23 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The Paw Paw courses in rural West Virginia are without a doubt one of the top disc golf destinations in the US. Not only is the disc golf fantastic but beautiful scenery and wildlife abounds.
Both courses, Woodshed and Whippin' Post have extreme variety in the types of shots, both off the tee, and off the fairway. If you haven't thrown a sidearm, flick roller, tomahawk, etc. during your round, you probably weren't paying attention because you likely were in a position where 'X' shot could have saved you a stroke. This course will expose any weakness in your game, skillwise and especially mentally.
Do you have confidence in all of your shots? Can you make them under adverse conditions (footing, intimidating lines)?
How do you deal with a bad kick? Can you shake it, can you recover from it even under pressure?!?
The course also demands that you 'learn it' rather than just play it. Many of the holes have subtle scoring differences that aren't immediatly apparent upon first glance. A hole that may appear to be a tight hyzer might in fact yield better scoring to a turnover sidearm. Some landing zones might be in unexpected places requiring several rounds to figure out or careful study of the hole. Some might say that this creates a bit of "home-boy" bias, but putting in a few rounds of work to figure out the course is well worth the time. I'd recommend to play with a player who knows it and you will get an idea of where to attack and where to be conservative. The usual knock on this course is that it is all "luck" because of the tight fairways but you will find players who can consistently shred this course. Luck? I would argue that they put in the work, developed the skills, and mindset to succeed where others lose patience.
While I prefer the consistency of Whippin' Post to the Woodshed, you'll find better variety of holes on Woodshed along with a few of the most creative ones such as "Circles".
One of the most dangerous holes in the course, Circles is a (relatively) short 319ft, tight turnover across a sidehill which drops to an OB road. Off the tee, you have a multitude of options, although none are easy or safe. The hyperaggressive turnover driver route may yield a birdie or easy par but shots that are off the mark are nearly always punished with a skip and drop OB. A little safer yet, players can toss a putter or short sidearm around the tight corner to assure the chance for a 3 or 4. After the pitch though, you'll still be looking at an intimidating approach through a tight window which absolutely cannot hyzer out (RHBH). Finally, if you are really sweating it off the tee or need to protect a good round you can go safari through the woods with a vertical tomahawk. This route pretty much concedes the 4 but avoids the pitfalls and stress of the fairway. Play for positive distance with this route, hitting the largest windows through dense trees and worry about approaching the basket on shot 3.
Certainly one of the most intimidating holes I've ever played - It is not uncommon to see two or three consecutive OB penalties on this hole and scores frequently range from the rare 2 to 10 and beyond!
Cons: With new disc technology, a couple of the field holes are beginning (only beginning) to show a little bit of give. The open par 4's, while still requiring great shots, are becoming more routine birdies.
Tee signs/tee pads also might be a cool improvement, but at the same time, might detract from some of the natural beauty of the course.
Other Thoughts: As other reviewers have stated, these courses really should be experienced at some point during a disc golfers career.
The owners are some of the best folks you'll ever meet, they have put and continue to devote a big piece of their lives to Paw Paw, so feel free to kick in an extra few $$$ if you appreciate the course!
23 of 24 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 0 Not
Classic West Virginia
The setting is idyllic - a large, sloping, V-shaped open space with two small ponds and a smattering of large trees scattered along and across the fields. Thicker woods on the edges define the property boundary, and the combination of the two provides the raw resources for a course that offers a blend of both openness and tightness, while mixing in elevation changes. Owner Gabi was quite friendly as she came out to meet us with a map, explain the current basket configuration, and forewarn us of potential navigation issues. Red arrows on some trees to aid in navigation. Two port-a-johns on site. Another 18=hole course at same location.
In mid-September, plenty of bugs - gnats in the open, mosquitoes in the woods, and chiggers near the barn. Natural tee locations are a bit short and rough, but within character for the course. Tee signs are well-battered, like a DX disc that has interacted with too many trees. At least thirty minutes from any sign of civilization, and about an hour from the nearest interstates (I70 and I81), so come prepared, because food/petrol/other options are NOT nearby
Two 9=hole loops, both beginning with throws towards a pond, then the first loop taking you in a clockwise direction, while the second is primarily counterclockwise. A map is a necessity for a first-time/infrequent visitor, as some holes (1, 3, 6, 9, 10, 18) have multiple pin positions, and the most visible basket may not be the one you should be playing towards - the day we played, basket-9 was the most-visible from tee-1, and when playing #3, we saw basket-15 before we saw basket-3.
