Like Two Different Courses!
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Since I've never played the course previously, I have no opinion about re-designs or what the course was like before. Lake Montebello is a vibrant high usage park with a variety of walkers, joggers and other physical fitness enthusiasts getting their workouts in. The course plays along one side of the lake, cuts into the woods for 6 holes and then continues along the lakeside and back for the rest of the way.
The baskets are a combination of old rusted ones to brand new models. The signs were laminated ones which won't last, especially back in the wooded area. The tee pads are mostly natural except for for some small carpet pads in the woods.
A couple of the holes have two baskets. I liked the second basket placement for # 2. It made for an interesting "green" near a water drain.
# 7 from the top was a fun little ACE run.
The open area features lovely views of the lake and quite a few fun downhill tosses on #'s 10, 11, 12, 15 and 17.
Cons: The wooded area was dingy, grubby, run down and frankly, kinda scary. I wouldn't feel real comfortable playing there towards dusk. I gotta feel like there's been a few rapes, muggings and murders in these "spooky ole woods."
And there were a few places in the woods where the navigation was a little treacherous. Some well-placed steps would be a welcome addition in a couple of areas.
In the areas along the street, I think other park users could be a concern at times as they might picnic right in the middle of a fairway. I could see times when you might want to just skip a hole.
Other Thoughts: I'm appreciate the fact that there's been some recent work done on this course. There wasn't anyone playing on the very warm summer day when I played it. It doesn't look as though anyone ever plays go into the woods to play. I'd probably feel a little more comfortable going in there with a partner or with a group.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Redesigned Course Ready for Action
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: New equipment, excellent grounds maintenance, great views of Lake Montebello and the surrounding skyline. New tees (short, regular, long) and basket relocations make course great for any skill level. Three holes in woods with permanent double basket locations and 2 more wooded holes with dramatic elevation changes make for a challenging course.
Cons: There is a walk of a couple hundred yards from 18's basket back to Hole 1, but one can park midway between if that's an issue.
Poison ivy, grape ivy and multi-flora rose are a constant battle in the wooded areas, but we spray when we can.
Other Thoughts: There is a variable breeze coming across the lake almost all of the time.
All construction has been completed and the affected areas have been remediated!!
The original course layout has been modified considerably, thanks to Glen Hatfield, and many comments by previous reviewers no longer apply. For example, Holes 2, 3 and 4 now play through woods north of the basket for Hole 1; the parallel counterflow fairways for original Holes 2, 3 and 4 have been eliminated. Also, original Holes 13, 14, 15, 17 and 18 have been redesigned, improving the course flow, increasing the difficulty and decreasing the distance from Hole 18's basket back to Hole 1.
The redesign of Holes 15 and 17 takes the Water Treatment Plant fence out of play.
Each hole has red (short), white (original) and blue (long) tees. Playing the blue tees will add ~500' to the course length, likely making it >8000'.
The "natural" tees remain, and with the reality that Lake Montebello is the principal water treatment facility for Baltimore, future construction might occur anywhere, so it's unlikely that concrete pads (or even Fly 18 pads) will be installed. Meanwhile, when dry, the tee areas are fine. If it has rained, then the tees might get muddy with heavy use. In that case, "liberal tees" apply, i.e., move over to the side and throw (just like you would with a fairway lie)..
New wooded Holes 2, 3 and 4 and the two holes (7 and 8) on the Herring Run side of the course add a dimension to the course that was absent from the original design.
(Btw, the fence that a couple of reviewers had characterized as "barbed wire" pervading the whole course, only comes into play on Hole 14 (original Hole 12). Any reasonably-skilled player should be able to throw a low drive on Hole 14 that avoids the fence. The basket location for Hole 1 has been moved considerably farther from the fence, taking it virtually out of play.)
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Negative Nancy is gone, and Mediocre Mary is now flirting with Positive Peter.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Before the redesign, it's safe to say this course was a big letdown. So now after the redesign, there are some real good golf shots to experience now that the construction is gone and the shot variety has increased. However unfortunately I still have a slight feeling of being let down. Let's start with the good stuff that's been done well.
