Iconic Moraine - Epitome of Big Woods Golf
11 Helpful / 0 Not
- woods distance golf doesn't get better than this; there are lines galore that reward controlled distance with little place for bombs away golf
- love the MachX baskets (new in past couple years) catching ability and visual appeal
- no mandos necessary; trees provide the shot restriction
- can find some ticks, spiders, and plenty of brambles ("bumble") off the fairway
- the only thing missing are water shots (not really a problem)
After watching 2015 Worlds videos, this course was on my radar and became one of the first courses on my wish list. This year I finally got to play it after moving to the region, including from Gold Tees during the PFDO. I love courses where the natural features are used to shape lines, and where mandos are entirely unnecessary. Moraine is the epitome of this kind of course. Here, there are enough elevation changes and beautiful, tall trees that the natural features provide all the shot-shaping challenge one could want. It's a long course that remains technical without being overly tight, hence my title of "Big Woods" golf. Fairways are wide enough that you can pick a line and hit it, with almost no poke and pray element but also with almost no open golf. Holes look and feel somewhat homogeneous, but without players feeling that anything was missing from the round.
I like good "deuce or die" par 3s, but I don't think this terrain is conducive to that kind of golf, and there are only a couple of those holes. The trees are too tall, the expanse too vast, and the fairways too wide for enough of these holes. Designers seemed to realize this, and the par 4s/5s are what make it so special. On the par 4s, especially, I like how variable the second shot can be. On other courses, there's often some kind of initial gap that leaves a similar shot for everyone that makes it. Here, 4 cardmates can all have decent tee shots but still have very different lines to the basket. Holes like 6, 8, 12, 14, and even 18 are good examples. Pick your desired landing zone and your line from the tee, but you'll still need a lot of possible shots to get to the pin. You name the type of shot, and you'll be able to use it out here. Particularly after my tournament here, I came to view Moraine as a worthy foe. It's rare for par 5s to be so hard to birdie, and par felt great for both the par 5s (#6 & #16).
I found I almost never needed my highest speed drivers. Discs like my Teebird and Undertaker get a lot of air time, and I rarely find myself throwing discs over speed 10. When I do, I often regret the decision and should have gone with control.
Even if you can't make it out here, be thankful you can drool over many recorded rounds, e.g. 2017 Pittsburgh Flying Disc Open, 2015 Worlds. They're all enjoyable to watch and do a decent job showcasing Moraine. That said, there's no substitute for being here in person, and the course has always been in impeccable shape when I've been here over the past few months. I routinely notice improvements in the rough or other course features (lines along OB, etc.) even during casual rounds. Pittsburgh Flying Disc (along with others) takes proud ownership of this course and the TLC shows. I got to play one round with J Gary Dropcho (a local legend and TD of 2015 Worlds), and I regret not asking him more about Moraine's history.
As far as the park, getting to Moraine is easy despite a bit of a trek. It's easiest to look up "Lakeview Disc Golf Course" on Google maps, as it's on the north shore, away from the main park entrance. There's no park entry fee, though there may be a fee for camping. The course is right by a park beach, so a dip is a very good idea after a long round (or two). It's been beautiful every time I've played, even with some light rain on a couple rounds. You're likely to encounter some deer, wild turkeys, or other local fauna, and every time out here is restorative for the body and mind.
Rating: I struggled a bit to pick a number for Moraine, and would have liked to give a 4.75 (in between Phenomenal and Best of the Best). It's undoubtedly one of the best courses I've played, a can't miss course for any disc golfer, and one of disc golf's most iconic. I aired on the side of generosity, and Moraine certainly represents the Best of the Best for what it is.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: What a fantastic course! Well worth the drive down from Canada! I've been waiting to play this course for quite a while, and it lived up to expectations. So many great qualities to find all at one course. Elevation changes, both throwing uphill (2 & 4) and downhill (18th). Very tight fairways. Bomber hole that narrows to the basket( 15th).Dog-leg left (11th) and dog-leg right (10th). Incredibly tree obstructed fairways( 6th). And many having combinations of two or more of these features.
Three different teepads for each hole, as well as three different basket positions!
