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Tarentum, PA

Deer Lakes Park

4.645(based on 84 reviews)
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12 6
sidewinder22
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Experience: 18 years 306 played 198 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Bucking Bambi 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Jul 5, 2012 Played the course:once

Pros:

18 baskets with three pin positions. Nice tee signs at each of the three concrete tees. Great variety of hole distances, pars, and open vs wooded holes. Excellent use of the rolling elevation, water and terrain. Beautifully manicured fairways and scenery. Rough is not too rough so disc loss potential is low except for the pond. Two loops of nine holes back to the parking lot. Benches and picnic tables a plenty around the tees. Restrooms and water scattered around the park.

Cons:

No signage to know which pin the basket is in. This would be easily fixed with some letters, wood hooks, and a moveable lock(or even zip tie) to locate the pin position. Navigation a little tricky in places, but not too bad.

Other Thoughts:

Deer Lakes is certainly a top tier DGC and you can't miss if you play here coming from just about anywhere. This course is well suited for just about any type of player from beginner looking to get more competitive to a world class player looking to challenge their game. The whole Pittsburgh area is really sick! When is World's coming to town? I really enjoyed Deer Lakes, but a few minor things that kept me from giving a five disc rating(I've only given a five to Paw Paw). Not knowing which pin the basket is in, and also the alternative pin placements don't seem to change many shots. It'd be nice to have a little more separation between some of the holes. The variety of holes is pure excellence, however I feel the last two holes end a little weak. I think if hole 18 went bigger downhill that might have iced an fiver for me. Maybe it's just a peeve of mine to end with a more epic hole. With all that minor bitching aside I'd highly recommend anybody come play here, it's probably one of the best courses you'll ever play!
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16 3
BogeyNoMore
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Premium Member
Experience: 20.1 years 491 played 183 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Simply Phenomenal! 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:May 26, 2012 Played the course:once

Pros:

Scenic course winds through a nicely wooded section of a fairly large, well maintained county park that offers several other activities.
• Challenge: Particularly well suited to the intermediate/advanced player, but pros and beginners will enjoy themselves here as well. Only a couple of holes struck me as something beginners should find truly intimidating from the short tees. High marks for a design that can pretty much accommodate all skill levels.
• Shot variety/Course Design: Excellent. Features many moderately to well wooded holes, but still has a few fairways that are open enough to air it out, with a few holes that start out open that have you putting to a well-guarded basket in the woods. Fairways can be difficult, but are reasonable to hit, and if you start bouncing wide off trees, strokes can pile up quickly. Nice balance in terms of fairways that favor hyzer/annie/straight /S-shots from the tee. Some offer several lines, others pretty much restrict you to one or two. Each set of tee pads offers a nice selection of distances (check out the distances on the scorecard).
• Elevation: plenty of it and well used - has you throwing downhill, uphill, and over gullies, with a few holes playing relatively flat. Some pins on or near slopes, so you gotta hit putts and upshots right or you could lose some strokes.
• Multiple Tees: Red, White, and Blue, concrete pads offer increasing challenge. More often than not, they provide slightly different looks at the fairway, and occasionally different elevations... pretty much guarantees an assortment of distances you'll be happy with if you're willing to switch up which pads you tee off from during a round.
• Multiple Pin locations: I don't recall what position the pins were in during my round, but the fact that they vary pin placements from time to time helps keep it from getting boring and adds variety - always a plus in my book.
• Natural Beauty: Deer Lakes is certainly a well-maintained, and pleasant place to play a round. Mature trees, rolling terrain, water, well defined fairways, and mowed grass on open holes, all make for a wonderful setting and a really enjoyable round. I can only imagine how beautiful this place must be in the fall. Not as rough around the edges and rugged as Moraine.
• Equipment: Excellent. Large concrete pads, baskets in great shape. Each pad has color tee markers with hole layout, tee locations and, distance (pretty sure they also showed possible pin locations) . Long fairways equipped with markers to let you know the distance remaining to the basket. Next tee signs to help move you in the right direction.
• Memorable/Unique holes: several 2, 3, 9, 15
• Surprisingly little rough for a course of this caliber.
• Navigation/flow: My guide was quite familiar so I can't elaborate, but most paths were obvious and course seemed to flow pretty well. The only section I recall being confusing was where the course opens up around holes 7-9.
• Amenities/Other: Fresh water available every few holes. Large park offers plenty of other activities - fishing, playgrounds, restrooms. Course was spotless - amazing when you consider how long and spread out this course is and the amount of traffic it must get.

Cons:

Take these with a grain of salt:
• I like the idea of three sets of pads, but on a few holes, they were essentially longer/shorter versions of the same shot. Ideally, at least one of the pads should provide a significantly different view of the fairway that makes you choose a different line or type of shot/release.
• Water in the lake seems stagnant. Sure, it looks nice from a distance, but up close, it seems a bit on the nasty side.
• Hole 8: I wouldn't necessarily call it a bad hole, but in comparison to the rest of the course, it seemed a bit "meh."

