A Course With A View
1 Helpful / 0 Not
- Full 18 holes, plus an additional short 9
- Short 9 well suited for ace races, battle of aces, ect
- Multiple pin positions for each hole
- Rubber teepad mats
- Lots of free parking
- Low traffic
- Landscaped fairways
- Epic views of Anchorage
- Pet friendly course
- Lots of elevation changes
- Course maps available on site and online
- Bathroom at the chalet
- Pay to play
- Seasonal course
- Prone to windier weather than other courses
- Tee signs are low quality and some are missing
- The signs lacked details and some distances were off.
- Lack of signs showing the way between each hole.
- You need a spotter for most holes
This course is only available between ski seasons. The long 18 course features many uphill and downhill shots, but not many lateral holes. Throwing uphill is tough and if you get greedy the downhill can be disastrous. I enjoyed the views from top and watching my disc carry down a few of the massively down slopes. Playing alone will almost guarantee multiple lost discs before you even get halfway through a round. I didn't like the idea of the ski lift being an OB line. A big arm course that penalizes players for exploiting it's best feature seems counter productive.
The rubber tee lads were a great substitute for concrete teepads. On a course where you're more than likely throwing 110%, having mats to throw from makes a huge difference. Unlike the short 9 Innova baskets, I had a hard time seeing some of the Discraft baskets. Some bright obnoxious color would really help on those plain gunmetal gray baskets, especially on overcast days.
Even though Hilltop is a much more justifiable pay to play course than Russian Jack, it's hard to compete with the free Kincaid course across town. I'd like to see a little more of a polished product (tee signs, directional signs, basket visibility ) if I'm knowingly going to pay for a course that's rated lower than Kincaid. Daily passes are 5$, season passes are 150$. Discounted season passes are cool, but I could only see it working financially if I had a group of people/spotters to throw with of the 30+ times it would take for the pass to pay for itself.
Overall, I think this course is one of the top courses in the state. The holes flowed well and the layout was fun and competitive. There is a lot of flexibility to change hole layouts and pin positions with all the available land, making this a great venue for tournaments as well as keeping things fresh for regular rounds. I'm glad I finally got around to playing this course.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Two Courses for One
0 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Rubber tee-pads and aluminum baskets for the 18-hole long course.
Gravel tee-pads and yellow baskets for the 9-hole technical course.
Signage perfect, get a map from the office.
Amazing views. Immaculately manicured. Quiet. Sheer pleasure to play.
Cons: Well, it's uphill/ downhill, but that's part of this course's charm. It wasn't clear where to pay the $5 and get the course map, without which the course would be nigh impossible to play. The deep rough is actually wilderness; due to low volume there are no pre-established paths to common lost disc spots. (Near rough is well manicured)
Other Thoughts: It's a wonderful day on the course.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 2 Not
A Course With a View
Pros: Hilltop is not your typical ski slope golf course. You start at the bottom and there is as much up as there is down. You will get a workout playing this course and that is not a bad thing. For people who want to ride the ski lift, you picked the wrong sport. The designers avoided the trap of 18 downhill holes to bore you all the way down.
I can throw over 400 on level ground and consistently reach 380 or so with decent control. I had no difficulty with the uphill holes. That I missed a few birdie opportunities on those holes is completely my fault and had little to do with elevation.
This course has a fantastic view. On clear days you can see Denali in the distance and you have spectacular views of Anchorage and the Cook Inlet. A view like this is a big plus in my opinion.
The layout utilizes elevation well and not just the up and down of the ski runs. There are significant elevation changes near some of the baskets that can cost you dearly if you overthrow the basket.
Control of downhill throws is needed. Learn to use your more overstable discs for downhill throws and you will be fine. While this is true of all ski slope courses, this seldom used level of difficulty is appreciated by a flatlander like me.
This course is pay to play. $5 for a round. A pro? Definitely.
Not all holes are wide open, and even the ones that are provide significant penalties via elevation changes for throwing wide, short or long.
Cons: This course has few benches and no water or bathrooms on the course. Benches at some of the tees would have been welcome given the elevation that must be traversed.
Signage is not all that great and doesn't always clearly show the layout of the hole which is a problem when you cannot see the basket from the tee.
Navigation is generally good. However, hole nine isn't clearly marked. It's on the wooden platform. Make sure to get a map and scorecard at the start.
Other Thoughts: This course was at least as much fun as Kincaid Park despite the workout. If in Anchorage again, I would start here.
