23 Helpful / 5 Not
Needs to get Married to Jordan Creek!
Pros: Absolutely incredible. The first hole leaves an impression on you in regard to the tee quality, tree placement, elevation, and difficulty ahead -- and then it exceeds your expectations!
- My feet were so happy on the concrete teepads; they are the perfect length and have a nice grippy texture to them. The "bunker" tees are as impressive of an engineering feat as you'll find in Pittsburgh -- short of all the bridges, of course!
- Some of the best signage I've ever seen
- Navigation is incredibly simple and intuitive, with well-beaten paths. Those handy "next-tee" signs help you out as well.
- picnic tables at virtually every hole. I can imagine this being nice for tournaments or really busy weekends. As for crowds, I've played here twice -- both on weekends -- and I've seen very few people. I'm wondering if its distance from Pittsburgh (compared to say Knob Hill or Schenley), helps keep the numbers of people manageable.
- red, white, and blue tees provide variety in difficulty that would satisfy even the most novice players. How many top-tier courses can boast that?
- Absolute stunning beauty. To be fair, I did recently play on about the most gorgeous autumn day, but the landscaping, scenic fields, and well-groomed forests provide a real natural scene for those who play here.
- Great variety in terms of elevation (uphill vs. downhill), doglegs (hyzer and anyhyzer), terrain (wooded vs. wide open), tree placement (lined fairways vs. scattered "gauntlet" types of holes), and length of holes (short technical challenges vs. long bombs). The only thing this course is really missing is one of those epic ski holes (see cons).
- I know some people rip on hole #8, but I like how it's kind of a blind shot. If you don't scout it out before you throw, you're probably going to overthrow it.
- The water hazard on 15 is phenomenal! A downhill drive across a pond to a basket not too far from the water's edge. Throw too low and it's in the drink; throw too high and you hit the canopy and it's in the drink. Super fun!
- Other great park amenities nearby if you want to do stuff other than disc golfing
Cons: - Last few holes don't end on a "WOOOOW" note like, say, Jordan Creek or the Whippin' Post do. This not to denigrate the quality of the last few holes, but they're not as memorable as others on the course (such as 3, 4, 9, 10, 12, 15).
Now I'm just being picky, but I truly think that if this course is to have the complete disc golf experience, it needs some hole with a drastic drop in elevation (i.e. a ski hill or some type of major slope) with which to watch your disc go forever. While I noted some elevation changes, there really isn't that kind of hole here.
Again, this course just lacks the number of signature holes. Nearly all of the holes are solid, but there aren't a whole lot that stand out in disc golf epicness -- with the exception of 15, of course
Other Thoughts: Knob Hill is a nice course, but Deer Lakes without a doubt deserves to join Moraine as the other course played at the annual Pittsburgh Flying Disc Open. Participants like Doss and Jenkins deserve to complete at a course of this caliber.
I played here not too long after I started playing disc golf and waited until I played a second time (by which time I've since visited dozens of courses) until I made a judgeship about the quality of this place. With the exception of maybe Jordan Creek and the Woodshed, there are no courses that even come close to this one.
There's a reason this course is currently among the best-reviewed on DGCR. The 4.5 an 5 disc reviews aren't inflated or exaggerated; come see for yourself!
23 of 28 people found this review helpful.
3 Helpful / 10 Not
Not much else to say...
Pros: This course is one that always keeps me in check on my practice levels. Each tee position offers a moderately different challenge on each hole, and the course set up offers a challenge for any level player. From tight fairways to wide open air outs, I can't think of a shot in my bag not needed on this course.
Cons: The only con to me is hole number 5. No definitive line, a real wing and pray.
Other Thoughts: Other than clearing out a line or two one hole 5 I can't honestly offer any critique to this layout or course. It is one of the best maintained public courses I have ever encountered.
3 of 13 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 3 Not
Great mix of open and wooded holes, as well as some that incorporate both, and a few you won't forget.
#7 - starts on an elevated tee overlooking #8 tee and #9 fairway as well as the pavilion. Quite a nice view and fun for a good rip.
#10 - Blind uphill drive, to a second shot across an open field to a pin nestled between a few trees.
#3 - a long narrow par 5. Tight woods on either side of the fairway make accuracy a must.
#14 - another long par 5 that starts on a elevated tee on one side of a ravine and weaves through the forest and takes a sharp right to the basket in the last 100 ft. Line shaping is a must if you wish to birdie.
# 1 - Par 4 with an open tee shot to a right turning fairway up a slope into the forest.
#9 - Par 5 with an elevated tee to a spacious fairway, across a field and a dive back into the woods behind the pavilion.
#2 - Par 3 across a steep ravine with thick woods on either side. Very cool looking hole.