Other Thoughts:

This is a long course with lots of up/downhill trekking , plan accordingly; give yourself time to play, bring a water bottle( maybe even a snack), and wear comfortable shoes.

Hole 15 can be soft/muddy around the lake, but it's a water hole, if water level drops, the exposed ground is bound to be mushy - I won't list that as a con.

Standout holes include:
(#3) An arduous 600'+ uphill gauntlet that's fairly tight the entire way, but not ridiculously so. Nose one up and fade hard and you could end up in jail :-( Keep things on the straight and narrow and you win.
(#9) The longest hole on the course is a sweeping bomb that plays right to left from a moderately elevated and unobstructed tee to an open field sprinkled with a smattering of trees below. At the edge of the field, the woods guard a basket (perhaps 100 ft away?) placed on a moderate slope. Approach shots that slide past the basket can rollaway for a two-putt.
(#15) Red, white and blue tees line up like steps with a canopy of trees overhead framing the water you have to throw over. The higher up you choose to tee off, the farther you must throw to carry the water, to a pin that lies close enough to the edge of the pond to provide plenty of thrill. Even if your disc hits solid ground, it could roll back into the water or slide past for a long putt... with the lake now looming ominously behind the basket. That being said - there's no denying this hole is really an Ace run!

Bottom Line: Deer Lakes really is a special course that's a helluva lot of fun to play, and locals have every reason to be proud of it. Every bit as good as Moraine, but in many ways entirely different, everyone will have their own opinions and preferences. Throw in Knob Hill and you really have genuine destination-worthy discing.
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15 4
Bikinimower
Silver level trusted reviewer
Experience: 21.9 years 174 played 67 reviews
4.50 star(s)

2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Apr 10, 2012 Played the course:once

Pros:

Clean and Kept
3 Tee Pads and 3 quality signs on each hole
Amazing elevation changes
The 3 tee pads make it a great course for any skill level, definitely leans more to the advanced player
Shot selection, everything you could ask for
Perfect water hazard design on hole 15
Fairways are perfect both in the woods and out.
Clearly a lot of thought and work goes into this course and every bit of it shows

Cons:

The only con I could think of is that a lot of the time the Red, White, and Blue Tees were all one on top of each other in a row. Making them longer versions of the same shot

Some mud in the valleys but it's not near enough to stop you from having a great time

Other Thoughts:

I don't like to give out 5's but I came really close on this one. I gave it a 4.5 but it's more like a 4.95. Easily in the top 3 courses I've ever played. The fun factor is off the charts. It's a challenge but not in a frustrating way. Having a big arm would definitely help but it's not a necessity, accuracy is just as important

There is not a shot or an obstacle that this course lacks, I think it's strengths are the elevation changes and this course has plenty of great ones. But it also has great open shots, great wooded shots, it doesn't seem to favor a right handed or left handed person, dog legs, blind holes, open bomb, shots, tunneled bomb shots, valleys, scenery, nothing is left off this course. This place is special.

Each hole has 3 paved tee pads and each one has a well made sign with the distance and course map one it. As I played the course I bounced around from the mid to long tees depending on which one I thought looked more fun

If the elevation changes are the strength of the course then the fairways are a close 2nd. Perfect, The open ones are beautiful and the wooded ones are wide enough to give you a fair line but tight enough to challenge you to shape your shots. I can't say enough about the people that designed and take care of this course. Some of them can be muddy though.

At one point I wasn't paying attention and skipped holes 12-15. I didn't take me long to figure out my mistake so I went back for them and I am glad I did 15 barely beats out 3 for the title of signature hole. It plays 200-250 feet straight down a hill depending on which tee you throw from then about another 80 feet over a lake. If your skill level is not very high or your a coward you can also throw from the bottom of the hill straight across the lake. I would have sat on top of that hill and emptied my bag before moving on but I parked my first shot and was afraid that pushing my luck would just result in lost discs.

If I had a complaint it would be that a lot of the times the alternate tee pads were just longer versions of the same shot. Some of them provided different changes in elevation and that's great but I always felt pro tee's should give you a completely new and harder shot at the basket. On courses I play a lot I like to jump around to different tee pads. The different perspectives keep courses that you play routinely from becoming stale. I have had this argument on this site with some of you before and I know a lot of you disagree but it's just my personal preference.