All the crazy temporary fencing and barriers surrounding protected trees is gone. Most of the filler holes are extinct, and the new shots in the woods after hole 1 are for the most part very interesting drives: combining tunnels, uphill, downhill and dog leg fairways. These holes take advantage of some unique features present like the tunnel spillway-thing up on the hill (although somewhat creepy). Cool deal with the dual basket on some holes. And I like that some of the paved walking trails and roads were used for some tee zones, way better than grass or carpet. The people that designed those new holes definitely deserve some Kudos and, yes, this course is now worth stopping to play if you're in the area with a buddy or two.
Cons: Unfortunately there are still some bads and still some uglies: boring holes, filler holes, crossing fairways, some rusty baskets, tiny carpets for a handful of tees, and a few safety concerns. I'll address each, but I also will preface the list by feeling confident most are already planned to be fixed eventually so I didn't let those affect the rating.
Persistent wind, mild elevation change, and 500ft doesn't make wide open holes any more fun than they actually are, and unfortunately, other than the parking lot OB on hole 17, there aren't enough trees or other terrain features to add any challenge. 17 white/blue is the best hole on the course after 12. The other 5 feel very repetitive and bland adding nothing new until the putt on 18's elevated basket.
Filler hole and a crossing fairway is hole 11. Not sure why it wasn't eliminated during the re design. It's not even necessary to bridge between hole 10 and 12. The blue tee for 11 crosses the blue tee for hole 12. So I'm not sure why it's there other than to increase the total distance of the blue configuration. Let's look at hole 10 quick. I think the basket could be farther away from the road lower on the back behind it, the only reason being if your tee shot doesn't go as far as anticipated and you need to disc-up to reach the basket on your second drive, it's kinda unnerving to be staring at that passing traffic on the road behind the basket while you're getting ready to muscle a driver within putting range for a 3 thinking you may underestimate your distance and throw too far into traffic. I suppose regulars at the course will get familiar with how safe that throw is, but for visitors to the course it's gonna be a deterrent to playing the hole aggressively and that is no fun. I think eliminating hole 11 and moving 10's basket to the right could be a better option than where that basket is now. It would add some extra distance, eliminate the blind basket location from the tee, still force an accurate throw down the hill through the woods and bridge the gap between 10 and 12 naturally. Hole 14 is still a filler hole and I understand why. Call me unfair, but I'm still not a fan of playing next to the tall fence with barbed wire. Yes sometimes bad shots should be punished and it would take a beauty of a bad shot to go over the fence, but the wind will do bad things to bad players and cause bad course reputations and ratings.
The wooded holes on the steep hillside need some steps cut real bad. Scary descending and climbing some of those steep parts, especially when the dirt was dried out and loose. I'm not sure half of the grandmasters I know would play the holes they way they are. They would definitely struggle.
I will also point out that the new wooded holes are very rough edged and barely travelled. No doubt in due time the vegetation will get beaten down better and make everything much easier to deal with when finding your discs and playing from their lie. True, that's not really a con, but to get more people to play routinely, the best navigation aids (such as steps) help out.
The rusty baskets on holes 2 and 3 were depressing. Those are some great holes and to give them the rusties and hobble-together baskets is injustice. I hope those are planned for replacements. I'm assuming they'll get replaced so I did let my rating reflect the rusty baskets.
The tiny strips of carpets on some holes teepads are functional, yes, but a bit awkward. I'm assuming eventually they'll get replaced with better options so I didn't let that affect my course rating.
