Good, Solid Rec Course
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: "The Riff" is a park course with some creative design elements that generally take good advantage of the available land to provide a solid, if unspectacular playing experience. Beginning players can experience both long, open holes and wooded, technical holes without being penalized too harshly for missed shots. Holes #1-5 play around a playground in an area with mature trees. Holes #6-12 play in the woods. Holes #13-18 play in an open area with very few trees. Elevation comes into play on a short, blind uphill hole (#9) and a basket on the sloping summit of a sledding hill (#16).
Each tee consists of a single concrete pad, all of which are decent-sized and in good repair, and hole diagram tee sign, most of which are readable, accurate, and in good repair. Holes play to older, occasionally rough-looking baskets, but none are actively damaged, and the catching ability is still pretty good.
Underbrush is managed quite well, and it's rare that a throw from the rough will result in a sting or scratch.
Cons: The routing is probably the biggest gripe here, as it can be confusing for a first-time player, and remains obnoxious for veterans. The course often seems shoehorned in amongst other park activities and features a couple of long walks, most notably between #5 and #6 where golfers have to traverse the entire length of the park, cutting across a road and two busy parking lots. Starting play at #6 and ending at #5 alleviates some of this pain (see other thoughts), but you're going to have to walk regardless if you want to play all 18. This type of open-ended U-shaped (or C-shaped in the case of Indian Riffle) routing works for smaller parks, but not for the massive park complex here.
The difficulty level is excellent for beginners and rec players, but can get tiresome in a hurry for higher levels looking for a challenge. Most players can avoid the mature trees with ease on the wooded holes, and the open holes leave a great deal of room for error.
Indian Riffle's other big problem is the mud. After any precipitation, most greens turn into a sludgy mudpit that gets discs and shoes nasty in a hurry. This is especially noticeable in the spring with the combination of rain and snow melt. Apart from most greens, other troublesome mud areas include the walk to #8, the #9 tee, and the #12 tee. If it's been wet at all, you'll want to bring extra shoes to play in.
Other Thoughts: On the whole, the park is very well-maintained, but fairly high-use. Even on days where there may not be many fellow golfers, it's not uncommon to wait on tee pads for other park users. I never played the original design, but apparently holes #5, 17, & 18 have been modified in recent years to address some safety concerns associated with the high concentration of other patrons. You'll always want to be alert when throwing, especially on the playground and open holes.
PROTIPS: Many of the locals (myself included) play the routing 6-18, 1-5. It doesn't make for a spectacular finish golf-wise, but it leaves the long walk to the other side of the park for post-round, rather than mid-round. As you approach the Kettering Rec Center at the end of Glengarry, take a right into the parking lot and park at the furthest point from the building by the hole 6 tee.
In an effort to make #17 more interesting, many golfers will throw from the top of the hill to the pin below rather than using the concrete tee pad at the foot of the hill. As you face the #16 basket with your back to the #16 tee, look beyond and slightly left for a worn-out patch of earth. This is the guerrilla alt #17 tee. Take extra care in watching for other park patrons when executing this tee shot.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Park 7, Disc Golf 3
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Indian Riffle Park is a wonderful community attraction, ranging widely alongside a school, a Rec Center, and an Arts center, that features a water park, playgrounds, sports fields, beautiful park shelters, a lake, and numerous walking paths. The park goes from mature and stately trees to open fields to woods, and is a busy, well-enjoyed feature in Kettering, Ohio. The disc golf course here is incorporated around the other activities, usually steering clear of them, which makes for an, er, 'interesting' layout. Three of the holes were redone between my two visits here (June, 2012 and May, 2013) in order to separate the flying discs from the pedestrians who stroll along the path by the lake.
Hole 5 has been shortened as the basket is now to the right, and not near the pond/path. #17 has been repositioned at the foot of the mound, and is a short ace run alongside the little ball field, #18 was moved from pond side to the woods behind the two bigger ball fields, finishing at its original basket position through a break in the wood line, and leads nicely back to hole 1.
The course itself has adequately sized, level, concrete tee pads, DGA baskets (oddly in better repair and relatively less rusty in the woods than those out in the open), and variable signage that probably needs updating and re-measuring for hole lengths, now that there have been some changes.
The course seems to slightly favor hyzer lines (for rhbh throwers), but has a little variety, and uses the elevation available fairly well, particularly in the woods, and up on the mound on #16. There is variety here in that you have to play Park-style, as well as open shots and woods/technical lines as you go around. The course lengths are geared toward Recreational to Intermediate arms, with only three holes over 350'.
Cons: The course essentially runs around the perimeter of the park, which means there are some long walks between holes. The one ridiculously LONG walk between the #5 basket and the #6 tee means that, even if you parked on the Rec Center side, you'll have nearly a half mile of your circuit that is just walking, and NOT engaged playing disc golf.
The changed holes do increase safety for park patrons, but eliminate what were a couple of waterside shots that formerly added that gut-check challenge (but I guess the other plus is that it takes your discs away from the duck- and goose-check challenge, too!)
There are no benches on the disc golf course, despite it probably being a good two mile loop to walk. There is no sign at the #6 basket (which might be a logical place to start, if they ever wanted to re-number the holes). There are three or four trash cans on the course, but I thought it odd to see one of them essentially IN the #7 fairway. I suspect that means there are hiking trails used through the woods, so it is important that all disc golfers be on the lookout for other park patrons at ALL times at Indian Riffle.
Other Thoughts: This a really nice park, and a fun disc golf course to play, but it does give the feeling that that the disc golf is being (or was originally) pushed out to the perimeter so folks could enjoy the rest of the park's amenities. I'm not saying this is wrong, or even a problem, but should be kept in mind by players who might be used to playing courses where disc golf is the central focus.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Not sure what I can say as a pro. I liked the course and how the holes were set up. If you are accurate and can play Hyzer/Anhyzer, holes will not be too difficult. IF you cannot control your shots you will be hitting trees and swearing a lot.
Cons: Obviously the Walk from 5 to 6. Playing on a Sunday afternoon (1:30) there were way too many people to try to avoid. Football game going on blocked basket. Older lady on 18 Tee Pad argued with us about how we shouldn't be throwing by a public walkway. We just waited for her to move and then threw.
Other Thoughts: Play on days/times that are NOT too crowded and this course will be enjoyable
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 0 Not
My Disc Golf Cradle
Pros: I am partial to this course because it is where I learned the game. I must have played "The Riff" 4 times per week during the 2004 & 2005 seasons. The course is a moderate challenge, and offers a good mix of birdie and bogey holes (playing everything as par 3). The pond adds to the the scenery/challenge of the course while detracting fromt he number of discs in your collection.
Cons: Only one real elevation change: hole #16 (although this is a cool hole situated on top of a giant man-made hill). Another con is that the course experiences heavy traffic from soccer teams, football practice, rec center patrons, picnic-ers, etc. I have seen many cars get dinged with errant discs, and even saw a couple of people get nailed. Be careful.
Finally, all of the reviewers who commented on this site have mentioned the giant gap between holes #5 and #6. This is a legitimate criticism. I think it would be impossible to find #6 if you were not familiar with the course. I have been hounding my brother (a Dayton local) to hang a sign on #5 directing players to the next tee, and will continue to do so until he hooks it up.
Other Thoughts: Please do not let my comments in the cons section scare you off. Indian Riffle is a great park and a 6/10 on the challenge scale (fun, but not frustrating enough to make you swear you'll give up disc golf...ahem...Idlewild...)
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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