Huntsville, TX

Shawshank

4.485(based on 40 reviews)
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8 1
bogeymanjr
Bronze level trusted reviewer
Experience: 12.6 years 35 played 24 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Shawshank Redemption 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Mar 22, 2013 Played the course:once

Pros:

One look at this awesome course and you can tell the designer takes the sport of disc golf seriously. Mr. Defrane took this property and turned it into possibly the finest course found in this part of the state. There are no two holes alike on this course. Even the first three holes are different in their own right. There are so many holes and so many shots that have to be made here to score well. I will highlight my faves here: Hole 4 "Jail" a Par 3, 305 Ft. shot off the tee into a thick forest of trees! Get your roller shots ready or prepare to play ricochet among the trees. Hole 7, "The Green Mile" a 600 Ft. shot through the middle of two rows of trees on each side of the fairway. Hole 18 "Conjugal Visit" A 261 Ft. Hole that is all pond. And Hole 15 "Death Row" a 276 Ft. narrow fairway that winds in two different directions before you reach the basket. (One of the most excellently designed holes I have ever seen). There is so much more here, but the holes just mentioned are my faves. There are several holes here that are like signature holes including 23 the "Tin Cup" with its basket as an interesting water fountain. So much fun here to be had. This course has to be played to be appreciated!

Cons:

The only con I can see is the course is so far out from any major city, but that only increases the anticipation even more to play this magnificent course once you reach there.

Other Thoughts:

Excellent course. Fine attention to detail. Thanks, Steve. I look forward to playing this great course again sometime!
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2 5
asp002
Experience: 3 played 3 reviews
5.00 star(s)

fantastic course 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Dec 18, 2012 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

Not even sure where to start. If you can master this course you can do well on any. Very challenging, but a blast. Well designed. So many different shots. no hole feels " just like the others". 23 if played the way its supposed to definitely takes this course to the next level skill wise. Go there play it you won't regret it.

Cons:

Basket markers would be nice... That's about it..

Other Thoughts:

Conjugal visit (18) is a blast. 200 ft lake. If you are scared of losing a disc bring a blizzard. Monday nights is Monday night lights ( night golf) the front nine is lit up and 23. Mini doubles tourny if enough show up. It's a lot of fun. Be there at 6:30
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21 1
dreadlock86
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Experience: 16.8 years 359 played 293 reviews
4.00 star(s)

a Texas gem 2+ years

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Dec 3, 2011 Played the course:once

Pros:

-amazing piece of property, well-designed course, tons of fun shots!
-beautifully maintained and landscaped, looks great
-teepads are great, baskets in good condition, signs on each hole, stairs and benches, 'next tee' signs
-prison theme, each hole has a name, really clever
-tons of great elevation changes: long downhill throws and sharp uphills
-varies from lightly wooded to heavily wooded, a few are crazy tight!
-secluded, picturesque, quiet, never crowded
-course owner, Steve, is a really great guy and obviously puts in a TON of work here
-Warden, the course guide, is an awesome dog!

Cons:

-it's a punishing test of accuracy. if that's not your thing, too bad.
-a bit out of the way but i say it's a good thing
-a few unintuitive navigational spots, print the map

there's not much to say here. this course has it all: elevation, distance, ace runs, water hazards, tons of signature holes, a premium on accuracy, risk/reward, you name it

the one thing i could complain about is that the holes are not secluded from each other. the property is relatively small and you play through some areas of the course multiple times and it could feel cramped. this is not really much of a concern though since you should have the course to yourself most of the time. the course lacks that "epic" and grandiose feel of being in the middle of nowhere. but for the land it is on, this course could not be any better.

Other Thoughts:

This course is an experience. Out in picturesque nature on a perfect piece of property for a disc golf course, the pictures here do not do it justice. Like the book/movie it is named after, the prison-themed Shawshank is a true test of character, patience, and careful planning.

As I said above, this course is a punishing test of accuracy. The holes range from lightly wooded to hellish corridors with 100 degree turns, from 180' to over 600', up and down hills and across ponds. It favors only the consistent player and demands a variety of shots and line-shaping to score well.

The holes are all very straight forward. There is a required shot and except for the more open holes, that's the only line. Lots of good early trouble and some well placed late trouble also. The basket locations are well planned and all the baskets have movable bases so Steve can tweak them as he likes. The signs have the hole name and distance to the basket. The signs are magnetic so when he changes basket locations he can just swap them out. Steve also said he was planning to redo all the tees again soon (they already look great!) with stone borders instead of wood. The tees themselves are great, I would never miss concrete here.

