10 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.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Best I have played
1 Helpful / 9 Not
Pros: Challenging. Easy to navigate. Well maintained. Offers different pin positions and multiple tees. A good mix of easy and very difficult holes. Beautiful course in a nice park. Has lines for different shots on many holes.
Cons: Trees are brutal for beginners. Heavy brush off of fairways.
Other Thoughts: Play this all the time and its my favorite of all the local courses.
1 of 10 people found this review helpful.
5 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: The course is a great, championship style, breathtaking course. It has a large variety of different shots to challenge even the best players. With two par 5's, and a good mix of par 4's and 3's, this course is not a short pitch and putt. It has a few bomber holes (i.e. 15) and some technical holes (i.e. 13) that test everybody. The baskets are discraft Chainstars less than a year old (as of July 2016)
Hole by hole:
1. Short Par 3 with a gateway arch of trees on the left side.
2. Uphill wooded par 4 with an OB creek by the basket, providing trouble with a bad upshot
3. Short Par 3 to 3 pin positions surrounding an OB ditch in the ground with trees to knock discs down into the pit of death. (Discs can be retrieved)
4. Uphill par 4 with a dogleg right and trees scattering the fairway
5. Par 3 that depending on pin can fade left or right with trees guarding a straight approach forcing a hyzer/anny
6. Long Par 5 with trees all down the middle and a thick rough along the edges forcing well executed shots the whole way
7. Downhill par 3 fading left at an open basket with a line over top for rhbh hyzers and a tough straight line for lefties
8. Par 4 with a tough first gap leading to a basket on the right
9. Par 3 that starts out open into a wooded green
10. Par 4 that will require a straight drive through the woods then to a dogleg left uphill.
11. Par 3 with trees around the green. Probably the worst hole on the course. Slightly uphill.
12. Dogleg right starting in the open going to a wooded uphill climb to the basket.
13. Tight as all get out par 3 forcing a well executed straight shot.
14. Par 4 through the woods that will lead to one of teh best holes in disc golf.
15. Par 4 Downhill bomber looking over the lake with an OB road left, trees right and left after the road. OB wooded patch right of fairway at the approach point. Requires distance and accuracy to reach the green at the base of the hill.
16. Par 5 uphill that then goes right with trees scattering the middle and a guarded green.
17. Par 3 starting in the open that moves to a guarded green.
18. A drive approaching an ob creek/trench forcing a decision to lay up or go for it. Green is to the right of another OB trench.
Cons: All trash must be taken out of the course. Not a con because of the policy, con because some people don't follow this rule. Course can get wet following a good rain. Not much wrong with the course at all. Alot of great holes.
Other Thoughts: Pair this course with the other courses in the area included in the 2015 world championships. This course is well executed and most definitely one of the best FREE AND PUBLIC courses in the world.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Best so far...
6 Helpful / 1 Not
Pros: So many pros, and they're already available to be seen in the reviews below. The biggest single pro... everything on this course was tough but fair. I never felt cheated by the design of the hole. I could always find a possible pathway to success that was not just a game of Plinko. I had to THINK on most every hole about the throw and the landing and what would happen if I strayed from my intended path. Most holes had risk/reward challenge, I felt like I truly accomplished something by playing a round of par disc golf from the blue tees.
Cons: My only con...I don't live close enough to this gem.
Other Thoughts: Bag used/needed: I carried 17 discs, and I used them all.
On a scale of 0 (horrible) to 5 (heavenly):
Ease of navigation:5
Bomb factor:5 (loved the 700+ ft downhill bomb best)
Use of terrain:5
Non-disc golfer opportunities for fun:5
About the reviewer: I've been playing for over 20 years, and playing seriously since 2007. I throw RHBH predominantly, with a wide arsenal of other shots that I use when I need them; my drives average about 320 feet on flat ground. My PDGA rating hovers around 900, which means on good days I shoot a few below par, on bad days a few above.
About my preferences: In my opinion the perfect disc golf course is an interesting walk in a natural space, with a wide variety of challenging but fair opportunities that test ALL of your shot making skills regardless of which hand you favor for throwing discs. I am happiest when I have to think my way from tee to basket hole after hole after hole and have to weigh risks versus rewards. In my opinion the worst disc golf courses have nothing to offer but holes that a) only test of how far you can throw b) only favor one particular type of throw on the majority of holes c) feature "plinko" lines choked with obstacles where luck is more important than skill d) are so short that a putter is all you need e) are so wide open that the only challenge is one of judging distance f) feature lines that discs were never meant to travel (such as a hole with two 90 degree doglegs in opposite directions) g) force you to lose a few discs if you dare to play. I am saddest when I feel bored or cheated by a hole.