Good signage at each of the tee positions, and the course seemed to flow nicely from one hole to the next, So even though in a few spots there were signs indicating the direction of the next tee, I would have been fine without them. A good shot was rewarded, and a bad shot was pretty well eaten up by the rough. Happy I got out of Dodge with all the discs I showed up with! A good mix of holes in the woods and open-air shots. Bring your roller disc too. There are a couple of holes that it was a necessity.
Cons: No issues with the course itself at all ! The only thing that would be helpful would be some sort of indication at the teepads of which of the three basket positions is in use. There were a couple of occasions that I had to walk out to see the basket because the difference in location would definitely matter to the shot. Maybe a clothespin on the teepad sign could be used.
Other Thoughts: Amazing place for a round. If you can get around without a cart, give it a try. The ground was very "rooty" and there were spots I wished I had just carried my bag (I"ll know for next time). Plenty of parking, a couple of practice baskets to warm up, and lots of other facilities if you're spending the day. My favorite place to play is Cliff Stephens in the Tampa area, but with this totally different style of course, I think I now have co-favorites!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Great course for any level
4 Helpful / 2 Not
Pros: Great, grassy fairways throughout most of the wooded course. Three tee-pads on each hole with three basket positions per hole as well. Gold pads provide very high level difficulty while the front pads provide a challenging yet fair level of play. Same as the basket positions, many of the holes can almost play half or a full stroke different dependent on the spot. Overall, very well maintained. It is also very easy to access 3-5 places on the coiurse from parking lots, which is great if you wish to start at 1 or somewhere else in the course.
Cons: Sometimes if the grass gets too high, it can take out rollers, which are often the best options on several holes.
Other Thoughts: This is the best course I have ever played. I love the atmosphere here and feel it really anchors the courses in western Pennsylvania.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
The Kitchen Sink
7 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I'm referring to Moraine as "the Kitchen Sink" because this course throws it all at you... in a great way. It has:
+Crazy distance holes there's an 840 ft (blue tee) par 5 (hole 6) and
+Their marquee vista "lakeview" hole #15 which is a downhill 756 ft par 4.
+Challenging uphill holes
+Lots of trees
But that's just the holes themselves.
What makes this course truly stand out are the other amenities:
+Really nice long concrete tee pads (I played in the pouring down rain, and I thought I was going to play the white tees, but those aren't concrete, but some rubberized pad... slipped and fell while driving hole 1, so I switched to the blue tees and they are fantastic)
+Tees often have brooms to sweep away debris
+Tees have indicators to identify the pin positions. These are on the blue tee. They are a bright orange bolt that fits into slot A, B, or C. Since some of the holes are way far off around a corner, this was especially helpful
+Tee signs are very clear and well maintained
+Mach X baskets are great baskets and they are painted bright hunter orange for high visibility
+Signs for OB or for next hole are ample and visibly posted
+Fairways are kept nice, but the rough is rough as it should be
+Bathrooms are not far away
+Practice baskets on the other side of parking lot
Cons: I don't know what to put here because this course exceeded every expectation I ever had for a disc golf course. Perhaps the lack of a concrete pad on the white tees... but really, I don't have any cons. I played in the pouring down rain and loved every second of it.
I guess if I had to be really nitpicky, I would say that it doesn't have a water hazard (beyond a couple OB streams), but there's no big pond or anything to throw over, despite being right alongside Lake Arthur. This isn't a big enough reason to lower it from 5 stars though.
Other Thoughts: I have wanted to play the full Moraine Lakeview course ever since I came up here for the 2016 Ace Race, and it didn't disappoint. It taught me a lot about my own game and the shots I need to practice.
Playing in the rain, I learned the necessity of having a towel, especially if you're throwing Discraft elite-Z or Innova champion plastic.
This course requires really good disc and/or throw selection. I'm used to throwing a lot of the same shots over and over, but at Moraine, I needed to do a lot of thinking and I used more than my typical 2-3 discs per round. I ended up using the following:
I mention this because I ordinarily use my Buzzz very frequently (and not at all today!) whereas I rarely get an opportunity to throw my crank or spectra and I seldom have a need for my hornet or the archer, but today I found myself in so many tight situations that I felt like I needed the fade on the hornet or the understability of the archer to make my shot.
I ended up +9 on the round... DGCR gives that a rating of 853 and I mention that only to give you some reference of my perspective for this course.
