Amazing! Lived up to the hype
3 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Been wanting to play this course for a couple months now since I really just got back into the game. When I first started playing, my home course was Cal U's course in California, PA. It is a brutal course but great for someone learning to really throw accurately. Since moving back to the Irwin, PA area, my new home course is Schenley.
Deer Lakes managed to mix everything I loved about both Cal U's course and Schenley's course and wrap it up all into one, WITH A BOW ON TOP!
This course is great. The signs are very well done. Some courses have low detail signs, if any signs at all. Honestly, that is the first thing I look for in a course. I hate having to play something blind.
There is a great deal of parking. AND in the parking lot attached to the big disc golf sign, there is a scorecard with a layout of the course. LOVE seeing that.
I had watched a few videos of the pros playing this course from last years Master's and the videos just don't do the course justice. You really need to play it to get a feel for it.
I will be honest, I played the white tee's and some of the holes gave me some trouble, but that is in no way a bad thing. Getting into trouble on the course can only help to make you a better disc golfer.
This course has a great mix of open field shots with some very well wooded shots. Plenty of holes where you can really let it rip and not get into too much trouble.
The par 5 holes are true par 5's. I never like seeing a hole labeled "Par 5" that can be easily made in 3 shots. Don't think they exist? Go check out Monroeville's Hole 8 and play in from the "Pro" tee. Made it within the 5 feet of the basket on my first throw and I definitely do not throw my discs as far as most.
I really enjoyed the water hold. It definitely played with my head. I ended up slicing it so hard that it basically landed on the path to walk around the lake.
Another great feature are the practice baskets. It has not only one, but two. First time I have seen two baskets for practice. Really goes to show that it is a course really made for people who love the sport.
I can't wait to play there again! That being said, no matter where you are coming from, it is pretty easy to get to. Just a few roads once you get off of the turnpike.
Cons: I went on a day where it rained early in the morning. It was definitely wet and a little muddy. Never realized how necessary a towel can be until my disc slipped out of my hand on a throw. My only thought, if you think it will be muddy, it probably will be so where shoes you might not care about or some boots. Especially if you think some of your shots could go off course. The fairways are generally fine, but once you get into the rough areas it can be a mess.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Everything a course should be
6 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Three, long, wide, smooth concrete tees on every hole
-Mach X's, three pin positions per hole
-Not just benches, but picnic tables on most holes
-Amazing use of Pittsburgh area topography; so much elevation change everywhere
-Clean and well maintained, all grass is cut nice and short, trash was nowhere to be seen when I played
-Beautiful scenery - gorgeous, towering, shady trees, steep and wide valleys, rolling green hills, treacherous slopes, and lakes and ponds grace this course
-Highly detailed, very helpful and informative teesigns on every hole; you won't need to walk any fairways here before throwing
-PERFECT balance of wooded, open, up, down, left, right, long, short, par 3, par 4, par 5, and water shots (DISCLAIMER - in my opinion only one, very well executed, treacherous water hole is needed on a course for me - and Deer Lakes does it perfectly)
-Signature holes - almost every hole here seems to be a signature hole, so I'll only list my favorites
- hole 2 - ace run across and incredibly steep ravine, with putting danger on the backside and left of the pin
- hole 5 - ace run downhill at a steep angle through thick woods
- hole 7 - top of the world - not the tallest drop off ever, but still an awesome drop in elevation off the tee, where you can just rip a fairway toward the pin inside the edge of the woods
- hole 9 - long par 5 where you can rip a long gentle hyzer off the tee, and then take another powerful fairway/mid shot towards the edge of the woods, and approach the pin which sits within 10 feet of a looooonnnnnnng dropoff slope
- hole 15 - another steep downhill, dead straight with trees left, right, and above, to a pin on the other side of a large pond
Cons: -There was one hole where I had trouble finding where the next tee was, I believe it was going from 12-13. And I don't recall seeing many, if any next tee signs - I could be wrong though. Regardless, Navigation isn't difficult to get down as whole though.