Other Thoughts: I still feel like this course is still a bit of a let down and think it has everything to do with its newness. Perhaps it simply needs more traffic. It also couldn't hurt to establish a more appealing method of tee markers and tee pads. It needs some new baskets on the best holes instead of the rusties. It needs some more charm somewhere/somehow out there in the open fields. And it still makes me feel unsafe to be alone in a few locations. I always try and be objective during reviews and consider how often I'd play the course if I lived right next door to it -- probably once per week in this case and I'd probably end up skipping 1, 14-18 entirely and just playing 2-13 repeatedly. If it were possible i'd rate this course a 2.75 because it's somewhere between "Decent/typical" and "Good". So after discussing with Positive Peter I rated it a 3.0.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Redesigned, but I am not coming back until the 3rd redesign
4 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: The re-design is a nice improvement. 18 holes (many have 3 tees each, some have multiple baskets) that feature a wide variety in elevation, wooded vs. open, and left vs. right. There is some older DGA signage mixed with paper signage.
Baskets had small tags under the catch area guiding you to the next tee.
The Youth Course provides a near by 6 hole warm up on the other side of park
Large green stakes in the ground help you find your tee.
Hole 4's novelty basket now ends the course at hole 18.
Cons: While the redesign added a lot of challenge and greatly improved the holes many of the flaws are still stand out flaws and I can not raise the rating of this course.
The tees look like a back yard course, just slippery mud patches, toe boards, scraps of carpet, and road.
Several safety issues: the terrain on 7 can be difficult to maneuver for older, larger, or youth players. There are also several drop offs that can lead to dangerous lies. HOLE 10 (formerly hole 6) IS STILL A SERIOUS HAZARD. This basket location is a danger. There is no break to the traffic and the discs can easily go into the road. I did not want to finish hole 10, I was tempted to just concede the hole and walk away. 11 still plays along the road which is more distracting than a safety issue, but there is a possibility of a new player hyzer bombing a disc into traffic.
Crossing fairway on hole 11 from 12 Blue and 16 from short tee on 17.
risk of disc loss: Hole 4 has a hidden fence on left and rough on both sides that can eat discs. 14 still plays along the barb wire fence.
I think I needed a tetus shot after shooting on some of the earlier baskets. Holes 2 and 3 have rusty abused baskets.
Some baskets are labeled with old numbers and it can be confusing. Hole 1B is labeled 7, so you would think after 6, you should be playing back towards 1.
This course is crowded with none disc golf traffic. We had children riding power wheels over the tee pads and people picnicking on fairways. Also I stand by my previous comment that I do not feel that this is a terribly safe area, but I have heard from several angry locals about this comment. Last time I played my disc rolled off the edge of the grass and under a car and a large angry man confronted me telling me I dented his car, thankfully I was with a large group.
Other Thoughts: While many of my previous issues have been addressed I still have a massive problem with hole 10 and the tee pads. This course is seems like primitive backyard course that happens to be in the public park. With improved tees and a safer basket location of hole 10 along with a few other minor tweeks this course would deserve the 4 star ratings.
4 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Monte's Python Redux
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: 18 holes with 3 sets of natural tees for most holes providing an excellent variety of par 3s and 4s, distances and challenge. Uphill, downhill, sideways, to the right, to the left, straight, fast greens, OB, risk/reward, you name it, you got it. 18 Discatcher baskets and a few extra baskets on some holes with permanent A/B positions. 10 holes have A/B positions, and the other 8 are single pin positions. The course plays the woods and around the more open lake front so now there's something for everyone. There is a ton of elevation throughout the course and a few flat holes and the use and design is excellent. Water fountain over by the basket of 17 near the pump house by the street.
Cons: Signage is a little lacking and navigation was tricky the first time without a map. For some natural tees are a con, however I don't really have a problem with them. Poison ivy in the woods and some thick rough, but this should improve as it gets played and sprayed. Tall grass on hole 8 that won't get mowed but most people should clear it if they are using the appropriate skill level tee pad. Crossing fairway on hole 11 from the long tee on hole 12, and crossing fairway on hole 16 B pin from short tee on 17, these shouldn't be a huge issue though. Potential of disc loss is real. Holes 1 and 14 play near the barbed wire fence of the water treatment plant, but poses little health risk, just loss of disc on bad shots. Some park patrons will camp right in the fairway or by the basket, so beware of where you throw. No bathrooms.