Approximately 2/3rds of the holes are primarily open, with obstacles (trees, pond, barn) somewhat guarding the basket positions. These open holes are plenty long, and have lots of elevation change. Other than right-turning #4, the wooded holes have a bit of a left-turn bias, and are not quite as long as the open holes. Favourite holes: 1, 9, and 13 are all long and go down the slope, providing you plenty of time to enjoy the flight of your disc, and the pond and/or trees in the background. Least favourite hole: Number-3 is about 500', densely wooded in its entirety, and I never could discern much of a path to the basket.
The length, pond, and tightness of some of the wooded holes makes this course inappropriate for beginners, low-level intermediates, and those who can't tolerate a few very challenging wooded holes. If you like your courses long, rough-n-tough, and away from it all, certainly make the trip to play both courses at this location.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
15 Helpful / 63 Not
Pros: None that I am aware of.
Cons: This course contains some of the worst holes I have ever seen. The "gauntlet" is not a "hole" at all but just a basket and and a poorly placed tee pad in the woods. There is no line and certainly no fairway. Sadly there are several more holes very similar to this one. How anyone could think these holes are good is just beyond me? Not only are they bad and not fair but they aren't fun either. Furthering the misery, the open holes are not well done either. On top of all this the course is in completely the middle of no where. When you think that you just can't go any further the road becomes gravel. Over all this course really is just horrible.
Other Thoughts: If the course wasn't abysmal enough as I was leaving yet another insult was in store for me. I could never figure out where to pay my $5 for the "pain" of "playing" this "course." I rambled around in the dilapidated barn by hole one forever trying to figure out where to pay to no avail. Finally I gave up and just left. The next thing I know I was being chased down in a car by the owner who apparently was spying on me as I got done with my round. Yes you read that right I WAS INVOLVED IN A CAR CHASE WITH THE OWNER. It was a scene right out of Deliverance. I was scared for my life and was forced to block the road to stop an oncoming car for my safety and to get this lunatic away from me. Play this course at your own risk.
15 of 78 people found this review helpful.
18 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: The Woodshed is very challenging and fun. The $5 it costs to play is very much worth it. The property owners are great people.
-long open shots and tightly wooded shots
-great use of land and elevation
-risk/reward including 2 water hazards
-beautiful mountain scenery
-flags on the baskets help with locating and reading wind direction
-secluded and peaceful
-the woodshed doubles as a comfortable clubhouse
-5$ per person is a bargain
-soft ground for sleeping and walking barefoot
I saw more stars in the sky than I have ever seen before. It was amazing and I must have seen half a dozen shooting stars.
Cons: The road in is narrow and it seems like there cannot be a disc golf course back there. As stated previously, it is far from most places but I do recommend camping there. You do get 2 first class courses when you play the Whipping Post right next door.
-beginners may get frustrated
-tee signs aren't very good (bring a map and you will be fine)
-some overlap but it isn't too busy anyhow
Other Thoughts: My favorite hole was #1, nearly 500ft down a hill with a pond waiting for you near the basket. The pictures don't show how much foliage actually grows in.
Paw Paw is worth the trek. Bring your food, drinks, and camping gear!
18 of 19 people found this review helpful.
18 Helpful / 1 Not
Wild and wonderful -- just like West Virginia!
Pros: Absolutely fantastic variety of holes ranging from rolling hills, long fairways, water hazards, tight wooded passages, and insane left and right doglegs. The reviews aren't kidding when they say that some of the wooded passages are only a few feet apart! A great challenge!
Service is great, as Gabby will greet you with a smile and a much-needed map. The course dog, Scout, will also follow you and be your best pal while you're playing.
The actual woodshed is a really neat clubhouse with which to relax before and after golfing. A great place to crack open a cold beer or two and enjoy the scenery outside.
Another pro is that the course is completely separated from human civilization. For some, this may be unnerving, but I love it! 18 holes of fun!
