc loss possibility is high and holes 7 & 8 bordering a creek in the woods where disc loss probability is low
· Excellent design incorporating many of the elements one would expect in a high caliber course which will keep the avid disc golfer coming back for more.
· Nice mix/balance in throw types & hole types which are mentally/physically challenging - essentially a complete game will be needed to score well here
· Great starting/finishing holes - particularly signature hole #1's drive from up high in the parking lot over a large pond to a pin on an incline. You will remember this hole forever.
· A natural flow (see cons for one exception) most notably on the woods holes 3-9.
· The back 9's ski/lift area holes aren't your 'typical' ski area holes where the majority of drives off the tee are downhill. Nope, two-thirds of them are uphill and will test your endurance - especially in hot and humid weather.
· Fortunately, holes 3-9 are mostly flat with the central challenge being tight, technical, heavy woods.
· In a ski area, so amenities are on site (not sure as to the availability however)
· Free of charge!!!!
· Extended walk from 9 to 10 (follow blue spray paint directions on the ground) followed by five grueling uphill holes (10-14) may tucker out those not in the best shape so be prepared.
· Extremely long walk from 18 to the upper parking lot
· No tee signs (I'm sure they will be installed eventually) - for first timers, this isn't so much a problem with navigation as it is knowing the length of the holes and some of the pin positions (the orange arrows don't always do them justice).
· With any new course, the woods holes are overgrown but not disc-loss thick. Just be careful of poison ivy and other itch-causing plants throughout.
· Ski area stuff abounds on the back nine detracting from the aesthetic appeal
Other Thoughts: It's obvious when approaching the first tee that this is a place for serious disc golf. Much will be said about the epic first hole & it's a tremendous opener -a big, open elevated
bomb over a large pond with dense rough lining the narrow landing area - there's a lot of risk as the pin is on an incline not far from the water's edge and even a successful drive could easily roll away into the drink. Then there's temptation on hole 2 with water on the left, rough on the right and a narrow landing area in front. It's as if the devil is on your left shoulder enticing you to drive over the large pond & go for it while the angel on your right shoulder begs you to think better of it and lay up on the slim strip of fairway. Fun stuff indeed!
The wooded holes (3-9) remind me of the courses I played when first starting out in the late nineties. First off there's the trees -tight, technical and lacking the typical, clearly defined driving lanes encountered on older, more broken in courses where the infuriatingly smaller shot-killing trees are cleared out over time. However in this case, these lesser trees add to the complexities of the lines you must hit which is a characteristic I find appealing. Secondly, there's plenty of rough around - not the disc eating kind thankfully - but enough to make you mindful of where the disc lands and more importantly WHAT it lands in (poison). Thirdly, the length of the holes are fair and most pins are reachable off the tee if you sculpt your drive properly. Still, recovery from errant throws can be challenging so concern is warranted. Fourth, the flow of these holes was pretty much seamless as the next tee is only a short walking distance from the previous pin - this saves energy you will certainly need on the brutal back nine. Finally, a non-disc eating creek comes into play on holes 7 (lining the right side of the fairway where you eventually have to cross over to reach the pin) & 8 where the creek IS the fairway. The latter being the standout hole in this wooded sequence.
Follow the blue paint on the ground for an extended walk to the back nine where the grueling, uphill holes 10-14 await. These will seriously test your endurance with extreme, ascending elevation, tees/pins placed at the edge of/in the woods & primarily throwing up/across open fairways which are in essence cutouts for the ski/lift areas. Thankfully, hole 15 provides a reprieve with a downhill drive but wait - the pin is placed on another incline! #16's downhill drive bordered by a ski lift on the right has a tee so small you basically can only stand and deliver. However this is good because no run up is necessary as this hole can easily be overshot with even the tamest drive. 17's uphill has a nice, flat landing area (by the ski lift exit) providing a clean look at the pin in the woods cutout. 18's a fun finisher with a downhill ski-slope bomb. The bummer after this is the realization of how far you have to walk to get back to your car in the upper lot.
This is a no doubt 'wish list' course for DGCR-ers and one that out of town-ers will want to hit if visiting the Lehigh Valley. Area golfers are once again spoiled with another outstanding course which is only going to improve as time passes. And from what I understand, there's another 18 holes going in at Bear Creek which will only make this destination that more appealing. My hope for this additional course is that it will somehow intertwine with the existing course so you can play 9-hole mix/match combinations as the current course is really like two different (but wonderful) 9 hole worlds (woods world and mountain world).
I'm a tee sign stickler and while I'm confident they will be installed soon (if not already - or perhaps a map/scorecard?), I have to rate the course based on my experience when I played. Therefore while I feel this course is closer to a 4.5 than a 4, I have to round it down for lack of tee signs. No worries though - I'll be here regularly and consequently will update the rating as improvements/changes are made.
13 of 15 people found this review helpful.
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