13 Helpful / 1 Not
True to its name!
Pros: ~Tees: Each hole has three (red, white, blue) long, raised, leveled, concrete tee pads providing different shots depending on skill level. I have never played on such great tees on any other course. There are a few where the concrete has a drop off at the end (2" from the white tee on hole 3) where you could twist an ankle, but I expect that to be fixed soon.
~Variety: With such a long course, there are tons of different shots. Not only a good mix of open and wooded holes, but also holes that start in the woods and play out to the open (4, 12) and holes that start in the open and play to the woods (9). In addition, there are uphill shots (8, 10), downhill shots (5, 8, 15), left turning shots (9, 13, 16), right turning shots (1, 6), and dead straight shots (3!). There is even the signature hole #15 over the pond which adds some danger to such a "normal" hole.
~Pins: Three pin positions on each hole giving different looks to the same hole depending on the pin. The pins get changed occasionally and change the holes enough that you can never get bored of playing here.
Cons: ~Drainage: For the most part, the course is relatively dry, but there are some problem spots. Hole 3 can get very wet after a rainstorm as well as the bottom of 15 near the water. Be sure to wear waterproof boots if playing after or during the rain.
~Navigation: A few holes (7, 8, 9) may be difficult to navigate if it is your first time on the course. 7 is straight out from the woods and plays down the hill. 8 starts to the left of 7 and throws back uphill and 9 starts straight up from 8, across the gravel and down the bank. Most other areas either have well worn paths or next tee signs.
~Smell: The porta potties and old bathrooms stink up some parts of the course when the air is very stagnant. Can cause for some discomfort but not really affect the round.
Other Thoughts: ~Amenities: There are multiple places on the course (see maps in links section) to get water from spigots which pump out nice, cold, clean water. There are a few porta potties if you need relief during your round although I believe that most of the permanent bathrooms are closed. There are picnic tables at the beginning of almost every hole if you need a break during the round or if you get behind a slow group which really isn't a problem as I have never seen a backup at the course.
~True to its name: I like a course that is true to its name. You get to throw over a lake (more of a pond) on hole 15 and I have seen deer on 80% of my trips to the course. A+!
13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 11 Not
Not for a Beginner
Pros: This course has a little of everything. There are some wide open shots, shots through trees, over water and just about anything you can think of.
Cons: This is not an easy walk. There are a lot of hills and if you miss your target you could be in for a hike to get your disc.
Other Thoughts: We enjoyed playing this course but it seems like it plays very long especially for someone just starting out. We will be back to play but not until we can get some more distance on our drives.
1 of 12 people found this review helpful.
6 Helpful / 5 Not
Thought I Knew what a Top DG Course Until I Played Here
Pros: Multiple cement tee pads for all levels of play on every hole. Great signage on each individual tee placement (3 per hole). Great lay-out all around. Sick distances through heavy woods. On another level from other "top rated" courses I have played.
Cons: Poured rain while I was there. Some of the tees are a bit of a walk from the last basket. Without a map it would have been difficult to navigate.
Other Thoughts: I was in Pittsburgh for a conference and took a taxi to the Deer Lakes course. As it turns out just because a taxi drops you off there, doesnt mean it will pick you up there. I jogged back into Russellton and stopped in at the Deer Lake Cafe. I could not get a taxi service to pick me up. The owner of the cafe drove me about 15 miles to a place where I could get a cab back to town. PLEASE buy something from this cafe every time you play Deer Lakes! They saved the A$$ of a out-of-town fellow disc golfer.
6 of 11 people found this review helpful.
16 Helpful / 4 Not
Top Shelf Layout
Pros: This course has a fantastic mix of shots.
It is well balanced in all aspects. You play through a large park landscape that flows from incredibly dense areas to open courtyards to ponds. All 18 holes play into this diversity. This is as far from monotonous as it gets. You will go from carving tight lines through 700 feet of forest to 300 foot ace runs.
The elevation is sweet. It's not mountainous, but it is relevant on most holes. You constantly throw over ridges, little gullys or just gradually up or down. You rarely, very rarely, throw flat.
The course is long but not brutally long. No doubt a big arm is beneficial but accuracy is paramount. I think this course benefits accuracy over distance. There are a few bomb shots, but more often than not, the longer holes are very technical.
The amenities are awesome. Each hole has 3 new, huge, concrete pads. They play red to white to blue. When I was here last year they were still pouring some of them. The signage is also in very good shape detailing distance as well as lines to the pin. There were plenty of benches throughout.
Cons: For the most part navigation is a snap. I would give the course a thumbs up for this. Really the only point I felt needed more direction was locating hole 9. After you hole out on 8, you need to walk back across the 7th pad and down to a secluded spot for 9.
Each time I have played here, the low lying areas were quite muddy. It appears that hole 3 fairway stays that way through much of the year due to the deep ruts throughout.
Other Thoughts: This course simply has it all. It will challenge you but it still provides plenty of room for some fun and gun play.
There are multiple signature holes...my fav's being 3 - a long 825 foot low ceiling shot that starts from an elevated tee and finishes with an elevated pin, hole 7 - a nice 400 ft sail shot from an elevated tee, hole 9 - a huge 846 ft bomb shot that funnels down a tight final fairway to a tucked pin, and finally hole 15 - the only water hole on the course. It is a 330 ft finesse shot, directly over a pond, to a pin perched precariously close to the bank.
Deer Lakes is worth a road trip all by itself. However, this course is close to Moraine State Park. It is worth a weekender to play this tandem. Also, coming from Ohio, I have bundled The Black Course in Moundsville, WV into the trip.
16 of 20 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 10 Not
Deer Lakes the Great!
Pros: One of the top courses in the greater Pittsburgh area, most everything has been said about the course. The best part of the course is the adrenaline rush of throwing over the lake.
Cons: A few drainage problems, but they seem like they are trying to fix them in certain spots. 3 is the biggest concern right now
1 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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.
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