P.S. Kudos to the designers of Morraine for giving me everything I love, and nothing that I hate:-)
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 9 Not
#1 Course in PA
Pros: There is nothing NOT to like about this course! Beautiful Setting, Challenging holes, Good mix of open and technical. Has something for the novice to the pros! Playing here was a privilege for me and I was lucky enough to grow up with 30 min of the course!
0 of 9 people found this review helpful.
0 Helpful / 8 Not
Pros: Excellent course, will test all shots that you have, good mix of long and short holes not only for expirenced players, might want to have someone spot for you if your going for the corner on the big hole number 15
Other Thoughts: none
0 of 8 people found this review helpful.
14 Helpful / 0 Not
Beautiful, Technical, and Immensely Enjoyable Course
Pros: -Very well maintained park and course; has a country club quality to it - always in top shape and I can't stress enough how great of a layout the course has
-Flows very well from one hole to the next and there is a minimal chance to get lost. Only confusion may be from 10 to 11, as you walk back through hole 4. Just follow the signs for 11 and cross the road to the tees
-Maybe the best quality of this course is that each shot is very important on every hole. Well thought out execution must be performed off the tee as the drive off every hole greatly determines the quality of your upshot
-Mach 3 baskets in prime condition. The pins are thoughtfully placed and are often changed to the 3 different respective positions, adding to the course's already immense variety. On some holes, there is a risk/reward type putt with the pin on a slope. On many others, the pin is nestled behind trees or around a tight corner, making the upshot very important.
- 3 long rubber tees (white, blue, and gold) are strategically placed throughout each hole, causing an even greater throwing variety
-Strong variety of shots with uphill, downhill, hyzer, anhyzer with multiple open, super-tight, and semi-tight, semi-short, medium, and long distance holes. While a tough course, it is a great course to learn how to play on if playing from the white tees (this was my first course and caused me to gain great interest in the sport). There are absolutely no throw-away holes, each has tremendous quality. OB is also present on many holes, adding to its technicality. Tremendous amount of lines and shot selection on almost every hole as well.
-It is somewhat of a hiking experience, adding to the enjoyment of the round
-Course map with local club and tournament information
-Plenty of space for parking
-A beach very close by with picnic tables, nice restrooms, and a snack bar
-Accurate tee signs telling you everything you need to know
-Some of the longer holes have distances located in increments of 100 feet, something most courses do not have
Cons: I have to reach to think of any cons for this course. These aren't necessarily cons for me, and did not detract from my experience. Just a few noteworthy things that may bother some people.
-No garbage cans or bathrooms are located on the course itself, if that bothers you
-It is a little bit of a haul to get to as you travel a few miles on windy park roads, but I am really reaching here. Not a whole lot of restaurants close by.
-There is some thick rough surrounding a few holes (1, 7, 11, 15). They actually have recently reduced the rough on these holes, however
-No tee signs for the white tees
Other Thoughts: This course is a tremendous example of a course that the park (at least this part) is centered on a course, not a course that is affected and attributed by the condition of the park itself. As I previously mentioned, there are no throwaway holes on this course. I would not call one hole disappointing in any way. Some holes rise above as spectacular however:
2- A visually stunning - though technical - hole. Plays long and through many trees and then uphill as you reach the pin
6- Super long hole with well-defined but challenging lines
12-Starts out open and then ends up back through the same woods the course starts in
15- One of the premiere holes in Western PA. Gives you a great view of the lake and plays long, hard right, then downhill. If you hit a roller just right, you may be able to birdie this hole
16- Toughest hole on the course, along with 6, IMO. Super long and technical, many dynamics to this hole
14 of 14 people found this review helpful.
Believe the Hype
13 Helpful / 0 Not
Pros: What a fantastic course. The thing that really sets it apart in my mind is how consistently memorable it manages to be throughout its 18 holes. Be it an interesting OB placement (hole 3, 18), a gorgeous view (the highly-regarded hole 15), an engaging angle or elevation (the rising corkscrew of hole 10), or a serious technical challenge (too many to reference), each of Moraine's holes seems to have something to offer. There's a lot of variety here, and a lot of attention to detail in terms of hole layout/pin placement/etc, enabling Moraine to maintain your interest and challenge your game over the course of a round or the course of a season. The course feels like such a complete offering, in which the progression between holes and the balance of various shots utilized are both well-considered. This is an even further achievement when you take into account Moraine's well-conceived flow and ease of navigation: hole 18 spits you out right next to hole 1, right back into the parking lot. I've never needed a map here; the tee signs, navigation markings, and clear-cut pathways make finding your way a snap.