Did I already mention I really like the water hazards?
Cons: Unless you're from Cumberland MD, it's most likely going to be quite a drive to arrive here. Could also be very difficult to get here in the Winter because of the treacherous WV roads.
The tees and signs could use some improvements and care. They're there, but barely!
The rough behind the pond on hole #1 is a disc eater! At least 50 feet of nothing but the most formidable briers and thorns.
The numerous trees on some holes will not be kind to DX or Pro-D discs. Try and use higher quality plastic if you're prone to hitting trees like I was at The Woodshed.
The course is pay to play, but it's hardly a con. It's worth the $5 -- but it's a fee nevertheless.
Other Thoughts: I've visited many areas in West Virginia and this place is one of the most beautiful! Out of all the disc golf courses I've played at, this is one of the few that does not feel like a park or recreation area -- it's pure wild! As such, it's a great place to relax and enjoy the game.
On the other hand, it's very difficult to play here. I shot an 80 and I was happy with that. The feeling of elation is indescribable for birdies and even pars on some of these holes! Don't let the formidable challenge drive you away; embrace it!
18 of 19 people found this review helpful.
26 Helpful / 2 Not
I'm starting to understand the course better!
Pros: Variety, variety, variety. In the wonderfully scenic hills of WV lies this great course on a wonderful site for disc golf.
It has most everything you could want as far as course design. There are big bomb holes. There are super tight/technical holes... and don't think that just because they're tight that they're short. They're long and technical. Take a hike... literally! There are a pond and stream that both come into play. There are severe uphill and downhill shots. There are right turning and left turning shots. You name it and this course has it. I normally throw RHBH as much as possible. I only had to throw a couple tomahawks and a few forehands and felt very good about only having to use a few of my secondary shots today. Meaning, I stayed pretty close to the fairways today and didn't end up in the thicker woods. I was very fortunate. In the past I've had to use a lot more secondary shots.
And when I say thicker woods, unless you make a really-really bad shot, the woods you end up in is made up of trees of various sizes... lots of trees. But the underbrush is amazingly sparse.
The baskets don't look new any more, but all seem to be in excellent condition. There are signs pointing you in the direction of the next tee, but some of them are getting a little squirley.
And, of course, I have to mention the hosts. I've only spoken with Gabbie. But every time I'm there she walks out with a smile and a map for me.
This is definitely a pro caliber course and will challenge even the best players. Just ask the last two Champions from the WV Open... Mike Moser and Markus Kallstrom, both highly rated pros on team Innova. Beginners can play this course (I did two years ago) but it has the potential to really beat you up. Not a bad thing as it's awesome to see how much your game improves when you go back.
Cons: The gravel tees (a fine crushed gravel) are ok when dry. But when wet they're a muddy, slippery mess. And they can get rutty. They are a nice size, though.
And the signage isn't what it used to be. Since I know my way around it's no big deal. But for a first time with only a map, it can be quite a task to navigate the course easily. Some of the "next hole this way" signs are faded and fallen. Several of the hole markers are knocked over and faded.
And, as others have said, it's in the middle of nowhere. (But that is a pro at the same time because it's so peaceful.) Be prepared for an ultra-windy, part dirt-road, trip to get there. Don't even think about letting it keep you from going... just be prepared.
I don't easily give out such a high rating. And only because there is so much to love about the Woodshed can I give it this high a score regardless of the shortcomings. (9-3-14, I changed my rating from 4.5 to 4.0. I was looking at some of my reviews and this one stood out as being rated too high. The extra .5 point given originally was probably based upon WV/Local bias and I wanted to correct that.)
If just the tees and signage were upgraded this would be a sure-fire 5! But being a privately owned property, this would be a very big undertaking since there are 18 more holes on the same property called the Whipping Post.
And of the two, the Woodshed is clearly my favorite. I believe that it's just a personal thing for me. I don't know why really. I just like it better.
I would highly recommend this course to anyone and everyone who plays the game regardless of the travel needed to get there. Come and stay as there's camping on site. Make a weekend of it as you'll want to play the courses over and over.
Check out they're website that's listed here on DGCR. And check out this Youtube clip... and several more from the 2007 WV Open. You'll really get a feel for the courses.