I was blown away by this course. I really can't wait to come back and play it again.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
10 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: I only played from the Gold tees so my review is based on that.
- Some of the best if not the best Tees I have ever played off of in my life. They were long and had great brushed concrete. Since Im very tall I enjoy seeing a long teepad and these were just perfect.
- At the back of most tee pads they had crushed gravel so even if it was wet and muddy there was no sign of it at the back of the teepad.
- Mach X baskets. I dont think I need to explain these but they catch better then 99% of basket out there. They are also painted orange so they are easy to spot from a good distance away.
- Teesigns were on every tee and were clearly marked for all pin locations. I wish there would have been a pin indicator on each tee but it wasnt that hard to figure out which position they were in.
- I played in the morning after a rain storm and the course showed little signs of rain. There was hardly any mud which was a surprise to me. So I assume this course drains very well.
- The course had clearly marked OB with signs and string line to clearly mark OB. There was never a question if you were OB or not.
- There were next tee markers that were close to each basket so that made navigating the course very easy.
- This is a perfect style of course. It was in the dense woods but had more than fair fairways. I think hole 8 was the only hole I thought could have had a more fair fairway but other then that, it was all perfect.
- The course had a very good mix of par 3's, 4's and 5's. I very so thought that par on every hole was the perfect par for that hole.
- I had to use almost every disc in my bag to complete this course and to me that a good sign that the course designers did a very good job. You had to throw a good mix of full power shots, finesse shots, forehands, backhands, pretty much everything. Every tool I had, I used.
Cons: - The road leading to the parking lot was closed so Im not sure if the course was even open yet for the season but I couldnt find anything on the internet telling me it was closed. I had to start on hole 6 because of this but that wasnt too much of a problem.
Other Thoughts: I absolutely loved this course and would recommend this course to anybody who is going to be in the area. This is in my top courses now and I dont think that is going to change for a long time.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: Fantastic course, great variety in all areas, easy to navigate, well thought out course, I have been there several times and it's always clean.
Cons: The rough is way to rough, and the tee signs leave a little to be desired, you have to walk over the fair way of 4 between 10 and 11
1 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Shattered My Expectations
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Where do I even begin... I guess I'll intro the course.
So Moraine State Park (AKA Lakeview DGC) is a beautiful public course that is set right in the middle of this beautiful treasure of a park. Rolling hills, dense woodlands, a large lake, and of course, an abundance of wildlife. This is the most beautiful course I've played so far.
After taking the exit on to North Shore Dr. you know you're in for a real treat. Winding roads guide you towards the heaven of Pennsylvania disc golf.
Very nice kiosk with an information board, trash can, etc. There is plenty of parking here for large tournaments.
Each hole has three concrete tee pads for the Blues and Golds. The white tees have very nice rubber material.
After my first drive hit a tree and shot deep into the wilderness, I expected a 20 minute search through thorns, underbrush, etc. That was not the case! The clearing of the rough here is the best I've seen. It's really tough to lose a disc to an errant shot.
There is a terrific custom tee sign for each individual tee pad. They're customized just for that specific tee, so you don't have the distances of all tees on one sign. They're also very descriptive.
Forces use to use about every shot you have. Each hole stands a part from the other, and offers a hole different set of challenges.
#9 has a sign and path directing you to the parking lot if you only wanted to play 9 holes.
One big thing I took away from Moraine was that it wasn't overly difficult. I was expecting to get absolutely slaughtered here, but it was really a calm, enjoyable round.
Course is maintained very well. I don't think I saw a single piece of trash the entire round.
The extra signage here really sets this course apart from the rest I've played. Long holes have metal distance marking signs every 100 feet. There's OB signs everywhere with rope marking each hazard. These are quality metal signs, not the cheap stuff.
Most holes have a broom at the tee box, I thought that was a nice touch.
Elevation is used really well here. Not too many exhausting Hills to walk up and down, but there are a few that come into play.
Lots of variation in terms of distances. Very well designed.
#15 was a great view, and one of the best holes I've ever played. You could see the Lake and rolling hills in the distance. Long, downhill shot that gives you a break from the woods.
Cons: I'll pick on a few minor things;
I'd like to see something on each tee sign that indicates what the current pin position is. Idlewild has something like that.
