keeps me coming back
Pros: *Carved/ painted wooden signs at the short tees showing distances and general hole layout and an arrow indicating next tee
*Variety in both shot type and distance, including a couple ace runs and one hilltop bomber
*Plenty of risk/reward situations to analyze
*Hole 9 finishes right next to the parking area for easy refilling on whatever you need, and a gas station is a 3 minute walk up the road
*Dual tee pads provide approachable fun for various skill levels, all are level concrete and of a decent size
*A bunch of newer benches and trashcans located about every other hole
*Other than hole 10 which plays near the softball field and overflow parking which may spill near or onto 1's fairway, there are no real safety/interference issues with respect to other park users
Cons: *No water hazards
*Signage at long pads just shows hole# and distance
*A few fairways play fairly close together
*The new concrete short tee pads are nearly devoid of texture, and will be slick when wet
*Parking is shared with a softball diamond, which can fill up during the summer and overflow onto part of #1's fairway
Other Thoughts: Each hole at Deerwood has short and long tees, all concrete as of this spring, which both play to a common basket. Roughly half of the long tees result in stretched-out versions of the short lines and create only slight increases in difficulty, while others require much higher drive precision and/or completely different shots than you need from the shorts. Overall there is a good balance between completely wooded holes and those where you need to accurately throw into or out of wooded areas, with a couple of wide-open bombers mixed in. There are also a number of "local lines" that are available to the creative DG'er if you look at the trees with the right kind of eyes. Nothing physically taxing here, other than a couple small hill climbs. The course plays about 1.2 miles long and I can get through a casual solo round in about an hour without hurrying.
The topography is generally flat with some small hills, but what little elevation there is has been well utilized. Hole 18 is an obvious example of this, while other holes present a basket below or up on a small protected hillside, or have you teeing off from below a small rise to add that little extra bit of difficulty. #14 short has been recently changed to a very miniature across-the-valley shot, where you shoot from the top of a small hill across not even 200ft of open space to a basket on top of another small hill. A cool improvement and a nice shot to find on a short layout.
Fairways are generally pretty open, but a few nice tunnel shots are present (3 short, 5 long, 8 long, 13 either tee, 14 long). Get off the fairway, though, and you can find yourself in anything from long grass and scattered saplings to full-on jail, with the toughest rough often in play on the harder holes. Like most wooded courses, you'll encounter a shot or two that requires nearly equal parts skill and luck, but not nearly to the point of being unfair. A few holes do let you truly air out a drive, and #18 is the best of them. You tee from the top of a dike, which rises perhaps 40ft above the field of play to a basket 550' away with plenty of fairway width to accommodate all but the most errant drives. An OB road runs along your left the whole way, though, so watch that crosswind.
In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that this is my home course. There are a couple other nearby courses that I like better (Exchange Park is ~15 minutes away, Wildcat Bluff is ~35 minutes) but I'm about 7 minutes from Deerwood and that includes a beer stop. I've been playing here regularly for 5+ years and it remains hard enough to keep me engaged while staying fun enough to keep me coming back, and shooting par from the long pads feels like a good round with a little room for improvement. The course is right next to (and visible from) Hwy 20 at the River Forest Road exit, so if you are passing by and only have an hour or two to throw, Deerwood is your best option in the area.
*local tip - toss your empty cans/bottles on the ground next to the trash cans instead of in. a couple can-collecting dbags like to dump out the garbage to get at the redeemables and leave the trash on the ground.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Popular, Underrated, Fun
Pros: Overall score; 3.4
Tee pads (3/5); Rough, gravel tee pads provided good traction. Some tee pads seemed a little too short, however. Pro and Amateur tee pads allow for two different levels of challenge.
Baskets (3/5); The baskets were old Mach 3's. Silver/gray in color, with a piece of orange tape that's supposed to help. At times, they were difficult to spot among the background of heavy woods. The baskets seemed to be in good conditions, and chains caught well despite aging. They were also numbered, which helps to clear up any tee-basket confusion.