#13 - Newly remodeled Par 4 with a blind tee shot over a hill in the forest, to a new pin position to the far left on the next slope.
#15 - Signature hole. Par 3 with a drive through a shoot of trees and then over a pond. Pin is on the opposite bank. Great feeling when you make it across. 3 of my discs have been sacrificed to this hole so far.
ALL Tees are now concrete! Blue, White, Red. Incredible how they got some of this done so far back into the forest.
There are bathrooms, benches, picnic tables, and a few garbage cans. More so on the front 9, but more than most other courses I've played.
Great course design, front and back 9 loop back to the parking lot. Well maintained and pet friendly. The course is also pretty "worn in", with the fairways and paths between holes well defined.
Cons: Hole # 8 is the only hole that doesn't seem to fit the Deer Lakes mold. Short Par 3, uphill is the only challenge.
Navigation between 8 and 9 can be difficult the first time you play. Bring a map if you haven't played before.
Other Thoughts: After having played a few courses in a few states I have come to realize that Deer Lakes is one of the best courses out there. They have put a lot of effort into this course and it shows! The new improvements are awesome and some aren't even done yet!
This course will test everyone from the appropriate tees. A great day of disc golf always seems to happen here, no matter what the scores might be.
If you're looking to play a top notch course, Deer Lakes is it. Make a road trip to Pittsburgh and play Deer Lakes and Moraine. These are two 5 disc courses within 45 minutes of each other. Man I'm lucky I live here!!
17 of 20 people found this review helpful.
8 Helpful / 2 Not
Best Course in the Burgh
Pros: The best course in the Pittsburgh area and also easily the best course I've ever played. Like the other reviewers have said, this course brings it all and has a ton of really fun holes to play. The White and Blue tee pads are excellent and really bring an added variety for AM1 level players who are looking to play 2 rounds. At Moraine I would recommend sticking with 2 rounds from the Middle (blue tees there) but at Deer Lakes a round from the whites after a round from the blues makes for a perfect 2 round experience.
This course really is epic. The pond-hole is exilirating and beautiful. The up and down par 3 followed by the extremeley long par 5 is memorable. The overall experience is one that will leave you wanting to come back again and again.
Cons: This is only a slight critique, but there are a couple of poke and hope holes (the downhill hole #5, and the long par 5 in the woods #14 (although 14 has gotten better in this regard)).
Other Thoughts: Fantastic Course - I'd play there over Moraine any day!
8 of 10 people found this review helpful.
17 Helpful / 3 Not
In an Elite Class
Pros: • Three Concrete Tees (red/short; white/medium; blue/long) at every hole plus tee signs at each (never seen such well done signage at ALL 3 tees on a course before)
• Design is sensational, it flows naturally, is easy to navigate for the most part and has several unforgettable holes
• Elevations changes - much of it significant and overall physically challenging so come prepared (proper footwear, hydrating liquids, provisions)
• Water hazards with bridges/walkways for crossing
• Strategic pin placements coupled with other hazards (water/elevation) offer some welcome risk/reward shots
• Balanced blend of open/wooded holes which in turn demand shot variety, discipline and mental toughness
• Some very nice detail work in tee areas (wood bordering some tees while others are elevated)
• Alternate pin positions available
• 2 nine hole loops back to parking lot
• Minimal disc loss possibility as the overgrowth is tame - was surprised how 'young' the course is. Looks like it's been here for over a decade with how broken in it is.
• Really loved the mature hardwoods, gives the course a bigger, more epic feel to go with the surplus of outstanding holes - many of which would be signature holes elsewhere
• Friendly Locals! Course was well used on my visit however larger groups let me play through, I rarely waited to tee off and another local player offered and subsequently guided me through the last several holes offering advice, opinions and general info on this and other local courses.
• Plenty of drinking water, benches, bathrooms, picnic tables and some trash cans throughout the course
• Large, well maintained park w/other activities available
Cons: • Navigations issues around holes 7, 8 & 9 noted in other reviews is worth mentioning again - however printing/bringing a course map will resolve any conflicts
• #8 is the weakest hole on an otherwise exceptional course. It feels more like a transition - but honestly is a more than fair design trade-off for the opportunity to play holes 7 and 9.
Other Thoughts: What more can be said about this place that hasn't already been mentioned in other reviews?
Of the three Pittsburgh area course I played (Moraine, Knob Hill and Deer Lakes), I would rate this 'the best' overall course - it pretty much has everything I look for with only a few minor flaws. It seems repeat plays would only allow a deeper appreciation of its subtleties and dynamics.
I was fortunate enough to play on an almost perfect day - Labor Day Weekend, sunny with variable clouds, temperatures in the mid-70's, light wind, course was dry and in ideal condition. So perhaps my perspective is skewed experiencing it in such wonderful circumstances.