This is the perfect place to spend the day playing incredible golf. Most definitely a destination course, I would recommend it to anyone as one of Texas' most unique courses. I had given it a 5 previously but after playing some more top tier courses it couldn't hold up anymore. That said, I can't imagine a better course on this property.


**Like this review? Hate it? Message me and let me know why! I want to make them better!**
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13 3
Turner512
Experience: 13.5 years 44 played 15 reviews
5.00 star(s)

2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Nov 19, 2011 Played the course:once

Pros:

I don't write really long reviews because I don't like reading them. I like to know why the course is good; not info on every hole but I could go on and on about Shawshank. Friendly people, great view, and great disc golf. Every hole is something new. The first 9 have a few open holes and an excellent orchard type obstacle that makes 3 holes very exciting. There is one pond in play over here that makes things a little difficult. Very challenging but very fun. The back 9 starts with a long bomb down a hill and the rest of the holes are played on the hill and in some woods. An excellent combination of lightly wooded to safari. 2 water hazards come into play on this hole. 1 is a 260 foot drive over the water (be careful). The other is over a small pond but when I played it no water was there. All of the holes are named prison terms which is fun and all the holes are marked beautifully. A beautiful piece of land in a beautiful part of Texas.

Cons:

Pay to play, it's 5 dollars. Private course you should call ahead, but the people are really nice. 23 holes was a little long for me but I forgot to bring water. I also don't really like courses that take you 2+ hours to play. I get a little tired after the 2 hour mark (it might have only taken that long since it was my first time there). If you are a beginner or an intermediate who doesn't like challenging/wooded courses then you should stay away. Other than that I would play this course every day if I could.

Other Thoughts:

Not for the faint hearted. This course will challenge and text you. A must play for Houston area disc golfers. I am from College Station currently and plan on making the drive as often as I can (at least once a month). Worth your time and worth your money. I give this course a 5 disc review because I think it deserves better than a 4.5 and would like to bring it's rating up.
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1 12
cj37
Experience: 5 played 5 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Really?!? 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Aug 16, 2011 Played the course:once

Pros:

Everything about this course is amazing. The layout is utterly beautiful. a must-play for any serious disc golfer. The shots make you think to always question the way you're going to approach the hole.

Cons:

Waupon..... Hole 6. 'Nuff said.

Other Thoughts:

I enjoyed the dog, he was the best course guide ever.... even though he drank half of my bottle of water.
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27 1
Donovan
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Experience: 36.9 years 298 played 187 reviews
5.00 star(s)

The DG Theme Park is Open 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Apr 15, 2011 Played the course:once

Pros:

After 154 courses played, this was by far the most fun I have ever had playing DG. This course has 23 holes containing elevation, water, OB, wooded and open holes, doglegs, great pin placements, and even an island green. Every hole has a name that has something to do with the Stephen King novel/movie Shawshank Redemption or prison life in general. I can easily say there was not one filler hole on this course. Everything feels truly intentional and is well thought out. The elevated baskets were a nice touch on some of the holes. All the baskets are in great shape. The rubber tee pads were incredibly comfortable and in great shape as well. There are signs that keep you directed to the next tee and clean, easy to follow walking areas just adds to the whole experience. This is not an easy course even though you can usually reach most of the holes in 1 throw. There are two par 4's to give you a par of 71. They have a lost and found area for discs and are friendly as they come. I was treated so nice, in fact, I felt humbled by their hospitality. You really can use most every shot in your bag in one round here. It is so beautiful and mostly shaded for hot days. So much time has been taken with the little things to decorate and make the tee areas really nice. There are benches at every tee and a score stand that I am told will have the hole map on it eventually. I could write for hours on how amazing this layout was.

Cons:

The only con I can think of is that some people will find some holes unfair because of how tight a fairway might be or the fact you have to land at a certain spot to make a turn. All I can say to that is, we are all playing the same course. Just enjoy it and don't get so caught up in all of that or you are going to lose out on the good stuff.



Other Thoughts:

The Fun Factor is as high as it can be here. I think you could play this course 50 times in a year and not get bored. Most of the hole names were relevant to the kind of hole it was. #4, "Jail," was a matrix grid of trees where the basket is in the middle (Roller hole for sure.) #7, "The Green Mile," was an alley wide open of beautiful green grass, with a row of trees on either side of the alley 600 feet long. #15, "Death Row," is a tough hole where if you don't land your first shot in the right spot, getting to the basket in 2 is certain death. It is the most fun I have ever had playing a round by myself. I am already trying to get a group to travel for the day and it is 3.5 hours away. Yes, it was that much fun and the $5 fee to play is a no brainer!

