Great Variety - Front Half is a Blast
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Ft. Buhlow disc golf courses are set in a beautifully maintained park. The courses are mostly off on their own, though hiking trails and at least one pavilion come in close contact on a hole or two. The courses start near each other, and close to a parking area and set of rest rooms.
The tee signs are marked purple and gold, according to their respective course, and offer a good picture of the lines available and pin placement for the hole. The concrete tees are very large and comfortable, and the Mach 3 baskets are distinguished by their hole numbers.
The strength of the course is the front half, which I enjoyed tremendously. The course starts out in a beautiful setting in the woods and offers multiples lines for the first four holes. This set of holes is very fun and well designed. Holes 5 and 6 bring you out of the woods, but still have plenty of trees to allow for creative line-shaping. Holes 7 and 8 set you back into the woods, and 10 offers a fun decision in determining whether to throw over the creek or throw an anny around the trees. This hole offers a great risk/reward. Holes 11-18 continue to play alongside water carries and offers semi-tight to open holes with some O.B. involved here and there.
Elevation is used very well and was a nice surprise to have in this part of the country. Holes 6-8 do a nice job placing baskets near a steep slope, and hole 9 offers a nice downhill bomb, not common for this area. Holes 1-4 and 8 also provide fun elevation in the dense woods.
Well-mowed fairways help you determine the angle of the correct shot on some of the more open holes like 9 and 16.
The course offers great variety in terms of offering shots with different levels of woodenness and hole length. Water comes into play on holes 10-13 and 15-16, which adds to the variety as well.
With Gold course only a few steps away from the Purple, it makes for a fun long round of disc golf.
Cons: -I feel that there is a significant drop-off after the first 10 holes. Holes 11-13 offer multiple lines and some fun risk/reward play by choosing to play over the lake or through the trees, but are lesser holes than the first 10. Holes 14-18 are even lesser holes IMO and are basically wide open shots. There are trees here and there, as well as the creek on 15 and 16, but they are basically 5 open shots in a row to end the course. Not a good mix of shots to end the round.
-The rough in the woods and tall grass on certain holes can hide a disc well, but the majority of the course is in top shape.
-Only one tee and pin placement per hole.
-If trying to play through the trees on hole 13, rather than playing over the lake, there is no real clear line once you approach the basket.
Other Thoughts: Warning: make sure to use the directions on DGCR, instead of a GPS. We googled the park and it sent us to a completely different park, one that was several miles away from the course and that closed at 5PM. As noted in the previous review, there is a lot of construction going on near the park's entrance, look to follow the detour signs to cross the bridge into the park.
The front half of this course was a total blast to play and offered a great mix of fun, challenging shots. I would rate this part of the course alone a minimum of a 4.0. However, the lack of exciting holes as the course progresses hurts this course's rating. When a course ends with 5 relatively open holes, it loses its fun factor a bit. Still, this is a course worth stopping at and checking out for the front half alone, let alone another 27 holes of disc golf on the property.
My favorite holes:
1-5 and 7-8. The woods hole were great!
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Solid Course with Great Variety
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The strength of Ft. Buhlow's Purple course is its front half, where an initial string of holes in the woods gives way to some more open shots that work around copses of trees and across rolling hills. There's plenty of variety here, in distance, shot selection, and challenge level. The wooded holes are tight and challenging while not unfair, and many offer several paths to the basket. They're also well-groomed relative to the thickness of the woods. The more open holes on this half offer a nice counterbalance that seem strategically intermixed to break up the course's flow: they're less technical while still engaging, and give you a chance to reach into different parts of your bag. Elevation is in play throughout this stretch, offering a variety of looks that are rare in Louisiana courses. Altogether the front 9 is one of the best stretches of disc golf I've found in Louisiana.
While the back 9 tapers off a bit, there's still a nice mix of distances and woodedness found there, although the thick woods of the front 9 are unfortunately not reprised. Water comes into play, including the fun risk/reward of hole 10, in which you can make a play for birdie over the river or throw an anny/FH hyzer in an attempt for par. Road OB helps keep things interesting on a few otherwise-open holes. The course ends with a few opportunities to air it out.
With another 18 on site (which I unfortunately didn't get to play on this visit), Ft. Buhlow offers you a lot of golf. It's definitely worth a visit for those in the region, and arguably challenges Lafayette for best destination in southern Louisiana.
The concrete tees are fantastic. Amenities (parking, bathrooms, etc) are first rate. Navigation is extremely well-conceived and easy to follow.
Favorite hole: hole 4, a tight S curve playing over alternately rising and falling terrain.
