Possibly the most challenging course in northern VA
17 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Beautiful wooded property with a large pond early in the tract and a meandering creek throughout a good chunk of the rest.
Challenging course that forces you to abandon any conservatism. You must take risks to score decently (if you are a novice or recreational player) and to score well (if you are intermediate, advanced, or professional). Take time to decide on your strategy but commit on your throws.
Though there are a few red tees and blue tees, the main tee is the white tee. If you are a less-skilled dolfer, take advantage of the shorter or less-tactical tees at nos. 2 and 4. (I've yet to find the red tee supposedly at no. 8.) If you are advanced or pro-level, there are blue tees at nos. 3 and 15. Those, I have seen. I did not see blue tees at nos. 10 and 16. Could be there; I just cannot vouch for their existence.
In general, I like this idea: the core of the course (white tee to single basket for all except one hole) is what everyone plays.
There is a long basket at no. 4 for those looking for more distance there. Or just to get away from the rollaway green of the short basket. Not sure there is long pin placement at the other holes, where the basket might move on occasion.
Very few people come here apparently (outside of tournaments, of course), so it is peaceful. I had absolutely no one to have to let through on two warm Sunday afternoons. Granted it was early March and early April.
The pads are nice, the baskets are nearly new, and every hole has at least one bench. Latter definitely needed for those of us of a certain age and/or with mobility issues. By my Fit app measurement, the tract is 3 miles around.
Cons: Because the creek comes into play so often, many holes in the middle are down into the ravine and back up the slope on the other side. This repetition gets old (especially on really long holes) if you are not a long thrower. Footbridges across said creek are varying in quality...wear hiking boots.
Similarly, there are plenty of tunnel holes or gates at the beginning of the fairway to toss through. If you cannot hit a line with force and accuracy, you're just going to have to do a soft pitch through and waste the stroke.
The course is still primarily meant for the higher-skilled disc golfers. Certainly not for true beginners. There are too many really long holes and very few instances where there is a short tee. I don't mind a 500-600 ft hole here and there (maybe two of them on the course), but there are six 400-800 foot holes (from the white tee): nos. 3, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15. Your first time here, you will find this a rude introduction if you are not intermediate level or above.
I never found the short pad at no. 8. This creekside hole is perhaps the toughest: narrow lane, trees on the left, creek on the right, fairway sloping towards the creek. With the basket elevated (naturally or artificially) at the end. It's a demoralizer for me right now, but when I do (and I shall!) bring my stroke count down here, I will come to appreciate this hole more.
Other Thoughts: There's a lot of elevation change, so one should come prepared for that. Which means more time than normal on the course. Expect 3 hours. Based on the weather, you may be sitting and resting more than you normally would on a flat course. Obviously, if it's summer, bring water. The shade is great, but you will be exerting yourself throughout the walk around the course.
The course is located up and off Route 15, some miles above Leesburg. Indeed, nearly to the Potomac River and the Maryland line (Point of Rocks). You are out in the country, so if you're coming from afar, you probably want to pair this one with Franklin Park with some lunch in between in the business district of Leesburg. The Scattersville course on the same property is both a good warmup and cooldown course to play if you have the time. You could also pair Clark's Run with Seneca Creek, if you are a billy goat that loves the woods and the challenge of yet an even stronger, wider, and deeper creek.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 0 Not
Best DGC in DC Metro area
Pros: The technical challenge of this long and beautiful course. It's ALL trees, all the time and it will challenge every aspect of your game. It's got great tee pads, great elevation, and great bridges that cross the creeks. If the lake is draining into the creeks on the back, it adds a really nice natural beauty. There are benches on most holes. It's got a cool 9-hole pitch-and-putt warm up course. There are great locals that maintain the course. In the Summer, this is the go-to course because almost all of it is under tree canopy.
