Clark, NJ 
Oak Ridge Park Share



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Reviews: 4
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Solid Start, Getting Better

5+    6/17/2022   6/21/2022
Review By: HyooMac
Played: 283  Reviewed: 249  Exp: 5 Years
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros:

Clever layout on the site of a former county golf course that became a popular park for walkers




+ The landscape features a significant hillside sloping down from the front of the course to a flat area that drops away a bit more toward the back of the property. The designers created a layout of holes with a variety of elevation challenges to consider. Only a third of the holes are completely "flat."


+ Designers did good work differentiating between Blue and White layouts using more than just distance. For a layout that's on a former golf course, they found a surprising number of extra obstacles to consider from the Blues along with a few mandos


+ Hole #5 is a beauty. After a right dogleg from the Blue tees, you're looking down across a field toward the basket with a small stream across the fairway, with an approach narrowed by tall marshy grasses on the left, and OB marked by a white rail fence on the right. Probably the best view on the course


+ Hole #7 is the one genuinely wooded hole, entirely created by tearing out trees and underbrush. Every time I play the hole gets a little bit clearer and better defined - it took a lot of hard work form local club members


+ Hole #18 is a good uphill par 4 finisher (552' from the Whites, 660' from the Blues). Wide open for letting it rip


+ The 5100' Whites might be a bit long for beginners, but because of the openness of the property they can throw with abandon and gradually learn to control their lines



Cons:

- The nature of the property - being a former golf course that has become a popular walking park - creates some challenges, The trees tend to be in lines (bordering the former golf fairways), and there's a lot of open space. Additionally, the designers didn't want a layout that plays across the paved walking trails. As a result, there are more than a few wide open throws into greens that are tucked between trees, and a few repetitive holes.


- No permanent tees or signage yet, but the temporary signage is very good, and at least you're teeing on level ground throughout. It appears that the tee positions are being changed slightly, but that might just be in an effort to save the grass. I know the club is working with the County to get permanent tees, so this may be an upgrade in the near future.


- A few walks to the next tee where you're doubling back, or you're walking the length of the next hole just to turn around and play it. You might take "incoming fire" on a busy day


Other Thoughts:

~ New DisCatchers with arrows to the next Blue and White tees. Mowed grass throughout. Signage includes satellite photos and full explanations of mandos and O.B. Active club: local tag rounds and doubles, annual tournaments. Kiosk with bulletin board, lost disc box. Permanent bathrooms in the park.


~ I've played a handful of converted or shared golf courses that felt like I was just playing up and down the existing fairways with frisbees instead of clubs. Oak Ridge has a few holes like that, but most of the time it feels like playing in an open field course: your disc spends most of its time in the open, but has to navigate an obstacle at the end of the throw.


~ The first (and as of this writing, the only) course in Union County NJ. I don't want to oversell it: it's a solid 3 that could become a bit better with permanent tees and some tweaks. But it's a big deal to have a full 18 hole course here: it took TEN YEARS of off and on efforts to get it in the ground




11 of 11 people found this review helpful.

Oak Ridge Park, Clark NJ

5+    5/28/2022   5/29/2022
Review By: thegock
Played: 3  Reviewed: 3
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Plenty of fairway space for beginners Great baskets. Large parking lot. New bathrooms. Safe for other users by design. Blue and white tees spaced well for different arm strengths. Next tee arrows are a plus. Other park users are friendly. Great local DG scene in the middle of what was a DG desert. From my POV: less than 5 miles from home.
Cons: Doesn't have permanent tee pads yet. These would improve my rating. Not very challenging for top golfers. Flatter than most courses.
Other Thoughts: Great job getting the course established, when Union County has quite a bit of opposition to change.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.

I Spoke A Smidge Of Oak Ridge

1    9/6/2021   11/28/2021
Review By: Ryal
Played: 145  Reviewed: 125  Exp: 5.1 Years
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: + The numbered baskets all have different colored 'next' arrows to guide players to whichever tee they are seeking.
+/- The tee signs have all of the right info and good diagrams, but they are just laminated paper tacked to wooden stakes for now, which is better than none at all.
+ The whole course plays through a quiet and pretty section of a large township park with peaceful fields, gentle slopes and dozens of tree species to admire. It's easy to forget about life here. However...
Cons: - ...Since the course is planted within the heart of the park, there are walking paths everywhere. Players will definitely have to wait for dog-walkers, bicyclists, joggers and/or other park-goers during their round.
- No lost disc box or info board that I could find. Maybe I walked obliviously right past them?
- The tee pads are just patches of dirt for now.
- Various fairways border, touch or intersect. Holes2&3 and holes13&17 are just two examples. On a busy day, keep your eyes and ears open.
- Trash present on holes5, 6 and 16 during my visit.
- Mostly flat and open fairways.
Other Thoughts: Well, after so many years of course bagging, I've finally played two courses with the same name. There is a course also named Oak Ridge up in the quiet town of Gill, Massachusetts. Put side-by-side, I like the Oak Ridge in New Jersey slightly better than the one in MA, but they both suffer from similar issues because, weirdly enough, both Oak Ridges are former ball golf courses. Conspiracy!!
This review is based on my experience from the blue tees on September 6, 2021. As a result, some of my information might be outdated.

