RIP Dalaiwood. You're already missed...
2 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Dalaiwood does what seems impossible: It crams 18 holes of disc golf onto about nine acres, and it does it without seeming crowded or having any fairways cross. Scott had the advantage of using his own property when he designed this course, meaning that he probably already knew every nook and cranny and had several holes mapped out in his head long before the idea of setting up a full 18 ever even occurred to him. This was the first disc golf course in Kitsap County, and was probably used as the template (on some level at least) for all of the other (incredible) courses that populate this area.
Dalaiwood offers a little bit of everything. It was designed to challenge your short and technical shots more than your arm, but there are still a few longer holes that let the average golfer let loose. I had the privilege of playing both the A and B setups in the same day, and they played as two entirely different courses. The B, while having no holes longer than 403' was incredibly challenging and offered almost no room for error off of the tee. The A positions were a lot friendlier and would be considered "red" or "Am" tees at most other courses. That doesn't mean that they were easy, but they were much easier than the blues.
Scott is a super nice guy and very conversational. The place was packed when I was there, but I got the sense that he would help you out in any way that he could if you asked and he had the time. Want your drives critiqued or to learn how to make your putts more consistently? Scott seems like the type of guy who will help you out with that and help you to shave some of those tree aided strokes off of your score while he's at it. He was very welcoming to the hordes of people who were flooding his property.
Back to the course though: There is very little to complain about here. Most of the teepads were concrete, and the ones that were just a landscape timber buried in the ground were still level and smooth. Any hole that required any kind of distance off the tee provided a concrete teepad as well. The baskets were all well marked and in great condition, and navigation from one hole to the next was very straightforward.
This course does not cater to any one type of player. You find shorter and longer holes, right- and left-turning, straight shots, technical lines, open meadows, and more. Most shots that you have will be challenged here, with some very creative lines on holes like 4, 7, 11, and 17 that will really take you out of your comfort zone. No hole is truly safe. Even the holes that throw across a meadow such as 8, 11, and 18 manage to get in your head with low branches, unexpected trees, or the huge RHBH anhyzer line that is hole 11. Nobody can play Dalaiwood on a regular basis and not improve in their overall game, and that is the biggest complement that I can ever give a course and its designer.
Cons: Despite the fact that I wrote out my "pros" in the present tense, Dalaiwood no longer exists. That is a huuuuuge con for the disc golf community in both the Northwest and in the country in general. Scott did the seemingly impossible: He turned a bump in the road that nobody had ever heard of called "Olalla" into a travel destination. Thanks to Kitsap County and their zoning laws, Dalaiwood has been shut down. I'm sure that it would be okay if it was turned into a truly private course where only people accompanied by Scott could play, but with his fourth child just weeks away from being born he just won't have the time or the energy to do such a thing. And with the average of 40-50 people per day who have played this course for the past decade wanting another chance to play there, his phone would be ringing off the hook with people begging him for a round.
Other Thoughts: I didn't think I'd ever find a course that I could give a rating of "5", but the experience and design of Dalaiwood has proved me wrong. I'm disappointed that Kitsap County has one less course than before and even more disappointed that I didn't get to play it until its very last day. But Scott gave the world something special for free for 12 years, and it was an honor to be able to meet the man and to play his course before it disappeared forever.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Sad to see it go
2 Helpful / 4 Not
Pros: Course is extremely well laid out. There is a great variety of shots ranging from short to long, which require all types of throws: hyzers, anhyzers, tomahawks, thumbers, straight shots, and all sorts to test your skills. The holes are well marked, and the property is very well maintained.
Cons: The only things I can think of this course could benefit from is a parking lot (which is one of the reasons why the course is closing) as the parking was directly off the street, and some higher-par shots (which the property does not support). Not to say that all this is bad though. To me, personally, none of this detracts from the course in any way. They are just minor inconveniences. And the course itself is masterly laid out.
Other Thoughts: This was the only time I got to play at thic course as it is closing down. Very sad. Maybe some time in the future, it may be reopened (that is my fond hope).
2 of 6 people found this review helpful.
19 Helpful / 4 Not
Insanely Tight - Insanely Awesome
Please keep in mind that all of these are pros are for a privately maintained course, so everything is done by one person rather than a parks and rec. department, group, or organization. First, there is a pro shop that runs limited hours. The course is open until dusk, but the pro shop hours are posted at the house.