Cons: Hole 2 - the Lake shot. I can get across the lake, but barely. I always throw a disc I can afford to put in the water on Hole 2 and I always aim for the diving platform on the left, which is the shortest distance across the lake. If you know you can't get across the lake, you end up walking to the 'drop zone' tee across the lake, shooting 3 at the basket about 80' away. For many, Hole 2 is a great shot and a scenic shot if you have the arm. For some, this hole is kinda lame because you know if you try, you're going in the water.... again. Other con is that the leaves really accumulate in the Fall months and it's easy to go underneath them. Throw bright colored plastic in the Fall. Weird note: No one seems to refer to this course as "Clarks Run".... just about everyone I know calls it Freedom Center.
Other Thoughts: If you like technical disc golf with decent elevation, you will love Freedom Center DGC. IMHO, it's the best disc golf course in the DC area (30 mi radius). Now, it's HARD... my best round is a 70 and I've probably played 15 rounds here. Holes 3, 5, 12, and 13 seem like genuine Par 5s - Hole 8 feels like a Par 6! Hole 8 is the hardest hole on the course. Hole 13 is an absolutely awesome hole and my personal fave. Check out Crooow's great review below for a good hole-by-hole description (he's a little tough on 18 - it's a good hole). There are only a handful of 'easy 3s' on this course, and you will be thankful for them. I like technical courses and I like elevation so on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, this course rates 5.5 stars in my book. Now, if you like mostly open courses, Freedom Center might not be your cup of tea. Yes, it's $5 to play but it's worth $10. Join the LOCO club and you don't have pay the daily fee. This course is just an absolute gem. That said, it ain't for beginners.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: The club managing this course has put everything into making an incredible disc golf round. The course is very wooded but each hole has well thought out lines that demand good shots. Very comfortable and private to play. I also love that the course does not allow smoking and drinking.
Cons: needs tee signs
Other Thoughts: Cant wait to play it again.
1 of 7 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
A True Gem - and a REAL Challenge
Pros: This course is sweet.
+The pads are amazing
+The holes are well-thought-out and really challenge all aspects of your game
+If you get off of the fairway, the wooded holes can really punish you... which is EXACTLY what a course like this is supposed to do
+A beautiful creek running through the course that adds to the challenge
+A somewhat intimidating tee shot over a disc-gobbling pond
+Elevation change on many of the holes
+Great Discatcher baskets
+Benches or seats on almost every hole
Cons: The course is in its infancy and is needing a few things:
Signage - including walk-outs.
And it should definitely be closer to where I live... though that might be my fault.
Other Thoughts: I am really looking forward to seeing how this course matures... and I really want to play a tournament here to see what that is like.
This IS a destination course. Make a day of it and go have lunch at Vanish (a brewery) about a mile from the course and enjoy their great beer and what appears to be a great menu.
I will absolutely be back to get some revenge. Brutal back 9.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 0 Not
Must Play in Northern Virginia
Pros: Fantastic Wooded Course. Plenty of holes are crushes of the tee with precision being a must. Par 4s and 5s provide room to navigate the holes in multiple shots and still shoot well. The tee pads are coming along very nicely with plenty of work being put in by the club overseeing the course. The elevation of the terrain is used wisely to create fun and interesting lines through the trees. Some fairways are quite tight but fit the flights of discs extremely well. This is for sure a must play course in the Northern Virginia area
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
20 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Cement pads on all holes (some alternate tees are astroturf). Next tee signs on most holes (usually easy to find - see below). Benches on most holes (or tree stump seats). Good bridges now over all streams. Natural beauty. Very few other activities (a few hiking trails) in area. Rake on #2 (see below). Good variety of holes allows for (but doesn't require) using different shots; you can survive on backhanders only. Nice little 9 hole warmup putter course; the kiddies can play while you do the long march.
Cons: Some navigation difficulty (next tee signs either missing or obscurely placed); the next tee signs are small white arrows and sometimes can be hard to spot. No bathrooms. Needs tee signs.
Other Thoughts: I injured my hip so pivoting and hill-climbing is painful. Thus I was doing mostly stand-and-deliver and maxing out at about 250 feet which probably diminished my ability to appreciate the course. All holes are wooded (except maybe #2) so I won't repeat that for each hole.
Hole #1: Nice opener. 366 feet, slightly downhill with the slightly-raised basket tucked into some trees on the left.