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20 1
Stevo
Experience: 20.7 years 127 played 3 reviews
5.00 star(s)

Must Play if You're In Texas 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Feb 19, 2011 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

Shawshank is a constant evolution. Everytime I play, the course is better than before! Everything about this course has a prison theme (even the dog is named Warden). All holes have unique names to fit this theme (ex The Green Mile, Solitary, Conjugal Visit). The new 23 hole par 71 layout is very demanding, testing every shot in the bag, from a cut roller to spike hyzer. Yesterday, Steve told me that someone once commented that the course was as twisted as the designer. The long positions on the holes that have alt pins make this even more of a challenge (#'s 1, 2 and 9 specifically).

The land itself is beautiful with manicured fairways and no other course in the Houston uses elevation like this place, specifically numbers 10 and 17 (546' and 512' respectively). These 2 holes run parallel more or less, down tree lined fairways with #10s basket being about 40' from the edge of a pond. Its quite a sight to rip one on a straight line on these 2 holes.

Water comes into play on 3 holes with 3 different ponds. #6 can be played safe by throwing a RH anny or FH, but it's truly rewarding if you can throw 300' dead straight over the dock and pond. On #18 you are forced to throw across another pond to an elevated basket on the other side (261').

#4 and 5 will be difficult to birdie or even par without using a cut roller as you are forced to throw into a cluster of thin trees arranged in rows about 6 or 7' apart (in both directions). #4 throws into this and #5 is throwing back out.

As far as course amenities, the signage is the best I've personally seen with custom iron signs showing the length, par and name of the hole. There are benches on literally every hole and as far as I remember a trash can also. Steve even went so far as to put posts up at each hole as a flat surface to record scores on (each of these posts even had 2 pencils already in it! - its the little things!). The boxes are quality wood frames with rubber pads.

Cons:

Nothing really, except the fact that its 40 minutes from my house, but that certainly can't take points away from the course. Previously, there were some drop offs at the end of a few tees, but that has been addressed already.

Other Thoughts:

The Dufranes are excellent people and their hospitality takes an already exceptional course to another level. Steve is always kind enough to keep sodas and water stocked in a fridge in his shop (donation please). He has offered umbrellas during an unexpected rain storm. On weekends it is not uncommon for him to be cooking outside (yesterday was fajitas) and visitors are always invited (please offer donations - this all comes out of his pocket). Steve will almost always jump in on a hole or two, but watch out - he'll beat you using only a Roc! If you are coming to Texas or are already here, be sure you stop by this one of a kind experience - you won't regret it.

Also, this is the site of the 2011 US Masters, and I think that should speak volumes about the quality of the course.
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18 1
harr0140
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Premium Member
Experience: 15.2 years 1508 played 475 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Shawshank Redemption 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Jan 9, 2011 Played the course:once

Pros:

1) This course is on private property and will never see a ton of traffic so you should always be able to get a nice calm round in here.

2) Steve - the designer and owner is very passionate about his creation and the sport of disc golf. He loves to talk about his course, how it was built, and his game.

3) I was laughing out loud numerous times on the course because I could hear the cows int he pasture. They sounded like they wer ebeing led to slaughter and for some reason I just couldn't shake the laughter. It sounds sadistic that I would get enjoyment out of cattle slaughter, but I had just come from the Texas Prison Museum where I got to see "Old Sparky" so perhaps the souls of those killed in that chair got to me.

4) Well designed course incorporating some really cool parts of a really cool property. There are no wide open holes just holes with some forgiving lines, holes with tight dense woods in spots, holes that are throught he middle of a tree nursery with the gap being only about 5' wide. There is elevation used tremendously well on this property. Boy it is fun to throw down holes #10 and #15.

5) Pond on Hole #6 is a true risk reward. There isn't much of a safe play on that hole however because if you want to go right of the pond you have some serious tight gaps int he trees to deal with. odds are you will get knocked down and then have to throw a pretty risky approach to the green which may or may not force you back over the water you were trying to avoid in the first place.

6) The holes are all named, having something to do with Jail or the movie The Shawshank Redemption. The owner's name is even Dufrane like the guy in the movie.

7) Benches and garbage on many holes. It is nice to see a private course as clean as this one too, so obviously either people are using the garbage cans or someone is walking around picking up the garbage all the time.