That being said, Deer Lakes is without a doubt one of the best -if not THE best - course I've ever experienced. I'm kicking myself for not playing it twice (or more). Unquestionably in a class few other courses occupy. Absolutely worth an out of the way trip to play it.
While not a perfect course (is there one?), it's at least a 4.75 so I'm rounding up to a full 5 discs. Kudos to everyone who put in so much time and effort to create such an marvelous course.
17 of 20 people found this review helpful.
9 Helpful / 1 Not
Disc Golf's Oakmont?
Pros: This is the most memorable course I've played (mind you my scope is limited to Western PA). This dynamic course calls for all types of shots, and never seems unfair or dull. There are epic par 5's flowing in and out of the woods, left and right doglegs, tunnel shots, wide open holes, uphill/downhill/valley shots, the over-the-lake shot at 15, etc. , There are frequent water taps with cold and fresh water, lots of garbage cans, benches, bathrooms, playgrounds, fishing lakes, a pavillion at the end of the front 9 for a timely picnic or relaxing break. The park is beautiful, mellow, well-maintained, and friendly. Now that each hole has three sets of concrete tees, I'm sure many more good memories are on the horizon.
Cons: This course has been known to get muddy on a few fairways (hole 3 as you near the upshot to the basket, hole 16 early on the right). However, they did some work on 3 to minimize the muddiness. They may have done work at 16, but I haven't had to deal with the mud recently as it was off to the right very early on a dogleg left, and it wasn't too bad in the first place.
Other Thoughts: The new tees really complete this course. I especially enjoy the white tee at 3. It's elevated and off to the left for a downhill tunnel shot on a par 5-perfect for ripping my teebird and letting it flex a bit. I can't think of anything missing or left on the to-do list. There is a sign saying all dogs must be leashed, but I talked to a cop who said I was allowed to keep my dog off-leash if I kept a leash handy for encountering groups or people working. I really love this place and this game!
9 of 10 people found this review helpful.
11 Helpful / 7 Not
Pros: Deer Lakes is a tough course that really offers some fun shots. Holes 9 and 15 really stand out. Hole 9 is a gorgeous par 4 that starts with a huge hyzer and then comes back at the end and requires a turnover or flick shot (for a righty) for the second shot to a well guarded green. The signs at the course were extremely helpful and the course in general was very well maintained. The course is also an excellent work - your knees will take a beating walking this course in the Pittsburgh summer. Having three sets of tees is a big benefit to me - I think it's very valuable to offer beginners the chance to play a course without getting murdered. Some of the holes really made you think off of the tee - hole 6 is a good example of this, as you had the option of going way out wide from the pro tee or taking the straighter route. The course did very well to make you think off of the tee. This course had a serene feeling to it, especially on the back nine. It really made you feel like you were playing disc golf in the middle of nowhere.
Cons: I found it hard to give this course above a 4.5 - a 5 rating is for a course that is perfect. There were some things about this course that were problematic, in my opinion. To start out with, holes 3 and 14 were tough holes to play. I played the back tees and typically like to play the pro tees and fared pretty well on the course (+2), but both of these holes were a serious work in progress. Even taking aside the fact that not all holes have concrete tees (I understand this is being taken care of, so this is not a con to me), holes 3 and 14 were more than 800 feet but really needed some more work. It seemed that the first 400 feet of hole 3 needed some serious trim work. In addition, hole 14 really just seemed to be a mess through 800 feet of woods. It was difficult to even identify the fairway and the hole seemed to really be under construction. Also, it wasn't a lot of fun starting uphill on hole #1 and then never making that up (ie, there was a downhill walk back to the car - why not extend 18's basket into the woods to at least feature a downhill ending?). The navigation was pretty good, but for some reason I had a serious problem finding hole #9. A sign up in the gravel lot pointing towards the tee (#9 sits down further and is tough to see from the gravel road) would be very beneficial. A small con was the locations of the alternate pins - they all seemed to be very near each other, and in my opinion would have been more benefited by being further apart. This also led to some very easy pro par 3's right around 330 feet. There seemed to be room on some holes to have a pin further back and to have tees that extended the shorter pro par 3's further back.
Other Thoughts: All in all Deer Lakes is a FANTASTIC course that still needs some work. The tees look like they will be very good when finished soon, but once again some of the holes really seemed to be a work in progress.
EDIT: With the finishing of the concrete tees and the noted work done on hole 14 (or future work), I am changing this rating to a 4.5 after hearing from multiple people involved with the maintenance of the course. However, I still stand by my thoughts on hole 18 and hole 3.