Hole #2: The throw across the pond. Very scenic but this is pretty much "you have the arm or you don't" hole. If you do then you might as well be throwing across a flat meadow. My throw came up about 10 feet short and I walked around the pond and realized that I had forgotten my golden retriever. Fortunately there is a very long handled rake now on the shore and I easily fished out my disc. You can play from the drop zone if you don't have the arm.
Hole #3: Two tees, the longer position is astroturf. Disturbed a deer. A long flat trip (500+ feet) through the woods.
Hole #4: Two tees, the longer position is astroturf. Short (252 feet) and downhill. Some dropoff behind the basket.
Hole #5: Cruel. A long (477 feet) hole with the first half uphill and a tunnel of trees near the end. Didn't enjoy it.
Hole #6: Very pleasant, short (228 feet) downhill hole with a tunnel of trees. If you throw straight, a 2 is easy to get (my only deuce on the round).
Hole #7: A slightly longer (297 feet) downhill throw with a lot of trees but still pretty easy to par.
Hole #8: Long (633 feet) but not punishing; a fun hole. There are a number of obstacles early but they are more for scenery than actually causing any problems. Roll away possibilities near the basket.
Hole #9. A down and up hole (420 feet). Surprised a garter snake in the fairway. Another good hole.
Hole #10: My favorite (although #13 is creeping up). A downhill hole (249 feet) with lots of trees and the basket on a ridge across a creek. You have at least three options on how to attack it. The transition to #11 is improved but still a noticeable hike.
Hole #11: Uphill but not hard (225 feet). A somewhat boring hole (not many obstacles). The trail to #12 is not clear. Follow the path as indicated and take the right fork. Not a short walk.
Hole #12: Long (501 feet) through some tree tunnels, mostly flat. A very neutral hole. There is a turf tee (with no markers) in the fairway so perhaps they are planning a shorter tee.
Hole #13: Great bench. A long hole that starts downhill and curves to the right and then crosses a stream with the basket up on a hillside. Listed as 639 feet but a good first curving throw to get you on the downslope leave a nice straight across the valley shot at the basket. I parked my second throw (which is maybe why I like the hole now). I also assisted (very minorly) in putting in the bridge so I have some pride in that (the only help I gave).
Hole #14: Another down-and-up chasm 309-foot hole (wide chasm) that looks harder than it plays.
Hole #15: Two tees (longer position astroturf). Another down and up (400+ feet) with the stream at the bottom but a very wide chasm. Threes are definitely in play.
Hole #16: Downhill throw (294 feet) that curves to the right. The basket is on the near side of the stream somewhat close to it. Stream only comes into play on downhill overthrows and possible deflections from the trees at the bottom.
Hole #17: Crosses the stream and goes uphill (399 feet). More scenic than challenging. Basket is located on a slope. Fairly easy, my second throw took a "Family Circus" route off trees and rocks to end up rolling into easy putting range.
Hole #18: Uphill 297-foot hole to get you back to the parking lot. One of my least favorite holes on the course.
Overall a mostly fun course; well worth the $5 charge. I don't care about the lack of amenities so am just rating on the playability. Probably a little high on my rating but this is the kind of course that makes me want to come back time and time again to try out different strategies (I took some 5s and at least one 6). Unfortunately I feel like it peters out near the end. I know work is still ongoing and there will probably be more benches in the latter half of the course (where you need them more) forthcoming.
20 of 20 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Wooded and Wonderful
Pros: Very well maintained course with an active local club that continually is making updates (LOCO)
Recently added new concrete tee pads and bridges
Can warm up on the small par 2 course or practice putting/upshots
Beautiful piece of secluded wooded property
Challenging holes with elevation changes but fair/adequate fairways
Cons: A few spots could be confusing to a new player as far as moving from one hole to the next, but for the most part they are well marked and kiosk at beginning of the course has great map
Other Thoughts: I absolutely love this course! I am not much for courses that are mainly wide open. I like the challenge the woods provides, Each hole is designed to challenge players of all levels, it tests your ability to execute technical shots and stay on the fairways. Fairways are well maintained and adequate, but if you get in the rough it's a great way to work on your scramble game. I leave here feeling challenged every time. Truly a great mix of holes with elevation both up hill and down hill, longer and shorter holes, The club makes everyone feel very welcome on their courses and their events! Great job Locos!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
4 Helpful / 3 Not
Pros: Fair course. Challenging and rewarding. Something for everyone. Par 3,4 and a Par 5, tight woods on some and more open on other holes. Every time I play the course it helps me improve my game. There is a short 9 hole putter course up front to warm up on.
