Number 7 is the signature hole. Both short and long tees are next to the Lake, throwing over water at a basket on an island. The short tee is designed to challenge an amateur, which I am on my best day, and the long tee will challenge any pro since it goes over nearly twice the water. I lost my first disc of the day here.
SPACE! This place spreads out over a large area. When I started out with the scorecard I was shocked by how many par 4s (7) and 5s (4) there are. But this turns out to be one of the greatest parts of the course! Before I started I had never heard of the designer, John Houck, which exposes my lack of knowledge in this sport, but I soon realized this guy is a disc golf course design genius, or artist, or both. This course uses the space and landscape in an incredible way that you are constantly challenged. I played Hart Park (Shark Tooth Mtn and Suicide Flats) in Bakersfield. CA, which have a lot of space but it just wears you out, without the challenging experience. In other words, space alone is not enough. The only other course I've given 5 discs (oddly enough I also gave Selah 5 of my discs on the 3 most challenging water holes) was Milo McGiver near Portland, OR, since it's the only other course I've felt used a vast amount of space so I never felt crowded. I really liked DeLaveaga in Santa Cruz and Golden Gate park in San Francisco, but I always felt crowded there. So as I was grasping for the right word to describe why I liked this place I came up with SPACE and it's ingenious use by an artist who used this remote ranch with a lake as his canvas.
In addition to number 7 there are several baskets that are near the lakeside (1, 2, 3, and 18). These baskets all require careful throws or your plastic is in the lake. Many baskets are at the end of tunnels (5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14). Number 15 is a good dog leg. All these force you to keep some accurate lines.
A golf cart! What a benefit! Unless you are young and with unlimited energy, like I'm not, I can't stress enough to take advantage of this option. It's $40 for the day, unless you spend the night, which I did not, but I was told you get a free cart with the $700 package which is for 2 nights in a 3-bedroom house with a full kitchen and a reduced course fee from $20 to $15.
Maybe it's a con that it's not free to play, but it may contribute to the fact that you don't see a flood of people on the course. Most good courses I've played have people I'm waiting for or who are waiting for me. The day I was there the weather forecast called for rain but it did not and the beautiful day did not see many disc golfers. Whether it's the remote location, the cost, or the bad weather forecast, I don't know, but it made for a special day for me.
One of the design aspects I REALLY like is that every hole is carefully thought out for par. Most courses are ALL par three. That's a cop out in my view from a design perspective. La Mirada, CA for example has 2 courses that I've played more than a few times. All 36 holes are par 3, but there's no way that's equitable. I have mentioned this inequity to other disc golfers I respect who are way more serious than myself and really good at the sport, and their response is, "it doesn't matter since you're really playing against other people and it only matters in the rare case when you're playing against the course, like if you're alone." Well, maybe this is a philosophical comment but why can't it be both LIKE SEALAH IS?! Maybe this small point was so appreciated by me since I got five birdies (1, 2, 10, 15, and 16) and ended 2 under from the short tees. And I'm convinced better players would be legitimately challenged from the long tees to do the same.
I strongly favor a RHFH and drive exclusively forehand if possible. On some of these holes I found myself throwing backhand, especially 17, which was not a complete disaster since I parred or birdied most of them. My point here is that the design of this course forces you to use certain shots and it's very difficult to successfully force a forehand where a backhand belongs.
It's nice that the 18th tee takes you back to where you started. Sometimes I take such a small part of the design for granted until I'm reminded by a course like Griffin in Oklahoma City that finished at least a 5-minute walk away from the first tee.
Number 4 is a difficult shot over water. My disc cleared fine and I parred it, but I found a guy's disc in the water and could reach it without entering the water. When I texted the guy, who lost the disc, he was still on the course so I left it for him with Dave, the nice guy who runs the place. There's signs prohibiting disc diving and before you play you're required to sign an agreement that you won't swim or go in the water for discs.