8) Nice attractive sign announcing you are at the course. It is nice to see someone take all level of their course to the top level!

9) Riser poles on a couple of the baskets to help you see the baskets over the rise. That is a nice touch and it helps the first timer for sure.

10) Steve has been out overseeding with Ryegrass . . . how often do you see this? Well I saw it one other place . . . Bud Hill in Memphis . . . another private course where the owner takes a lot of pride in the conditions.

11) 23 holes now as Steve has added 2 more holes into the design 12A and 12B. Its always nice to play courses with a lot of holes, it just extends the fun!

Cons:

1) The tree behind #6 basket seems a little close to me. I typically would like to see at least 15' around any given basket because I feel like those should be automatic putts, or at least free of obstacles.

2) The rubber tees were a little bumpy in spots probably due to settling. I never had a problem with them being slippery just lumpy and uneven on a few occassions.

3) There is some rust on some of the chains. It doesn't seem to affect the catchability but it is noticeable. If I remember right he had a couple different kinds of baskets. SOme may have been homemade but I am not 100% sure on that. Too many courses in too short of time for me. Sorry!

4) Hole #13 was kindof a goofy hole. I tis like a 90 degree shot both shots are under 100' and the gap is only about 8' wide. It just seems a little gimmicky. Noone will make a 2, most will make a 3, but a few people who get off the fairway will take a 4, that doesn't necessarily mean it is a good hole.

5)

Other Thoughts:

This was a really fun course. Steve said it was designed for Masters players which although I am not 40 I throw a lot like the better Masters players would. I do not throw far, but i am pretty accurate. They are hosting a big Masters tournament this year actually. It should be interesting to see how those people play in that tournament. Its a challenging tough course, there are some birdie opportunities but a lot of risk/reward that can lead you to take bogeys or worse in some spots.

This is just another great private course that leads me to believe the future of disc golf is going to be pay to play. People that want to play ebtter courses will need to be willing to spend a few dollars. If this is the course that i get to pay for a $5 fee, well then I am all in. I love the quality the cleanness, the private property aspect meaning nobody else around typically. It also reaffirmed I need to buy some land to live on that has some land like this so I can make my own private course. It would be a lot of fun to do the work on my own and design a course on my own property.

This course is definitely a 4-4.5 disc course. It has the amenities of a 5.0 disc course, but I just cannot give it that score. Ideally I would say I could give this a 4.25 but that is not possible, but I almost feel like giving this course a 4 would be too punishing considering all the things they have going on here. I guess I would consider it to be one of the lower 4.5 disc rated courses I have played. Concrete tees would help because they are more consistent, but there isn't much else I would recommend to upgrade the course from the 4.5 rating. It is hard to quantify, I just don't quite feel it is worthy of a 5.
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18 0
notapro
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Premium Member
Experience: 20.6 years 568 played 281 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Expert 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Dec 30, 2010 Played the course:once

Pros:

- Course is set on private property, so it is guaranteed to be exclusively used for disc golf (property owners trump all, of course). There are a few separate forested areas, a big sloping hillside, and multiple spots with water.
- Four of the first seven holes are set in and around a large cluster of small, thin trees, set in rows to create very very thin tunnels. A few holes require a dead straight shot off the tee to keep in the hallway; anything that strays too far is guaranteed to be in tough jail. #7 has a wider fairway, but a small kink with a guardian tree makes it a very tough line.
- A ton of other holes are completely encompassed in a more gnarly forest, with many different looks. There are some lightly wooded ones, like #19 and #20, some tighter lines, like #11 and #12, and some that are downright ridiculous, like #13. Excellent variety in lines; super straight, big and small s-curves, hyzers, anhyzers, each hole has good character.
- Holes #8 and #9 force an accurate RHBH hyzer, with dense forest on the left and OB to the right/practically straight. Landing pin high is one of the few ways to get a good look at the basket; the thin fairways are tough to hit cleanly. The rest of the holes are set in more open areas, with trees both big and small littering the fairways and greens. The island hole (OB pavement) is a nice touch as well.
- Very good variety of elevation changes on the back side of the course. Two long downhill bombers in the open area must be under control to avoid the numerous mature trees. The uphill shots are mostly in the lightly forested areas, amongst three or four holes. The slopes are definitely noticeable and are a big factor.
- Awesome variety of shots involving water at this course. The first is on #6, which has a drive through a tight window to even get to the pond. #10 has water as a backstop for the bigger arms, as the downslope allows drives to just keep going. #16 is directly over a larger pond, and #19 is a short uphill shot over an tiny bowl (OB if dry too).
- Good mix of hole lengths; there are some shorties, some long ones, and a lot in between. Distance is usually not nearly as important as accuracy, but there are definitely places to really air them out. Probably one par 4, the long and narrow #7.
- Baskets are protected in some spots, to the point where you wonder how they got them back there. Lots of little trees are speckled in front of #2, #9, and an alternate hole (A?). #16 is elevated on a hill, with barbed wire way behind, and #19 has water/OB right in front.
- Unique tee signs have distances; the map shows the way. Teepads are very good, and baskets are in great shape, permanent or not. Navigation is very easy with the map and directional signs.