I struggled a bit and I wish I brought my 'A' game that day, I wish I didn't have to work so I could get in another round and I wish I had time to hit up Morrain while I was there but none of that stopped me from enjoying your wonderful course. Much to wonderful to be used by all those annoying obnoxious Steeler fans that live down that way. (I know that remarks gonna cost my at least 10 thumbs down votes. Travel any distance to play this course. If you live nearby and don't play it regularly, shame on you. It's definitely one of the best
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17 1
Chiefstang
Bronze level trusted reviewer
Experience: 15.1 years 101 played 21 reviews
5.00 star(s)

Best course I've played. 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Aug 26, 2011 Played the course:once

Pros:

-The best all around course I've played. Deer Lakes really doesn't disappoint anywhere. I played it the day before the PFDO, so I saw it at it's best, and the local club really deserves mention. The upkeep was stellar on every hole, and I'm now spoiled by this course. I really wish I had played it more while on the East Coast!
-Two practice baskets
-Three perfect concrete tees at every hole, each one changing the dynamic of the hole and each having it's own sign. If the tee is on a hill, it has been leveled, using beautiful brickwork to shore it up.
-Three pin locations on each hole. Between the tees and pins, you will have a ton of replay value, and a wide range from beginner friendly to pro caliber.
-A beautifully maintained park setting, with very little non-dg traffic to get in the way of your round.
-The hole variety is superb. There are wide open bombs, and tight holes throughout the course.
-The terrain here is fantastic, with rolling hills and a very deep gorge to play around.
-The pond on 15 presents a very real hazard, with losing a disc a great possibility. Really ups the ante from the pro tee.
-Navigation is a non-issue, as the course flows intuitively from one hole to the next.
-The "giddy" factor is very high here. Every tee seemed to give me butterflies in my stomach as I looked down the fairway. When I messed up a throw, I wasn't upset about my scorecard. I was upset because I really wanted to hit that gap, or really wanted to see the disc hit that line. Every hole leaves you begging your disc to do as it's told, just so you can see it's flight.
-Moraine and Knobb Hill are nearby, making this a great disc golf trip. Deer Lakes isn't quite as challenging as Moraine, but the fun factor is on a whole different level. I guess that's what I really loved about the course. It doesn't seem to be designed to punish players. There's definately a challenge here, but a fun and amazing round of disc golf seems to be the name of the game, and Deer Lakes delivers that in bucketloads!

Cons:

-I'm really digging for a con, as they've really covered their bases making sure there are none. That said, the last few holes didn't end with a bang, but more of a fizzle.
-I hate to use the cliche "I wish it was closer" con, but damn...

Other Thoughts:

The Pittsburgh area has really become a gotta play, and Deer Lakes has bumped the ever powerful Moraine as the crown jewel of the area. It's worth noting again that I played it the day before a N-T, so I saw it at it's best, but the entire park looked spectacular and I have a feeling the upkeep is generally top notch. I have never played a course that really has no legitimate cons. After hosting the AmWorlds in Rochester, I thought I knew where the bar was set on great courses, but Deer Lakes just shattered my expectations.
On a side note, I got to play behind Avery, Val, and Doss for my round. If that doesn't make for a memorable day, I give up!
Kudos again the the club for getting this course in, it truly deserves every 5-star rating it gets!!
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2 12
Gwalter
Experience: 18.2 years 2 played 2 reviews
4.00 star(s)

Trip Highlight 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Aug 12, 2011 Played the course:once

Pros:

Course was well maintained and very clean. The holes have a good variation in type and length. Also a good mix of lefty and righty holes. Decent signage and course direction from hole to hole. Teepad signs are not misleading and are a good resource.

Cons:

No real cons. The course plays just fine but maybe some special touches could be added like a raised or suspened basket. Kinda like hole 14 that has steps and othe wood peices giving it a little more character.

Other Thoughts:

I live in south central PA. About a 3.5 hour drive and it was very much worth the trip.
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6 11
Stud Muffin
Experience: 18.6 years 30 played 14 reviews
5.00 star(s)

Amazing!!! 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Sep 2, 2011 Played the course:once

Pros:

Tee positions are extremely well placed and provide a variety of perspectives for varying skill levels. Pros face tighter lanes and more difficult elevation changes, while beginners have shorter drives that nevertheless permit practice of a number of shots, from hyzer to sidearms to rollers.

Fairways are well-kept, as are the all-new cement tee pads!

Hole 15 provides a beautiful, challenging shot over a lake.

For the white/blue tees, you'd better have more than a couple shots in your arsenal. You'll need to be able to throw backhands and forehands if you want to post a solid score!

Cons:

Gets messy, especially on hole #2, 3, 13, and 14. This is a long, rough course, so bring water.

There aren't always obvious fairways (and some holes don't appear to have any real lanes), so be prepared to hit a few trees. Stock up on that Star plastic...this isn't a course for DX discs!

Other Thoughts:

Simply finding Hole #9 can be a bit confusing. Just walk straight across the random gravel parking lot after #8, and you'll find it.

*Still the best course I have played, and my basis for rating all other courses. 5.0!
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27 1
mashnut
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Experience: 22.4 years 831 played 777 reviews
5.00 star(s)

Beautiful wooded course 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Aug 10, 2011 Played the course:once

Pros:

The course plays through a beautiful hardwood forest with great mature trees. A few holes come out into more open areas to let you stretch out your arm and add some variety. The majority though play at least partly through the trees and offer everything from long tree lined drives to tight technical holes with enough rough to make you work for a quality recovery. There is some elevation on nearly every shot, and it's used well to keep the course interesting and challenging throughout.