Cons: Some shots are very tight. If you get off the tight fairways you can really struggle quickly to scramble to the basket.
Other Thoughts: Some courses in VA tend to be very brushy and can eat discs if you get off the fairway. Clark's Run is not that course. In the handful of times I have played with 10-15 other people I do not remember a lost disc.
4 of 7 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 6 Not
Pros: Shady in the summer, lots of elevation changes, great tee pads and its very well maintained.
Cons: the tight lines on this course make it very difficult to navigate and challenging for even the pros.
Other Thoughts: a lot of time and love has been put into making this course and to everyone who has helped,Thank you!
3 of 9 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Wooded Virginia Wonderland
Pros: +Exceptionally crafted holes. There's not a single one of the 18 that is just thrown in there - every one has something unique and/or particularly challenging about them.
+To follow on the first positive - the use of the terrain is about the best I've ever seen. Starting with the beautiful woods, the rolling elevation, the gorgeous Clark's Run creek, the pond on #2 that is very crossable yet imposing to any non-pro...this course took a bounty of natural gifts and maximized their use.
+There are at least seven - and as many as ten - holes on this course that could easily be the signature hole on most other courses. Hole #2 with the pond crossing, #8 with the right to left and back to right fairway with a tough gap off the tee and winding creek along the right, #9 with the ravine crossing off the tee and then uphill finish, #10 (my personal favorite) with the steep downhill over the creek and pin perched just 10-15' back from the creek (do you go for it or lay up in the short grass?), the gauntlet on #12 - you can see the hole 500' away, but good luck..., #13 with the huge dogleg right and gorgeous ravine approach, #14 with another ravine shot...honestly all of holes #12-17 are incredible.
+Tee pads and baskets are well done and in great condition. Flags on top of some baskets that are difficult to see below the hill crest. Most (all?) holes had good benches.
+A nine-hole mini/duck-golf course next to the parking lot is *PERFECT* for warming up, playing with your kids, testing challenging obstruction/gap shots, etc...and it has top-notch baskets too! Honestly that mini course is better than some real courses I've seen...
+Parking lot signage gets you excited to play. Course starts 40 feet away from the parking lot and loops back between #9 and #10, great for reloading on water (it's a bit of a workout).
+Freedom Center (grounds on which Clark's Run is located) has great hiking trails that go around the perimeter of the course, as well as a mountain biking trail. Just a beautiful property at which to spend the day. Also loads of wineries and breweries nearby in the beautiful VA hills to visit after a round or two.
Cons: -No real hole signage. Probably coming soon as it's a newer course, but should be noted - if you haven't played the course before or watched a tournament video of it online, you'll be hunting for distance indicators or just where the pin is.
-Most holes only have one tee pad, and I think all holes only have one pin position. I'd say that it would get repetitive, but man this course would be a dream as a home course...
Other Thoughts: Once tee signs and/or a full second slate of tee pad positions are added, I will immediately bump this up to a full 5/5. The only better course that I've experienced is Iron Hill, and it's well-seasoned. The LoCo DGC has done an outstanding job on this course, and John Briscoe is to be commended. Within 5 years, I think this will be known as one of the jewels of Mid-Atlantic disc golf.
Not a pro or a con, but just be forewarned - this course is *not* for beginners. Anyone without the ability to consistently throw 200' in an open field and hit a gap at short range is going to be hating life by hole #5. My group of rec-level players played this in doubles format, and we tied at +9. But we all agreed it was either the best or second-best course we had experienced in the DMV region.
$5/adult (cash only in the donation box) to play or use the Freedom Center property, and worth every penny. LoCo DGC is using the property at the blessing of the Freedom Center - treat it accordingly. No alcohol or smoking.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
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