As noted in other reviews, keep an eye on those long downhill throws. If they leave the fairway, they can be lost very easily.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Hole 18 is fantastic
Course owner spends a lot of effort mowing fairways (told me 40 hours each time to mow it)
Baskets, tees, and signage is perfect
Views are fantastic
Bugs aren't too bad (still need bug dope)
Cons: This course has three major assets (elevation changes, space, and trees), and uses none of them well due to poor design. A redesign could easily make this the best course in the state, especially given the amount of effort obviously being put in to have a snack shack, mow the course, keep it in nice shape, and charge you $5 to play.
This is a mountain course, make no doubt about it. Like many mountain courses I've played at other ski resorts, it is easy to lose discs, especially on long downhill holes and it feels more like a hike at times than a round at the local park. Unlike other mountain courses, your $5 doesn't get you a ride up to the lift. At most mountain courses, you ride up a lift, then play down back to the bottom. As a result, you play something like 14 downhill holes and 4 uphill holes. Maybe one or two flat holes. At this course, I swear you play 12 uphill and 6 downhill holes, which really makes it a drag, because any 300 or 400 foot uphill hole is really just the same thing. You throw the disc twice as hard as you can, and maybe have a chance at a long putt. There's little finesse to an uphill, wide open hole. You not only hike the entire elevation of this ski area once, you do it about three times. I'm exhausted after my three hour round (and there were only 2 of us). I'm way too tired for the amount of fun I had, especially given the amount of time I spent looking for discs. Not only do you easily lose them in the partially mown fairways, but if you leave the fairway, you'd better have an eagle eye on it.
The space was poorly utilized as well. For some reason the course designer felt like he needed to stretch out 18 holes to make sure he used the entire ski resort area. It's okay not to use a run. It's more important to have a fun disc golf course. This meant long walks between holes and holes that were way too long to be fun. A 1000 foot hole is fun, but only if it is steep enough that you actually have a chance to reach it in one throw. Par 4s are very tricky to design well, and the 4 (using the posted pro par) on this course were all fails. No one will eagle them. Few will ever birdie them and few reasonably good players will ever bogey them. I could play it 100 times and it would be a par 98% of the time. That's just not fun.
There were lots of trees at the resort. But I didn't hit any of them in an entire round, except once when I left the fairway (run.) They should be brought in to play more. By clearing out some alders and playing through the forest between runs you could have a mix of sweet tight holes and wide open long ones. Instead, it's just one long hole after another. I'm not a wuss. I can throw 400 feet on the flat (and overthrew the 518 foot 18th hole with a buzz), but 1000 feet down a gentle downhill and 400 feet uphill is just too much, especially when you're doing it every hole.
Other Thoughts: Redesign the course! If you can't get the lift open in the summer, then at least don't put in two uphill holes for every downhill hole. Use some of that elevation gained to put in 2 or 3 shorter downhill holes where there are ridiculously long downhill holes now. Consider hole 14. It's an 830 foot downhill dogleg right par 4. Your first three shots are blind (including the 150 foot upshot from the dogleg). What kind of a hole is blind on your THIRD shot when you're playing it well?
This course is worth playing by relatively advanced players, but it's a "once a summer" kind of course, rather than a three times a week kind of course. I would call and make sure it had been recently mowed before going.. If it hasn't been mowed in the last week or two, I'd skip it- seriously! If the weeds are more than a foot high it will be very painful. If you don't have a rating, you're not going to enjoy this course very much. It is NOT beginner friendly. It seems like it looks at the downside of the other two hillside courses (Service and Hanshew- their short length) and tries to make up for it by making the holes and the entire course ridiculously long.
I hope to enjoy a better designed course on my next trip to Alaska.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Pros: This course is played on a ski mountain! When you pull into lot, there is a trailer with a worker, where your pay $5 to play. They will give you a scorecard and send you on your way to trek up and down the hills. The signage is well placed to get you to the next hole. Rubber mats mark each tee pad. There are alot of long holes, but you are throwing downhill, so you don't need a big arm, (it helps if you do though.) Trees can get in the way on a couple of holes, but you are mostly throwing up and down the ski runs which are wide.
Cons: My only real con was the grass had not been mowed, but they were cutting on the day we were there. With the grass high, and throwing up hill, there were times of losing your disc.
Other Thoughts: The views from the top of the mountain were remarkable. You could see downtown Anchorage. Awesome course, where you will get your exercise. It took about 1.5 hours to play, but we were moving. I would make this your first course to play if in Anchorage!
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Lots of elevation, long throws, grass fairways with trouble for errant throws, interesting hole locations, lots of signs everywhere you need them.
Cons: No short tees. The course is a little grueling for those who can't throw 300 feet.
Other Thoughts: Like a giraffe that can run a few minutes after being born, this course seems to have come into existence fully formed. There aren't many throws that require pinpoint accuracy, but there are other courses in the area for that. This course used its assets well.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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