There is a nice mix of hole lengths here from each set of tees, from a couple potential ace runs to well designed multi-shot holes that force accurate distance and shot placement to score well. You'll need all kinds of shots to score well here, it plays nicely balanced with left and right turning shots. There are multiple pin placements that change the course up and add some extra variety. The three sets of tees offer very different distances and levels of difficulty, so players of various skill levels can find appropriate challenges here. The signage is nice, with hole layout and distance at each set of tees so you never have to walk extra to look at the sign.

The park was beautifully maintained. The wooded fairways were cleared and the fields were all mowed. The tees and baskets were all in really nice shape.

Cons:

I don't have any real issues with the course design, it's challenging and fun and is what makes this course special. That said, I do have a couple minor complaints. The pin placements could be a little more different, many didn't change the hole all that much. On the ones that do, it would be nice to have the current position marked. Navigation signs around 7-9 would be helpful, it can get a little tricky.

Other Thoughts:

I've only played a handful of courses with this level of thought put into a fun and challenging layout, especially one that plays so well from different sets of tees. True beginners may find this course a little long, but recreational players with some level of control can certainly enjoy the short tees. More experienced players will find themselves tested from the middle and long tees, it's not quite as tough as Moraine but it felt a little more complete and still offers enough variety that even verycgood players will need to bring their A game to score well.
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23 2
Ripper
Experience: 14.4 years 22 played 7 reviews
5.00 star(s)

Epic Course! Breathtaking 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Aug 31, 2011 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

This course was an absolute surprise to me. Had heard of Moraine but had never heard of Deer Lakes so really when I came to the course the morning of the PFDO, and starting walking it first thing in my mind was holy crap this is a monster! Walking under the canopy of these huge mature trees really gave you a smaller sense of scale and some parts felt like you almost were playing in a dome. Hole 3 is a par5 monster that kind of reminds of an inverse Hole 15 at Idlewild. Where Idlewild has a gentle rolling hills that goes down hill this was is the exact opposite. Thought it was a stunning hole. Very well manicured, and best part is that when you did stray off the fairway, it wasn't a dense entanglement of sting weeds, and thorns. Hole 5 was a fun hole also. Really enjoyed the fact that you could play it a few different ways. Definate hole were it's either a 2 or a 4 almost. Reminded me almost of a Pachinko machine. :) Hole 6 was the first hole I played on my card when I felt wow this hole is massive. Tempts you to want to throw a Roller, or even a flex shot over the OB. Love holes that have that risk, reward element in it! Really can't think of the numbers on any other holes, but wooded course have a fine line of being fun with a definate line, or just a dense cluster were it is a throw and a prayer. During the tourney round it was hard because I was playing completely blind, but the second time I played it casually, really could see the lines, and what the designer was trying to do. Really not as clever of hole design as say Moraine or Idlewild were there are almost jails on some holes if you don't hit the landing zones but still had that Risk or Reward element on a few of the holes!

Cons:

None really. Enjoy hard technical with some more open holes.

Other Thoughts:

Beautiful course! Beautiful park! Visit the Deer Lake Diner when going as they have a few discs and also will get you an amazing meal for a low price. People were amazingly friendly also!
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14 1
joshmo65
Experience: 17.4 years 271 played 4 reviews
5.00 star(s)

True to its name! 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Aug 7, 2011 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

~Tees: Each hole has three (red, white, blue) long, raised, leveled, concrete tee pads providing different shots depending on skill level. I have never played on such great tees on any other course. There are a few where the concrete has a drop off at the end (2" from the white tee on hole 3) where you could twist an ankle, but I expect that to be fixed soon.

~Variety: With such a long course, there are tons of different shots. Not only a good mix of open and wooded holes, but also holes that start in the woods and play out to the open (4, 12) and holes that start in the open and play to the woods (9). In addition, there are uphill shots (8, 10), downhill shots (5, 8, 15), left turning shots (9, 13, 16), right turning shots (1, 6), and dead straight shots (3!). There is even the signature hole #15 over the pond which adds some danger to such a "normal" hole.

~Pins: Three pin positions on each hole giving different looks to the same hole depending on the pin. The pins get changed occasionally and change the holes enough that you can never get bored of playing here.

Cons:

~Drainage: For the most part, the course is relatively dry, but there are some problem spots. Hole 3 can get very wet after a rainstorm as well as the bottom of 15 near the water. Be sure to wear waterproof boots if playing after or during the rain.

~Navigation: A few holes (7, 8, 9) may be difficult to navigate if it is your first time on the course. 7 is straight out from the woods and plays down the hill. 8 starts to the left of 7 and throws back uphill and 9 starts straight up from 8, across the gravel and down the bank. Most other areas either have well worn paths or next tee signs.