I was kind of expecting the Lake to come into play at some point, but it never did.
It's tucked right in the middle of the massive park, so it takes a while to get to the course itself.
All of the creeks were dried up when I played, so I didn't get that part of the experience. Out of anyone's control, obviously.
Other Thoughts: I haven't typed up a review this long, and I probably won't do it again. Moraine State Park made me want to set up camp right by the first tee and live here forever, it's just that damn good.
It's hard to say a course rated 4.6 is underrated, but I'm going to say it. Moraine is underrated.
This place is easily deserving of a top 5 spot. The beauty, challenge, and fun here is overwhelming, and really made me smile. I'll take the two hour drive any day, it was well worth it.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Best of the Best!
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: Truly is the best of the best! A championship level course inside Moraine State Park. This course is not a beginner friendly but has a set of short tees for easier play. It also has a set of long concrete tee pads which allows all skill levels to be challenged. It requires a variety of technical shots to score well. Hole 15 is the signature hole of this course which has been used to film the PDGA's commercial. There are some holes that have roped areas which are OB but getting off the fairways will produce a natural OB. Great course design with multiple pin locations makes this challenging course even longer and harder.
Cons: Absolutely nothing.
Other Thoughts: This course is in my top ten must play courses! Very beautiful and scenic property. I live in another state and have traveled there to play a tournament. I was not disappointed.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
home of 2015 PDGA Worlds
0 Helpful / 6 Not
Other Thoughts: Moraine is an excellent course set in a mature woods with a mix on two-shot holes and long and short par threes. There are some tighter shots, but most of the fairways are well defined and leave room for shot shaping. There are some open holes as well. Every hole has a unique feel and challenge. There are opportunities to gain strokes through intelligent, controlled play and also by making big, aggressive shots, including an excellent risk reward shot on Hole 18.
The tees and tee signs are showing their age (but still do the job), and it would be great to have multiple baskets, but really this is just an excellent course.
It is kind of in the middle of nowhere, but it's definitely worth making the trip.
0 of 6 people found this review helpful.
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: Top shelf Western Pennsylvania disc golf. Has a seemingly endless procession of forested tunnel holes that are tons of fun, with a few trees here and there to provide a multitude of throw routes. Many of these holes have compound fairways requiring well-placed drives for carefully calculated upshots. The best of these include Hole 4, with a fairly steep uphill drive leading to an angling, flat, straight but narrow fairway; Hole 6, a 928' flat, fairly wide and straight grassy fairway with plenty (but not too many) tree hazards; Hole 7, featuring a downhill dogleg left drive to a beautiful green; and Hole 12, a long and challenging left-bending drive through a grassy tunnel leading to a basket protected by rows of tall trees. Holes 5 and 14 feature subtly undulated, straight drives with multiple shot paths around narrow lines of trees. Hole 15 differs from the other holes with a wide-open hilltop drive leading to a right-bending fairway which leads to downhill to another large and beautiful green near a large reservoir lake.
Plenty of challenge at this course, with three layouts ranging from 6105' to 8550' feet. Despite the length and challenge, it is not insurmountable by intermediate level players, even from the Gold tees.
Cons: Holes 1 and 18 are nice, forested creek bed holes, but aren't quite up to the standards set by the rest of the course. Watch for roped-off out-of-bounds low lying areas on these holes. Hole 13 is a shorty through tall trees which could also be described as a filler hole. Hole 15, though visually epic, would likely be a painful effort in high winds. Some holes would likely have disc-swallowing rough during some parts of the year.
Unlike the other premier courses in this region, this course is located in a remote state park forest which requires a long meandering drive from the nearest highway exits, which can dissipate some positive energy before reaching the first hole. No nearby stores for snacks, drinks or discs.
Other Thoughts: This course along with Deer Lakes Park and Knob Hill stakes a claim for Western Pennsylvania being one of the world's best disc golf destinations. Unlike those two courses, which are some miles to the South in steeper major river valley hills, Moraine State Park is topographically more similar to upper Midwest courses with more meadow-like holes.
Remarkably consistent throughout, this course has a minimum of lesser holes and keeps you engaged all of the way through. Mentioned as a favorite by none other than pro Steve Rico and others, this great course belongs on your disc golf bucket list.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
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