- A walking path CAN come into play with an errant shot
Other Thoughts: This is my first 5 disc rated course ever, and I don't think I wasted my first perfect rating. When I think of the perfect mix of different holes, Deer Lakes just nails em' all. You will throw every shot in your bag, and every type of hole that exists in disc golf - wooded tunnels, wide open bombers, water hazards, top of the world, flicks, hyzerbombs, rollers (if that's your thing) dead straight lazers, tomahawks (if you find yourself in trouble), and putter drives. Pin placement is immaculate, making you think about every putt - rollaways and sailing down hills behind the baskets can happen on nearly any hole here. You have the top of the line equipment in the Mach X's (which are orange and super visible), and the giant concrete tees. Every skill level can play here, as the blue tees are just night and day compared to the reds, with a perfect balance in the whites, and if that doesn't provide enough variety, there are 3 pin placements per hole to make sure you never get bored. I'm sure I never would if this was my home course. Well, it is sure ironic that it could've been, as my favorite course to date is in my old hometown of Pittsburgh. But nostalgia is NOT the reason for the 5/5 - this course IS the best of the best.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Deer Old Friend
11 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: This course is what disc golf should be when it is placed in a public park. If a course has this much land, then it has potential. It has rolling hills, tight woods, valleys and ponds.
The course is overall, well manicured and well kept. The local club, the Pittsburgh Flying Disc Society, always keeps the local courses looking their best.
Going through the course, you go through what are some of the finest amenities that a course can have. These being, benches, tee signs, concrete pads, nice baskets, (Mach X) and signage.
The course has every challenge that somebody would want, with winding fairways both left and right, uphill shots, downhill shots, and more.
If there is something a course should have, it is multiple teepads and basket positions in order to provide variety in a course. This course has both, in the finest form. Three concrete tee pads, THREE! Three pin positions, THREE! The pads are long and grippy, and they are well placed to fit the skill level you are looking to play at.
The course is free. When you have a course with so many great things going on, often they come with a price. Not Deer Lakes!
Cons: When thinking of cons, they are few and far between. There are seriously not many to go about.
Crowded- On warm sunny days, the course can be crowded with fellow disc golfers. This is a problem on all public and great courses, because who wouldn't seriously want to play here??? There are also some pedestrians and park goers on a few holes, but not many. Maybe three or four holes until you are back in the woods or on disc golf dedicated property.
Ticks- I have come home from DEER Lakes many times with Ticks crawling on my skin. Make sure you check yourself every time you play in the woods in the Pittsburgh Area, or anywhere on the East Coast. Not really a con, but a thought to warn about.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Favorite Course I've Played
8 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: - Immaculate, well maintained
- Nice concrete pads and good baskets
- Tremendous variety of holes (water, woods, open)
- Shorter and longer holes nicely distributed
- Excellent use of elevation, best I've seen on a course
- Several challenging basket placements
- Lots of memorable, highlight holes (3, 9,11,13,14,15,16)
- Need to use all your shots to score well
- Hole 9 basket is close to the parking lot
Cons: - The old shuttered up, bombed out bathrooms on several holes are an eyesore, they ought to just knock them down and remove them
Other Thoughts: - Loved this course, did a disc golf week-end from Buffalo, NY; played Moraine (4 times), Deer Lakes (2 times) and Knob Hill (once)...Knob Hill I found to be an above average course but nothing special...Deer Lakes and Moraine are both best of the best type of courses, I just liked the highlight holes and basket placements slightly better at Deer Lakes than Moraine...so it is getting my first 5 star rating...though I'd give Moraine and Brewster Ridge (in Vermont) a close 4.75 stars as the next best courses that I've played...
- I just love hole #3; this is just about my idea of a perfect hole...
- I was shocked (pleasantly) by how few people were on this amazing course on a nice Saturday morning in August...
8 of 8 people found this review helpful.
The Best Course I have ever played
11 Helpful / 0 Not
-Outstanding layout, course utilizes land well
-Beautiful and scenic area for disc golf
-Outstanding tee pads
-Wide open, elevated, wooded, and water holes
-secluded park, dog friendly (with poop bags!)
-No snakes were observed
-Only 18 holes :-(
-6 hours away from my home :-((((
-navigation to the course was less than stellar but manageable
Other Thoughts: -
-I have played a lot of courses and after playing this course I came away so impressed it is my new number one overtaking flip city.
-Signature and epic holes galore! Each and every hole is memorable and exciting. Usually the best courses have 3-4 signature holes, this course is honestly in the double digits of sig holes. Totally awesome and unexpected.
-The course is fun, challenging, and fair.
-Huge fun factor, you will never be bored on any set of three tee pads. The designers did an excellent job with the layout.
-Very challenging course. This course offers so many types of shots on each hole. I found it very challenging yet very fair. There is a line on every hole and each hole can be a birdied or bogeyed depending on the shot.
-The amount of variety on this course is superb. It has all sorts of different types of holes. Long elevated, tight wood holes, and an excellent water hole.