~Smell: The porta potties and old bathrooms stink up some parts of the course when the air is very stagnant. Can cause for some discomfort but not really affect the round.

Other Thoughts:

~Amenities: There are multiple places on the course (see maps in links section) to get water from spigots which pump out nice, cold, clean water. There are a few porta potties if you need relief during your round although I believe that most of the permanent bathrooms are closed. There are picnic tables at the beginning of almost every hole if you need a break during the round or if you get behind a slow group which really isn't a problem as I have never seen a backup at the course.

~True to its name: I like a course that is true to its name. You get to throw over a lake (more of a pond) on hole 15 and I have seen deer on 80% of my trips to the course. A+!
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2 12
Barbiaux
Experience: 14.3 years 4 played 1 reviews
4.00 star(s)

Not for a Beginner 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Jul 17, 2011 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

This course has a little of everything. There are some wide open shots, shots through trees, over water and just about anything you can think of.

Cons:

This is not an easy walk. There are a lot of hills and if you miss your target you could be in for a hike to get your disc.

Other Thoughts:

We enjoyed playing this course but it seems like it plays very long especially for someone just starting out. We will be back to play but not until we can get some more distance on our drives.
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8 5
Headbabe
Experience: 20 played 13 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Thought I Knew what a Top DG Course Until I Played Here 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:May 18, 2011 Played the course:once

Pros:

Multiple cement tee pads for all levels of play on every hole. Great signage on each individual tee placement (3 per hole). Great lay-out all around. Sick distances through heavy woods. On another level from other "top rated" courses I have played.

Cons:

Poured rain while I was there. Some of the tees are a bit of a walk from the last basket. Without a map it would have been difficult to navigate.

Other Thoughts:

I was in Pittsburgh for a conference and took a taxi to the Deer Lakes course. As it turns out just because a taxi drops you off there, doesnt mean it will pick you up there. I jogged back into Russellton and stopped in at the Deer Lake Cafe. I could not get a taxi service to pick me up. The owner of the cafe drove me about 15 miles to a place where I could get a cab back to town. PLEASE buy something from this cafe every time you play Deer Lakes! They saved the A$$ of a out-of-town fellow disc golfer.
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18 4
culinarywiz
Gold level trusted reviewer
Experience: 35.9 years 313 played 67 reviews
5.00 star(s)

Top Shelf Layout 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Apr 9, 2011 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

This course has a fantastic mix of shots.
It is well balanced in all aspects. You play through a large park landscape that flows from incredibly dense areas to open courtyards to ponds. All 18 holes play into this diversity. This is as far from monotonous as it gets. You will go from carving tight lines through 700 feet of forest to 300 foot ace runs.

The elevation is sweet. It's not mountainous, but it is relevant on most holes. You constantly throw over ridges, little gullys or just gradually up or down. You rarely, very rarely, throw flat.

The course is long but not brutally long. No doubt a big arm is beneficial but accuracy is paramount. I think this course benefits accuracy over distance. There are a few bomb shots, but more often than not, the longer holes are very technical.

The amenities are awesome. Each hole has 3 new, huge, concrete pads. They play red to white to blue. When I was here last year they were still pouring some of them. The signage is also in very good shape detailing distance as well as lines to the pin. There were plenty of benches throughout.

Cons:

For the most part navigation is a snap. I would give the course a thumbs up for this. Really the only point I felt needed more direction was locating hole 9. After you hole out on 8, you need to walk back across the 7th pad and down to a secluded spot for 9.

Each time I have played here, the low lying areas were quite muddy. It appears that hole 3 fairway stays that way through much of the year due to the deep ruts throughout.

Other Thoughts:

This course simply has it all. It will challenge you but it still provides plenty of room for some fun and gun play.

There are multiple signature holes...my fav's being 3 - a long 825 foot low ceiling shot that starts from an elevated tee and finishes with an elevated pin, hole 7 - a nice 400 ft sail shot from an elevated tee, hole 9 - a huge 846 ft bomb shot that funnels down a tight final fairway to a tucked pin, and finally hole 15 - the only water hole on the course. It is a 330 ft finesse shot, directly over a pond, to a pin perched precariously close to the bank.

Deer Lakes is worth a road trip all by itself. However, this course is close to Moraine State Park. It is worth a weekender to play this tandem. Also, coming from Ohio, I have bundled The Black Course in Moundsville, WV into the trip.
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2 10
Prostar47
Experience: 14 years 201 played 8 reviews
5.00 star(s)

Deer Lakes the Great! 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Mar 21, 2011 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

One of the top courses in the greater Pittsburgh area, most everything has been said about the course. The best part of the course is the adrenaline rush of throwing over the lake.