26 of 28 people found this review helpful.
27 Helpful / 7 Not
Disc Golf MECCA
Pros: Water, elevation, distance, accuracy, the hosts, the property, the seclusion, the neighbors, the fishing, the river, the music, the house!
This course and it's sister (The Whippin Post) together make up one of the most formidable golf challenges you could ever hope to find in one place.
Occupying approx 26 acres, nestled in the mountains of WV about 15 miles NW of Berkely Springs - this was the first of the two Paw Paw DGC's.
Spencer Thurman bought the property and when he started cutting fairways in the woods - he basically walked what he saw as the best gap through the woods, and cut every tree he could reach while walking a straight line. Which made the woods holes about 8-10 feet wide. He knew of course - that it's easier to cut them down then to grow em back - and even the tightest holes have opened up a bit over the life of the course. The result however, is an amazing mix of giant open shots with both water and significant elevation in play, and tight technical, precision woods golf.
There is really only one filler hole on the course (hole 14) - but even that is so unique - I haven't seen it duplicated anywhere - so while it's funky - it'll still yield 2's and 6's.
The course comes at you in fits and starts. 1&2 require power and accuracy off the tee to have a chance at 3. Holes 3-6 are known as "The Gauntlet" - and collectively will humble the most swelled head on the planet at any given pass through. 7-13 are back out in the field and are some of the funnest bombs in the game. Back in the woods for 14-16 (coined the mini gauntlet), and then back to the barn for 17 and 18 and the chance for salvaging a less higher score than you hoped for.
Cons: It's 100 miles from my house. Tees signs and teepads need upgrading.
Other Thoughts: The Woodshed is one of the ultimate tests of your DG skills, and of your mental and physical fitness. The variety offered here is unlike any other of the 240 or so courses I have played. There are water holes (a pond), huge boomer holes, tight woods holes, big elevation changes. You name it, it's all here.
It's a big walk, and with another 18 holes on the other side of the property, this is a place that's hard to do just in one day. Go for the weekend and hang out, or go for the mid summer event or the WVO on Labor Day weekend. This DGC should be REQUIRED travel for anyone who calls themself a disc golfer. If you make the pilgrimage once, you'll find it hard not to make it over and over again.
27 of 34 people found this review helpful.
29 Helpful / 1 Not
God Plays Disc Golf
Pros: The course itself is long, has intense wooded holes, fast greens, elevation, water, open bombs and a unique charm not found elsewhere. Every hole requires you to use your brain and your skill. Mental discipline is required here more so than anywhere else I've played. I found myself thinking of holes played miles away after I sadly left the course. What is very interesting is that every hole makes an impression. There are no filler holes. Also the course is balanced, once your getting fed up with trees your greeted with an open field with a huge precise drive needed. Once your ego is back to equilibrium, you are back in the woods being beaten again by Uncle Spencer. The splendid isolation of disc golf only countryside on top of a wild mountain. The rustic clubhouse with the sign in book with so many amazing anecdotes from so many pilgrims. The friendly hosts. I'm gushing.
Cons: Fairways cross one another at 8 & 9. Not many people on course so not really an issue. At times, if you listen real hard you can hear the trees whispering and laughing at you. The challenge may be too much for anyone with a fragile ego. Legendary Gauntlet Holes may beat up your discs. Playing here might ruin/spoil every experience you ever have playing DG for the rest of your life.
Other Thoughts: I recently went back to Paw after 5 years. I am a little bit better of a player now than I was back then. Unfortunately my opinion of this place has changed. Many of the tight gauntlet holes particularly 3,4,6,14,15 are just not really fair at all. I scored just as poorly on these as I did 5 yrs ago when I was a relative noob. This shows that luck is needed moreso than skill. If Spence would just swallow his pride and just thin out some of the trees, not an overall clearing just maybe thin it out a bit I would be able to in good conscience keep Paw Paw a 5 but I have to be honest as great as some of the holes are the abundance of trees in the fairway (not off the fairway) really spoil this place. The drive to this mecca is long and out of the way for anyone. The whole pilgrimmage and environment may have twisted my opinion. Nah, this course stands the test of time and technology. Play this course and it's twin sister and you won't regret the drive.
