2 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Great mix of Everything. Elevation changes, fairways, trees, lefty shots, eighty shots, water comes into play on a few holes. Love it.
Cons: Really I can't complain about anything being a CON. As said in Another review if you complain about the rough.............have control and don't go there.
Other Thoughts: Very scenic drives! Down hill and over streams x2...are my fav"s. Other fun downhill and fun uphill shots!! Granted it is a technical course. You need to work through some tight wooded fairways as well especiAlly on hole 7. Love this course it was worth it to drive down And play in the spring equinox which was a lot of fun as well
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 2 Not
Getting Better All the Time!
Pros: Rockburn Branch is a solid, challenging course which has loads of variety in terrain and hole design. You'll be throwing a wide range of shots off the tee and because of the intense and often prickly rough, you'll have to know how to make save shots from awkward positions or in some cases know 'when to fold'em' and pitch out for a well-deserved bogey. Some reviewers have noted the thick rough as a con, but at Rockburn, this shaggy shule is usually far off course from where ideal shots should land - in this case, the rough acts as an effective punisher for playing beyond one's means or just throwing poor shots. Having said this, I wouldn't recommend Rockburn for the newer player who is still in the process of mastering a straight, controlled fairway drive. Without having a safety fairway shot that you can count on, this course will likely be very frustrating. For more advanced players, the rough very effectively separates players by not allowing an easy up-and-down for three. Successfully managing the rough (and scoring well) means either not landing in it (duh!) or, having the skills necessary to make great saves.
As other reviewers have stated, with the exception of a couple of holes on the front 9, this course is a nearly exclusively disc golf activity area - you will likely not have to wait for other pedestrians to clear out of fairways.
Finally, part of the title of this review has to do with all of the new pin placements and other improvements that are ongoing to make this course the best it can be. Having a number of distinct pin placements adds a lot of replay-ability to this course and will keep players on their toes. The downside to this is that newer players may have quite a bit of difficulty in locating pins on blind turns, etc.
Cons: Drainage and teepads are two of the main drawbacks that I see out here. First, the natural teepads can be pretty rutted, the local club, however does a ton of maintenance out here!, but from time to time, you'll hit Rockburn at a time where mother nature is a step ahead of the volunteers. The local club is starting to put in nicer tees (rubber mats) and is experimenting with some strange raised astroturf tees which just don't work very well as they are slippery and you have to step up during the runup to throw from them. Drainage doesn't need more than a quick mention, but the back wooded holes at Rockburn especially are not the place you want to be when it has been raining - check the course conditions or recent weather before heading out and you'll be less likely to run into unexpected mud.
Other Thoughts: As I touched on earlier, this course isn't for the 'newbie' player because of the 'rough' rough, but it is just this feature which makes Rockburn a great tournament course for more experienced players. Large variety in shots, terrain, and now pin placements will keep you coming back for more!
12 of 14 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 1 Not
B = Nice, But Begs for Better
Pros: Since I rate courses from the longest tee/basket combinations and then try to back up my rating with my verbiage, I feel bad that I'm seeming to slam Rockburn Branch for all the bad long basket locations, especially since most of the other locations are wonderful. See below for more.
What I personally like and how this course stacks up in my list of 18 hole courses (over 180 played):
1) Holes with good risk/reward. Fair, but harsh punishment for bad decisions or execution. == B-
(There are plenty of wooded holes with harsh punishment for bad throws. The problem with most of these is that the punishment is so disproportionately high, that you are foolish to go-for-it on the long baskets. That makes them boring putter-putter-putter par-3 holes. There is very little decision making imposed on you by this course - very rarely do you need to choose the best route/line to the basket.)
2) Holes that have rewarding birdie opportunities for me (I rate only from the longest tee/basket combination). I'm a Blue level player (950ish skill) who throws 300' accurately, 360' max. == D
(This course has lots of really cool holes if set up correctly. But for the long positions, only 5 and 13 are rewarding holes due to distance and shape. Both happen to be really fun downhill holes too. But those good holes are offset by all the other holes that are either too long for me (450' throwers will like some of them) and others that are just quirky extensions of god holes that do nothing but add a boring or inaccessible 50-150' to an otherwise decent/good/excellent hole).