Cons:

A few drainage problems, but they seem like they are trying to fix them in certain spots. 3 is the biggest concern right now
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24 5
jblough
Gold level trusted reviewer
Experience: 15.2 years 85 played 85 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Needs to get Married to Jordan Creek! 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Oct 7, 2010 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

Absolutely incredible. The first hole leaves an impression on you in regard to the tee quality, tree placement, elevation, and difficulty ahead -- and then it exceeds your expectations!

- My feet were so happy on the concrete teepads; they are the perfect length and have a nice grippy texture to them. The "bunker" tees are as impressive of an engineering feat as you'll find in Pittsburgh -- short of all the bridges, of course!

- Some of the best signage I've ever seen

- Navigation is incredibly simple and intuitive, with well-beaten paths. Those handy "next-tee" signs help you out as well.

- picnic tables at virtually every hole. I can imagine this being nice for tournaments or really busy weekends. As for crowds, I've played here twice -- both on weekends -- and I've seen very few people. I'm wondering if its distance from Pittsburgh (compared to say Knob Hill or Schenley), helps keep the numbers of people manageable.

- red, white, and blue tees provide variety in difficulty that would satisfy even the most novice players. How many top-tier courses can boast that?

- Absolute stunning beauty. To be fair, I did recently play on about the most gorgeous autumn day, but the landscaping, scenic fields, and well-groomed forests provide a real natural scene for those who play here.

- Great variety in terms of elevation (uphill vs. downhill), doglegs (hyzer and anyhyzer), terrain (wooded vs. wide open), tree placement (lined fairways vs. scattered "gauntlet" types of holes), and length of holes (short technical challenges vs. long bombs). The only thing this course is really missing is one of those epic ski holes (see cons).

- I know some people rip on hole #8, but I like how it's kind of a blind shot. If you don't scout it out before you throw, you're probably going to overthrow it.

- The water hazard on 15 is phenomenal! A downhill drive across a pond to a basket not too far from the water's edge. Throw too low and it's in the drink; throw too high and you hit the canopy and it's in the drink. Super fun!

- Other great park amenities nearby if you want to do stuff other than disc golfing

Cons:

- Last few holes don't end on a "WOOOOW" note like, say, Jordan Creek or the Whippin' Post do. This not to denigrate the quality of the last few holes, but they're not as memorable as others on the course (such as 3, 4, 9, 10, 12, 15).

Now I'm just being picky, but I truly think that if this course is to have the complete disc golf experience, it needs some hole with a drastic drop in elevation (i.e. a ski hill or some type of major slope) with which to watch your disc go forever. While I noted some elevation changes, there really isn't that kind of hole here.

Again, this course just lacks the number of signature holes. Nearly all of the holes are solid, but there aren't a whole lot that stand out in disc golf epicness -- with the exception of 15, of course

Other Thoughts:

Knob Hill is a nice course, but Deer Lakes without a doubt deserves to join Moraine as the other course played at the annual Pittsburgh Flying Disc Open. Participants like Doss and Jenkins deserve to complete at a course of this caliber.

I played here not too long after I started playing disc golf and waited until I played a second time (by which time I've since visited dozens of courses) until I made a judgeship about the quality of this place. With the exception of maybe Jordan Creek and the Woodshed, there are no courses that even come close to this one.

There's a reason this course is currently among the best-reviewed on DGCR. The 4.5 an 5 disc reviews aren't inflated or exaggerated; come see for yourself!
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4 10
Dave DnB
Experience: 26.2 years 2 played 1 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Not much else to say... 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Sep 19, 2010 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

This course is one that always keeps me in check on my practice levels. Each tee position offers a moderately different challenge on each hole, and the course set up offers a challenge for any level player. From tight fairways to wide open air outs, I can't think of a shot in my bag not needed on this course.

Cons:

The only con to me is hole number 5. No definitive line, a real wing and pray.

Other Thoughts:

Other than clearing out a line or two one hole 5 I can't honestly offer any critique to this layout or course. It is one of the best maintained public courses I have ever encountered.
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20 2
HarkeyPuck
Experience: 15.1 years 543 played 5 reviews
5.00 star(s)

Crown Jewel 2+ years

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Sep 19, 2010 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

Variety:
Great mix of open and wooded holes, as well as some that incorporate both, and a few you won't forget.
Open -
#7 - starts on an elevated tee overlooking #8 tee and #9 fairway as well as the pavilion. Quite a nice view and fun for a good rip.
#10 - Blind uphill drive, to a second shot across an open field to a pin nestled between a few trees.
Wooded -
#3 - a long narrow par 5. Tight woods on either side of the fairway make accuracy a must.
#14 - another long par 5 that starts on a elevated tee on one side of a ravine and weaves through the forest and takes a sharp right to the basket in the last 100 ft. Line shaping is a must if you wish to birdie.
Mixed -
# 1 - Par 4 with an open tee shot to a right turning fairway up a slope into the forest.
#9 - Par 5 with an elevated tee to a spacious fairway, across a field and a dive back into the woods behind the pavilion.
Unique -
#2 - Par 3 across a steep ravine with thick woods on either side. Very cool looking hole.
#13 - Newly remodeled Par 4 with a blind tee shot over a hill in the forest, to a new pin position to the far left on the next slope.
#15 - Signature hole. Par 3 with a drive through a shoot of trees and then over a pond. Pin is on the opposite bank. Great feeling when you make it across. 3 of my discs have been sacrificed to this hole so far.