29 of 30 people found this review helpful.
22 Helpful / 2 Not
Worth the drive
Pros: Scenery - The course is located in the WV mountains on a beautiful tract of land with big views on many holes. The piece of land is gorgeous - rolling hills, steep ravines, thick woods & open areas. When I visited the grass was in two cuts: long & full of wildflowers and short around the fairways & greens
Challenge - The woodshed will test players of all abilities, especially those that can throw less than 500'. Mix of long bomber holes & super tight technical wooded holes
Upkeep - the land is in phenomenal condition and the hard work put into these courses is evident by the lack of underbrush & the great condition of the course
Character - this place is amazing - having two world class courses on the same tract, the barn/music venue, a pond to swim in/lose discs in, and killer camping spots
Not a par 3 course - there are legit par 4's and par 5's -- a score in the 60's is good and in the 50's is great
On private land!!!
Some awesome holes - #1, #10, #13 are all great
Cons: Far from anywhere, which becomes a pro once you've arrived
Not beginner friendly - as noted in the other reviews, this is a long & tough course & doesn't have shorter teepad options (on most holes)
Fairway trees: Holes 3 (gauntlet) & 6 have little/no fairway. The saying I heard several times was: "not saying it's fair, but there's a way"....this holds true for more holes on the whipping post, but definitely true on these holes. Get your forehand roller ready!
Other Thoughts: Woodshed is more open than the whipping post & caters more to big arms, with several two-able holes if you can throw 450'+.
Both courses are phenomenal & the setting just adds to the experience. These are definitely two of my favorites that I recommend to everyone. The courses are tough and can be mentally taxing - they can really beat you up - but at the end of the day when you wind down in a beautiful campsite & look up at the stars, the beauty of the place becomes more evident
22 of 24 people found this review helpful.
24 Helpful / 1 Not
Awesome Course in Every Way
Pros: PawPaw is a place that is much more than just the sum of its parts and is my favorite place in the country to spend a weekend playing disc golf.
Both The Woodshed and The Whipping Post are awesome, but what is even better is having both courses side by side. And having a hill from which you can sit, surrounded by WV mountains, looking down over some of the pivotal and most beautiful holes on both courses makes this an unparalleled place to both watch and play disc golf.
Spencer and Gabi are two of the most generous and welcoming people I know of, and it has been a labor of love on their part -- and on the part of many dedicated volunteers -- to make these courses what they are and to keep them maintained for play.
The Woodshed will eat you alive and challenge your mental game to the limit. It's a course with an SSA of 63-64 strokes, and you'll need every one of them. The course is a great mix of open holes and nasty woods holes, with many true par 4s and tons of great elevation changes.
And one of the perks of the course is that every hole has a name and every hole has a history. Play through with a local or someone who's been there since the beginning and they'll tell you more stories than your brain can hold.
The camping opportunities at PawPaw are awesome -- lots of barefoot grass and flat places to pitch a tent. A clean pond for swimming. Enclosed areas for fires.
And if you go out for a tournament weekend, expect a late night of live music in the barn and some of the most beautiful stars you'll see anywhere in the country. The Milky Way is blinding out there in those West Virginia mountains.
Cons: The only cons are that PawPaw is out of the way. But that's part of what makes is so wonderful -- the solitude and the true escape from urban/suburban life. So that's not really a con so much as it is the price you have to pay for solitude. Just make sure to bring everything you need with you for a weekend of camping, because you aren't going to want to leave and it's a bit of a drive even to the nearest convenience store.
The biggest con is having to leave the course after a weekend and return back to regular life. At a course like this, you wish you could stay forever.
Other Thoughts: I saw John's comments on the gauntlet and have to disagree with him about all the rollers. Yes, I've seen a lot of people throw the roller, but the best shots I've seen on the hole have consistently been from people throwing long, neutral drivers (usually TLs) off the box RHBH and lacing up the fairway. There is a fairway on the gauntlet -- it's just not a very big one. But I've played through the course with enough top players by this point to believe that the Gauntlet isn't just luck -- it just requires a great amount of precision and a couple of practice rounds to get a feel for the layout.
24 of 25 people found this review helpful.
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