You start your round teeing off from a barn over a blind hill - you have to love that. Each hole has adequate color signs that indicate the hole number, distances, hole placements, and hole layout. I think of them as homemade Houck signs. In addition to the signs, most of the boxes are now concrete. Granted they are about 4' by 8', but this is an adequate size for the length of each hole. Most holes also have an A and a B placement, and some are completely different looks from each other giving you greater diversity.
The terrain is awesome. There are few places in the US that can offer the foliage, diversity, and elevation changes than the great northwest area. Much like NAD Park
by Bremerton, Dalaiwood is a mix of up and down walks through an amazing amount of foliage and focuses more on accuracy rather than power. Many holes are extremely tight, and force you to play position golf rather than just gunning for it if you want par or birdie.
There are X factors that push this place above many public courses: You have one person designing, maintaining, and loving a course. There's great signage with a sense of humor, and a llama namesake that used to call this place home.
Each hole has its own name, and holes #12 - #16 are known as the "furious five" for obvious difficulty reasons. Coming up to #12 you get a greeting about the spirits of the natives that once inhabited these woods, and believe it or not the canopy seems to cast a darker shadow on this part of the course. #16 is even named Discgolficus 3:16 since it looks like your drive may be more of a prayer than skill. This is one of the best short runs of golf I have ever played. There is also additional signage throughout the course that will guide first timers through the course with relative ease.
Did I mention this place is free to play? Normally in the disc golf world this isn't a big deal, but most private courses charge five to ten bucks for all day play. These folks just simply say welcome, and let you go on your way as long as you follow the rules. That is awesome.
Finally the llama, that used to call Dalaiwood home - check out the website (oh yeah, this place has a good website too) to get the history, but I love these little touches that make a course unique and memorable. Sadly, the llama has since moved on to new grounds, but I imagine its legacy will live on.
BEST HOLE/S: #1(The Barn Hole); #12(Organ Pipe Valley); #16(Discgolficus 3:16)
Cons: The following cons are preferential cons, so what may be a big issue for some may not be for others, so just take note. First, Redneck Machismo - please don't ever play here; you will have a brain aneurysm on the spot and be dragged off for llama feed. What I may say as a great tight line - some might view as unfair and more luck rather than skill. Understand coming here - this is one the tightest courses you will ever play - take it or leave it.
Length is another preferential con since some may view this course to as too short to be quality. There aren't your typical bomber holes that open way up - in fact only two holes have the potential to be over 400' depending on the pin placement. Much like the amount of foliage however, I don't think the final length of around 4500' was ever considered in the final design.
Even though there are signs everywhere, note the transition of #16 to #17. You have to go back up the hill and across where you originally head to #7 tee and down the path through the woods. It makes sense after you do it, but first timers may have a difficult time. Also, it can be difficult to know what placement the pin is in without actually heading up the fairway.
WORST HOLE/S: #3(The Llama Hole)
I'm a little surprised at the lower ratings I've seen on this course. Is too tight valid enough for three discs? Does having no llama merit three and a half discs? These are good reviews from trusted reviewers that I respect and aspire to when writing my own reviews. So I ask - what pulls this place this place down, and what does the best of the best really mean? The first thought is length - Idlewild
, Winthrop Gold Course
, Milo Mclver State Park
typically punish you into submission with its overwhelming length. I argue that Dalaiwood is just as good without the incredible length of these other amazing courses.
Its private - well Flip City Golf Park
is private and Flippers everywhere will attest to it as the mecca of disc golf. It's too tight! From the reviews I've read, Renaissance Park
is a fantastic course that gives anybody a run for their money on being accurate.
I believe best of the best means that the course is creative, challenging, inspiring, and leave you walking away saying "wow," so I'm going out on a limb and rating Dalaiwood five discs, because as I read the other reviews as well as examined my pros, there just isn't enough to tell me otherwise. Sure, I may be slightly more generous and biased to the fact that this is my type of course, but if one person can create a course this good - then more power to him.
Bottom line - Dalaiwood is like a traditional 19th century wedding night. It's really tight, frustrating at times, and has a lot of bush to lose your disc in - but you just keep at it, and eventually you'll begging to do it again. For the average man - this is the perfect place to improve your skills, and learn to shoot straight.
19 of 23 people found this review helpful.
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