Hole4 was my favorite to look at because of its grassy tunnel in between the widely spaced trees. It gave the fairway a sense of whimsical mystery. Hole10 was my favorite to play if only because of that challenging tree cover in the beginning. It was the densest part of the course. Hole6 was my least favorite because it was too bland of a direct and wide open fairway.

Oak Ridge is a very new course. This is obvious in the lack of infrastructure. Yet, the eighteen holes that are here already present a decent arrangement- especially to those power arms out there. Players who prefer wooded courses or shorter distances will consider this course to be somewhat dull. To accommodate newer players, there are the shorter white tees on about half the course that dramatically abbreviate the fairways.

Regardless of which layout the player chooses, the experience will be easy-going, pleasant, breezy and direct. Even though it is a mostly flat and open course it's not an endless pasture. There are some trees to consider. Actually, more than a few lines of trees stand in your way just to make things interesting like at holes2, 3 and 8. And even if there aren't any trees in the fairway itself, there are still quite a few holes that have trees along the borders to influence where you throw. It was a bit of a bummer when I found out that the closest we get to wooded disc golf is a brief stint into the woods during hole7. Of course, wooded fairways are usually tougher to maintain. And maybe the course planners didn't want to design a course that would be a nightmare for upkeep- especially when there were already ball golf fairways here for the taking. The course is already very large.

So, in the end what we have at Oak RIdge is a sunny and pretty park with lots of wide open space to practice your strongest throws and the occasional string of trees to pepper up the experience. It plays flat, though, and the more serious golfers out there might find it to be rather flimsy with so few hazards, barriers and other noteworthy features. And the more impatient golfers out there might get agitated at all of the pedestrians preventing them from throwing on particularly nice days.
But I would say that it's got all the necessary ingredients for a fine afternoon with friends. It's not a brilliant course, but I'm glad it exists. If I visit again in the future and see that the tees and their signs have been upgraded, I will gladly update this review to reflect that change and award a higher score.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful.

Good Bones

5+    8/24/2021   8/25/2021
Review By: kindableu
Played: 120  Reviewed: 16
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -A lot of nice looking and fun playing holes here that would make a best in the state list. Personal standouts for me are Hole 5 with its OB framed green and playing Hole 16 Blue right as the sun is setting.
-It's a short hole but it was nice that they fit in a wooded hole (7) on the course. A nice touchy turnover putter shot or low skipping FH under or over a funky bent tree.
-great flow and great pace of play. Even if you have a lot of groups out you get through a round in pretty good time.
-perfect course for the spot disc golf is in right now with the accelerated growth. Holes are long enough for advanced players but beginners are still going to have a lot of fun and not score horribly like they probably do at a greystone.
-drives home the "drive for show putt for dough" if you can make circle's edge outta consistently you are going to score great on this course no matter how far or where your drives land.
Cons: -Due to ball golf origins, on most of the holes there isn't any punishment on a bad drive. Hole 9 is a good example where you have a fun choice RHFH through a gap in a tree line or go the Simon route and throw over them. If you miss your line and hit a tree you then have a 100' wide open approach to the pin.
-Ball golf courses usually have three options throw from the tree line out, throw into the tree line and throw along the tree line. Oak Ridge skews more towards throw into the tree line, with most of the pins under mature trees. Makes for some awkward putts and increases risk of poison ivy as the bases of most of the trees have some where the county mowers can't reach.
-Not a "throw every disc in your bag" type course. You can by on most of the holes with a RHBH hyzer line even if it isn't the preferred route.
-course generally flows very well but still a couple of awkward walks (2-3 and 11-12)
-course is still new so some transition with the other park users is still happening so you might have an unknowing person setup a picnic on a fairway because last year it was a fairway
Other Thoughts: The bones of a championship level course are here. The property is gorgeous, the course team has maintained a great relationship with the county and there is space to do a lot of things to bring the course up to that 5 star level. Putting OB bunkers of high grass on some more open fairways (ala Blue Lake in Oregon), planting trees and shrubs, adding some features (make 11 green play as an island, elevate a basket or two), alternate pin positions are all examples of how you could increase the difficulty a little to really elevate the course into one of the best in NJ.

As it stands you have a fun, fast playing course in an area that was a disc Golf desert. But NJ has so few courses and there was such Herculean effort to get this one approved it would be nice to get it to that Stafford level.

Grateful that this course is here and look forward to watching it evolve over time.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful.


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