3) More wooded than open - lots of variety of shots required caused by hole shape and topography == B+
(There is a good mix of woodsy holes and open holes. Maybe slightly more open than my preference, but still pretty good. Great use of available terrain as to where the holes are placed (hole design for scoring purposes is another issue). There are some fun opportunities the course forces on you; making you have to work your disc from right to left and left to right in interesting ways (16 & 17 come to mind), but overall this course is more about throwing basically straight and accurately.)
4) Natural beauty (Appalachian beauty preferred) and seclusion. == A-
(Seclusion from the hustle-bustle is fantastic! You hardly see modern civilization at all from the time you walk out of the parking lot to tee 1 until you pop out of the woods after holing out on 18. The exception is the abandoned farm house and barn that holes 11-15 surround. But for me that is nice nostalgia, not a big distraction.
There are lots of beautiful spots on this course, but overall it is just nice….not full-on beautiful. I would describe the course as "rustic"…..very much the feeling of playing on an old ranch. I like!)
5) Bonus points for multi-throw holes with defined landing zones, good risk/reward and multiple options to play them. == 2 bonus points for this.
(There are a lot of holes that are tweener holes - boring par-3's that you would really be pushing to call par-4's. They are par-4's if you are considering players with max D of 275-300'. But, the only par-4's I think are legit are #1 which at 539' is two boring open throws (ie 300' + 240'), and #12 which at 720' is too long for me to ever birdie and whose obstacles at the bend and at the basket make it probably more challenging than it needs to be for anyone except maybe 1000 rated players. Still, I applaud the designers for including at least a couple multi-throw holes! The world needs more of these.)
PS: I grade courses on a school grading system…60-100 with no F's and the average/center point being a B-….been doing that for a long time and started transferring my ratings list to the similar 11 level rating system here when this cool/amazing site came online.
Other Thoughts: I suppose I do not read too well since I thought it was Rockburn Ranch (not Branch) when I made my visit. I was pleased with the east coast Ranch feel of this course. Very rustic reeling - complete with the fences and farm house. But the playing experience makes me believe that Branch is more like it. It seems like almost every single long basket location was added as an unnecessary Branch to existing holes….making them unreachable. The vast vast majority of holes in the longs are simply not very good disc golf holes.
I could go hole-by-hole and defend what I am saying, but I won't since I do not even know how often things are set up in all long positions. What I will say is that if this course is set up in the "best of" basket locations, it is bumping up on a 4.0 (A grade) course for me. This is one of the few courses that I end up slamming with my rating (and verbiage defending my rating) since I rate a course from all longs (I cannot figure out how to objectively rate courses that have hundreds of setup options due to flexibility afforded by 3 basket locations per pin - all of which make the hole quite different). I really want to grade it an 82 (B-/2.5 discs) but I found it in my heart to grade it an 83 which is a B/3.0.
16 of 17 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 11 Not
Pros: beautiful, well marked, very fluent. when my friends and i can't agree where we are going to play for the day we always compromise on rockburn
Cons: damn trees. i absolutly ALWAYS hit trees. but i don't have anything bad to say
0 of 11 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
New life at Rockburn
Pros: This course is in the process of getting new tee pads installed. Four of them are in so far and it makes it much more fun and safer to play. Also the park has been busy clearing and mowing the shule on the sides of the fairways. Over the years it has improved but durring the summer its still fairly easy to loose a disc. Spot well for everyone in your group! Rockburn is a challenging wooded course that can be very tough when the pins are in the long positions. Great variety of holes and use of elevation.
Cons: Not all the tees are done yet and some of them are still rutted. Summertime it can be easy to loose a disc or three. A few of the holes are blind and that makes it hard to spot. Don't take a chance.
Other Thoughts: The course plays very differently depending on the position of the pins. Pin positions are marked on the tee signs and there is a lock on an eye screw to indicate the position. This course is right off 95 and is worth the time if you are driving thru. Hole 12 has a super long pin. If you follow the fence to the opening and look right out into the field down the road another 500' and left there it is.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
2 Helpful / 0 Not
Check out Baltimore disc golfers!