Other Thoughts: Monte's new long python layout is pretty sweet. It's one of the longest and has the most elevation and variety of Md's public courses. With the new holes through the woods Monte has the variety it was missing before. Now you play some long wooded holes with a lot of elevation and danger off the fairways, with some deep ditches and big cliffs! Even the more open holes around the lake front have been redesigned and use more of the woods. Now you tee off in the woods or play into the woods on some holes and add a whole new dimension. There are a number of holes where you can rip a distance driver, but still want to land safe from trees or OB to set up the next shot on the par 4s. You also have to play the wind around the lake. If you like to watch discs fly this is the place to be!
The park is pretty with the lake backdrop and manicured lake front fairways. There are lots of people walking, biking, working out around the lake so it should be relatively safe given the hood it's in. All the people can also be a con, although there was no one else playing the course when I was there. I would watch your back though and beware your surrounding especially on the backside of the woods where most people aren't. There was some party near the park and the music was pumping through the woods, I enjoyed it. There are little workout areas around the Lake if you miss a shot and want to do some pull ups or elliptical or go run or bring your bike and ride around the lake for a workout. There is a 6 hole beginner course on the other side of the Lake that can be used as a warm up or ace run.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 0 Not
Nice complement to Druid
Pros: Absolutely gorgeous trees. Nice neighborhood. Excellent use and design of an awkwardly shaped plot of land. Smart basket placement. Apparently well maintained. Finding next tee pad is intuitive... you don't need a course map.
Cons: Multi-use facility. Most walkers don't realize they're standing in the fairway. Construction on and near 5, 6, 8, and 9 (a temporary tee pad was set up for 9 as construction prevents hole from being played as designed).
Holes 2, 3, 4 have a common fairway. The teepad of 4 is on the green of 3. If this course was heavily played, you would have to keep an eye on everyone else throwing.
Some of the really large gorgeous trees are protected by orange snow fences that completely encircle the tree from a distance of approximately 10-12 feet from the trunk. Each fenced in area contains a sign that says it's illegal to breach the snow fence. These trees are all in play, right on the fairway. Eventually, these fences are going to be compromised by golfers trying to retrieve their discs. The construction crews were installing new fences around some of these trees on the day we played (Nov 2011).
I didn't like the left tree mando as part of a double mando on Hole 1. A weak case could be made that you are forcing people away from the fence. The right side mando at least protects the basket of 3 and Tee of 2. Meanwhile, a mando is badly needed on Hole 18 to protect anyone walking down 16's fairway. Half of the circumference of 18's basket is blocked by the drooping limbs. That seemed kinda dumb.
Other Thoughts: Swatso's review is good and I concur with most of his thoughts. The trees on this course are beautiful. The basket placement is smart and the course makes effective use of all the elevation changes. I liked Holes 6 and 8 the best due to the big elevation changes.
I liked that a lot of the holes were over 300 feet. Montebello ain't no pitch and putt.
Some things to keep in mind.... there is a hole in the fence behind the basket of Hole 1. If you go over the fence, walk behind the basket and you'll see the hole in the fence. If your group has more than 1 car, consider parking one car near the basket of 18 and another car near the tee of 1. This will save you the walk back at the end of the round.
This course complements Druid Hill nicely. If you were planning a big day of disc golf in the City of Baltimore, you should play both Montebello and Druid.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Major in Length/Elevation, Minor in Obstacles
14 Helpful / 0 Not
New baskets. New signs, containing all the basic (hole-#, distance, primary obstacles, direction to next tee).
Update 9/21/13: The course has undergone a significant redesign since its opening about two years ago, with ~1/3rd of the holes remaining the same, ~1/3rd gaining length, and ~1/3rd being completely new! In addition to adding several wooded holes, nearly all with elevation change, to the original homogenous offerings, the too-close-for-comfort parallel fairways have been eliminated, too. Three tee locations per hole, with the teesign typically at the white tee. Much better than before - pay a visit your next time in Charm City!