ALL Tees are now concrete! Blue, White, Red. Incredible how they got some of this done so far back into the forest.

There are bathrooms, benches, picnic tables, and a few garbage cans. More so on the front 9, but more than most other courses I've played.

Great course design, front and back 9 loop back to the parking lot. Well maintained and pet friendly. The course is also pretty "worn in", with the fairways and paths between holes well defined.

Cons:

Hole # 8 is the only hole that doesn't seem to fit the Deer Lakes mold. Short Par 3, uphill is the only challenge.

Navigation between 8 and 9 can be difficult the first time you play. Bring a map if you haven't played before.

Other Thoughts:

After having played a few courses in a few states I have come to realize that Deer Lakes is one of the best courses out there. They have put a lot of effort into this course and it shows! The new improvements are awesome and some aren't even done yet!

This course will test everyone from the appropriate tees. A great day of disc golf always seems to happen here, no matter what the scores might be.

If you're looking to play a top notch course, Deer Lakes is it. Make a road trip to Pittsburgh and play Deer Lakes and Moraine. These are two 5 disc courses within 45 minutes of each other. Man I'm lucky I live here!!

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9 2
mprestop
Experience: 18.1 years 61 played 7 reviews
5.00 star(s)

Best Course in the Burgh 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Aug 28, 2010 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

The best course in the Pittsburgh area and also easily the best course I've ever played. Like the other reviewers have said, this course brings it all and has a ton of really fun holes to play. The White and Blue tee pads are excellent and really bring an added variety for AM1 level players who are looking to play 2 rounds. At Moraine I would recommend sticking with 2 rounds from the Middle (blue tees there) but at Deer Lakes a round from the whites after a round from the blues makes for a perfect 2 round experience.

This course really is epic. The pond-hole is exilirating and beautiful. The up and down par 3 followed by the extremeley long par 5 is memorable. The overall experience is one that will leave you wanting to come back again and again.

Cons:

This is only a slight critique, but there are a couple of poke and hope holes (the downhill hole #5, and the long par 5 in the woods #14 (although 14 has gotten better in this regard)).

Other Thoughts:

Fantastic Course - I'd play there over Moraine any day!
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18 3
zapplayer12
Gold level trusted reviewer
Experience: 26.2 years 149 played 40 reviews
5.00 star(s)

In an Elite Class 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Sep 5, 2010 Played the course:once

Pros:

• Three Concrete Tees (red/short; white/medium; blue/long) at every hole plus tee signs at each (never seen such well done signage at ALL 3 tees on a course before)
• Design is sensational, it flows naturally, is easy to navigate for the most part and has several unforgettable holes
• Elevations changes - much of it significant and overall physically challenging so come prepared (proper footwear, hydrating liquids, provisions)
• Water hazards with bridges/walkways for crossing
• Strategic pin placements coupled with other hazards (water/elevation) offer some welcome risk/reward shots
• Balanced blend of open/wooded holes which in turn demand shot variety, discipline and mental toughness
• Some very nice detail work in tee areas (wood bordering some tees while others are elevated)
• Alternate pin positions available
• 2 nine hole loops back to parking lot
• Minimal disc loss possibility as the overgrowth is tame - was surprised how 'young' the course is. Looks like it's been here for over a decade with how broken in it is.
• Really loved the mature hardwoods, gives the course a bigger, more epic feel to go with the surplus of outstanding holes - many of which would be signature holes elsewhere
• Friendly Locals! Course was well used on my visit however larger groups let me play through, I rarely waited to tee off and another local player offered and subsequently guided me through the last several holes offering advice, opinions and general info on this and other local courses.
• Plenty of drinking water, benches, bathrooms, picnic tables and some trash cans throughout the course
• Large, well maintained park w/other activities available

Cons:

• Navigations issues around holes 7, 8 & 9 noted in other reviews is worth mentioning again - however printing/bringing a course map will resolve any conflicts
• #8 is the weakest hole on an otherwise exceptional course. It feels more like a transition - but honestly is a more than fair design trade-off for the opportunity to play holes 7 and 9.

Other Thoughts:

What more can be said about this place that hasn't already been mentioned in other reviews?

Of the three Pittsburgh area course I played (Moraine, Knob Hill and Deer Lakes), I would rate this 'the best' overall course - it pretty much has everything I look for with only a few minor flaws. It seems repeat plays would only allow a deeper appreciation of its subtleties and dynamics.

