3 Helpful / 0 Not
Hanson Ponds DGC - Cle Elum
Hanson Ponds DGC is the newest edition to the Cle Elum area in Washington State. This beautiful nine hole course, eventually 18, is located on fourteen acres right off I-90 along the Yakima River. Unlike the beginner course near the high school, Hanson Ponds was designed for the more advanced player. However, with duel tee pads this course can be played by all. The red tee pads are shorter and more direct to the pin, with holes ranging from 200-400 feet. The blue tee pads add both distance and at times difficulty, with holes ranging from 205-450 feet.
Baskets are DISCatchers, and the bright yellow bands are wonderful for navigation from the tee's as some of the baskets are blind and the course is very dense with foliage. Once tee one is located...navigation is not an issue. There are small tee markers on the ground (red & blue) along with small laminated maps to give first-timers a clearer idea of the course layout. Flow and course design were a major plus here, especially once the final nine is completed. Right now after hole nine there is a bit of a walk back to the parking area but I know this issue will be solved sooner than later. The holes on the course were balanced and challenging. The designers did a nice job using the land they were given, challenging players to throw turnovers, hyzers and thread the needle type shots. There were even a few open bomber holes for those who need to unleash the fury!
Favorite Hole(s): Hole #7 - Tight shot off the tee over a fast moving creek through a wall of trees toward an open field. The installation of a sturdy foot bridge added to the visual appeal as well as the functionality of the hole. The hole requires precision and power in order to grab a birdie, making it a high risk/high reward. Hole #8 is another great hole going back along the other side of hole seven. The hole isn't as long and the basket is a not as wide open but again, it challenges players to hit an accurate shot over the water and through a series of trees to the pin. Good times!
For being installed in 2011 the designers are off to a great start. With time and the addition of the back nine, this course could truly be great. For now, as others have mentioned, there are still some areas of improvement that need to be made. Because of the course's remote location between Hanson Pond and the Yakima River, it is kind of difficult to find hole one down the LONG gravel road. I followed directions on the course page and found it, but felt like a kiosk or larger "first tee" sign would go a long way.
Another issue was the tee pads. Although the blue tees were in pretty good shape for being gravel and dirt, the red tee pads were still fairly uneven, with roots impeding a proper run up and follow through. Hopefully they get enough donations to install Flypads or cement pavers so that the harsh weather conditions are less of a factor on the erosion of the tee pads.
Last, the thick vegetation and barbwire off the fairways of a few holes. Over time with the course being played more, funds being added to the course, and through work parties from the locals, I am sure these issues will get taken care of. Like anything, it just takes time and money. For now, they locals are doing a lot with what resources they have available and it shows.
Hanson Ponds DGC is the ideal place to stop when traveling across the state. It allows for some quality disc golf while getting a chance to stretch the legs at the same time. There is fishing near bye along with some camping but just know due to its location to I-90 that it can get loud due to the never ending flow of cars and trucks. Cle Elum is a beautiful town with several places to eat and fill up on gas nearby so if you are looking for an all in one stop THIS is your place! Thank you to all the locals who made this possible. Your hard work and love for the sport is obvious and appreciated.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Primitive, Rustic & Challenging!
Pros: To get to the course take exit 84 off I-5 and get off on the south side of I-5. There is nothing on this side of the freeway but Whispering Pine Mobile Home Park. To the left is Hanson Ponds road. Follow it to the pond. Park here and look back into the trees for the white # 1. That points to the first hole.
They're off to a nice start here. The baskets are new Innova DISCatchers with the yellow band and numbers on the side. There are two sets of teepads, if you can call them that, more on them later in the Cons section. The Blues tees indicate the longs and the Reds are the shorts. Sometimes the Reds are just 30' shorter and on some holes they gave a you a totally different look. The course plays mostly through the woods and is long enough and technical enough to challenge any player. You often have to throw through a narrow gap either immediately off the tee or sometimes like on # 7, maybe 75' later in order to stay out of harms way.
This being on the eastern side of the mountains, the rough is much more clear and open than on the brushier western side of the mountains. However, the builders of the course didn't help here by stacking up the debris they cut out of the fairways right along the sides of some of the fairways and therefore creating artifical roughs. This debris has dried and along fairways # 1 and # 6 in particular, is right in the position where a many a RHBH player will hyser one.
Hole # 7 is truly a great hole from the Reds. It's 360' and you're teeing from down in a gully/gulch through a narrow gap between some trees immediately in front of you. Just a few feet beyond that is a little up and down mound. Then about 75' further ahead, your disc must pass between a narrow gap roughly 20' wide between trees that border a pretty, little, sparkling, clear creek. Then the basket is another 150' hyser shot past all this. The effect in general is one of the more aesthetically pleasing holes I've seen.
There are a couple of garbages cans placed about the course and a bench or two in place.
I loved # 6 from the Red/Short tee. It was a very tight but sweet little hyser run (240' )through a gap in the trees.
Cons: Like Sillybiz said, the teepads, are horrid and sometimes downright dangerous. They need some serious grunt work done to them.
The signs are great color laminated pieces of paper which are stuck to little logs with push pins. The teen vandal crew of Cle Elum are going to destroy these in a flash. You need to devise something much more vandal proof here. Start by burying your logs in the ground a couple of feet. Then attach the laminated signs under thick plexiglass. Or go to the high school and see if they have a metal shop class and inquire about having them manufacture simple metal signs which could be mounted on top of the buried logs.
Please haul off the dried debris. I would find this course so much more enjoyable without it stacked up along the sides of the fairways. Plus it's a fire hazard and an eyesore.
On # 4, the long open hole, I was forced to skip this hole entirely as someone (fishing, no doubt) had parked their car right smack where I wanted to throw my tee off.
On # 5, I don't know if this is really a Con or not but I felt as though I was throwing my tee shot right onto the eastbound lanes of Interstate-5. You are so close and it's noisy.
On everyone's favorite hole # 7, just after you leave the teebox and step up over the second little rise, you're stepping into about a dozen little cut off branches. They're like "punji sticks" from the Vietnam War which were sharpened little razor sharp sticks that American soldiers sometimes stumbled on. Aren't we on the same side here?
Other Thoughts: I'd be glad to up my rating here when a few of these improvements are made. The challenge is here. I hope the local disc community is up to meeting that challenge of first maintaining this course through the brutal mountain weather up here and then putting in the neccessary work to make some improvements. It's a fun little throw and I would like to stop back and play it now and again and up my rating. Like the course in Moses Lake, this little course should become a " Must stop" for ever Washington disc golfer who drives over I-5. Just like Arnold, "I'll be back."
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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