Well-Designed Course for the Big Dogs
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Although it's only 9 holes in its present incarnation, Linbrook offers a degree of epic challenge I've rarely seen on 18 holers. 3 and 5-7 are all well over 500 ft from the short tees, and are complex, multistage par 4s with lots of obstacles and elevation changes. These holes really challenge your game from drive to putt, and it's rare to make par without a textbook play through. The remaining holes consist of tight, turning lines down wooded fairways (2, 8) or more open shots forcing you to choose and navigate a challenging window (1, 4, 9). The last of these are your best chance for birdies, but they're far from gimmies: drastic elevation changes and thick rough mean that one unfortunate bounce or roll away can add 2 or 3 strokes in an instant. Overall, Linbrook is characterized by thick woods, tight windows, extreme elevation changes, long holes, and smartly-designed, unique lines that require you to accurately control the entire course of your disc's flight. It's a spectacular challenge whose golf stands with the best courses in the area.
Navigation flow is well done, considering its penchant for winding paths; the course is helpfully marked where needed.
The proximity to Knob Hill and other quality courses makes this an easy course to hit as part of a larger disc golf trip to the area.
Some holes to single out:
3 is one of the hardest holes I've ever played. The combination of distance (584 or 680), hazards (plentiful mid-fairway trees, a winding creek that borders the fairway's right before cutting in front of the basket), tightness, and elevation (the hillside to the left if you end up there, and the fairway's gradual upward rise) combine to make this a very challenging 4.
6 is another tough 4: a slight hyzer up a steep hill whose fairway straightens out to play along the hillside. Plenty of rollaway potential here, with a tight cluster of trees guarding the pin and some serious rough beyond the basket combining to really challenge your approach game.
7 is a beautiful downhill hyzer that plays into a gorgeous clearing. Birdieable if you hit your drive right. Playing too far to the left means some challenging upshots through the many trees that shield the basket.
Cons: Without a doubt Linbrook's biggest con is its rough present state. The tee pads are natural, and are vulnerable to getting mucked up. The rough is largely ungroomed, making shots from off the fairway almost impossible on several holes. When the fairway gets overgrown, even your most well-placed shots can be swallowed. Coupled with a tendency towards blind shots, having a spotter can make or break the enjoyableness of your round.
Tee signs would be welcome, especially given the quirky nature of many lines and the frequent inability to see the pin from the tee. There are white tees on some if not all the holes, but I think I've only been able to pick out one or two of them. Even the blue tees can be hard to find on occasion.
The level of difficulty is extreme here. If you go in knowing what to expect, it's fine, and the fact that there are only nine holes helps temper the sense of getting beaten on. Beyond all that, I appreciate Linbrook's challenges - they're part of the fun - but if things aren't clicking it can be a downer of a round. I've come out of here feeling the sting of an especially tough round more often than not.
There are some limits to the hole variety to be had here given the constantly wooded environment. I think the course design is pretty brilliant, but playing in the thick woods does rule out certain portions of your bag. Coupled with the fact that there are only nine holes, Linbrook presently makes for a very particular kind of disc golf, which can be good or bad depending on how you take to its challenges.
Other Thoughts: The course was in pretty rough condition the first time I played it (July 2013). I was disappointed, and it marred my overall experience of it, but I decided to delay my opinion until visiting again after hearing from locals that the course usually looked better. I'm glad I did, because this is truly one heck of a course: the long, winding holes are really unique, and the entire thing challenges your game in a way I hadn't experienced before. I think this one is really worth a visit, and presently overlooked more than it should be.
There are plans to expand the course to 18 holes, once the park approves. I sure hope they do, because I feel that a well-groomed, well-signed, 18-hole Linbrook would become as highly regarded as Moraine and Deer Lakes. As it stands, it's still a unique offering to the area's embarrassment of riches.
It's worth noting that, all things being equal, I'm inclined to rate an 9-holer lower than an 18-hole equivalent. I had been inclined to give Linbrook a 3.5 because of this. Linbrook's spectacular challenges and unique holes deserve special consideration, however; three months since my last visit, I'm still thinking about them. As such, as of Jan 2014, I'm bumping my rating up to a 4.0.
Bravo to the course designers for this one. I look forward to seeing this course blossom.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: 9 Discatcher baskets with multiple pin placements and tees. Practice basket by the pavilion. Excellent use of the elevation and terrain with big uphill, downhill, flat, and ravine shots. Choice of throwing lanes on a few holes with well defined fairways on all holes. Good variety of hole distances with some high risk vs reward off the tee on the shorter holes, while the longer holes are a little easier off the tee. There's no real blind landings even when you can't see the basket from the tee.
Cons: It's still new so the ground and rough is still rough, no signage or permanent tees yet(carpet for now). Navigation maybe a little tricky until the signs are done, but if you follow the flags you should find the next tee. Hole #1 is across the parking lot from the pavilion/practice basket and to the right and tees over the path. After holing out #7, go back up toward the left side of the fairway and you will see the flags and you will hike a good bit.
Other Thoughts: So you thought Pittsburgh had it all already?...Deer Lakes, Moraine, Knob Hill, 2 Mile Ext? Well as George Thorogood said, move it on over, and get ready for Linbrook! This course stacks up well to the surrounding courses and could very well end up being the best of them. So glad I got to play the front 9 of Linbrook twice while toured by Mr. Chris Dietzel! Hole 7 is an absolute beauty and beast, high risk/reward downhill dogleg left nearly 900' long and guessing 70' elevation drop, still dreaming about it! The course has been carved entirely out of the woods, so there's been a lot of work done here and still to go for the back 9. Can't wait to see Linbrook when all 18 holes are ready, it's already so sweet and only going to get better!
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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