I was fortunate enough to play on an almost perfect day - Labor Day Weekend, sunny with variable clouds, temperatures in the mid-70's, light wind, course was dry and in ideal condition. So perhaps my perspective is skewed experiencing it in such wonderful circumstances.

That being said, Deer Lakes is without a doubt one of the best -if not THE best - course I've ever experienced. I'm kicking myself for not playing it twice (or more). Unquestionably in a class few other courses occupy. Absolutely worth an out of the way trip to play it.

While not a perfect course (is there one?), it's at least a 4.75 so I'm rounding up to a full 5 discs. Kudos to everyone who put in so much time and effort to create such an marvelous course.
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11 1
holland oats
Experience: 2 played 2 reviews
5.00 star(s)

Disc Golf's Oakmont? 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Aug 26, 2010 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

This is the most memorable course I've played (mind you my scope is limited to Western PA). This dynamic course calls for all types of shots, and never seems unfair or dull. There are epic par 5's flowing in and out of the woods, left and right doglegs, tunnel shots, wide open holes, uphill/downhill/valley shots, the over-the-lake shot at 15, etc. , There are frequent water taps with cold and fresh water, lots of garbage cans, benches, bathrooms, playgrounds, fishing lakes, a pavillion at the end of the front 9 for a timely picnic or relaxing break. The park is beautiful, mellow, well-maintained, and friendly. Now that each hole has three sets of concrete tees, I'm sure many more good memories are on the horizon.

Cons:

This course has been known to get muddy on a few fairways (hole 3 as you near the upshot to the basket, hole 16 early on the right). However, they did some work on 3 to minimize the muddiness. They may have done work at 16, but I haven't had to deal with the mud recently as it was off to the right very early on a dogleg left, and it wasn't too bad in the first place.

Other Thoughts:

The new tees really complete this course. I especially enjoy the white tee at 3. It's elevated and off to the left for a downhill tunnel shot on a par 5-perfect for ripping my teebird and letting it flex a bit. I can't think of anything missing or left on the to-do list. There is a sign saying all dogs must be leashed, but I talked to a cop who said I was allowed to keep my dog off-leash if I kept a leash handy for encountering groups or people working. I really love this place and this game!
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13 7
JohtoVillage
Gold level trusted reviewer
Experience: 24.3 years 160 played 74 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Awesome Course 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Aug 20, 2010 Played the course:once

Pros:

Deer Lakes is a tough course that really offers some fun shots. Holes 9 and 15 really stand out. Hole 9 is a gorgeous par 4 that starts with a huge hyzer and then comes back at the end and requires a turnover or flick shot (for a righty) for the second shot to a well guarded green. The signs at the course were extremely helpful and the course in general was very well maintained. The course is also an excellent work - your knees will take a beating walking this course in the Pittsburgh summer. Having three sets of tees is a big benefit to me - I think it's very valuable to offer beginners the chance to play a course without getting murdered. Some of the holes really made you think off of the tee - hole 6 is a good example of this, as you had the option of going way out wide from the pro tee or taking the straighter route. The course did very well to make you think off of the tee. This course had a serene feeling to it, especially on the back nine. It really made you feel like you were playing disc golf in the middle of nowhere.

Cons:

I found it hard to give this course above a 4.5 - a 5 rating is for a course that is perfect. There were some things about this course that were problematic, in my opinion. To start out with, holes 3 and 14 were tough holes to play. I played the back tees and typically like to play the pro tees and fared pretty well on the course (+2), but both of these holes were a serious work in progress. Even taking aside the fact that not all holes have concrete tees (I understand this is being taken care of, so this is not a con to me), holes 3 and 14 were more than 800 feet but really needed some more work. It seemed that the first 400 feet of hole 3 needed some serious trim work. In addition, hole 14 really just seemed to be a mess through 800 feet of woods. It was difficult to even identify the fairway and the hole seemed to really be under construction. Also, it wasn't a lot of fun starting uphill on hole #1 and then never making that up (ie, there was a downhill walk back to the car - why not extend 18's basket into the woods to at least feature a downhill ending?). The navigation was pretty good, but for some reason I had a serious problem finding hole #9. A sign up in the gravel lot pointing towards the tee (#9 sits down further and is tough to see from the gravel road) would be very beneficial. A small con was the locations of the alternate pins - they all seemed to be very near each other, and in my opinion would have been more benefited by being further apart. This also led to some very easy pro par 3's right around 330 feet. There seemed to be room on some holes to have a pin further back and to have tees that extended the shorter pro par 3's further back.

Other Thoughts:

All in all Deer Lakes is a FANTASTIC course that still needs some work. The tees look like they will be very good when finished soon, but once again some of the holes really seemed to be a work in progress.

EDIT: With the finishing of the concrete tees and the noted work done on hole 14 (or future work), I am changing this rating to a 4.5 after hearing from multiple people involved with the maintenance of the course. However, I still stand by my thoughts on hole 18 and hole 3.
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