Cons:

- While there is a wide variety in hole lengths, there are 4 holes under 210', and 11 more holes under 305'. The average hole length hides the large number of the shorties. As such, there is an overload of shots that value accuracy to the extreme, with distance being a means to an end. Some of the short holes, like #13, are borderline unfair, at least to a casual or even experienced player.

Other Thoughts:

- This course pretty much has everything, minus gargantuan elevation changes and 8000' length. The two separate forest areas are very unique, and very challenging. Some extremely tight lines and tight windows, and some uphill shots with more leeway. The holes by and over water are great as well; laying up is almost as tough as getting it in one shot. The open holes are no slouches either, the long downhill shots and the island green are very enjoyable.
- Heads up for some barbed wire, especially on the long end of hole #16.
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8 2
martinb
Gold level trusted reviewer
Experience: 44.5 years 183 played 57 reviews
4.00 star(s)

Shawshank, Huntsville Texas 2+ years

Reviewed: Played on:Dec 11, 2010 Played the course:once

Pros:

Well maintained, well established, well designed. Dogs allowed

Cons:

Pay to play. No restrooms

Other Thoughts:

A private course owned and maintained by Steve Dufrane. Pay to play $5, for all day access. Go to the house and knock on the door. This course has a good balance of long and short holes, focusing on technical aspects due to excellent course design. Lots of foliage, mature trees mostly, making several tee shots challenge your accuracy instead of distance. There are slight elevation changes throughout the property which adds to the course playability and fun factor. Excellent use of water hazards as well. This course is not exposed to the elements because of all the trees and bushes so wind is not a big factor.
The tee pads are rubber on a wood-framed compacted sand area. The custom tee signs are up to date and have pertinent information about each hole, every hole has a unique name. Benches on most of the tees. Baskets are well marked and visible from the tee areas, except for the blind shots of which there are several. Average hole length is closer to 300 feet than 400 feet. There are also some extra holes being put in bringing in the total hole count around 21, not sure how many total but it is more than 18.
Because of the technical level being so high on this course, I believe advanced and pro players will find this course more to their liking, beginner players may become frustrated or feel some of the fairways are just too hard to negotiate. However every hole has a well established fairway the AVERAGE player can negotiate with the exception of hole 5. Hole 5 has a high F-luck factor if you can"t throw a forehand cut roller, left or right handed off the teepad.
The atmosphere and character of this course will leave you with a good feeling once your done for the day, and if your like me you will look forward going back to play the course again. This course is well above average for all aspects. The property is a bit out of the way so you need to bring all you need for your round as there is nothing at the course to purchase and the closest place to get anything is several miles away. If Steve is there you may be able to buy some discs from him but that's about it.

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7 2
JokerzWild
Experience: 14.9 years 39 played 1 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Shawshank: Doin' time is fine! 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Dec 11, 2010 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

First and foremost, the Warden is fair, equitable and the perfect host. Enough can't be said for enjoying the experience of incarceration in this highly technical detention center. It will test not only your skills moving from cell to cell, but it will your mettle and strategy.

The grounds are well kept even in the winter months. The course signage is well thought out and the tee signs are as technically unique as the course. Inmates are guided from cell block to cell block without error. The rubber tee pads are perfect in both wet and dry weather.

The elevation changes support the length of the holes nicely, and the view downhill to the pond is amazing regardless what time of year you are serving time.

Parking is easy and straightforward.

BTW, my cellmate birdied "Death Row" with a monster Anhyzer last week. Seconds before launch shout "Go big or go home". It seemed to work for CH!!!

Cons:

I haven't served enough time at Shawshank to come up with any reason not to play this course as often as I can. Any arguments about the course being too technical, or absurd, should be immediately detained in solitary for 30 days in the hole.