Pros: By far the course that I play most often (mainly because its close to where I go to school). Just like Patapsco State Park, there are great elevation changes and a great mix of open and wooded holes. It is almost never too crowded and playing for fun and playing competitively are both obtainable here. The fairway is always well maintained and the environment is awesome. I especially like Holes 5, 7, 12, 13, 15. Hole 5 gives you an excellent down hill shot to the basket surrounded by trees and an ace is obtainable is you're lucky. Hole 12-15 is set by an old barn and an old house no longer in use. On hole 15, you shoot right next to the old house and throw down a huge declining hill. Very scenic!
Cons: I absolutely hate the tees. They are loosely made from gravel but they look like small dug-in trenches from people throwing in that particular location. I usually throw next to it on the grass for better footing. During the summer, the wooded holes are.....rough to say the least. You can spend 30 minutes searching for your disc and during the winter when all the vegetation finally dies out, you can usually find discs at multiple holes. Also, most of the vegetation surrounding the fairway will hurt you with millions of thorns!
Other Thoughts: Check out Baltimore disc golfers group on this website! I am always at this course, Im probably the only Asian guy there ever so come say hi!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Location, only about 5 min from the house. Challenging pin locations, recently moved longer. Requires variety of shots. Holes are in good shape, grass not too high and leaves not overwhelming.
Cons: Tee pads are getting better. Some are natural, some are rubber and some are green mats. Mountain bikers seem to think its funny to ride on the holes while your playing. #3 has a play ground very nearby and sometimes little kids are playing in the fairways nearby. Par on some holes seem to be for the pros or something.
Other Thoughts: #4 is pretty challenging, blind shot over the hill then pin is through a cut out in the wood down the hill on the right. 2nd shot is critical
#6 is my favorite hole. Its a down hill tunnel shot, if you dont have a solid drive down the fairway making it to the pin through all the trees is going to add at least 2
#7 has a nice rubber raised tee mat. Trees directly to the right keep the fairway narrow. Straight shots are rewarded. Pin location is pretty deep on this one.
#9 Downhill heavily wood tee shot easy to have a bum drive. Keep it low and fast, pin is just across the river
#10 has a nicer green tee pad
#12 nicer green tee pad, haunted house is broken down now. Ideally you want to shoot straight past the end of the fence post. Pin is up the hill to the right. Good tee shot or you miss par.
#14 Rubber tee mat. Seems like an easy uphill par 3, usually it is. Make it past the fence and 3 is easy.
#15 Super Long down hill hole. Aim towards the right for RHBH throwers and you should land in the middle for a direct shot at the pin.
#16 Rubber tee pad. Pin blind to the left
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
look at the map!!!
Pros: good variety of shots required
baskets are in good shape
decent mix of open bombs/tight technical throws
Cons: consult the map especially on the back 9!
tee pads are not in great shape - some are missing altogether
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 2 Not
Third Best Course in Baltimore
Pros: Lots of space. Tees have giant signs next to them so they are easy to spot. It's a pretty course. When we played, there is an ice cream truck full of frisbees at the parking lot. The guy was very friendly and was selling frisbees at fair prices. The course has a secluded feel that makes you forget you are near a major city.
Cons: sometimes a little tough to find the next tee without a map. When i played (late August) the grass in the fairways hadn't been mowed for a while, and the rough was very rough. I lost a frisbee in one of the heavily wooded holes with the intense ground cover. Had i not been wearing shorts i would have looked longer but was afraid of ticks/poison ivy.
Other Thoughts: This is my third favorite around bmore, next to Patapsco and then Druid Hill
0 of 2 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: All the holes are challenging and fun to play! Some holes are open and some are in the woods. A very diverse course!
Cons: The course has no "Flow" ,always walking back up the fairway to get to the next tee. I never played in a tournement here but I would bet that the course gets backed up in a lot of places.
Other Thoughts: Maybe put in some alternate tee locations so the course flows better.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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