-Well done to the designers of this course! It was a privilege playing this course. The atmosphere is excellent, abundant wildlife, a bird watchers paradise! It was a loud cacophony and chorus of birds singing to me the entire round and I loved it!
-I never had so much fun playing a disc golf course and I have been playing for awhile now. Do yourself a big favor and play this gem in Pennsylvania you will not be sorry!
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Few courses anywhere have any holes that could approach any one of ten or more holes at this magnificent example of disc golf ecstasy. The grassy-yet-rocky terrain bordering a major stream such as the Allegheny River makes for a near-perfect, moderate-to heavily wooded disc golf experience. This includes top-notch forest holes (Holes 1, 6, 14 and 16), protected grassy fairways (Holes 2, 8, 10 and 12), hilltop tees that let you air it out (Holes 7 and 17), and plenty of elevation change for those hungering for it. On top of that, you also have ridge top views that are somehow wind protected (Holes 4 and 5), the best-executed water hole I have ever seen (Hole 15), and a long tunnel hole that rivals the best you will find (Hole 3). Hole 9, a super-long compound hole with a long meadow leading to a tee on a ridge in distant woods was also notable.
Other perks include excellent signs at all three cement tees, bright orange baskets easily seen from several hundred feet away, picnic benches, clearly marked out-of-bounds areas that are rarely a problem, and no mandatories. The course design is terrific with great pin and tee placement; I couldn't find a single course design change I would make given the opportunity. This course was conceived of by true disc golf lovers who know how to make a course with just right levels of difficulty without sacrificing any fun factor. Appears to have full access for free, yet another reason to recommend this course.
Cons: Bring what you need with you, including discs, snacks and drinks. The drive up to the park is winding and slow, and is a long way from the nearest gas station, let alone a disc shop. A couple of hole interchanges were slightly tricky to follow, but nothing horrible in terms of navigation.
Other Thoughts: Congratulations to the Pittsburgh area for having the best course I have ever played in 14 years of golf (numbering 90 courses in eight states and one province), dethroning perennial champs such as Flip City, Leviathan, Coyote Point and Lincoln Ridge. This is my new personal gold standard for disc golf. This course was good enough to visit twice in one year from six hours away, and a second round continued to impress, reinforcing the notion that this is the best course I have played. Holes 2, 3, 7, 9, 12, 14, 15 and 17 are all good enough to be signature holes.
In addition to disc golf pleasure, this is a bird watchers' paradise. We saw a rufous-sided towhee right next to the basket for Hole 4, common flickers, blue jays, a red-bellied woodpecker, and a pair of pileated woodpeckers on Holes 3 and 5. At the basket for Hole 7, a huge hawk swooped down and perched on a tree 50 feet from us.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 13 Not
My home Course
Pros: Great mix of wooded and open shots, great elevation changes.
Other Thoughts: Been playing this course off and on since it was installed, but I have really been playing it a lot lately. This is my home course so of course I'm biased.
3 of 16 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: -Extremely wide variety of holes. Open and long, open and short, wooded and long, wooded and short, etc. Bring your distance drivers because this course will challenge you to throw far. You'll also need accuracy in order to land on the fairways.
-I've played on heavily wooded parks like Deer Lakes where the vegetation/ trees are too dense to make it interesting, but Deer Lakes does not fall victim to this. Many holes are heavily wooded, but I never felt like I couldn't find a line to throw at. Also, Deer Lakes is good for making you bust out both your fore and backhand with the curvature of the holes.
-Very few, if any, throwaway holes. Even the short par 3s have many trees or elevation changes to make them interesting. The only generic hole I can think of is hole 4, but it's honestly a nice changeup after the long hole 3.
-Top of the line signage and tee pads. Every hole has three tee pads, each complete with its own sign including distance, preferred line, hole placement, and a guideline for the next hole. As of 8/15/15 they were all in great shape.
-Piggybacking on my third point, the holes themselves are very, very nice. They used a certain kind of weaving or knotting or something with the inner ring of chains to make them very "catch-y."
-The paths between holes are marked extremely well and are well maintained. Most holes have signage pointing to the next hole, and the park employees have put up wooden boards and such to keep your feet out of the mud. Very helpful.
-The course is kind of like a hike. There are some really steep inclines and declines. I personally found it fun to hike, jump, and run around them. It made me feel like a little kid in a great way.
-The end of hole 9 puts you right back out by the parking lot where you started. This is a huge plus for me because it lets you either get a quick 9 in if you live close or, if you see a few groups starting off at 1, you can start on the back 9 and miss the crowds while still playing 18.