Other Thoughts:

For my next round of detention, I'm making it a point to serve my time at night, and take advantage of the LED lighted holes.

Shawshank is perfectly located within the boundaries of the Sam Houston National Forest, make sure you plan your directions well.

Call in first and check in immediately at the Wardens quarters.
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3 2
Logic_Bomb
Experience: 1 played 1 reviews
4.50 star(s)

2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Nov 26, 2010 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

You have almost every type of shot you throw tested. Great variety, very challenging, and great people. Love the elevation and canopy. Definately a shot-maker course. I am looking forward to playing it again for a little redemption.

Cons:

Limited parking is the only con that I can think of and that would only be for large venues. This is already being addressed by the warden. So there are no worries.

Other Thoughts:

If I had to pick 5 favorites, they would be as follows: #7 (The Green Mile), #10 (Alcatraz), #12 (Solitary), #15 (Strip Search), and last but not least #21 (Tin Cup).
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10 0
Noobaque
Experience: 13.7 years 39 played 3 reviews
4.50 star(s)

i sucked and had fun 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Nov 18, 2010 Played the course:once

Pros:

This course is an absolute joy.
i got my butt kicked, and smiled the whole time.

this course has every shot ive ever seen, or tried.

2 new holes just went up an they are awesome 12a is 300ish? strait tight shot with a well guarded pin. for a rec player, a beast up the right side will get you in a lay in 3 range.......maybe :)
12b is tight, not that the previous 11 holes werent already making you want to skip the hole, this one makes you use a light placement shot...get it right, and your making a 50-60 footer for bird....get it wrong....hows your forehand rollers to get into the fairway?

the course is so well maintained i'm surprised the pine needles aren't picked up by hand!

benches everywhere, same with trash receptacles.

the course owner called me i think 4 times throughout the day to see how it was going. to me that means alot about this course instead of just making it very frickin hard. it has personality.

best holes are 4,5,10,15...you'll see

Cons:

when i was out at the recent tourney watching, i saw some pin placements, not the alternates. a few times i threw to the short placement and was exstatic i hit the line and parked it. then there was no basket....it was another 50 or so feet away. not really a con for a casual round, having those alt distances would make you go up and look a little harder for the basket your first time out. this would definatly take this place to the next level.

other than that....simply amazing

Other Thoughts:

if you never play shawshank your really missing out

the us masters will be there next year, so if anything come out and get a good round in, then see how they do, you might not be far off.
bring your chainsaw.

i think this place gets its highest rating for the hospitality of the family that runs it. they are disc golfers, and they are exactly the kind of people you want to be around when you start and finish a round.

i need to learn the dogs name, he kept thinking he had the box at every hole.
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3 12
Blount
Experience: 14.9 years 78 played 1 reviews
5.00 star(s)

Shawshank Lives! 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Jun 16, 2010 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

This course will test every shot in the bag. Heavily guarded by pines with a nice mix of left and right hand shots. If you get lost just follow the dog.

Cons:

This course is not for the faint of heart.

Other Thoughts:

To play, call first. (281)682-9446. $5 per person.
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9 3
underpar24
Experience: 16.5 years 142 played 14 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Great Difficult Course 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Nov 14, 2009 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

This Course has got everything. from Water to elevation to trees to wide open. I mean this course is a top notch course in the Houston area. This course will make you work for your score. they are working on new tee pads and the one that are done are great. this course gives you opportunities to use every disc and throw that you have.

Cons:

it is in the middle of no where! Maybe two of the holes are almost just to crazy hard.

Other Thoughts:

this is a course that you should play all the time. I wish it wasn't so far away or i would be trying to get here alot more.
When the Tee pads are done I will Edit this rating up to a 5 star.
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20 1
SpringDgLover
Silver level trusted reviewer
Experience: 18.9 years 107 played 25 reviews
3.50 star(s)

There's Magic in These Woods 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:Nov 14, 2009 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

Located on a marvelous private piece of land this course is brimming with personality and variety. Literally no two holes are a like and they all challenge you in very different ways. For anyone used to playing the typical Houston course this one is a different animal all together.

The first thing you'll notice is the property and what a great piece of land it is for a disc golf course. From the hills to the fully mature large trees this course represents east Texas landscaping at its finest. I've never been on a course where so many people would stop and take pictures of holes and the properity.