Cons: The progression from hilly and wooded to flat and open is a downer for me. The back 9 taper off from the front half, and end with a series of open holes (14-18) that are a far cry from the interesting play offered earlier in the course. While these holes seem driven by the pragmatics of playing back to the parking lot and allowing for the installation of two 18s on site, I can't help but feel that they water down what could have been a really special course. Variety is the spice of life, and intermixing open shots with more technical ones can be really effective (as it is here on the front 9), but the grip it and rip it feel of the final four holes is a bit of a letdown.
With all the movement on the course between various levels of woodedness, there's little such transition in a single hole. Incorporating a larger variety of terrain into an individual hole could make for some really interesting par 4s. Even two or three of these varied holes would contribute a lot to the course's mental game and overall variety. 7 touches on this with an open shot leading to a basket tucked in the woods, but the woods only factor into the approach shot there. Pushing this basic design further could really up the ante by forcing consideration of landing zones and how to chain together multiple shots. This could very well elevate Ft. Buhlow's Purple course to a premiere destination in the state.
The course presently lacks alternate tee or pin positions; perhaps these will be developed in the future.
While well-mowed when I was there, the rough off the fairways on the open holes seems like it could reach disc-swallowing levels, so be advised.
Other Thoughts: While the open holes on the back 9 keep it from being a must-play, Ft. Buhlow's Purple course remains a very solid offering to an area in need of high level courses. While I've yet to play the Gold course, it's great to have two 18s on site: I'm sure the locals love it, and together they make Ft. Buhlow well worth a visit to an out of towner. I wouldn't classify this as a true destination course, but if you're in the region or passing through, you should definitely make it a point to play at Ft. Buhlow.
Out of towners, be advised: this course is not set in the Ft. Buhlow Historic Site that Google Maps seemed to think it was; the course sits in a park on the other side of the lake. Furthermore, heavy construction made it more difficult to access the park during my visit (April 2014); you need to make your way to a service road that runs along the lake, which can be a little awkward to get to. But persevere; it's worth it!
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Excellent and Varied Course
5 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: This course just has a good variety of holes and requires a variety of shots. It won't take every shot in your bag, but there are holes for almost all of them. Holes 1-4 are forested tunnel shots. The fairways are wide enough to allow a little error, but there are plenty of trees to avoid. Hole 5 and 6 open up a bit, but still have large trees and some elevation to deal with. Hole 5 can be approached with anhyzers, thumbers and flex shot. Only a hyzer will get you almost nowhere on 5. On 6, a hyzer is required, either low or way up high. Hole 7 has a wide open tee shot that rewards distance and placement. A long shot that lands to the right will cost an extra stroke. Hole 8 is another forested tunnel, and narrow with lots of trees.An errant tee shot can cost two strokes. Hole 9 can be birdied with a right turning shot that is perfectly placed. Hole 10 offers the choice of an over water ace run or a safe par for a right turning shot. Hole 11 is more open. Hole 12 begins the new holes and is a short hole that rewards a hyzer thrown over a very steep bank. Griplock will cost you a disc. Hole 13 is a much longer version of hole 12 with an OB road to the left and OB bayou to the right. Hole 14 is a 300' hole that requires a low ceiling shot or right turning shot over an OB road for a shot at birdie. The course ends on 4 open holes where accurate distance can lead to birdies. Three of the holes are over 500'.
All tees are 5'x12' concrete pads with signs showing the hole layout, intended flight path, distance and par. Navigation is fairly straightforward and course maps are available at the ranger station. There are water fountains and bathrooms in the parking lot and a water fountain between the #11 basket and #12 tee. Several of the holes have benches and trash cans are located throughout the course.
There places on this course to use most types of shots, tomahawks/thumbers, rollers, flex, hyzer and anhyzer. In some cases they are the only way to get close enough to make birdie. There are a number of risk/reward holes and holes that reward accuracy over distance. There are also a few holes that reward raw distance with a chance at birdie while not punishing weaker arms too much.
Cons: I don't think that there is a single hole on this course that I don't like. There are some cross-play issues between holes 16-18, but they are likely only to be a problem in tournaments and, even then, they are only minor. There are a few significant walks between tees such as between #9 and #10 and #13 and #14, but these are also minor. There are places to lose your discs in heavy brush, but these areas are also easily avoided.
Other Thoughts: When the new holes were put in, the emphasis was on creating holes that were a little more challenging than the existing holes and adding holes that were a little more open in some instances.The Purple course adds 7 holes to the original 1-11. All but one require some shot shaping. On three of these holes, right turning shots are rewarded. On two of the new holes, shots out over a large and deep bayou, though not required, are the best bets for birdie.
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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