5 Helpful / 0 Not
Spirit Ridge IS disc golf. Plain and simple
Pros: This course is completely isolated from everything but bears, hornets, cougars, mosquitos, and Ron. You don't hear a sound that isn't natural during your entire round. This is the absolute opposite of North Park when it comes to background noise. The design and thought that went into this course is just phenomenal. I never had the pleasure to meet Steve Werner, but I feel like I knew him just a little bit after playing the course that his brother Ron built in his memory.
Ron did a great job here. Elevation comes into play with mostly uphill and downhill shots. Only a few of the holes are really flat at all. The natural baskets are an incredible touch. The tones that come from copper piping and native wood hitting each other like some sort of natural windchime are just... I don't have an adjective here. Going back to metal chains just sounds wrong the first time. That said, it's still nice to hit one regular basket (it was Steve's) and a keg a few times through your round.
Then there are the llamas. They didn't come into play during our round, but we still got to meet them. Using anything other than a llama to maintain a course this perfect and natural would just ruin the experience. And that's what Spirit Ridge is: An experience.
Cons: Cons? The course mostly follows a dirt road, so you don't find many tight lines. You can utilize tight lines, but for the most part you can play it safe and stay along the road.
You essentially play a 10 hole course twice with subtle tweaks to your drive. Although this is done better than any other course I've seen with this "play it twice" setup, a tiny bit more variation would be nice. There's a lot more land available for use once the brush and hornets are cleared out.
Some would call the shortness of the holes a con as well. It fit my range really well, and the frustration level of a course like SeaTac just wasn't here. If you have 500 foot holes through the woods it just isn't the same, let alone practical. I think the length just adds to the intimacy of the course... And here I am turning the cons into pros just like everyone else seems to do.
There just aren't any true cons here. Even the distance from everything is a pro as long as you have the time to drive up there.
Other Thoughts: I have never given a course a perfect score, but this is as close as I'll probably ever get. If Ron utilizes more of the property up here and takes you farther up and down the ridge it might get to a 5 star rating. It really is that good.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
A Touch of Lucky Mud, Some Hornings, A Little Braxton's Bluff!
Pros: Wow, writing a review on a course after Mr. Stengele and Mr. Sillybiz have previously written one is like writing a sequel to "Gone With The Wind" or something. What to add? I'll start with the hospitality shown me by , first Ron and then by the owner of the land, Lavina. Good folk, they are to welcome you up here to their world. To drive you up here and share this experience with others with. Thanks Ron and Lavina!
The course is a composite (on a slightly smaller scale) of many of the other great private courses I've been fortunate to play around the country such as Daliwood, Lucky Mud and Horning's Hideout ,all here in the Pacific Northwest as well as Braxton's Bluff in North Carolina which was a top 10 nationally rated course until it's closed a couple of years ago. They all are able to incorporate those quirky, down-home touches which made their course truly unique. Among the many of those unique and unusual in evidence here are;
The 20 hand carved tee signs.
The handmade hanging bamboo targets.
A Rainier Beer Keg as a Target-Makes a great tone.
# 3 an old boat in the middle of the hole.
The crazy hyper dog.
The llamas Stormy and Oats!
Night glow golf in the middle of a Forrest!
Cons: The fact that the course is non-accesible. Currently, the only way to play it is to contact Ron and make arrangements to meet him and then ride up with him. Not that this isn't an enjoyable way to go. It's just for everyone.
The course plays at an easy intermediate level. Although very technical in nature, it's shorter length will leave some players probably wanting to show ff those big arms.
The rough can be very unforgiving here. There is lots of rough. For basically one person (Ron) to stay ahead of all this growth on a part time basis would be impossible. So expect to spend some time looking for your discs. We lost one on the first hole but found two.
Other Thoughts: One thing I love about disc golf is just being out in the parks or out in the woods. Being out here was like taking that feeling to another level. To me, there was almost something kind of spiritial about the entire experience.
It was built to remember a brother who passed well before his time. This awesome piece of land which feels like it's a million miles from civilization. It's the people here. It's Zen. It's Karma. Maybe it's disc golf in the truest sense.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Spirit Ridge DGC - Steve Werner Memorial
*Designed by Ron Werner in 2009 to commemorate the passing of his brother Steve, Spirit Ridge DGC in Carnation, WA is located on 24 acres within the Markworth State Forest. Although several miles off the beaten path, about 30 minutes from Loutsis Park, the sheer beauty and complete isolation is worth the trip alone. Like Ron, the owner of the property is very inviting, generous, and genuine.
* This course is full of character! Whether it be the course mascots Stormy and Oats (pet llamas), the 20 hand carved tee signs w/ an animal etched on each one representing what has been seen on the hole including Bobcats, Mountain Lions, Bears, etc, to the handmade hanging baskets similar to the ones used on the Big Island of Hawaii called Bonkajens (Bamboo that hangs down from a circular device like a wind chime, although Spirit Ridge uses wood native to WA). Hole #8/#18 uses an old Rainier Keg as a target and hole #14 uses the only chain basket on the course.