As for the holes well they will make you pull every shot you have out of your bag and maybe some you didnt know you had. I had never thrown a roller in competitive play until I played this course its just that varied. To me the biggest asset this course has is elevation. Living on the Gulf Coast the biggest hills I see are usually artificial (Terramont) but these changes in elevation are all natural and spectacular. Being able to throw down a 579 foot fairway through trees and watch your disc just "GO" is an awesome feeling.

As far as the standard disc golf amenities, this course has begun to install some really great, elevated, rubber teepads and the tee signs are unique and ecletic. The cages are portable but very solid and allow for multiple variations in course setup.

Finally I would remiss if I didn't mention the family who lives on this course. The Dufrane's are wonderful hosts and if you ever get to participate in one of there tournaments it is a sight to behold. They are a warm, welcoming family and their hospitiality is second to none.

Cons:

There are 5 holes out here that are absolute crap shoots especially with the mandos in play and are more about luck then true skill. Be prepared to lose discs here as the water hazards are no joke and are unavoidable. As much as I love the property I feel the luck and unnecessary hazards on this course cheapen its appeal. I've heard more than one top level player refer to this course as "circus golf" and I tend to agree.

Other Thoughts:

Without a doubt Shawshank is the most unique course Ive ever played. This course has its own personality and manurisms. It will show you love and treat you good one moment but also bite your head off and crap down your throat the next. But in the end the amenities are top notch and the Dufranes make for incredible hosts.
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7 0
drbeat
Experience: 29.2 years 18 played 2 reviews
4.00 star(s)

Wonderfully technical course 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:Sep 19, 2009 Played the course:once

Pros:

This course is a technical course that will challenge even the most seasoned player. All shots are required to even imagine getting par on the entire course. This course challenged my abilities more than any other I have played and should be visited by everyone in the Houston area.

Cons:

The only con I can say about this course is that it is not available all the time. This is a private course and its availability is subject to the owner Steve so call ahead and make an appointment.

Other Thoughts:

I work part time at one of the prisons here in Huntsville and found the names to be fun and amusing. Shawshank is a course with character which is something of a rarity in disc golf courses.
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29 0
srm_520
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Experience: 19.9 years 156 played 142 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Escape to Shawshank 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:May 2, 2009 Played the course:2-4 times

Pros:

Originally a pig farm, Shawshank has 23 solid holes over a 23-acre lot of varied terrain. Apart from a few big downhill bombs on the back end, most of the course is tight playing through alleys of trees, good elevation changes, and over water in big risk versus reward shots.

Holes range from 189' to almost 600', and will push you to be accurate with every shot. For example, hole 5; "The Tunnel" plays through a 208' alley of pines with about a 12' lane to the entire way. If you can keep your disc straight on this course - you will be rewarded.

Each tee box is marked by a homemade hole number and yardage sign usually crafted from wood or granite, and the pins themselves are in good shape for private course standards.

BEST HOLE/S: #5

Cons:

The tee boxes themselves have been transitioned to rubber pads, and though not as good as concrete IMO, it's a huge step up from the natural and gravel pads Shawshank used to have.

The biggest personal issue with Shawshank is that technical borders on silly with some holes. Hole 4, "Jail" is a 305' hole that involves more luck than skill in attempting to thread your disc down an 8' fairway. If you end up on the left side of the pin you'll understand why this hole was called jail. Also, hole 15, "Death Row" is aptly named since it's 276' of zigzagging putts. A pro might hyzer over the trees if they know the line, however regular players will be forced to make a 126' midrange putt to a 10' square landing area if they want a shot at hitting the next alley and escaping with a 4.

WORST HOLE/S: #3

Other Thoughts:

Shawshank is an excellent mix of technical holes that go from wow to sometimes bordering on the absurd. I found myself wishing multiple times that if holes like 4, 13, and 17 would be thinned out a bit, it would make it much better - but that is obviously part of the challenge. Basically, if you love tight and technical, then this place will rank high on your list.

There is another component of Shawshank that one usually doesn't consider in a course. Personality - and this course brims with it. From the owner Mr. DuFrane, to the course name and hole names like "The Green Mile," "The Conjugal Visit," or "Death Row." There's a playfulness of the course and its design to truly make you feel like you've escaped upon completing the round. I find it compares well in many regards to Dalaiwood, one of my all-time favorite courses up in Washington where you emphasize technique over power. Then you combine it with a flair that only a passionate owner and a privately run course can muster.