The course sits on an awkwardly-shaped piece of land, narrow in the middle, widening at the ends, which does generate some flow issues:
- Fairways 2-4 play alongside each, 2's being in the middle, so the chance of a disc landing in a neighbouring fairway is high for these three holes
- Tee-2 might occasionally be buzzed by errant discs coming from tee-1, or players approaching basket-3 with a right-turner
- Have to cross fairway-1 when moving from basket-11 to tee-12.
- Basket-16 is on the direct line from basket-17 to tee-18
- Basket-18 is located a bit far from tee-1
The day we played city workers were venting a pipe, so a kerosene-like smell pervaded the course. Don't know how frequently this occurs.
Tee locations are currently natural, although there are plans to install flypads.
"What it lacks in obstacles, it makes up for in length and elevation" was the comment made by my playing partner, which is a pretty good summary of the course.
The first five holes contain the most obstacles, large hardwoods, scattered about, needing to be avoided early and/or middle and/or late. Holes 6-8 play down into, back out off, and across a large, open valley, and number-9 continues the open-theme across flat land. Number-10, while quite short, requires a sharp turn to reach a basket directly behind a bush, and number-11 makes the most of the two large trees it has - the limbs of the first, near the teepad, force a low throw from the tee, and the second trees limbs also force a low throw to reach the basket it is guarding to its left. The first eleven holes form a loop, so it's across fairway-1 and up to the fence to find tee-12, an open shot from an elevated position. 13-17 play up, down, and across mildly-sloping land, using the few trees, their limbs, and a stump (which elevates basket-14 somewhat). Finally hole-18 is open and flat, but the basket sits behind one large tree with drooping limbs - it might as well be a thick bush, albeit a 70' high one!
A number of holes (2, 3, 5, 10, 16) have low branches quite near the teepads. It will be interesting to see how many of these will be trimmed away, and how many are intended to remain.
Moderate chance of disc loss. High, barbed-wire fence somewhat near basket-1, and along right-side of fairways 12 and 13. Thick bushes and undergrowth near basket-2, right-side of fairway-3, left-side of fairways 5 and 6.
Moderate chance of interacting with non-players. The sunny Saturday afternoon we played, fairway-6 (long, open, and downhill) was crossed by several groups of people. Taking the "high" route on number-8 potentially brings a sidewalk and road into play. A small group had set up chairs not too far to the right of fairway-18.
Navigation tips: Several tees are located near the road, so you can start at many locations. Tee-1 is located just after passing over a crosswalk located near an exercise area, roughly even with the point where the fence in the background quits paralleling the road. Other items:
- From tee-1, basket-3 is more visible than basket-1, which is farther left, near the fence, between large trees
- From tee-2, baskets 4 and 9 are visible in the far distance, somewhat right. Instead, aim straight away - basket-2 is roughly even with basket-4, but further left, hidden down a small slope, next to the edge of the thick brush/woods. Tee-3 will be to the left, prior to reaching basket-2.
- Basket-10 is hidden by the lone bush on the other side of the paved path.
- Tee-12 is up near the fence.
- Tee-17 is next to the building, with the basket atop the hill. A drop-off to a parking lot, not easily visible from the tee, encroaches from the left - stay straight, or a bit right.
Favourite hole: #2. One of three holes > 500', the first 300' is mostly open, with a large tree to miss early, and a few to miss late. A challenging approach through a denser collection of scattered large hardwoods, then dropping down a slope to reach the basket, makes for a tough par-3.
Installing flypads, trimming a bit, and adding a few directional signs would certainly add .5-1 points to the course's score. Certainly worth playing, and not too far from Druid, with a new-18 hole course joining the current 27-hole soon, and fun-to-play-but-hard-to-navigate Pine Grove also nearby.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
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