Cons: -I loved this course so I'm going to struggle to find legit cons, that being said, if you have a hard time getting around due to weight or a lower-body issue, this course will really take its toll on you. Like I said in the pros section, Deer Lakes is a legit hike. You're going to be climbing steep hills and jumping over fallen trees and such. Be prepared for that mentally and physically.
-If you're a beginner, this course might be a little intimidating. It's long, wooded, and has some impressive elevation changes. As an intermediate player, I felt perfectly challenged, but I could imagine beginner players being frustrated by this course.
Other Thoughts: -If this course isn't a 5 star course, I don't know what is. It's free, located pretty close to downtown Pittsburgh (we got here in about 35 minutes from the Avalon/ Bellevue area), and offers some of best holes I've played. If you live anywhere near Pittsburgh or are visiting, do yourself a favor and play this course. You will not regret it.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful.
12 Helpful / 0 Not
Hills lakes and woods
Pros: This course is in my top three along with tyler state park and iron hill. In my opinion it ranks slightly above tyler but is slightly less awesome than iron hill. All in all it is a great course and i hope to be back soon.
Beauty and seclusion- this course is in a secluded area of the park where disc golf is the predominant activity. As far as i know the only other activity that this area is used for is hiking via the numerous trails. Every hole feels unique and apart from everything. Every hole is majestic and outstanding in its own way. This course IS beautiful! 3 as well as 7 and 15 provide beatiful looks through forest as well as some spectacular mountain views. 3 is a fantastic tunnell shot downhill with trees on both sides. 7 provides a downhill bomb with mountains in the background. 15 is a downhill tunnel shot over a lake to a pin 25 feet from the edge.
Elevation- if i remember correctly, ever hole had some elevation change. The elevation was well balanced throughout the course. There were downhill bombers as well as huge uphill shots. If i had to estimate, id say the largest downhill was -60 ft and the larget uphil was +75 feet. I found the elevation on the tight wooded holes to be extremely challenging and provided a challenge like no other.
Shot variety- each hole demanded its own shot and line but had multiple lines to follow in order to execute the given shot. There were some holes wher i ued 7-8 drivers just to test out all the different lines. I used all of my 11 drivers, all three of my mids and 2/3 of my putters.
Distance variety- there was some massive hole lengths as well as short rewarding birdie opportunity. Hole lengths ranged from 275-850. If you played the longer holes well and executed your shots you could have a look for birdie on almost all of the holes.
Amenities- large concrete tees on every hole provide good grip and help you get the extra power you need on some of the holes. Each hole had three teepads all of them being concrete and had intricate tee signs that displayed the lines to the basket, the direction pf the next tee as well as distance and par for the hole. Two loops of nine holes that each lead back to the parking lot. Sometimes i could see only wanting to play nine holes of this massive course. There are bathrooms as well as porta potties close to the parking lot.
This course will challenge our mental and physical game. Elevation tests your mental game and i could see one shot ruining a hole and if you ant stop the bleeding, i could imagine it uining a round. This is the kind of course where 5's and 6's are not uncommon. Elevation changes as well as multiple shot holes can really test you. You habe to work for your birdies and get them when you can because there arent to many out there.
Cons: Some navigation issues if you do not use the tee sign to locate the where the next tee is. Walk from 9-10 can seem a little wandering.
Other Thoughts: Overall my experience at deer lakes was awesome! I played this cours after 7.5 hours of driving on my way to philly and it was well worth the stop. I enjoyed every moment of this wonderful experience and would love to be back soon. Beware, there is no cellnphone ervice in the park.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: This course has it all. You get a fair mix of tight woods shots and open bombs, an equal blend of straight, left and right, and a lot of elevation change. Every time I play here, I get to throw every mold in my bag! I make it to this course at least twice a week, and it never gets old. I also appreciate that during the summer months, you can always see improvements being made and baskets being moved to keep holes fresh.
Great signage, easy to follow paths, and excellent flat teepads that setup different lines for different skill levels. This is how a course is meant to be run.
Cons: Well there aren't really any in my eyes. Hole 15 over the water seems to eat a lot of people's discs, so I wouldn't be surprised that others dislike this one. I just bring some old junker disc to toss here and if it goes in the drink, not a big loss.
Other Thoughts: This really is one of the Crown Jewels of the Pittsburgh area. If I didn't live near by, I would still drive quite a ways to play this course frequently. I wish it had 9 more holes, as there is still plenty of land.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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