The course itself feels like it floats somewhere between the 4.0 and 4.5 mark for design, creativity, diversity, and difficulty, but it's the overall Shawshank experience that just pushes it up between a 4.5 and 5.0, and something to seriously consider when choosing to play this course. Sure, you're just playing a round of disc golf, but the overall experience is you what you wish all disc golf experiences should be.
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19 0
gcrussell4
Silver level trusted reviewer
Experience: 19 years 146 played 25 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Shawshank 2+ years drive by

Reviewed: Played on:May 3, 2008 Played the course:never

Pros:

One of my favorite courses, Shawshank is one of the better balanced courses that I have played. The course provides a very wide variety of challenges forcing you to throw a bunch of fun and interesting shots. You will throw down hills, you will throw up hills. You will throw hyzers and anhyzers. There are three holes going over water and quite a few that provide some of the tightest and trickiest tunnels you will find in the area. If you have a good controlled drive you will be benefitted by the layout of this course. If you are just a big arm who maybe struggles some with your lines, this course can eat your lunch. This course will give you your money's worth and whenever you get the chance get out there.

Cons:

There are some holes which go a little beyond the challenging stage and end up in the category of just plain silly. I think particularly of one hole which S-curves taking nearly ninety degree turns after about 100 feet. It is in a very tight tunnel and if you miss it by as much as a couple feet you will find yourself being torn up by the thorny rough.
The only other con that I can think of is the fact that this is a private course and primarily played only at tournaments. I am convinced that if this were my home course and I was able to take on its challenges with regularity, I would be a much better disc golfer then I am today because of the way that it makes you execute tough shots.

Other Thoughts:

Among the highlights of this course are a hole in and out of a pine forest. Unless you are impeccably accurate or can throw a controlled roller you will be doomed on these.
This course is the type that scores can swing by wide margins very quickly. At the latest tournament a player shot 1 down in the first round followed by a 23 up in the second. With the potential to pick up big strokes on holes you have to stay focused and approach each hole with a plan and using your head. Once your head goes out here, you might as well kiss your butt goodbye!
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29 2
ERicJ
Diamond level trusted reviewer
Experience: 16.2 years 286 played 154 reviews
4.50 star(s)

Try to stay out of "Jail" 2+ years

Reviewed: Updated: Played on:May 3, 2008 Played the course:5+ times

Pros:

An impressive array of holes make this a very enjoyable course to play. Lots of tricky holes will challenge your ability to accurately place a disc. Two big downhill holes and three uphill holes make good use of the elevation on the property. There are two holes that are perfectly straight shots to the basket down ~8ft wide fairways with walls of trees on both sides. One hole is literally a maze of trees that cause an errant throw to ping-pong from tree to tree. Three different holes require crossing ponds; none of which are hard to cross by themselves, but either pin placement, elevation, or distance from the teebox make it challenging. One hole features a tree walled fairway that makes a 90 degree right turn and then slight s-curve to the basket. The signature hole is the "Tin Cup Island hole" that requires you to land your tee shot on a grass island (bounded by concrete driveway) from ~250'. After three misses (with penalties) you then have to throw, lying six, from a metal cage ("jail") about 60' out. Scoring 8's is not uncommon on that hole. Tee signs have had hole distances added to them as of Nov 2008. "Next Tee" signs for all holes added Nov 2009. Also in Nov 2009, large solid rubber tee pads/boxes added to several holes greatly increasing footing on some previously treacherous boxes. Course also has LED flashlights strategically placed for lighting the front nine fairways for night golf.

Cons:

With a lot of trees this course favors players with a good short and mid-range game. There aren't many holes, by my count: four, that really let you air out your drive for some distance with little fear of hitting a tree, or two, or three. No course map led my group to play one hole to the wrong basket. (Course map added May 2009.)

Several of the holes out here, specifically #4 and #14 rely significantly more on luck than golf skill. Holes like that can ruin a round. Another hole (#15) is a 282' par 4, that is best safely played with consecutive 120' shots and a couple putts. That hole takes a lot of heat from critics.

Other Thoughts:

While I enjoyed playing this course a lot it had a few too many trees for my taste. Hole #4 was just a maze of trees with virtually no fairway and I think that plays a bit too much on luck vs. skill. I would like to see a couple more open holes to add balance for players who can chuck a driver for distance.

The course creatively plays off the movie "The Shawshank Redemption" by naming each hole relative to something from the movie, or a prison theme.

This course is on a private residence. While it is not open to the general public you can call Steve to schedule playing times. It is the site of the annual "Great Disc Golf Escape" Tournament, and hosted the 2011 PDGA US Masters Championships.
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