11 of 18 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 2 Not
Best of the Best
Pros: Deer Lakes is a fantastic course. I was very excited to play there and it was even better being there. No pictures give these holes the justice they deserve. Everything is perfectly maintained and clean. Variety of each hole was great, you never get bored! I can rave about this place all day, here are a few of the other pros:
-3 sets of perfect concrete tee pads
-tee signs with all the info you need
-mix of open and wooded holes
-shot variety: long bombs, short shots, flat shots, uphills, downhills, water hole, turns each way
-huge grass area was at perfect length
-wooded ares free of debris
-walkways over wet areas
-large course but still easy to navigate
-fantastic views from tees
The other thing I should mention is they really added the details to the course. The raised tees and the wood work looked like alot of extra work but the small details are what made me decide to make this a true 5 rating.
Cons: I had no cons but I will mention:
The sign by the water hole says No Swimming/Wading Strictly Enforced Up to $300 Fine. So make sure you don't throw your disc in!
Other Thoughts: My favorite hole was #15 from the long tee, it's a long shot down a hill and over a pond to the basket. You can't throw to high because of the canopy...true excitement ran through me. I came across a few water spigots which were along the way and the water was delicious. I had a great time and i really wish I could have stayed longer. This is a destination course!
16 of 18 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 3 Not
Great but tough
Pros: -Fantastic design. There is every possible variety of hole on this course. Long, short, open, wooded, right turning, left turning, S shots, over water, flat, uphill and downhill.
-Beautiful Park. Deer lakes is a gorgeous park that offers alot. Good bathrooms, water, fishing, trails, a spray park (large fountains for kids to run through), playground. All of these are very well maintained .
-Well kept course. This course is remarkably free of debris for having so many holes in the woods. There is no trash on this course. The Pittsburgh crew does a wonderful job of up keep.
-Multiple tees and pins for each hole offering good play for rec players and pros.
Cons: Could have better direction between holes 7, 8 and 9.
Other Thoughts: Very pretty course that is very difficult but fun to play. This course is very long so bring good shoes and something to drink.
6 of 9 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 1 Not
A Real Gem
Pros: A real challenge, but not one that will have you frustrated at the end. The combination of a beautiful setting, ideal layout, and very interesting holes give Deer Lakes a distinct personality and makes it one of --if not the-- best courses in the region.
The course, as well as the rest of the park, is maintained regularly. Grass is never too tall, even on "the prairie" of #7-9.
Both the front and back 9's begin and end at the parking lot, so if you live in the area and just want to play 9 holes, it's easily doable. You can also stop at your car halfway through and grab some food/drink, swap out some discs, etc.
Hole #5 is a lot of fun. Relatively steep downhill and very wooded. If you shoot the gap, you're golden. If you hit a tree, you're 2 shots from the basket.
#15 is the signature hole. In a perfect "risk and reward" proposition, the shot across the pond would probably be easily manageable if it were all grass...but do you want to take the chance?
I have to mention that there are 2 functioning water spigots: one near hole #17, and one where the path from #15-16 crosses the fairway for #12. The water at this course is some of the best water you'll find. Really, it's absolutely delicious. And cold.
There are picnic benches at nearly every hole. It's very convenient if you want a rest or if you're out with a group. Additionally, the pavilions are great if you want to break for lunch.
Cons: #14 is a bear. Even with a couple excellent shots, you can still be left with very limited options. It really almost looks like it wasn't designed as a real hole, but as a means of getting to #15. A par is excellent on that hole.
The bathrooms aren't exactly well-kept. Often the toilets are just holes in the ground, and the buildings themselves don't seem maintained at all. I think there are other, better bathrooms elsewhere in the park, but the ones on the course don't do much good. Unless you shank your shot on #7 and end up on TOP of the bathroom. Then you get the pleasure of shooting at the basket from the roof.
Several holes do get pretty muddy when it's been raining. It's not unbearable; just bring a towel and don't wear nice shoes. If there hasn't been a lot of rain, though (like this summer), there's no mud at all.
Other Thoughts: #11 is very interesting. There are a couple lines there, but it's easy to miss them. It's not a real problem if you scope out your shot.
In my opinion, this is a must-play if you're in the general area. The only thing keeping me from recommending it for a lengthy road trip is the fact that there aren't that many other great courses in the area unless you want to go out to Moraine as well. Hopefully the course will host a pro tournament soon.
I haven't seen the hole positions changed very often, although they are moved once in a while. I didn't want to list it as a Con because the course is plenty fun and challenging no matter where the baskets are.
Even on really nice days, Deer Lakes is never really crowded. You might run into another player or group, but you'll never wait to tee off or feel pressured to move faster. It often seems like you're the only ones on the course.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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