The three sets of tees at Moraine provide a wide range of challenges, making the course playable for all skill levels, although beginners should expect some moments of frustration regardless of the tee they play.
One of pluses of this course is its natural beauty. It's situated in a well-cared-for, well-attended state park, providing a lot of beautiful sights. This is especially true in the fall. My wife doesn't play, but she's accompanied me on rounds here just to enjoy the walk and the sights. There's a lot for non disc golfers to enjoy at Moraine.
The course is isolated (while not being distant) from other park activities, meaning you won't have to worry about non disc golf traffic or interruptions. It begins conveniently close to parking, bathrooms, and water fountains. There's even a snack bar! (In the summer, at least.)
For as much elevation as this course has, walking it isn't overly draining. I assume this is because elevation changes are mostly gradual rather than drastic.
A lot has stuck in my head from my rounds at Moraine. Here are just two of my favorite aspects of the course:
- Holes 6-9 play through a series of clearings filled with well-trimmed saplings. They progress from a long, narrow fairway with saplings densely grouped in the middle (6) to an elevated shot under or over the trees (7) to a bottlenecking fairway that enters a picturesque clearing (8) to an open area where the trees form lanes to the basket (9). These holes seem purposefully connected in their scenery, obstacles, and topography almost to the point where they form a course within a course. It's a lovely progression of holes that within itself offers a lot of variety.
- Hole 12's dramatic reentry into thicker woods after the relative openness of holes 6-11 really strikes me. The course starts out in woods (1-2), then gradually opens up. The return to the woods two-thirds of the way through the round is very striking. My wife's reaction the first time we were out there together was, "whoa."
Cons: Not a lot of noteworthy cons here.
I think Moraine's baskets are situated a bit low in the ground. At times this has thrown me a bit for the first couple of holes in a round.
There aren't usually signs for the white tees, which seemed strange to me since the gold and blue have them. It'd be nice to be able to get the distance from the white tees to the pin while out on the course.
There are some definite opportunities for losing discs, such as hole 15. Spotters come in handy at times.
Other Thoughts: I grew up less than 20 minutes from Moraine, oblivious to disc golf in general and the spoils of Western PA in particular. On a visit home during summer 2013, my brother suggested we try playing on a whim, at Moraine, and we loved it. My only complaint now is that I currently live over a thousand miles away. On trips home, I've caught myself fantasizing during a round about moving back here just so I could have this as my home course.
Moraine provides a phenomenal disc golfing experience that captures the best of what the area has to offer, in terrain, technicality, and quality. It's my personal favorite course in the area, edging Deer Lakes for reasons I find hard to articulate. It just seems like the total package to me. Rather than trying to explain further when words are failing me, I'll just urge you to play this course as soon as you can manage.
July 2, 2016 Edit: Changed to a 5! The more courses I play, the more it's clear that Moraine is truly elite.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful.
1 Helpful / 13 Not
Pros: This is a world class course that rewards hitting your lines and not just bombing it mindlessly in a field.
So many beautiful holes.
Variety of angles and elevations.
Cons: The worst thing about moraine is its location. It is in the middle of a awesome state park, but state parks aren't near the majority of populations. Its merely an small annoyance.
Other Thoughts: If you are nearby and don't visit you are doing your self a disservice.
1 of 14 people found this review helpful.
7 Helpful / 1 Not
lots of cool holes
Pros: Moraine has a lot of really fun, unique holes. Everyone will remember hole 15, the long downhill with great views of the lake. (With lots of room for mistakes despite its sweeping view.) But many of the other holes are great too -- 6 is a long, flat, straight double fairway par 5 with low clearance and nasty rough. 8 is a zigzag with a choke point halfway through. 10 makes a sharp left halfway through to a steep uphill. 18 is a long downhill corridor with OB danger.
Shooting well requires making good decisions, but the course rarely feels unfair. There are opportunities for many type of shots (low clearance, hard lefts and rights, tight fairways, etc.) but no one particular skill dominates.
The course is also well planned and maintained. There are three sets of tees which are carefully calibrated so par is close to 900 rated (whites), 950 rated (blues), and 1000 rated (golds). The course flows well. There are a lot of substantially different pin positions.
Cons: The tees are rubber, and can get slippery during or after rain. (A shame because Moraine drains better than some other Pittsburgh courses.)
Hole 1 and 3 are probably the two most boring holes on the course, right at the start. (Both straight par 3s.) In general, the par 3s feel a little too easy, the par 4s feel a little too hard, and the 5s feel about right.
Other Thoughts: During the winter, the gate is locked, but you can still play. If you walk by the gate, immediately go right, and you're at the tee for hole 5. Alternatively, as you drive in, the tee for 6 is in a clearing on your right just before the gate.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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