*Elevation is utilized throughout the course, with well developed fairways and at times thick vegetation that can be unforgiving off the fairways. Although most of the holes lack a lot of distance, the technicality of the holes is what makes the course so challenging. I found myself using my Buzzz, Aviar, and Firebird due to the fact that the designer Ron created the course from a LHBH perspective. That being said, he did an amazing job making a well balanced course incorporating a decent number of both LH/RH friendly holes.
**Favorite Hole/s: Holes # 3/#13 (Boat Hole), #8 (Steve Werner's Rainier Keg Hole), and #10/#20 (Top of the World)
*There really are not a lot of things I could point out as cons considering Ron and a few locals have taken it upon themselves to design and maintain this diamond in the rough. Although there is still a lot of brush on the sides of the fairways and the tee pads are natural, the course looks incredible! This course is more technical than long and therefore the natural tee pads work just fine. The rough will always be there considering its location, but makes risk versus reward that much more prevalent, and adds to the challenge of this shorter course. Ron has tried his best to create walking trails in the more troubled spots and is incredibly fast when it comes to finding lost discs.
* Also, the goat trail heading down from Top of the World (Holes #10/#20) is very dangerous. There is a longer way down with a much more gradual slope so just ask Ron as a fall on this hole WILL ruin your day.
*Due to this isolation of the course, we met up with Ron at his place and then he graciously drove us up to the course and guided us around. Without him, it would be next to impossible to find the course let alone navigate through it. Scheduling a time through Ron's email is a must so make sure you plan ahead.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
A Tribute To Steve Werner
Pros: Spirit Ridge DGC is a tribute to Ron's late brother Steve Werner. Every year Ron holds the Steve Werner memorial tournament in his honor and there is even a painted picture of his brother on the tee marker for hole eight. At Ron's house there is even a rock memorial in Steve's honor that has several things carved out of the rock that were especially dear to Steve.
Playing the course requires that you get a hold of Ron to guide you through the course. Once you drive (ride with Ron in his car) towards the course down a couple miles of service road you eventually reach the stunning property and right away you notice the Llamas (Oats and Stormy) they keep as pets. The owner(s?) was so nice to us and really made us feel like we were part of the family which was great because to our surprise we were accidentally crashing a family reunion. Never the less we were welcomed with food and drink and love.
So we started on our way to the course and Ron was giving us his vast insight on the property and the course he designed. He hand carved wood tee signs and painted a different animal on each one which basically cemented the name of each hole. The hole out devices (not including the one real basket and the empty keg) were made with hanging rope or string down with bamboo, wood and bells and other assorted things to make the best tone devices I have ever seen. I actually prefer these out here for a more natural feel and I think I like this better than putting in all baskets.
The course was designed by Ron who throws LHBH and RHFH so there are a few really awesome holes that were designed to challenge types of throws that I would have never thought of. Still though the course is balanced with the type of shots you have to make. Most of the holes here are short and reachable if you can hit a line with a low ceiling, keep the disc perfectly straight or throw a skip shot off the driving path. A variety of different skills will be needed in order to score well at this course.
The elevation and foliage is just about perfect our here with many throws going up or down hill with pin locations well thought out and challenging. The rough and the lines are just enough to punish you into a couple of bogeys even with the relatively short distance of the majority of the holes.
There is even a top of the world shot here! Hole 10/20 is a big (although short, most people are throwing putters or mid range here) drop off with the tee pad on a cliff and a tight line through the trees that isn't an easy birdie. Hole 20 is my favorite of the two pin positions as it makes hyzering out not so much fun so it is a more challenging pin location for RHBH players.
Cons: Personally I found no cons with this place but I did notice some things that other people would consider cons so I will list them here.
Tee pads: I think natural pads are the way to go here and I didn't have any trouble with them. Considering how private the course is I don't ever see these tee pads getting too bad and putting in concrete would be a huge mistake.
Foliage: People who don't have a variety of shots or can't throw the disc straight will be off the fairway a lot here and there are a couple of spots that could swallow a disc. That being said the four of us who played only looked hard for a disc on one occasion and eventually we found it. Also even if you lost a disc here you would eventually get it back because only Ron and the people he lets play here will find it so getting it returned if found is 100%.
Baskets: Again these tones are amazingly beautiful and much hard work was put into making these things and I think baskets would be a mistake here. Some people only like baskets and may not like these so I have to at least mention this.
Llamas: A couple of fairways throw over or near the llamas and it is impossible to avoid getting close to them if you aren't their biggest fan so keep this in mind. Ron has said that he's been playing before and one of the llamas was blocking his birdie shot! Buuuuut the llamas rock so get over it!
Trails: Some of the trails are muddy and walk from the top of the world holes 10/20 is going steep downhill on a goat trail basically so you have to be careful. Those with bad knees or ankles should be extra careful while playing
Other Thoughts: If I could rate my experience at Spirit Ridge I would give it a 5 in a heart beat. I love the course as is even with being on the shorter side. I think this is an amazing experience that everyone should attempt. Like I said you are welcomed onto the property out in the wilderness. You might even see some wildlife out here with deer, birds and other creates. Sounds like cougars and bears are fairly common out there on the property. Also the black lab is a little ball of energy and just a hoot.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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