Layout/Design (4/5); The design of the course was very fun. The tree placement and unique fairways provided a large variety of shots that the course would've otherwise lacked. There's hardly any elevation and no water hazards. A couple holes intersect a little too much, creating a slight "FORE!" hazard. Each hole has an easily identifiable fairway, whether its extremely tight or wide, its easily identifiable. Tee signs note pro or am and show a picture of the hole, distance, and number. Next tee signs could definitely help navigation! Thankfully, the park was packed, so I was able to follow other groups.
Scenery/Surroundings (2/5); Like I said, the park was packed. I don't know if this is usual, but the course appears to be very popular in the Waterloo area. A group of 10 was playing, but they allowed me to play through as soon as I caught up. No eye-popping views, but the fall colors make this course very pretty in October. I didn't notice any trash cans, benches, or other amenities. I did, however, notice the resulting amount of trash. Not terrible, but not good at all.
Likeliness to Return (5/5); This course is extremely easy to find. I didn't have an address for my GPS, but I spotted the course immediately after taking the Evansdale exit off I-380. I had a surprising amount of fun, and I felt good after playing. This is a great place to work on my finesse game. I feel that this course cares about disc golf. There's just a true sense of what disc golf is supposed to be about in the atmosphere. It's hard to describe, perhaps you will experience it for yourself!
Cons: ^^Read above^^
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 0 Not
Fun and Challenging
Pros: Amenities. Large park with a ball field, a small shelter, a bathroom, and ample parking.
Variety. A very enjoyable variety of holes, ranging from relatively open (1,16,18) 500'+ bombs to a variety of shorter technical holes requiring differing shot selection and some placement shots, a good balance of open and technical holes.
Elevation. What little elevation this park has to offer is used quite well, with some interesting pin placement and a long bomb off the top of the dike to finish off the round.
Birdie Opportunities. The good balance of distance and technical shots provide some ace runs, but typically you have to work for the birdies, and a 2 on the card was rewarding.
Beginner/Advance Friendly. The long/short tee pads are set up well that it's quite challenging from the longs and a beginner wouldn't be overly frustrated by playing the shorts, would be a great place to learn the game and work on improving shots.
Tees. Dual concrete tee pads were mostly level and in good shape.
Local Scene. Appears to be quite a few locals that enjoy this course, a weekly league and an occasional tournament.
Scenery. A nice mostly wooded park feels quite secluded for being so near the city.
Access. The first 2 holes play along the entrance ramp to the freeway, can't get much easier to access than that.
Cons: Navigation. I had to do some wandering around to find the correct tee pads, I'll attempt to clear some of that up: Hole 1 long tee pad is very near the entrance to the park. Hole 2 is then up towards the fence, hole 2 basket is a sharp dogleg into the woods. Hole 4 basket is a dogleg left (the basket straight ahead is #15, remember that). Hole 5 basket is straight ahead past and to the right of #15. #10 long tee is in the woods. #12 is a dogleg left into the woods. Hole 14 is not the basket you can see from the tee (you already played to that basket), it is much shorter on top of a small hill to the left. #16 is tucked into the woods after a long open fairway, keep your eye out for it it's easy to go past.
Signage. Upkeep must not be a priority for this park, many of the tee signs are missing, those that do exist have distance, hole # and a map of the hole, typically if there was a sign it could be found at the short tee. More updated signage would eliminate some of the confusion. Some directional signage would also be helpful.
Map/Scorecard. An empty box that said scorecards existed, I don't know if this is ever filled any more.
Dangerous parking. It seems that most DGers park near the shelter, that's where I parked, even a good throw off the long pad of hole 1 could come dangerously close to these vehicles, park at your own risk I guess, or higher up in the parking lot.
Other Thoughts: Waterloo, IA is a decent DG destination city, a good full day of disc golf is to be had here with Deerwood being near the top of my list of courses to hit in the area (if you only have time for one course, you can't miss Exchange).
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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